left Xtraordinary Living At Its Best: Comfort Zone

Friday, March 10, 2006

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Comfort Zone

When we went to the movies the other night and I suggested we watch the movie "Mrs. Henderson Presents," my wife's first response was "What are you up to?" You see she knows me well and knows that this type of movie is definitely not one I normally enjoy, let alone suggest it. She was certain that I was trying to "score some points" to offset something I had either done or was planning on doing - something I admit I do regularly. But in this case, I had no hidden agenda and wasn't trying to "score points" - though I certainly did:-)

Here's why I find this so interesting. The reason I suggested this movie was because my "movie concierge service" recommended it for me. This is the same Movie Lens service I had written about in an earlier post. Based on my experience with their recommendations in the past, I know that the odds are much better that I will enjoy myself if I go with their suggestions than with my choices. In other words, their suggestions are a better fit for me than my own suggestions. Isn't that strange?

Another way of looking at this, is that this service that is run by a computer, knows me better (when it comes to movies) than I do myself. And thanks to this, I was able to have a very enjoyable experience than I would have otherwise missed. Plus, it helped me expand the narrow genre of movies I tend to stick to.

Since mentally growing and expanding are critical ingredients of Xtraordinary Living, we all need help in regularly going outside of our comfort and familiar zones if we want to grow. For me, sometimes it comes from technology and other times it comes from people. Where is yours coming from?


Dorothy Shreve said...

Rick, I've never posted a comment in a blog - thanks for the chance to venture out of the comfort zone a bit.
Sounds like Movie Lens has some cool technology - the "collaborative filtering" that you mentioned in your "Funning" post - and has applied it successfully to movie recommendations. Could be a pretty lucrative technology! It reminds me of the people-who-bought-this-book-also-bought feature in amazon.com. That one along with the free-shipping-with-minimum-order offers have caused me to spend more money at amazon.com than I first intended - and I've been happy about it!
Just curious... now that you know what the Movie Lens service knew, namely the full content of the movie, do you see why it was recommended to you? Does it still seem strange that it was suggested to you?

Rick Itzkowich said...


I know what you mean about venturing out of the comfort zone and posting on a blog. One of my goals in getting this project started was to have conversations with people and those are not possible unless people comment and give feedback. So, thanks for doing this.

Truth is that even after watching the movie, I still don't know what was the basis for the recommendation. What I do know about this particular technology is that it is based on an algorithm that is related to how others who have similar tastes in movies as I do have rated this movie.

On the other hand, the Pandora sevice I use for music (also mentioned in "Funning") does give me a reason why a particular song was recommended to me. That program is much more sophisticated since it relies in the song's "DNA" to make suggestions. So when a particular song is suggested to me, it is based on other songs I've rated highly that have similar "DNA."