Photo Credit: Mashable.com
By Yonatan Gordon
Before Yahoo! decided to buy Tumblr, we wrote about the Tumblr blogging platform in “Is Tumblr the New Facebook? Also Clark Kent or Superman?”. But now that Tumblr was purchased, the natural first question we should ask is what made them worth 1.1 billion? There are two variables at play here. We will call them position and momentum.
The first is that while on Facebook you have to be your Clark Kent self, Tumblr allow you to have a secret Superhero identity. The question then becomes whether these users are using their superhuman powers for the good or not.
Each person has a choice to become a Superman or Lex Luthor type personality. What we are now saying is that while Tumblr has many accounts that seem “dark,” the real valuation is from the “light” side. Now that Tumblr has allowed people to share posts under an anonymous identity, what good can people do with this ability?
But its are a bit more complex than that. Many things that seem dark at first, are really light. Perhaps the dark is perceived as such because of its secretive or concealed nature?
The main thing is the to further human potential, or to come out of our daily tumbles with a greater sense of insight. No one wants to be stuck mid-tumble, because then your eyes are closed, and the world seems like an upside-down sort of place.
The Value of Position
Proper positioning and balance means the ability to come out of a relative state of darkness, and become a superhero for someone in need. This could mean physically saving someone, or simply posting something that cheers up someone’s day. The main thing is to post already after the eyes are opened, and you are in an upright position already. As we said in our previous Tumblr article, many times authors write while mid-tumble, and the result is the unfortunate portrayal of a dark and dreary world. In that kind of world, even the superheroes among us seem dark.That’s why coming out of our daily tumbles, and open our eyes to an optimistic world-view is so important.
So again, the position value of Tumblr is that it teaches us to appreciate life after the tumble. Now let’s move on to momentum.
The Value of Momentum
Presumably, Melissa Meyer–the new CEO at Yahoo!–bought Tumblr in order to move her company forward. Yahoo! was relatively in a mid-tumble stage of their company, so they began looking for something to take them to an “eye opening” moment. The simple reading of the decision to acquire Tumblr was to increase traffic for their PPC ad network. But more importantly, Yahoo! is also seeking to generate more interest in their company again.
Tumblr is very good at mobile, which is also something we mentioned in our article. More than carefully planned out posts, there’s something valuable about being able to post while on the run. While Superman may be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, Tumblr users can share memorable moments, even while they roll throughout the day.
This mobility and momentum is important because it is indicative of positive progress. When someone is in need of cheering up, a carefully deliberated post is nice, but may come with much delay. The main thing is to share an encouraging note at the right time, not when the time is right. Tumblr makes such spontaneous moments easier than many other blogging and social media platforms.
Tumblr’s Uncertainty Principle
If you have studied some Quantum Mechanics, then you know these two variables of position and momentum match up with what’s called Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. To translate to our discussion: If you think that you have revealed your superhero abilities on Tumblr, then you are not tumbling forward; but if you are tumbling forward, there is always more of your secret identity to reveal.
The fact then that Yahoo! has just acquired many “dark” accounts along with the “light” ones, is a question of reputation not of momentum. In order for Yahoo! to rise in public estimation again, both factors are needed. But as we said, prominence comes from promoting the superhero potentials in all of us. This is why having a secret identity on Tumblr is a valuable commodity to begin with. It could be that a person is expected to be Clark Kent during the day, so for the meantime, he saves the world in the evening. But by calling attention to the value of these “evening” posts, the hope is that more people will being able to become superheroes during the day as well.
As a marketer for Yahoo! then, I would headline the Tumblr acquisition as the start of a superhero revolution. Instead of secret identities being something reserved for nights and weekends, Yahoo! can promote the fact that these contributions are worthwhile during the day as well. This is similar to the growing movement of people now that want to work at a cool job. People want to feel themselves to be superheroes 24/7.
It goes without saying though, that wherever possible, Yahoo! should distance themselves from those accounts that seems to be promoting “Lex Luthor” ideals.
The Yahoo! Moment
What does a person say when he comes out a tumble? We can now say that maybe “Yahoo!” would spontaneously be voiced? But what does it mean to have a “Yahoo!” moment, and how does this all relate to our world of search and the internet? Before we continue, let’s first talk about the 19 click phenomenon.
19 Clicks of Separation
To quote from a Phys.org article:
“The concept of its being a small world after all is now being placed in the scientific context of the wide, wide Web as a small Web after all. According to physicist [Albert-László Barabási], Web pages are actually no greater than 19 clicks apart.
The author noted how, with a path length of about 19, connections are made, with massive hubs such as Google and Facebook behaving as the key super-connectors. Similar to the small-world concept of a limited number of degrees of separation, the super-connectors render the Web access experience into a small world. For ease of access and connectivity, the good news is that it only takes a small number of superconnecting sites to get us where we want to go.”
Back to Yahoo!
While increasing traffic is a good thing, a more meaningful result for Yahoo! would be to become more of a “superconnecting” site. The fact that Yahoo! is not even mentioned in this and other related articles, is an indication that there is room for improvement. But as we will now explain, the “Yahoo!” moment as not as straightforward as chancing upon some useful information in searches.
There is an idiom used by the Talmudic sages called “ipcha mistabra” (איפכא מסתברא) in the original Aramaic. This phrase literally means “the opposite makes sense,” or “the truth (what actually makes sense) is exactly the opposite of what you initially thought makes sense.” This idiom appears exactly 19 times in the Babylonian Talmud, the numerical value of the name “Eve” ( חַוָה ) in Hebrew. Eve was the first woman, and is referred to in the Torah as the “mother of all life.” The initials of ipcha mistabra also spells “mother” (אם) in Hebrew.
What this reveals is an implicit but essential relationship between counter-intuition and the Torah’s first female figure. We often refer to “feminine intuition,” as something that is occasionally hailed as more potent than masculine intuition. We can say that this potency is attributed to the capability of a woman’s intuition to suddenly and completely reverse itself. This is the case because the woman who originally expressed the intuition, suddenly feels that the exact opposite is true. In a sense, the feminine mind is always tuned into intuition, and adopts a more intuitive stance towards life than does the male. As a result of this awareness though, feminine intuition also knows that it is not always correct. The female mind is both open to trusting its intuition, but just as open to completely reversing it by 180 degrees.
It is clear that the internet is a modern-day metaphor for the endless seas of the Talmud. Even among popular books, Jonathan Rosen made mention of this throughout his 2001 work “The Talmud and the Internet.” The question then becomes how to properly navigate through the 14 billion plus web pages? From our discussion, it would seem the answer is not through clicks, but through flips of consciousness.
19 Counterintuitive Tumbles
Our question today is how to come out of our daily tumbles, and experience “Yahoo!” moments of spontaneous exuberance. The answer rests in our ability to connect to Eve the “mother of all life.” We can now say that instead of a small number of “superconnecting” sites on the internet, ultimately there should be only one. The challenge now is to find that one site, and link all other sites to it.
There is another expression related to mothers called “Em Habanim Semecha” (“The Mother of Children is Happy”). To relate this expression to our discussion, there are two lessons we can learn. The first is that by connecting to Eve, the mother of all life, the natural result is a happy one. So too, if we chance upon the superconnecting site that is the mother of all other sites on the internet, a person may very well exclaim Yahoo!. The next lesson is that the millions of sites on the internet could be seen a derivatives or “children” of the first (not necessarily in the chronological sense).
But the path to the mother principle is not a direct one. Instead, as the ipcha mistabra term from the Babylonian Talmud teaches us, the feminine intuition is more about a willingness to accept the opposite. What this means in the search world, is that many results that at first seem irrelevant to the answer, are really the most relevant. Once users learn this art of counter-intuition, then they will be able to effortlessly tumble to the true and complete answer.
Counterintuition in Kabbalah
In the language of Kabbalah, every mind-space, or level of consciousness, is called a World; and every World has its own “common-sense”. Thus, given the particular mind-space that I currently inhabit, I would consider the common-sense found at the level above mine to be counter-intuitive to my own. As we progress through each level of consciousness, from Kabbalistic World to Kabbalistic World, our common-sense undergoes a transformation and what is perceived as common-sense in one World becomes absolutely counter-intuitive to common-sense in another World. When we progress from World to World, which are actually ascending levels of consciousness. Everything that we held to be true previously transforms into something new.
So as we roll through each progressive level of consciousness, we can truly exclaim Yahoo! along the way.
Excerpted and Freely Adapted from the New Book “Lectures on Torah and Modern Physics” from Harav Yitzchak Ginsburgh.