Exercises vs. Experiments

From Clifford Levy, at The Next Web:

Over at The New York Times, staffers received an email letting them know the desktop site for The Times — you know, the site they all write for — would be blocked. To view www.nytimes.com, they’d have to do so via a smartphone or tablet…

In addition to underscoring the importance of mobile, a big push here is internal testing.

I would also assume that testing is a primary reason of this purported exercise (which The New York Times suspiciously refers to as “an experiment”), except that the memo doesn’t mention any such reason nor does it provide any channel for their staff to provide feedback. The only rationale mentioned is to “spur [The New York Times] to make mobile an even more central part of everything that we do.”

I too like the idea, but can’t help to think that I would be a bit insulted by the memo’s unilateral tone. It reads to me as “Hey dumb-dumb, we don’t think you understand the obvious importance of this so we are going to force it on you like vegetables to a child, and as a child forced to eat their vegetables, your unsolicited opinion will be immediately discounted.”

While that’s a bit harsh and I suspect the work environment at the Times makes the request for feedback somewhat implicit, the tone of this memo undermines what should otherwise be an engaging positive exercise.