Weeknotes 313

Photo of the week:

Cader Idris

This week I did:

Just do it

I’ve been doing some work on a campaign we’ve got coming up. It’s been really interesting to have a product as the centrepiece (to my point last week about products as tools for change). I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before. The campaign aims to use behavioural science to achieve it’s goals (I know I’ve said it before but, products don’t achieve outcomes, products change behaviour and behaviour change achieves outcomes) and even though we know nudge theory doesn’t work, it might still provide a useful starting point for hypotheses around the bias people have. If we’re biased towards doing things that other people have done, then does showing that lots of other people did it reduce some of the emotional barrier for us to do it too?

Digital native or a digital immigrant?

This week’s Irregular Ideas newsletter looked at the idea of digital natives and digital immigrants, and how the definition has changed over time from being based on age to being about exposure to, and experience with, technology.

Timeline of digital work

I added a few more things to my Timeline of digital work, so it now goes back to 1885 and the founding of Stanford University, which has instrumental in creating silicon valley and much of the technology we rely on for digital work. I want to add more ideas to it but it’s really hard to date them.

Hiked Cader Idris

It was like walking up stairs for five hours with a jetwash in your face. It was awesome.

I read this week:

RIP James Lovelock

James Lovelock, the creator of the Gaia hypothesis, died this week. Another hero gone. I read this article from Noema Magazine and want to read his book, Novacene: The Coming Age of Hyperintelligence.

The Dangerous Ideology of the Tech Elite

The Tech Won’t Save Us podcast has a brilliant episode about longtermism, effective altruism, and the use of tech-optimism to justify what some billionaires want to do just because they can. It’s a very one-sided discussion with no critique of the positions expressed, but it’s really interesting anyway. It adds to my thoughts about how individuals and small groups of people are just not equipped to deal with the power they are given in society. Not sure if Dunbar’s number applies here, but if you’re actions can drastically affect more people than you can possibly know, then you have too much power. Also, how cool is that website!

When they win, you win

Started reading When they win, you win to try to get a better understanding of the management skills I need to develop. I haven’t figured out how to apply any of it to my context yet but I hope it’s going to be useful.

And I thought about:

Uncertainty is uncomfortable

Charles Lambdin tweeted, Certainty is an enemy of continuous improvement and maximizing value, and I’d been thinking about how uncomfortable uncertainty is and how we sometimes try to bring certainty to things that are actually still uncertain but that we’ve convinced ourselves that it isn’t. How do we get better at dealing with volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity?

How I focus my time

I’ve been trying to get back into working on all the side projects that I want to do, without much success. I can do it, 313 weeknotes and 60 Irregular Ideas tell me that. The things I’ve learned from these is that it’s easier to work on things when they are scheduled and timeboxed, and small enough for some kind of output to be part of the definition of done. So, things like Ambivalent.mba that feel too big will be made smaller, and things like SystemShiftingProduct.Management will need some more structure and clearer definition of done. Hopefully I can get into the habit of getting things done.

Impatient with action, patient with results

Been thinking about why it is so difficult to think and talk about what we want to achieve and so easy to default to talking about what we want to do. I wonder if it’s because doing feels like progress and the ‘default to action’ thing is a hard bias to kick? Or is it that we struggle to create causal connection between goals and the actions for achieving them (you and I know that hypotheses are the connection, but it’s all those others, right)?