Archive for May, 2008

Critical mass

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

A “critical mass” is an important term to understand. I believe it was first used in physics but it also comes up often in a business context.

A critical mass is basically the smallest amount of something you need before a major change occurs. Don’t worry, I don’t blame you if you are still confused. Here are some examples:

Think about the discussion forum of this website. I’ve been thinking about ways to make it more popular. You’ve probably noticed that people don’t post very often at the moment. Since this is true it will make a new user less likely to sign up and make a post. Why? Because they can see that there is a good chance that no one will comment on their post. If the forum was more popular, it would attract more users. The biggest problem is that we haven’t reached our “critical mass” of users yet. I’m not sure what that magic number is, but I’m sure you can imagine that once the forum reaches a certain level of popularity, then it will grow quickly by itself. If the forum remains below the critical mass, then not much will happen. A critical mass is basically the magic number that causes a major turning point.

Epidemics (major diseases that spread throughout a population) need to reach a “critical mass” before they can really spread. Scientists know that if a certain percentage of the population gets a disease (the critical mass) then the disease will spread throughout much of the population. This is why it often seems like many people catch a cold at the same time. If many other people have a cold, the more likely you are to catch it.

People in business know how important it is to have many people know about their product. The more people who know about a product the more friends they can tell about this product. This is one reason that advertising is so important. Sometimes having the best product is much less important than having a popular product in terms of making money.

Hopefully reaches a critical mass soon and everyone knows about us.

Help us reach a critical mass by telling your friends and writing in the forum.



Take the high road

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

Take the high road.

This expression means to handle a situation in a kind and ethical way instead of retaliating and seeking revenge.

Here is a common situation where this expression is used:

Imagine your boss was in a bad mood one day and started yelling at you for no good reason and complaining about your work. You’d probably be upset by this and might want to retaliate by saying something negative to him. Let’s say that you discuss this with your friend and your friend says to you; “He’s just in a bad mood. Of course he shouldn’t have yelled at you, but if you get upset and yell back then you are just as bad as he is. You should take the high road and forget about it.”

Imagine your ex-girlfriend sees you and tells you that she never loved you and hated the whole time you were together. You could retaliate by saying something horrible to her, or you could take the high road by disregarding what she said or saying something like, “I’m sorry you feel that way”.

I know from experience it’s difficult to take the high road (I don’t always do it) but it’s certainly something we should all try to do.


Movie Review: JUNO

Sunday, May 18th, 2008

Juno, a teenage girl with a very sarcastic sense of humor, gets impregnated from her best friend. She’s faced with several tough questions like whether or not to keep the baby, how to tell her parents, etc. I don’t want to tell you too much about Juno except that she is hilarious and you should watch the movie.

I love this movie. I think it’s absolutely hilarious. I’d say it’s somewhere between a comedy and a drama. If you can understand the comedy than you should feel great about your English abilities. The English level isn’t too difficult but the comedy is quite sophisticated. It’s not a slapstick comedy. A slapstick comedy is one really old kind of humor. Something like someone throwing a cake in someone else’s face is an example of slapstick comedy. Slapstick is a very physical type of comedy. I personally don’t usually find slapstick comedy very funny.

I’d love to hear what you think.

Share your thoughts here: Juno Discussion