Microsoft Vs. Opensource

By Mainak Biswas July 18, 2007 - 658 views

Which do you prefer most – Microsoft or Opensource? 

As educated, rational and data-driven people, we take pride in our ability to think logically or atleast believe that our decisions are based on sound judgment. I am currently reading Malcolm Gladwell’s , Blink , which talks about the Warren Harding error. This error refers to America’s 29th president, a man so distinguished-looking that once, at a banquet, a supporter cried out, “Why, the SOB looks like a senator!” Though he radiated presidential charm, Harding was actually best at playing poker and golf, drinking and chasing women. Gladwell calls him one of the worst presidents in American history.

This book is basically about snap judgments or rapid congnitions which the author refers to as “Thin Slicing” . He argues that our mind has a pattern seeking behavior, which allows our brain to get past any irrelevant stuff and “zero in” on the the stuff that really matters. This behavior has a dark side as it allows us to fall for a person’s mannerisms, appearances and this is when our rational brain succumbs to visual traps.

Ram charan in his book, Know How also pointed out the potential problem of this “thin slicing”. He stated that leaders often try to look for pattern in things where none exists and this leads to erroneous judgement. This often to leads people to compare China of today to Japan of 80s or predict the success of a business or point at somebody and say – “he is going to make it big someday”

In order to expose our unconscious biases towards things, psychologists at Harvard University came up with IAT. This is an acronym that stands for Implicit Association Test. IAT helps us examine two things, First, we might not always be willing to share our private attitudes with others. Second, we may not be aware of some of our own attitudes. Your results on the IAT may include both components of control and awareness.

Here is what IAT has to say about this:

Psychologists understand that people may not say what’s on their minds either because they are unwilling or because they are unable to do so. For example, if asked “How much do you smoke?” a smoker who smokes 4 packs a day may purposely report smoking only 2 packs a day because they are embarrassed to admit the correct number. Or, the smoker may simply not answer the question, regarding it as a private matter. (These are examples of being unwilling to report a known answer.) But it is also possible that a smoker who smokes 4 packs a day may report smoking only 2 packs because they honestly believe they only smoke about 2 packs a day. (Unknowingly giving an incorrect answer is sometimes called self-deception; this illustrates being unable to give the desired answer)

So, what has IAT got to do with Microsoft vs. Opensource?

The answer is – do you know if you actually have a bias towards either Microsoft or opensource? Well the take a test on Harvard website to find this out. The results may surprise you.

Microsoft vs. Opensource is the current featured test on

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