<3 of the week: TV with a social message, management consultant pay and on being awesome

16 Feb
  • What happens when I ask people here in Borneo what they want to use modern clean sources of energy for? Watching television. I’ve always thought access to information is fantastic thing. And even more so since hearing that the community I am working with in India – with no lights, let alone TV and radio – didn’t know the name of Indian Prime Minister. And then this week I found this in the New York Times: Soap Operas with a Social Message. “Around the world, from North India to South Africa, there are dozens of television and radio shows that tightly weave social themes into entertaining narratives, a technique often referred to as entertainment-education.” And then the results: “The long-running South African television series “Soul City” has 12 million viewers and is as familiar as Coca-Cola to black South Africans. Regular viewers are almost four times as likely to use condoms than others. In Saint Lucia, the radio drama “Apwé Plézi” (“After the Pleasure”) became so popular that producers had to set up a separate helpline for people requesting information on family planning. Brazilian women with exposure to soap operas, which usually portray small families, have been found to have significantly lower fertility than others.”
  • Like Robin Hanson and others, I have often wondered “why firms pay huge sums to big name consulting firms, when their advice comes from kids fresh out of college, who spend only a few months studying an industry they previous knew nothing about.” Having worked on a few management-consulting-style projects, I’d have to agree with his conclusion: “My guess is that most intellectuals underestimate just how dysfunctional most firms are. Firms often have big obvious misallocations of resources, where lots of folks in the firm know about the problems and workable solutions. The main issue is that many highest status folks in the firm resist such changes, as they correctly see that their status will be lowered if they embrace such solutions.”
  • And finally, check this out – related in part to this, one of my most favourite websites.

Image: Some rights reserved by videocrab

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