KPCB’s Mary Meeker presented their 2015 internet trends report: (see full slide deck here). Great overview. Four slides, seemingly on a trivial topic, hit me like a brick though:

Almost 30% of video is now consumed in a vertical format!

In October last year I published a post “Vicarious Vertical Video Syndrome” in which I admitted to have been on the brink of total frustration about people video-ing with the smartphone held vertically. To me that was just plain stupid! It was just wrong to do it like that: “You are holding it wrong!” (NB … just like the infamous remark of Steve Jobs reacting on the Antenna-gate issue.)

How could I have been so convinced about my own pity preferences – resulting in behavior quite similar to a fanatic reborn
believer – that I assumed all the others were doing it wrong?

Logically I can explain where my preferences in this particular regard came from: my dominant viewing screen for both video and stills (since migrating to digital many years ago) have been horizontal. But I also have been convinced the natural viewing angle is horizontal and not vertical. I have internalized this realization to the point that I literally never take photo’s – or video’s – in a portrait mode ever as I see that as lost screen real estate. 1*1 aspect ratio is as close as I come to a portrait layout. While writing this down I already feel how awkward this actually is. It only further underlines how skewed my preferences and hence my condemnation of the others “doing it wrong” actually was.

Where I did go wrong was that while holding my phone in its (default) vertical position all day myself and that it has become my dominant screen (size and orientation) I did not recognize that this “default” for so many people would as a consequence alter peoples behavior in creating and consuming pics and video’s.

To me this little personal episode is like a “pars pro toto” of the deformations we have in observing and judging our environment as individuals. It serves as a reminder of how deceitful it can be to take my own preferences as the measure of all, as a person and hence as a consultant or manager.

We tend to take our selves much to serious, as infallible and as the absolute measuring stick, projecting our self image on all others in all circumstances and conditions even through time.

NB I have written plenty on our limitations and particularities of our human nature and even created a landing page on it.