Orthogonal Birding

Orthogonal Birding

When a group of birdwatchers finds an interesting bird, invariably they’ll gather around and look at the bird for as long as the bird complies. Sometimes this can go on for quite a while, especially if the bird is difficult to identify, is uncommon or is doing something unusual.

Once I have identified the bird, I then practice a strategy I call ‘orthogonal birding’. I just turn to the left and look for any new birds. I then repeat this action two more times. More often than not, this method of looking where no one else is looking can yield new and more interesting birds such as Clay-colored Thrush, Spruce Grouse and Black-headed Gull.

This is somewhat similar to the Patagonia Rest Stop Effect.

I’ve also found this to be a useful strategy for product development. Many times we can get distracted by the latest and greatest. This isn’t necessarily bad, but it also helps to consider features or content that no one else is considering at the moment.

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