Differing kinds of work demand differing heartbeats. Some work thrives on high interupt rates while other work demands long intense periods of concentration. If your work demands a low rate of interuptions than each interupt will be costly. Ross Mayfield has written a series of posts looking at these costs and their allocation from various points of view. For example in his latest post he mentions that in some situations the interuption tax can be as much as 15 minutes.
I want to draw attention to how this problem has many features that hint of money to be made. You have two sides, i.e. the person who want’s to interupt and the person who to be interupted, which means there is an oportunity for a middleman. There is a lot of value in play; i.e. 15 minutes. There is a high transaction rate. The problem is unsolved. Technology has tools to offer that help, but it is also displacing the old social contracted rules. Moore’s law is in play. A problem with that structure should attract the attention of people looking for high value hubs.
This problem is related to a mess of other stuff: the efficency of exclusion, the mystery where the sweet spot is in latency/bandwidth space for collaborative work, the conventional wisdom about where how high productivity in some kinds of work requires a asynchronious work environment.