Idea types and person-event types

Last night GP, the wife and I were drinking at Brewsky, a nice microbrewery in JP Nagar, Bangalore. We were seated at the bar, and were checking out some other people who were seated elsewhere at the bar. The wife pointed to two of them and independently asked GP and me to assess which of them was potentially more interesting (the independence was achieved thanks to a timely bio break I took). Most of GP and my assessment of these people tallied, but then GP popped up with this really interesting funda that I have to blog about!

So GP said “the woman sitting across from us looks more of the ‘ideas type’ while the woman seated to the right looks more of the ‘events and people type’ “. And in that one stroke, he had introduced this rather profound method of classifying people. He had created one other dimension of putting people into two categories (and in that instant doubling the number of two by twos along which people can be plotted!). And he had brought back to memory something I had seen in Bishop Cotton’s Boys’ School back in 1996.

The board near the administrative building at Cotton’s said “great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people”. Profound in itself but a three-way classification. Now, three way classifications are not as intuitive as two-way classifications. People generally prefer the latter. And in one shot last evening, GP had reduced this cumbersome three-way classification into a rather interesting two-way classification! To use the Cotton’s framework, he had clubbed the average and small minds!

In the past I’ve blogged about the concept of “who else have you been in touch with“. This is a phrase that pops up, I’ve argued, when you have met after a long time and have nothing else to talk about. A related concept is perhaps “what movie did you see recently?” (though that can occasionally lead to fairly profound discussion on ideas). Now, analysing life from GP’s framework, you will notice that when one of the persons involved in the conversation is an events-people types, it is but obvious that the conversation will quickly devolve to discussing people or events, and the best anchor for devolving into such is to seek stories of common acquaintances!

So are you an “ideas types” or an “events-person types”? Would you think such a classification is context-sensitive (depending on who you are talking to) or context free? Would you get offended if someone were to classify you as a “events-persons types”? What happens when an I-types meets and EP-types – what do they talk about? Is is even possible to talk ideas with EP-types? And what are the odds that a largish group can sustain I-types conversation?

I’ll end this post with an anecdote. Not so long ago I met a few old friends. It was a largish group, and the entire contents of the two-hours-or-so conversation can be classified into two types – discussions on mutual friends and acquaintances and “who else you are in touch with” (standard EP-type stuff), and discussion of concepts discussed on one of my blogs! Maybe I should take credit for pulling conversation in that group to I-type stuff!


3 thoughts on “Idea types and person-event types”

  1. Small observation that the 3 of you are on the “people” end of the spectrum. Discussing other people, and strangers at that…

  2. It is contextual I would say. as part of a larger group of friends and acquaintances, which is required for a position and responsibility we have as professionals, we need both types. To generalise without MORE data about a person and the group, it would be wrong to judge people . You are a Data man you know it better. What say?

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