Kindle Highlights

One of the primary reasons I stayed with paper books after ebooks were introduced was because I heavily annotate my reading material.

Once Kindle allowed highlighting and notes, my resistance to ebooks was overcome by my newfound ability to digitally store annotations over time.

While Kindle allows for digital notes, unfortunately, Kindle does not have an API for the annotations. Fortunately, speric's ruby.gem called 'kindle-highlights' is a workaround to capture Kindle Highlights, and the results are below.

500 Ways To Write Harder

  • Go. Do. Write. Write hard right now, and write harder tomorrow than you did today.
  • "Here, I half-cooked a chicken. White on the outside, pink and gooey on the inside. I call the raw parts 'cluck butter.' It's like salmonella sashimi. Ish sho good." You don't hand someone half-cooked food. You don't half-paint a room then move the furniture in. So don't query your half-a-manuscript to the world. Finish. Finish strong. Then send.
  • Talking about writing is just another way to waste time, in public, except here the clever ruse is how very productive it feels.
  • Art must operate within a realm of financial sufficiency.
  • if you're not careful, gazing into the dread eye of the publishing industry will become a distraction
  • Be a fountain, not a drain.
  • the most important part: finish your shit. An abandoned story at page one or page 356 has the same value as a story you never wrote in the first place.)
  • Do not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
  • Readers are everything. Don't build an audience: earn your audience. Find where they are and talk to them -- not above them as if on some bullshit platform but among them because you are them.
  • Get a website. Let that be your central space. Use social media to talk to people, not at people.
  • Stand out. Be the best version of yourself. Try lots of things. Don't be a jerk.
  • Do It All Over Again Write more -- keep spilling your guts and your heart and your brains on the page. Edit your story to a gleaming stiletto point. Publish that motherfucker like a professional. Market it like a human. Write, edit, publish, market. Keep doing it. The more you do this, the more you have a chance of connecting
  • Throw more pebbles: ripples meet other ripples. Keep doing it. Stay positive. Stay awesome.

Be Slightly Evil: A Playbook for Sociopaths (Ribbonfarm Roughs 1)

  • I believe that at that scale of immense power, self-policing is simply too dangerous, and only checks and balances constructed out of outside forces pursuing different ends can curb true evil.
  • Humility: Towards nature and the unknown that is. Not humility in a social or interpersonal sense.
  • As you learn more, you should have less need for moral opinions.
  • an idea is Slightly Evil only if it is, in principle, equally valuable to both good and evil people. Anything that works better only if you are good, is naturally suspect in my mind.
  • in life you eventually have to decide whether to be somebody, or do something.
  • The straight path in your head turns into spaghetti in the real world.
  • If you are driven by your own principles, you’ll generally search desperately for a calling, and when you find one, it will consume your life. You’ll be driven to actually produce, create or destroy. You’ll want to do something that brings the world more into conformity with your own principles.
  • All progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
  • Your mission is to tackle head-on, the truths that they work hard to avoid.
  • Optimism and pessimism are attitudes about possibilities when there is no empirical basis for assuming anything.
  • Naive realists are people who are avoiding taking a position about possibilities altogether.
  • It is the desire to act in realistic ways to be effective. Naive pragmatists abhor empty gestures and obviously futile endeavors.
  • When “making an effort” has its own social-signalling value, naive pragmatists miss out. An example of this is a politician making a brave and futile attempt to solve some impossibly wicked problem,
  • Naive pragmatism is for bureaucrats, not effective politicians.
  • Naive pragmatists are people who choose to act only when there is a realistic chance of being effective. This often makes them the most unrealistic people around, since they forgo all the fascinating possibilities of symbolic creative failure
  • We evaluated Obama as a politician when he was a bureaucrat, and now that he has turned into a politician, we are evaluating him as a bureaucrat.
  • Time lags are strange things.
  • Whether or not the realize it, they put people they disagree with on the sidelines in cultural concentration camps where their voices are drowned out by positive cheerleading.
  • Voices of dissent do not harmonize as well.
  • self-declared progressives who instinctively understand the dynamics of self-fulfilling prophecies.
  • doubletalk is at least better than doublethink.
  • Slightly Evil drives towards action whether or not the consequences are clearly good or evil upfront, and starts with the assumption that simply acting for the sake of acting (otherwise known as creative destruction), and choosing churn over stability, is central to life.
  • the best I’ve been able to do to justify Slightly Evil is to label it as “double-talking chaos-creation.”
  • Why am I at ease with conversational jiu jitsu,      organizational politicking and sociopathic philosophical attitudes, but reluctant to embrace things in this bucket of practices that I’ll call “subconscious brain hacking” of other humans? Is it just a kind of moral squeamishness? Hypocrisy? Some misplaced sense of honor and fair play? Rationalization of lack of actual skill in these skill-intensive domains?
  • Moral hazard is a hazard because you can be tempted into rationalizing things that benefit you when you take on the burden of representing the interests of others.
  • “a company that starts down the road to evil in even a small way will end up totally evil.”
  • If you get too used to fighting below your weight class, your muscles will shrivel to match.
  • if I had to draw a boundary around Be Slightly Evil I’d have to say this: it stops being “slightly” evil when you start impoverishing your non-adversarial relationships in any way, particularly the one with yourself.
  • “keep your customers fully human.”
  • A quote I recently encountered, attributed to Victor Papanek, captures this philosophy of persuasion very well: “in persuading people to buy things they don’t need, with money they don’t have, in order to impress others who don’t care, commercial design is probably the phoniest field in existence today.”
  • While a little compassion might help us climb the social ladder, once we’re at the top we end up morphing into a very different kind of beast.
  • There are many such “authority-earning” skills, but one of the most important is the ability to see reality as it really is, in minimally-deluded ways.
  • from A. G. Lafley: “A CEO’s job is to interpret external realities for a company.”
  • Reality is usually somewhere between neutral and slightly unpleasant, so most of the time, the “interpret external reality” job is a delicate balancing act on the leader’s part: you need to keep your people connected enough to reality to be effective, but not so connected that they are demotivated and demoralized.
  • startup founder teams of two are better than solo entrepreneurs. Two people who can be brutally honest with each other, knowing that the other can take it, is a very powerful combination.

Blinkracy: A Step-by-Step Guide to Make Any Company Management-Free and 100% Results-Oriented

  • office politics. Yes, there’s a personal level in the inner workings of every organization, and in a command and control system, it can derail the entire purpose of the company.
  • eliminate all hierarchies and job titles in organizations, and replace them with a formal structure that is fully focused on getting the job done.
  • Holacracy does not eliminate hierarchies and then replace them with loose, disorganized anarchy. Rather, it introduces a strict and comprehensive set of rules that enable everybody, regardless of seniority, to make quick, smart decisions that are in line with the organization’s goals.
  • In Holacracy, such titles lose their meaning. What matter instead are roles.
  • the first step is to lay out all the actions that need to be taken for the company to succeed. These are described as accountabilities.
  • Roles are then created by creating clusters of these accountabilities.
  • When all the roles are summed up, no accountabilities should be left over. In other words, someone is accountable for every single action needed for the company to be successful.
  • the very process of defining roles makes the expectations and responsibilities of each role crystal-clear.
  • In a Holacracy, one person could well take on both the role “B2B sales” as well as “Payroll,”  if that person has the skills and resources to do so. Traditional organizations on the other hand would need two separate people for this.
  • roles allow people to discuss issues dispassionately by creating distance between the individual and her work.
  • if the company starts a new initiative to e.g. revise its branding, a new circle can be set up and the relevant roles invited to participate, all in the space of a day.
  • with circles, this is seen as something natural and impersonal, so no-one frets about it.
  • There is only one permanent, unchanging circle: the lead circle, which is responsible for the firm’s overall vision and strategy.
  • these meeting are known as tacticals for a reason: they are purely focused on how to get work done, not on what exactly to do.
  • tacticals. In issue-specific meetings, the goal is simply to resolve the issue in question with the minimum number of participants possible.
  • In governance meetings, circles review and revise their purpose, as well as the roles and accountabilities needed to attain that purpose.
  • Governance meetings are also the right place to bring up tensions. What does this mean? Say someone has encountered a problem that is keeping them from fulfilling their accountabilities. That’s a tension. Or say someone spots an opportunity for the circle to better pursue its purpose. That’s also a tension.
  • work is divided into recurring tasks and projects.
  • tasks are consolidated into a checklist, which is run through at the beginning of each tactical to ensure they are all taken care of.
  • Each project is defined by a specific desired outcome, and when it is achieved, the project is finished.
  • Actions that need to be done but won’t be pursued during the current week are added to a backlog, from which they will be elevated into next actions at some later stage.
  • in Holacracy, no-one needs to tell the circles what to do, since they just keep doing what they would usually:   1  Ensure recurring actions are all checked off.   2  Execute and create next actions for projects.   3  Define and launch new projects as needed.
  • it’s crucial that before you do anything, your executive team agrees on the company’s strategy for at least the next quarter.
  • use an online tool that’s always accessible to everyone.
  • choose two key people for the meeting: the Facilitator and the Secretary. The Facilitator is basically the chairperson of the meeting, bringing up points to be discussed and ensuring the conversation does not veer off topic.
  • The Secretary on the other hand is decided on an ad hoc basis for each meeting, and their task is to take notes on the meeting and share them with the rest of the group afterwards.
  • list all the accountabilities in the circle, meaning the concrete actions that need to take place for that purpose to be achieved. It’s important to arrive at a comprehensive list,
  • accountabilities need to be clustered together into roles.
  • The tasks necessary to complete a project are listed and marked either as next actions, meaning they will be completed during the next week or as backlog, meaning they need to be completed at some stage, but can’t be tackled quite yet.
  • To further help you track the circle’s recurring actions, you should also define and track certain key metrics which are reviewed at the start of each weekly meeting.
  • set up two bucket lists for items to be discussed in governance and tactical meetings. At any time during the week, everyone in the circle can add items to these lists, and at the end of the meeting every item will be discussed.
  • dilute any change resistance,
  • General Rules

Buddha Standard Time: Awakening to the Infinite Possibilities of Now

  • The thinner we spread ourselves, the more we skitter over the surface of our lives, never going deep.
  • awareness is the primary currency of the human condition.
  • It costs us dearly to live only on the linear axis of time. We lose connection with our deeper and most authentic selves, too often mistaking mere movement for purpose and meaning.
  • A simple definition of enlightenment is the deep flash of awakening to the knowledge that we are much more than our time- and space-bound, material selves living in a material world.
  • shicha, the Eternal Now.
  • being only in the present moment, only with what is, instead of what we regret, fear, or anticipate, our sense of limits in time will no longer have negative power over our lives.
  • We can look forward or back without fretting or obsessing, or allowing concerns about the future to constrict freedom in the present.
  • We can learn to do things sensibly and sequentially when we’re under pressure, turning off the harried mental chatter that makes us feel we must do several things at once.
  • synchronize linear Father Time and cyclical Mother Nature (manifested, for example, in left-brain and right-brain thinking, respectively);
  • The world has been shrinking and spinning faster and faster ever since, as everyone works harder to produce more in less time.
  • It’s not time that we lack in our rushed lives, but focus.
  • In Tibetan Buddhism we call the intrinsic magic of reality drala—this beyondness that is available through each moment.
  • Bringing focused attention to your breath in the ever-present moment is the most basic of all meditation practices and the first step to entering Natural Time.
  • We all play many roles in life: sibling, parent, child, spouse, neighbor, friend, citizen. But we are more than the sum of these parts. Our real self is none of these things. Our real self, our higher Self, transcends all evanescent roles, identities, and personas.
  • he was never tired because internally he was always at rest.
  • Gandhi is a perfect example of a person who has skillfully mastered both the small self’s and the higher Self’s experience of time. He managed a daily schedule effectively.
  • he devoted himself to healing the conflicted times in which he lived.
  • Wish Others Well, and feel your anger melt into kindness. You’ll find that it dramatically eases your own life, and you’ll be surprised at how it improves your interactions with others.
  • It’s not time that we lack, but focus.
  • his deepest Self would be manifested in a life of compassion and serving others.
  • We are in sync—left with a synthesis of linear and cyclical thought, a balance of contraction and expansion, logic and intuition, which is the perfect harmony of yang and yin. We become illumined.
  • Gradual progress comes from linear, regular, repetitive practice of any skill,
  • Insight more commonly comes all at once, replicating the gestalt or intuitive learning style of the right side of the brain. Both are needed.
  • How extraordinary to go small and end up in infinity.
  • making peace with time in our busy lives
  • turn our stumbling blocks into stepping-stones on the path of conscious growth and inner development.
  • She had released her anxiety and centered herself in the moment, entering into Buddha Standard Time.
  • It’s not important to label our abilities. What’s important is to learn to develop and use them in every moment to most skillfully deal with life, to live well and joyously, and to serve and help others.
  • the less resistance we encounter, the more velocity we generate. With reduced conflict we reach our destination sooner and have a smoother ride. This is an important lesson to apply to our interactions with others and with time.
  • our understanding and patience. As Plato said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
  • Getting angry is in many cases a waste of time and energy.
  • The mindful person is aware of his or her own emotional energy and can skillfully direct it for the good of all. Use your energy sagely; you will be rewarded, both now and later.
  • It is the positive energy and attention behind the smile that makes it so potent, and such a gift.
  • the brain can literally focus on only one thing at a time. Therefore, fragmentation in focus is counterproductive, and it dissipates energy.
  • Focus fully and prioritize skillfully; it makes a remarkable difference in what you can achieve.
  • Balancing both sides is the essence of the Middle Way.
  • May all realize it and actualize it.
  • “The attitude is not to withdraw from the world when you realize how horrible it is, but to realize that this horror is simply the foreground of a wonder and to come back and participate in it.”
  • “I see no more than you, but I have trained myself to notice what I see.”
  • From Sherlock Holmes, we learn not only to be careful observers but also to cultivate mindfulness in motion, or what Buddhists call meditation in action.
  • When our minds are still and observant, we may even begin to feel that we can read people’s thoughts, since this becomes the only movement in the field of consciousness.
  • What all these approaches enjoy in common is concentrative awareness.
  • Practicing concentrative meditation collects our scattered mental energies, taming our unruly minds and helping us focus and pay attention.
  • concentrative meditation focuses our attention on a single point, presencing is meditation in action. It teaches us not just to live in the moment, but to intentionally, consciously, become the moment. If the moment is about listening, we become the essence of listening—not “a listener,” but simply hearing and listening. If the moment is about engaging with someone else, we become the essence of engagement, without separation and beyond selfhood. If it’s about running, we become pure motion. If it’s about throwing a ball, we become the ball.
  • turned from vegetating to meditating.
  • If we can reflect upon this continuous flow of impermanence in our lives, we can loosen the tight grip that our ideas and fixations have upon us and flow more easily with the dreamlike, somewhat insubstantial, yet miraculous nature of how things actually are.
  • Everything is transitory, and neither state will last.
  • walkway—every stroke of work accomplished in awareness and in the spirit of joyful service is building a better world. This is our real work.
  • befriend yourself and all of experience with your open heart and clear mind. He who befriends himself is befriended by the whole world. When you become clear, everything becomes clearer.
  • Here’s the secret of meditation in action: simply doing what you’re doing while letting everything else go, come and go, and really—bottom line—just be.
  • “If you want to get something done,” he advised counterintuitively in Poor Richard’s Almanac, “ask a busy man to help.”
  • No matter how long we’ve been procrastinating, our hormones and enthusiasm now drive us to become lost in our work.
  • Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls this “Flow”—the state of being when we seem to accomplish everything without effort and we know instinctively what needs to be done to reach our goals. In business and sports, it’s called “peak performance,” “personal best,” or being “in the zone.”
  • groundedness is the essence of what we call presence, and you can develop it, too. An individual with presence controls his or her destiny, always, even unto death.
  • throughout the day I commit myself to responding fully to whatever needs to be done, giving 100 percent of my attention and energy as best I can, while also not doing more than is needed or wanted.
  • The key is complete focus and commitment to wherever your mind and heart rest.
  • Cultivating mindful awareness of our thoughts, feelings, and deeds, and accepting the law of karma—a balanced action and reaction—are ways to stay clear and maintain a high level of attention.
  • Nothing has changed about his route or the monotony of delivering packages, but with his new interest, his day has been reframed and transformed. His time has become his own.
  • greed, hatred, delusion, pride, and jealousy. Buddha himself diagnosed these as “the five basic poisons” that destroy our harmony, peace, integrity, and well-being. The leakages or disturbances in our energy fields
  • In doctors’ and dentists’ offices, the old standby of leafing through National Geographic and People is giving way to more dynamic pastimes such as gazing at large full-color anatomy charts and other visual or audio devices that allow patients to educate themselves about the human body.
  • Master the lost art of waiting, and you will make friends with time
  • Noise is a way to cover up self-consciousness.
  • Our nervous systems naturally attune to those who are close to us; this capacity for empathy and nonverbal connection is known as limbic resonance.
  • After seven days, you have finally entrained to the gentle pace of life on the beach. You’re sleeping nine or ten hours a night without any medicinal help, and your pace has slowed down drastically. Your preoccupations and work worries are for the most part gone and forgotten. Why isn’t life like this always? you wonder. It could be! What if I lived here? Would it be possible? You come home refreshed and determined to take care of yourself. Your serene resolution lasts until
  • the sacred pause. It’s a way of saying, “I am.” It is a way of saying, “Stop.” It is a way of saying, “No,” while saying, “Yes,” to yourself. It’s the first step in avoiding becoming a part of the herd and conforming to the frenetic short-term solutions, harmful ideologies and practices, and other social pressures around us.
  • The science of biofeedback is based precisely on the fact that people can use their minds to direct attention to specific areas of the body in order to lower blood pressure, slow heart rate, and decrease pain.
  • This, what is, right now—not necessarily our particular doctrine or tradition, but the truth shining in this moment. Everything is sublime, as it is, in this very instant.
  • Remember the discussion of drala in chapter 1? Even though we persist in a habitual (di)vision of our world into two—the sacred and the profane—it’s all really one perfect and complete world. When we can see it in the light of radiant awareness, we can transform it through the magical powers of awakened mind.
  • transforming ourselves and the world in which we live, maintaining the energy and vitality we need to realize our goals on our life’s journey, and awakening to a larger, timeless reality—a new vision of ourselves that accounts for our purpose in being here together in our interconnected world.
  • We usually don’t realize how much effort we put into avoidance and procrastination—effort that can be redirected toward achieving the very things we are putting off.
  • we need more than the kind of meaningful pauses and breaks that Melody learned to take; we need to access sacred time and sacred space. When we align our smaller, even cellular, self with nature’s larger, outer macrocosm, we regain the feeling of truly being one with the Tao, or cosmic flow. Our small self returns to its true pace within the greater context of our higher Self.
  • All strata of society could start over, fresh and renewed, unburdened by the sins, injustices, or weight of the past.
  • Our good karma is vastly increased if we raise our gaze and open our hearts to include others in our prayers and aspirations.
  • taking a break is not avoiding your life and responsibilities, but a skillful way to renew your focus and energy.
  • Music can transport us into the timeless, where we as observers merge and become one with the observed.
  • “‘The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having fresh eyes.’
  • “We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise we harden.”
  • I thought to myself, “Time is flowing in and through me, and I don’t have to try mightily to get into the current. I don’t need to get caught in a web of disturbing thoughts about its limitations on my life. It flows through me always, regardless of my activities, plans, or subjective interpretations and personal mythmaking. All this is as part of me as I’m a part of it. It is all in my mind.
  • Remember: the guiding principle is to start wherever you are, with awareness and patience, and then to seek understanding.
  • BREATHE IN AND OUT. Feel the pain, come to know it through examination and equanimity, and then release it. Remember: awareness is the key. Stay attentive, conscious, and intentionally awake—no sleepwalking through the difficult aspects of life.
  • Suffering is the greatest precipitate for spiritual change, inner growth, and transformation, and everyone experiences it at one time or another.
  • Taoist sages, Zen masters, and many ordinary people appear untouched by suffering. But in most cases, this comes only after living through a dark night of the soul and coming to terms with life’s fleeting beauty, unbearable pain, and
  • True realized masters are not beyond suffering and dissatisfaction but are one with it.
  • Perspective, the student seeks to enter that gap between thoughts, to experience that pregnant stillness called sunyata. Buddhism calls this gap the “radiant womb of emptiness,” a vital space in which dwell an infinite number of choices and possibilities, the alpha and omega of all experience and being.
  • Keeping a “beginner’s,” “original,” or innocent “don’t know” mind means cutting off wasteful thinking and simply centering in what is happening in the now, the only occurrence that has any truth or reality, without adding conceptual scaffolding.
  • The way to move forward through any bardo, big or small, is to set your sights on a dream or goal while maintaining that “don’t know” mind.
  • “not doing” is a form of doing and has its own ineluctable results.
  • you can set a life goal and begin to move toward it but still remain open to the possibility that something entirely different may unfold.
  • KuSan Sunnim (Nine Mountains), used to ask us to contemplate this koan, or Zen riddle: What is this? And what is this? And this? All too often our minds become fixated, and we forget that life is fluid, in the constant process of cocreation.
  • In Buddhism, reincarnation is the eternal process of coming into being and evolving (though occasionally backsliding) while trying over and over to complete our lessons here, in the classroom of our lives. Each lifetime is an opportunity to “clean house,” as it were, and to make better choices, thus enhancing and maturing our spiritual consciousness.
  • An action when repeated can become a pattern, then an ingrained habit, and defines character, karma, and destiny.
  • One Peaceful World: Creating a Healthy and Harmonious Mind, Home, and World Community, educator Michio Kushi envisions history as a giant spiral or chambered nautilus.
  • There is the potential for the beginning of a new cycle of peace and harmony that could lead to our cocreation of an enlightened planet and endure for thousands of years.
  • The possibility of contributing to this awakening is inherent in every moment.
  • harmonizing all the polarities in life—is the essence of realizing our full potential as human beings. And by balancing or healing ourselves, we can help heal the world.
  • artificial electromagnetic radiation from satellites, cell phones, computers, televisions, and other military and civilian electronic devices and communications networks is overshadowing the earth’s steady pulse of 7.83 hertz.
  • Let us find peace and make peace, become peace—for the benefit of one and all.
  • the Kalachakra might seem like an interesting cultural artifact. But it can remind us to sweep up the best grains of our lives, marshal our best intentions, and, through the supreme power of enlightened mind, send them as seeds of healing energy out into the world and the future.
  • We can choose to become the mindful planetary stewards and wise children and sage elders we wish to see in this world, for the benefit of present and future generations.
  • When asked by a visiting student to describe Buddhism in two words, Suzuki Roshi famously said, “Everything changes.”
  • As the Dalai Lama recently said, “Help develop world peace through cultivating inner peace along with altruistic social engagement and compassionate action. Take responsibility now for a better and safer world.”
  • The time is right for positive, intentional change, and every moment presents a point of choice. If not you, who? And if not now, when?
  • I myself tend to favor the more nondualistic approach of the Middle Way. It balances contentment where you are with Right Effort, and radical acceptance with a compassionate commitment to spiritual transformation on both the individual and the collective level. I call this “being there while getting there, every single step of the way.”
  • When you make peace with time, and are not hurried and harried, you will find that room mysteriously opens up for new possibilities.
  • Meher Baba, a renowned South Indian saint of the last century, often used to say (on a chalkboard, since he kept silent for decades), “A mind that is too fast and jumpy is sick. A slow and steady and stable mind is sound. A mind that is still is divine.”

Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers

  • We’ve also worked hard to create a beautiful book to enhance the pleasure of your “consumption.” We hope you enjoy using it as much as we’ve enjoyed creating it.
  • Visit the Business Model Hub at www.BusinessModelGeneration.com/hub.
  • business model innovation is about creating value, for companies, customers, and society.
  • How can we turn visionary ideas into game-changing business models that challenge the establishment—or rejuvenate it if we ourselves are the incumbents?
  • inspire and assist clients with new business models, from ideation to implementation.
  • promotes technological empowerment through innovative businesses as a path to economic and social development.
  • A business model describes the rationale of how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value
  • We need to start from the same point and talk about the same thing.
  • Without such a shared language it is difficult to systematically challenge assumptions about one’s business model and innovate successfully.
  • The business model is like a blueprint for a strategy to be implemented through organizational structures, processes, and systems.
  • Customers comprise the heart of any business model. Without (profitable) customers, no company can survive for long.
  • An organization must make a conscious decision about which segments to serve and which segments to ignore.
  • Micro Precision Systems, which specializes in providing outsourced micromechanical design and manufacturing solutions. It serves three different Customer Segments—the watch industry, the medical industry, and the industrial automation sector—and offers each slightly different Value Propositions.
  • The Value Proposition is the reason why customers turn to one company over another. It solves a customer problem or satisfies a customer need.
  • Values may be quantitative (e.g. price, speed of service) or qualitative (e.g. design, customer experience).
  • Communication, distribution, and sales Channels comprise a company’s interface with customers.
  • The trick is to find the right balance between the different types of Channels, to integrate them in a way to create a great customer experience, and to maximize revenues.
  • A company should clarify the type of relationship it wants to establish with each Customer Segment. Relationships can range from personal to automated.
  • Increasingly, companies are utilizing user communities to become more involved with customers/prospects and to facilitate connections between community members.
  • For what value is each Customer Segment truly willing to pay?
  • Each Revenue Stream may have different pricing mechanisms, such as fixed list prices, bargaining, auctioning, market dependent, volume dependent, or yield management.
  • Every enterprise requires human resources, but people are particularly prominent in certain business models. For example, human resources are crucial in knowledge-intensive and creative industries.
  • Every business model calls for a number of Key Activities. These are the most important actions a company must take to operate successfully.
  • partnerships are becoming a cornerstone of many business models. Companies create alliances to optimize their business models, reduce risk, or acquire resources.
  • Joint ventures to develop new businesses
  • Creating and delivering value, maintaining Customer Relationships, and generating revenue all incur costs.

The Civic Potential of Video Games (The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Reports on Digital Media and Learning)

  • Amanda Lenhart
  • www.civicsurvey.org.
  • video games and other forms of digital media can foster "participatory cultures" with "relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement."'
  • when it comes to the effects of video games, it often depends. Context and content matter.
  • we must not take for granted the formation of the habits and virtues required for democracy.
  • Benjamin Barber calls, "small d democrats"-citizens who participate at multiple levels both individually and collectively.12
  • the American Political Science Association recently found that "citizens participate in public affairs less frequently, with less knowledge, and enthusiasm, in fewer venues, and less equitably than is healthy for a vibrant democratic polity."15
  • Simulations of civic and political action, consideration of controversial issues, and participation in groups where members share interests are effective ways, research finds, for schools to encourage civic participation."
  • SimCity,
  • The step from watching television news and acting politically seems greater than the transition from being a political actor in a game world to acting politically in the real world.20
  • Players are learning to create new dispositions within networked worlds and environments which are well suited to effective communication, problem solving, and social interaction.21
  • research is needed in order to test claims
  • To the extent that youth have the opportunity to practice articulating their own point of view, debate issues, and help others in their own communities, they are likely to develop confidence in their ability to do so in the larger civic and political arenas.
  • political activity is largely a group activity.
  • In social studies, they find significant improvement in students' appreciation for how history relates to their own lives and the ability to adopt multiple perspectives in decision making on international issues.36
  • We used statistical methods (multivariate linear and logistic regression) to assess relationships between student background variables and civic gaming experiences, as well as the relationship between quantity and civic quality of gaming and the eight forms of civic engagement noted above.
  • Teens who have civic gaming experiences, such as helping or guiding other players, organizing or managing guilds, playing games that simulate government processes, or playing games that deal with social or moral issues, report much higher levels of civic and political engagement than teens who do not have these kinds of experiences.49
  • Youth who socially interact around the game (commenting on Web sites, contributing to discussion boards) are more engaged civically and politically.
  • an important observation of new media scholars-that some of the social interactions around certain video games can provide civic gaming experiences.
  • Civic life requires interactions related to legitimate public con- cerns.63
  • if interactions are largely about private matters-how to win the game, for example-we would expect them to provide less support for civic life than if the interactions also included broad discussion of current events. Many other factors may matter as well-for example, whether members of online communities also meet face to face to socialize and potentially discuss civic issues; whether participation in an online community is fleeting or long term; whether members of an online community are anonymous; whether norms of civility are modeled and enforced in an online community.
  • Common Sense Media
  • we find the quantity of video game play is largely unrelated to civic outcomes, while some qualities of game play are strongly related to civic outcomes.
  • Democracy is a multidimensional political simulation in which players respond to varied constituencies, shape policies, and interpret data on approval ratings in an effort to win reelection.
  • schools and after-school organizations could play in helping youth develop what he calls "new media literacies." These can support reflection and help youth fully engage in gaming opportunities and problem solve when they run into challenges.72 Recognizing a related need, teachers implementing Quest Atlantis are active participants who guide students through their quest.
  • create more video games with explicit civic and political content.
  • there is reason to believe that simulations can be designed to foster desired civic outcomes.
  • These capacities, commitments, and connections are the building blocks of a civic identity."
  • in addition to levels of engagement, democratic societies must be concerned with the knowledge, analysis, and goals that inform those actions.
  • Chad Raphael, Christine Bachen, and colleagues, for example, have put forward a framework that generates hypotheses about how design features (such as the way ethical judgments are incorporated into games) can influence the development of democratic values.84

Dataclysm: Love, Sex, Race, and Identity--What Our Online Lives Tell Us about Our Offline Selves

  • like anyone with more ideas than audience, I started a blog to share them with the world.
  • All we have to do is look: from just a very slight remove, the data reveals how people behave when they think no one is watching. Here I will show you what I’ve seen. Also, fuck body spray.
  • The idea is to move our understanding of ourselves away from narratives and toward numbers, or, rather, to think in such a way that numbers are the narrative.
  • Looking at people like this is like looking at Earth from space; you lose the detail, but you get to see something familiar in a totally new way.
  • You’re a professor or postdoc who wants to push forward, so you take what’s called a “convenience sample”—and that means the students at your university. But it’s a big problem, especially when you’re researching belief and behavior. It even has a name. It’s called WEIRD research: white, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic. And most published social research papers are WEIRD.
  • a built-in social pressure keeps many of the Internet’s worst fabulist impulses in check.
  • The people using these services, dating sites, social sites, and news aggregators alike, are all fumbling their way through life, as people always have.
  • big noises have been the sound of mankind so far.
  • As the Internet has democratized journalism, photography, pornography, charity, comedy, and so many other courses of personal endeavor, it will, I hope, eventually democratize our fundamental narrative.
  • With data, history can become deeper. It can become more.
  • Unlike clay tablets, unlike papyrus, unlike paper, newsprint, celluloid, or photo stock, disk space is cheap and nearly inexhaustible. On a hard drive, there’s room for more than just the heroes.
  • Not being a hero myself, in fact, being someone who would most of all just like to spend time with his friends and family and live life in small ways, this means something to me.
  • What’s being collected today is so deep it verges on bottomless; it’s easily forty days and forty nights of downpour to that old handful of rain.
  • behaviors and perceptions are based on the environments and contexts in which we grew up.”
  • nothing makes the arc of time more clear than the creases in the back of your hand as it teaches plump little fingers to count: one, two, tee.
  • As usual, the good stuff lies in the distance between thought and action,
  • a straight woman is over the hill as soon as she’s old enough to drink.
  • males’ expectations never grow up.
  • This, in my opinion, is what distinguishes a true data visualization from, say, a plain graph or an impressionistic work of art that happens to include numbers. In a visualization, the physical space itself communicates relationships.
  • a flaw is a powerful thing.
  • at the person-to-person level, to be universally liked is to be relatively ignored. To be disliked by some is to be loved all the more by others.
  • To put together puzzles, you have to lay out all the pieces and then just start trying things.
  • Each row still averages out to that same central “3,” but they express that average in different ways.
  • These patterns exemplify a mathematical concept called variance. It’s a measure of how widely data is scattered around a central value.
  • turns out that variance has almost as much to do with the sexual attention a woman gets as her overall attractiveness.
  • I’ve been talking about messages as if they’re an end unto themselves, but on a dating site, messages are the precursor to outcomes like in-depth conversations, the exchange of contact information, and eventually in-person meetings.
  • Social psychologists call it the “pratfall effect”—as long as you’re generally competent, making a small, occasional mistake makes people think you’re more competent.
  • Flaws call out the good stuff all the more.
  • everyone on Earth has some kind of flaw, the real moral here is: be yourself and be brave about it.
  • Nostalgia used to be called mal du Suisse—the Swiss sickness.
  • it’s a writer’s world. Your life online is mediated through words. You work, you socialize, you flirt, all by typing. I honestly feel there’s a certain epistolary, Austenian grandness to the whole enterprise. No matter what words we use or how we tap out the letters, we’re writing to one another more than ever. Even if sometimes dam gerl is all we have to say.
  • We are at the cusp of momentous change in the study of human communication and what it tries to foster: community and personal connection.
  • There will be more words written on Twitter in the next two years than contained in all books ever printed.
  • Twitter actually may be improving its users’ writing, as it forces them to wring meaning from fewer letters—it embodies William Strunk’s famous dictum, Omit needless words, at the keystroke level.
  • a person’s style doesn’t change from medium to medium; there is no “dumbing down.” You write how you write, wherever you write.
  • Twitter has wrought on language itself is nothing compared with the change it is bringing to the study of language.
  • Google Books is working to repair our historical blind spot: in collaboration with libraries around the world, they have digitized 30 million unique books, great and small, and, true to their expertise, they have made the whole searchable. This body of data has created a new field of quantitative cultural studies called culturomics;
  • Asking a person what “ten years” means is like asking him or her to describe a color—you get impressionism where you’re looking for facts.
  • Below are messages between 150 and 300 characters, plotted against how long they took to write. As you can see, taking your time helps, up to a point. But the downward bend of the trend lines is a wingman in numbers, saying don’t overthink it!
  • message A, in the upper-right corner, was typed more or less in a headlong rush, with almost no revision. Going back to the logs, I found it took the sender 73 minutes and 41 seconds to hammer out those 5,979 characters of hello—his final message was about as long as four pages in this book. He did not get a reply. Neither did the gentleman sender of B, who wins the Raymond Carver award for labor-intensive brevity. He took 387 keystrokes to get to “Hey.”
  • it’s many times more efficient to just send everyone roughly the same thing than to compose a new message each time.
  • Templates work.
  • clipboard—variety is the preservation of an art, not a threat to it.
  • network theory’s application to these last have exploded—because the networks themselves have exploded.
  • it’s the people you don’t know very well in your life who help ideas, especially new ones, spread.
  • Another long-held idea in network theory is “embeddedness.” One of its expressions is the amount of overlap in a pair of social graphs—Reshma’s
  • It turns out your lives should not just be intertwined but intertwined in a specific way. And, rare among network analysis metrics, who doesn’t know who is the important quantity.
  • In other words, the curiosity, discovery, and (visual) stimulation of falling for someone is eventually replaced by the graph-theory equivalent of nesting.
  • Most aspects of life haven’t been as obsessively quantified as football. That is changing rapidly.
  • Psychologists have a name for the interior patterns of belief that help a person organize information as he encounters it: schema.
  • beauty operates on a Richter scale.
  • Male HR reps weigh the female applicants’ beauty as they would in a romantic setting—which is either depressing or very, very exciting, depending on whether you’re a lawyer
  • On a neurological level, the brain registers that ping of sexual attraction—Ooh, she’s hot—and everything else seems to be splash damage.
  • we can go from “What Is Beautiful Is Good” to asking “How Good?” and in what contexts.
  • social media signals Judgment Day.
  • If people care about what you are doing, they will find out what you look like. Not because they should, but because they can—
  • Data is about how we’re really feeling—feeling about one another, yes, but also about ourselves. If it finds divides in our culture, our politics, our habits, our tribes, it finds divides within us, too. And that’s a hopeful thought, because for anything to be made whole, the first step is to know what’s missing.
  • Observed behavioral data is very useful, as we’ve already seen. But there are some things—thoughts, beliefs—that don’t entail an explicit action.
  • It’s a social scientist’s curse—what you most want to get at is exactly what your subjects are most eager to hide. This tendency is called social desirability bias, and it’s well documented: the world over, respondents answer questions in ways that make them look good.
  • The mere act of asking elicits self-censoring.
  • What a person searches for often gives you the person himself.
  • Google Flu senses what’s afoot and alerts the CDC. The site also records other kinds of virulence.
  • You hear a lot about our “national conversation” on race; when you look at the data, you see it’s really more a series of national convulsions.
  • And, like they did in the aftermath of the 2008 election, searches hit a new low right after the acquittal, again showing the cycle of clench and catharsis that passes for race relations in the United States.
  • The paper suggests that autocomplete will eventually perpetuate the stereotypes it should only reflect, and it’s easy to see how: a user types an unrelated question, only to have other people’s prejudices jump in the way. For example, “Why do gay … couples look alike?” was not a stereotype I was aware of until just now. It’s the site acting not as Big Brother but as Older Brother, giving you mental cigarettes.
  • One thing that gets lost in all the aggregation throughout this book is that on an individual level, the personal effects of these broad social forces are often very subtle.
  • That’s why data like this is necessary—it ends arguments that anecdotes could never win. It provides facts that need facing.
  • what if we had the data we have now? How much richer would our understanding be?
  • For my racial search analysis, I’m relying on a method originated by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, a data scientist and economist at Google.
  • The stoning metaphor comes up again and again when you read the commentary on episodes like these. It’s no coincidence that it’s the death penalty of choice for the ancient religions: there is no single executioner; the community carries out the punishment. No one can say who struck the fatal blow, because everyone did together.
  • There is strength in collective guilt, and guilt is diffused in the sharing.
  • Extirpate the Other and make yourselves whole again.
  • It’s worth pointing out that this fantastic volume should be an embarrassment to social media—evidence not just of its power but of how hollow that power can be.
  • To destroy the one for the many is possibly a practice as old as life itself.
  • Social scientists have devoted considerable energy to the question of why and how negative ideas spread, and the Internet has given them both limitless source material and a powerful tracking mechanism.
  • “Judge not lest you be judged” is one of the most famous phrases in the whole Bible.
  • Evolutionary biologists believe that gossip and rumors arose from our ancestors’ need to understand their surroundings through speech. The theory is, when ancient man had to figure out if x was true, language gave him a way to investigate. So he talked about it. And, true or false, word spread.
  • Stories create status for those who share them, especially when they concern important individuals, because information about powerful people is a form of power itself.
  • Writing in the Boston Globe, Jesse Singal was discussing the motivations of traditional person-to-person gossip but might’ve easily been talking about Twitter when he said, “To the extent people do have an agenda in spreading rumors it’s directed more at the people they’re spreading them to, rather than at the subject of the rumor.” The Internet gives people a wider audience than ever before.
  • So much of what makes the Internet useful for communication—asynchrony, anonymity, escapism, a lack of central authority—also makes it frightening.
  • Penny Arcade puts it a little better: Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory
  • we seem to define ourselves as much by what we hate as by what we love.
  • Sometimes, it takes a blind algorithm to really see the data.
  • please notice that the “least Asian” things are all misspellings, working-class occupations, and other underachievements,
  • the heavens are an ancient reference point for science.
  • Einstein wasn’t truly Einstein until the sun and moon said so, in a 1919 eclipse that confirmed the theory of General Relativity.
  • eπi + 1 = 0. Here, astoundingly, the five most important values in mathematics form a single equation. It’s called the Euler Identity,
  • nobody really knows how many gay people there are. Past estimates vary wildly, as past estimates are wont to do.1 The Kinsey Report in 1948 was one of the first scientific attempts to get a real number;
  • All but four presidential elections since 1952 would’ve flipped had 5 percent of the electorate changed their minds, so the question of whether a group makes up 1 percent or 5 percent or 10 percent of the country is of primal interest to the political calculus.
  • prejudice unchallenged is prejudice perpetuated.
  • intolerance creates its own cynical logic:
  • when a large portion of a group goes unrecognized, it only makes marginalizing the whole easier.
  • Visibility, on the other hand, creates acceptance.
  • “most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”
  • A piece of paper has two axes, space-time four.
  • String theory predicts that our physical existence requires somewhere between ten and twenty-six dimensions. Our emotional universe surely has that many and more. And in combining these spaces—our interior landscape with our external world—we can portray existence with a new depth.
  • The boundaries of many communities were created by fiat or accident—or both.
  • The United States and the USSR split Korea on the 38th parallel because that line stood out on a map in an officer’s National Geographic.
  • Many of our own American states were created by royal charter or act of Congress, their borders drawn by people who would never see the land in person.
  • Absentee mapmaking was and still is a much more pernicious problem in Africa, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East—and everywhere else the tread of Empire has stamped the soil.
  • When information—fluid, unbounded, abstract—is your currency, the physical world with its many arbitrary limits is most often a nuisance.
  • when a person is online, he or she is both of the world and removed from it.
  • “Missed Connections”
  • There are as many ways to draw maps as there are sources of data.
  • we can now discover communities that transcend geography, rather than reflect it.
  • where people can’t find satisfaction in person, they create alternative digital communities.
  • Communities move to find an environment that will sustain them and where they are safe, but also to find a physical place that reflects what they feel within.
  • can’t help but wonder, too, does everyone have a book that follows them until they read it? And, if so, what is theirs?
  • a brand built on nothing more than the act of branding itself.
  • Fake it till you make it.
  • OkCupid shows you little counts of your messages, your visitors, your possibilities. We know that those numbers keep our users interested, especially when they go up. Without little bits of excitement, a webpage or an app seems dead and people drift off. The broad term for this is “user engagement,”
  • Data science is trying to make digital sense of an analog world.
  • science as pointillism.
  • the corporate data state,
  • The fundamental question in any discussion of privacy is the trade-off—what you get for losing it.
  • It’s hard to believe in information coming to you on a “need to know basis” from an entity that doesn’t think you need to know anything.
  • We’re told it works, just not when, where, or how.
  • for asynchronous crimes, you need total data to return to,
  • we can know, for sure, that, like Feynman and Einstein before them, what they’re working on is inhumanly powerful.
  • “a stupendous amount of information about our private lives is being stored, analyzed and acted on in advance of a demonstrated valid use for it.”
  • Data journalism was brought to the mainstream by Nate Silver, but it’s become a staple of reporting: we quantify to understand.
  • Constitute—a data-based approach to constitution design.
  • Alex Pentland at MIT calls the emerging science “social physics.”
  • In his Scientific American piece, Lanier proposes that we be compensated for our personal data and let market forces rebalance the privacy/value equation.
  • My hope for myself, and for the others like me, is to make something good and real and human out of the data.

Designing Together: The collaboration and conflict management handbook for creative professionals (Voices That Matter)

  • every person on the project team is ultimately responsible for its success or failure.
  • If a project yields miserable, burnt-out designers, can it really be called great?
  • If a project focuses on a single visionary, a control freak who won’t let other people make meaningful contributions, can it really be called successful?
  • the essence of a great design team: It is one that channels designers’ raw desire for challenge and meaningful contribution into healthy habits that yield great products.
  • There are lots of ways to resolve conflict, and the single litmus test is understanding: Everyone is clear on the direction, the approach, and the desired outcome, and can work collaboratively toward those ends.
  • Collaboration is working together to produce something that one person could not have produced on their own. Successful collaboration means each person doing his or her part to achieve the project goals.
  • embracing their role on the larger project team as one who shapes and fashions, as one who brings a unique perspective, and as one who is uniquely positioned to integrate multiple perspectives. Being a contributor means not relinquishing control, but finding it through the power of collaboration.
  • People like knowing their roles because they explain their purpose on the project. They like knowing what’s carved out for them to own and drive, and where they can contribute. People like knowing whom to go to for other tasks and activities.
  • People derive more professional satisfaction from working on projects that align with their own beliefs.
  • A team is defined by the methods it uses to solve design problems.
  • As self-evident as this principle is, many design teams structure their projects around activities they always do without considering the specific needs of the project.
  • Nothing is more frustrating to a designer than seeing an obvious solution for the design challenge, but finding it’s just out of reach because of some silly business rule or technical issue.
  • Whatever the obstacles or opportunities, teams need to draw from a range of behaviors that allow teams to navigate through them and take advantage of the ever-shifting circumstances of a design project. This means learning the behaviors (Chapters 11 and 12), but also shifting one’s mindset (Chapter 2).
  • I have a theory. I call it the Theory of Professional Reconciliation because, if nothing else, the first chapter of this book reveals that I like naming things.
  • Designers spend at best 50 percent of their time devising and refining their ideas. The remaining 50 percent or more is dedicated to collaborating with other people—managing expectations, defining project schedules, gathering requirements, validating design direction, negotiating design decisions.
  • Practicing designers spend their entire careers trying to reconcile their visions with the reality.
  • Whether working on buildings or books or consumer electronics, the designer has to reconcile this notion that he or she is a contributor to a larger effort.
  • without sincere speech (or email!) and sincere commitment, there is no trust and a whole lot of second-guessing. This wastes time and leads to bad work and bad blood.
  • Effective collaboration requires commitments—requesting, making, and following through on them. A collaborative team is a group of people who can rely on one another and have confidence in each other’s words.
  • One side requests the commitment and asks that something be done. In the design context, this is often a director or project manager, but it could easily be any other member of the team. The other side makes the promise.
  • The enemies of successful commitments are fear and a desire to be liked.
  • Requesters don’t ask for what they need in clear terms because they are afraid of rejection, of getting “no” for an answer. Those who hear the request often agree too quickly or without clarifying because they want to be agreeable, to be liked, or just to be left
  • alone. Each party might walk away from an exchange thinking they understand each other, but in actuality, the agreement is based on assumptions that don’t match.
  • Make the request specific. Include a time frame. Explain why you need a certain thing at a certain time.
  • Sometimes we just blow it. We make a promise we are unable to keep for reasons that may or may not be outside our control. In these situations, it is essential to recognize this is the case, own up, apologize, and renegotiate the promise. This can be very, very hard for some people. Defensiveness and blame shifting do major damage to teams.
  • Every time members of your team make and fulfill promises to each other, that team gets stronger and more collaborative. If this is a real trouble area and you deal with a lot of over-promising and under-delivering,
  • every single request for a commitment has details and a deadline attached.
  • By contrast, the designer as contributor must recognize that project success depends on each person doing his or her part.
  • being effective contributors, which means having self-awareness, playing well with others, and being comfortable with saying no.
  • Effective contributors recognize five attributes about themselves:
  • Being on a team means cultivating an interdependence that allows people to play to their strengths and fill gaps for each other.
  • In negotiation the intent seems to be to “get to yes,” but in being a contributor the goal is to “get to no.” No is far more valuable than yes because it tells project organizers that The contributor has a plate full of other obligations. Priorities must be shifted to accommodate the new request. The project or team may be at risk when stakeholders or organizers request things beyond current capacity.
  • collection of related behaviors, it is necessarily abstract.
  • embrace experimentation and a little flying by the seat of your pants, while at the same time bringing world-class professionalism and planning to their work.
  • When praised for their effort rather than their outcomes, children quickly relish harder and harder challenges.
  • employ a set of principles to structure the process.
  • UX, wireframes, taxonomies, modules, templates, experience design, brand, IA, responsive, adaptive.
  • it absolutely reflects a level of commitment, experience, and knowledge. And like a credential, it places you in a community that you value and that values you.
  • With your agency, in your shop, and on your teams, it provides a shorthand and efficiency. It’s a bridge and a secret handshake—the key to working together.
  • we started working on the project before ever meeting the client. Not days early. But weeks early. Months early. We read their books. We downloaded their white papers and streamed their speeches. We learned their business. But more importantly, we learned their vocabulary.
  • Learning your client’s language does many things:
  • understand not just their communications problems and their design challenges, but also to engage with their business challenges. And that’s when you’ll begin to deliver true value.
  • Respect. Trust. Engagement. Learning. They’re cornerstones of collaboration.
  • by building a common language with your client—a language that borrows terms from the agency and the client, and that allows you to truly partner in designing solutions to critical problems.
  • Highlighting potentially loaded phrases:
  • Repeating the high points of a conversation at the end of the meeting and translating them into an “action item.”
  • “Is there anything I didn’t ask about that you think I should have?”
  • good ideas should be examined, validated, and defended, but speakers should never be put on the defensive.
  • Conflict is the process through which ideas are validated and elaborated.
  • Not every member of the team contributes to every decision. Nor does every member of the team agree with every decision. But to move a project forward, all members of the design team must understand the decision.
  • It is through building a shared understanding around decisions that conflict manifests. That is, team members must understand how a design decision makes a better product and moves the project forward.
  • Questions about Quality and Movement
  • To get aligned on these answers, team members conflict. It’s that conflict that allows them to acknowledge their lack of alignment and to work together
  • On the other hand, teams that take the time to align their understanding on design decisions will ultimately bring projects to conclusion successfully.
  • There are two parts to any design decision: the content of the decision and the method used to make the decision.
  • Designers bristle at arbitrary decisions (like unreasonable constraints in production or bizarre institutionalized business rules) but can generally get behind a decision if it’s clear and they know how it impacts them.
  • Conflict is about two (or more) people trying to understand each other, paving the way for future decisions and ultimately the project conclusion.
  • A design decision that cannot be justified is not one that will move the project closer to its conclusion.
  • Designing together begins with understanding together, and at its heart lies shared intention.
  • The team didn’t clarify the project’s or the design problem’s boundaries, so the designer produced things that were hopelessly unrealistic.
  • Reaching a shared understanding usually means overcoming these obstacles first, and then engaging in meaningful conflict—that is, conflict that produces useful decisions. But these obstacles produce a form of conflict in and of themselves—what I call “unhealthy conflict.
  • Healthy conflict moves projects forward by building momentum or contributing to quality—or, hopefully, both. Unhealthy conflict yields no progress on the project, no better design solution.
  • their messages are important, but the phrasing is purposefully antagonistic. People who have the good of the project in mind (not their own self-interest) will position these messages differently
  • the misalignment and lack of clarity surrounding design decisions that feed healthy conflict are the same as those that feed unhealthy conflict. The difference is how participants choose to react.
  • Anxiety from Not Understanding
  • They’ve shifted focus away from their inadequacy or ignorance, setting it squarely on their opponent’s shoulders.
  • The value of a resolution is determined by the situation and the ultimate outcome.
  • Deferring decisions makes sense when the team recognizes that they need more inputs.
  • Finding some mutually agreeable starting point gives the team the right mindset for seeking out some solution.
  • Design is, when oversimplified, a series of interconnected decisions.
  • A decision comprises two parts: the method used to make the decision and the content of the decision itself.
  • Figure 5.2. A decision lies at the heart of a conflict. The conflict may come from inside the decision, when people disagree about the decision itself. The conflict may come from how people react to the decision, called tensions.
  • In making a design decision, I’ve got the content of the decision itself and the method used to make that decision. The content is what was decided, the method is how it was decided.
  • When conflict deals with the method, the participants are really trying to figure out how to prioritize the criteria for making the decision.
  • Method conflict may be hidden by outcome conflict. That is, the design team may be so preoccupied with the fact that they disagree on the content of the decision that they don’t take a moment to reflect on their individual justifications.
  • design is as much about how we make our decisions as it is about the decisions themselves.
  • decision types are increasingly abstract—less about the product itself and more about the process. They are interdependent, such that decisions made about the purpose have an impact on decisions about the plan, the performance, and the product. The content of one type of decision is frequently the method of the next decision.
  • Figure 5.3. The interconnectedness of the different types of decisions.
  • team members come to an understanding about their expected contributions.
  • Purpose is a catchall term for any external force that bounds or constrains the project.
  • Conflicts about other things may ultimately appeal to the project purpose for resolution. Well-articulated goals and parameters put to rest all other conflicts.
  • Resolving conflict means coming to a shared understanding.
  • Perfectionism has been said to be “the highest form of self-abuse” because whatever you’re creating will never be perfect, as perfection doesn’t truly exist.
  • At its most concrete, members of disconnected teams operate in their own bubble, unaware of others’ activities and outputs. They perceive themselves on independent tracks, all working toward the same goal but not necessarily working together to make it happen.
  • subtler expression of conflict is when team members work together, but don’t have one another’s best interests in mind—they don’t care about each other.
  • Following the thread of a project even if you’re not coming to every meeting Making meaningful contributions that are heard, understood, considered, and discussed
  • The intent of the vocabulary, however, is for designers to estimate the true obstacle producing the conflict.
  • Identifying the obstacle producing the conflict is the first step in addressing the situation, and attempting to turn that conflict into something productive is the next step.
  • Sometimes, solving conflict is the easy part. What’s harder is identifying the real problem:
  • Internal sources of conflict come from the design decisions themselves: Method conflict: The source of conflict has to do with how a decision was reached. Outcome conflict: The source of conflict has to do with the content of the decision. Design decisions yield one of four types of outcomes, and designers may lack a shared understanding of Product: A decision about the design of the product Performance: A decision about what the designer did or how the designer behaved Plan: A decision about the structure of the project Purpose: A decision about the goals of the project or product
  • Disconnectedness: Despite active participation, the person feels like he or she isn’t successfully contributing to the project. Exclusion: The person is not participating in the project. Misdirection: The person is focused on the wrong aspect of the design challenge. Ambiguity: The person cannot express himself or herself clearly.
  • These starting points are not fully fleshed solutions, but neither are they devoid of concrete applications.
  • If two people use a different “language” to talk about the same things they may not achieve a shared understanding.
  • align the language designers use to express themselves.
  • Most traits are described as a scale. Some of the traits (like transparency) are purely positive or negative, so designers either have none, a little, or a lot of that trait. Some traits (like level of abstraction) have two extremes, where neither extreme is especially good or bad.
  • everyone has natural tendencies, they also vary their characteristics in different situations.
  • Some people prefer to show work in its early stages and get lots of feedback. Others want to show a polished product.
  • Knowledge encompasses the kinds of things people put on a resume, but experienced designers understand that for every skill and data point that someone brings to the table, there is nuance and range.
  • At the heart of collaboration is the single belief that working together produces far better design than working alone.
  • Collaboration, therefore, must yield product, not simply ideas.
  • Groupthink is a concept from social psychology capturing the idea that the desire for harmony undermines the desire for quality.
  • Collaboration requires established success criteria to allow participants to validate their ideas.
  • Collaboration must be conducted in a safe space where all participants are allowed to disagree, but where established rules prevent consensus from beating out quality.
  • laying the groundwork for a collaborative culture.
  • If collaboration is “working together,” then it is a philosophy that is embodied and manifested in three things: tools, mindset, and culture.
  • important to question the tools you are using and whether the lack of communication cues available to you or your conversation partner might be contributing to those challenges.
  • Thinkertoys by Michalko.
  • Designers thrive on constructive feedback.
  • The cure here is redundancy.
  • What’s worse, there’s something about the collaborative process that exposes the designer in some way, forcing him or her into a defensive position.
  • Admitting them to colleagues helps you manage the consequences of these fears. Even after acknowledging, recognizing, and admitting, the path to refactoring your mindset is hardly smooth.
  • Cultural obstacles: These include challenges presented by the physical space, by the structure of the organization, and by the institutionalized attitude toward cooperation versus competition.
  • They provide candid feedback on design work in a way that offers constructive criticism without putting each other on the defensive.
  • obfuscation prevents people from achieving a shared understanding.
  • someone who is ultimately accountable for the two dimensions of a project: quality and movement.
  • A project lead is ultimately accountable for organizing the project structure and team members so they reach project goals.
  • separating these responsibilities isn’t usually in the best interest of the project:
  • the village needs a good leader and everyone in that village needs to know how they contribute to the greater good.
  • Defining a role means clearly stating the expected activities and their corresponding outputs.
  • people may have different expectations about what to produce for a given activity. A subtler dimension is the range of quality and formality of an output. Any single activity can yield something rough, informal, and good enough to get to the next step, or something polished and presentable.
  • It later became clear that we had different ideas at the outset about what the final output should be.
  • it is these variations—quality, formality, detail—that trip up design teams. One person is expecting one thing, and another is expecting something different.
  • Team members must be accountable for their own performance and behavior. They must own up to their shortcomings to help the team fill the gap. They must honestly communicate progress, even if it isn’t meeting expectations. They must acknowledge their inability to deal with certain challenges.
  • Accountability, therefore, means giving credit where it is due.
  • the architect and the engineer, working together to perfect the design of a building. Great collaboration, in my opinion, comes from colleagues with overlapping skill sets, who don’t see that overlap as redundant or unhealthily competitive. In this scenario, the two architects divide and conquer the scope, or assume lead/contributor roles on the project, or just find a way to design together.
  • A lot of conflict comes from lack of mutual respect.
  • Boundaries, Preferences, and Style
  • Every designer likes a challenge, but they also like to be set up to succeed.
  • Respect comes from carefully, responsibly introducing them to uncomfortable situations, assignments, or workloads.
  • It comes from providing a foundation from which they can safely push on their own boundaries, taking risks, without fear of total failure.
  • Colleagues must be aware of each other’s availability. This may seem like a simple thing, but in increasingly remote and distributed workplaces, it isn’t enough to know if someone’s at her desk or not. Some of the various states of
  • Some teams develop a code to respond to requests to indicate where they are on the availability scale.
  • Observing a colleague’s availability and presence shows respect and builds mutual trust. No one feels comfortable working with the person who barges into offices unannounced.
  • Designers must understand their own boundaries, preferences, and style. By understanding their limitations, designers can be honest and open about their capabilities, their ability to contribute
  • “Some of these questions may seem ignorant, but I want to make sure I understand...”
  • lack of self-awareness can draw attention away from the project.
  • Openness is someone’s willingness to listen,
  • project definitions
  • roles and responsibilities
  • boundaries, limitations, and capabilities
  • This virtue pervades all the others. It is the most fundamental: the others cannot exist without this one. By the same token, openness and honesty aren’t meaningful without the other virtues to temper them. The truth only goes so far if it isn’t clear, if it isn’t accountable, and if it isn’t respectful.
  • An open person is willing to admit that he doesn’t understand (clarity), he can’t live up to expectations (accountability), or he doesn’t know what’s happening (awareness).
  • Honesty is different from straight-up truthfulness because it comes with a dose of wisdom and moderation.
  • The truth shouldn’t be concealed; it should be packaged to make it actionable, meaningful, practical, and hearable.
  • it’s conveying feedback, direction, correction, or any other contrary position with respect and with a desire to help colleagues grow.
  • Stating the truth and accepting the truth are the two sides to the coin
  • Openness and Honesty is the most difficult virtue to embody. Embodying the virtues means, simply, living them, injecting them into projects, and behaving in a way that realizes them.
  • constant—the success of the collaboration depended on two factors: transparency and accountability.
  • Transparency isn’t a binary aspect of work so much as a regularly reinforced collection of behaviors.
  • adding to the institutional memory (even when your own memory, inevitably, fails).
  • Real transparency includes not only the present, but also the relevant past.
  • The note keeper should take down any decisions made as well as next steps and the people assigned to each one.
  • don’t fall into the trap of thinking of notes as mere busywork. They are the tangible reflection of your consensus and deserve attention as such.
  • make each person responsible not only for knocking things off the to-do list, but also for continuing to develop their skills.
  • make sure critical knowledge moves through the team, rather than getting stuck in the head of one person.
  • at the end of the day, that’s what you’re building: an ecosystem, with many small parts each contributing to the whole. The closer your working relationships reflect that system, the better the system will be.
  • Interpreting circumstances and projecting the right attitude—the central aspects of mindset—sometimes run against the grain of a designer’s personality.
  • For all the talk of software methodologies (agile, lean, waterfall), the real concern for designers is how a project is structured. Well-structured projects embody the virtues of collaboration
  • patterns are the third part of the conflict model. Patterns are behaviors that designers can use to deal with situations. The Situations
  • Designers sometimes presume that everyone on the project team has bought into design. They don’t take the time at the outset of the project to educate the team about their role, their value, and their contribution.
  • Design decisions driven by what’s new—not by what’s needed—are appealing because they’re easy to make. But they’re not easy to implement or justify. Project resources become diverted to exploring this great new thing and away from solving the core design problem.
  • By the time the project is underway, every member of the design team should be able to summarize the objectives and scope of the project.
  • Without a clear definition of the design problem, the project team may run in different directions. Conflict comes from each member of the team evaluating design directions with a different set of criteria.
  • Articulating the design problem is perhaps the hardest thing to do in design. Establishing goals and parameters feels very “un-design” to a designer.
  • let the team know what success is.
  • to gauge what approach, process, and solution will be the best fit. Context establishes constraints, not only for the project, but also for the design itself.

Dialogue Mapping: Building Shared Understanding of Wicked Problems

  • ‘My focus has long been on augmenting humanity's Collective IQ, feeling strongly that if human society can't significantly improve its collective capability for understanding and coping with its most complex, urgent problems then our worldwide society will likely crash.
  • “wicked problems” that revolve around making meaning. There isn’t a “right” answer. Finding a solution means finding a sensible way forward. Intelligent solutions come through conversations: by engaging, questioning, deliberating, debating, discussing, and deciding.
  • “wicked problems” are a way of life. Seemingly endless meetings, floating membership in stakeholder groups, hidden agendas (even from people who think they have agendas), repetition without much visible progress, and “satisficing” solutions that result when the effort runs of out of time or energy or other resources.
  • dialogue mapping as the art and science of creating shared understanding.
  • two aspects of projects – problem understanding and solution formulation – are not distinct phases, but rather different kinds of conversation that must be woven together from beginning to end.
  • project work is fundamentally social, and that communication among stakeholders must be managed and nurtured in order for the social network to cohere into a functioning entity.
  • you don’t understand the problem until you have come up with a possible solution.
  • meetings, which is where the social network does its sense making.
  • It is time that we – as managers, leaders, and, indeed, as a species – get much better at managing the social complexity that comes with modern projects, including setting up meetings to be as collaborative as possible.
  • The central thesis of this book is that what is missing from our social network toolkit is an environment or ‘container’ in which stakeholders can step back to see the Big Picture, the larger context in which they are all on the same team and they all want the same or similar outcomes. (It is not about consensus. Sometimes we have to start with agreeing to disagree. But then we must roll up our sleeves and identify precisely what we disagree about and why.)
  • Dialogue mapping orients a group more to a same-side spirit of learning together, of mapping the intense complexity of a project instead of succumbing to it,
  • creating shared understanding about what the problem is, and crafting a shared commitment to a solution.
  • Dialogue mapping provides the raw materials of group memory, so the group doesn’t keep reinventing the wheel, and the participants can really listen to each other, instead of each scrambling to defend his or her bit of territory.
  • the recipe for dialogue mapping: you combine equal measures of shared display, argumentation scheme, and active listening.
  • The argumentation scheme serves to unpack the dense and tangled logic of the group interaction.
  • ingredients combine to create an environment that supports the hard work of collective reflection on a complex problem.
  • organizational memory
  • (Collaborative technologies come in two flavors: asynchronous tools, like email and Lotus Notes™, and synchronous tools,
  • The attraction of asynchronous tools is that participants collaborate on their own schedule,
  • Since one person was creating the map many of the problems of working in a ‘shared information space,’ such as shared conventions and etiquette, were avoided. The meeting was improved by having a shared visual focus for the group.
  • Precise meeting minutes that succinctly summarized all the issues were produced
  • making decisions using dialogue mapping.
  • issue-based structure of design and problem-solving conversations,
  • Because dialogue mapping is interactive, you have to actually do it to have the knowledge move from your brain into the rest of your body.
  • As human beings we stand at a critical juncture in our evolution. The problems that we have created at our current levels of thinking and technology are more complex than ever before (see Rischard, 2002 for a good formulation of the challenges). Moreover, the consequences of failing to address these problems will be catastrophic, and the solutions leading us toward peace and sustainable happiness will require every bit of collective intelligence and collaborative skill that we can muster. Each of us is called to find our own unique offering in this exciting and dreadful time – our piece of the Great Puzzle.
  • Some problems are so complex that you have to be highly intelligent and well informed just to be undecided about them.
  • Collective intelligence is a natural property of socially shared cognition,
  • Problem wickedness is a force of fragmentation.
  • force of fragmentation is social complexity, the number and diversity of players who are involved in a project.
  • study in the 1980s at the Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation (MCC) looked into how people solve problems (Guindon, 1990). The study focused on design, but the results apply to virtually any other kind of problem solving or decision-making activity
  • exercise was to design an elevator control system for an office building.
  • On the solution side, their activities were classified into high, medium, and low levels of design, with high-level design being general ideas, and low-level being details at the implementation level. These levels are analogous to an architect’s sketch, working drawings, and a detailed blueprint and materials list for a house.
  • this jagged-line pattern as opportunity driven, because in each moment the designers are seeking the best opportunity for progress toward a solution.
  • what is driving the flow of thought is some marvelous internal drive to make the most headway possible, regardless of where the headway happens, by making opportunity-driven leaps in the focus of attention.
  • It is precisely because these expert designers are being creative and because they are learning rapidly that the trace of their thinking pattern is full of unpredictable leaps.
  • faced with a novel and complex problem, human beings do not simply start by gathering and analyzing data about the problem.
  • creating possible solutions and considering how they might work.
  • problem understanding continues to evolve until the very end of the experiment. Even late in the experiments the subject designers returned to problem understanding, the upper part of the graph.
  • Our experience in observing individuals and groups working on design and planning problems is that, indeed, their understanding of the problem continues to evolve – forever!
  • Even well into the implementation of the design or plan, the understanding of the problem, the ‘real issue,’ is changing and growing.
  • the experiment is significant because it gives us an empirically grounded picture of the process that people follow when they really think about novel problems, and it is not the orderly and linear process we have been taught
  • most projects in the knowledge economy operate much more in the realm of learning than already knowing.
  • problem solving and learning are tightly intertwined, and the flow of this learning process is opportunity driven.
  • it essential to understand the properties of wicked problems in order to counter and manage their fragmenting impact on projects.
  • The man who coined the term ‘wicked problem,’ Horst Rittel, was also the inventor of the issue-based information system (IBIS) structure on which dialogue mapping is based (Rittel, 1972a; Rittel and Webber, 1973). Rittel and his colleagues perceived the limitations of the linear ‘systems approach’ of design and planning over 30 years ago, and their research provides a foundation for what Rittel termed a ‘second generation’ of systems analysis methodology. Rittel invented IBIS because, as an urban planner and designer, he found traditional planning methods inadequate for the ill-structured problems he encountered in city planning.
  • This is a perspective that puts human relationships and social interactions at the center,
  • Herb Simon, Nobel laureate in economics, called this ‘satisfying’ – stopping when you have a solution that is ‘good enough’ (Simon, 1969).
  • If it were not for project deadlines, the team would swirl indefinitely in ‘analysis paralysis.’
  • The design of safer doors is not merely a technical problem: It is a political and PR problem as well.
  • collectively exercise creativity and judgement about an elegant resolution of all the design priorities.
  • To function in such a hierarchy often means to collude in systematic denial of the complex and ill-structured dynamics of wicked problems, a phenomenon dubbed ‘skilled incompetence’ by Chris Argyris (e.g. Argyris and Schön, 1996).
  • two common organizational coping mechanisms that are routinely applied to wicked problems: studying the problem, and taming it.
  • Pure study amounts to procrastination, because little can be learned about a wicked problem by objective data gathering and analysis.
  • we can’t get more information until someone takes action.
  • what is measured becomes, officially and by definition, the problem.
  • according to Rittel’s definition. Yet the concepts are distinct: while wickedness is a property of the problem/solution space and the cognitive dynamics of exploring that space, social complexity is a property of the social network that is engaging with the problem.
  • Projects and problem solving have always been social in nature. Project success has always depended on collaborative skills and collective intelligence.
  • Each player has their own individual experience, personality type, and style of thinking and learning. Each player adds a new jagged line to the graph. The individual diversity among these players will make collective intelligence a challenge, and will make consensus virtually impossible to achieve.
  • Ideally, everyone in the organization is committed to the same thing, but, operationally, goals and agendas can be quite fragmented.
  • The main feature of a wicked problem is that you don’t understand the problem until you have a solution.
  • How can you make headway on a mutually acceptable solution if the stakeholders cannot agree on what the problem is?
  • The answer to this question – and the Holy Grail of effective collaboration – is in creating shared understanding about the problem, and shared commitment to the possible solutions
  • Shared understanding does not mean we necessarily agree on the problem, although that is a good thing when it happens. Shared understanding means that the stakeholders understand each other’s positions well enough to have intelligent dialogue about the different interpretations of the problem, and to exercise collective intelligence about how to solve it.
  • Because of social complexity, solving a wicked problem is fundamentally a social process
  • two polarities of design: what is needed (marketing), and what can be built (engineering).
  • Virtually all creative work is a process of design
  • To design simply means ‘to formulate a plan for,’ ‘to plan out in systematic, usually graphic form,’ and ‘to create or contrive for a particular purpose or effect’ (American Heritage Dictionary, 2000).
  • All problems call for designing a solution.
  • All projects are essentially designing something.
  • Design, in both the technical and artistic sense, is the process of creating something new
  • Any design problem is a problem of resolving tension between what is needed and what can be done.
  • On the one hand, the process of design is driven by some desire or need – someone wants or needs something new.
  • On the other hand, the process of design is constrained by resources – what can be done given the available resources such as time and money and the constraints imposed by the environment and the laws of physics.
  • every project is about reconciling the fundamental polarity between the world of what-is-needed and the world of what-can-be-done.
  • create a solution that joins the two polarities of design in an elegant way.
  • tendency is for the polarity of design to be reflected in a polarity of roles.
  • The world of what-can-be-done is claimed by the technologists, the nerds and hackers who actually build things, with its own culture and customs and language.
  • social complexity is not just a function of the number of stakeholders – it is also a function of structural relationships among the stakeholders.
  • In addition to wicked problems and social complexity, technical complexity is a potentially fragmenting force.
  • Technical complexity includes the number of technologies that are involved in a project, the immense number of possible interactions among them, and the rate of technical change.
  • the ‘physics’ of a project.
  • compassion can emerge for what we are up against when we go to work.
  • duality of design tends to divide allegiances between requirements and implementation.
  • Social complexity also fragments meaning – key terms and concepts are used in different ways by the different stakeholders.
  • it is difficult to observe fragmentation directly. There is, however, a more observable indicator of fragmentation: blame.
  • People tend to take a wicked problem ‘personally,’
  • Without understanding the ‘wickedness’ of the situation, there is finger pointing instead of learning.
  • shifted from blame to deeper understanding of the problem.
  • If we step back and take a systemic view, we can see that the issue is not whose fault the mess is – the issue is our collective failure to recognize the recurring and inevitable dynamics of the mess.
  • If we take a systemic view, we turn away from blame and away from easy technical fixes, and look in the social domain – in building capacity to collaborate effectively on wicked problems.
  • The antidote for fragmentation is coherence.
  • coherence amounts to shared understanding and shared commitment.
  • Shared understanding of meaning and context, and of the dimensions and issues in the problem.
  • Shared commitment to the processes of project work and to the emergent solution matrix.
  • Coherence means that the project team understands and is aligned with the goals of the project and how to reach them.
  • Coherence means that a wicked problem is recognized as such, and appropriate tools and processes are constantly used to ‘defragment’ the project.
  • With increased coherence, more collective intelligence becomes available to deal with change and complexity. Coherence means that despite social complexity there is a sense of ability and confidence in crafting shared understanding and negotiating shared meaning.
  • The process of dialogue mapping is a powerful approach for addressing the problem of fragmentation, as it allows a diverse group of people to generate coherence around wicked problems.
  • Given the complex nature of organizations, it is not sufficient for a single team or even multiple teams to achieve coherence; the organization as a whole needs to become a knowledge organization, and gain a kind of ‘literacy’ or ‘fluency’ in the language of coherence:
  • Hiring, retention, management and leadership, vendor relations, contract law, subcontractor management . . . all have their own tools, skills, and practices that help to make projects successful. However, none of these disciplines, no matter how expertly done, can create clarity and commitment among diverse stakeholders.
  • The only way to lubricate the wheels and gears of the social network is by attending to the social dimension of project work and finding ways to build shared understanding about the project situation – about the dimensions of the problem and the constraints and criteria for possible solutions.
  • Shared understanding is not the same as consensus.
  • Shared understanding among stakeholders in a project means that the stakeholders know about each others’ concerns and goals.
  • They have had enough social contact that there is some modicum of trust and caring among them. They have forged shared meaning about critical terms and concepts. They have interacted with each other enough that a collective sense of ‘we-ness’ has begun to emerge – where we came from, what we are trying to do, what we have accomplished so far.
  • Shared understanding often includes agreement about what is not agreed on and what is not known yet.
  • how do you build shared understanding? You begin by augmenting the ‘container’ for meetings – vastly increasing the capacity for dealing with massive amounts of information, strongly held opinions, factual incongruities, difficult personalities, and divergent goals and priorities.1
  • Meetings are where knowledge gets created, decisions are made, ideas are surfaced and promoted, actions are assigned, and issues are sorted out.
  • Project team members who are working alone at their computer building a model or a report are collaborating implicitly.
  • The dialogue mapping approach extends to distributed teams, online discussions, and virtual meetings, but in my experience you must start where the white heat of collaborative action and its attendant breakdowns are happening: in the meeting room.
  • Shared commitment is about decisions that stick and promises that get kept.
  • Shared commitment is another force of coherence, like shared understanding. The difference is that shared understanding focuses on where we are, shared commitment focuses on where we’re going.
  • if shared understanding is deep enough and rich enough, shared commitment emerges naturally.
  • The ‘magic trick’ of dialogue mapping, if you will, is to create a ‘shared display’ that incorporates each person’s contribution to the sense-making process.
  • Part of the condition of fragmentation is believing that painful, ineffective meetings are natural and inevitable.
  • When egos are threatened, the reptilian brain responds with basic fight/flight instincts.
  • modern knowledge worker does not need additional training in how to behave – he and she need better tools for dealing with social complexity, for managing the nonlinear flow of opportunity-driven cognition, for constructing coherent views of the mess created by fragmentation and information overload.
  • ‘Shared space literally adds a new dimension to conversation,
  • It takes shared space to create shared understandings’
  • a minimum requirement for any shared medium is that the participants are interacting with it.
  • Since shared display is fundamentally interactive and collaborative, we will use the more precise term ‘collaborative display.’
  • The collaborative display functions as a dynamic ‘boundary object’3 that mediates the flow of conversation in the meeting.
  • abstract concepts are reified in the display they become stable building blocks in the conversation, encouraging conversational moves that refer to and build on previous moves.
  • The display is used by the facilitator to register the contributions of each person in the group, to welcome a diversity of perspectives, and to craft a representation that encompasses the full diversity of concerns and creative thinking in the group.
  • The role of the dialogue mapper is crucial in making collaborative display effective.
  • the dialogue mapper is responsible for being the bridge between the group and the collaborative display,
  • The dialogue mapper has asked for clarification of a point in the map. Suddenly, the group is looking at the display, and as they study the map they see the individual comments, but they also see The Bigger Picture, the higher order, of the complex subject they are trying to discuss. They remember why they came to the meeting, and they start trusting that they aren’t as lost and confused as they thought they were.
  • the group starts to interact with the display. It becomes their display. They point at it and comment on it, ask for changes, and direct their comments to each other and into the display
  • what collaborative display is really about. It’s the magical phenomenon of socially shared cognition.
  • It goes beyond anything that most people have ever experienced in a corporate setting.
  • this breakthrough in collaboration science that is emerging because its time has come. This breakthrough is really what this book is all about,
  • By getting the group to focus on the logic of the issue in the map, Jeffrey was able to get all three groups to agree to something
  • do the exercise again, this time on a 4 ¥ 4 grid. This, you will discover, is virtually impossible.
  • humans have a very limited short-term memory.
  • 16 different values, which, for most of us, overflows our short-term memory.
  • Recording ideas in a collaborative display while they are being proposed is one way to address this problem. Simply writing down the idea so that everyone can see it is an instant, visual way of saying, ‘I heard you, and I’m taking you seriously.’
  • If someone is recording participants’ contributions but there is no shared display, then the group cannot see and interact with the model. This is why traditional meeting minutes, no matter how accurate and complete, do not add to a meeting’s coherence.
  • the limitation that facilitators frequently run into when making a simple list of comments is that the notation is not rich enough.
  • As soon as there is disagreement about the model, the tendency is to ignore the disagreement or stop using the shared display, because the notation can’t deal with con.ict or disagreement.
  • display, the dialogue mapper focuses group energy on what everyone has in common (the display) and defocuses the differences among the participants.
  • The display acts as a memory system that augments the group’s collective short-term memory (STM).
  • there are many well-documented problems with the traditional meeting minutes document.
  • It is incomplete, it represents one person’s interpretation of what happened and what was said, if it contains errors they don’t get fixed until after the meeting (and perhaps never), and usually it arrives after the energy of the meeting has died out (DeKoven, 1990).
  • the whole purpose and mood of meetings changes when a collaborative display is used. As DeKoven points out, ‘communication becomes production’ (DeKoven, 1990, p. 109). People change their focus from ‘meeting together to producing together.’
  • automatically a part of the meeting process. We are not just sitting around talking, we are creating something
  • Shared display provides a single focus for the group’s attention. By ‘putting something in the middle’ (Palus and Drath, 2001), the energy shifts, as when a group is discussing a diagram on the wall or a sketch on the table. The display orients the conversation. Since everyone is paying attention to the display, everyone is oriented in the same direction, looking at the same map. This creates a mood of collaboration, however subtly, even if the participants are deeply divided over the content of the discussion.
  • Attempts to start with capturing and ‘managing knowledge’ have a poor track record because knowledge must be treated more as a conversational process than a frozen asset.
  • As currently practiced, knowledge management tools fail to make contact with the issues and decisions that surface and explode in meetings.
  • The first step is to counter fragmentation where its impact is the greatest: in meetings.
  • Boundary objects are thus both plastic enough to adapt to local needs and constraints of the several parties employing them, yet robust enough to maintain a common identity across sites.
  • The creation and management of boundary objects is a key process in developing and maintaining coherence across intersecting communities’ (Bowker and Star, 1999, p. 297).
  • shared display gives shared understanding
  • large or extended projects produce large maps - managing this goldmine of informal knowledge is an advanced dialogue mapping skill.
  • passionate about is listening. He’s passionate about making sure that each person has been actively and accurately heard. He doesn’t have any agenda or stake in the content of the meeting – his only agenda is helping the group build a compelling map of their conversation.
  • IBIS stands for issue-based information system.
  • the elements of IBIS – Questions, Ideas, Pros and Cons
  • As a dialogue mapper your role is to listen to someone and ‘translate’ his or her comments into IBIS notation.
  • Maps generally start with Questions, like ‘What should we do about the budget?’
  • Whether you are using software or handwriting on a whiteboard, the form of the question is often some variation of ‘What should we do about X?’
  • Ideas respond to one and only one Question.
  • In the budget map, the main Ideas are ‘Cut costs,’ ‘Increase revenue,’ and ‘Accept the deficit.’ Ideas are neutral.
  •  and    The place for rationale, opinion, facts, data, rhetoric, etc. is in the Pros and Cons of IBIS, generically known as Arguments.
  • a Decision is simply one of the Ideas on a Question marked as the answer/solution/ decision for that Question.
  • Questions are the heart and soul of IBIS, because anything in the map – a Question, an Idea, a Pro, a Con – can be questioned.
  • Maps tend to grow from left to right like a tree lying on its side, starting with a ‘root’ Question, and ending when the group feels done.
  • The map is meant to be primarily a coherent display and record of what people said in a conversation. It’s not a logic diagram or a decision tree, although it has some of the benefits of those systems. The art of dialogue mapping is to bring just enough logic and notational consistency to the map that it can grow and evolve naturally and organically.
  • conversational move):
  • I have found that using ‘sentence case’ works best – first word capitalized, everything else lower case. It is the easiest to read in large maps, and when transcribed into the software it makes the printouts look much more professional.
  • IBIS works because it has three essential properties: It is simple, it is intuitive, and it is powerful.
  • The power of IBIS to help create coherence and shared understanding is because it works with virtually any design or planning conversation.
  • Just as Niels Bohr revolutionized the understanding of physical matter with his triad model of the atom (proton, neutron, electron), all statements can be understood as built up from the IBIS building blocks (see Figure 4.4).
  • have never run into an interaction that could not be expressed in Questions, Ideas, Pros, and Cons! (Notes, for neutral information, and references, for links to reference documents, are expedient additional elements, but are not essential.)
  • You can tell an IBIS Idea just by looking at it – it is a neutral statement describing a person, place, thing, or action: Build a new inventory system Collect data from our customers
  • Capturing an Idea succinctly can be a challenge. Many people tend to bundle several ideas together or bundle the justification for an idea into the presentation of the idea. For example, ‘We should provide a toll-free customer support number because it is more inviting for customers to use.’ While this is a common way of speaking, the job of the dialogue mapper is to ‘unpack’ this statement into the (neutral) Idea (‘provide a toll-free customer support number’) and its supporting Argument (‘more inviting for customers to use’).
  • The key to recognizing an Argument is that Arguments give a reason for picking (or not picking) their Idea(s) as the best answer to the Question
  • The IBIS method can considerably raise the quality of dialogue within a group or project team simply by concentrating all opinion into Argument nodes. For example, the old trick of ‘truth by repetition’
  • Being ‘issue based,’ IBIS is all about issues and questions.
  • The main elements that tie a dialogue map together are the Questions in the map.
  • no one can ever say, ‘We can’t put that piece of knowledge in the system’ or ‘There’s no good way to represent that point.’
  • Notice that we do not capture who said what. Once an Idea is in the map, it is just another idea, not ‘Tom’s idea.’ Thus, in the map, Joe is not disagreeing with Tom. This makes it easier for the group to think critically together about all the possible options without getting into debate dynamics.
  • Normally, however, the dialogue mapper would not try to capture the details of every comment – that would take too long and slow the group down without adding much value.
  • (The art of what to capture and what to leave out
  • Conversations are always impacted by the use of a collaborative display and dialogue mapping.
  • The trick is to make sure that the impact on the conversation is welcomed and beneficial.
  • focus on being of service and listening to everyone without adding any of your own agenda,
  • The cleanup process would involve many arbitrary decisions about how to ‘chunk’ the diagram into smaller sub-diagrams.
  • in practice you need to clean maps up and reorganize them from time to time, but this is much easier with IBIS because everything is organized by Questions.
  • major benefit of IBIS is that it provides a structure in which all the twisty turns of problem solving discussions can be modeled.
  • functions as a grammar.
  • maps never start with an Argument node,
  • IBIS’ stands for ‘issue-based information system.’ Issues, stated as questions, are the heart of this method.
  • kinds of questionable logic and hand waving, which can slip by in spoken interaction, are revealed quite clearly when laid out in IBIS.
  • are seven types of question in IBIS.
  • question types connect together in higher level patterns, or templates.
  • patterns provide additional order and reproducibility in IBIS maps.
  • type of question has certain kinds of answers, and they fit together in regular patterns of reasoning.
  • studies have shown that the potential advantages of notations like IBIS are often offset by the increased ‘cognitive overhead’ of applying them ‘on the fly’ . . . when you are engaged in a substantive task (Buckingham Shum and Hammond, 1994).
  • part, this overhead imposes a constraint on the expressive power of any formalism that might be adopted in problem solving or design process:
  • must be simple and intuitive enough that the ‘cognitive cost’ of using them is very low.
  • There is another way to meet the challenge of ‘cognitive overhead,’ and that is to recognize that lowering the cognitive cost of use is in part a matter of fluency
  • Arguments, the pros and cons for the various Ideas.
  • the three basic elements of IBIS – Questions, Ideas, and Arguments
  • it is also important to convey the power of IBIS as a mapping notation for complex analyses. It is easiest to see this power simply by reflecting on what happens without such a notation.
  • Different players have different ideas about what the issue is, especially in a wicked problem.
  • Each player addresses their comments to their version of the issue, but it is often unclear how many versions of the issue there are, or what they are.
  • Wicked problems often have dozens of interrelated issues involved, but human short-term memory is very limited, so unless one is extremely familiar with all the information related to all of the issues, the unaided exploration of these issues is confusing and error prone.
  • The power of IBIS as a notation is that it organizes the issues, positions, information, and assumptions so that all participants have the issue map as a point of reference, and they can refer to it instead of trying to keep it all in their head.
  • it augments human cognition at one of its weakest points: the limits of short-term memory.
  • IBIS reinforces a discipline of making substantive, rational cases in favor of or against the main options on any decisions, thus providing a more consistent, transparent, and democratic environment for collaborative work.
  • dialogue mapping provides is a tool or language for a new kind of literacy: collaborative literacy
  • Collaborative literacy means having an education in collaboration, having a set of distinctions and skills that allow one to be a powerful agent for collective intelligence and collaborative effectiveness.
  • you have a sense that there is really just one ‘master pattern’ for all design and planning conversations, and each meeting is just a matter of creating a particular dialogue map according to this master pattern.
  • IBIS is a grammar – a set of simple rules for building IBIS diagrams
  • In normal conversation, people often shift the topic, not by asking a new question – that would be too obvious – but by injecting an idea that doesn’t fit the old question.
  • If the topic is complex, or poorly understood, or emotionally loaded, it is rare that the first attempt at expressing a new idea is a complete success.
  • meaning is not made and then delivered. Meaning is being created as it is being spoken
  • start typing when you get an idea of what they are saying, and when they finish speaking type the rest of it.
  • The four steps are listen, guess, write, and validate (see Figure 5.1).
  • When dealing with wicked and ill-structured problems, however, it is rarely the case that anyone is really certain about what they mean.
  • interrupting is OK if you do it in the service of listening
  • It is essential to interrupt! It reminds the group that you and the display are still there, and that you really care about what they are saying.
  • ‘If it’s not in the map, it didn’t happen!’)
  • in cases of tension or debate, it breaks the spell of combat, and releases the participants from their basal instincts
  • a reason not to do it . . . a ‘Con’ in the IBIS vernacular.
  • if you get it wrong, the speaker will tell you! Just listening and writing something in the shared display will contribute to improving the communication process.
  • It is essential to be totally unattached to the guess you wrote.
  • your job is to be a transparent vehicle of meaning capture.
  • It’s all about memory. A major benefit of the collaborative display is to create group memory.
  • anything that you miss, you can simply ask the group to help you recall it. You look at the display, walk through the IBIS nodes that you captured, and ask, ‘Was there anything else? Did I miss anything?’
  • The purpose of their meeting, I think, was to sort out power dynamics and social relationships. This is a totally valid purpose for a meeting, but it’s a purpose that dialogue mapping isn’t very good at serving.
  • any given session depends on many factors, only some of which are under your control: your level of mastery of dialogue mapping, the collaborative intent of the group, the urgency and complexity of the problem, the group leader’s preparation and level of engagement, the physical layout of the room and the computer display, and many other factors.
  • dialogue mapping raises the group’s intellectual integrity, in the sense of being unimpaired, whole and complete.
  • The conversation is on record. What each person says matters. Everyone participates in the construction of the dialogue map, and everyone has ownership of it as their collective work product.
  • Everything is getting said, and – more important – everything is also being heard. And validated. And captured. Even if nothing is agreed on, and 17 new hard problems surface during the meeting, the simple act of participating in this rhythmic ritual of group process can have the participants leave feeling good about what they accomplished together.
  • action items, but also open issues, decisions made, and newly surfaced assumptions.
  • Naturally, you have the map available at the next session, and you probably review it or parts of it as a way to refresh the group memory.
  • In every case the point is to get the group to engage with the content of the display, giving it their full attention, and working together to produce the best possible product.
  • it is essential to the success of this process that, at the micro level, every cycle is about what one person thinks
  • Most professional facilitators have been forced to compensate for working with an impoverished display and an underpowered notation.
  • ‘Does everybody agree with this idea?’ In practice, that means that if the problem is wicked, or the group is socially complex, nothing gets written down.
  • As with sports and the arts, dialogue mapping involves a fast-running stream of moment-by-moment choices.
  • One option is to try to capture exactly, word for word, what someone is saying. This is called ‘transcriptive capture,’ because your intent is to create a transcript of the conversation.
  • you must be interpretive – you must interpret what you are hearing and find ways to paraphrase and summarize it in the text that you write.
  • ‘local color,’ a natural part of storytelling and narrative interaction, but not essential to describing the leasing option.
  • For practical purposes summary maps are much more useful – and more likely to be read, understood, and circulated than a transcript.
  • map’s value depends on the level of ownership by the group that created it –
  • it is important to appreciate that you are always making interpretive choices.
  • there is no getting away from being interpretive – perfect transcription is impossible.
  • there is not a ‘right’ way to be – there is simply being appropriate to the group and their needs, as well as your own needs.
  • It turns out that there are actually only about seven major types of Question.
  • deontic questions include: What should we do
  • Instrumental questions ask about the instrumentality – the means and methods – for achieving some objective.
  • deontic question asks what to do, the instrumental question asks how to do it.
  • Criterial Questions
  • criterial questions call for top down thinking, whereas deontic and instrumental questions call for bottom up thinking. Both are necessary.
  • The general form of the meaning question is very simple: ‘What does “X” mean?’
  • had more heat than light,
  • The point with meaning questions is more to address the question collectively, exposing the range of meanings in the room, than to come up with the ‘right’ meaning.
  • The general form of the factual question is, ‘What is X?’ or ‘Is X true?’
  • Background questions ask for the context or background of the meeting or situation.
  • Stakeholder Questions
  • Artful questions must be simple, not compound.
  • Artful questions do not try to ‘sneak’ major assumptions into their statement,
  • artful questions are open, not closed.
  • Closed questions offer a choice among given options.
  • the dialogue map acts as a sort of ‘mirror’ in which the group can see itself more clearly, especially its behavior.
  • For the engineer, facts are facts. Facts have an objectively verifiable validity.
  • For the marketer, or indeed in any realm that deals with social systems, and especially politics, truth and validity are a lot more flexible.
  • in a political context there are lots of questions of this type; relative truth questions masquerading as objective truth questions. Indeed, this is a hallmark of wicked problems and social complexity.
  • For a nice discussion of different realms of truth and validity, see Chapter 6 in Wilbur, 1996.
  • Think of a meeting as a game. There are players, rules, moves, structure, winners, and losers.
  • Each time someone speaks, it is a move in the game.
  • but – again – the rules are a bit vague on how you win and what it looks like. Indeed, it is not unusual for different players to have different rules with different definitions of winning.
  • The three moves are: Making a case for an idea or proposal. Making a case against an idea or proposal. Challenging the context/frame of the conversation.
  • it becomes clear that the moves aren’t personal
  • The group stays focused on the project, not on personalities.
  • One of the few clear big wins of the meeting game is for a player or team to move a new idea from initial proposal all the way to the endgame of being adopted by the group as the official solution to the problem.
  • Your ability to make such a winning move depends critically on your willingness to speak clearly and compellingly for a proposal – to make a case for it.
  • Instead of the player with the proposal feeling squelched or ignored, he or she experiences getting to make their contribution and being heard and acknowledged.
  • Truth by repetition is not a powerful move in the dialogue mapping game.
  • The tendency to ostracize the person who is making a case is due simply to the lack of a rich enough container for that kind of energy in a meeting. Dialogue mapping provides that container.
  • Successful projects exploit all the different kinds of energy that people bring to the party, and capture the fruits of that energy as collective intelligence and learning.
  • Without a shared display, you just don’t have a rich enough container for all the kinds of energy that are happening, and people resort to trying to change or suppress each other to deal with all of that creative energy. With the shared display, the container holds and nurtures the diverse energies that people bring to project meetings.
  • come to trust the group’s process instead of trying to control it.
  • Without dialogue mapping in a shared display, case making against an idea is ‘being negative.’ It is bringing up problems and barriers and objections, and the person who does it is often viewed as being cynical, difficult, negative, or not a ‘team player.’
  • when the idea is presented, it gets captured in the display. It now has a place in the room other than the person who suggested it! This is a wonderful ‘trick’ of collaborative display: simply creating a physical separation between the person who proposed the idea and the idea itself.
  • It lessens the tendency to be identified with one’s point of view, or to be defensive about any criticism of it (see Figure 7.1).
  • Physical separation between proposer of idea and the idea itself
  • With dialogue mapping, there is more room to express doubt and objections to a proposal. More room for a very important kind of energy: the energy of prudence, restraint, and diligence.
  • mistakes have been avoided because someone had the courage to speak up and voice an objection that no one else knew about or had thought of.
  • ‘We need to know the objections to an idea before we adopt it, because we’re bound to hear them eventually.
  • We value the critical thinking that will help us come up with the best possible solution.’
  • As a map unfolds and matures, the Cons to key Ideas require careful attention.
  • Each such Con requires that either: The Con is ‘retired,’ by further discussion showing that it isn’t valid.1 The Idea is revised so that the Con no longer applies to it. Or the group decides that the Con is an acceptable objection or risk.
  • short, the grenade didn’t go off . . . there was no grenade. There was just someone who needed to have a larger frame for the discussion in order to participate.
  • root question of the map wasn’t his root question.
  • a problem is wicked and/or if the social complexity quotient is high, there will be many, many Questions that the group cares about.
  • a collaborative display, the facilitator has to focus the group on just one or two of these questions. The group has to suppress the rest, or if they come up they get sent to the ‘parking lot.’
  • The two separate Questions from the meeting suddenly were clearly aspects of the same larger Question.
  • This move, creating a new root Question, turns out to be one of the most powerful tools in the dialogue mapper’s toolkit.
  • The left-hand move provides a powerful device for maintaining coherence when a group or someone on edge, it simply acknowledges that one of the assumptions in the background of the project or the meeting just got surfaced, and needs to be acknowledged.
  • when someone challenges the frame of the discussion, it calls for either a new parallel Question or a new root Question.
  • often reflects the energy of making sure we’re having the right conversation, at the right level.
  • That marketing strategy – selling corporate memory to utilities – failed, and Corporate Memory Systems, Inc. went out of business several years later. There were many reasons, but chief among them was that it turned out that utility company executives did not want to go on record for their decision-making process or rationale.
  • the process strongly reflects democratic values, such as being open, transparent, accountable, honest, and fair.
  • a group often needs to value these qualities to even be drawn to using dialogue mapping.
  • Dialogue mapping is democratic because it creates a level playing field among the participants – each participant’s point of view is captured and displayed equally.
  • If the logic is weak or biased, it will be more obvious in the map than it was under the spell of a charismatic presentation. Similarly, if there is another case in the map, made perhaps by the most junior person in the room, if the logic is clear and compelling, that too will stand out in the map, and that idea will have more real authority.
  • To the extent that the facilitated shared display is the medium of the conversation, authority tends to shift from personalities to the merits of the case.
  • clarity and transparency of rationale and process promote project success because they foster the highest levels of shared understanding, ownership, and commitment from the group.
  • the map will never tell the whole story. The map is simply an artifact of the group’s exploration of a complex set of ideas embedded in a rich cultural, political, and interpersonal context.
  • The map is a kind of story. It will mean very different things to insiders than to outsiders.
  • dialogue mapping does not impose a democratic process. You could have one idea with 16 Pro arguments supporting it, and right below it another idea with a single Pro argument: ‘The General insists on this.’ It is clear what the decision will be, and it is clear that power, not argumentation, made the decision. This does not make it irrational – it is simply the rationality of a hierarchical decision-making process.
  • What may be different with dialogue mapping is that, whatever the rationality, the logic is transparent.
  • It is explicit.
  • if there is an espoused commitment to democratic ideals, or to being a learning organization, openness and transparency must become real and operational,
  • Knowledge workers on a wicked problem project team know that there can be no central authority because no single person knows all the information or the right answer.
  • knowledge work by definition deals with novel situations.
  • Knowledge work, by its very nature, demands a transparent and democratic environment to grow and flourish.
  • She is walking the talk, using a technique that clearly values listening, honors clear and creative speaking, and makes the decision-making process transparent.
  • A skilled dialogue mapper can lead a group to true collective creativity and intelligence.
  • Human process is and should be both rational and trans-rational.
  • The collaborative display is still just a tool in the hands of a human practitioner.
  • What will moderate the impact of those ‘learning opportunities’ is the intention to serve the group and the commitment to raising their quality of dialogue and shared understanding.
  • it, if there is a mood of spiritual unity and soulful connection, and if the group has no need for a sketch of the ‘tip of the iceberg’ . . . why map it?
  • Dialogue mapping is artificial. Unfortunately, the whole work environment is artificial. The pace at which technology drives the business process is artificial. The level of social complexity on large projects is artificial. The technical complexity of projects is artificial. The level of fragmentation in our society and in our organizations is artificial.4
  • the conditions surrounding most modern projects – wicked problems and social complexity – are inherently fragmenting, and behave like forces that are constantly tearing away at coherence, clarity, alignment, and momentum. Under these stressful conditions, human behavior patterns tend to reduce to the lowest common denominator. These levels of stress, and the behavior patterns evoked, are most artificial and unnatural.
  • Getting out of the artificial environment is a thoroughly rational and valid choice. Another approach is to take on the fragmentation and embrace anything that offers to create coherence for your organization or project teams.
  • Apply technologies that promote shared understanding and shared commitment.
  • Many of us are ahead of our souls.
  • Sometimes you have go slow to go fast.
  • something other than the usual meeting process is required. Listening, care, and rigor are required.
  • the situation in which the display is on but participants simply ignore it – there’s no error correction, no ownership, and no value added.
  • by engaging people in dialogue mapping they can start to converse more democratically without even realizing it.
  • See, for example, Ken Wilber’s The Marriage of Sense and Soul.
  • the hardest thing in the world is making a decision.
  • Decisions are the primary work product of meetings and the engine of project progress.
  • Decisions are the basis for coordinated action.
  • The best decision is the one that has the broadest and deepest commitment to making it work.
  • What makes it a ‘good decision’ is the depth and breadth of acceptance and commitment.
  • what this means is that you don’t have to worry about picking the wrong Idea as the decision (because there’s no such thing as a wrong Idea), but you do have to avoid picking an Idea that doesn’t have ownership.
  • in real decision making, authentic participation actually creates the reality in which the group is preparing to commit to the decision, whatever it turns out to be:
  • The spirit of dialogue mapping goes beyond giving participants a chance to provide their inputs on a fixed set of options. The possibility is that along with exploring the options the group also explores the nature of the problem . . . what is the real issue . . . what do we really care about . . . what have we been blind to?
  • What makes decision making hard is lack of shared understanding.
  • Once a group has thoroughly mapped a problem and its potential solutions, the decision itself is often obvious and natural!
  • What human beings need to make a decision is solid shared understanding about the problem and the solution space.
  • A weak man has doubts before a decision; a strong man has them afterwards.
  • A decision is the action an executive must take when he has information so incomplete that the answer does not suggest itself. Adm. Arthur W Radford (quoted in Time, 25 February 1957)
  • What kind of process creates robust and durable decisions? Participation. Inclusion. The more authentic the participation, the higher the collective intelligence, and the more likely it is that the selected Idea will work, will be the best among the options, will have good shared understanding and strong shared commitment.
  • There are two competing theories about how you know when it’s time to make the decision, the learning through deciding theory and the when it’s ripe theory.
  • The learning through deciding theory says, don’t worry too much about finding the right time to make a decision – get the group to go through several decision-making cycles, and use the cycles to raise the energy and increase learning.
  • decisions are seen as opportunities for accelerated learning, not as the end point of the process.
  • Sometimes you have to stand on the other side of the decision for a moment to really appreciate its consequences.
  • The motto of learning through deciding is ‘Decide early, decide often!’
  • in practice, there is a limited amount of time available for the process of solving a problem and making implementation decisions, and groups have to settle for getting the most ownership and understanding possible in the allocated time.
  • the single most important thing to be paying attention to is the ownership of this emerging decision, and that the process of building broad ownership requires genuine engagement and participation from the full range of stakeholders.
  • More abstract, but less critical, Questions may have been placed to the left of it through ‘left-hand’ moves
  • I always like to get at least one Pro (one supporting argument) from the person who offers an Idea.
  • If you can retire a few Ideas along the way, it narrows the field of strong, viable Ideas for the group to consider.
  • Retiring an Idea is a consensus operation – if there is even one person who thinks it should be left in play, don’t retire it.
  • it is tempting to delete the Idea (and any Pros and Cons and sub-Questions hanging from it) from the map, but this is rarely a good idea because it weakens the group memory.
  • ‘We are not making a decision right now. We just want to find out where the energy is in the room.’
  • (If the group is small enough, you might record their initials instead; this feels more personal and helps the group keep track of who is endorsing what.)
  • ask if any of the absent stakeholders would endorse it. If still no endorsements, suggest that the Idea be retired.
  • (This process builds a lot of ownership in the map – people see that what gets captured – and only what gets captured – receives careful attention and consideration from the group.)
  • someone who didn’t endorse any Ideas. I would ask this person, ‘So, there aren’t any Ideas that you want to endorse?’ Usually this will bring out more case making: a new Idea that’s not in the map, or a new objection to a popular Idea in the map.
  • Horst Rittel, the main inventor of IBIS, used to say that there was no point having a technique for making decisions because the decision-making process was highly dependent on context: the organizational culture, history, and practices, the nature of the problem, the personalities and power relationships among the stakeholders, etc.
  • If the map is mature, the conditions will be set for the greatest possible shared understanding and commitment when the decision gets made . . . however that happens.
  • it is powerful to be clear and explicit with a group, especially when working on a wicked problem, about how decisions will be made. That way, everyone is working within a process in which the endgame is clear.
  • What makes decision making hard is lack of shared understanding.
  • Once a group has thoroughly mapped a problem and its potential solutions, the decision itself is often obvious and natural!
  • Guindon, R. (1990) ‘Designing the design process:
  • Heuerman, T. and Olson, D. (1998) ‘Organizational mindfulness’,

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

  • techno-utopians do get tiresome with their platitudes and their ability to prattle on for hours without saying much of substance.
  • Musk will pause while fishing around for exact phrasing, and he’ll often go rumbling down an esoteric, scientific rabbit hole without providing any helping hands or simplified explanations along the way. Musk expects you to keep up.
  • there’s a sense of purpose and pressure hanging over any conversation with the man. Musk doesn’t really shoot the shit.
  • The space business requires dealing with a mess of politics, back-scratching, and protectionism that undermines the fundamentals of capitalism.
  • What Musk has developed that so many of the entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley lack is a meaningful worldview.
  • At the heart of this transformation are Musk’s skills as a software maker and his ability to apply them to machines. He’s merged atoms and bits in ways that few people thought possible, and the results have been spectacular.
  • “The only thing that makes sense to do is strive for greater collective enlightenment,” he said.
  • The Haldemans had a laissez-faire approach to raising their children, which would extend over the generations to Musk. Their kids were never punished, as Joshua believed they would intuit their way to proper behavior.
  • the part of the brain that’s usually reserved for visual processing—the part that is used to process images coming in from my eyes—gets taken over by internal thought processes,” Musk said. “I can’t do this as much now because there are so many things demanding my attention but, as a kid, it happened a lot.
  • Elon genuinely thought that people would be happy to hear about the flaws in their thinking.
  • There needs to be a reason for a grade.
  • “We are the kinds of people that can be by ourselves at a party and not feel awkward,” Farooq said. “We can think to ourselves and not feel socially weird about it.”
  • “When Elon gets into something, he develops just this different level of interest in it than other people. That is what differentiates Elon from the rest of humanity.”
  • for Musk, the distinction between stumbling into something and having intent is important.
  • Zip2 may have been a go-go Internet enterprise aimed at the Information Age, but getting it off the ground required old-fashioned door-to-door salesmanship.
  • “Really smart people sometimes don’t understand that not everyone can keep up with them or go as fast,” said Derek Proudian, a venture capitalist who would become Zip2’s chief executive officer.
  • Zip2 also shifted its business strategy. At the time, the company had built one of the best direction systems on the Web. Zip2 would advance this technology and take it from focusing just on the Bay Area to having a national scope. The company’s main focus, however, would be an altogether new play. Instead of selling its service door-to-door, Zip2 would create a software package that could be sold to newspapers, which would in turn build their own directories
  • ‘Well, how would this sound to them, knowing what they know?’”
  • Eventually, I realized, Okay, I might have fixed that thing but now I’ve made the person unproductive.
  • status infractions,
  • Later in life, as I competed against the banks, I would think back to this moment, and it gave me confidence. All the bankers did was copy what everyone else did.
  • Did he hype things up and rub people the wrong way? Absolutely—and with spectacular results.
  • people were reluctant to bring too much reality into the situation too early and just get the whole idea killed.”
  • “Combine my brains and your money, and we can build a
  • a defense mechanism that he’d learned from years of suffering as a kid. “He doesn’t do well in dark places,” she told Esquire magazine. “He’s forward-moving, and I think it’s a survival thing with him.”
  • wallowing in sadness does no good for anyone around you. I’m not sure what should be done in such situations.”
  • they all charged a lot of money and worked slowly.
  • I thought it was more important to let him know quickly what happened, but I learned it was more important to have all the information.”
  • make sure the obstacles in your way are removed,” Hollman said.
  • “It’s like anything else where you find out that the last ten percent is where all the integration happens
  • He began going to trade shows handing out brochures about his idea and e-mailing just about anyone he could think of. “I was shameless,”
  • Tarpenning said. People who used to go after the Lexus, BMW, and Cadillac brands saw electric and hybrid cars as a different kind of status symbol.
  • I had come out of a military culture, and you just have to make your objective happen.”
  • Musk insisted that SpaceX push its technology forward while at the same time trying to make it work right.
  • “It was like the worst fucking day ever. You don’t usually see grown-ups weeping, but there they were.
  • Musk addressed the workers right away and encouraged them to get back to work. “He said, ‘Look. We are going to do this. It’s going to be okay. Don’t freak out,’” Singh recalled. “It was like magic. Everyone chilled out immediately and started to focus on figuring out what just happened and how to fix it. It went from despair to hope and focus.”
  • “He’s giving us the pillow talk voice, so we all have to huddle around the speakerphone, while he tells us, ‘You guys need to get your shit together,’”
  • The harder it gets, the better he gets.
  • “Traditional aerospace has been doing things the same way for a very, very long time,” said Drew Eldeen, a former SpaceX engineer. “The biggest challenge was convincing NASA to give something new a try and building a paper trail that showed the parts were high enough quality.”
  • Elon is brilliant. He’s involved in just about everything. He understands everything. If he asks you a question, you learn very quickly not to go give him a gut reaction. He wants answers that get down to the fundamental laws of physics.
  • The guiding principle at SpaceX is to embrace your work and get stuff done.
  • Every time he’s fired someone and taken their job, he’s delivered on whatever the project was.”
  • Musk said. “I told him, ‘Not only is he wrong, and let me rearticulate the reasons, but you’re wrong, and let me articulate the reasons.’
  • If the rules are such that you can’t make progress, then you have to fight the rules.
  • “There is a fundamental problem with regulators. If a regulator agrees to change a rule and something bad happens, they could easily lose their career. Whereas if they change a rule and something good happens, they don’t even get a reward. So, it’s very asymmetric.
  • “His biggest enemy will be himself and the way he treats people,” this person said.
  • Part of the genius of Musk and Mueller’s designs is that SpaceX can reuse the same engine in different configurations—from
  • One former SpaceX executive described the working atmosphere as a perpetual-motion machine that runs on a weird mix of dissatisfaction and eternal hope.
  • He gets twice as much as anyone else out of people.”
  • Musk has tried to turn any snafu with a Tesla into an excuse to show off the company’s attention to service and dedication to pleasing the customer. More often than not, the strategy has worked.
  • the bulk of the car’s mass is very close to the center of gravity and this has positive follow-on effects to handling, performance, and safety.
  • we would have needed to build a team to compete with the core competency of every car company in the world. We would have been betting against all the things we believe in, like the power electronics and batteries improving. We decided to put all the effort into going where we think the endpoint is and to never look back.”
  • Tesla would make up for its lack of R&D money by hiring smart people who could outwork and outthink the third parties relied on by the rest of the automakers. “The mantra was that one great engineer will replace three medium ones,” Lloyd said.
  • Holzhausen found energetic geeks who didn’t realize that what they wanted to do was borderline impossible.
  • “Elon’s mind was always way beyond the present moment,” he said. “You could see that he was a step or three ahead of everyone else and one hundred percent committed to what we were doing.”
  • ‘We’re going to start over. We’re going to work together and make this awesome.’”
  • engineers knew better than to go into a meeting and deliver bad news without some sort of alternative plan at the ready.
  • You don’t tell Elon you can’t do something. That will get you kicked out of the room. You need everything lined up.
  • Musk never writes anything down, he held all the alterations in his head
  • Von Holzhausen had four different versions of the vehicle’s center console resting on the floor, so that they could be slotted in one by one and viewed by Musk.
  • Musk, though, approaches everything from a Platonic perspective. As he sees it, all of the design and technology choices should be directed toward the goal of making a car as close to perfect as possible.
  • Either you’re trying to make something spectacular with no compromises or you’re not.
  • “Elon felt like it was the most important problem facing Tesla at the time and that’s always what he deals with and how he prioritizes. It could kill the car and represented an existential threat against the business.
  • It sold them an image, a feeling they were tapping into the future, a relationship.
  • “If Daimler wants to change the way a gauge looks, it has to contact a supplier half a world away and then wait for a series of approvals,” Javidan said. “It would take them a year to change the way the ‘P’ on the instrument panel looks.
  • What separated Tesla from the competition was the willingness to charge after its vision without compromise, a complete commitment to execute to Musk’s standards.
  • To the extent that the world still doubts Elon, I think it’s a reflection on the insanity of the world and not on the supposed insanity of Elon.”
  • SolarCity, like the rest of Musk’s ventures, did not represent a business opportunity so much as it represented a worldview.
  • If solar is destined to be mankind’s preferred energy source in the future, then this future ought to be brought about as quickly as possible.
  • Musk, however, is not a blind loyalist. He first and foremost backs the beliefs behind Musk Co. and then uses any pragmatic means at his disposal to advance his cause.
  • I do feel joy now, but there’s still that nagging feeling that it might all go away.
  • “I think it is going to be a bit like that,” Musk said. “When will the first non-Tesla Gigafactory get built? Probably no sooner than six years from now. The big car companies are so derivative. They want to see it work somewhere else before they will approve the project and move forward.
  • companies were designed with this vision of motivating a critical mass of talented people to work on inspiring things.”
  • “Elon is incredibly difficult to work for, but it’s mostly because he’s so passionate.
  • people who worked for him were like ammunition: used for a specific purpose until exhausted and discarded.”
  • Musk might get up from the dinner table without a word of explanation to head outside and look at the stars, simply because he’s not willing to suffer fools or small talk.
  • Musk’s behavior matches up much more closely with someone who is described by neuropsychologists as profoundly gifted. These are people who in childhood exhibit exceptional intellectual depth and max out IQ tests. It’s not uncommon for these children to look out into the world and find flaws—glitches in the system—and construct logical paths in their minds to fix them.
  • The perceived lack of emotion is a symptom of Musk sometimes feeling like he’s the only one who really grasps the urgency of his mission.
  • He’s implored people to understand that he’s not chasing momentary opportunities in the business world. He’s trying to solve problems that have been consuming him for decades.
  • “I don’t have days to practice,” he said. “I’ve got to give impromptu talks, and the results may vary.”
  • We have failed to recognize that we are at a technological plateau and the trees are more bare than we would like to think. That’s it. That is what has gone wrong.”
  • Smil is consumed by the United States’ waning ability to compete with China
  • Tony Fadell, the former Apple executive credited with bringing the iPod and iPhone to market, has characterized the smartphone as representative of a type of super-cycle in which hardware and software have reached a critical point of maturity.
  • General Electric has jet engines packed full of sensors taught to proactively report possible anomalies to its human mechanics.
  • Whether it’s Tesla or SpaceX taking Ethernet cables and running them inside of rocket ships, you are talking about combining the old-world science of manufacturing with low-cost, consumer-grade technology. You put these things together, and they morph into something we have never seen before. All of a sudden there is a wholesale change,” he said. “It’s a step function.”
  • You can frame a problem in a way that’s really good for the business.”
  • As Page puts it, “Good ideas are always crazy until they’re not.”
  • “I’ve learned that your intuition about things you don’t know that much about isn’t very good,”
  • “The way Elon talks about this is that you always need to start with the first principles of a problem. What are the physics of it? How much time will it take? How much will it cost? How much cheaper can I make it? There’s this level of engineering and physics that you need to make judgments about what’s possible and interesting. Elon is unusual in that he knows that, and he also knows business and organization and leadership and governmental issues.”
  • we find stuff that eventually turns out to be real.
  • We go through hundreds or thousands of possible things before arriving at the ones that are most promising.”
  • we just have a single proof point now that you can be really passionate about something that other people think is crazy and you can really succeed.
  • Page holds Musk up as a model he wishes others would emulate—a figure that should be replicated during a time in which the businessmen and politicians have fixated on short-term, inconsequential goals.
  • You should have some leadership training and a bit of MBA training or knowledge of how to run things, organize stuff, and raise money.
  • When you’re able to think about all of these disciplines together, you kind of think differently and can dream of much crazier things and how they might work. I think that’s really an important thing for the world. That’s how we make progress.”
  • The pressure of feeling the need to fix the world takes its toll
  • “Elon came to the conclusion early in his career that life is short,” Straubel said. “If you really embrace this, it leaves you with the obvious conclusion that you should be working as hard as you can.”
  • The idea of work-life balance seems meaningless in this context.
  • you don’t realize experiences are unusual until you are much older. They’re just your experiences. They have good manners at meals.”
  • It bothers Musk a bit that his kids won’t suffer like he did. He feels that the suffering helped to make him who he is and gave him extra reserves of strength and will.
  • The rule is they have to read more than they play video games. They also can’t play completely stupid video games.
  • “Like, if it’s a negative Darwinian vector, then obviously that’s not a good thing.
  • I’m not saying like only smart people should have kids. I’m just saying that smart people should have kids as well.
  • I notice that a lot of really smart women have zero or one kid. You’re like, ‘Wow, that’s probably not good.’”
  • Musk may well have gone so far as to give people hope and to have renewed their faith in what technology can do for mankind.
  • He’s bet on the inventiveness of man and the ability of solar, battery, and aerospace technology to follow predicted price and performance curves.
  • Musk just seems to possess a level of conviction that is so intense and exceptional as to be off-putting to some.
  • I asked Musk directly just how much he was willing to put on the line. His response? Everything that other people hold dear.
  • Riley wanted a simpler, smaller life in England and had come to despise Los Angeles.
  • Musk is, and has always been, a man on a quest, and that his brand of quest is far more fantastic and consuming than anything most of us will ever experience.
  • his brand of empathy is unique. He seems to feel for the human species as a whole without always wanting to consider the wants and needs of individuals.
  • you can program faster, you can get functionality faster in the PC C++ world.
  • There were more smart programmers in the gaming industry than anywhere else. I’m not sure the general public understands this.
  • Max had created was called Max Code. So Max has had quite a strong affinity for Max Code. This was a bunch of libraries that Max and his friends had done. But it just made it quite hard to develop new features. And if you look at PayPal today, I mean, part of the reason they haven’t developed any new features is because it’s quite difficult to maintain the old system.
  • Most of the people at PayPal don’t understand this. The reason it worked was because the cost of transactions in PayPal was lower than any other system.
  • Internal transactions were essentially fraud-free and cost us nothing.
  • If using PayPal means you pay 2 percent for your transactions and using some other systems means you pay 4 percent, that means using PayPal gives you a 20 percent increase in your profitability. You’d have to be brain dead not to do that.
  • The question then is how do you give people a reason to keep money in the system.
  • it’s so ridiculous that PayPal today is worse than PayPal circa end of 2001. That’s insane.
  • “None of these start-ups understand the objective. The objective should be—what delivers fundamental value.
  • The banks who provide that debt wanted SolarCity to have the additional and painful scrutiny that comes with being public.
  • My goal at SpaceX is to give you the best aspects of a public and private company. When we do a financing round, the stock price is keyed off of approximately what we would be worth if publicly traded, excluding irrational exuberance or depression, but without the pressure and distraction of being under a hot public spotlight.
  • I do actually recommend selling some amount of stock, even if you are certain it will appreciate, as life is short and a bit more cash can increase fun and reduce stress at home (so long as you don’t ratchet up your ongoing personal expenditures proportionately).
  • The lows came when key people said no and to not bother them again. String four or five of those no’s together in a row, and it felt at times like writing a proper book about Musk was impossible. The thing that keeps you going is that a few people do say yes and then a few more,
  • once Musk committed to the project, he committed fully,
  • the Social Credit Party.
  • creative recollection,”
  • Build quick and learn quickly was Elon’s philosophy. He was relentless in wanting the costs to come down.
  • The issue is doing it and like actually creating a rocket that can make that happen.”
  • “We have to have governments, but the idea that the government goes out and competes with companies is fucking nuts.”
  • “Sometimes you have to put something out there for people to attack,” Musk said. “In the long run, the stores won’t be important. The way things will really grow is by word of mouth. The stores are like a viral seed to get things going.”
  • ‘No man is an island unless he is large and buoyant.’

Experiments with Alternate Currents of High Potential and High Frequency

  • As in nature all is ebb and tide, all is wave motion, so it seems that; in all branches of industry alternating currents--electric wave motion--will have the sway.
  • some one, no matter who, may find a solution of one of the pending great problems,--and each succeeding day we return to our task with renewed ardor; and even if we are unsuccessful, our work has not been in vain, for in these strivings, in these efforts, we have found hours of untold pleasure, and we have directed our energies to the benefit of mankind.
  • in scientific investigation each novel result achieved may be the centre of a new departure, each novel fact learned may lead to important developments.
  • I have purposely dwelt upon this apparently insignificant experiment.
  • These experiments teach us that, in endeavoring to discover novel methods of producing light by the agitation of atoms, or molecules, of a gas, we need not limit our research to the vacuum tube, but may look forward quite seriously to the possibility of obtaining the light effects without the use of any vessel whatever, with air at ordinary pressure.
  • have concentrated the action upon a very small surface--in other words, I have worked with a great electric density.

Exponential Organizations: Why new organizations are ten times better, faster, and cheaper than yours (and what to do about it)

  • One reason for this debacle, according to Dan Colussy, who drove Iridium’s buyout in 2000, was the company’s refusal to update business assumptions. “The Iridium business plan was locked in place twelve years before the system became operational,” he recalls.
  • There must be a better way to organize ourselves. We’ve learned how to scale technology; now it’s time we learned how to scale organizations.
  • An Exponential Organization (ExO) is one whose impact (or output) is disproportionally large—at least 10x larger—compared to its peers because of the use of new organizational techniques that leverage accelerating technologies.
  • Once any domain, discipline, technology or industry becomes information-enabled and powered by information flows, its price/performance begins doubling approximately annually.
  • outline the key internal and external attributes of an Exponential Organization, including its design (or lack thereof), lines of communication, decision-making protocol, information infrastructure, management, philosophy and life cycle.
  • If we can’t guarantee you success, we can at least put you on the right playing field and show you the new rules of the game.
  • It seemed that, when facing exponential growth, the experts in almost every field always projected linearly, despite the evidence before their eyes.
  • mistakes this great are almost always due to a complete misinterpretation of the rules defining the nature of the marketplace.
  • They come from relying on a paradigm that performed perfectly up until the moment it didn’t, and that is suddenly, often inexplicably, out of date.
  • With the shift to digital photography, something important—indeed something revolutionary—happened. The marginal cost of taking an extra photograph didn’t just diminish, as it would with a linear improvement in the technology; instead, it essentially sank to zero
  • a radical change in the perceptions of the marketplace. That is the very definition of a paradigm shift.
  • an information-based environment delivers fundamentally disruptive opportunities
  • a profound shift is occurring from a physical substrate to an information substrate.
  • the heart of every one of these disruptions—these evolutionary leaps—can be found a fundamental change in the role of information:
  • we are shifting to an information-based paradigm.
  • when you shift to an information-based environment, the pace of development jumps onto an exponential growth path and price/performance doubles every year or two.
  • every information-based paradigm operates in the same way, something he called the Law of Accelerating Returns (LOAR).
  • in the words of Raymond McCauley, “It will soon be cheaper to sequence your genome…than it will be to flush your toilet.”
  • The physical world is still there, of course, but our relationship to it is changing fundamentally.
  • for many of us, our memories aren’t in our heads anymore—they’re buried in our smartphones.
  • We are rapidly changing the filter through which we deal with the world from a physical, materially-based perspective to an information- and knowledge-based one.
  • The Internet is now the world’s nervous system, with our mobile devices serving as edge points and nodes on that network.
  • we’re just 1 percent of the way down the road. Not only is most of that growth still ahead of us, all of it is. And everything is being disrupted in the process.
  • Historically, disruptive breakthroughs always occur when disparate fields cross.
  • Today, we are essentially cross-connecting all innovative new fields.
  • An information-enabled environment delivers fundamentally disruptive opportunities.
  • Nokia didn’t understand the larger, exponential implications of Leveraged Assets
  • Ownership was the perfect strategy for managing scarce resources and ensuring a relatively predictable, stable environment.
  • the classic way to build a product, be it a giant airliner or a thumbnail-sized microprocessor, is through a template stage-gate process called New Product Development, or NPD, which includes the following steps: Idea generation Idea screening Concept development and testing Business analysis Beta and market testing Technical implementation Commercialization New product pricing
  • The linear process remains pervasive across the world economy, taking on different names in its different iterations. In software, for example, it’s been called the waterfall approach. And while new development methods, like Agile, have cropped up to short-circuit this approach and parallelize some of the steps, the basic paradigm is still linear and incremental.
  • this works when both problem and desired solution are precisely known.
  • When you think linearly, when your operations are linear, and when your measures of performance and success are linear, you cannot help but end up with a linear organization,
  • Strongly invested in status quo
  • John Hagel said: “Our organizations are set up to withstand change from the outside,” rather than to embrace those changes even when they are useful.
  • What they will do, and what they are built to do, is to keep getting bigger in order to take advantage of economies of scale. Scale—but linear scale—is
  • Every time you try to do something, you have to get authorization from all the muckety-mucks
  • Salim has observed with matrix structures is that, over time, power accrues to the horizontals. Often, HR or legal have no incentive to say yes,
  • over time, their incentives end up at cross-purposes with those of product managers.
  • Hagel also notes: “One of the key issues in an exponential world…is that whatever understanding you have today is going to rapidly become obsolete, and so you have to continue to refresh your education about the technologies and about the organizational capabilities.
  • Gabriel Baldinucci, Chief Strategy Officer at Singularity University and a former principal at Virgin Group’s U.S. venture arm, has observed that there are two levels of immune responses. The first is to defend the core business because it’s the status quo; the second is to defend yourself as an individual because there’s more ROI for you than for the organization.
  • two factors hold true for all next-generation ExO companies:
  • Access resources you don’t own
  • Information is your greatest asset.
  • It is our belief that most great new enterprises in the years to come will either build their businesses off new sources of information or by converting previously analog environments into information.
  • For instance, what if you could count the number of cars in any or all Sears or Walmart parking lots throughout the country?
  • We’ve learned how to scale technology; now it’s time to scale the organization.
  • it now takes an average of between two hundred fifty and three hundred days for a typical Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) company to move a new product from invention to
  • there are two fundamental drivers that enable ExOs to achieve this level of scalability. The first is that some aspect of the company’s product has been information-enabled and thus, following Moore’s Law, can take on the doubling characteristics of information growth.
  • The second is that, thanks to the fact that information is essentially liquid, major business functions can be transferred outside of the organization—to users, fans, partners or the general public.
  • “Shape the future of the Internet by creating unprecedented value and opportunity for our customers, employees, investors, and ecosystem partners.” While there’s some Purpose there, and it’s somewhat Massive, it’s certainly not Transformative. Furthermore, it is a statement that could be used by at least a dozen Internet companies.
  • This cultural shift inspired by the MTP has its own secondary effects. For one thing, it moves the focal point of a team from internal politics to external impact.
  • the Purpose must answer two critical “why” questions: Why do this work? Why does the organization exist?
  • it lowers the acquisition, transaction and retention costs of these stakeholders.
  • Aspirational branding helps lower costs, improves effectiveness and speeds learning by leveraging intrinsic, rather than external, motivation.
  • Peter Diamandis says, “the world’s biggest problems are the world’s biggest markets.”
  • We predict they’ll all be climbing Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in search of Self-Actualization. (And isn’t that just a complicated way of describing an MTP?)
  • Advisory Board Architects (ABA)
  • “If you build communities and you do things in public,” he says, “you don’t have to find the right people, they find you.”
  • the Internet is producing trait-based communities that share intent, belief, resources, preferences, needs, risks and other characteristics, none of which depend on physical proximity.
  • True community occurs when peer-to-peer engagement occurs.
  • You need strong leadership to manage the community, because although there are no employees, people still have responsibilities and need to be held accountable for their performances.
  • Create a platform to automate peer-to-peer engagement.
  • crowd is made up of concentric rings of people outside the core community.
  • While similar, there is a distinct difference between Crowd and Staff on Demand.
  • Staff on Demand is managed—you tell workers what it is they have to do. Crowd, on the other hand, is pull-based
  • Validation is achieved by obtaining measurable evidence that an experiment, product or service succeeds in meeting pre-determined specifications.
  • Gustin, a premium designer jeans company, uses crowdfunding for all of its designs.
  • Gustin thus has no product risk or inventory costs.
  • As a result of both Staff on Demand and Community & Crowd, the core FTEs of an organization become smaller and its flexible workforce larger. As a result, organizations are not only much more agile, they are also better at learning and unlearning due to the diversity and volume of a flexible workforce. Ideas are also able to circulate much faster.
  • MTP • Engagement • Authentic and transparent leadership • Low threshold to participate • P2P value creation
  • Today, the world is pretty much run on algorithms.
  • Algorithmia, where companies are matched with algorithms that can potentially make sense of their data.
  • Deep Learning algorithms can even play video games by figuring out the rules of the game and then optimizing performance.
  • The algorithmic process starts with harnessing data, which is gathered via sensors or humans, or imported from public datasets.
  • Open data and APIs can be used to enable an ExO’s community to develop valuable services, new functionalities and innovation layered on top of the platform by remixing the ExO’s data with their own.
  • algorithms are not only the key to the future of business in general, but they are also critical for organizations committed to driving exponential growth.
  • Ford’s Employee Patent Incentive Program. Some 2,000 Ford employees joined the program, resulting in a 50 percent increase in patentable ideas. GE, in conjunction with TechShop, Skillshare and Quirky, launched a similar initiative last year in Chicago called GE Garages.
  • ExOs retain their flexibility precisely by not owning assets, even in strategic areas.
  • When the asset in question is rare or extremely scarce, then ownership is a better option.
  • if your asset is information-based or commoditized at all, then accessing is better than possessing.
  • User engagement techniques, such as sweepstakes, quizzes, coupons, airline miles and loyalty cards have been around for a long time.
  • Engagement is comprised of digital reputation systems, games and incentive prizes, and provides the opportunity for virtuous, positive feedback loops—which
  • how do you enable, foster, organize, galvanize and act on that fundamental human capacity to contribute and work with others?
  • converting users into loyal players—and in the process accomplish extraordinary things.
  • “Gamification should empower people, not exploit them. It should feel good at the end of the day because you made progress towards something that mattered to you.”
  • every gamification initiative should leverage the following game techniques: Dynamics: motivate behavior through scenarios, rules and progression Mechanics: help achieve goals through teams, competitions, rewards and feedback Components: track progress through quests, points, levels, badges and collections
  • The platform achieved a voluntary participation rate of over 95 percent,
  • culture completely shifted.
  • Keas, which was specifically created to improve employee wellness.
  • Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize, which will award $10 million to the first team whose handheld medical diagnostic device outperforms ten board-certified physicians.
  • Perhaps the most important side effect of incentive competition is the peripheral innovation it creates as numerous competitors race towards a common goal.
  • what began as an external competition funneled into an internal interface that provided Vodafone with opportunities to fund and acquire ideas, identify talent and acquire candidates. Vodafone’s “contest” became a form of corporate venture capital, which morphed successfully into the thriving Startupbootcamp (SBC) startup incubator/accelerator program across Europe.
  • No matter how promising its product or premise, unless an ExO is able to optimize the engagement of its community and crowd, it will wither and fade.
  • Exponential Organizations have a Massive Transformative Purpose (MTP)
  • Staff on Demand Community & Crowd Algorithms Leveraged Assets Engagement
  • The sheer output to be processed when SCALE elements are leveraged requires that the internal control mechanisms of an ExO be managed carefully and efficiently.
  • With exponential output, the internal organization needs to be extremely robust, precise and properly tuned to process all the inputs.
  • They also have distinctly different internal operations that encompass everything from their business philosophies to how employees interact with one another, how they measure their performance (and what they value in that performance), and even their attitudes toward risk—in fact, especially their attitudes toward risk.
  • Interfaces Dashboards Experimentation Autonomy Social Technologies
  • these processes start out manual and gradually become automated around the edges.
  • Eventually, however, they became self-provisioning platforms that enable the ExO to scale.
  • Interfaces are critical if an organization is to scale seamlessly,
  • TED has strict guidelines that help its many “franchised” TEDx events around the world deliver with consistency.
  • As these new processes evolve and become more powerful, they typically feature both heavy instrumentation and the kind of metadata gathering that feeds the company’s Dashboards
  • Interfaces tend to become the most distinctive internal characteristics of a fully realized ExO.
  • Interfaces empower the enterprise’s management of its SCALE external attributes—in particular Staff on Demand, Leveraged Assets and Community & Crowd. Without such interfaces the ExO cannot scale, thus making them increasingly mission-critical.
  • Gigwalk workers receive location-based, simple tasks when available
  • One final way to think about Interfaces is that they help manage abundance
  • Bridge between external growth drivers and internal stabilizing factors
  • Automation allows scalability
  • ExOs need a new way to measure and manage the organization: a real-time, adaptable dashboard with all essential company and employee metrics, accessible to everyone in the organization.
  • There has always been a tension in business created by the need to balance instrumentation and data collection versus running the company and getting things done.
  • Collecting internal progress statistics takes time, effort and expensive IT.
  • This emergent focus on real value KPIs is being built into the popular new Lean Startup movement (see Experimentation).
  • Scientific results in neuroscience, gamification and behavioral economics have shown the importance of both specificity and frequent feedback in driving behavioral change and, ultimately, having an impact.
  • Specificity and rapid feedback cycles energize, motivate and drive company morale and culture.
  • OKR Hub, Cascade, Teamly and 7Geese,
  • dashboards of value metrics, used in conjunction with OKRs, are becoming the de facto standard for measuring ExOs—everything
  • At Google, for example, all OKRs are completely transparent and public within the company.
  • growing at a rapid pace requires that instrumentation of the business, individual and team assessments be integrated and carried out in real time,
  • John Seely Brown made the compelling point that all corporate architectures are set up to withstand risk and change. Furthermore, he said, all corporate planning efforts attempt to scale efficiency and predictability, meaning they work to create static—or at least controlled-growth—environments in the belief that they will reduce risk.
  • Mark Zuckerberg agrees, noting, “The biggest risk is not taking any risk.” Constant experimentation and process iteration are now the only ways to reduce risk.
  • Large numbers of bottom-up ideas, properly filtered, always trump top-down thinking, no matter the industry or organization.
  • “scalable learning,”
  • it also establishes a measurable funnel by which promising ideas and concepts can be identified and pursued in a systemic and comparable way.
  • kaizen: constant improvement as a fundamental process
  • “Eliminate all expenses with any goal other than the creation of value for the end customer.”)
  • a new, scientific, data-driven, iterative, and highly customer-driven approach to practical innovation that is used by startups, mid-market companies, corporations and even governments.
  • the traditional waterfall approach to product development is a linear process
  • NPD has become a process in which thinking and doing are separated for a long time period and where data-driven and behavioral customer feedback is delivered too late in the development process.
  • “Knowledge gives you a little bit of an edge, but tinkering (trial and error) is the equivalent of 1,000 IQ points.
  • tinkering that allowed the Industrial Revolution.”
  • an experiment to see if a proposed product matches those needs.
  • you move from point A to point B, you can then see point C. But you can’t see point C from point A.
  • Iteration/experimentation is the only way.
  • “Traffic Karaoke in Bogota”
  • top-down direction with bottom-up creativity and little or no cultural tension.
  • When failure is not an option, you end up with safe, incremental innovation, with no radical breakthroughs or disruptive innovations.
  • failure can and should be celebrated for the learning such experimentation offers.
  • culture that accepts failure benefits from diminished internal politics and much less in the way of pointing fingers and “blame games” thanks to trust, transparency and openness.
  • For a hardware company, it’s much harder to iterate.
  • Keeps processes aligned with rapidly changing externalities
  • Autonomy is a prerequisite for permissionless innovation
  • its employee manual is open sourced and available to anyone,
  • instead of relying on employee reviews, share options are allocated on an anonymous peer-to-peer basis.
  • Holacracy, which has taken Agile techniques from the software world and the Lean Startup approach and extended them to all aspects of the organization.
  • Charles Darwin discovered that evolution progressed fastest wherever small groups of a species isolated from the main population adapted to stressful conditions.
  • small, independent and interdisciplinary teams are critical to future organizations, especially at the edges.
  • horizontal interactions in vertically organized companies.
  • “Transparency is the new currency. Trust is the bill we’ll just be paying for.”
  • Priestley’s equation for social business is: CONNECTION + ENGAGEMENT + TRUST + TRANSPARENCY.
  • Migrate from having to look up information to having it flow through your perception.
  • Social Technologies are comprised of seven key elements: Social objects, Activity streams, Task management, File sharing, Telepresence, Virtual worlds and Emotional sensing.
  • lower an organization’s information latency.
  • work in the past was mostly focused on the importance of the Intelligence Quotient (IQ), the Emotional Quotient (EQ) and Spiritual Quotient (SQ) are now becoming increasingly important metrics as well.
  • because the algorithm was developed externally, there was much less corporate emotional attachment
  • www.exponentialorgs.com/survey
  • the shift from analog to digital is occurring in multiple core technologies that feature multiplier effects at their intersections.
  • as data about the many different components of a single item or process is systematically analyzed and automated by software (data analytics).
  • Nowhere is this staggering pace of change more apparent than with the consumer Internet.
  • Reid Hoffman has said, “If you’re not embarrassed by the product when you launch, you’ve launched too late.”
  • Wercker, a delivery software development platform based in Holland.
  • A single developer working on, say, a printer driver, can now benefit from the transparency of a hundred other developers who’ve worked on similar projects.
  • Illumina, a biotech
  • The cost of having three generations of technology either in inventory or development was enormous for everyone involved.
  • OpenPCR, it was dedicated to building a DNA-copying machine for just $599.
  • Dan Barry, a former astronaut who now builds robots, notes that whenever he gets stuck on a robot configuration or sensor problem, he posts a question online before he goes to bed, waking the next morning to finds answers from tens of thousands of robot enthusiasts.
  • new information-enabled technologies will power exponential cost drops not just in sales and marketing, but also across every business function.
  • (NPS), which measures the loyalty that exists between a provider and a consumer. An NPS can be as low as −100 (everybody is a detractor) or as high as +100 (everybody is a promoter). An NPS that is positive (i.e., higher than zero) is considered good, and an NPS of +50 is excellent. The NPS is largely based on a single, direct question: How likely is it that you would recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?
  • the marginal cost of supply goes to zero
  • every industry is becoming information-based, either by being digitized or by using information to identify under-utilized assets
  • in their book Abundance, Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler argue that as technology brings us a world of abundance, access will triumph over ownership.
  • scarcity of supply or resources tends to keep costs high and stimulates ownership over access.
  • Collaborative Consumption leverages the Internet and social networks to create a more efficient utilization of physical assets.
  • fractional ownership, peer-to-peer renting,
  • the television industry will be the next to fall to the information ax.
  • the outsider has all the advantages. With no legacy systems to worry about, as well as the ability to enjoy low overhead and take advantage of the democratization of information and—more important—technology, the newcomer can move quickly and with a minimum of expense.
  • Many established companies still consider transparency to be the height of progressive business thinking.
  • Henry Mintzberg, Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning
  • Moments of Impact: How to Design Strategic Conversations That Accelerate Change, Chris Ertel and Lisa Kay Solomon
  • Both now and in the coming years, adaptability and agility will increasingly eclipse size and scale.
  • one key advantage of a small team is that it can take on much bigger risks than a large one can.
  • for Rovio, Angry Birds was its 53rd game—the
  • Rovio only had to contend with a single point of negotiations, freeing it up to focus on its games—a scenario we strongly suspect the company prefers.
  • BioCurious, another Silicon Valley invention, is an open wetlab where enthusiasts take courses, use centrifuges and test tubes, and synthesize DNA.
  • Apple essentially rents capabilities from Foxconn to manufacture its products. And
  • This trajectory, from ownership to access to data analytics, can also be seen in numerous other vertical markets such as automobiles and real estate.
  • Teamly, which combines project management, OKRs and performance reviews with the power of an internal social network.
  • Anything predictable has been or will be automated by AI or robots, leaving the human worker to handle exceptional situations.
  • a Google car, with its lidar (light radar) scanning the surrounding environment with sixty-four lasers, collects almost a gigabyte of data per second per car.
  • Spire, a QS device that measures respiration.
  • Like it or not, we are hurtling towards a world of radical transparency—and
  • Beyond Verbal, an Israeli company, can analyze the tonal variations of a 10-second clip of your voice to determine mood and underlying attitude with an 85 percent certainty.
  • What larger meta-factors that we never knew even existed will emerge from these mountains of data?
  • Laser spectroscopy, for example, is currently being used to analyze food and drink for allergens, toxins, vitamins, minerals and calories. Companies already exploring this technology’s capabilities include Apple, SCiO by Consumer Physics, TellSpec, Vessyl and Airo Health.
  • OwnHealth, uses the cloud to analyze photographs of urine test strips in order to diagnose many medical conditions.
  • creating new business models on existing data streams or by adding new data streams to old paradigms.
  • The only way to know where your company stands on the path to becoming an Exponential Organization is to conduct an ExO audit
  • Everything is being turned into information—and
  • Local Motors is a good example of an ExO startup. Founded by Jeff Jones and Jay Rogers in 2007,
  • Rogers visited several car companies, including Ferrari, GM and Tesla, and set himself three goals: Build the first-ever open source community for car body design Build a vehicle Build a channel to market
  • The Local Motors community consists of enthusiasts, hobbyist innovators and professionals. They are designers, engineers and makers who participate in each component of the design (interior, exterior, name, logo, etc.), which is then open sourced with a Creative Commons license.
  • When assessing a startup for funding, investors typically categorize three major risk areas: Technology risk: Will it work? Market risk: Will people buy the product? Execution risk: Is the team able to function and pivot as needed? The challenge facing every startup lies in discovering how to de-risk each of these areas and, in the process, find a business model in the chosen problem space. Nothing is more important.
  • entire article
  • it is critical that you are excited and utterly passionate about the problem space you plan to attack.
  • What is the biggest problem I’d like to see solved? Identify that problem space and then come up with an MTP for it.
  • “Don’t just ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. What the world needs is people who have come alive.”
  • “The most successful people are obsessed with solving an important problem, something that matters to them.
  • Kahlil Gibran: “Work is love made visible. The goal is not to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.”
  • The collaborative power of communities is critical to any ExO.
  • in any community-driven startup, there’s a tension between the good of the community and the good of the company.
  • Are you primarily a community or are you primarily a company? The reason you have to ask yourself this is because sooner or later the two will come in conflict.
  • According to Mullenweg, “Whenever this moment comes up, always bet on the community, because that’s the difference between long-term thinking and short-term thinking.” Basically, if you get the community right, opportunities will arise. If you get community wrong, the engine of innovation dissolves and you won’t have a company anymore.
  • the single best way to determine the health of an organization is by “observing the leadership team during a meeting.”
  • one of the main points of Aileen Lee’s Unicorn study: companies composed of well-educated thirty-something co-founders with a shared work or school history have the highest success rate. Her research shows that the average age of a Unicorn founder is thirty-four, and the average number of co-founders is three. In addition, most successful founder CEOs have technical backgrounds.
  • teams are to deliver diverse backgrounds, independent thought and complementary skills: Visionary/Dreamer: The primary role in the company’s story. The founder with the strongest vision for the company comes up with the MTP and holds the organization to it. User Experience Design: Role focuses on users’ needs and ensures that every contact with users is as intuitive, simple and clear as possible. Programming/Engineering: Role responsible for bringing together the various technologies required to build the product or service. Finance/Business: The business function assesses the viability and profitability of the organization, is the cornerstone of interactions with investors and manages the all-important burn rate.
  • Discovery skills: The ability to generate ideas—to associate, question, observe, network and experiment. Delivery skills: The ability to execute ideas—to analyze, plan, implement, follow through and be detail-oriented.
  • Whatever the approach, however, founders must be intrinsically motivated self-starters. Most of all, in the face of rapid growth and change, they must have complete trust in one another’s judgment.
  • Peter Thiel told his co-founders (Elon Musk, Reid Hoffman, Luke Nosek, Max Levchin and Chad Hurley) and employees that they all should work together as friends rather than more formally as employees.
  • Arianna Huffington says, “I would rather have somebody much less brilliant and who’s a team player, who’s straightforward, than somebody who is very brilliant and toxic to the organization.”
  • According to Marc Andreessen, “Most entrepreneurs prefer failing conventionally rather than succeeding unconventionally.”
  • We believe, however, that it’s better to start with a passion to solve a particular problem, rather than to start with an idea or a technology.
  • by focusing on the problem space, you are not tied to one particular idea or solution, and thus don’t end up shoehorning a technology into a problem space where it might not be a good fit.
  • the key to success is relentless execution,
  • Entrepreneurial success rarely comes from the idea. Instead, it comes from the founding team’s never-say-die attitude and relentless execution.
  • Those who really want something will find options.
  • Fred Wilson says, “Startups should be hunch-driven early on, and data-driven as they scale.”
  • Thiel builds on this with a profound question for startup founders: “Tell me something you believe is true but [that] you have a hard time trying to convince others [of].”
  • Peter Diamandis is fond of saying, “The day before a major breakthrough, it is just a crazy idea.”
  • To a true entrepreneur, there are no impossibilities, just barriers to overcome.
  • how to create effective value propositions, we recommend reading Osterwalder’s new book, Value Proposition Design: How to Create Products and Services Customers Want
  • A creative work has no value unless its potential audience can find it.
  • “findability” only exists at the aggregator level, as individual creators typically get lost in the noise.
  • “Not all startups thrive by experimentation and purpose only.” LinkedIn, Palantir and SpaceX were fundamentally successful due to a strong vision of the future.
  • Identify data streams that can be automated and help with product development.
  • Design product with engagement in mind. Gather all user interactions. Gamify where possible.
  • digital reputational system
  • do not automate until you’re ready to scale.
  • Set up OKR and value, serendipity, and growth metrics dashboards; do not implement value metrics until product finalized
  • Implement the GitHub technical and organizational model with radical openness, transparency
  • Joi Ito, head of the MIT Media Lab, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”)
  • Establishing a corporate culture starts with learning how to effectively track, manage and reward performance. And that begins with designing the OKR system we outlined in Chapter Four, and then continues through the process of getting the team habituated to transparency, accountability, execution and high performance.
  • Ray Kurzweil says: “An invention needs to make sense in the world in which it is finished, not the world in which it is started
  • Futurist Paul Saffo has said that most transformative (technological) inventions fail the first few times when launched, and generally take fifteen years to be fully realized. Why? Various reasons: too early, bad timing, unproven business models, integration issues—all result in a poor customer experience in an even poorer marketplace.
  • Building and Maintaining a Platform
  • Sangeet Paul Choudary identified the four steps needed to build a successful platform (as opposed to a successful product):
  • Design a way to facilitate that interaction. Then see if you can build it as a small prototype that you can curate yourself. If it works at that level, it will be worth taking to the next level and scaling.
  • The final step is exposing the data in the form of an open platform.
  • the world that is emerging is very different from the one we’ve known.
  • Power is becoming easier to acquire but harder to keep.
  • In her book, The End of Competitive Advantage: How to Keep Your Strategy Moving as Fast as Your Business, Rita Gunther McGrath illustrates that we can only obtain what she calls Transient Competitive Advantages via platforms and purpose, community, and culture.
  • Lessons for Enterprise ExOs
  • According to Salim, the greatest danger when building an Enterprise ExO is that the “immune system” of the parent company will come and attack it.
  • A new enterprise won’t fit neatly anywhere and internal politics will ensue, especially if you are cannibalizing an existing revenue stream. The only exception we’ve found is when individual EExOs are part of a larger platform play like Apple’s products, which start out at the edge and are brought into the center.
  • As with any new startup, it’s critical for a new ExO to operate as a greenfield operation, relying on stealth and confidentiality.
  • As Steve Jobs said, “We run Apple like a startup. We always let ideas win arguments, not hierarchies. Otherwise, your best employees won’t stay. Collaboration, discipline and trust are critical.”
  • Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler’s second book, BOLD (Simon & Schuster, Feb 2015),
  • you must start with what already exists and build from there.
  • GitHub has created a new office for any and all stakeholders to drop by and contribute or learn.
  • GitHub explicitly doesn’t use “lock-in” as a tactic, but rather focuses on respecting its users and being the best platform in the market space.
  • Given the freedom employees have to join any project, they need ready access to training materials and documentation from across the organization; without them, switching projects creates too much friction as newcomers struggle to get oriented.
  • new team members are able to be productive from the first day they join a project.
  • “open allocation,” which essentially translates to: always work on stuff you are personally excited about or that you find fulfilling.
  • the de facto office of the company is the chat room;
  • Bottom line: GitHub is an emergent organization driven by passion and purpose.
  • Dashboards: The data from all trucks, as well as from a proprietary company mobile app, are monitored in real time and are available both to company management and the drivers themselves to help all stakeholders better deliver on the company’s mission and to achieve performance goals.
  • a smog reduction project in Beijing that uses captured smog to create carbon rings as a wearable device. If all that sounds more than a little absurd, it’s because it is…until the moment it all becomes real.
  • Activity streams via Viadesk software and extensive use of wikis.
  • Google Trends and Social Media Monitoring (Lean Startup tool) personalize art installations or expositions by country (by culture or memes); such customization is called Copy Morph.
  • Most acquisitions fail because the mother company intentionally slows the newly acquired operation in order to better understand it, adapt its internal operations to the new order, achieve integration synergies and inculcate the new employees into the company culture. It is an understandable impulse, but one that almost always confuses and frustrates the new team, resulting in what Goldberg calls “impedance mismatch.”
  • GitHub was almost entirely virtual from the start, so could easily change the requirements for participation.
  • The drivetrain of the Tesla S has just seventeen moving parts—compare that to the several hundred moving parts in a conventional car’s drivetrain.
  • Conley found that the more information-based we become, the greater the need to rely on rituals and meaning to stabilize companies and keep teams motivated.
  • Naam also observed that as a result of this top-down focus, the flow of information in large corporations inevitably followed a slow, circular motion.
  • Naam also noted that it actually increased the distance between information and decision-making, resulting in the following structural failures: Information moved slowly and insights took a long time to be implemented. Reality, as with the game of “Telephone,” became distorted at each point of transfer. The flow pattern of the information inevitably bypassed a tremendous amount of intermediary brainpower and experience. The process often caused organizations to behave in a sociopathic manner, ultimately forcing employees to do things against their better judgment.
  • Most focus and attention is internal, not external. Emphasis tends to be on technologies with existing expertise; converging technologies or adjacencies tend to be ignored and breakthrough thinking is punished. Reliance on innovation from inside rather than outside.
  • “Companies may promote the idea of new business creation, [but] in the end they are all in the business of reducing risk and building to scale—which is, of course, the antithesis of entrepreneurship and new ventures.”
  • he quickly realized, was that although the young social networking company could be force-fit into any of five different Yahoo business units, ultimately it wouldn’t fit well anywhere.
  • As we enter what Dave Blakely of IDEO calls “a programmable world,” what is a large and established organization to do? Answer: Transform.
  • we believe that in an ExO era, such tactics are unsustainable, particularly when it comes to the consumer domain. Why? Because of the amount of time they take. The pace of adoption over the Internet far outruns the regulatory process.
  • the cure just might kill you. It is our firm belief that a large company cannot suddenly implement the SCALE and IDEAS processes and turn itself into an ExO overnight. It is simply too radical a transformation, one that is likely to crush a company’s core business before it has time to find a new one. And even if the company does manage to institute a new business, the internal stress caused by such radical change will be extreme.
  • established companies must transform themselves or they will quickly become obsolete. Despite the well-documented difficulties in fostering innovation in large organizations, not to mention the endless number of innovation consultants waiting in the wings to give often bad and conflicting advice, a large company cannot sit by and do nothing.
  • In this new high-metabolism world, where accelerating technologies are orthogonally impacting a greater and greater number of industries, large organizations need strategies to more closely align themselves with ExO thinking.
  • The education requirement for senior leadership applies even more to board members, as they are even less likely to be technologically up to date. How can the board guide a CEO if it is not aware of the potentially disruptive changes the company faces?
  • it takes everyone at the top, working together in full agreement about the threats facing the company, to achieve a shared vision and pull off a successful transformation of the organization.
  • Jaime Grego-Mayor of Advisory Board Architects has noted, fully 95 percent of boards are not procedurally managed at all,
  • If ExOs are using OKRs to measure and track the performance of teams and senior management, then surely their board members, who arguably have the highest potential impact on the company, should be tracked and managed as well.
  • track your board using OKRs.
  • imagination is much more important than experience.”
  • “reverse mentoring.”
  • different types of employees, and that each type is optimally suited for different roles within the company. These include: Optimizers: Run large businesses at scale and squeeze efficiency to maximize profits. Scalers: Take a proven model and grow it. Evangelists: Champion new ideas and move projects from the idea stage to initial commercialization.
  • If customers see their needs and desires being attended to at the highest levels, they are much more willing to persevere through the chaos and experimentation that often comes with exponential growth.
  • without a data-centric approach, entailing rapid feedback and timely progression of a product or service, customers will become frustrated and, ultimately, disengage.
  • Constant learning is critical to staying on the exponential curve.
  • A tremendous opportunity exists to embrace experts outside the organization. Unfortunately, along with this opportunity comes the challenge of having to interact with a large and diverse community.
  • engaging the crowd introduces a lot of noise and invites potential criticism and feedback. While many leaders and organizations ignore most of the criticism and suggestions, creating an open channel to the crowd and the mechanisms to determine signal from noise can provide new perspectives and solutions, allowing access to whole new layers of innovation.
  • Remove anyone who puts his or her own career ahead of the success of the enterprise.
  • A corporation should look to create an internal ExO when: An opportunity is one to two adjacencies away from the company’s core business—perhaps a different business model, buyer, user or go-to market. Urgency is low—there is still time until the market’s inflection point. The company is able to hire the necessary talent. This approach typically maximizes control and minimizes costs for those markets that must be “owned” given their strategic nature.
  • The opportunity is too far removed (3+ adjacencies) from the corporation’s prevailing model. In this case, you must judiciously manage the post-merger integration to ensure that the corporation’s processes do not overwhelm the acquiree and destroy value.
  • Google’s Sebastian Thrun makes clear: “When you’re in a company and your main product is search and every time you’re doing an experiment you risk losing—I don’t know—a few million or one hundred million people, then experimentation is really hard.
  • Changemakers have brilliant ideas and vision—and are often fiercely loyal to the company—but they are frustrated by limitation.
  • It is critical, then, for big companies to locate change agents before their frustrations grow too deep, and re-assign them to the edges of the organization and give them free reign to build ExOs.
  • John Hagel, co-chairman of the aptly named Center for the Edge, and his team have developed a promising new approach to large-scale organizational change that he calls “Scaling Edges.” The methodology behind Scaling Edges is built on the following basic guidelines: Find an edge in the form of an emerging business opportunity that has the potential to scale quickly and become a new core for the business. Line up a changemaker (or team of changemakers) who understands and embraces that edge opportunity. Place the changemaker/team of changemakers outside the core organization.
  • Use the Lean approach and experiment with new initiatives to accelerate learning. Starve the team by providing little in the way of help, money or other resources. Encourage the team to seek leverage by connecting with other companies and participating in an ecosystem that can help accelerate growth. Point the ExO outward. The fledgling enterprise should create a new market or product area, NOT cannibalize the core product suite—at least in its early stages.
  • you do not want to awaken what Salim calls the immune response, so to speak, of the core organization.
  • One explicit step we would add to Hagel’s list is to leverage data. Most large organizations have extraordinary insights and value locked up in their data stores, and leveraging those insights (which Hagel would label as an Edge) offer some low-hanging fruit for edge ExOs to exploit.
  • Recommendation: Move three proven changemakers in your enterprise to the edges of the organization and unleash them as ExOs to disrupt other markets.
  • Thinking proactively, it invited Tom Hulme, one of its own managers, to form a team and take on the challenge of disrupting IDEO itself. The result was OpenIDEO, a fascinating open source version of the company that created an entirely new capability that, in the end, complemented IDEO’s core offering.
  • you’re not disrupting yourself, someone else is; your fate is to be either the disrupter or the disrupted.
  • Hire both internal and external Black Ops teams and have them establish startups with a combined goal of defeating one another and disrupting the mother ship.
  • We strongly recommend that every big company attempt something similar by creating a lab that is a playground for breakthrough technologies.
  • Great ideas always come from crossing disparate areas.
  • In the realm of MEMS sensors, the outlay for accelerometers, microphones, gyroscopes, cameras and magnetometers has dropped 80 percent or more compared to five years ago,
  • The majority of their teams are made up of entrepreneurs, but about a third are composed of corporate accelerators who sign on for one-year memberships.
  • Everis, a multinational consulting firm based in Madrid, has partnered with two Spanish entrepreneurs, Luis Gonzalez-Blanch and Pablo De Manuel Triantafilo, to create mentoring software that matches executives in big companies with startups in their internal incubators.
  • Everis, which intends to offer the service to hundreds of clients across Spain, is looking to push consulting into the new economy of open-talent, accelerating innovation, connected knowledge, Big Data, intelligent currency and pervasive entrepreneurship. In each field, a likely roadmap and database have already been created.
  • the company has created the biggest B2B ICT startup database in the world. It lists 63,000 entrepreneur support organizations, is currently trawling through the APIs of over six hundred websites and has analyzed over half a million startups and SMEs.
  • Business Integration Partners (BIP), a global consulting firm based in Italy, even has a “Corporate Accelerator in a Box” service.
  • Find an incubator or accelerator that is a good fit for your organization. Partner with it or, if it is of insufficient scale for your needs, fund
  • we predict brands will find and merge with aspirational MTPs that will steer them towards providing real value to society—in other words, to a triple bottom line.
  • How can companies rise above prosaic participation in the Web 2.0 world and create a truly social business
  • The instant you declare yourself a fan of the company on social media, Zappos makes special deals available to you through its fans-only section. It’s a relationship that quickly becomes a two-way street—Zappos calls it a “Like-Like” relationship—one that is designed to tie customers ever more tightly to the company and its services.
  • a rich knowledge base that offloads support questions and drives product insights, all while greatly improving customer satisfaction.
  • were companies to actually analyze some of the data they collect, they would gain extraordinary insight into their products, services, distribution channels and customers.
  • If you want to be truly disruptive, an information component is critical.
  • eYeka—a crowdsourcing platform that connects brands with 288,907 creative problem solvers from 164 countries.
  • Extending the notion that decision-making in companies should be driven by data rather than by intuition, Dashboards offer an intuitive way to present complex information in a simple and cogent way.
  • John Seely Brown and John Hagel have observed that although all of our large organizations are set up to scale efficiencies, in this new economy what we actually need to scale is learning
  • while some very good business intelligence (BI) systems exist out there, they are set up largely to measure scaling of efficiency.
  • What is needed now are new dashboards that measure the learning capability of organizations.
  • What, exactly, should learning Dashboards track? Here are a few suggestions: How many (Lean Startup) experiments or A/B-tests did Customer Service run last week? Marketing? Sales? HR? How many innovative ideas have been collected over the past year? How many have been implemented? What percentage of total revenues is driven by new products from the last three years? The last five years?
  • Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) are also important metrics for corporations, even though OKRs are most important in new startups where high growth rates in employment necessitate a shorter feedback loop cycle.
  • “The most valuable compensation for working at a startup as opposed to a ‘normal job’ is a dramatically higher rate of learning (ROL).”
  • John Hagel believes that Edge thinkers in large organizations should track metrics that will get the attention of the leadership at the core, but at the same time identify and ruthlessly track a new set of metrics relevant to ExOs.
  • there are nine other types of innovation to track in a balanced way across an organization: Profit Model: How you make money Network: How you connect with others to create value Structure: How you organize and align your talent and assets Process: How you use signature or superior methods to do your work Product Performance: How you develop distinguishing features and functionality Product System: How you create complementary products and services Service: How you support and amplify the value of your offerings Channel: How you deliver your offerings to customers and users Brand: How you represent your offerings and business
  • almost half of Zara’s garments are manufactured centrally, a decision that allows it to move from new design to distribution in less than two weeks.
  • Perhaps the attribute most critical to a learning organization is Experimentation, which is particularly hard for big organizations, since they tend to focus on execution rather than innovation.
  • any large company can implement techniques like the Lean Startup approach, as well as continually test assumptions.
  • any organization’s understanding of the outside world needs to keep pace with reality.
  • Which advanced social technologies within GitHub can corporations implement in a controlled manner?
  • Change expert Dion Hinchcliffe of Adjuvi calls the implementation of social structures via IT departments “a shift in emphasis from systems of record to systems of engagement,”
  • the pilot program to introduce the tools was designed exclusively for senior management, who typically lag in adopting them. By getting everyone enrolled early on, later success was all but guaranteed.
  • Experimenting at the edges
  • What’s needed is vision and will.
  • execution eats strategy for breakfast
  • Not only are employees free to question fellow workers, they are also encouraged to attack one another’s ideas.
  • Coke’s vice president of innovation and entrepreneurship, said recently, “That has become our vision—to make it easier for starters to be scalers and scalers to be starters.
  • Coca-Cola is working with Steve Blank and Eric Ries to implement their Lean Startup philosophy across the entire corporation [Experimentation]. Multiple small efforts, each with an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) will iterate assumptions and make this approach available to anyone in the company via an initiative called Open Entrepreneurship.
  • It is our thesis that disruptive innovation efforts work best when they operate in stealth mode, divorced from the rest of the company, so as to avoid triggering an organizational immune system response.
  • Bill Fischer, co-author with Umberto Lago and Fang Liu of the book Reinventing Giants: How Chinese Global Competitor Haier Has Changed the Way Big Companies Transform, makes the important observation that the “business model and corporate culture are inextricably linked.” The authors tracked Haier for over a decade, along the way identifying four key stages that large organizations must navigate to reinvent their cultures: Build quality Diversify Re-engineer the business process Reduce distance to customer
  • despite being overseen by the Chinese government, Haier is amazingly innovative. For example, the company is currently working on a cutting-edge nanorefrigerator that will allow consumers to create food inside a refrigerator over several days, using advanced lighting and mathematical models of plant growth.
  • Xiaomi also discloses the names and parts numbers of all its suppliers, which helps protect those suppliers from the many counterfeit devices flooding the Chinese market.
  • free and healthy press (with investigative journalism being the tip of that spear) is critical both for democracy and in guarding fundamental individual freedoms.
  • In February 2014, GE extended its ExO initiatives even further by announcing a partnership with Local Motors to launch a new model for manufacturing called First Build.
  • engineering challenges in the hopes of unlocking breakthrough product innovations. The most popular of these innovations will then be built, tested and sold in a specialized “microfactory.” This facility will focus on testing, rapid prototyping and small-volume production.
  • In describing his notion of “impedance mismatch,” Robert Goldberg noted that in large organizations, just one out of fifty managers can resist an idea—and in doing so, kill it.
  • One of the more intriguing organizational innovations to come out of the company is what CEO Jeff Bezos and CTO Werner Vogels call “The Institutional Yes.”
  • you’re a manager at Amazon and a subordinate comes to you with a great idea, your default answer must be YES. If you want to say no, you are required to write a two-page thesis explaining why it’s a bad idea.
  • Its pioneering initiatives include its Affiliate Program, its recommendation engine (collaborative filtering) and the Mechanical Turk project.
  • Bezos says, “If you’re competitor-focused, you have to wait until there is a competitor doing something. Being customer-focused allows you to be more pioneering.
  • Zappos also used Ascendify, an online platform that runs Q&A sessions and incentive competitions, to filter for skills and cultural fit.
  • Zappos may very well revolutionize the corporate HR function.
  • Employees worked together and identified themselves by their responsibilities.
  • data informs but does not decide. Like most VCs, Google Ventures invests in people over products. If the data shows a potentially great company but the founding team doesn’t feel right about some aspect of it, no investment will be made. The fund uses OKRs extensively to track the progress of its portfolio companies and relies heavily on real-time metrics—everything is quantified. The portfolio companies are initiated into this way of thinking via GV’s Startup Lab, a private program that is part incubator, part hackathon and part co-working space.
  • Large organizations everywhere are realizing that to remain competitive they must address their historic biases and impose a new reality, one that willingly jettisons anachronistic business practices—no matter how effective they were in the past—in favor of new ones that are better equipped for an ever-faster-moving world.
  • mandate to form fluid teams with other senior people within the business. Resources would be used on demand, while applications would be tested and iterated rapidly via an internal group of employees. Apps would be small, intuitive, fun and visual—in short, they would be designed to get information into employees’ minds as quickly as possible. AI, Machine Learning and data analytics would be extensively used to free up human thinking. The idea was to put the right people, resources and ideas together and wait for something magical to happen.
  • A well-connected network of people within the business who actively embrace algorithmic augmentation of human roles and are quick to exchange ideas.
  • The blockchain becomes a trust engine;
  • most third-party validation functions become automated
  • flow hacking;
  • The ability to move infinitesimal transaction amounts will underpin entirely new business models.
  • Ridesharing is an intermediate step toward fully automated transportation, which may have a bigger visible impact on society than anything else, including sustainability, urban planning (almost no parking lots) and fewer traffic fatalities.
  • Most CEOs see innovation as product innovation. But there is also process innovation, social innovation, organizational innovation, management innovation, business model innovation, etc. Technology and products are no longer the only drivers for innovation. [See Doblin’s 10 Types of Innovation, briefly outlined in Chapter Eight.]
  • the most critical guidance we can give an Exponential CEO is to beware of Orthogonal Information Effects (OIEs); in other words, watch out for the unexpected value of seemingly peripheral data.
  • Todd Defren, CEO of Shift Communications, a public relations firm based in San Francisco, and a thought leader in the PR space, has described a bifurcation in his industry where agencies are either becoming creative visual storytellers working on logos, games and branding or they are becoming analytics firms helping to manage their clients’ sales funnels.
  • Complete personalization of products and services based upon individual customers (right size, taste, language, behavioral data, contextual data, sensor data, transactional data and, possibly, DNA or neuroprofile).
  • The age of CRM is over, replaced by Vendor Relationship Management (VRM),
  • Consumers own their own personal data and expose demand and purchasing intentions with different vendors in the cloud, mostly in real time.
  • sum: a data-driven and continuous testing approach to marketing.
  • Discounted Cash Flows will be replaced by Options Theory as a preferred mechanism.
  • in an accounting system layered on the block chain, the entire audit function disappears.
  • All organizations today have a dire need to manage and make sense of all this data and to somehow do so without breaching privacy and security laws and customer trust.
  • A key heuristic: if you operate in a highly uncertain environment, make it simple (not too many variables); if you operate in a predictable environment, make it complex (use more variables to manage BI).
  • Customers will own their own data (such as Personal or Respect Network) and then provide access to parts of it (for relevant and beneficial services) only to those authorized to receive the information.
  • Big Data solutions (especially Machine Learning and Deep Learning), data management systems and Dashboards will help greatly with real-time data gathering, sorting, filtering and remixing, as well as with creating a more personalized and effective organization.
  • The use of brain stimulation technologies (tDCS, TMS, tACS) and hybrid learning (the brain directly connected to the cloud) to improve ideation and enhance capabilities (the optimal brain state: flow hacking, reduce/relieve stress, think faster, improve working and learning memory). A futuristic concept that is quickly becoming real.
  • The use of virtual worlds to test, prototype, experiment and learn, such as Philip Rosedale’s High Fidelity. Leveraging tools like Oculus Rift for visualization, Gravity Sketch tablets for design and Leap Motion for interaction.
  • The CIO needs to stimulate the innovation process both internally and externally, especially in terms of coherence and synchronicity. He or she must also encourage risk-taking and allow failure to flourish.
  • The Materials Project as an open source database of materials and their properties.
  • Biology has the unique trait of being software that can create its own hardware.
  • The legal system is the collective repository of societal values and is thus often incompatible with rapidly advancing progress.
  • Legal clauses embedded as code; instant activation of consequences and outcomes; personalized legal systems.
  • Flexible and real-time legal contracts, constantly adapting to new data, stats and insights (e.g., current SCRUM contracts but more advanced).
  • As technology outpaces our ability to regulate, regulatory agencies become irrelevant; even worse, they become neo-Luddites.
  • According to Google, deep personal loss has resulted in employees who are more humble and open to listening and learning.
  • Rate of Learning will become a mainstream measure to gauge the progress of an individual, team or even a startup.
  • Social networking skills will increase in importance,
  • focus on people who can ask them and cultivate an environment where questions, perspectives, art and culture are more deeply respected.
  • work experience will prove much less important. A prospect’s potential is more important than IQ, features or competencies. Potential is tracked by intrinsic motivation, purpose (match with MTP), engagement, determination, curiosity, insight and risk literacy (statistics). It is also about (un)learning and adaptability. Over time, these tools can also be applied to Staff on Demand (e.g., Tongal) and Community & Crowd.
  • Tools and services that help with the mental well-being of employees, such as Happify and ThriveOn. Combined with sensors, these tools teach wellness, resilience and other core life skills; they also measure their impact.
  • Think about leveraging VR for Experimentation, inviting customers to test your products virtually even before a prototype is created with a 3D printer.
  • SCALE elements allows ExOs to extend themselves beyond traditional boundaries,
  • IDEAS elements help retain control and some semblance of order.
  • we are seeing a fascinating development in companies like Amazon, Facebook and Google who have full implementation of the IDEAS elements: they become depoliticized
  • By making data-driven, objective decisions (Experimentation), self-directed teams (Autonomy), constant shared awareness (Social) and Dashboards, teams focus on the end result rather than internal politics.
  • the best analogy for an ExO is the Internet itself.
  • The Internet is a distributed, decentralized architecture, with open standards and innovation occurring at the edges.
  • the Internet is now the foundation of almost all innovation.
  • In the same way that Internet communications have seen costs drop to near zero, we expect to see internal organizational and transactions costs also fall to near zero as we increasingly information-enable and distribute our organizational structures.
  • in the face of such low transaction costs, we anticipate what we’re calling a Cambrian Explosion in organizational design—everything
  • It is also becoming increasingly clear that, like the Internet, the ExO paradigm is not just for business. It can just as easily be applied to all sorts of enterprises and organizations, from academia to non-profits to government. In short, it is not just a system of commerce, but also a philosophy of action.
  • what would an exponential government look like?
  • Jerry Michalski, founder of the Relationship Expedition (REX), notes that the true task of government should be to manage the commons—the
  • traditional representative government can be seen as just a rudimentary version of an ExO.
  • (tax collection as coerced crowdfunding),
  • the real question is not whether governments can become ExOs—in a crude way, they already are—but whether or not they are able to fulfill their destiny to be true, fully functional, technology driven, high-performance modern ExOs.
  • [publishing] bias undermines the open inquiry and objectivity that lie at the heart of science, and which is critical for the discipline’s success.”
  • Thankfully, new initiatives like figshare and the Public Library of Science (PLOS) are breaking down this archaic structure.
  • over five million strong, the ResearchGate community alone might well multiply scientific and technological progress by orders of magnitude.
  • W. Brian Arthur recently said: “Complexity economics is a different way of thinking about the economy. It sees the economy not as a system in equilibrium but as one in motion, perpetually ‘computing’ itself—perpetually constructing itself anew.
  • Until now, economics has been a noun-based rather than verb-based science.
  • The question we may soon ask one another is, “How do you occupy yourself?” rather than, “What’s your job?” Bottom line: the Cambrian Explosion is already underway.
  • a new economic system emerging for the first time since the rise of capitalism, a new world of very low or zero marginal costs, one that he refers to as the Collaborative Commons.
  • There is no MBA course that demonstrates Interfaces and no management consultant who can advise Uber about implementing algorithms.
  • The Exponential Organization is the future for any enterprise with a strong information component—which is, of course, every enterprise. You can enter this new world now or later. But, in the end, you will enter it.
  • Think again about the many examples of how exponential thinking and action have not only enabled disruptive new companies, but also driven stunning progress and change in all kinds and sizes of organizations.
  • The convergence of these technologies—the intersection of Networks, AI and 3D printing—will soon allow anyone to describe their thoughts.
  • Every one of us, with or without skills, becomes a master designer and manufacturer, in much the same way that Microsoft Word makes us all perfect spellers.
  • ideas are having sex, mating and recombining at a faster and faster rate, driven by urbanized people in close proximity exchanging and iterating ideas.
  • Innovation cycles on new products will go from years, to months, to weeks.
  • How will corporations with large scale linear thinking manage?
  • this book was created to help you learn to surf on top of that tsunami instead of being crushed by it.
  • Those who thought the “Internet thing” was an isolated incident from the last decade, have finally realized it was only the beginning of everything
  • I wish you all the best, in taking your company, your organization, perhaps even your country, from a linear thinking entity to an Exponential Organization.

The Fascinating World of Graph Theory

  • that a graph can possess, dealing with the idea that within the graph, travel is possible between every two locations.
  • This chapter ends with a discussion of a problem of practical importance, that of finding a shortest or least costly round-trip that visits all locations of a certain type.
  • Five Queens Puzzle tells us that this graph contains 5 vertices such that each of the remaining 59 vertices is joined to at least one of these 5 vertices.

Flatland: a romance of many dimensions

  • Enlargment of THE IMAGINATION   And the possible Development   Of that most and excellent Gift of MODESTY

Help! I have to think!: An approach to working through life's big challenges

  • choose an answer or set of answers to the questions you have defined — the best answer or answers you can, with the information you now have available.
  • IBIS is based on Issues. And it is a way, a system, to manage information.
  • IBIS we are talking about is a structured method for organizing the information associated with thinking and decision-making.
  • A graphical approach can be valuable if you build the map while working with others, or will be building large IBIS structures. But the handwritten graphical maps have some limitations; you will need a very large surface to write on, and it is difficult to save the information, print the information to share with others and to change the information later.
  • itBIS — for indented text IBIS.
  • Short Key to itIBIS
  • prefer “open” questions to “closed” questions.
  • people are actually pretty good at making decisions, if they are given enough information! However, people are not as good at keeping a lot of information ‘front and center’ where it can be used for decision-making.
  • ‘hearing’ the implicit (or missing) Questions in everyday thought and communication.
  • I keep six honest serving-men (They taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When And How and Where and Who. - Rudyard Kipling
  • In every day life, there are three categories that cover the majority of the questions that come up: o   Questions about what needs to be done o   Questions about how to do things o   Questions about how to decide which answers to select
  • Differences of opinion often arise in the area of choosing an answer; often because the criteria for deciding are not the same for every person, or even for the same person over a period of time!
  • Getting the criteria out in the open (written down) can help
  • Here are the other five categories of Questions o   Questions about the stakeholders o   Questions about facts o   Questions about the meaning of terms o   Questions about the background that lead to this point o   Questions about the future
  • having a "What" Question be answered with a "How" answer.
  • For long-term use of the information you put in IBIS, it is critical that you make the Question and Answer 'agree’.
  • it allows you to expand on the IBIS structure 'correctly' by following the Rules of the IBIS Game.
  • Simon Berry realized that a clever design was not enough, and that the real lesson from Coca-Cola was devising a ‘value chain’ — and making sure everyone involved in the distribution gets paid.
  • The key word "because" may indicate that a Pro is coming.
  • The keyword "however" or "but" may indicate that a Con is coming.

Intertwingled: Information Changes Everything

  • “People keep pretending they can make things hierarchical, categorizable, and sequential when they can’t. Everything is deeply intertwingled.”  – Theodor Holm Nelson

The Last Chinese Chef: A Novel

  • The peak is neither eating nor cooking, but the giving and sharing of food. Great food should never be taken alone.
  • “You are not trying very hard,” said Jiang. “You should do an article with her. It would bring you attention.” Tan leapt in. “You could have at least suggested the two of you drink tea! You could have discussed the matter as a civilized person.”
  • A civilized person meant a Chinese person.
  • He knew cooking well was the best revenge.
  • true perfection of food is a surprisingly modest thing. It is what is right.
  • She paused, unable to stop herself from touching its raised-porcelain design of rolling dragons. “Doesn’t this have something to do with evil spirits?” “Yes. Supposedly they can travel only in straight lines. This has been here a long time. When I remodeled for the restaurant I left it, thinking I needed all the help I could get with spirits. Bad ones out, good ones in.”
  • “To the Chinese way of thinking that can be very profound. We have a long tradition of valuing the rustic. Of all food we find it the closest to nature, the most human.
  • I felt myself leaving my old world, in a way, when I learned to read—certainly leaving the limited world of the immediate, which until then was the only world I had ever known. I found that everything I needed had been somewhere known, and somewhere written.
  • Beijing might be wide open, aggressive—profane, even—in its run for the future, but people still longed for the past.
  • Here, this is how we’re trained—to know the diner, perceive the diner, and cook accordingly.
  • Feed the body, but that’s only the beginning. Also feed the mind and the soul.”
  • His body was failing, spiraling away from him, his hands quivering when he could raise them at all. Yet he was clear. Steel cables sang in his mind. He remembered everything about his life. And while he could feel the next world, feel its sounds and urges and movements beyond the veil, at the same time he knew he had never been sharper or more astute about this one. He saw everyone and everything, not the surface but what was true inside. Most of what he saw made him content.
  • a great dinner always managed to acknowledge civilization on levels beyond the obvious.
  • It had to be so fantastic that people in the future would argue about whether it had ever existed at all.
  • felt immense relief just at telling her, sharing it, and thus by some subtle magic of friendship dividing her burden of news and surprises in half. This was what people did for each other when they were in alliance.
  • the blessing of connectedness.
  • the most important thing will still be your strategy,” said Sam. “What kind of face you will put on, what you will project.”
  • “No one said it would be easy,” he said. “It’s delicate, subtle, difficult, but not impossible. It’s basically an attitude; when you walk in, are you with them or against them?
  • There is always a tension between imagination and reality, between what we wish for and what it is the Gods have granted us.
  • Civilized man finds appeasement through the system of gestures and symbols used to mediate between the two—the
  • Meiying, pretty and brave. It was a common name.
  • Always believe in the intelligence of the diner. Always reward them with subtlety.”
  • “Did you ever want something so deeply you were scared to let yourself have it?”
  • “Like a desire so great you know you will never forgive yourself if you fail.
  • realize if you don’t do it now, it will move out of reach forever.”
  • She no longer had to give an explanation or tell the story. She just said it.
  • Now was the time to wait, and to be tired.
  • flavor is part quality of ingredients and part sleight ofhand.
  • The superior cook strives to please the mind as well as the appetite.
  • Never in fact had she accumulated a list so heavily annotated with descriptors, explanations, anecdotes, as this one was. She had enough. Too much. The hardest thing was going to be sorting through it and choosing where to place the spine of her piece.
  • “Do some voodoo for me.” “I will, the best voodoo of all. I’ll write your story.”
  • she saw that grief too was a thing that could change.
  • She moved to the couch with a blank pad, a pen, and her notebooks. She had always worked this way. Before she moved to the computer she began by hand, making a web of all her best thoughts and images and ideas and memories.
  • Then she traced through her jottings to find lines of meaning and pick out moments. When these were repatterned on a fresh page she could usually begin to sense her centerline. Then she would start to write.
  • They had such a net of connectedness between them. Even though it was not hers, rightly, she felt blessed to have been near it and been bathed in it for a while.
  • She took a fresh sheet of paper, wrote Guanxi in the center, and drew a circle around it.
  • From the family on out, food was at the heart of China’s human relationships. It was the basic fulcrum of interaction. All meals were shared.
  • The very concept of individual presentation was alien here. And that made everything about eating different.
  • Many things can provoke the intellect, but only if they are fully imagined and boldly carried out.
  • lab too much?” “It’s not like that. Some things you don’t get to mind or not mind. They just are.
  • She could hear him chopping. She liked that they could be quiet together. It was like being in a room doing things, different things, two people in proximity but separately productive.
  • The most important thing is to preserve civilization. As men we are the sum of our forebears, the great thinkers, great masters, great chefs.
  • we had come to know each other’s human spirits
  • In China there has always been the hou men, the back door, which can be opened by money or relationships and through which many things can be negotiated.
  • these words contained a world.
  • He couldn’t have said why. Sometimes it was not necessary to know, only to feel.
  • This is me. Take a look. He comes with me.
  • Chinese was for allusion, English for precision.
  • being in a crowd was being alone.
  • “how can we put it from our minds when we know you will not?” “I will, though,” Sam promised him.
  • I know. Just a little farther.
  • The high point of every meal was never the food itself, he taught us, but always the act of sharing it.
  • “Congee. It’s the simplest food, the most basic. But it takes care. It’s like love.”

The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses

  • The goal of a startup is to figure out the right thing to build—the thing customers want and will pay for—as quickly as possible.
  • the Lean Startup is a new way of looking at the development of innovative new products that emphasizes fast iteration and customer insight, a huge vision, and great ambition, all at the same time.
  • Startups also have a true north, a destination in mind:
  • Entrepreneurship is management.
  • A startup is a human institution designed to create a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty.
  • startup is not just about a product, a technological breakthrough, or even a brilliant idea. A startup is greater than the sum of its parts; it is an acutely human enterprise.
  • product, one that encompasses any source of value for the people who become customers.
  • dedicated to uncovering a new source of value for customers and cares about the impact of its product on those customers.
  • It’s also important that the word innovation be understood broadly. Startups use many kinds of innovation: novel scientific discoveries, repurposing an existing technology for a new use, devising a new business model that unlocks value that was hidden, or simply bringing a product or service to a new location or a previously underserved set of customers. In all these cases, innovation is at the heart of the company’s success.
  • Clayton Christensten’s The Innovator’s Dilemma: they are very good at creating incremental improvements to existing products and serving existing customers, which Christensen called sustaining innovation, but struggle to create breakthrough new products
  • create entrepreneurs who run and learn and can retest and relearn as opposed to a society of politicians.
  • moving leaders from playing Caesar with their thumbs up and down on every idea to—instead—putting in the culture and the systems so that teams can move and innovate at the speed of the experimentation
  • if the fundamental goal of entrepreneurship is to engage in organization building under conditions of extreme uncertainty, its most vital function is learning.
  • We must learn the truth about which elements of our strategy are working to realize our vision and which are just crazy.
  • discover whether we are on a path that will lead to growing a sustainable business.
  • Metcalfe’s law: the value of a network as a whole is
  • proportional to the square of the number of participants.
  • Bit by bit, customers tore apart our seemingly brilliant initial strategy.
  • which of our efforts are value-creating and which are wasteful?
  • If we had shipped sooner, we could have avoided that waste.
  • Most of the time customers don’t know what they want in advance.)
  • learning is the essential unit of progress for startups.
  • learning what customers want
  • Each bit of knowledge we gathered suggested new experiments to run, which moved our metrics closer and closer to our goal.
  • The Lean Startup is not a collection of individual tactics. It is a principled approach to new product development.
  • The question is not “Can this product be built?” In the modern economy, almost any product that can be imagined can be built. The more pertinent questions are “Should this product be built?”
  • “Can we build a sustainable business around this set of products and services?”
  • we need a method for systematically breaking down a business plan into its component parts and testing each part empirically. In other words, we need the scientific method.
  • campaign—everything a startup does—is understood to be an experiment designed to achieve validated learning.
  • if you cannot fail, you cannot learn.
  • experiments that test its strategy to see which parts are brilliant and which are crazy.
  • begins with a clear hypothesis that makes predictions about what is supposed to happen. It then tests those predictions
  • The goal of every startup experiment is to discover how to build a sustainable business around that vision.
  • For Long-Term Change, Experiment Immediately
  • working to get more of HP’s employees to take advantage of the company’s policy on volunteering. Corporate guidelines encourage every employee to spend up to four hours a month of company time
  • Barlerin’s vision is to take the hundreds of thousands of employees in the company and transform them into a force for social good.
  • her plan seems full of untested assumptions—and a lot of vision.
  • She also has a strong accountability framework with metrics for the impact her project should have on the company
  • The Lean Startup model offers a way to test these hypotheses rigorously, immediately, and thoroughly. Strategic planning takes months to complete; these experiments could begin immediately. By starting small, Caroline could prevent a tremendous amount of waste down the road without compromising her overall vision. Here’s what it might look like if Caroline were to treat her project as an experiment.
  • The two most important assumptions entrepreneurs make are what I call the value hypothesis and the growth hypothesis.
  • The value hypothesis tests whether a product or service really delivers value to customers once they are using it.
  • most people have a hard time assessing their feelings objectively. Experiments provide a more accurate gauge.
  • What could we see in real time that would serve as a proxy for the value
  • the growth hypothesis, which tests how new customers will discover a product or service,
  • The point is not to find the average customer but to find early adopters: the customers who feel the need for the product most acutely. Those customers tend to be more forgiving of mistakes and are especially eager to give feedback.
  • Unlike in a focus group, her goal would be to measure what the customers actually did. For example, how many of the first volunteers actually complete their volunteer assignments? How many volunteer a second time? How many are willing to recruit a colleague to participate in a subsequent volunteer activity?
  • If the numbers from such early experiments don’t look promising, there is clearly a problem with the strategy. That doesn’t mean it’s time to give up; on the contrary, it means it’s time to get some immediate qualitative feedback about how to improve the program.
  • Unlike a traditional strategic planning or market research process, this specification will be rooted in feedback on what is working today rather than in anticipation of what might work tomorrow.
  • The initial product—flaws and all—confirmed that users did have the desire to create event albums, which was extremely valuable information.
  • online surveying tool KISSinsights,
  • “Success is not delivering a feature; success is learning how to solve the customer’s problem.”4
  • A LEAN STARTUP IN GOVERNMENT?
  • identify the elements of the plan that are assumptions rather than facts, and figure out ways to test them.
  • To start experimenting immediately, the agency could start with the creation of a simple hotline number, using one of the new breed of low-cost and fast setup platforms such as Twilio.
  • start to get a sense of what kinds of problems Americans believe they have, not just what they “should” have.
  • The MVP is that version of the product that enables a full turn of the Build-Measure-Learn loop
  • not all metrics are created equal, and in Chapter 7 I’ll clarify the danger of vanity metrics in contrast to the nuts-and-bolts usefulness of actionable metrics,
  • conduct experiments that help determine what techniques will work in their unique circumstances.
  • the goal of a startup’s early efforts should be to test them as quickly as possible.
  • build an organization that can test these assumptions systematically.
  • perform that rigorous testing without losing sight of the company’s overall vision.
  • You cannot be sure you really understand any part of any business problem unless you go and see for yourself firsthand. It is unacceptable to take anything for granted or to rely on the reports of others.6
  • No matter how many intermediaries lie between a company and its customers, at the end of the day, customers are breathing, thinking, buying individuals. Their behavior is measurable and changeable. Even when one is selling to large institutions, as in a business-to-business model, it helps to remember that those businesses are made up of individuals. All successful sales models depend on breaking down the monolithic view of organizations into the disparate people that make them up.
  • No amount of design can anticipate the many complexities of bringing a product to life in the real world.
  • Lean User Experience (Lean UX). They recognize that the customer archetype is a hypothesis, not a fact. The customer profile should be considered provisional until the strategy has shown via validated learning
  • analysis paralysis, endlessly refining their plans.
  • If too much analysis is dangerous but none can lead to failure, how do entrepreneurs know when to stop
  • analyzing and start building? The answer is a concept called the minimum viable product,
  • begin the process of learning, not end it.
  • MVP is designed not just to answer product design or technical questions. Its goal is to test fundamental business hypotheses.
  • additional features or polish beyond what early adopters demand is a form of wasted resources and time. This is a hard truth for many entrepreneurs to accept. After all, the vision entrepreneurs keep in their heads is of a high-quality mainstream product that will change the world, not one used by a small niche of people who are willing to give it a shot before it’s ready.
  • How many of us were raised with the expectation that we would put our best work forward?
  • the MVP feels a little dangerous—in a good way—since I have always been such a perfectionist.”
  • When in doubt, simplify.
  • The lesson of the MVP is that any additional work beyond what was required to start learning is waste, no matter how important it might have seemed at the time.
  • They believed—rightly, as it turned out—that file synchronization was a problem that most people didn’t know they had. Once you experience the solution, you can’t imagine how you ever lived without it.
  • In a Wizard of Oz test, customers believe they are interacting with the actual product, but behind the scenes human beings are doing the work.
  • Edwards Deming’s famous dictum that the customer is the most important part of the production process. This means that we must focus our energies exclusively on producing outcomes that the customer perceives as valuable.
  • Variation in process yields products of varying quality in the eyes of the customer that at best require rework and at worst lead to a lost customer.
  • Customers don’t care how much time something takes to build. They care only if it serves their needs.
  • start the process of validated learning as soon as possible.
  • As you consider building your own minimum viable product, let this simple rule suffice: remove any feature, process, or effort that does not contribute directly to the learning you seek.
  • Part of the special challenge of being a startup is the near impossibility of having your idea, company, or product be noticed by anyone, let alone a competitor.
  • try to get that company to steal your idea. Call them up, write them a memo, send them a press release—go ahead, try it. The truth is that most managers in most companies are already overwhelmed with good ideas. Their challenge lies in prioritization and execution,
  • The reason to build a new team to pursue an idea is that you believe you can accelerate through the Build-Measure-Learn feedback loop faster than anyone else can.
  • The only way to win is to learn faster than anyone else.
  • the fear of damaging the parent company’s established brand. In either of these cases, there is an easy solution: launch the MVP under a different brand name.
  • use these advantages to experiment under the radar and then do a public marketing launch once the product has proved itself with real customers.11
  • Visionaries are especially afraid of a false negative: that customers will reject a flawed MVP that is too small or too limited. It is precisely this attitude that one sees when companies launch fully formed products without prior testing. They simply couldn’t bear to test them in anything less than their full splendor.
  • how does the CFO or VC know that we’re failing because we learned something critical and not because we were goofing off or misguided?
  • We all need a disciplined, systematic approach to figuring out if we’re making progress and discovering if we’re actually achieving validated learning.
  • A startup’s job is to (1) rigorously measure where it is right now, confronting the hard truths that assessment reveals, and then (2) devise experiments to learn how to move the real numbers closer to the
  • accounting is something that has become taken for granted.
  • How do we know that the changes we’ve made are related to the results we’re seeing? More important, how do we know that we are drawing the right lessons from those changes?
  • forget educational design up until now, let’s forget what’s possible and just redesign learning with today’s students and today’s technology in mind.
  • in systems theory, that which optimizes one part of the system necessarily undermines the system as a whole.)
  • a disciplined team can experiment with its own working style and draw meaningful conclusions.
  • Although working with split tests seems to be more difficult because it requires extra accounting and metrics to keep track of each variation, it almost always saves tremendous amounts of time in the long run by eliminating work that doesn’t
  • key to student engagement was to offer them a combination of social and solo features. Students preferred having a choice
  • A solid process lays the foundation for a healthy culture, one where ideas are evaluated by
  • Vanity metrics wreak havoc because they prey on a weakness of the human mind. In my experience, when the numbers go up, people think the improvement was caused by their actions, by whatever they were working on at the time.
  • Unfortunately, when the numbers go down, it results in a very different reaction: now it’s somebody else’s fault.
  • Actionable metrics are the antidote to this problem.
  • When cause and effect is clearly understood, people are better able to learn from their actions. Human beings are innately talented learners when given a clear and objective assessment.
  • Departments too often spend their energy learning how to use data to get what they want rather than as genuine feedback to guide
  • Instead of housing the analytics or data in a separate system, our reporting data and its infrastructure were considered part of the product itself and were owned by the product development team.
  • The reports were available on our website, accessible to anyone with an employee account.
  • When people needed evidence to support something they had learned, they would bring a printout with them to the relevant meeting, confident that everyone they showed it to would understand its meaning.
  • there is no bigger destroyer of creative potential than the misguided decision to persevere.
  • customer segment pivot, keeping the functionality of the product the same but changing the audience focus.
  • those companies were not early adopters.
  • when an entrepreneur has an unclear hypothesis, it’s almost impossible to experience complete failure, and without failure there is usually no impetus to embark on the radical change a pivot requires.
  • The reality of our team and our backgrounds built up a massive wall of expectations. I don’t think it would have mattered what we would have released; we would have been met with expectations that are hard to live up to. But to us it just meant we needed to get our product and our vision out into the market broadly in order to get feedback and to begin iteration. We humbly test our theories and our approach to see what the market thinks. Listen to feedback honestly. And continue to innovate
  • money managers felt they had nothing to fear from transparency, since they believed it would validate their skills.
  • not necessary to throw out everything that came before and start over. Instead, it’s about repurposing what has been built and what has been learned to find a more positive direction.
  • good at optimizing, tuning, and iterating, but in the process we had lost sight of the purpose of those activities: testing a clear hypothesis in the service of the company’s vision. Instead, we were chasing growth, revenue, and profits wherever we could find them.
  • As in any lean transformation, existing systems and tools often need to be reinvented to support working in smaller batches.
  • Shigeo Shingo
  • He was so relentless in rethinking the way machines were operated that he was able to reduce changeover times that previously took hours to less than ten minutes. He did this, not by asking workers to work faster, but by reimagining and restructuring the work
  • This process of continuously driving out defects has been a win-win for Toyota and its customers.
  • Process is only the foundation upon which a great company culture can develop.
  • Startups have to focus on the big experiments that lead to validated learning.
  • Once you build a product on top of a particular database technology, it is extremely difficult to switch. In the IT industry, such customers are said to be locked in to the vendor they choose.
  • its focus needs to be on improving customer retention. This goes against the standard intuition in that if a company lacks growth, it should invest more in sales and marketing.
  • The startup had an “unlimited” pricing plan, its most expensive, that cost only a few hundred dollars per month. The NGO literally could not make the purchase because it had no process in place for buying something so inexpensive. Additionally, the NGO needed substantial help in managing the rollout, educating its staff on the new tool, and tracking the impact of the change; those were all services the company was ill equipped to offer. Changing customer segments required them to switch to hiring a sizable outbound sales staff that spent time attending conferences, educating executives, and authoring white papers.
  • This is the same problem that established companies experience. Their past successes were built on a finely tuned engine of growth. If that engine runs its course and growth slows or stops, there can be a crisis if the company does not have new startups incubating within its ranks that can provide new sources of growth.
  • It can feel like the boss is being capricious or arbitrary, and that feeds the common feeling that management’s decisions conceal an ulterior motive.
  • an adaptive organization, one that automatically adjusts its process and performance to current conditions.
  • This is one of the most important discoveries of the lean manufacturing movement: you cannot trade quality for time. If you are causing (or missing) quality problems now, the resulting defects will slow you down later.
  • the more features we added to the product, the harder it became to add even more because of the risk that a new feature would interfere with an existing feature. The same dynamics happen in a service business, since any new rules may conflict with existing rules, and the more rules, the more possibilities for conflict.
  • At no point did we drop everything to focus solely on training. Instead, we made incremental improvements to the process constantly, each time reaping incremental benefits. Over time, those changes compounded, freeing up time and energy that previously had been lost to firefighting and crisis management.
  • if a mistake happens, shame on us for making it so easy to make that mistake.
  • In a Five Whys analysis, we want to have a systems-level view as much as possible.
  • Be tolerant of all mistakes the first time. 2. Never allow the same mistake to be made twice. The first rule encourages people to get used to being compassionate about mistakes, especially the mistakes of others. Remember, most mistakes are caused by flawed systems, not bad people. The second rule gets the team started making proportional investments in prevention.
  • Whenever something goes wrong, ask yourself: How could I prevent myself from being in this situation ever again?
  • in training. IGN learned that, whenever possible, it helps to use something that has personal meaning for the team.
  • the Five Whys transcends root cause analysis by revealing information that brings your team closer through a common understanding and perspective. A lot of times a problem can pull people apart; Five Whys does the opposite.”
  • The proportional investments that came out of this session are obviously valuable, but the learnings are much more subtle, but amazing for growing as developers and as a team.
  • in large-batch development, both groups had been willing to sacrifice the team’s ability to learn in order to work more “efficiently.”
  • I do not believe that a personal stake has to be financial.
  • At Toyota, the manager in charge of developing a new vehicle from start to finish is called the shusa, or chief engineer:
  • CREATING A PLATFORM FOR EXPERIMENTATION
  • spot the many problems with this situation: the use of vanity metrics instead of actionable metrics, an overly long cycle time, the use of large batch sizes, an unclear growth hypothesis, a weak experimental design, a lack of team ownership, and therefore very little learning.
  • if another team managed to bring clarity to the situation, it might undermine that person, and so the rational response was to obfuscate as much as possible. What a waste.
  • In my experience, people defend themselves when they feel threatened, and no innovation can flourish if defensiveness is given free rein.
  • the common suggestion to hide the innovation team is misguided.
  • Creating an Innovation Sandbox
  • Teams that work this way are more productive as long as productivity is measured by their ability to create customer value and not just stay busy.
  • True experiments are easy to classify as successes or failures because top-level metrics either move or they don’t.
  • The sandbox also promotes rapid iteration.
  • Thus, these teams tend to converge on optimal solutions rapidly even if they start out with really bad ideas.
  • small initial experiments can demonstrate that a team has a viable new business that can be integrated back into the parent company.
  • With an internal startup team, the sequence of accountability is the same: build an ideal model of the desired disruption that is based on customer archetypes, launch a minimum viable product to establish a baseline, and then attempt to tune the engine to get it closer to the ideal.
  • There is a fourth phase as well, one dominated by operating costs and legacy products. This is the domain of outsourcing, automation, and cost reduction.
  • We tend to speak of these four phases of businesses from the perspective of large companies,
  • all companies engage in all four phases of work all the time. As soon as a product hits the marketplace, teams of people work hard to advance it to the next phase. Every successful product or feature began life in research and development (R&D), eventually became a part of the company’s strategy, was subject to optimization, and in time became old news.
  • People should be allowed to find the kinds of jobs that suit them best.
  • the psychological phenomenon of anchoring, this led to a perverse incentive: the more radical my suggestion was, the more likely it was that the reasonable compromise would be closer to my true goal.
  • switching to validated learning feels worse before it feels better. That’s the case because the problems caused by the old system tend to be intangible, whereas the problems of the new system are all too tangible.
  • Lean Startup is a framework, not a blueprint of steps to follow.
  • There is a reason all past management revolutions have been led by engineers: management is human systems engineering.
  • In 1911 Taylor wrote: “In the past, the man has been first; in the future, the system must be first.”
  • redirected Taylor’s notion of efficiency away from the individual task and toward the corporate organism as a whole.
  • work can be studied scientifically and can be improved through a rigorous experimental approach.
  • most of it was devoted to increasing the productivity of workers and machines in order to feed, clothe, and house the world’s population. Although that project is still incomplete, as the millions who live in poverty can attest, the solution to that problem is now strictly a political one.
  • “There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all.”2
  • most forms of waste in innovation are preventable once their causes are understood.
  • the real goal of innovation: to learn that which is currently unknown.
  • Deming taught, what matters is not setting quantitative goals but fixing the method by which those goals are attained.
  • business systems became overly rigid and thereby failed to take advantage of the adaptability, creativity, and wisdom of individual workers, and (2) there has been an overemphasis on planning, prevention, and procedure, which enable organizations to achieve consistent results in a mostly static world.
  • Only by building a model of customer behavior and then showing our ability to use our product or service to change it over time can we establish real facts about the validity of our vision.
  • If we stopped wasting people’s time, what would they do with it? We have no real concept of what is possible.
  • My prediction is that wherever this research is conducted will become an epicenter of new entrepreneurial practice, and universities conducting this research therefore may be able to achieve a much higher level of commercialization of their basic research activities.4
  • Too much of our startup industry has devolved into a feeder system for giant media companies and investment banks.
  • dedicate ourselves to the creation of new institutions with a long-term mission to build sustainable value and change the world for the better.
  • Reading is good, action is better.

Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience

  • To plan your MVP, ask yourself the following questions: What am I trying to learn? What are the main signals I need from the market to validate my hypothesis? Are there any other signals I can test for that will serve as indicators for my main signal?
  • What’s the fastest way for me to find this information?
  • the essence of the Lean UX approach. Design only what you need. Deliver it quickly. Create enough customer contact to get meaningful feedback fast.
  • once you launch your product or feature, your customers will start giving you constant feedback — and not only on your product. They will tell you about themselves, about the market, about the competition. This insight is invaluable, and comes into your organization from every corner. Seek out these treasure troves of customer intelligence within your organization and harness them to drive your ongoing product design and research.
  • this model works best as a transition. It is not where you want your team to end up. Here’s why: it becomes very easy to create a situation in which the entire team is never working on the same thing at the same time.
  • never realize the benefits of cross-functional collaboration because the different disciplines are focused on different things. Without that collaboration, you don’t build shared understanding,
  • A Shared Vision Empowers Independent Work
  • You can recognize a lack of shared vision when the team argues about what features are important or what should be done first.
  • Teams that enjoy working together produce better work.
  • as a designer you must expect that many of the your ideas will fail in testing. Heroes don’t admit failure.
  • you’ll be more willing to change and rework your ideas if you’ve put less effort into presenting them.
  • Designers can demonstrate their problem solving skills by illustrating the path they took to get from idea to validated learning to experience.
  • Lane Halley put it, you “lead with conversation, and trail with documentation.”
  • Use this documentation for the exact reason your company demands: to capture decision history and inform future teams working on this product.

Mental Models

  • Necessity is the mother of invention.
  • inspired by need.
  • There is no one method to follow to create perfect products.
  • Deeply investigate what people are trying to get done and line up your solutions to match.
  • making something for someone to use.
  • One thing to take from this book is a sense of moving beyond constraints.
  • Treat it kind of like open source: It is yours to manipulate and extend. Let everyone else benefit from your contributions.
  • Our users were still important, but they were there to bear witness to how cool our designs were.
  • we weren’t researching all the creativity out of their projects. We were researching the risk out.
  • Take the product features that you intend to create and align them beneath all the towers they support. In other words, you align the features that your business values beneath concepts that people mentioned.
  • “It’s a dirty secret that much of what we admire in the design world is a byproduct not of ‘strategy’ but of common sense, taste, and luck. Some clients are too unnerved by ambiguity to accept this and create gargantuan superstructures of bullshit to provide a sense of security.”
  • recognize possibilities[4] while at the same time provide solid data. In other words, you can “embrace the ambiguity”[5] of the design process because you have a mental model to steer you.
  • A mental model is a visual language.
  • Its text is the data. Its grammar is the vertical and horizontal alignments of concepts.
  • the more you know, the freer you are in the end.”
  • A mental model represents the entirety of each audience segment’s environment.
  • Understanding the differences among the mental spaces of your audience segments will bring clarity to your design.
  • Prioritizing these feature ideas according to business goals and resources
  • and possibly talk the person out of an unnecessary feature.
  • A mental model can act as a third-party mediator. It is essentially a collection of data placed in relationship to other data based on your interpretation.
  • Suddenly the conversation isn’t about the design you’ve created; it’s about your analysis of the data.
  • You both end up on the same side of the table, both looking at the neutral data. This fortuitous arrangement produces more effective design discussions and faster decision-making.
  • If you are designing for software, you can use the complete diagram to derive the top-level organization
  • Use a mental model as a guide to get the definition right the first time, then focus your energy on fulfilling business goals instead of focusing on iterative changes within a single medium.
  • Pay Attention to the “Whole Experience”
  • Businesses that pay attention to the entire spectrum of customer interaction, and get it right most of the time, win attention and loyalty.
  • “Don’t make something unless it is both necessary and useful. But if it is both necessary and useful, don’t hesitate to make it beautiful.”
  • “A company can outperform rivals only if it can establish a difference that it can preserve. It must deliver greater value to customers or create comparable value at a lower cost, or do both.”
  • Most companies know something about what their customers are doing; state these actions confidently. Use verbs that describe actions from the customer’s point of view.
  • Choose expressive verbs that are representative of a specific situation.
  • Most user research techniques can be categorized into three groups: preference, evaluative, and generative.
  • when the “market” is a large internal organization
  • feedback you get from customers also ranges from complaints to opinions
  • Mental models generated with generative data and aligned with proposed information and functionality can deliver an unambiguous picture of how well a solution supports the user through gap analysis.
  • Building Products Based on Preference Research is Like Building a Kitchen from a Stack of Magazine Clippings
  • Asking engineers to build a product based on a stack of preferences is just like asking a contractor to build a kitchen based on magazine clippings.
  • Exploratory research, which structures and identifies new problems Constructive research, which develops solutions to a problem Empirical research, which tests the feasibility of a solution using empirical evidence
  • mental models embody both exploratory and constructive research, allowing you to derive solutions to problems from the data set as well as structuring where new problems for the next year might lie.
  • standard user-centered design techniques, such as writing scenarios based on specifically designated personas.
  • Within the realm of designing solutions, mental models provide a nexus for all the other tools in your toolbox.
  • Mental models along with web analytics and use cases influence your interaction design concepts. Prototypes coming out of these concepts undergo usability testing to touch base with the user.
  • Scalable adequacy is defined as “the effectiveness of a[n]...engineering...process when used on differently sized problems... Methods that omit unneeded notations and techniques without destroying overall functionality.”[26] Mental models collect just enough data about users to help you determine where and how to concentrate your efforts.
  • Wikipedia definition: “An edge case is a problem or situation that occurs only at an extreme (maximum or minimum) operating parameter.”
  • This chapter outlines the ideal situation and encourages you to reach out to those with whom you might not normally work.
  • A product manager or project manager can assist with project tracking, logistics, team management, and political battles.
  • A mental model will fall flat if the team creating it can’t express ideas together and analyze concepts from different perspectives.
  • At this point you want to identify actors, not actions.
  • Check to see if you’ve mistakenly named the groups after actions rather than performers. If your names are closer to “Chopper,” “Stirrer,” and “Plate Arranger” for people who work in a commercial kitchen, you might want to re-assess.
  • There are three core attributes that define differences in people’s behavior with respect to movies: their interest in the story, their appreciation of the craft of moviemaking, and what kind of companionship they choose when seeing movies.
  • http://flickr.com/photos/rosenfeldmedia/2125038751/
  • After you conduct the interviews and create the mental model, you will revisit these segments and adjust them based on your research. These task-based segments can be developed into personas,[38] famously introduced by Alan Cooper in his book, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum.
  • I recommend not using the personal pronoun “I” at all. Try to think of other people you know who go to movies and mention what you know about their behavior. “Katie chooses a movie by going to her favorite theater and seeing what’s playing next.” Then convert the task to the personal pronoun for the list.
  • When counting up whom we interviewed, we counted by role rather than by person.
  • Look for patterns in what various business stakeholders say, and reflect those patterns back at them to validate that you understand.
  • it is important that you approach your participants with as little personal baggage as possible.
  • Non-leading interviews allow you to capture what a person is thinking in their terms, with their structure and vocabulary intact.
  • When you craft the list of topics you will cover during your conversation, you should be as nonspecific as possible.
  • I often write the prompts into a deliverable that also describes the types of people I will be interviewing. I send this deliverable to the stakeholders to make sure that the scope I have defined with the topics matches what they expect from the research.
  • You probably have experienced the interlocutor who forces the conversation back to his own points again and again. This person is insisting that you shift your worldview to match his own. As you know, these are uncomfortable conversations.
  • The company would have a product under development, and marketing would be partially in charge of figuring out the next feature set.
  • I resolved not to ask customers about the product at all. I wanted to find out, instead, what customers were trying to achieve.
  • If you start throwing “strategic market” around in the conversation, he is liable to just shrug and go with what you understand, rather then explain his own perspective.
  • Your conversation is not about the tool; it’s about the course someone is following to get something done.
  • User and Task Analysis for Interaction Design by JoAnn Hackos and Janice Redish.
  • You’re not the only one who will read that transcript. It might end up in the hands of an executive well after your part in the project is over. The transcript should follow standard spelling, grammar, and punctuation practices. Make sure it looks publishable.
  • Ferreting out the right verb to describe a task exercises a new cerebral muscle. You think harder about how the user sees it. Over time, you become more adept at thinking in verbs. By default, you also have switched to a deeper understanding of what the customer is trying to do.
  • I got in the habit of using the word “task” years ago because I derived this approach from task-analysis.
  • the athlete’s mantra, “The pain you feel is weakness leaving your body.”)
  • let the tasks find their own patterns, rather than try to force them into a pre-existing set of groups that you have in mind.
  • Start at the smallest level of granularity and let things build from there. Seriously, try not to impose a structure of your own, accidentally or on purpose. Let the tasks speak for themselves. The opportunity to create a new structure based on the smallest building blocks allows you to capture a more honest reading of your user’s tasks.
  • Forcing these tasks into existing boxes breaks the integrity of the model.
  • Frequently, many atomic tasks combine to form a new layer,
  • A tower is the next level of granularity up. Towers contain tasks that are conceptually related in nature, but are not the same.

The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America

  • Still, Holmes did not think that the world would be better off without people like this, because he thought that everyone was like this—and this is the difficult part of his belief about certitude and violence.
  • Since we cannot (except at the margin) change the circumstances, it makes sense for us to talk of right and wrong without mental quotation marks.
  • Truth, Holmes said many times, is just the name for what it is impossible for a person to doubt.
  • what the magic actually was, I could not at all divine, save that it was intensely personal, attaching much more to what he was in himself or by nature, than to what he was in aspiration or by culture. I often found myself in fact thinking: if this man were a woman, I should be sure to fall in love with him.”
  • Howe was a physician, a philanthropist, and an abolitionist. He had served in the bodyguard of Wendell Phillips; he had been a member of John Brown’s Secret Six;
  • It makes the logic of evolution the logic of human values:
  • in the case of gravity, we assume that a hypothesis drawn from the observation of some bodies in space will apply to all bodies in space, whether we have observed them or not. If we discover that this is incorrect, if we find cases where our hypothesis breaks down, then we need to revise it.
  • Peirce called himself an idealist, by which he meant that he believed that the universe is knowable because our minds are designed to know it.
  • Peirce therefore believed—and this is the distinctive feature of his cosmology—that mathematics is the language not just of scientific thought, but of all thought. Mathematics “belongs to every enquiry,” as he put it in Linear Associative Algebra, “moral as well as physical.”
  • imaginary causes have gradually receded with the widening scope of our knowledge, and they will disappear entirely before a sound philosophy,
  • He had pointed the way from celestial mechanics to social mechanics.
  • Quetelet showed to follow regular patterns, and all of which, he argued, demonstrated the existence of social laws just as determinate as the law of gravity. He called the science he had invented physique sociale—social physics.
  • moral responsibility for crime must lie with the society and not with the individual criminal. “It is society that prepares the crime and … the guilty person is only the instrument who executes it,”
  • in Laplace’s Theorie analytique des probabilités. “We must … imagine the present state of the universe as the effect of its prior state and as the cause of the state that will follow it,”
  • Events themselves are not chancy.
  • The second law of thermodynamics is the law of the dissipation of energy.
  • There is always the infinitesimal chance that the molecules will sort themselves out spontaneously in such a way that the faster ones will all end up on one side of the container, thus raising the temperature and producing energy spontaneously.
  • Physical laws are not absolutely precise.
  • Peirce’s conclusion was that knowledge must therefore be social. It was his most important contribution to American thought, and when he recalled, late in life, how he came to formulate it, he described it—fittingly—as the product of a group. This was the conversation society he formed with William James, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., and a few others in Cambridge in 1872, the group known as the Metaphysical Club.
  • “Religion” and “religious,” he wrote to Norton, are “good words through which one of the subtlest forms of tyranny is exercised over freedom of thought.”
  • Renouvier was a French Protestant from a family active in liberal politics, but he had quit political life after the rise of the Second Empire, in 1848, to devote himself to the construction of a philosophical defense of freedom.
  • Renouvier had taught James two things: first, that philosophy is not a path to certainty, only a method of coping, and second, that what makes beliefs true is not logic but results.
  • get a vote—in the evolving constitution of the universe: when we choose a belief and act on it, we change the way things are.
  • It was a thermodynamic argument for heaven.
  • “proximate cause” is just the antecedent event people choose to pick out in order to serve whatever interest they happen to have in the case at hand.
  • Legal cases, like natural phenomena, are classifiable into groups (negligence cases, breach of promise cases, libel cases, and so on), but the resemblance is only rough, since no two cases are completely identical, any more than two stars or two frogs or two chambers of gas molecules are completely identical.
  • Peirce wrote in an essay in the North American Review in 1871, is the question whether there is anything of any more dignity, worth, and importance than individual happiness, individual aspirations, individual life. Whether men really have anything in common, so that the community is to be considered as an end in itself … is the most fundamental practical question in regard to every public institution the constitution of which we have it in our power to influence.61
  • The argument was that although the truth of religious beliefs cannot be established empirically (by scientific observation) or rationally (by philosophical argument), it does not follow that faith is untenable.
  • A minute variation in what seemed a stable and predictable system can have cosmic consequences. In the natural world, Peirce said, such minute variations are happening all the time. Their occurrence is always a matter of chance—“chance is the one essential agency upon which the whole process depends”—and, according to probability theory, “everything that can happen by chance, sometime or other will happen by chance.
  • since nature evolves by chance variation, then the laws of nature must evolve by chance variation as well. Variations that are compatible with survival are reproduced; variations that are incompatible are weeded out. A tiny deviation from the norm in the outcome of a physical process can, over the long run, produce a new physical law. Laws are adaptive.
  • Systems or compounds which have bad habits are quickly destroyed, those which have no habits follow the same course; only those which have good habits tend to survive.
  • “Scientific laws are the bed over which passes the torrent of facts,” Boutroux wrote; “they shape it even as they follow it … . They do not precede things, they derive from them, and they can vary, if the things themselves happen to vary.”
  • It was, Dewey confessed to Alice, “the most magnificent exhibition of intellectual & moral faith I ever saw.
  • the unity as the reconciliation of opposites, instead of the opposites as the unity in its growth, and thus translated the physical tension into a moral thing.” He saw, in other words, that the resistance the world puts up to our actions and desires is not the same as a genuine opposition of interests. “I don’t know as I give the reality of this at all,” he concluded, “—it seems so natural & commonplace now, but I never had anything take hold of me so.”
  • “[t]he loss of authority and distrust of the people is the fatal weakness of many systems of reform and well-intentioned projects of benevolence”52 True greatness, Addams said, consists of identification with the widest possible interest:
  • The right outcome is always the outcome democratically reached. Otherwise we cannot know if it is right.
  • By “unity of knowledge” Dewey did not mean that all knowledge is one. He meant that knowledge is inseparably united with doing.
  • In the traditional method of education, in which the things considered worth knowing are handed down from teacher to pupil as disembodied information, knowledge is cut off from the activity in which it has its meaning, and becomes a false abstraction.
  • A functionalist, according to Baldwin, is interested in what people do, not what is going on in their brains while they’re doing it. You cannot break an act up, as Wundt and Titchener believed you could, into so many distinct elementary processes. Behavior is a matter of the relation between the whole organism and the whole situation.
  • Attention, Angell and Moore said, is just “the process of mediating the tension between habit and new conditions,”
  • people focusing on their hands to get faster times: they’re directing attention where it’s most needed.
  • Attention is functional. It is not a process measurable from the outside; it is something that falls “inside” the complete act. And the complete act is not composed of discrete units; the act is the unit.
  • “The burn is the original seeing.”75 For actions have goals built into them.
  • The correct way to picture an act is therefore not as a series of concatenating billiard balls, or as an arc, but as an organic circuit. It has to be indivisible before it can be divided.
  • We think we know in order to do; Dewey taught that doing is why there is knowing.
  • he was showing that “doing” and “thinking,” like “stimulus” and “response,” are just practical distinctions we make when tensions arise in the process of adjustment between the organism and its world.
  • Dewey thought chewing through ideas was just his job, the philosopher’s way of helping people adjust to the conditions in which they find themselves. “Sorry,” he would say when people praised him as an educator, “I’m just a philosopher. I’m just trying to think. That’s all I’m doing.”
  • he argued that it is not the law that determines the outcome in a particular case; it is what judges say is the law.
  • For “a precedent may not be followed; a statute may be emptied of its contents by construction … . The only question for the lawyer is, how will the judges act?”9 From the very beginning, Holmes’s view of the law was premised on the assumption that law is simply and empirically judicial behavior. A rule may be written down, it may express the will of the sovereign, it may be justified by logic or approved by custom; but if courts will not enforce it, it is not the law, and lawyers who bet their cases on it will lose.
  • This is why, so often, we know we’re right before we know why we’re right. First we decide, then we deduce.
  • “Truth happens to an idea,” James said in the lectures he published in 1907 as Pragmatism. “It becomes true, is made true by events.
  • The whole plasticity of the brain,” James said there, “sums itself up in two words when we call it an organ in which currents pouring in from the sense-organs make with extreme facility paths which do not easily disappear.”30 These neural paths, once established, constitute habits: they ensure that our reaction to stimulus will—on average, for habit is a statistical concept—be predictable, repeatable, habitual.
  • had put chickens (and other tame animals, like cats) in boxes with doors on them, and measured how long it took the chickens to learn how to open the doors (by pressing a lever, for example) and get at the food pellets outside. He observed that although at first many actions were tried, apparently unsystematically, only successful actions performed by chickens who were hungry—only actions that opened the door to the food they wanted to get at—were learned.
  • Philosophers, Dewey argued, had mistakenly insisted on making a problem of the relation between the mind and the world, an obsession that had given rise to what he called “the alleged discipline of epistemology”50—the attempt to answer the question, How do we know? The pragmatist response to this question is to point out that nobody has ever made a problem about the relation between, for example, the hand and the world. The function of the hand is to help the organism cope with the environment; in situations in which a hand doesn’t work, we try something else, such as a foot, or a fishhook, or an editorial. Nobody worries in these situations about a lack of some preordained “fit”—about whether the physical world was or was not made to be manipulated by hands. They just use a hand where a hand will do.
  • Philosophy since the Greeks, Dewey thought, amounted to a history of efforts to establish, in the interests of similar class preferences, the superiority of one element over the other in a series of false dichotomies: stability over change, certainty over contingency, the fine arts over the useful arts, what minds do over what hands do. The penalty was anachronism. While philosophy pondered its artificial puzzles, science, taking a purely instrumental and experimental approach, had transformed the world. Dewey believed that it was time for philosophy to catch up; like James, he thought that pragmatism’s insistence that ideas and beliefs are always in the service of interests—that
  • For Peirce, habits are therefore not provisional adaptive responses to fluctuating environmental conditions; they are steps on the universal road from indeterminacy to law, a road traveled by objects as well as by organisms. For matter, Peirce thought, was simply “mind whose habits have become fixed so as to lose the powers of forming them and losing them.”67 Habit, in Peirce’s theory, is what makes all things, from molecules to philosophers, what they are.
  • “gives new reason for believing that we gather what is passing in one another’s minds in large measure from sensations so faint that we are not fully aware of having them,
  • It was another confirmation, for Peirce, of the notion that we are evolving, as a species, toward a complete epistemological rapport with reality. Peirce called this final condition, in which the universe is perfectly lawlike and beliefs are perfectly true, “concrete reasonableness.”
  • he thought, the soul of modern America: its mindless drive toward expansion, conglomeration, massification.
  • I am against bigness and greatness in all their forms, and with the invisible molecular moral forces that work from individual to individual, stealing in through the crannies of the world like so many soft rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water … . The bigger the unit you deal with, the hollower, the more brutal, the more mendacious is the life displayed.
  • Dewey was no friend of industrial capitalism, but he was not under the illusion that it was about to go away. His strategy was to promote, in every area of life, including industrial life, democracy, which he interpreted as the practice of “associated living”—cooperation with others on a basis of tolerance and equality.
  • self-conception is a function of how others see you. Identity is not biological and static; it is social and relational.
  • [T]o enjoy the privileges of such a society means to conform to that type.”44 The price of cultural separatism is social subordination.
  • administrators and trustees should have no power to sanction professors for their views, the statement said, was because professors did not work for the trustees. They worked for the public.
  • “Right” is a term of convenience; it is not a thing in nature, or something that inheres in us simply by virtue of being human.
  • In the end, we have to act on what we believe; we cannot wait for confirmation from the rest of the universe.
  • The purpose of the experiment is to keep the experiment going.

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

  • These children were my role models. They obviously knew something I didn’t and I was determined to figure it out—to understand the kind of mindset that could turn a failure into a gift. What did they know? They knew that human qualities, such as intellectual skills, could be cultivated through effort. And that’s what they were doing—getting smarter. Not only weren’t they discouraged by failure, they didn’t even think they were failing. They thought they were learning.
  • What are the consequences of thinking that your intelligence or personality is something you can develop, as opposed to something that is a fixed, deep-seated trait?
  • Alfred Binet, the inventor of the IQ test. Wasn’t the IQ test meant to summarize children’s unchangeable intelligence? In fact, no. Binet, a Frenchman working in Paris in the early twentieth century, designed this test to identify children who were not profiting from the Paris public schools, so that new educational programs could be designed to get them back on track.
  • his major books, Modern Ideas About Children, in which he summarizes his work with hundreds of children with learning difficulties: A few modern philosophers … assert that an individual’s intelligence is a fixed quantity, a quantity which cannot be increased. We must protest and react against this brutal pessimism.… With practice, training, and above all, method, we manage to increase our attention, our memory, our judgment and literally to become more intelligent than we were before.
  • it is clear that experience, training, and personal effort take them the rest of the way.
  • purposeful engagement.
  • This growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts.
  • a person’s true potential is unknown (and unknowable); that it’s impossible to foresee what can be accomplished with years of passion, toil, and training.
  • Why waste time proving over and over how great you are, when you could be getting better?
  • Why look for friends or partners who will just shore up your self-esteem instead of ones who will also challenge you to grow?
  • why seek out the tried and true, instead of experiences that will stretch you?
  • how would they cope? Directly.
  • it’s startling to see the degree to which people with the fixed mindset do not believe in effort.
  • the growth mindset, you believe you can develop yourself, then you’re open to accurate information about your current abilities, even if it’s unflattering.
  • you need accurate information about your current abilities in order to learn effectively.
  • if everything is either good news or bad news about your precious traits—as it is with fixed-mindset people—distortion almost inevitably enters the picture. Some outcomes are magnified, others are explained away, and before you know it you don’t know yourself at all.
  • You can change your mindset.
  • we realized that there were two meanings to ability, not one: a fixed ability that needs to be proven, and a changeable ability that can be developed through learning.
  • In one world, effort is a bad thing. It, like failure, means you’re not smart or talented. If you were, you wouldn’t need effort.
  • What could put an end to this exuberant learning? The fixed mindset.
  • children with the fixed mindset want to make sure they succeed. Smart people should always succeed.
  • children with the growth mindset, success is about stretching themselves. It’s about becoming smarter.
  • People with the fixed mindset said the ideal mate would: Put them on a pedestal. Make them feel perfect. Worship them.
  • People with the growth mindset hoped for a different kind of partner. They said their ideal mate was someone who would: See their faults and help them to work on them. Challenge them to become a better person. Encourage them to learn new things.
  • They didn’t assume they were fully evolved, flawless beings who had nothing more to learn.
  • One person’s growth was the other person’s nightmare.
  • “I never stopped trying to be qualified for the job.
  • People in a growth mindset don’t just seek challenge, they thrive on it.
  • “When you’re lying on your deathbed, one of the cool things to say is, ‘I really explored myself.
  • If you only go through life doing stuff that’s easy, shame on you.
  • When they tell me I can’t, it really gets me going.” Challenge and interest went hand in hand.
  • it’s not about immediate perfection. It’s about learning something over time: confronting a challenge and making progress.
  • “Becoming is better than being.
  • They granted one test the power to measure their most basic intelligence now and forever. They gave this test the power to define them. That’s why every success is so important.
  • Many of the most accomplished people of our era were considered by experts to have no future. Jackson Pollock, Marcel Proust, Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, Lucille Ball, and Charles Darwin were all thought to have little potential for their chosen fields. And in some of these cases, it may well have been true that they did not stand out from the crowd early on.
  • isn’t potential someone’s capacity to develop their skills with effort over time?
  • Although there were some paintings that foreshadowed the later Cézanne, many did not. Was the early Cézanne not talented? Or did it just take time for Cézanne to become C
  • People with the growth mindset know that it takes time for potential to flower.
  • You cannot determine the slope of a line given only one point, as there is no line to begin with. A single point in time does not show trends, improvement, lack of effort, or mathematical ability.
  • An assessment at one point in time has little value for understanding someone’s ability, let alone their potential to succeed in the future.
  • When people with the fixed mindset opt for success over growth, what are they really trying to prove? That they’re special. Even superior. When we asked them, “When do you feel smart?” so many of them talked about times they felt like a special person, someone who was different from and better than other people.
  • The scariest thought, which I rarely entertained, was the possibility of being ordinary.
  • The problem is when special begins to mean better than others
  • The best pilots fly more than the others; that’s why they’re the best.
  • people who believe in fixed traits feel an urgency to succeed, and when they do, they may feel more than pride. They may feel a sense of superiority, since success means that their fixed traits are better than other people
  • Even in the growth mindset, failure can be a painful experience. But it doesn’t define you. It’s a problem to be faced, dealt with, and learned from.
  • instead of trying to learn from and repair their failures, people with the fixed mindset may simply try to repair their self-esteem.
  • students in the fixed mindset chose to look at the tests of people who had done really poorly. That was their way of feeling better about themselves.
  • John Wooden, the legendary basketball coach, says you aren’t a failure until you start to blame.
  • you can still be in the process of learning from your mistakes until you deny them.
  • when people believe in fixed traits, they are always in danger of being measured by a failure.
  • When people believe their basic qualities can be developed, failures may still hurt, but failures don’t define them.
  • abilities can be expanded—if change and growth are possible—then there are still many paths to success.
  • did any of us ever want to be the tortoise? No, we just wanted to be a less foolish hare.
  • The problem was that these stories made it into an either–or. Either you have ability or you expend effort.
  • Malcolm Gladwell, the author and New Yorker writer, has suggested that as a society we value natural, effortless accomplishment over achievement through effort.
  • no matter what your ability is, effort is what ignites that ability and turns it into accomplishment.
  • This prodigy was afraid of trying.
  • Nothing is harder than saying, ‘I gave it my all and it wasn’t good enough.
  • Why is effort so terrifying?
  • You have to work hardest for the things you love most.
  • Fear of effort can happen in relationships, too,
  • You can look back and say, “I could have been …,” polishing your unused endowments like trophies. Or you can look back and say, “I gave my all for the things I valued.
  • failure is an opportunity, not a condemnation; effort is the key to success.
  • Mindsets are an important part of your personality, but you can change them. Just by knowing about the two mindsets, you can start thinking and reacting in new ways. People tell me they start to catch themselves when they are in the throes of the fixed mindset—passing up a chance for learning, feeling labeled by a failure, or getting discouraged when something requires a lot of effort.
  • in many of our studies, we put people into a growth mindset. We tell them that an ability can be learned and that the task will give them a chance to do that.
  • People can also have different mindsets in different areas. I might think that my artistic skills are fixed but that my intelligence can be developed. Or that my personality is fixed, but my creativity can be developed.
  • whatever mindset people have in a particular area will guide them in that area.
  • People have different resources and opportunities. For example, people with money (or rich parents) have a safety net. They can take more risks and keep going longer until they succeed. People with easy access to a good education, people with a network of influential friends, people who know how to be in the right place at the right time—all stand a better chance of having their effort pay off. Rich, educated, connected effort works better.
  • The growth mindset does allow people to love what they’re doing—and to continue to love it in the face of difficulties.
  • growth-minded athletes, CEOs, musicians, or scientists all loved what they did, whereas many of the fixed-minded ones did not. Many growth-minded people didn’t even plan to go to the top. They got there as a result of doing what they love. It’s ironic: The top is where the fixed-mindset people hunger to be, but it’s where many growth-minded people arrive as a by-product of their enthusiasm for what they do.
  • In the fixed mindset, everything is about the outcome. If you fail—or if you’re not the best—it’s all been wasted. The growth mindset allows people to value what they’re doing regardless of the outcome
  • having a growth mindset doesn’t force you to pursue something. It just tells you that you can develop your skills. It’s still up to you whether you want to.
  • The growth mindset is the belief that abilities can be cultivated.
  • even when you think you’re not good at something, you can still plunge into it wholeheartedly and stick to it.
  • sometimes you plunge into something because you’re not good at it.
  • You don’t have to think you’re already great at something to want to do it and to enjoy doing it.
  • seek constructive criticism.
  • Is there something in your past that you think measured you? A test score? A dishonest or callous action? Being fired from a job? Being rejected? Focus on that thing. Feel all the emotions that go with it. Now put it in a growth-mindset perspective. Look honestly at your role in it, but understand that it doesn’t define your intelligence or personality. Instead, ask: What did I (or can I) learn from that experience? How can I use it as a basis for growth? Carry that with you instead.
  • Is there something you’ve always wanted to do but were afraid you weren’t good at? Make a plan to do it.
  • there was no single moment of invention.
  • the lightbulb was not one invention, but a whole network of time-consuming inventions each requiring one or more chemists, mathematicians, physicists, engineers, and glass-blowers.
  • What eventually set him apart was his mindset and drive. He never stopped being the curious, tinkering boy looking for new challenges.
  • his consuming love remained self-improvement and invention,
  • many adolescents mobilize their resources, not for learning, but to protect their egos.
  • working hard was not something that made you vulnerable, but something that made you smarter.
  • They were studying to learn, not just to ace the test.
  • you not only teach [your] theory, you SHOW it.
  • Michael must have started with a special ability, but, for me, the most outstanding feature is his extreme love of learning and challenge.
  • Most often people believe that the “gift” is the ability itself. Yet what feeds it is that constant, endless curiosity and challenge seeking.
  • he asked “How can I teach them?” not “Can I teach them?” and “How will they learn best?” not “Can they learn?
  • there’s a lot of intelligence out there being wasted by underestimating students’ potential to develop.
  • Alfred Binet believed you could change the quality of someone’s mind. Clearly you can.
  • the appropriate prior and current conditions of learning.
  • The fixed mindset limits achievement. It fills people’s minds with interfering thoughts, it makes effort disagreeable, and it leads to inferior learning strategies. What’s more, it makes other people into judges instead of allies.
  • most people view drawing as a magical ability that only a select few possess, and that only a select few will ever possess. But this is because people don’t understand the components—the learnable components
  • many people with the fixed mindset think that someone’s early performance tells you all you need to know about their talent and their future.
  • They were not made to feel that they had some special gift; they were praised for doing what it takes to succeed.
  • ability praise pushed students right into the fixed mindset,
  • when students were praised for effort, 90 percent of them wanted the challenging new task that they could learn from.
  • the burden of talent was killing his enjoyment.
  • effort-praised students still loved the problems, and many of them said that the hard problems were the most fun.
  • praising ability lowered the students’ IQs. And that praising their effort raised them.
  • In the fixed mindset, imperfections are shameful—especially if you’re talented—so they lied
  • What’s so alarming is that we took ordinary children and made them into liars, simply by telling them they were smart.
  • Dear Dr. Dweck, It was painful to read your chapter … as I recognized myself therein. As a child I was a member of The Gifted Child Society and continually praised for my intelligence. Now, after a lifetime of not living up to my potential (I’m 49), I’m learning to apply myself to a task. And also to see failure not as a sign of stupidity but as lack of experience and skill. Your chapter helped see myself in a new light. Seth Abrams
  • Research by Claude Steele and Joshua Aronson shows that even checking a box to indicate your race or sex can trigger the stereotype in your mind and lower your test score.
  • When stereotypes are evoked, they fill people’s minds with distracting thoughts—with secret worries about confirming the stereotype. People usually aren’t even aware of it, but they don’t have enough mental power left to do their best
  • The stereotyping was disturbing to them (as it should be), but they could still feel comfortable with themselves and confident about themselves
  • a growth mindset helps people to see prejudice for what it is—someone else’s view of them—and to confront it with their confidence and abilities intact.
  • “My father believes that innate talent is nothing, that [success] is 99 percent hard work. I agree with him.
  • Are there situations where you get stupid—where you disengage your intelligence? Next time you’re in one of those situations, get yourself into a growth mindset—think about learning and improvement, not judgment
  • Create an environment that teaches the growth mindset to the adults and children in your life,
  • mindset was more important than talent.
  • They didn’t buy talent, they bought mindset.
  • Physical endowment is not like intellectual endowment. It’s visible. Size, build, agility are all visible.
  • After her incredible career, she said, “I just want to be remembered as a hardworking lady.
  • There is something about seeing myself improve that motivates and excites me.
  • the mark of a champion is the ability to win when things are not quite right—when you’re not playing well and your emotions are not the right ones.
  • I could will myself to win.
  • people who worked hard, who learned how to keep their focus under pressure, and who stretched beyond their ordinary abilities when they had to.
  • “I believe ability can get you to the top,” says coach John Wooden, “but it takes character to keep you there.
  • It takes real character to keep working as hard or even harder once you’re there.
  • “For me the joy of athletics has never resided in winning,” Jackie Joyner-Kersee tells us, “… I derive just as much happiness from the process as from the results. I don’t mind losing as long as I see improvement or I feel I’ve done as well as I possibly could. If I lose, I just go back to the track and work some more.
  • Mia Hamm tells us, “After every game or practice, if you walk off the field knowing that you gave everything you had, you will always be a winner.” Why did the country fall in love with her team? “They saw that we truly love what we do and that we gave everything we had to each other and to each game.
  • You are not a work in progress, you’re a finished product. And finished products have to protect themselves, lament, and blame. Everything but take charge.
  • I’ve noticed an interesting thing. When some star players are interviewed after a game, they say we. They are part of the team and they think of themselves that way. When others are interviewed, they say I and they refer to their teammates as something apart from themselves—as people who are privileged to participate in their greatness.
  • “Whether it be in basketball or everyday life,” she says, “nothing is promised.”
  • What could you do next time to make sure you’re in a growth mindset in the pinch?
  • They did not live in a psychological world where they could take this risk.
  • when people live in an environment that esteems them for their innate talent, they have grave difficulty when their image is threatened:
  • They’re not constantly trying to prove they’re better than others. For example, they don’t highlight the pecking order with themselves at the top, they don’t claim credit for other people’s contributions, and they don’t undermine others to feel powerful. Instead, they are constantly trying to improve. They surround themselves with the most able people they can find, they look squarely at their own mistakes and deficiencies, and they ask frankly what skills they and the company will need in the future. And because of this, they can move forward with confidence that’s grounded in the facts, not built on fantasies about their talent.
  • researchers divided the business students into two groups. One group was given a fixed mindset. They were told that the task measured their basic, underlying capabilities. The higher their capacity, the better their performance. The other group was given a growth mindset. They were told that management skills were developed through practice and that the task would give them an opportunity to cultivate these skills.
  • what better testament to your own personal greatness than that the place falls apart after you leave?”
  • great leaders said they didn’t set out to be leaders. They’d had no interest in proving themselves. They just did what they loved—with tremendous drive and enthusiasm—and it led where it led.
  • As resident genius, Skilling had unlimited faith in his ideas. He had so much regard for his ideas that he believed Enron should be able to proclaim profits as soon as he or his people had the idea that might lead to profits. This is a radical extension of the fixed mindset: My genius not only defines and validates me. It defines and validates the company. It is what creates value. My genius is profit. Wow!
  • Morgan McCall, in his book High Flyers, points out, “Unfortunately, people often like the things that work against their growth.…
  • He called himself a “perfectionist,” but that was a euphemism for “abuser.”
  • “The minute a leader allows himself to become the primary reality people worry about, rather than reality being the primary reality, you have a recipe for mediocrity, or worse.”
  • When bosses become controlling and abusive, they put everyone into a fixed mindset.
  • It starts with the bosses’ worry about being judged, but it winds up being everybody’s fear about being judged.
  • It’s hard for courage and innovation to survive a companywide fixed mindset.
  • too many bosses are driven and driving but going nowhere. Not these people. They don’t talk royalty. They talk journey. An inclusive, learning-filled, rollicking journey.
  • They don’t talk royalty. They talk journey.
  • the me me me of the validation-hungry CEO becoming the we and us of the growth-minded leader.
  • “there’s only a razor’s edge between self-confidence and hubris.
  • True self-confidence is “the courage to be open—to welcome change and new ideas regardless of their source.
  • It is reflected in your mindset: your readiness to grow.
  • Welch learned more and more about the kind of manager he wanted to be: a growth-minded manager—a guide, not a judge.
  • If we’re managing good people who are clearly eating themselves up over an error, our job is to help them through it.
  • I learned that I was really looking for people who were filled with passion and a desire to get things done. A resume didn’t tell me much about that inner hunger.
  • Welch made the pitch on the basis of his capacity to grow. He didn’t claim that he was a genius or that he was the greatest leader who ever lived. He promised to develop.
  • turn the club into a force of community volunteers.
  • The approved way to foster productivity was now through mentoring, not through terror.
  • he rewarded teamwork rather than individual genius. For years, GE, like Enron, had rewarded the single originator of an idea, but now Welch wanted to reward the team that brought the ideas to fruition. “As a result, leaders were encouraged to share the credit for ideas with their teams rather than take full credit themselves. It made a huge difference in how we all related to one another.
  • we serve at the pleasure of our clients.
  • The fixed-mindset leaders were, in the end, full of bitterness, but the growth-minded leaders were full of gratitude.
  • instead of working individually, people could discuss their choices and the feedback they got, and work together to improve their decisions.
  • fixed- and growth-mindset groups started with the same ability, but as time went on the growth-mindset groups clearly outperformed the fixed-mindset ones.
  • Groupthink can occur when people put unlimited faith in a talented leader, a genius.
  • I propose we postpone further discussion of this matter until our next meeting to give ourselves time to develop disagreement
  • Herodotus, writing in the fifth century B.C., reported that the ancient Persians used a version of Sloan’s techniques to prevent groupthink. Whenever a group reached a decision while sober, they later reconsidered it while intoxicated.
  • relieving people of the illusions or the burdens of fixed ability—leads to a full and open discussion of the information and to enhanced decision making.
  • THE PRAISED GENERATION HITS THE WORKFORCE
  • many can’t function without getting a sticker for their every move.
  • maybe the right kinds of praise can lead them down the path of hard work and greater hardiness.
  • We have shown in our research that with the right kinds of feedback even adults can be motivated to choose challenging tasks and confront their mistakes.
  • praise for not needing constant praise!
  • Why bother to coach employees if they can’t change and why get feedback from them if you can’t change?
  • reflect upon why and how change takes place.
  • look for managers who also embody a growth mindset: a zest for teaching and learning, an openness to giving and receiving feedback, and an ability to confront and surmount obstacles.
  • a growth mindset workshop might be a good first step in any major training program.
  • Without a belief in human development, many corporate training programs become exercises of limited value. With a belief in development, such programs give meaning to the term “human resources” and become a means of tapping enormous potential.
  • everyone, of whatever age and circumstance, is capable of self-transformation.
  • Create an organization that prizes the development of ability—and watch the leaders emerge.
  • Are there ways you could be less defensive about your mistakes? Could you profit more from the feedback you get? Are there ways you can create more learning experiences for yourself?
  • Think seriously about how to root out elitism and create a culture of self-examination, open communication, and teamwork.
  • Gerstner’s excellent book Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance?
  • people with the fixed mindset, their number one goal came through loud and clear. Revenge.
  • Although they were often deeply hurt by what happened, they wanted to learn from it:
  • French expression: “Tout comprendre c’est tout pardonner.” To understand all is to forgive all.
  • Because of their growth mindset, they did not feel permanently branded.
  • If she had judged herself, felt flawed and unworthy—humiliated—she would have run and hidden. Instead, her good clean pain made her able to surround herself with the love of her friends and relatives and begin the healing process.
  • as a society, we don’t understand relationship skills.
  • relationships, two more things enter the picture—your partner and the relationship itself. Now you can have a fixed mindset about three things. You can believe that your qualities are fixed, your partner’s qualities are fixed, and the relationship’s qualities are fixed—that it’s inherently good or bad, meant-to-be or not meant-to-be. Now all of these things are up for judgment. The growth mindset says all of these things can be developed. All—you, your partner, and the relationship—are capable of growth and change.
  • If you’re compatible, everything should just come naturally. Every single relationship expert disagrees with this.
  • “Every marriage demands an effort to keep it on the right track; there is a constant tension … between the forces that hold you together and those that can tear you apart.
  • Part of the low-effort belief is the idea that couples should be able to read each other’s minds: We are like one. My partner should know what I think, feel, and need and I should know what my partner thinks, feels, and needs. But this is impossible. Mind reading instead of communicating inevitably backfires.
  • few things can make a partner more furious than having the other feel entitled to something you don’t think is coming to them.
  • A no-effort relationship is a doomed relationship,
  • people with the fixed mindset see flaws in their partners, they become contemptuous of them and dissatisfied with the whole relationship.
  • Daniel Wile says that choosing a partner is choosing a set of problems. There are no problem-free candidates. The trick is to acknowledge each other’s limitations, and build from there.
  • Jack just needed to say, “You know, honey, when you get into so many details, I lose your point and get frustrated. Why don’t you tell me why you’re excited about this project? I’d really love to hear that.
  • It was a problem of communication, not a problem of personality or character.
  • The belief that partners have the potential for change should not be confused with the belief that the partner will change. The partner has to want to change, commit to change, and take concrete actions toward change.
  • I realized something. I controlled half of the relationship, my half. I could have my half of the relationship. At least I could be the loving daughter I wanted to be. In a sense, it didn’t matter what she did. I would still be ahead of where I was.
  • In the fixed mindset, I had needed my blame and bitterness. It made me feel more righteous, powerful, and whole than thinking I was at fault. The growth mindset allowed me to give up the blame and move on.
  • In a relationship, the growth mindset lets you rise above blame, understand the problem, and try to fix it—together.
  • In a good relationship, people develop these skills and, as they do, both partners grow and the relationship deepens. But for this to happen, people need to feel they’re on the same side.
  • each partner was helping the other to do the things they wanted to do and become the person they wanted to be.
  • the whole point of marriage is to encourage your partner’s development and have them encourage yours.
  • When you get a great job offer or promotion. When your child does well. Who would be glad to hear it?
  • failures and misfortunes don’t threaten other people’s self-esteem.
  • It’s your assets and your successes that are problems for people who derive their self-esteem from being superior.
  • praise the person; he praises their effort.
  • Davis is leading students directly to the growth mindset. He is helping them see their actions as part of an effort to improve.
  • work toward curing yourself of the need to blame.
  • Move beyond thinking about fault and blame
  • social skills are things you can improve and how social interactions are for learning
  • Their helpful judgments, their lessons, their motivating techniques often send the wrong message.
  • every word and action can send a message. It tells children—or students, or athletes—how to think about themselves.
  • It can be a fixed-mindset message that says: You have permanent traits and I’m judging them. Or it can be a growth-mindset message that says: You are a developing person and I am interested in your development.
  • She had answered his real question: What happens to a boy who doesn’t paint well?
  • Again, his question was answered: What happens to boys who break toys?
  • Praising children’s intelligence harms their motivation and it harms their performance.
  • He projects an over-inflated view of his abilities and claims he can perform better than others (both intellectually and in physical activities), but will not attempt such activities, because of course, in his failure he would be shattered.
  • This was my greatest learning disability—this tendency to see performance as a reflection of character and, if I could not accomplish something right away, to avoid that task or treat it with contempt.
  • the best thing they can do is to teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning.
  • That way, their children don’t have to be slaves of praise. They will have a lifelong way to build and repair their own confidence.
  • “Praise should deal, not with the child’s personality attributes, but with his efforts and achievements.
  • There is a strong message in our society about how to boost children’s self-esteem, and a main part of that message is: Protect them from failure! While this may help with the immediate problem of a child’s disappointment, it can be harmful in the long run.
  • her father not only told her the truth, but also taught her how to learn from her failures and do what it takes to succeed in the future.
  • children need honest and constructive feedback. If children are “protected” from it, they won’t learn well. They will experience advice, coaching, and feedback as negative and undermining.
  • Don’t judge. Teach. It’s a learning process.
  • Many parents think that when they judge and punish, they are teaching, as in “I’ll teach you a lesson you’ll never forget.” What are they teaching? They are teaching their children that if they go against the parents’ rules or values, they’ll be judged and punished.
  • They’re not teaching their children how to think through the issues and come to ethical, mature decisions on their own. And chances are, they’re not teaching their children that the channels of communication are open.
  • ask yourself, What is the message I’m sending here: I will judge and punish you? Or I will help you think and learn?
  • “A successful student is one whose primary goal is to expand their knowledge and their ways of thinking and investigating the world.
  • “The ideal student values knowledge for its own sake, as well as for its instrumental uses.
  • He or she hopes to make a contribution to society at large.
  • Lowering standards just leads to poorly educated students who feel entitled
  • great teachers believe in the growth of the intellect and talent, and they are fascinated with the process of learning
  • Success is not coming to you, you must come to it.
  • I think it’s too easy for a teacher to say, ‘Oh this child wasn’t born with it, so I won’t waste my time.’ Too many teachers hide their own lack of ability behind that statement.
  • their first teachers were incredibly warm and accepting. Not that they set low standards. Not at all, but they created an atmosphere of trust, not judgment. It was, “I’m going to teach you,” not “I’m going to judge your talent.
  • “Maybe it’s important to look for the good and be optimistic,” he says, “but delusion is not the answer.
  • She challenges you at the same time that you feel you are being nurtured.
  • What are they teaching the students en route? To love learning. To eventually learn and think for themselves. And to work hard on the fundamentals.
  • “There is no magic here. Mrs. Collins is no miracle worker. I do not walk on water, I do not part the sea. I just love children and work harder than a lot of people, and so will you.
  • Suddenly the beautiful sound of Perlman made sense and was not just an overwhelming concept. When students don’t know how to do something and others do, the gap seems unbridgeable.
  • your clowning days are over.” Then they got down to work.
  • when students understand that school is for them—a way for them to grow their minds—they do not insist on sabotaging themselves.
  • we make a mistake if we think any student stops caring.
  • “There’s an assumption,” he said, “that schools are for students’ learning. Well, why aren’t they just as much for teachers’ learning?
  • above all, a good teacher is one who continues to learn along with the students.
  • “Sometimes I don’t like other grown-ups very much because they think they know everything. I don’t know everything. I can learn all the time.
  • The fixed mindset makes people complicated. It makes them worried about their fixed traits and creates the need to document them, sometimes at your expense. And it makes them judgmental.
  • when your wins and losses measured him—he was mercilessly judgmental.
  • his negativism, piled on top of my own, was drowning me.… Mom and Dad were concerned. They could see the love of the game going out of me.
  • training in the basic skills, he gave them conditioning, and he gave them mindset.
  • THE HOLY GRAIL: FULL PREPARATION AND FULL EFFORT
  • Wooden is not complicated. He’s wise and interesting, but not complicated.
  • You have to apply yourself each day to becoming a little better. By applying yourself to the task of becoming a little better each and every day over a period of time, you will become a lot better.
  • Did I win? Did I lose? Those are the wrong questions. The correct question is: Did I make my best effort?” If so, he says, “You may be outscored but you will never lose.
  • The jersey and the number on it never belong to just one single player, no matter how great or how big a ‘star’ that particular player is. It goes against the whole concept of what a team is.
  • What he was really good at was analyzing and motivating his players.
  • Summitt explains, “Success lulls you. It makes the most ambitious of us complacent and sloppy.
  • Every word and action from parent to child sends a message. Tomorrow, listen to what you say to your kids and tune in to the messages you’re sending.
  • lowering standards doesn’t raise students’ self-esteem.
  • Try presenting topics in a growth framework and giving students process feedback.
  • great teachers believe in the growth of talent and intellect, and are fascinated by the process of learning.
  • Instead of asking for mistake-free games, ask for full commitment and full effort. Instead of judging the players, give them the respect and the coaching they need to develop.
  • The growth mindset is based on the belief in change,
  • the most gratifying part of my work is watching people change.
  • Nothing is better than seeing people find their way to things they value.
  • Why didn’t I just say to the teacher, “Mrs. Kahn, I haven’t learned this yet. Could you show me how?”
  • just have to take the simplest action to make things better.
  • Whether they’re aware of it or not, all people keep a running account of what’s happening to them, what it means, and what they should do. In other words, our minds are constantly monitoring and interpreting. That’s just how we stay on track. But sometimes the interpretation process goes awry. Some people put more extreme interpretations on things that happen—and then react with exaggerated feelings of anxiety, depression, or anger. Or superiority.
  • sometimes the interpretation process goes awry. Some people put more extreme interpretations on things that happen—and then react with exaggerated feelings of anxiety, depression, or anger. Or superiority.
  • People with a growth mindset are also constantly monitoring what’s going on, but their internal monologue is not about judging themselves and others in this way. Certainly they’re sensitive to positive and negative information, but they’re attuned to its implications for learning and constructive action: What can I learn from this? How can I improve?
  • This directly affected my life because I have always wanted to be a writer, but have been afraid to pursue any writing classes or to share my creative writing
  • Go for it. Make it happen. Develop your skills. Pursue your dream.
  • Instead of being held captive by some intimidating fantasy about the Great Writer, the Great Athlete, or the Great Genius, the growth mindset gave them courage to embrace their own goals and dreams. And more important, it gave them a way to work toward making them real.
  • the brain is more like a muscle—it changes and gets stronger when you use it. And scientists have been able to show just how the brain grows and gets stronger when you learn.
  • nobody laughs at babies and says how dumb they are because they can’t talk. They just haven’t learned yet.
  • “it’s not about you. That’s their job. Their job is to find every possible flaw. Your job is to learn from the critique
  • opening yourself up to growth makes you more yourself, not less.
  • in the growth mindset, that’s just the first step. All you’ve done is talk to yourself. Now comes the learning and self-improvement part.
  • Nobody scoffs at an honest plea for helpful feedback.
  • Every day people plan to do difficult things, but they don’t do them. They think, “I’ll do it tomorrow,” and they swear to themselves that they’ll follow through the next day. Research by Peter Gollwitzer and his colleagues shows that vowing, even intense vowing, is often useless. The next day comes and the next day goes.
  • What works is making a vivid, concrete plan: “Tomorrow during my break, I’ll get a cup of tea, close the door to my office, and call the graduate school.” Or, in another case: “On Wednesday morning, right after I get up and brush my teeth, I’ll sit at my desk and start writing my report.” Or: “Tonight, right after the dinner dishes are done, I’ll sit down with my wife in the living room and have that discussion. I’ll say to her, ‘Dear, I’d like to talk about something that I think will make us happier.
  • concrete plans—plans you can visualize—about when, where, and how you are going to do something lead to really high levels of follow-through, which, of course, ups the chances of success.
  • visualize, in a concrete way, how you’re going to carry it out.
  • make a concrete, growth-oriented plan, and to stick to it.
  • realize you’re part of an organization that wants to help you grow, not judge and belittle you.
  • what are some new ways you could think
  • Although you can slowly accept the idea that effort might be necessary, you still can’t accept that it’s no guarantee.
  • you begin to grasp the idea of building relationships or even helping your colleagues develop in ways they value.
  • which you used to think of as inherently good, suddenly turned out to have been all bad or always bad. It was an evolving thing that had stopped developing for lack of nourishment.
  • Is someone in your life trying to tell you something you’re refusing to hear? Step into the growth mindset and listen again.
  • The fixed mindset is so very tempting. It seems to promise children a lifetime of worth, success, and admiration just for sitting there and being who they are.
  • These children are working hard, but they’re typically not in a growth mindset. They’re not focused on love of learning. They’re usually trying to prove themselves to their parents.
  • Slowly, you learn to separate your needs and desires from hers.
  • freedom to grow.
  • “Do you know where your child is now?” If you can’t hear what your child is trying to tell you—in words or actions—then you don’t know where your child is. Enter the growth mindset and listen harder.
  • I wasn’t sure how this was being strong, and how using some simple strategies was being weak.
  • “I’ve really learned my lesson,” you think, “I’ll never do this again.” But believing you can simply keep that good person in the forefront in the future, you don’t think of strategies you could use next time to prevent a flare-up. That’s why the next time is a carbon copy of the time before.
  • They think actively about maintenance. What habits must they develop to continue the gains they’ve achieved?
  • “What can I learn from this? What will I do next time when I’m in this situation?” It’s a learning process—not a battle between the bad you and the good you.
  • First, spouses can’t read your mind,
  • you have to matter-of-factly tell them how it makes you feel.
  • When you feel yourself losing it, you can learn to leave the room and write down your ugliest thoughts, followed by what is probably really happening (“She doesn’t understand this is important to me,” “He doesn’t know what to do when I start to blow”). When you feel calm enough, you can return to the situation.
  • loosen up on some of your rules, now that each one is not a test of your partner’s respect for you.
  • When people drop the good–bad, strong–weak thinking that grows out of the fixed mindset, they’re better able to learn useful strategies that help with self-control.
  • It’s like anything else in the growth mindset. It’s a reminder that you’re an unfinished human being and a clue to how to do it better next time.
  • It’s amazing—once a problem improves, people often stop doing what caused it to improve. Once you feel better, you stop taking your medicine.
  • that’s not the end of it. These changes have to be supported or they can go away faster than they appeared.
  • Mindset change is not about picking up a few pointers here and there. It’s about seeing things in a new way.
  • workers, parents and children, teachers and students—change to a growth mindset, they change from a judge-and-be-judged framework to a learn-and-help-learn framework. Their commitment is to growth, and growth takes plenty of time, effort, and mutual support.
  • What are the opportunities for learning and growth today? For myself? For the people around me?
  • When, where, and how will I embark on my plan?
  • When, where, and how will I act on my new plan?
  • What do I have to do to maintain and continue the growth?
  • Change can be tough, but I’ve never heard anyone say it wasn’t worth it.
  • They can tell you about things they have now that they wouldn’t have had, and ways they feel now that they wouldn’t have felt.

A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas

  • Always the beautiful answer Who asks a more beautiful question. —E.E. Cummings
  • Why are we doing this particular thing in this particular way?
  • The nonprofit sector, like much of industry, is inclined to keep doing what it has done—hence, well-meaning people are often trying to solve a problem by answering the wrong question.
  • Einstein saw curiosity as something “holy.”
  • Though he wondered about a great many things, Einstein was deliberate in choosing which questions to tackle:
  • A recent study found the average5 four-year-old British girl asks her poor mum 390 questions a day;
  • Why do some keep questioning, while others stop?
  • To encourage or even allow questioning is to cede power—not something that is done lightly in hierarchical companies or in government organizations,
  • The neurologist John Kounios observes8 that the brain finds ways to “reduce our mental workload,” and one way is to accept without question (or even to just ignore) much of what is going on around us at any time. We operate on autopilot—which can help us to save mental energy, allow us to multitask, and enable us to get through the daily grind.
  • We have to veer off the beaten neural path.
  • With the constant change we face today, we may be forced to spend less time on autopilot, more time in questioning mode—attempting to adapt, looking to re-create careers, redefining old ideas about living, working, and retiring, reexamining priorities, seeking new ways to be creative, or to solve various problems in our own lives or the lives of others. “We’ve transitioned into always transitioning,”9 according to the author and futurist John Seely Brown.

Motivation for Creative People: How to Stay Creative While Gaining Money, Fame, and Reputation

  • In this book, Mark goes much deeper, articulating the complex array of values, rewards, and influences that drive us to make our best work.

The Nature of Code

  • What types of patterns can we generate with fractals (Chapter 8), the geometry of nature?
  • Behaviors (or: Let’s not run into each other)

The New Capitalist Manifesto: Building a Disruptively Better Business

  • Where higher-quality value is created by doing stuff of greater worth. And, ultimately, where companies compete not just to change the rules, but to change the world.
  • a paradigm shift—not a small step, but a giant leap from one system of thought to its successor, which recasts an art or science in a radical new light.
  • economic enlightenment:
  • economic enlightenment is culminating in new cornerstones for production, consumption, and exchange, like value cycles, value conversations, and betters.
  • Enlightenment is a word that shouldn’t be used lightly. Here’s my considered case for choosing it. The unvarnished truth is that
  • capitalism is past its prime. It’s an aging paradigm that has hit the point of maturity. It was built in an industrial age, and the rust and damage on its weathered iron and battered rivets are beginning to show.
  • prosperity itself has reached sharply diminishing returns.
  • “The welfare of a nation can… scarcely be inferred from a measure of national income.”1
  • industrial age prosperity can advance only under a narrow set of conditions, all increasingly detached from today’s economic reality.
  • Industrial era capitalism was built for a big, empty, stable world. But at the dawn of the twenty-first century, the world is more like an ark—tiny, fragile, and crowded.
  • “dumb” growth,
  • “all of the sophisticated mathematics and computer wizardry” wasn’t enough to make up for a systemic failure of “enlightened self-interest,”
  • driven by “aesthetic puzzles… rather than by a powerful desire to understand how the economy works.”
  • as in any other socially built, culturally bound, human-run system, there’s always room for improvement.
  • Nobel Laureate Douglass North, who won the prize for his pioneering work on institutions, defined them as “the humanly devised constraints that shape interaction.”
  • five cornerstones
  • value propositions
  • strategy
  • protecting marketplaces
  • goods
  • the stubborn reality of creating value:
  • That imbalance—present in every industry under the sun—is
  • “More and more people are beginning to sense that the mounting sustainability crises are interconnected—symptoms of a larger global system that is out of balance.”13
  • Capitalism is founded on the equation of creative destruction.
  • In the great imbalance, industrial era capitalism’s cornerstones institutionalize what economists call negative externalities—or negative impacts excluded from market prices—making them systematic, and on the flipside, deinstitutionalize or limit positive externalities—benefits not included in market prices.
  • “invest directly in the provision of global public goods and the mitigation of global public bads.”14
  • cooperation that centers on creating global public goods.”15
  • in a tiny, crowded, fragile ark, everything counts. There’s no one left to borrow benefits from or shift costs to: the destinies of all are inextricably interdependent. Prosperity—or its nemesis, crisis—accrues to everyone.
  • twentieth-century institutions aren’t fit for twenty-first-century economics.
  • The world has changed radically, but capitalism hasn’t.
  • industrial age cornerstones limit organizations to creating “thin” value. Thin value is the invisible fist of the great imbalance, the real-world expression of overproducing bads and underproducing goods.
  • •Thin value is artificial,
  • •Thin value is unsustainable, often “created” today simply at the expense of forgone benefits tomorrow.
  • •Thin value is meaningless, because it often fails to make people, communities, and society durably better off in the ways that matter to them most.
  • Thin value is, in these three crucial ways, not authentic economic value at all.
  • $27 of economic harm is still done to people, society, and future generations. No authentic value has been created; the profit booked an illusion of imbalanced accounting.
  • The full-spectrum cost of capital is a higher standard. No company has yet mastered the art of measuring, applying, and monitoring it.
  • applying the full-spectrum cost of capital would instantly and radically devalue the profits of industrial era businesses, pushing many into de facto losses.
  • Ultimately, the failure to create authentic economic value catches up with every company, country, and economy.
  • Insta-collapse.
  • The knot cannot be untied, but only cut. Escaping the capitalists’ dilemma requires a paradigm shift.
  • Twenty-first-century capitalism must organize the better saving and accumulation of every kind of productive resource for tomorrow. Its precepts and commandments must begin with minimizing economic harm and end with maximizing the creation of authentic economic value.
  • second axiom is about maximization: the fundamental challenge facing countries, companies, and economies in the twenty-first century is creating more value of higher quality,
  • a better kind of capitalism built for a tiny, fragile, and crowded world: constructive capitalism.
  • cornerstones that constructive capitalists are carving operate at a more fundamental level: they order and organize production, consumption, and exchange.
  • redefines roles and relationships across independent entities to accelerate and amplify learning and reduce risks.”
  • “institutional innovation will trump either product or process innovation in terms of potential for value creation.”17
  • a growing number of revolutionary organizations “have all, in their own ways, learned how to see the larger systems in which they live and work.
  • They look beyond events and superficial fixes to see deeper structures and forces at play.”19
  • Just catching a glimpse of a relationship doesn’t explain what, if anything, drives it.
  • leap from operating effectiveness to socio-effectiveness
  • create thick value when they generate profits by activities whose benefits accrue sustainably, authentically, and meaningfully to people, communities, society, the natural world, and future generations.
  • constructive advantage.
  • Constructive advantage is an advantage in both the quantity and quality of profit.
  • Because higher quality value is less risky, less costly, more defensible, and more enduring, it is usually worth more to stakeholders of every kind: people, communities, society, future generations, employees, regulators, and investors alike.
  • eking out smaller and smaller amounts of low-quality profit, with not just strategic decay, but with institutional obsolescence.
  • Social responsibility measures such as KLD Research & Analytics scores, ethical indexes such as the Fraser Consultancy’s Ethical Reputation Index, and corporate governance scores such as Institutional Shareholder Services’ Corporate Governance Quotient all play a more and more integral role in making cold, dispassionate investment decisions.
  • yesterday’s sources of competitive advantage are being devalued:
  • Constructive advantage can be thought of as how free a company is of deep debt to people, communities, society, the natural world, or future generations.
  • Less deep debt equals higher-quality profit and a more constructive advantage.
  • reimagine your own role as a capitalist,
  • rethink the “capital”—to build organizations that are less machines, and more living networks of the many different kinds of capital, whether natural, human, social, or creative.
  • there’s a problem with mere operating efficiency. Firms impose a broad range of unseen, unintended, and unwanted costs on others—environmental costs, human costs, social costs, to name just a few—but because these costs are often invisible, they remain uncounted and thus are not minimized. These costs are often described as negative externalities or spillovers, a concept pioneered by Cambridge economist Arthur Cecil Pigou
  • constructive capitalists we studied, however, considered five foundational categories of stakeholders whom I refer to throughout the course of this book: people, communities, society, the natural world, and future generations.
  • operating efficiency isn’t enough to sustain lasting economic advantage. Constructive capitalism’s better definition of efficiency is socio-efficiency.
  • the first of the new sources of advantage constructive capitalists realize.
  • A second kind of loss advantage happens when, by minimizing costs and others’ losses, businesses are able to achieve greater cost savings than rivals only seeking a cost advantage.
  • building cycles instead of chains is the key to renewing resources for tomorrow, instead of merely exploiting them today.
  • at the end of the chain, waste doesn’t die. It just gets passed on to society, communities, and people.
  • cycles can’t be fed with bad inputs that can’t be recycled, reused, or repurposed.
  • as its already low-cost inputs are used over and over again by the cycle, their average costs drop
  • sustainability is a better way to a bigger and more legitimate profit.”8
  • from an economic point of view, minimizing everyone’s losses, because waste is a net loss.
  • more free inputs to cycle and remanufacture, the lower average costs drop and thicker value can be created.
  • they are producing not in lines, but in circles. They are doing this not out of altruism, but because doing so unlocks radical new paths for strategy, competition, and ultimately a new source of advantage: loss advantage. Simply, renewing resources for tomorrow is wiser than exploiting them today.
  • Responsiveness happens by turning top-down, take-it-or-leave-it value propositions into deeply democratic value conversations.
  • responding to change has become an effortless reflex.
  • Just as loss advantage stems from achieving greater next-generation efficiency than rivals, so responsiveness is built on a new economic foundation. It stems from achieving greater next-generation agility than rivals.
  • Rapid entry and exit from markets often indicate a lack of a sustainable, meaningful impact in any.
  • the ability to produce better decisions faster
  • can we decide that subscriptions are worth more than transactions in the first place?
  • Imagine a machine that would let us make any decision, in the blink of an eye.
  • always-on voting by consumers reveals preferences in real time.
  • Through the participation of customers, the costs of managerial decision making are lowered to almost nil:
  • Rivals struggle, flounder, and imitate one another endlessly, because for them, that decision is costly, tough, and complex.
  • for Threadless, it’s easy to consistently make choices they’ve never even imagined, that customers love.
  • radically democratic businesses are rethinking how decisions are made from the grass roots up.
  • By democratizing decision making in a multitude of ways, constructive capitalists are able to allocate resources with maximum agility.
  • Markets allocate resources through what’s supposed to be a shareholder democracy, yet the shareholder democracy industrial age capitalism built is the weakest kind of democracy. It is indeed in many ways a mockery of authentic democracy.
  • Feeble shareholder democracy quickly becomes iron-clad managerial autocracy.
  • authentic democracy is participative, deliberative, associative, and consensual.
  • competitors—hold conversations about what is valued and what thicker value is.
  • Radio stations sold out in the first place because figuring out what listeners actually wanted was costlier than simply taking record-label side payments.
  • result is responsiveness: Jelli-powered stations can respond to changes in listener preferences effortlessly and rapidly.
  • letting participation drive production.
  • next-generation Walkers resemble Threadless, where democracy is always in charge, surfacing new flavors of chips that satisfy demand reflexively, automatically, and nearly effortlessly?
  • Participation is the easiest step on the path to democracy.
  • the only block to participative decision making is mental.
  • here’s a general rule for participation: whoever is affected by the firm’s actions should have the right to participate, with preference given to those affected most.
  • Voting is the most brittle kind of democracy, built on the tiniest kind of conversation, because it limits a voice to a vote.
  • a deeper kind of democracy is built on deliberation: reasoned conversation that details and debates trade-offs between parties with conflicting interests. Deeper than voting, deliberation is rich with information and knowledge. It allows participants to unpack and detail the differing rationales and perspectives that lead to different votes in the first place.
  • deliberative democracy is a new foundation for a twenty-first-century business,
  • more agile decision making,
  • Authentic democracy demands participation and deliberation, but it also demands public spaces that are unencumbered and unencroached upon by vested interests, for conversations to ignite.
  • Anyone can join the deliberation, and anyone is free to leave the deliberation.
  • Anyone can page through not just nearly every Wikipedia edit and entry ever made, but also
  • Transparency builds credibility and attracts voluntary effort.
  • we have nothing to hide, and everything to gain, from people associating with
  • If there are shortcomings, help us discover them—and help us address them.
  • the more its customers and farmers associate, the better information it has to make more accurate decisions about how to create value for both, and the stronger incentives it has to stay
  • brings the cost of veto down from hundreds of millions to mere hundreds.
  • dissent is powerful because it explodes the boundaries of decision making, and forces an organization to make new decisions that create authentic value for all.
  • If no one can dissent in a conversation, consensus is an illusion and democracy isn’t meaningful.
  • If we’re locking users in, chances are there’s no sense of urgency to innovate and make products better.
  •     We’re not liberating data out of altruism. We’re doing it because it makes good business sense, because it drives long-term, sustainable growth.1
  • “Disrupt yourself before someone else comes along and does it.
  • engaging in protectionism can never evolve products, services, and businesses that are authentically better—because incentives to maintain an edge dry up.
  • it’s an amplifier of evolutionary pressure.
  • Resilience is applied evolution,
  • value extraction:
  • Resilience is its very opposite:
  • Free and fair exchange is the bedrock of evolution because it drives competitive selection.
  • many, if not most, industries, building an arsenal of anticompetitive moves
  • The heartbeat of evolution is rapid, consistent, frequent experimentation—but its lifeblood is free and fair exchange.
  • “Disrupt yourself
  • Competitive strategies say, “Here’s how we’ll get people to buy our stuff, no matter what.” A philosophy says, “Here’s how we’ll make stuff people want to buy, no matter what.”
  • when a company has a philosophy, the tables are turned on war. Companies that have philosophies no longer make war on competition. Like Google, they are able to master a new discipline: they can wage peace instead.
  • knowing and synthesizing.
  • How many of these essential kinds of anti-competitive moves are you making?
  • OPEC benefits, but people and society are worse off.
  • The price of playing unfairly was, as always, never learning how to win fairly.
  • extracting a profit by manipulating the imperfections in
  • stopped it from engaging in exclusive dealing and let it evolve
  • “There’s always more food out there,” and our job is to bring the best and healthiest of it to you.
  • elaborate webs of side payments to retailers in exchange for stocking their products.
  • Google’s great innovation wasn’t more powerful technology, but more powerful evolution.
  • Industrial age productivity has a simple—and simplistic—definition of it: can we produce more outputs from a given set of inputs? Quantity—not quality—is its measure.
  • another path to commoditization.
  • essence of creativity remains the same as it was in Brunelleschi’s day: it is about achieving the impossible.
  • Creative companies are able to create ultra-high-need-ultra-low-cost markets, segments, and industries.
  • creativity is not a resource, but a competence—instead
  • Theoretically,
  • Capitalism should be an engine of equity.
  • Most marketplaces remain incomplete,
  • “Market imperfections generate costs which interfere with trades that rational individuals make (or would make in the absence of the imperfection).”3 Economic imperfections, then, limit what we can supply, how we can supply it, or who can demand it.
  • nothing can offer protection from constructive capitalists who wield the world-changing power of perfection.
  • markets remain incomplete because of poor information. The more expensive information is, the more costly transactions are, and the more categories and segments are underserved.
  • Often, markets remain incomplete because products and services are monolithic:
  • Markets often remain incomplete because complexity imposes steep costs on production and consumption,
  • If you were to slash information costs, which dimensions of inequity could you upgrade?
  • Industrial era business isn’t just economically unsustainable. It’s also strategically unsustainable. Why? Because it faces a tremendous strategic conflict of interest with people, communities, society, the natural world, and future generations. The overriding goal of an industrial era business is, as long as it is profitable, to push more product at people, whether it makes them better off—or worse off.
  • Richard Easterlin, a pioneering happiness economist at the University of Southern California, offers the following conclusion: “Over the long term, happiness and income are unrelated.”2
  • seeking difference instead of mere differentiation.
  • Operational effectiveness has to do with outputs: how consistently, reliably, and frequently inputs turn into good or error-free outputs. Socio-effectiveness has to do not with the goodness of outputs, but the goodness of outcomes.
  • Are people smarter, fitter, healthier, or more connected as a result of interacting with your business? That is the truest and hardest test of authentic value creation.
  • what is the real difference between a Whopper and a Big Mac? A Hummer and an Escalade? Pepsi and Coke? All offer slightly different flavors of the same perceived value.
  • make stuff that’s not meaningless stuff in the first place.
  • “In the past, the product was the end point of the consumer experience. Now it’s the starting point.”11
  • our products and services usable? How effortlessly can people get the best outcomes out of them, every time they use them? Are we making people more secure against economic volatility and insecurity?
  • tangible kind of economic wellness that stays with people for life.
  • wellness where none existed before.
  • Twenty-first-century advantage demands rediscovering what’s meaningful and discarding what isn’t.
  • Somewhere out there is a company, a master of socio-effectiveness, a creator of net happiness,
  • What kinds of well-being are the scarcest—and
  • Industrial era growth is, I humbly suggest, “dumb.” It is growth that is ultimately (not just environmentally) unsustainable because it is locally, globally, and economically self-destructive.
  • time to redefine prosperity and growth for the twenty-first century.
  • A constructive strategy defines how an organization will achieve competitive outperformance by becoming radically more useful to people, communities, society, and future generations than rivals. The result of every successful constructive strategy is a tectonic, status-quo-shattering not just in the quantity of growth, but in the quality of growth.
  • growth that asks the poor to lend to the rich to prop up consumption starves both sides of meaningful investment.
  • Are we investing in developing country suppliers or squeezing them?
  • Every revolutionary needs stuff to revolutionize—stuff that’s insufferably awful, terrible, and, well, dumb. The new sources of advantage are applied with maximum effect when they erase the largest, most intense, and longest-lasting amounts of economic harm.
  • disruption is construction minus the destruction your fiercest rival inflicts on people, communities, society, and future generations.
  • Where is democracy most disruptive? Wherever there’s a clear lack of responsiveness.
  • wherever you see zombies, don’t reach for your pistol—build a pulpit, and start seeding a democracy instead.
  • harmed by managerial decisions, but are actively and consistently disem-powered to affect them back.
  • three telltale signs of disempowerment: consumer apathy, frustration, or resistance; outsized lobbying and marketing expenditure; and elaborate corporate governance mechanisms
  • fake brands, like Häagen Dazs, which was cooked up in a boardroom in New Jersey merely to sound Swedish (talk about faking it, printed on early ice cream containers were maps of Scandinavia).
  • wherever you see a counterfeit, no matter how finely-crafted—try countering it with a healthy, meaningful dose of truth instead.
  • three giveaways of such industries: customer alienation, churn, and apathy; outsized marketing expenditures; and shrinking production, research, and innovation budgets.
  • whenever you see neglect, disregard, or sheer oblivousness to better outcomes—be mindful, and get conscious of what it would take to have them instead.
  • In the twentieth century, worse was often better.
  • Firms create thick value when they generate profits by activities that accrue benefits to (or absorb costs from) people, communities, and society, not solely to shareholders and boardrooms.
  • Industrial era business is worse because it is economically worse. That is, it’s inefficient, unproductive, inflexible, and ineffective, in twenty-first-century terms, at creating value that matters, lasts, and grows; it’s an engine of low-quality profit.
  • Zoom out: in the bigger picture, I’d like to suggest that constructive capitalists, for all their very real imperfections, might just be improving capitalism’s value equation of creative destruction. They’re learning to minimize the losses from destruction and maximize the gains from creation.
  • capitalism is neither descended from Mount Olympus, nor ordained by nature. It is one of humanity’s great creations—embedded in our noisy, messy world.
  • don’t just read this book. Use it. It’s not a textbook; it’s a handbook.
  • protectors of the past never create the future. And the creators of the future never stop questioning the past. You’ve got to ask—and keep asking.

The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph

  • thriving not just in spite of whatever happens but because of it.
  • challenge makes them better than if they’d never faced the adversity at all.
  • Every obstacle is unique to each of us. But the responses they elicit are the same: Fear. Frustration. Confusion. Helplessness. Depression. Anger.
  • Andy Grove, former CEO of Intel, outlined when he described what happens to businesses in tumultuous times: “Bad companies are destroyed by crisis. Good companies survive them. Great companies are improved by them.”
  • Many of our problems come from having too much:
  • Objective judgment, now at this very moment. Unselfish action, now at this very moment. Willing acceptance—now at this very moment—of all external events. That’s all you need.
  • It takes skill and discipline to bat away the pests of bad perceptions, to separate reliable signals from deceptive ones, to filter out prejudice, expectation, and fear. But it’s worth it, for what’s left is truth.
  • We can learn to perceive things differently, to cut through the illusions that others believe or fear. We can stop seeing the “problems” in front of us as problems. We can learn to focus on what things really are.
  • We have a choice about how we respond to this situation (or any situation, for that matter).
  • He honed the ability to control and channel and understand these signals. It was like a superpower; because most people can’t access this part of themselves, they are slaves to impulses and instincts they have never questioned.
  • through our perception of events, we are complicit in the creation—as well as the destruction—of every one of our obstacles. There is no good or bad without us, there is only perception. There is the event itself and the story we tell ourselves about what it means.
  • talent is not the most sought-after characteristic. Grace and poise are, because these two attributes precede the opportunity to deploy any other skill.
  • If your nerve holds, then nothing really did “happen”—our perception made sure it was nothing of consequence.
  • When people panic, they make mistakes. They override systems. They disregard procedures, ignore rules. They deviate from the plan. They become unresponsive and stop thinking clearly. They just react—not to what they need to react to,
  • Uncertainty and fear are relieved by authority. Training is authority.
  • It’s time to realize that this is a luxury, an indulgence of our lesser self.
  • Can you keep an even strain? Can you fight the urge to panic and instead focus only on what you can change?
  • If an emotion can’t change the condition or the situation you’re dealing with, it is likely an unhelpful emotion.
  • Real strength lies in the control or, as Nassim Taleb put it, the domestication of one’s emotions, not in pretending they don’t exist.
  • We defeat emotions with logic, or at least that’s the idea. Logic is questions and statements. With enough of them, we get to root causes (which are always easier to deal with).
  • To paraphrase Nietzsche, sometimes being superficial—taking things only at first glance—is the most profound approach. In our own lives, how many problems seem to come from applying judgments to things we don’t control, as though there were a way they were supposed to be? How often do we see what we think is there or should be there, instead of what actually is there?
  • Perceptions are the problem. They give us the “information” that we don’t need, exactly at the moment when it would be far better to focus on what is immediately in front of us: the thrust of a sword, a crucial business negotiation, an opportunity, a flash of insight or anything else, for that matter.
  • muscles are developed by tension, by lifting and holding.
  • The Stoics use contempt as an agent to lay things bare and “to strip away the legend that encrusts them.”
  • Objectivity means removing “you”—the subjective part—from the equation. Just think, what happens when we give others advice? Their problems are crystal clear to us, the solutions obvious. Something that’s present when we deal with our own obstacles is always missing when we hear other people’s problems: the baggage. With other people we can be objective.
  • Take your situation and pretend it is not happening to you. Pretend it is not important, that it doesn’t matter. How much easier would it be for you to know what to do? How much more quickly and dispassionately could you size up the scenario and its options? You could write it off, greet it calmly.
  • Think of all the ways that someone could solve a specific problem. No, really think. Give yourself clarity, not sympathy—there’ll be plenty of time for that later. It’s an exercise, which means it takes repetition. The more you try it, the better you get at it. The more skilled you become seeing things for what they are, the more perception will work for you rather than against you.
  • Perspective is everything. That is, when you can break apart something, or look at it from some new angle, it loses its power over you.
  • The way we look out at the world changes how we see these things. Is our perspective truly giving us perspective or is it what’s actually causing the problem? That’s the question.
  • What we can do is limit and expand our perspective to whatever will keep us calmest and most ready for the task at hand. Think of it as selective editing—not to deceive others, but to properly orient ourselves. And it works. Small tweaks can change what once felt like impossible tasks.
  • Perspective has two definitions. Context: a sense of the larger picture of the world, not just what is immediately in front of us Framing: an individual’s unique way of looking at the world, a way that interprets its events
  • Where the head goes, the body follows. Perception precedes action. Right action follows the right perspective.
  • the most harmful dragon we chase is the one that makes us think we can change things that are simply not ours to change.
  • every ounce of energy directed at things we can’t actually influence is wasted—self-indulgent and self-destructive.
  • Yet in our own lives, we aren’t content to deal with things as they happen. We have to dive endlessly into what everything “means,” whether something is “fair” or not, what’s “behind” this or that, and what everyone else is doing. Then we wonder why we don’t have the energy to actually deal with our problems. Or we get ourselves so worked up and intimidated because of the overthinking, that if we’d just gotten to work we’d probably be done already.
  • Emerson put it best: “We cannot spend the day in explanation.” Don’t waste time on false constructs.
  • Genius is the ability to put into effect what is in your mind. There’s no other definition of it. —F. SCOTT FITZGERALD
  • though our doubts (and self-doubts) feel real, they have very little bearing on what is and isn’t possible.
  • When we believe in the obstacle more than in the goal, which will inevitably triumph?
  • you’re looking not at the obstacle but at the opportunity within it.
  • It’s our preconceptions that are the problem.
  • Action is the solution and the cure to our predicaments.
  • people who become great at things—whether it’s flying or blowing through gender stereotypes—do. They start. Anywhere. Anyhow. They don’t care if the conditions are perfect or if they’re being slighted. Because they know that once they get started, if they can just get some momentum, they can make it work.
  • all the greats you admire started by saying, Yes, let’s go.
  • Just because the conditions aren’t exactly to your liking, or you don’t feel ready yet, doesn’t mean you get a pass. If you want momentum, you’ll have to create it yourself, right now, by getting up and getting started.
  • genius often really is just persistence in disguise.
  • Action and failure are two sides of the same coin. One doesn’t come without the other. What breaks this critical connection down is when people stop acting—because they’ve taken failure the wrong way.
  • Great entrepreneurs are: never wedded to a position never afraid to lose a little of their investment never bitter or embarrassed never out of the game for long They slip many times, but they don’t fall.
  • Failure shows us the way—by showing us what isn’t the way.
  • Okay, you’ve got to do something very difficult. Don’t focus on that. Instead break it down into pieces. Simply do what you need to do right now. And do it well. And then move on to the next thing. Follow the process and not the prize.
  • Do that now, for whatever obstacles you come across. We can take a breath, do the immediate, composite part in front of us—and follow its thread into the next action. Everything in order, everything connected.
  • When it comes to our actions, disorder and distraction are death. The unordered mind loses track of what’s in front of it—what matters—and gets distracted by thoughts of the future. The process is order, it keeps our perceptions in check and our actions in sync. It seems obvious, but we forget this when it matters most.
  • Being trapped is just a position, not a fate. You get out of it by addressing and eliminating each part of that position through small, deliberate actions—not by trying (and failing) to push it away with superhuman strength.
  • How often do we compromise or settle because we feel that the real solution is too ambitious or outside our grasp? How often do we assume that change is impossible because it’s too big? Involves too many different groups? Or worse, how many people are paralyzed by all their ideas and inspirations? They chase them all and go nowhere, distracting themselves and never making headway. They’re brilliant, sure, but they rarely execute. They rarely get where they want and need to go.
  • The process is about doing the right things, right now. Not worrying about what might happen later, or the results, or the whole picture.
  • When action is our priority, vanity falls away.
  • Steve Jobs cared even about the inside of his products, making sure they were beautifully designed even though the users would never see them. Taught by his father—who finished even the back of his cabinets though they would be hidden against the wall—to think like a craftsman. In every design predicament, Jobs knew his marching orders: Respect the craft and make something beautiful.
  • Viktor Frankl, survivor of three concentration camps, found presumptuousness in the age-old question: “What is the meaning of life?” As though it is someone else’s responsibility to tell you. Instead, he said, the world is asking you that question. And it’s your job to answer with your actions.
  • Right action—unselfish, dedicated, masterful, creative—that is the answer to that question. That’s one way to find the meaning of life. And how to turn every obstacle into an opportunity.
  • How you do anything is how you can do everything.
  • He paid twice, sure, but it was over. The land was his. Forget the rule book, settle the issue.
  • This is pragmatism embodied. Don’t worry about the “right” way, worry about the right way.
  • Any way that works—that’s the motto.
  • We spend a lot of time thinking about how things are supposed to be, or what the rules say we should do. Trying to get it all perfect. We tell ourselves that we’ll get started once the conditions are right, or once we’re sure we can trust this or that. When, really, it’d be better to focus on making due with what we’ve got. On focusing on results instead of pretty methods.
  • if you’ve got an important mission, all that matters is that you accomplish it.
  • Pragmatism is not so much realism as flexibility.
  • There are a lot of ways to get from point A to point B. It doesn’t have to be a straight line. It’s just got to get you where you need to go. But so many of us spend so much time looking for the perfect solution that we pass up what’s right in front of us.
  • do the best with what you’ve got.
  • Start thinking like a radical pragmatist: still ambitious, aggressive, and rooted in ideals, but also imminently practical and guided by the possible. Not on everything you would like to have, not on changing the world right at this moment, but ambitious enough to get everything you need. Don’t think small, but make the distinction between the critical and the extra.
  • Think progress, not perfection. Under this kind of force, obstacles break apart. They have no choice. Since you’re going around them or making them irrelevant, there is nothing for them to resist.
  • They choose to exert only calculated force where it will be effective, rather than straining and struggling with pointless attrition tactics.
  • The inertia of success makes it much harder to truly develop good technique. People or companies who have that size advantage never really have to learn the process when they’ve been able to coast on brute force. And that works for them . . . until it doesn’t.
  • Problems, as Duke Ellington once said, are a chance for us to do our best. Just our best, that’s it. Not the impossible.
  • True will is quiet humility, resilience, and flexibility; the other kind of will is weakness disguised by bluster and ambition.
  • “This too shall pass” was Lincoln’s favorite saying, one he once said was applicable in any and every situation one could encounter.
  • Lincoln’s words went to the people’s hearts because they came from his, because he had access to a part of the human experience that many had walled themselves off from. His personal pain was an advantage.
  • The will is what prepares us for this, protects us against it, and allows us to thrive and be happy in spite of it. It is also the most difficult of all the disciplines. It’s what allows us to stand undisturbed while others wilt and give in to disorder.
  • Confident, calm, ready to work regardless of the conditions. Willing and able to continue, even during the unthinkable, even when our worst nightmares have come true.
  • It’s much easier to control our perceptions and emotions than it is to give up our desire to control other people and events.
  • These lessons come harder but are, in the end, the most critical to wresting advantage from adversity. In every situation, we can Always prepare ourselves for more difficult times. Always accept what we’re unable to change. Always manage our expectations. Always persevere. Always learn to love our fate and what happens to us. Always protect our inner self, retreat into ourselves. Always submit to a greater, larger cause. Always remind ourselves of our own mortality. And, of course, prepare to start the cycle once more.
  • The path of least resistance is a terrible teacher. We can’t afford to shy away from the things that intimidate us.
  • Your plan and the way things turn out rarely resemble each other. What you think you deserve is also rarely what you’ll get. Yet we constantly deny this fact and are repeatedly shocked by the events of the world as they unfold. It’s ridiculous. Stop setting yourself up for a fall.
  • You know what’s better than building things up in your imagination? Building things up in real life.
  • Of course, it’s a lot more fun to build things up in your imagination than it is to tear them down. But what purpose does that serve? It only sets you up for disappointment.
  • action. It is far easier to talk of the way things should be. It takes toughness, humility, and will to accept them for what they actually are.
  • The way life is gives you plenty to work with, plenty to leave your imprint on. Taking people and events as they are is quite enough material already.
  • nature, in order to be commanded, must be obeyed.
  • Your obstacle may not be so serious or violent. But they are nevertheless significant and outside your control. They warrant only one response: a smile.
  • Learning not to kick and scream about matters we can’t control is one thing. Indifference and acceptance are certainly better than disappointment or rage. Very few understand or practice that art. But it is only a first step. Better than all of that is love for all that happens to us, for every situation. The goal is: Not: I’m okay with this. Not: I think I feel good about this. But: I feel great about it. Because if it happened, then it was meant to happen, and I am glad that it did when it did. I am meant to make the best of it.
  • We don’t get to choose what happens to us, but we can always choose how we feel about it. And why on earth would you choose to feel anything but good?
  • Amor fati (a love of fate)
  • Don’t waste a second looking back at your expectations. Face forward, and face it with a smug little grin.
  • there is always some good—even if only barely perceptible at first—contained within the bad.
  • Persistence. Everything directed at one problem, until it breaks.
  • Life is not about one obstacle, but many. What’s required of us is not some shortsighted focus on a single facet of a problem, but simply a determination that we will get to where we need to go, somehow, someway, and nothing will stop us. We will overcome every obstacle—and there will be many in life—until we get there. Persistence is an action. Perseverance is a matter of will. One is energy. The other, endurance
  • Our actions can be constrained, but our will can’t be. Our plans—even our bodies—can be broken. But belief in ourselves? No matter how many times we are thrown back, we alone retain the power to decide to go once more. Or to try another route. Or, at the very least, to accept this reality and decide upon a new aim.
  • Unity over Self. We’re in this together.
  • Elysium is a myth. One does not overcome an obstacle to enter the land of no obstacles.

The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results

  • No one succeeds alone. No one.
  • a virtuous cycle all the way to extraordinary results.
  • Achievers always work from a clear sense of priority.
  • Instead of a to-do list, you need a success list—a list that is purposefully created around extraordinary results.
  • Multitasking is a lie.
  • It’s not that we have too little time to do all the things we need to do, it’s that we feel the need to do too many things in the time we have.
  • Task switching exacts a cost few realize they’re even paying.
  • They often make poorer decisions because they favor new information over old, even if the older information is more valuable.
  • modem
  • When we tie our success to our willpower without understanding what that really means, we set ourselves up for failure. And we don’t have to.
  • ability to control oneself to determine one’s actions is a pretty powerful idea.
  • Willpower is always on will-call is a lie.
  • The implications are staggering. The more we use our mind, the less minding power we have.
  • A balanced life is a lie.
  • Time waits for no one. Push something to an extreme and postponement can become permanent.
  • When you gamble with your time, you may be placing a bet you can’t cover. Even if you’re sure you can win, be careful that you can live with what you lose.
  • when you focus on what is truly important, something will always be underserved.
  • No matter how hard you try, there will always be things left undone at the end of your day, week, month, year, and life. Trying to get them all done is folly.
  • Counterbalancing is not only about your sense of well-being, it’s essential to your being well.
  • it’s not about how much overtime you put in; the key ingredient is focused time over time.
  • challenge becomes how long you stay on your priority.
  • No one knows their ultimate ceiling for achievement,
  • What you build today will either empower or restrict you tomorrow.
  • Only living big will let you experience your true life and work potential.
  • “People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the only ones who do.
  • Big thoughts go nowhere without bold action. Once you’ve asked a big question, pause to imagine what life looks like with the answer. If you still can’t imagine it, go study people who have already achieved it.
  • we fail our way to success. When we fail, we stop, ask what we need to do to succeed, learn from our mistakes, and grow. Don’t be afraid to fail.
  • we usually succeed in spite of most of what we do, not because of it.
  • the key to success isn’t in all the things we do but in the handful of things we do well.
  • success comes down to this: being appropriate in the moments of your life.
  • the prime condition of success, the great secret—concentrate your energy, thought and capital exclusively upon the business in which you are engaged.
  • The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret to getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks and then starting on the first one.
  • Answers come from questions, and the quality of any answer is directly determined by the quality of the question.
  • “the power to question is the basis of all human progress.
  • “Sometimes questions are more important than answers.
  • How we phrase the questions we ask ourselves determines the answers that eventually become our life.
  • Extraordinary results are rarely happenstance. They come from the choices we make and the actions we take. The Focusing Question always aims you at the absolute best of both by forcing you to do what is essential to success—make a decision. But not just any decision—it drives you to make the best decision. It ignores what is doable and drills down to what is necessary, to what matters.
  • The Focusing Question collapses all possible questions into one: “What’s the ONE Thing I can do / such that by doing it / everything else will be easier or unnecessary?
  • You can’t hedge your bet. You’re allowed to pick one thing and one thing only.
  • Action you “can do” beats intention every time.
  • Most people struggle to comprehend how many things don’t need to be done, if they would just start by doing the right thing.
  • this qualifier seeks to declutter your life by asking you to put on blinders.
  • Whether you seek answers big or small, asking the Focusing Question is the ultimate success habit for your life.
  • “Success is simple. Do what’s right, the right way, at the right time.” —Arnold H. Glasow
  • you can drive yourself nuts analyzing every little aspect of everything you might do. I don’t do that, and you shouldn’t either. Start with the big stuff and see where it takes you.
  • When you make asking the Focusing Question a habit, you fully engage its power to get the extraordinary results you want. It’s a difference maker. Research says this will take about 66 days.
  • If you’re not serious about learning the Success Habit, you’re not serious about getting extraordinary results.
  • Set up ways to remind yourself to use the Focusing Question.
  • “Until my ONE Thing is done—everything else is a distraction.
  • Starting a success support group with some of your work colleagues can help inspire all of you to practice the Success Habit every day. Get your family involved. Share your ONE Thing.
  • “People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures.” —F. M. Alexander
  • The Focusing Question helps you identify your ONE Thing in any situation. It will clarify what you want in the big areas of your life and then drill down to what you must do to get them. It’s really a simple process: You ask a great question, then you seek out a great answer.
  • You’ll have to stretch what you believe is possible and look outside the standard toolbox of solutions.
  • Answers come in three categories: doable, stretch, and possibility.
  • If you want the most from your answer, you must realize that it lives outside your comfort zone.
  • rare air.
  • do what only the greatest achievers do: benchmark and trend.
  • begins by finding out what others have learned.
  • Short of having a conversation with someone who has accomplished what you hope to achieve, in my experience books and published works offer the most in terms of documented research and role models for success.
  • FIG. 21 The benchmark is today’s success—the trend is tomorrow
  • A new answer usually requires new behavior, so don’t be surprised if along the way to sizable success you change in the process. But don’t let that stop you. This is where the magic happens and possibilities are unlimited. As challenging as it can be, trailblazing up the path of possibilities is always worth it—for when we maximize our reach, we maximize our life.
  • The best question—and by default, the best goal—is big and specific: big, because you’re after extraordinary results; specific, to give you something to aim at and to leave no wiggle room about whether you hit the mark.
  • “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” — Will Rogers
  • purpose, priority, and productivity.
  • FIG. 22 Productivity is driven by purpose and priority.
  • Personal productivity is the building block of all business profit.
  • Great businesses are built one productive person at a time.
  • “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” —George Bernard Shaw
  • A life lived on purpose is the most powerful of all—and the happiest.
  • Dr. Martin Seligman, past president of the American Psychological Association, believes there are five factors that contribute to our happiness: positive emotion and pleasure, achievement, relationships, engagement, and meaning. Of these, he believes engagement and meaning are the most important.
  • without purpose, you’ll never know when you have enough money,
  • Purpose is the straightest path to power and the ultimate source of personal strength—strength of conviction and strength to persevere.
  • what matters to you and taking daily doses of actions in alignment with it. When you have a definite purpose for your life, clarity comes faster, which leads to more conviction in your direction, which usually leads to faster decisions. When you make faster decisions, you’ll often be the one who makes the first decisions and winds up with the best choices. And when you have the best choices, you have the opportunity for the best experiences. This is how knowing where you’re going helps lead you to the best possible outcomes and experiences life has to offer.
  • Sticking with something long enough for success to show up is a fundamental requirement for achieving extra-ordinary results.
  • Absent an answer, pick a direction. “Purpose” may sound heavy but it doesn’t have to be. Think of it as simply the ONE Thing you want your life to be about more than any other. Try writing down something you’d like to accomplish and then describe how you’d do it. For me, it looks like this: “My purpose is to help people live their greatest life possible through my teaching, coaching, and writing.
  • What I teach is what I then coach and is supported by what I write.
  • Pick a direction, start marching down that path, and see how you like it. Time brings clarity and if you find you don’t like it, you can always change your mind. It’s your life.
  • “Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” —Alan Lakein
  • Live with purpose and you know where you want to go. Live by priority and you’ll know what to do to get there.
  • Purpose without priority is powerless.
  • our only reality is the present moment. Right NOW is all we have to work with. Our past is but a former now, our future a potential one.
  • you’re training your mind how to think, how to connect one goal with the next over time until you know the most important thing you must do right NOW. You’re learning how to think big—but go small.
  • It’s why most people never get close to their goals. They haven’t connected today to all the tomorrows it will take to get there.
  • Connect today to all your tomorrows. It matters.
  • People tend to be overly optimistic about what they can accomplish, and therefore most don’t think things all the way through. Researchers call this the “planning fallacy
  • Those who wrote down their goals were 39.5 percent more likely to accomplish them.
  • once you know what to do, the only thing left is to go from knowing to doing.
  • do when the outcome matters. We are always doing something—working, playing, eating, sleeping, standing, sitting, breathing. If we’re alive, we’re doing something. Even if we’re doing nothing, that’s something. Every minute of every day, the question is never will we be doing something, but rather what that something is we’ll be doing.
  • the most successful people are the most productive people.
  • Most people think there’s never enough time to be successful, but there is when you block it. Time blocking is a very results-oriented way of viewing and using time. It’s a way of making sure that what has to be done gets done.
  • “Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.
  • Time blocking harnesses your energy and centers it on your most important work. It’s productivity’s greatest power tool.
  • planning your time off in advance, you are, in effect, managing your work time around your downtime instead of the other way around.
  • Their most important appointment each day is with themselves, and they never miss it.
  • The most productive people work on event time. They don’t quit until their ONE Thing is done.
  • “Efficiency is doing the thing right. Effectiveness is doing the right thing.” —Peter Drucker
  • normal business culture gets in the way of the very productivity it seeks because of the way people traditionally schedule their time
  • Graham divides all work into two buckets: maker (do or create) and manager (oversee or direct).
  • a company culture at Y Combinator that now runs completely on a maker’s schedule. All meetings get clustered at the end of the day.
  • be a maker in the morning and a manager in the afternoon.
  • put a big red X across every day he worked on his craft. “After a few days, you’ll have a chain,
  • Don’t break the chain.
  • “Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another.
  • it’s your job to protect your time blocks from all those who don’t know what matters most to you, and from yourself when you forget.
  • When I first began to time block, the most effective thing I did was to put up a sheet of paper that said, “Until My ONE Thing Is Done—Everything Else Is A Distraction!
  • your own need to do other things instead of your ONE Thing may be your biggest challenge to overcome.
  • Ernest Hemingway kept a strict writing schedule starting at seven every morning in his bedroom.
  • The mortal but still immensely talented business author Dan Heath “bought an old laptop, deleted all its browsers, and, for good measure, deleted its wireless network drivers” and would take his “way-back machine” to a coffee shop to avoid distractions.
  • It’s amazing how accommodating others are when they see the big picture and know when they can access you.
  • Your time block is the most important meeting of your day, so whatever it takes to protect it is what you have to do.
  • people who achieve extraordinary results don’t achieve them by working more hours. They achieve them by getting more done in the hours they work.
  • Mastery is a commitment to becoming your best, so to achieve extraordinary results you must embrace the extraordinary effort it represents.
  • you must be willing to be held accountable to doing everything you can to achieve your ONE Thing.
  • mastery is a way of thinking, a way of acting, and a journey you experience.
  • we become masters of what is behind us and apprentices for what is ahead.
  • Jigoro Kano, the founder of judo. According to legend, as Kano approached death, he called his students around him and asked to be buried in his white belt.
  • Time blocking is essential to mastery, and mastery is essential to time blocking.
  • The path of mastering something is the combination of not only doing the best you can do at it, but also doing it the best it can be done.
  • You can’t put limits on what you’ll do. You have to be open to new ideas and new ways of doing things if you want breakthroughs in your life.
  • The Purposeful person follows the simple rule that “a different result requires doing something different.
  • Too many people reach a level where their performance is “good enough” and then stop working on getting better.
  • When “E” is our only approach, we create artificial limits to what we can achieve and who we can become. If we tackle something with all “E” and then hit a ceiling of achievement, we simply bounce up against it, over and over and over. This continues until we just can’t take the disappointment anymore, become resigned to this being the only outcome we can ever have, and eventually seek out greener pastures elsewhere. When we think we’ve maxed out our potential in a situation, starting over is how we think we’ll get ahead. The problem is this becomes a vicious cycle of taking on the next new thing with renewed enthusiasm, energy, natural ability, and effort, until another ceiling is hit and disappointment and resignation set in once again. And then it’s on to—you guessed it—the next greener pasture.
  • Bring “P” to the same ceiling and things look different. The Purposeful approach says, “I’m still committed to growing, so what are my options?
  • anyway. When you’ve done the best you can do but are certain the results aren’t the best they can be, get out of “E” and into “
  • Become Purposeful during your time block, and unlock your potential.
  • Actions determine outcomes, and outcomes inform actions. Be accountable and this feedback loop is how you discover the things you must do to achieve extraordinary results.
  • no one but yourself responsible for them is the most powerful thing you can do to drive your success.
  • Accountable people persevere through problems and keep pushing forward. Accountable people are results oriented and never defend actions, skill levels, models, systems, or relationships that just aren’t getting the job done. They bring their best to whatever it takes, without reservation. Accountable people achieve results others only dream of.
  • The accountable manager looks for solutions. More important, she assumes she’s a part of the solution: What can I do?
  • One of the fastest ways to bring accountability to your life is to find an accountability partner.
  • it’s critical that you acquire an accountability relationship and give your partner license to lay out the honest truth.
  • ongoing accountability is best provided by someone to whom you agree to be truly accountable.
  • Individuals who wrote their goals and sent progress reports to friends were 76.7 percent more likely to achieve them.
  • simply sharing your progress toward your goals with someone regularly even just a friend, makes you almost twice as effective. Accountability works.
  • you’d be hard-pressed to find elite achievers who don’t have coaches helping them in key areas of their life. It’s never too soon or too late to get a coach. Commit to achieving extraordinary results and you’ll find a coach gives you the best chance possible.
  • Go on a quest for the models and systems that can take you the farthest. Don’t just settle for what comes naturally—be open to new thinking, new skills, and new relationships.
  • If the path of mastery is a commitment to be your best, being purposeful is a commitment to adopt the best possible approach.
  • keep your yes and say no in a way that works for you and for others.
  • gain the greatest freedom and flexibility possible. Your talent and abilities are limited resources. Your time is finite. If you don’t make your life about what you say yes to, then it will almost certainly become what you intended to say no to.
  • “When you argue for your limitations, you get to keep them,
  • Figure it out. Find a way. Make it happen.
  • “The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.” — William James
  • Personal energy mismanagement is a silent thief of productivity.
  • we keep borrowing against our future by poorly protecting our energy,
  • Your environment must support your goals.
  • No one lives or works in isolation. Every day, throughout your day, you come in contact with others and are influenced by them. Unquestionably, these individuals impact your attitude, your health—and ultimately, your performance.
  • The people we see tend to set our standard for what’s appropriate.
  • Hanging out with people who seek success will strengthen your motivation and positively push your performance.
  • No one succeeds alone and no one fails alone. Pay attention to the people around you. Seek out those who will support your goals, and show the door to anyone who won
  • The individuals in your life will influence you and impact you—probably more than you give them credit for. Give them their due and make sure that the sway they have on you sends you in the direction you want to go.
  • What I’ve learned is that when you clear the path to success— that’s when you consistently get there.
  • “The road to success is always under construction.
  • When you lift the limits of your thinking, you expand the limits of your life. It’s only when you can imagine a bigger life that you can ever hope to have one.
  • The challenge is that living the largest life possible requires you not only to think big, but also to take the necessary actions to get there. Extraordinary results require you to go small.
  • Getting your focus as small as possible simplifies your thinking and crystallizes what you must do.
  • work backwards to what you need to do to get there, you’ll always discover it begins with going small.
  • Your life is like this. You don’t get a fully mature one. You get a small one and the opportunity to grow it—if you want to. Think small and your life’s likely to stay small. Think big and your life has a chance to grow big. The choice is yours. When you choose a big life, by default, you’ll have to go small to get there.
  • Actions build on action. Habits build on habit.
  • “The one you feed.
  • what would an older, wiser you say? “Go live your life. Live it fully, without fear. Live with purpose, give it your all, and never give up.” Effort is important, for without it you will never succeed at your highest level. Achievement is important, for without it you will never experience your true potential. Pursuing purpose is important, for unless you do, you may never find lasting happiness. Step out on faith that these things are true. Go live a life worth living where, in the end, you’ll be able to say, “I’m glad I did,” not “I wish I had.
  • All success in life starts within you. You know what to do. You know how to do it. Your next step is simple. You are the first domino.
  • an appointment with yourself is the surest path to ensuring you achieve extraordinary results.
  • takes on average 66 days to create a new habit, so approach this accordingly. To ignite your life you must focus on ONE Thing long enough for it to catch fire.
  • the secret to extraordinary results is to ask a very big and specific question that leads you to one very small and tightly focused answer.
  • If you try to do everything, you could wind up with nothing. If you try to do just ONE Thing, the right ONE Thing,
  • “What’s the ONE Thing I can do right now to start using The ONE Thing in my life such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” And make doing the answer your first ONE Thing!

Oneness

  • As I wrestled with the endless stream of questions offered by my logical mind, the teachings of Oneness began to lay the foundations for seeing everything in our present-day world from the timeless perspective of energy.
  • Like the touch of Oneness, with which I have been so blessed, it’s something that has to be experienced to be believed.
  • the foundation for sustaining that energy is built from within. And the momentum of your growth is rooted in stillness.
  • consider the possibility that your best interests are best served by a level of awareness that transcends your conscious mind.
  • your focus remains clear, as your recognition of the shift taking place within you provides the impetus to move forward, and to release the ties that would bind you and hold you back.
  • the key to all you could become lies in your willingness to let go,
  • Through the vehicle of breath, one is able to embody the higher state of beingness, while retaining physical form.
  • In this moment, you are all you are yet to become.
  • All that is to happen has happened, energetically. What is left to achieve is the physical manifestation of that expression of energy. This would explain why, at times, you are seemingly drawn to a particular set of circumstances.
  • It is crucial, as your rendezvous with Oneness draws you ever nearer, that you come to completion with the life themes that tether you to this reality. It is crucial that you attain a state of detachment from the energy charges that have magnetized you, habitually, throughout this lifetime.
  • By repressing the expression of the depths of your feeling, you only serve to prolong the separation between you and that aspect of self, and to invite repeat performances of scenarios which are calculated to produce the same emotional response.
  • You are a multidimensional being. You are not limited to the particular identity that you have come to regard as you.
  • your full participation in this multidimensional effort is to be present in all that you are and in all that you do so that you are able to be present in all that you are to become.
  • The key to all you would accomplish in this lifetime hinges upon your willingness to embrace all that you are,
  • It becomes abundantly clear when you are vibrationally balanced and heart-focused. Your life experiences reflect it.
  • When circumstances deliver you to a state of being that you recognize to be unbalanced, take the opportunity to step back for a moment.
  • In shifting the energy you project onto any moment or situation, you consciously shift the outcome to one that will give you a more advantageous result. By embodying this training, your life becomes one directed by intention rather than the unconscious reflection of happenstance. For you do create all of it. Know that.
  • The vibration of every thought pattern that passes through your consciousness carries an energy
  • Make a conscious effort that every word that passes your lips is uplifting to the listener.
  • Speak only the most positive possible statements regarding any situation. Speak ill of no one, lest the energy be mirrored back upon you.
  • Your speech is a powerful tool when carefully employed. It is a danger to you when used carelessly.
  • Likewise, your thought patterns, even when not expressed verbally, carry an energy charge that sets in motion circumstances of a corresponding vibration.
  • When one is fearful, one manifests the experience of frightening situations. When one is anxious and feeling unworthy, one manifests the experience of the rejection of one’s efforts.
  • Dwell not upon what is lacking in your life, but regard those circumstances with gratitude.
  • It is crucial for all who consider yourselves to be spiritually focused in these times to cultivate a conscious awareness of your responses to the dramas in which you find yourselves. And become aware of the time lag between an emotionally charged response and the next negatively charged occurrence. It will become painfully obvious that there is an indisputable connection between cause and effect, amplified by the accelerated vibrational frequencies now flooding your dimension.
  • As the vibration of the planet continues to accelerate, and your dimension enters the realm of instantaneous manifestation, those who are vibrationally attuned to the pace of that acceleration will have widened the gap between themselves and the masses, and amplified the magnitude of the energy charge expressed as their reality.
  • It is for you, who consider yourselves to be the forerunners of the shift in consciousness that marks these times, to be keenly aware of the ramifications of consciously accelerating your vibrational frequency. Monitor your responses such that you maintain a state of balance and heart-centeredness.
  • Learning to recognize and to decline the invitation of conflict.
  • resisting the temptation to jump ahead of yourself and plan the future before it is ready to evolve, you will be in a position to make the highest choices.
  • Efforts to orchestrate a common focus on a given concept, in unison with vast numbers of other beings, have a profound effect on an outcome that may have been predicted.
  • In so doing, it will begin to become obvious to many of you that you are, indeed, creating your reality.
  • co-create a reality as you would wish it to be.
  • Once you know that you are not living at the mercy of events beyond your control, but are indeed drawing the blueprint for those events with your thoughts, attitudes, and presumptions, you will begin to take very seriously the responsibility each of you has for your part as the co-author of the “movie” you call life.
  • You will begin to understand that the magnitude of the difference you are able to make is in direct proportion to the degree to which you are able to live your word.
  • teach what you know by practicing what you know.
  • the word alone is but an outline for concepts that take root and blossom as deeds. The choices you make in every moment exert their influence vibrationally, and by example, on all whose lives you touch.
  • a harmony of intent
  • begins to resonate.
  • Recognizing your power to create your reality is your key to turning the page and beginning a new chapter in your own life story. Having released the ties that once bound you to repetitive patterns of experience, you have emerged with a fresh perspective and a new sense of self-definition.
  • you have come to understand the potential in sculpting that identity, as you would like it to be.
  • the tools for creating your personal reality as a masterpiece of manifested intent are right there within the parameters of your consciousness.
  • There is no place in the transcendent consciousness for any of the baggage you may still be carrying.
  • One needs to be able to move forward, unbound by considerations that would limit what is possible
  • deference to priorities that no longer resonate with one’s highest good. And one must bestow upon oneself the latitude to distinguish with honesty between what does and what does not serve that end.
  • Your objective now is moving forward.
  • You will observe that you are now able to just “let it go,” where once
  • recognize that the choices that are implemented are the ones that determine what the next set of choices are to be.
  • recognize all encounters as the opportunities for achieving harmony that they truly are.
  • you allow for the manifestation of the optimum outcome for all concerned. The keyword here is “allow.”
  • When you relinquish the need to mastermind the labyrinth of your existence and reach deeper to the level where you can feel rather than think, and know rather than believe, you will have arrived at the place where you can create a reality in which you truly move forward.
  • The ability to trust in the reality that the energy of your world has indeed shifted, and that there is a higher perspective to be attained, heralds the turning point toward which you strive
  • Once you have turned that corner and tuned-in to the higher resonance of the harmonization of your personal will with the Will of Creation, the walls of separation will have dematerialized and you will come to experience life as the expression of Unity that it truly is.
  • anticipate being taken to the heights and to the depths of your feeling body’s capacity to attune you to subtle levels of perception and response.
  • It is in the embracing of physicality, rather than in denial of that reality, that the path is cleared for the transcendence of all limitation.
  • That process is the reunification of all that you are, all that you have ever been, and all that you are yet to be, in a simultaneous expression of Oneness.
  • You are not, as a popular notion would have it, a figment of your own imagination.
  • Your reality is not merely a dream. And your world is not simply a crossroads of happenstance where one gets caught and tossed about in the rapidly shifting currents of change. As your individual vibration accelerates in relation to your dimension at large, your reality manifests, recognizably, as a reflection of your choices.
  • as the time lag between the inception of thought and the manifestation of reality diminishes, it becomes obvious to you that you are creating all of it.
  • Knowing now that all things are possible, you are able to make significant choices.
  • One becomes the creator and the creation simultaneously.
  • even though your reality, as you perceive it to be, will remain as the “here and now,” your sense of your self within this reality expands in scope.
  • Ascension is a gradual shift. It is a shift in awareness, a shift in perspective, a shift in vibration, a shift in attunement, and a shift in conscious alignment with who one truly is, so that there is agreement and full participation in the process.
  • recall of related occurrences and a sense of understanding that pulls the experiences together into a cohesive document.
  • that very detachment becomes the catalyst for totally different categories of experience to manifest for you.
  • the chance to forfeit being “right” on a given issue in favor of recognizing circumstances as the non-issue that they truly are, when beings are aligned in Oneness.
  • The key to completing these patterns is not to forgive the other party their transgression, which keeps the energy polarized, but rather, to release in total detachment, any care one may still be carrying, whatsoever, about the outcome of any drama revolving around that issue.
  • Intention is the cohesive element that translates the conceptual into form.
  • as your realm of experience ascends into higher ranges of vibration, manifestation will be instantaneous.
  • To shift the energy underlying these ongoing global situations, it is necessary to address the energy that comprises them.
  • By consistently reacting to conflict with the conscious intention not to “fuel the fire” by asserting your position and striving to emerge the “victor,” you affect the energy of each encounter in the highest possible way.
  • The whole is merely the sum of its parts. This is the basis for the entire thrust of the impetus toward reunification with All Creation that marks these times. Within the momentum that drives the unprecedented shift in consciousness so many are experiencing, is the opportunity to recognize that one truly does make a difference. With every word, with every gesture, with every choice, and with the underlying sentiments and beliefs one holds at the heart level, one adds a measure to the energy of the whole. In truth all are responsible,
  • energetically, for co-creating global conflict. And all are capable of making a measurable difference in the efforts toward world peace, by taking responsibility for the energy projected in every encounter with every fellow being with whom one shares the adventure known as “life.”
  • Let every gesture be reflective of your awareness of your own inter-connectedness with all life, and that creative act will carry the enhanced vibrational charge needed, collectively, to affect a shift in awareness for all.
  • every bit of it could be shifted, instantaneously, to conditions reflective of the ideal of All Creation, were the hearts of all focused in that intention.
  • optional are the traumas that will be co-created and experienced by those whose choices reflect their embodiment of separation from that momentum.
  • optional is the sense of living limbo of those who are marginally aware of the reality of their ability to make a difference in these times, and whose reluctance to honor their instincts and defy consensus thinking keeps them frozen in the eternal past.
  • this is the only moment that will take you the full distance, and deliver you directly unto your destination. This moment. This very moment. Right Now.
  • Do not be alarmed, as you become aware and the issues become obvious to you, when you find yourself immersed in extremes of discordant situations.
  • the powerful energetic charge still present within your energy field is capable of manifesting opportunities to explore those themes,
  • respond in ways that will not re-escalate the energy charge that is being released in the process of drawing certain chapters to a close.
  • That initial clarity sets the stage for an enlightened overview of the full epic. And you are able to see the threads that have become entwined
  • with whom you share these times is one in which the sweetness of the highest possible outcome for all is manifested automatically. For all will know that it cannot be otherwise. In this state of spontaneous creation, one expects to experience the best-case scenario in all circumstances, and is rewarded with that as one’s reality. The question then becomes: What is it that one wants to experience as one’s reality? It is less a question of what is possi ble, for under these conditions all things are possible. There are no limitations. One’s reality manifests as a melding of will and desire—a bonding of intent and of one’s joy and passion in the act of that creation. Life takes on an entirely new perspective, as one comes to understand life as a chronicle of one’s heart’s desire
  • When one expects and anticipates the optimum outcome for all concerned, that outcome cannot help but be manifested as reality.
  • No one will escape an awareness that monumental change is at hand. And no soul, however lost in denial, will be able to emerge from the times to come untouched by the knowledge that responsibility for one’s reality rests with oneself.
  • all will recognize that reality as a vivid illustration of their own choices.
  • harmonize his personal will with that of the whole.
  • By opting for self-serving solutions, one creates the conditions, energetically, under which detrimental situations are experienced that reflect the underlying message of separateness.
  • one’s alignment with the momentum of unification, or the reflection of one’s adherence to the illusion of separation
  • When you permit yourself the luxury of openly, unabashedly, fantasizing about what it is you truly yearn for, and dream of, you set into motion the energetic parameters for manifesting your heart’s desire. Until you give free expression to the limitless vision you keep under wraps, you cannot, by definition, create it in your reality. When you operate your life from the mind-set of unworthiness to have your heart’s desire—when the thrust of your energy is not daring to ask for what you truly want out of fear of disappointment—that disappointment is virtually guaranteed.
  • In order to transcend this, the ultimate fear—the fear that one is actually alone in this odyssey called life—it is necessary to surrender totally to that fear.
  • Embrace yourself, in these times, and acknowledge yourself for the extraordinary progress you are making, as a soul,
  • consciously shifting one’s intent to one of conscious allowance of the manifestation of the highest good of the collective,
  • This is the blessed state of being toward which you strive in the present period.
  • By opening to the reality of that heightened state of being, one would have the perceptions possible in the embodiment of each of a range of levels of identity, while retaining self-awareness as you. And the response mechanism would be that of the enlightened perspective made manifest.
  • Many have become aware of moments, where sensibilities are heightened, where the heart center is open and connected, and where one somehow is attuned to a level of wisdom and focus that goes beyond what one normally experiences.
  • there are setbacks, as one is given opportunity upon opportunity to apply the understandings attained, until the concepts are internalized, not as newfound knowledge, but fully integrated as knowingness. As one is able to apply one’s understandings consistently in one’s day-today life, one is able to manifest the exquisite moments of clarity more and more consistently. Ultimately, the lucid levels of perception become the norm, and one’s perspective stabilizes at the higher frequencies, permitting the more enlightened state of being to preside.
  • where one can feel whether or not one is attuned at the higher frequencies and know when one is operating from the higher end of one’s energy spectrum and when one is not.
  • conscious sidestepping of questionable encounters and compromised environments
  • One becomes aware of a newfound self-protectiveness, stemming not from fear but from self-love.
  • You may feel compelled to share your more enlightened perspective with another, but know that when that perspective has not been requested and is clearly unwelcome, your wisdom will fall on deaf ears.
  • Simply because you have attained clarity with regard to certain issues does not mean that others are ready to receive those insights. Each of you is on your own timetable. Each of you, essentially, is on your own unique journey.
  • the timing for the illumination of certain issues comes when the individual is ready to fully integrate those understandings, and not before.
  • You can expect to encounter the “stonewall” response of others who are simply not able to see the simple perfection of the perspective that you have attained.
  • Resist the inclination to feel frustrated or disappointed when your newfound wisdom is not embraced by another with whom you are aligned on your journey. There is no place for expectation with regard to the vantage point of another being. Simply present your perspective with sincere and loving intent, as it applies to your own life experience.
  • if the conditions are such that the seed of your truth falls on the fertile soil of another’s consciousness, then you will have served as the messenger, carrying forth the energetic catalyst, conceptually, that initiates the process of internalization within that being.
  • viewpoint presented from the standpoint of interfering in the free will or free choice of another, then the energetic charge carried in the message would have dissipated in the transference and would not be received or recognized as the pearl that it may well be.
  • Your responsibility is to retain that clarity with respect to your own process and your own life issues.
  • Your journey will carry you forth through the varied scenery of a radical new world, in the times to come. And at the same time, your newly elevated vantage point on the same old sights will add a dramatically different outlook that makes it appear as though you were seeing the world for the very first time. That world is changing. And you are changing with it more rapidly than you can imagine. The task at hand is to take care of your own emerging consciousness by applying focused awareness on the potential repercussions of every interaction and every energy exchange with another. In so doing, you make the highest possible contribution to the collective and to the intimate circle of fellow travelers who walk beside you
  • For the fullness of all the experiences at the table leaves one infinitely nourished, and one feels quite content to be still. Just to Be.
  • you remember, on a level you cannot even identify, how absolutely wonderful it was when there was no plate at all—and no table.
  • the plate is not one conceived in limitation. Its offerings are only as one perceives them to be.
  • one cannot travel with ease, focused on the metaphysical, while bearing the burden of a heavily laden plate.
  • We do not wish to imply that it is in any way inferior to have manifested an accumulation of belongings on your journey. These are the trappings of an incarnate experience. Yet, it is important that one consider the price one may be paying, in terms of self-compromise, in order to maintain a lifestyle whose relevance may be obsolete.
  • material gain that is devoid of the passion with which one came into form.
  • When the zest for living and expressing and creating is missing from one’s day-to-day activities, one has, essentially, disconnected from one’s own Divine essence and from the interconnectedness of all life.
  • When one’s deepest needs as a spiritual being are repressed or are sacrificed to the maintenance of a surface lifestyle built on a foundation of material gain, the energy that seeks expression will set about to manifest that change,
  • cards” comes crashing down, quite unexpectedly, when one perceives oneself to be “stuck” in the stranglehold of obsolete commitments.
  • let go of what no longer serves you energetically, and to make way for the manifestation of a radical new direction.
  • For in the circumstances to come, the efforts of all will, by definition, manifest for the good of all. It cannot be otherwise.
  • Some will call it God and will open with the fullness of their essence to the opportunity to integrate and become One with All That Is. And some will grumble and curse their deteriorated circumstances and blame others for their plight.
  • As the schism widens between those living in alignment and those living in separation from the energy of Oneness, it will not be possible to maintain a position of compromise.
  • Your own preoccupation with the concept of completion will keep that state of attainment ever elusive. Spiritual growth is not focused on a destination, but rather, on the journey itself.
  • The realization of Oneness, which is the culmination of the process, is a state of beingness that you will embrace over and over again. And in the moments when that blessed state has slipped
  • through your fingers yet again, know that you have not lost it, but rather have afforded yourself yet another opportunity to find it, within the core of your own being. When you cease looking for the sense of connectedness and cease seeking answers outside of your own inner Source, the interim periods of separation, when your gravest doubts resurface, become fewer and farther between. Ultimately, you embody that knowingness. For, you are Oneness—in essence. And you have been so all along. When you make the transition from believing to knowing that basic truth, you are on your way to stabilizing the process of embodying that truth, such that you are fully aware of your interconnectedness with All Life at all times.
  • Know that the truth you seek is within you. The answers are there before the question has been fully formulated. You have manifested everything needed to have everything your heart desires right now. And there is absolutely nothing standing between you and the realization of your deepest longing to reunite in Oneness with All Creation. For, you are already there. Everything that is to happen has already happened. It Is—and continues to Be— eternally.
  • When your perception of the illusion of time/space you know as reality, is in harmony, energetically, with the momentum of the eternal Now, you experience what Is. When the energies wane, you experience the illusion, once more, of the elusive state of enlightenment just out of reach.
  • the tides, this state of awareness washes up on the shores of your consciousness, nudging you into recognition of the knowingness harbored deep within.
  • inclination to force one’s personal will, when resistance is being encountered, can only result in an energetic nose-dive and the manifestation of circumstances calculated to create frustration.
  • one becomes less invested in forcing a result and more inclined to allow for the harmonization of one’s own energies with the tides of Creation, to manifest the desired outcome.
  • When one’s approach to living is one of trusting that the highest possible outcome will be forthcoming, that is one’s experience of life. By resisting the inclination to allow fear-based conditioning to direct your choices, you reinforce your experience of riding the current in harmony.
  • there is no room for judgment here. Your own expectations with regard to your performance can severely restrict the pace at which you are able to progress
  • Attachment to the expectation of an enlightened response from oneself to all circumstances restricts the possibility that a release of a negative energy charge may be achieved.
  • one’s “buttons” must be pushed and the corresponding energy charge released,
  • Avoidance of the underlying issues and the maintenance of a calm veneer does not enhance one’s progress. Quite the contrary.
  • Awareness of these choices is the key to all you would accomplish in this painstaking process.
  • By riding the wave of the energies with a clear and heart-centered focus, you become a lamplight to others
  • to embody the energy of Unity, your attunement to the higher frequencies guides you in guiding others
  • Simply by being who you are, where you are, in this moment in time, and by sharing your truth and your own process honestly, you help the others with whom you share your journey.
  • There is no need to whitewash your process for the benefit of others who may be inclined to be in judgment. There is no need to apologize for who you are and for the magnificence of your personal journey to Oneness.
  • transformation without having weathered a storm or two and without being washed up on the shore, gasping for breath, now and then. That is the nature of the experience. It is foolhardy to think that you are expected to skim the surface of your journey untouched, and to emerge unscathed. That’s not the way it works—when it works. For to realize the full potential of this journey, it is necessary that you be willing to immerse yourself in the treacherous waters of change, knowing that the ability to swim like a champion, under all possible conditions, is within you.
  • What is open is what you choose to create and to experience along the way.
  • There is no point in deluding yourself into believing that you are not ready.
  • As you begin to sustain the rarefied perspective you have attained, it becomes obvious that you are not alone in your perceptions of what is so. For, the perspective you have assumed transcends that of the mind, which a lifetime of programming has conditioned to respond in certain ways. One takes on the vantage point of the overview, seeing several sides of a situation simultaneously. This seeing does not refer to understanding, which is a manifestation of thought, but rather, reflects awareness, which is simply the observing of what is so.
  • The higher level of awareness is no less you than you are.
  • As an individual who is open, conscious, and focused in manifesting your loving intent, your obligation, first and foremost, is to yourself.
  • your personal well-being is not guaranteed by virtue of the fact that you are making conscious choices. You are affected, vibrationally, by the energies that surround you, in a multiplicity of ways.
  • the realization that nothing can be counted on, you will shift from a mind-set of expectation to one of allowance. You cannot “control” anything, now. You are, in fact, totally “out of control.”
  • Openness to what your own experience has shown you is real is the best possible response to the conditions at hand.
  • There is but one truth on which you can depend, no matter what—your own.
  • All things are possible now.
  • All that is optional is whether you choose to cross the threshold and experience it.
  • know that you are already there.
  • experiences reinforcing the presumptions, and the presumptions setting the stage for experience.
  • enable you to transcend the nature of how you experience life. In essence, you have ascended. And how you adapt to the subtle differences in the nature of your new surroundings help to determine the level of struggle you will continue to encounter as you acclimate yourself to conditions of unrelenting change.
  • understandings were dormant, waiting for a frame of reference to give them relevance.
  • you are able to see what, until now, you could not.
  • manifest a different caliber of experience—one that emanates from a space of inner trust and contentment, rather than from a churning core of fear and turmoil.
  • your reality is a vivid representation of all that dwells, overtly as well as dormantly, within your consciousness.
  • What will have shifted, as you continue to sift through the day-to-day details for the clues to life’s mystery, is the background of inner harmony against which it all now unfolds.
  • When, at last, there is nothing left to lose, you are ready. For only then, in the sacred space of humility, are you able to recognize and to embrace what has never been lost.
  • The accelerated pace of that change leaves little room for doubt of the reality of what may once have been dismissed as figments of the imagination. Yes, these perceptions and skills are real. No, you have not lost your mind. But, in actuality, have begun to find it.
  • The ability to sense what is not perceptible to the five physical senses, as you have come to identify them, will be a natural and normal ability. These are skills with which all are gifted and which will be developed to greater or lesser extents amongst individuals.
  • One’s vision will be enhanced to encompass the ability to see energy patterns and the ways in which energies flow amongst life forms in response to thought and emotion. As a result, communication will be facilitated in a way that cannot be camouflaged by word or deed. The clarity with which one is able to communicate under these conditions insures that one’s intent cannot be misinterpreted.
  • beings will shift from a dependency upon speech and written exchange to a culture skilled in nonverbal communication.
  • Emotional health is the key to the maintenance of the physical form in an optimum state of vibrancy.
  • Tuning in to one’s natural abilities to sense energies, it would be advisable to exercise selectivity as to where and with whom one interacts in one’s day-to-day activities.
  • When one monitors, with conscious awareness, the energy one brings to any situation, one makes the highest possible contribution to the well-being of all.
  • the approach of choice is to trust one’s experience as one’s truth, despite the fact that that experience often defies logic and the accepted ground rules of your world. Those rules are best relegated to a history that continues to shift in every waking moment,
  • True healing will be the inevitable result of addressing the nonphysical infrastructure upon which life itself is based.
  • Vibrational medicine will replace the traditional techniques in present practice.
  • Benign physical symptoms should be recognized as the signs of cleansing that they truly are and should be allowed to run their course unimpeded, despite the minor discomforts that may be experienced. Inhibiting such symptoms will, in virtually all cases, produce repeated episodes of the body’s efforts to cleanse itself, with escalating degrees of discomfort.
  • Substances whose sole purpose is to mask symptoms and provide a false sense of well-being are counterproductive to the purification process and are therefore potentially dangerous.
  • When it becomes obvious that reality can be created by the subtle manipulation of the energies at each of a multitude of levels, entire fields of expertise begin to emerge, focused on balancing and maintaining categories of vibration.
  • Purity of intent becomes a key factor in how successfully one is able to sustain one’s levels and to achieve what one wishes to experience.
  • your life priorities and to selectively weed out the individuals and activities that are not uplifting.
  • Those who journey by your side must be energetically autonomous if the association is to be mutually advantageous.
  • Until you develop the ability to be vibrationally impermeable, you would be well advised to be aware of the extent to which your energetic state of being is influenced by everything and everyone that you encounter.
  • one can choose to step off and seize control of a vibrational state of being that one comes to realize is self-determined.
  • choreographing the dance of your existence and watching the performance virtually simultaneously.
  • One develops an instinctive sense of the timing of casting the net of one’s consciousness upon the seas of opportunity.
  • You may choose to cling, in denial, to what you have been told and what you have been taught. Or you may dare to recognize what is undeniable to your own senses and what is irrefutable as your own experience.
  • you have chosen to give yourself the experiences that carve the truth of the momentum of change, indelibly, in the stone of your consciousness. You have chosen to be present and to partake of the voyage. You have chosen to venture forth and confront the experience of the great unknown, in order that you might relay that knowingness to others who have yet to encounter the shifting tides of your reality.
  • a new paradigm who will set the precedents upon which the ground rules of the new world will be based. You have identified yourself to yourself and have dared to stand alone in the Light of your inner truth, while others, still cloaked in the self-righteousness of consensus thinking, throw stones—as the very fabric of that reality unravels.
  • It is not a question of who is right and who is wrong. For each is convinced of the validity of his beliefs. And, as such, that is the reality and the parameters within which each individual operates.
  • The energy of nonjudgmental receptivity best equips you to translate pure awareness into action that is inspired, yet sensitive to the energies that will carry them to fruition.
  • The timing of one’s response to a given set of circumstances can make a dramatic difference in the effectiveness of one’s efforts. The ability to sense when to assert one’s energies and when to withhold them is a powerful asset to be cultivated and developed.
  • Knowing when to relinquish one’s grasp on a situation and allow the energies to carry the potential inherent in the circumstances to fruition is a key to harnessing the power with which you have now been gifted.
  • One’s very life circumstances become testimony to the skills one brings to this, the ultimate arena of creativity. For the medium is unlimited and the mode of expression embraces the perfection of the balance between heart and mind—between understanding the technical aspects of balancing and counterbalancing the energy and the passion one brings to the opportunity in question.
  • all experience will be recognized as self-determined, on a fascinating complexity of levels. And it will be necessary for every being to take responsibility for the part played by each in the co-creation of the reality of mutual experience.
  • It will not enhance your situation in any way to blame yourself
  • Real knowingness comes from life experience and that alone.
  • It is counterproductive to pay lip service to platitudes one has encountered mentally, and which are far from integrated as experience in one’s own life.
  • Knowledge comes of having lived the lesson, not merely having intellectualized it theoretically.
  • You are here for you alone.
  • Exposure of your physical form to the higher vibrational frequencies is highly recommended on a regular basis. For the ultimate effect will be the acceleration of the purification process, regardless of which school of energy work is chosen. Your own inner knowingness is the best barometer of whether or not a given method is effective and meaningful for you. By tuning-in to your sense of well-being, particularly in the area of your heart chakra, you will be able to determine quite easily whether or not a given modality or practitioner is one that offers you a path worth pursuing.
  • Trust in your own abilities, at an intuitive level, to source the guidance and therapies that are best suited to your circumstances. Your core vibration is one you have carried into this lifetime. This is an identifying configuration that marks who you are.
  • one does not adopt the energy of another when this work is correctly practiced. Through exposure to the amplified vibration that is passing through another being, the vibratory levels of one’s own essence is enhanced.
  • One cannot hope to achieve such levels of wellness, under the coming conditions, with sporadic attempts at such practices.
  • What you can expect to experience is a sense of detachment from the emotions themselves and from the kinds of circumstances that once triggered them. You begin to perceive yourself as coasting over the surface of scenarios that once hooked you into endless repeat performances of agonizing dramas. And a subtle sense of indifference is your cue that the energy has shifted within you and that you are free to choreograph the dance of your experience as you choose to have it be.
  • taken the time to master those skills and have opened themselves to receiving the inherent benefit of making these energies available to others.
  • These times provide an opportunity to prepare for all that will transpire energetically in your world.
  • Your reactions have little to do with the individuals or the situations in question. These vehicles for your own growth have been strategically scripted into your drama as catalysts for directing your awareness to the deeper issues still held energetically within you.
  • The key to liberating oneself from the bondage posed by certain life themes is to remove oneself energetically from the scenario, in totality.
  • So long as you continue to have an emotional investment in the potential outcome of a confrontation, you are engaged energetically.
  • A sense of receptivity, combined with an openness to the opportunities presented, is the state of being that will manifest for you the circumstances that best reflect your true heart’s desire.
  • So long as you are emotionally invested in that outcome, you have laid the groundwork for your continued imprisonment.
  • Harmony is the key word in all relationships in which you would wish to engage.
  • When that harmony is not forthcoming despite your best efforts to manifest it, one is best served by walking away from that relationship, severing ties, and doing so
  • the potential benefit in terminating any relationship is nullified if one leaves the stage in a fanfare of emotional charge.
  • Generous periods of alone time are recommended
  • one begins to find profound comfort in the stillness and in the sanctity of one’s own process.
  • One is less concerned with mundane issues of amassing comforts than with the ease with which one is able to manifest the scenarios through which one can enact one’s sense of life purpose.
  • A level of trust in the perfection of the process is vital for attaining a state of inner-directedness that is free of restriction.
  • When the need for security is rooted in fear, the very circumstances, which would constitute that security, may well dematerialize and give rise to a sense of security that rests on a foundation of love, built from within. For, the only real security in these times is the unmistakable sense of well-being that is experienced when you are in harmony with the flow of the higher frequencies. When you resonate with the accelerated vibration that permeates your world, you experience a sense of profound connectedness to everyone and everything. And you know, at a level that transcends mind, that you are safe, secure, and on track.
  • Being in the moment with this process is key to all that you would hope to achieve in this time frame. It is not necessary for you to concern yourself with how things will come together—simply be in a state of trusting receptivity.
  • The effort you might expend in trying to second-guess a complex outcome, could well be spared were you to surrender to the moment in which you find yourself and to the perfection of the sequence of events as they come to be.
  • The lesson for you in such dramas is to be able to let go of your attachment to the physical life of another and to know that life, in the higher sense, transcends the identity that may be choosing to relinquish form.
  • All Creation is engulfed in the momentum of change.
  • allow the process to direct you and you cease trying to direct the process.
  • the ability of every life form in existence to seek out and to materialize in a vibrationally appropriate environment.
  • many will successfully make the shift. For, they would have demonstrated the courage to honor their own instinctive knowingness and resisted the temptation to defer to authorities who remain stalwartly tethered to an outmoded structure. These so-called authorities will pose a major challenge to the progress many could make. And the test of self-knowledge will be implemented in defiance of much that may now be considered gospel within your scientific and philosophical communities.
  • You are being presented with conditions of an uncharted territory within the context of your own linear awareness.
  • cease looking to your left and to your right to be sure that the others with whom you assume you are sharing this experience of transformation
  • relinquish the need to reach out for validation, once and for all.
  • You know you’re on track.
  • no confirmation from another seeker can hope to help you, in the ways that truly matter, when you question, yet again, the foundation of your own truth.
  • this experience is not enlightenment-by-consensus.
  • This is a journey that is made in solitude.
  • you will realize that everything has changed—and nothing has changed—at the same time.
  • No amount of elevated understanding, conveyed on your part, will convince these ones that change is the order of the day. For them, the risks are too great. And you stand as a threat to all that, to them, is safe and sure—and holy.
  • blatant discrepancies in the perception of a reality all assume is shared point to the possibility that this is a reality that is not shared at all.
  • the only one who is present in this reality—is you.
  • You alone determine which set of circumstances you will recognize as experience, based upon your choices, in any given moment. You alone determine the extent of the ease or difficulty you encounter in bringing your dreams to fruition.
  • When you project your energies upon the palate of the ethers, others are guided to respond accordingly, whether knowingly or not. And you are able to modify the outcome of virtually any interaction simply by becoming attuned to the energies you bring to it.
  • Your responses are influenced, vibrationally, in each of their worlds in much the same way as theirs are in yours. In this way, multiple variations on the same scene actually happen, yet each of you perceives it from your own unique vantage point.
  • playing a role in a diminished environment, adds a sour note to the resonance of the collective you identity. Suddenly, you find that you are in a “bad mood” for what seems like no reason at all. Likewise, when you find yourself feeling elated, harmonious, and exhilarated for seemingly no reason, chances are you are experiencing the result of the augmented resonance of an alternate aspect of self
  • you carry a piece of that interaction within you, and without even knowing why, you suddenly are feeling less upbeat than you might have felt only moments before. Those of you who are inclined to engage in sparring matches with others, out of a compulsion to appear “right” in your own eyes, often come away from what appears to be a victory feeling the energy of defeat, without understanding why.
  • You are, in all likelihood, not the same you as you were. You have evolved into a more complex variation of the theme you consider to be you.
  • There is no need, once the process is under way, to retrace your steps and rehash old dramas in an effort to cull-out key understandings that have been identified. Know that the sense of peace that you now experience with themes that were once your undoing is your barometer of the level of completion you have attained.
  • True freedom from attachment is more than merely a mind-set and words that it has become fashionable to mouth in certain circles. Freedom is the ultimate goal toward which you are striving, as you process the final stages of your life’s work. And the degree to which it is attained is measurable by the level of comfort or discomfort you manifest as life experience. A life script crammed full of complexity
  • When one releases attachment to outcome, one liberates oneself from the stranglehold that type of encounter has on one’s life and from one’s tendency toward the manifestation of adverse results.
  • looking external to Source helped condition you to expect to sacrifice your heart’s desire in an effort to please others.
  • What often has not been addressed in such cases is the energy, in the form of emotion, which accompanies the effort.
  • When one’s approach is that of joyous anticipation of the natural result of one’s efforts, the manifestation occurs with ease and the process is uneventful. However, when one approaches an effort anticipating difficulty, and projects one’s intent to circumvent it by mentally focusing on all the things that could go wrong, one sets the stage for those very kinds of difficulties to occur. It cannot be otherwise, for your mental focus creates your reality.
  • The shift is subtle, but the result is powerful. For, it is based on loving trust of self to come through with the desired result, rather than an underlying fear of sabotage.
  • When the focus of one’s efforts is built upon a foundation of resentment, those efforts carry the vibration that will magnetize to them the resistance that will undermine them.
  • Victim consciousness takes many forms. One is often unaware of the subtle variations on this theme and the insidious ways it can undermine hopes and dreams. Approaching any effort with the assumption that outside factors are waiting in the wings to quash it sets the stage for that result to manifest. The anticipation of possible setbacks is based on an underlying fear of being out of control.
  • Occurrences do not just happen. Everything is created energetically—by you. And the power to reverse an adverse history of disappointment is your birthright.
  • Fear of scarcity is a common factor that undermines the best efforts of many who habitually experience a thwarting of those efforts. Abundance is an option that has been programmed into the experience of life.
  • The need to justify one’s actions in terms of the expectations of others begins to take a back seat to the priorities that emanate from within.
  • Your obligation on this journey is ultimately to the recognition and implementation of your own true choices.
  • The patience with which you grace yourself during this process will go a long way toward modifying the discomfort many will experience.
  • What you experienced is no less real, or relevant as a reference point in your history, simply because you are no longer focused on the full intensity of those issues.
  • The purpose in coming into form at those levels of density was to provide yourself with the fullness of the emotional experience necessary to draw parallel levels of awareness into a corresponding state of resolution. In this way, you were able to open the doors to the possibility of the integration of all aspects of your consciousness that resonate to those emotional issues. Had you not co-created some of the incidents that brought those profound levels of emotion to the surface, you would not have had the catalyst in hand with which to release the density
  • you may well be able to look back upon certain incidents and consider them to have been avoidable. But, in truth, had they not manifested to the extent that they did, you would not be where you are right now. You did not attain this rarefied perspective by chance. It was only by your willingness to probe the depths of your emotional responses, in tandem with the others who hashed it out with you by agreement, that each of you had the possibility of bringing the agony of some of those themes to completion. You have served each other well—you who have facilitated in lancing the boil of another’s repressed emotions.
  • Each of you participated in the enactment of a drama, knowingly playing the part you were scripted to play, in order that a certain end might be attained, vibrationally.
  • By trial and error, you, as a team, worked out the details of your contractual karmic agreements. You honored each other— and violated each other unmercifully—as each of you gave full expression to the manifestation of pride and ego.
  • So long as you continued to manifest your ego investment in taking what transpired at face value, you served to reinforce the parameters for repeating that kind of experience.
  • The image you hold of yourself as an autonomous being, separated from your fellowmen—and from a Divinity that you simultaneously worship and fear—will be revealed to you as the illusion that it truly is. You are not the focal point of awareness you believe yourself to be. You are simply a facet in a light-spectrum— a glimmer of a focal point—a split second flash of awareness in a vision that is infinite and eternal.
  • deluded yourself into believing that you were the main-event for so long that you have amassed a volume of incarnate history, of epic proportions, to support that conclusion. And you reference a world around you that is calculated to reinforce those perceptions.
  • At each level of escalating vibration and complexity are aspects of your own being, each lost in the illusion of its own particular vantage point; each oblivious to the momentum that unites all aspects of the whole. That singularity of focus is characteristic of physical embodiment and a necessary part of the experience. Your adventure in the form of this particular identity, and the ones that may follow, could not hope to be carried out from the vantage-point of the overview. In order for the experience to be authentic, you will once again agree to experience the perception of the fragment of consciousness— regardless of its growing, multidimensional complexity.
  • only then are you able to weave the threads that unite all you have been and done in a way that allows your release from those patterns.
  • As you continue to pay the occasional visit to these levels of experience, it is as one would to a neighborhood of long ago. You no longer feel rooted there. And the emotional investment in continuing to hash out the mundane details of karmic agreements no longer hold s any attraction.
  • These kinds of encounters have a familiar flavor to them—in that you have tasted them before. Yet, they no longer resonate with the bitterness that might once have provoked you into a self-righteous reaction. Now there is, more likely than not, a feeling of indifference at the sound of a familiar cue. For the one who is responding to it has transcended the limitations of your incarnate identity and perceives all you encounter from the vantage-point of the overview.
  • one steadily comes to be drawn to activities in which one feels one can make a difference for the world.
  • Each time you are presented with the opportunity to make an enlightened choice, know that the results of that choice will be felt, vibrationally, throughout all Creation. Likewise, when you feel the inclination to make a reactive choice, know that it is entirely possible that the urge to do so has been prompted, vibrationally, by a parallel aspect of self, caught in the grasp of discordant energies. Your awareness of the dynamics of this process provides you with the tools to shift that pattern and to redirect the energies.
  • self, caught in the grasp of discordant energies.
  • Energetically, the parameters exist for the potential manifestation of all choices for which there is a vibrational basis.
  • As the energies of the collective accelerate, certain categories of experience are ruled out. Thus, the reality you experience as your life is a reflection of your personal choices in juxtaposition with the vibrational balance of the collective consciousness of the you identity.
  • This is the work at hand, for those who have conscious awareness of the ascension process.
  • Attention in word and in deed to all that transpires within the experience
  • it is the embracing of your vulnerabilities rather than their rejection that provides the key
  • opportunities appear effortlessly. And one ceases to anticipate resistance to one’s hopes and dreams and thus stops creating it energetically.
  • Once you have undertaken to participate consciously in your own transformation, it is no longer likely to revert to obsolete behavior patterns. For it will be blatantly obvious that the learned modes of response and belief have little relevance to the work at hand.
  • One is able to be fully present without the need to defend one’s choices to anyone.
  • Those who are aligned to your process are right beside you in theirs. The others, who cast stones out of ignorance, are on their own journey and are moving at a different pace.
  • It serves no one to invalidate the process of those who are choosing to remain stuck in habitual patterns. You will teach them best by example. Be in the integrity of your process and do not seek to convert those who are not naturally inclined to follow your chosen path.
  • All will be achieved within the scope of what you refer to as eternity. From that standpoint, there are no deadlines to be met. All is progressing precisely as it is progressing, in a momentum that is unstoppable.
  • The inclination to place the concept of God in an exalted position within the framework of a personal philosophy is at the root of all that holds one back in one’s experience of God.
  • You have not come here to weigh the relative merits of one body of self-righteous dogma over another. You have come into form in these times to liberate yourself from the human tendency to do so.
  • A being who is able to create, to manifest, to materialize, and to dematerialize is a being that is exercising mastery over the limitations imposed by ideas of separation.
  • whether one wishes to expend one’s energies manifesting the mundane into form
  • One is often compelled to cast off the constraints imposed by a life structure built upon a foundation of striving for material gain, and to redirect one’s energies to the manifestation of the experience of harmony for all beings.
  • The opportunity, once one has tasted the heightened sensibilities characteristic of ascending to accelerated levels of reality, is not to emerge from that experience of knowing with a “holier than thou” outlook with regard to one’s fellow beings. The opportunity inherent in one’s own realization of Oneness is to know that such experiences are happening to everyone, quite literally.
  • it is important that judgment be suspended as to the path some may have chosen as a means of reaching a transcendent state of being.
  • The experience of Oneness is not a destination toward which you strive in your journey toward self-mastery, but rather the essence of the journey itself.
  • Oneness is every exalted plateau encountered and every stumbling block that trips you and leaves you disheartened and wallowing in the depths of despair. Oneness is the full gamut of your journey into humanness.
  • Oftentimes, a more challenging route has been chosen, purposefully, as a means of providing the rich depths of understanding that would not be possible through a life script that merely skimmed the surface of the human condition.
  • So, by all means, experience your experience.
  • Live your life fully. Feel your feelings deeply. And know that the highest expression of your experience of aliveness is in knowing that all of it is your own creation. For in that acceptance of total responsibility for the condition you consider to be your life is the key to the realization that your life is so much more than that. In acknowledging that you are the creator of your existence, you open to the experience of Oneness, as the Creator of All Existence.
  • The Oneness, toward which you strive energetically, is comprised of those polarities. And it is not possible for you to ascend into an exalted state of balance without encompassing all ends of the energetic spectrum.
  • emotion itself is not an obstacle to your spiritual progress. Rather, it is the unbridled expression of such emotions that puts one in a repetitive cycle of adverse experiences.
  • The objective is in feeling those spontaneous responses fully and deeply while relinquishing the impulse to allow that emotion to govern your response.
  • Clarity regarding the nature of the process helps you to avoid the natural tendency to fault oneself when such episodes occur and inadvertently plunge you into a downward spiral of adversity.
  • The attainment of balance can be the foundation for a profound epic for some of you, who have sought on a soul level to achieve completion of such themes in this lifetime.
  • The key to the self-mastery that is so fervently sought by you who are so keenly aware of your process of evolution, is not to love yourself despite your perceived shortcomings—but rather, to love yourself because of them.
  • Future generations will have made preparations for incarnation into a dramatically different world. Their natural inclination to be less reactive reflects the fact that many of these younger beings have a dramatically different vibrational constitution than you do. Their energy fields are not cluttered with unresolved emotional blockages, and life for the young, in general, flows more smoothly than it did for you at their stage of development.
  • In keeping up with the pace of those changes, you have systematically shed the layers of density that were designed to keep you grounded at levels you have transcended.
  • harmonization is characteristic of an orientation based on a sense of Oneness, not only with one’s fellow human beings, but with all life.
  • skills can be acquired, quite often with ease, by those of you who present no resistance to the momentum of change.
  • It is to be expected that the beings born in the years soon to come will exhibit what has come to be considered extrasensory perception as a natural fact of life.
  • ultimately, you will begin to recognize that the wisdom that you yearn for is right there within your own being, and need not be sought from discarnate sources.
  • until the conditions in your world stabilize, and a population of vibrationally adapted beings prevail, you can anticipate a populace with a radical diversity in ability and perspective.
  • what is now considered paranormal will soon be very normal indeed.
  • It will be necessary for the teachers of the young to be acutely aware of the innate gifts of the children of tomorrow.
  • Let them show you how to train the talented amongst them to maximize the potential in those gifts by allowing them to explore their perceptions to determine what is and is not “possible.”
  • Resist the temptation to limit the outer reaches of their dreams with your expectations of what experience has shown you to be “possible.”
  • For the world in which these children will live is one you would be challenged to imagine. Create for them safe environments in which to explore the miracle of the physical form in which they have emerged, and equip them with sensory stimuli that will stretch the limits of sensory perception.
  • these young beings may express the levels of passion that they feel quite naturally and which may strike you as incomprehensible.
  • those amongst you who have let go of the need to prove yourselves and are content just to Be, are capable of literally being reborn at the hands of the children.
  • Once it becomes apparent that the responsibility for one’s reality rests upon one’s own shoulders, many of these small beings may well become enthralled with the playground that is their world. And it soon becomes obvious that there is no limit to what can be created within it.
  • children themselves are not equipped to cope with inherent abilities that their present world still regards as abnormal.
  • many will suppress and inhibit their natural tendencies toward self-expression in deference to perceived peer pressure.
  • Do not limit yourself into concluding that you are who you have always been. Nothing could be further from the truth. You are the embodiment of change itself.
  • Yet, as you begin to make your peace with the reality of the changes you embody, it becomes less a question of if so much as to what degree these changes are able to be assimilated and are allowed to express through you as identity.
  • these ones metamorphosize in ways that distance them from everything that once formed the basis of their perception of themselves. Often, within the expanded parameters of the newfound identity, the trappings of the old create a level of discomfort that feels intolerable. And the compulsion to shed one’s former identity, like an outgrown skin, becomes undeniable.
  • as the recognition crystallizes that what had been sought has been present throughout the entire experience.
  • one’s experience of life takes on the new coloration of a world that, at long last, seems receptive to the gift you offer.
  • what has changed is not the world, but your place within it.
  • you will find that you gravitate toward interactions with beings who resonate at comparable levels to your own.
  • it becomes a necessary fact of life that lines be drawn as to where and with whom one may or may not wish to venture.
  • The tendency to distance oneself helps to create a vibrational buffer and is a self-protective mechanism that one adopts instinctively.
  • One often becomes ruthless in the curtailing of associations and activities that no longer serve one’s highest
  • At this stage, one develops a mind-set focused on the maintenance of those levels. And one grows to perceive life through the eyes of the observer and to sense oneself as being separate from all that surrounds you and vulnerable to its effect. Then, just as suddenly, one becomes consumed with an awareness of the interconnectedness of All Life and begins to perceive the perfection in the symbolism of every vision. One begins to crystallize in one’s awareness that what once may have been perceived as negativity or density, and thus have been rejected or avoided was, in fact, no more than a reflection of one’s own state of beingness. The vibratory essence of a vision is not sustained by the vision itself, but rather, is a mirror of one’s perception of it.
  • One’s attitudes and biases come into play here and form the foundation of the levels of vibration of all one experiences as reality, and thus how those perceptions affect you as energy.
  • When one perceives an image that one interprets as external to one’s own being, and recoils at the sight, one is not reacting to what is inherent in the image itself, but rather, to one’s own attitudes, as judgment.
  • one suddenly becomes aware that there is truly nothing to fear, and one begins to observe life with a new level of detached fascination. You begin to realize that you are, literally, creating all of it. You are giving it power. You are giving it energy. And its effect upon you, vibrationally, is a direct reflection of the attitudes you project upon it.
  • strengthen the skills of nonreaction, one is able to reenter the physical world and to walk freely within it, knowing that it cannot affect you vibrationally,
  • fear-based attitudes, rooted in separation, only serve to reinforce the effect that the perception of “negative energy” has upon you.
  • the only power any image has is that which you give it, as its creator, with your judgments.
  • because you have an intellectual grasp on the conceptual foundation of manifestation, does not guarantee that you are able to put that understanding into practice instantly,
  • In order to fully embody the essence of Oneness and to know oneself as the Source of one’s experience of reality, it is necessary to journey to the outer edges of the experience of separation. From that vantage point one is able to recognize and identify what one is not, in order to know that which one Is.
  • there is nothing that you are capable of being different from—for
  • although some of life’s mystery may be lost in the process of that awakening, one comes fully into one’s power as a Creative force, and begins to experience life from the perspective of The Artist. Just like it was—In the Beginning.
  • The experience of connectedness to an internalized Source is the culmination of the journey. It is this experience that has been sought throughout the history of your species.
  • that level of connectedness transcends all the barriers of culture and belief that have segmented you into the categories with which you identify yourselves.
  • What you are is not limited to any form at all.
  • You will arrive at your destination. That is guaranteed. What is optional is the iden tity that will experience that arrival.
  • choices you have afforded yourself are limitless on this journey, even in your present form. You can opt for a different direction entirely, any time you choose, simply by choosing that.
  • There is no benefit to you to make choices reluctantly, out of altruistic feelings of duty.
  • Any choice is capable of immeasurable rewards when initiated with clarity and a sense of willing participation.
  • There are no right and wrong choices. There is simply choice.
  • the vibration of hesitancy, in essence, dulls the vibrancy possible in any choice.
  • Halfway does not count.
  • “reasons” imply hesitation and the weighing of merit of one direction over another.
  • Once a choice is made, the “reason” is irrelevant if the experience is to yield the optimum result. Make the choice, and be that choice energetically—and watch the caliber of your experiences respond accordingly.
  • What is important is that your awareness of the impermanence of the process be stimulated.
  • witness from the vantage point of the observer.
  • It is unnecessary to your own personal process to invest large amounts of mental energy on questions of what others may or may not be experiencing. Your own journey is not one governed by consensus reality in any given moment. What is true for you is not necessarily that which is true for a close friend, a relative, or a total stranger. Your journey is one that is being tailor-made to the pace of your own process. And you are not necessarily “wrong” or “abnormal” on the basis of experiences that are not
  • You are not limited to any menu at all in choosing how to realize Oneness, for the possible paths to the destination
  • Some have been discovered and developed into elaborate systems that, if followed carefully, will ease the journey somewhat, in predictable ways. Yet for some, such an approach is a bit like “painting by numbers.” The result will emerge upon the canvas, either way. How one chooses to experience the process of the creation of one’s work of art is optional.
  • It matters less what you may or may not have read or heard or been taught as to what is the correct way to proceed on the spiritual path, than what your own experience has shown you to be so. When weighing the relative merits of the various approaches to spiritual awakening, consider above all your own inner sensing of what is or is not truth for you.
  • the vibrancy of any approach is based not on the mechanics of the practice but upon one’s total surrender to the direction in which the practice leads you.
  • There is no point in pursuing any path or practice out of feelings of obligation.
  • All beings who themselves choose to recognize the truth of their own Divine connection, are the chosen people.
  • spiritual tyranny
  • You have been given unlimited freedom of choice.
  • it is in your very nature to violate such rules. It is an integral part of your essence to know yourself as limitless and to balk at the barriers that would seek to bind you.
  • That is the motivation for graphically depicting for yourself that which you are not—in
  • not to have your Divine essence crushed under the weight of the collective will of consensus reality.
  • implement that knowingness, out of freedom of choice.
  • energetic contradiction between the action expressed and the emotion repressed would set up conditions that would nullify the potential inherent
  • Your obligation is not to the so-called “truth,” that may have been handed down through generations of misguided seekers. Your obligation is to the truth that has been unearthed within the depths of your own heart—and to that alone.
  • It has only begun to dawn on the collective consciousness that the countless differences in perspective amongst you are not evidence of a world of falsehood, but rather are proof of the infinite levels of Divine truth,
  • You may describe your experience of awakening with the same words as another being, or may find in hearing or reading the words of another, that the sentiments expressed describe your own. Yet language cannot begin to approximate the essence of the experience itself.
  • language can only begin to touch the feeling of bonding with one’s own Divinity.
  • natural human tendency to gravitate toward individuals who share your general perspective on issues you would consider important.
  • contrast provided by the mirror of the vision of another being is the gift you bring one another, in order that each of you may perceive his own vision more clearly.
  • There is not one amongst you who has ever encountered another being who sees the world in exactly the same way you do.
  • creates the space for the validity of all variations on a shared vision and lays the groundwork
  • the differences that now alienate you from one another become the force that unites you all.
  • There are beings in positions of authority in every aspect of your reality whose task it is to make you feel “wrong” about what you know to be “right.”
  • Your purpose in being present in physical form is to embody that uniqueness, not for the purpose of imposing it upon another being, but for the purpose of graphically depicting it to yourself.
  • It is not your mission to convince others of the validity of what you know and the way you have chosen to express that knowingness. It is your mission to develop and explore the richness of the depths of that gold mine for your own benefit, and to allow others the grace to exercise that same freedom.
  • know that the collective experience of which you are a part, does not come with a newly stylized set of rules and regulations. The truth that characterizes the essence of the new levels of awareness is no different than the underlying essence of all spiritual mastery. That which you seek is within yourself.
  • volunteers who sought to share what they themselves knew to be so, for the chance that others might be inspired to make the same discoveries.
  • it is far more powerful to live your truth than to preach it.
  • Be less concerned with what others may or may not be thinking than with the essence of your own experience.
  • Be patient with the beings who life has placed closest to you in these times. For you are serving as a teacher for many, simply by being who you really are.
  • Feeling your feelings deeply, without repressing the authenticity of those core emotions, is the doorway to relinquishing the vibrational density that is holding you at diminished levels of awareness.
  • Nonattachment to outcome is the threshold to be transcended in the deeper levels of this work.
  • Once one is able to release the fear-based grasp one holds on life, it becomes easy to release the underlying emotional constraints
  • to be able to sustain physical life at the higher levels of awareness, one must be totally free of one’s attachment to it.
  • Life is not to be perceived as something one should be desperate to maintain.
  • catalysts calculated to force you to reach beyond the obvious solutions and explanations put forth by the consensus wisdom of your culture.
  • Do not be tempted to limit what is possible, in terms of spontaneous recovery, on the basis of what you may have been taught.
  • Your beliefs are the building blocks with which you have constructed the vibrational grid system you would know as your reality.
  • a fundamental part of your awakening process is to see clearly the constructs with which you have built your sense of self-perception.
  • A mind-set that harbors any form of limitation whatsoever, regardless of whether your experience has led you to believe it is justified, is a catalyst for the disharmony that can manifest as disease.
  • become whole within one’s own self and to reach a place of clarity as to what is a valid characteristic of one’s own essence—and what is not.
  • The fact is, there is no limitation whatsoever in the structure of your fundamental essence. And you can, in fact be anything you choose to be.
  • The key to transcending conditions, in which you perceive the evidence of limitation, is not to dwell upon the essence of that limitation, but rather, to dwell, utterly and completely, in a perception of how you would like to have it be.
  • the more mental and verbal reinforcement you add to the equation, the stronger the foundation you have constructed to sustain it.
  • a vibrational signal within your energy structure, that your attention is requested, right now, at the deepest level.
  • that condition is the symptom that is calculated to liberate you from the limitation of the density with which you have been staggering, vibrationally.
  • once the energy is allowed to be released, at one level, the symptoms it supported will very likely dematerialize, for there would be nothing remaining, energetically, to hold them in form.
  • The objective then, is to address the question of where to direct your focus.
  • Eventually, the desperate sense of struggle surrenders to the realization of the utter futility of this approach. And one begins to ask the “big” questions that herald the breakthrough in which all illusions shatter simultaneously.
  • The need to appear vindicated or validated gives way to the need to sidestep such scenarios altogether, and to relegate those invitations to exercise the self-righteous needs of ego to another place in time.
  • situation. The full thrust of one’s intent draws into the arena of possibility the circumstances that will carry that intent through to manifestation. Thus, the process is less a by-product of making choices from a given number of possible options, than of starting from a position of limitlessness
  • The level of clarity with which you focus your intent helps to determine the ease or degree of complexity that manifests accordingly.
  • become clear on where you wish to be going with this physical incarnation you call your life.
  • Mixed feelings on a given issue will manifest mixed outcomes every time,
  • Reluctance and half-heartedness, in essence, nullify the fundamental charge that would call forth the circumstances in question.
  • In order to manifest the world of The Artist, it is necessary first to recreate the world of The Dreamer. This is the world of the eternal child, into which you were born in this lifetime. A child does not know the concept of limitation.
  • wishes and desires dominate his every moment, calling forth what it is he most wishes to experience.
  • dreams are dashed by the rules of a reality
  • energy of focus shifts from what was truly desired to what is perceived to be possible.
  • Ultimately, the magic of the dream and the accompanying joy of dreaming it, becomes lost in a realm ruled by logic and strategy. And in shifting one’s focus from the joy of dreaming the dream to the fear that fuels overcoming suppression of the dream—the child forgets how to dream.
  • Your essential nature is not focused in goal-oriented activity, but is rooted in your feeling body—your emotions. The drive you experience toward accomplishing a given end is not based upon a need to fulfill a dream, but rather, is based upon a need to avoid sliding into the abyss of your fears.
  • necessary to learn to distinguish, within the context of your desires, between those that are based in fear and those that stem from the innocence of the joyousness that is your fundamental essence.
  • To recreate the authenticity of your dream, you will wish to begin to scrutinize your true motives for wanting to do what you are telling yourself you want to do. If you wish to build a fabulous home with your own hands, for example, it would be important to know whether that desire is based upon the unbridled pleasure you would derive in the act of that creation, or whether, at some level, you seek to prove something in your own eyes or in the eyes of others. The former desire is born of The Dreamer within you. The latter is rooted in the energy of separation.
  • to the extent that self-esteem may be rooted in goal setting within the sanctity of one’s own consciousness, one sets up the parameters of duality—of success or failure—with such a mind-set.
  • releasing the pure essence of the dream into the embrace of the ethers that carry them forth into manifestation—simply that the idea is infinitely pleasing.
  • The Dreamer does not care what is or is not possible. For the Dream is based in limitlessness.
  • the Dreamer remains untouched.
  • liberate The Dreamer from the prison of your linear consciousness.
  • The Dreamer does not dwell in the realm of doing but thrives in the innocence of simply being.
  • an element of clarity from having ascended to that perspective, and with it came the realization that the plateau was going nowhere. It offered the potential of the perpetuation of the essence of that level and a sense of clarity that there was nowhere to go from there.
  • emerge from the devastation of the structure of your circumstances, it begins to become obvious why that experience was a necessary part of the journey. The fortress you had constructed upon the plateau of your experience had, in fact, become the prison in which your very own sacred essence waited patiently.
  • innocence of unbridled joy that you harbor within cannot thrive in the structured conditions you created in a world built on the premise of compromise.
  • in order to reunite with The Dreamer, one must withdraw into the silence of inner solitude. And the elimination of the distractions of daily life during this period is a necessary part of the process.
  • The moment for turning inward announces its arrival blatantly—in silence. Once you recognize the signs of its presence, and cease filling the empty spaces it creates with “busy-work” and mundane social interaction, you are able to relax into
  • in the clarity of your retrospective vision, it is time to prepare for reunion with The Dreamer who, like a child, wandered away when it wasn’t fun anymore, while you were so busy doing your life, you didn’t even notice he was missing. Not until much later, when it was obvious that something very precious was very lost.
  • Now it is time to simply stop. Stop what you are doing. Stop all the mechanical practices that absorb your every waking moment. Stop your compulsion to pull others into your drama as a way of avoiding focus on the one who stands at center stage. This aspect of the process is not about others. It is not about “what” you are doing or “who” you are doing it with.
  • retrospective vision comes the understanding that the present moment’s clarity does not invalidate the journey that was necessary in order to attain it.
  • In order to know yourself to be truly all powerful, it was necessary for you to experience the agonizing frustration of not being able to implement your will.
  • you’ve been there. And you’ll wonder how you could have been so blind, when the clues were right there, in full view, all along. Yet you know that the seeker will not see what he has come to see until the appointed moment for that particular set of eyes to open. You know, because you’ve been there.
  • The clues have always been there. But until now, you have not been equipped to see them. You have embodied the blinders necessary to shield you from a level of knowingness that might have denied you the poignancy of the experience of awakening. Now the blinders have been removed, at least from your own limited field of vision. And this is a process you will experience over and over again, as the layers of illusion are lifted and your true essence is revealed.
  • Your own radiance will help illuminate the path of others who walk beside you, however briefly, simply by being in the authenticity of your own moment.
  • It is not necessary to try in order to help another being who is experiencing a lesson you have learned the hard way. Simply by being present and holding that vibration of transcendence, you can add the much-needed boost to another that enables him to discover what has been right there all along. Just like you did.
  • There is no static condition of enlightenment on the path of enlightenment. It is an ongoing journey that continues to evolve.
  • Each instance of adversity that may cross your path, is an opportunity to pause and to reflect upon the mirror those circumstances have manifested to provide for you. Ultimately, you will recognize in the experiences of others the parallel episodes in your own life theme patterns that they illustrate.
  • As you continue to ascend vibrationally, you will recognize, increasingly, the phenomenon of this level of experiential mirroring.
  • levels of compassion realized in this process enable you to align and to harmonize vibrationally with your experiential surrogate, without taking on the levels of negativity embodied and released by the other being.
  • the experience of compassion is one in which balance is sustained between bonding and boundaries.
  • One is able to reach out and to care deeply for the poignancy of another’s process, to recognize the underlying theme as a common thread woven in your own experience, and at the same time to distance yourself, vibrationally,
  • Your own mastery of the common issue acts as a vibrational catalyst for the one enmeshed in the actual drama that nudges that being
  • recognize that the process is indeed a dance in which you share moments of common resonance with others.
  • You have afforded that being the opportunity to harmonize with you on a common note in a song you both know by heart.
  • Compassion is the common thread with which the tapestries of each of your lives are interwoven. For in truth, there Is only One of us here.
  • Each seemingly chance encounter is an exercise in the perfection of manifestation. For in that moment, there is something to be given to each of you, by each of you.
  • You are never too busy, or too committed, to pause and reconsider when life presents you with the possibility of a radical turnabout in what you thought were your plans.
  • Each of you has progressed as you have largely due to the sudden surge in a wave you are all riding together.
  • it is the collective you that is ascending, even though from your personal perspective it appears that you alone are making these quantum leaps.
  • responsibility for the action taken—which can be no other than your own.
  • you are the authority whose boundaries are being tested.
  • Your life is a dance in which your circumstances help to define and redefine the identity of the character you have allowed yourself to become—and the reflection of the responses of that character on the circumstances that follow. You can continue to spin and twirl to the same melody for a lifetime, if that is what you choose to do. And most of the beings in your reality know nothing beyond that type of dance. Or you can choose to become aware— to become truly conscious—and to see yourself as both the perpetrator and the target of your own creation.
  • able to do so, in a fully present state, owning fully the ramifications of that choice, and thereby by-passing the consequence of the vibration of victimization.
  • You are a fully responsible participant in your reaction to the choices presented.
  • There are no right and wrong choices. There is simply action and reaction.
  • the identity is built upon a foundation of all you have done. And who you Are has nothing whatsoever to do with doing.
  • The One you have had a fleeting chance to experience and ultimately to know is untouched by the trials and tribulations of your drama. That One simply Is. And knows. And radiates the joy of that Isness—that knowingness.
  • You may have spent a good portion of this lifetime seeking the knowingness that has been within you the whole time. And you may have had glimpses of the very thing you have been searching for, without realizing it. For, the state of silent awareness is not one that shouts at you to be recognized. It is subtle.
  • For the true metamorphosis requires one to emerge in a newfound skin and to function in the world in ways that rule out the possibility of compromise.
  • choices implemented must be a reflection of one’s true intent and the instrument of one’s will, rather than an adaptation that has been created to accommodate the expectations and needs of others.
  • impetus to action must remain unencumbered if the highest possibility is to be realized in any given circumstance. When one burdens one’s choices with the complexity of feelings ofobligation ratherthan with one’s pureheart’sdesire,the resulting manifestation is muddied by the energy of conflict.
  • that end can never be realized through the transmission of a mixed message.
  • When you cease giving power to the opinions of others, you release the tethering, vibrationally, that ties you to the illusion.
  • When one is ready to step forward clothed only in Self-awareness, one would have made the transformational shift that marks the turning point that has long been heralded as enlightenment.
  • Wisdom is the single element that distinguishes what you have always been from what you have chosen to become.
  • After some practice in recognizing and responding to these prompts, your own experience shows you that these glimpses into the true nature of what Is can be trusted.
  • One learns to follow one’s own inner guidance in preference to that being offered, in the guise of wisdom, by many who have tapped into other sources of information.
  • in these moments that pose the crucial crossroads of this lifetime, that the silence of stepping back from the circumstances at hand best serves you.
  • true guidance may be sourced from beyond the recesses of your mind. This guidance does not come in words but transcends all limitation and is simply there for you as knowingness.
  • develop a reliance on your own ability to source the answers.
  • When there is a sense of urgency and a compulsion to choose from a given set of options, recognize those conditions as your cue to retreat into the stillness within and to do nothing. For the sense of urgency is rooted in a fear of choosing incorrectly. And those are not conditions in which you would wish to make choices of any kind.
  • trusting that you hold the answers—all of them.
  • the answers themselves do not matter at all. The act of seeking those answers is merely an exercise you have devised in order to guide yourself to the path that leads within.
  • vehicles that deliver you to a place of unconditional trust in your own ability to derive a sense of inner directedness in any circumstances.
  • “the answer” is not the answer. It is the Source of that answer that is being sought.
  • The opportunity posed by the profound dilemmas that present themselves is to begin to recognize the symbolic significance of those circumstances.
  • You have led yourself out to the edge of that precipice on purpose. From there, the only step forward is to jump.
  • Initially, your attention will be captured by the systemic breakdown of many of the societal structures that gave definition to your world. And those of you who are able to view these inevitable changes without giving in to the instinctive reaction of fear that will consume many in your world, will be able to float within the embrace of the energies and allow yourselves to be carried to higher ground.
  • The key to riding out the turbulence that may well manifest at the height of the vibrational shifts to come, will be in your willingness to surrender totally to the process, fully aware that you may not yet understand what is,
  • The phenomena that will manifest do not stand as evidence of the fallacies of your understandings, but rather as an indication that it is time to expand them.
  • Those of you with the presence of mind to regard with fascination the changes within your very own physical senses, will have the tools in hand to adapt easily to the fact that you are a very different you living within the context of your own identity.
  • you will be led systematically in the direction of ultimate surrender to the truth of your Oneness with All Creation—no matter how many lifetimes it takes.
  • The thrill of the moment of awakening is the experience you hoped to give yourself within the context of form. And it is a moment that you will experience exponentially at all levels of your beingness, many many times.
  • There is no way you can fail at this. Know that. For, there is no such thing as success or failure on the path to Oneness. There is simply the option of infinite possibilities to experience along the way. That is what keeps it interesting, and what keeps you coming back for more.
  • Your transference of your ambition from the arena of the material to the realm of the spiritual changes nothing. You remain in an unrelenting quest for that which you perceive yourself to be without.
  • You are in a netherworld of striving—a state that invalidates the reality of where you are in deference to where you believe you are not.
  • as you perceive yourself to be short of the mark, you will experience discontentment, regardless of how far you believe yourself to have journeyed.
  • as you deny the perfection in this “now” moment and the circumstances with which it has gifted you, you will be destined to continue to wander, and to search, and to strive, and to yearn for something that will always remain just out of reach.
  • The opportunity in this “now” moment is to stop all of this activity—and simply Be still.
  • For it is in the stillness that you will, ultimately, discover what has been there all this time—Nothing. Nothing at all. No great bright lights. No profound “cosmic” ideas. No other to which you can connect
  • In the illusion, you have a past. And in your mind, you are forever reaching for, and longing for, and living in—the future that never seems to come. In the Stillness, you experience that all pervading Now-ness and recognize it as All That Is.
  • The systems on which your society is based will, most likely, experience a fundamental breakdown as they are built on a foundation of diminished vibration that cannot sustain itself under conditions that continue to accelerate.
  • There is simply not the necessary proportion of thought forms present to sustain what no longer serves you.
  • ousting any construct that serves to restrict personal freedom.
  • a new kind of thinking that will serve to empower rather than suppress the collective will of all people.
  • assist in the process by allowing the changes that are transpiring so naturally, to do so on a personal level.
  • These changes are not happening to you—but rather, have been initiated by you vibrationally.
  • The opportunity is to recognize the possibility to achieve these shifts without entering into confrontation and conflict.
  • As you meet with episodes that defy your objectives and jeopardize the stability of your situation, you have the opportunity to recognize and to honor another being who is simply reflecting his own truth, even if it means altering your expectations.
  • Struggling to cling to your concept of how it should be will only escalate the discordant energy of these conflicts.
  • struggle to remain attached to acting upon obsolete agreements.
  • It is pointless to attempt to force another being to honor the terms of an agreement that no longer rings true for them.
  • the wisdom in letting go of what seemed certain, in preparation for creating the space for the highest possible outcome to manifest for all concerned.
  • In trying to resolve instances of seemingly unwarranted discord with certain individuals, consider that what you have encountered is no more and no less than energy.
  • let go of the ties that once bound you naturally into an alliance that now no longer nourishes either of you.
  • know that your feelings do not invalidate the relevance of what once was shared.
  • declining the invitation of compromise in the name of “peace and harmony.” For peace and harmony cannot truly be achieved when one has relinquished their own inner truth.
  • Peace and harmony, when it is truly sustainable, must be built on a foundation that resonates fully with all concerned.
  • ask then, what are you to do when confronted with the opposing viewpoints of another being or an expression of collective will. You begin not with the scrutiny of the other party’s motives, but with your own. You begin by digging honestly beneath the surface of the stance you’ve taken and exploring the real basis for your own position.
  • You cannot hope to achieve “peace and harmony” in the collective without applying the true essence of that concept in your interpersonal relationships on an individual basis.
  • a natural solution ultimately presents itself that allows both parties to honor the expression of their true essence,
  • The answers you seek in your personal lives are no different than those you seek in your neighborhoods, your countries and in your global interactions. All must be addressed in terms of energy in order for a lasting solution to be realized.
  • energy that is thwarted rather than transformed will only resurface with renewed force, in another form, regardless
  • Stop looking for the self-serving motives of the other side and begin looking at the self-serving motives that underlie your own actions. That is the basis for the true harmony you all yearn for at the deepest level. For your world situation is no more than a magnified reflection of the energy of the collective consciousness.
  • You are a part of that group dynamic. And the only way to shift the worldview is to shift the thrust of what you project upon it. Each of you. One conflict at a time.
  • By shifting the energy you project onto even one seemingly inconsequential encounter, you shift the vibration you project onto the macrocosm of your world.
  • other beings you encounter in your day-to-day interactions are not necessarily at the same place you are. For, all are not resonating at the same frequency, simply by virtue of the fact that they are “here” in your presence. You may encounter a piece of composite essence that represents the identity of a being who is familiar to you, yet the reactions of that being may seem inappropriate to the nature of the history you’ve shared. It will be important to condition yourself to exercise tolerance with regard to such encounters,
  • Do not judge. Simply allow the interactions to transpire and the energies to stabilize.
  • Allow the energy to express as it will.
  • The actual cause of the explosive encounter is not important. And it is irrelevant as to who is “wrong” and who is “right.” For “right” is merely a matter of perspective. And each, in such a moment, is myopically wedded to his own.
  • a catalyst of repressed vibration, is what you will be led to trigger within the depths of each of you.
  • each will have acted upon his own truth. And in so doing, each will have helped his partner/lover/enemy/friend/child/parent/Self to witness and embrace his own truth.
  • This is a vital and necessary part of the path to wholeness.
  • know that the profound moments of discord that must also arise are equally blessed.
  • You are simply a passenger—a pinpoint of awareness—along
  • One cannot arrive at a destination from which one has never departed.
  • you will not find the externalized “God”
  • Finding God—an intimidating concept. Only because you believed that it was. In truth, it’s all so simple.
  • after all the work has been done and the destination is in view, it is easy suddenly to question all of it.
  • anticipate experiencing a sequence of seemingly unwarranted provocation s that gives the impression of being virtually under siege. What is being tested at this stage is if and how you react. And it is not unusual to find oneself backsliding into defensiveness and reactions that reflect an investment in having to be “right.”
  • What is being tested at this stage is if and how you react.
  • state where you are present in your own circumstances, with great indifference,
  • Patterns are initiated in one reality and brought to fruition in another, at this stage of your journey. So, it is pointless to expect particular results to manifest, when an entirely different set of variables has been added to the equation.
  • incomprehensible to you that you felt compelled to react in certain ways and seemed to manifest such extremes of experience. Now, in a new light, similar circumstances can be viewed through the lens of tranquillity and barely produce a ripple upon the waters of your awareness.
  • at last, flows easily. That is the nature of the circumstances that will accompany you right to the very edge of the interdimensional threshold. The states of heightened contradiction—between your heartfelt connectedness with the momentum that propels you and at the same time the irritants that you continue to manifest—can be confusing, when caught in the heat of the moment. Yet as you distance yourself from these petty dramas, you can feel a palpable lightening of all that held you in its grasp. The release is sudden and dramatic. And, seemingly for no reason at all, you shift into a different octave of beingness. And you know, without having to be told, that something very significant indeed has happened.
  • The only thing that will have changed is “you” and the way you find yourself reacting to the kinds of lines they are programmed to deliver.
  • world in which you ultimately distance yourself, emotionally, from everything you ever held dear, in an effort to avoid further pain. And ultimately, in the impetus behind that instinctive action, you distance yourself from yourself.
  • It does not matter whether or not you can debate the point brilliantly with those who will presume that you have lost your mind, at the mention of such ideas.
  • When you have experienced the harmony of that heart-felt glow, even for a fleeting moment, the knowingness is indelibly etched upon your consciousness. And that level of knowingness cannot be forgotten.
  • Oneness has no agenda with regard to the timetable of your transformation. It does not matter whether you embrace who you really are this year—or even in this lifetime. For time, as it truly is, has no relation to the illusions in the linear dream you call your life. We are here, waiting patiently for you, as we have been for all eternity. We are willing to wait. We will wait “forever,” if necessary, for you to work this out. And if it takes forever, you are no less our Beloved.
  • where your knee-jerk reactions will be tested repeatedly.
  • with sublime indifference, you allow the provocation to pass you by,
  • That aspect of you no longer needs validation at the levels toward which you journey.
  • As you consistently condition yourself in the skills of non-reaction, you begin to experience a rarefied sense of freedom from all that once held you prisoner. For you have been the prisoner of your own need to be validated. You have been the prisoner of the need to prove yourself right—and another wrong. And you have spent untold lifetimes building the vibrational framework within which you could continue to experience evidence of it. You have just been liberated from the need to do so.
  • that it doesn’t matter in the least whether or not you are “right,” and another “wrong,” in a given circumstance. What truly matters is that your inner harmony is retained, and that your connectedness with the Source of that inner peace remains undisturbed. Anything—anything—that is working, vibrationally, to undermine that objective is not important.
  • Anything that beckons to you with the invitation to engage in conflict is not important. And anything that attempts to impose its own will upon you and disrupt your sense of inner harmony is not important—to you.
  • What presents itself to you has no inherent value or lack of value whatsoever. It is simply choice. You can choose to engage, energetically.
  • you can choose to allow the energy to pass and leave you undisturbed. It is all simply choice. There is no meaning attached to any of it. It is all symbolism.
  • the realization that all possibilities are now viable options. And the variable that determines what is and what is not experienced is nothing more than choice.
  • The question then is not what one chooses to be doing, so much as the intent with which one chooses to be doing it.
  • You are not here as a statement of separation from Life, but as a materialized statement of unification with it. You are not helping that other person in your well meaning activity. You are helping your Self. For that Self is the Oneness of which you are a part—and none other.
  • There are infinite variations on the theme that manifests as your physical reality. And none of you is any different, in your core essence, than any other. You simply are here to hold a particular note in the resonance that is playing as a particular symphony of experience: this “here and now.” How you choose to experience that aspect of the One Divine Presence is totally up to you.
  • If your purpose is to show others your level of connectedness with the One Divine Presence, you have defeated that purpose by demonstrating yourself to be separate from All that comprise it.
  • while you may travel on a parallel path with another and have certain experiences in common, your path remains your own.
  • it is not to be expected that the pace at which your growth proceeds will be duplicated by another being, regardless of how kindred the connection.
  • Each of you comes to this lifetime with a unique set of variables that will be worked out within the context of your relationships with the world at large, as well as with each other.
  • to truly achieve it in tandem with another, it is necessary to allow the levels of density within the energy fields of each of you to rise to the surface and be released.
  • Each of you has a vested interest in recreating the sense of harmony that united you in the first place. For it is through this experience with each other that you have been permitted to taste the essence of connectedness itself.
  • The recognition of Self in the form of another is an attestation to the true essence of the very differences that prove most challenging. And it is evidence of the depth of contrast without which there can be no harmony.
  • in order for harmony truly to be experienced, there must be the essence of “difference” to comprise it.
  • Harmony is dependent upon a recognition of difference and a willingness to hold one’s own truth intact in its presence.
  • unity is in the recognition of the other as Self, not in the exclusion of any of you. None will be left behind. Not one fragment of the sacred essence of Oneness will cease to have self-awareness—and a sense of identity—at some level of existence. For that is the Divine Plan.
  • your Sacred Essence, in physical form, under optimal conditions. There will no longer be the need to experience “that which you are not” in order to recognize, by contrast, “that which you Are.” For all will be fully aware of the nature of Self and will recognize the Oneness in All Life.
  • vibrationally, the slate will have been wiped clean.
  • reality is only as each of you experiences it. The nature of your world is no more and no less than a reflection of the composite vision of the consciousness present.
  • the changes in question need not carry the density
  • The maintenance of physical life is not the consummate goal here. Rather, it is the vibrational elevation of All Life and the environment that sustains it that is the objective in all that now transpires in and around you.
  • selected these very circumstances to illustrate, to themselves, the issues in which each was most profoundly invested at a soul level.
  • What is being brought to completion in this “here and now” are the intense patterns of karmic compensation that were enforced vibrationally in a system that was ongoing and essentially inescapable.
  • what has been prophesied is based solely on the logical, predictable outcome of combinations of variables, all of which are energy patterns.
  • forms of consciousness are only able to perceive the level of reality to which they are vibrationally aligned. What they may not be able to sense is what each of you actually perceives as your reality in any given moment, which is based solely on your vibrational state of beingness. Thus, the level of reality upon which otherworldly observers may be reporting is not necessarily the one you are likely to experience.
  • Know that in these times of transformation, all things are possible. The script is being drafted anew, based on your willingness to embrace the layers of change that are erupting within each of you.
  • Clinging to the safety nets of the past places an energetic death grip on your ability to float through the turbulent patches and harness the powerful currents that have come to carry you through.
  • Those of you, who have become consumed with the “worstcase scenario” predictions that are presently flooding your reality, have created for yourself a fascinating test. For you have given yourself the option to choose to perceive the vision that once appeared in the mind’s eye of another being. Or, alternatively, to experience a heightened expression of reality, custom-made for your eyes only, that has not yet been revealed.
  • logic is often based on fears firmly entrenched by painful experiences of the past.
  • the stillness within is still there waiting. It never left. You did.
  • All of this is being presented to you as choice. And, given that certain of these teachings may have struck a note deep within you, this opportunity for reflection is likely to initiate a monumental shift within you that will help you to halt your conditioned patterns of response—and be Still.
  • So long as you permit the programming of your mind to dominate every waking breath, and so long as you run your life as a mindless exercise of reflex responses calculated to prove that you are “right” about whatever your issues happen to be, you will not be capable of experiencing the exquisite connectedness that awaits you. So long as you hold your focus in the realm of mundane concerns, you will be unable to perceive the Divine essence that calls to you in silence.
  • For until you have nothing left to lose and nothing left to gain by continuing in your ingrained patterns, you do not have the catalyst for initiating radical change.
  • until these issues are ingrained as knowingness to the extent that they become your reflex responses, you will continue to manifest opportunities to strengthen those new patterns of reaction.
  • When you honor your own truth, unconditionally, it sets the stage for a chain reaction of transformation, all the way around.
  • vibrationally, you will have crossed the threshold from a reality where the mind-set of separation
  • Every priceless moment—captured for all time—within the never-ending moment of Now.

The Open-Source Everything Manifesto: Transparency, Truth, and Trust (Manifesto Series)

  • Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act
  • The U.S. government does not study anything holistically.
  • Every citizen must be actively aware of, participating in, and overseeing research,12 and that research should be focused on creating prosperity and peace, not war and poverty or suicidal seeds.
  • We the People, the “ninety-nine percent,” find ourselves being eaten by what is in essence a moral fungus or cancer spawned by the “one percent.”
  • Open Source is both a concept and a method.
  • ZERO RESISTANCE in the transfer of energy and information.
  • Corruption and lies are “resistance” to optimal functionality. They are also not patriotic and are often impeachable acts in the public sector, tantamount to organized criminal activity in the private sector.
  • Transparency and truth are the predominant attributes of the Open-Source Everything ecology, and trust is the tangible, persistent, and most valuable “spiritual energy” that sustains the community, ensuring resilience and sustainability.
  • organized people can beat organized money without violence.
  • It is vital that Open not be confused with Free.
  • this is the alchemy of the twenty-first century: share information, earn trust.
  • Transparency, not secrecy, is what produces validated intelligence (decision-support) that is truthful and trustworthy and therefore priceless.
  • the one billion rich have failed to “scale.”
  • Open-Source Everything scales that philosophy to encompass all human activity, all creations by humans, and human access to all historical knowledge.
  • What has been lacking to date in the open world has been a strategic analytic model that allows shared information to leave no fraud, waste, or abuse (corruption) unnoticed, and to harmonize a diversity of endeavors without imposing “control.”
  • Tom Atlee,
  • International relations should not be about war, but about multinational information-sharing and sense-making.24
  • Top managers’ information is invariably either biased, subjective, filtered or late
  • this new operating system will be more effective and efficient, serving all. It will also be autonomous27 from governments and corporations,
  • the raw fact that most governments and corporations could care less about objective truths, seeking instead to optimize profits for the few at the expense of the many, but their ignorance is our advantage.
  • the persistent unethical and ignorant emphasis on secrecy and on making decisions for partisan advantage or to pay off campaign contributors and select insiders is not sustainable.
  • The industrial-era model of command and control cannot adequately process information for a complex system, but an information-era model of distributed localized resilience can.
  • Belgian botanist and economist Emie de Puydt.
  • the right of the individual to be a participant in any and all forms of governance touching his or her life, be they formal legal structures or informal cultural conventions.
  • noosphere
  • transparency, truth, and trust.
  • Panarchy is not linear—it is characterized by continuous cycles of growth (both evolution and mutation), accumulation, restructuring (including creative destruction), and renewal.
  • Both panarchy and resilience depend on good information and constant, rapid, truthful feedback loops at all points within each system and among systems.
  • “Radical Man.” In a book by that title,
  • Public intelligence in the public interest.
  • Integrity represents holistic completeness. In an integral system, all the dots are connected,
  • The questions have to be asked: What do you need to know? To what end? When? In what form?
  • When serving larger community groups, it is especially important to help them understand what they know, what they do not know, and what they need to know.
  • “Put enough eyeballs on it,” and not only is no bug invisible, but neither is any fact of corruption nor any relevant bit of information.
  • the root problem of the human race today: we have forgotten our history, have no idea of our present, and have given up our future.
  • Visualization is also an art and science, combining deep knowledge of the subject matter with deep knowledge of the possibilities for concise, coherent, as well as compelling, actionable, timely presentation of the product of this process—intelligence—
  • “open-source software” refers to the complete availability of all relevant source code for public scrutiny and enhancement.
  • OpenBTS is the foundation “liberation technology” and is central to the release of humanity from corrupt hierarchies and their “rule by secrecy.”
  • Aspin-Brown Report, more formally known as the Commission on the Roles and Capabilities of the U.S. Intelligence Community,
  • the lack of a Cabinet-level champion for the Open-Source Agency.14 The Secretary of State would be the obvious natural leader for this proposed agency based fully in our democratic tradition and ideally suited as an engine for creating both a “Smart Nation” and a global multinational information-sharing and sense-making capability.
  • It is my personal and professional belief—as someone deeply concerned about both security and intelligence—that security can only be attained through pure transparency not secrecy.
  • in the absence of public intelligence, the public is impotent.
  • The sciences are divorced from the humanities and from religions; disciplines are divorced from one another; within disciplines the sub-disciplines have become tiny cultures in isolation from all other knowledge clusters.
  • Context matters. Context creates coherence and restores the missing connections that the fragmentation of knowledge into academic specializations has caused.
  • This manifesto defines “God” as an experience of collective solidarity that extends from the human realm to the universe as a whole.
  • A model for public intelligence is proffered in this book, ideally providing a means for every citizen to be a collector, producer, and consumer of public intelligence (decision-support).
  • A model for informed democracy also is proffered here—it provides a means for achieving panarchy, enabling every citizen to have access to all relevant information and to participate constructively in an infinite number of self-selected communities of interest.
  • When we relate and share knowledge authentically, this places us in a state of grace, a state of “win-win” harmony with all others, and establishes trust among all.
  • When things are not going well, until you get the truth out on the table, no matter how ugly, you are not in a position to deal with it. —Bob Seelert1
  • Our concept of truth becomes more universal as we reach higher levels of consciousness and awareness, taking in a wider spectrum of information and possibility.
  • The evolution of our species and possibly the Earth depends upon the realization of an ever-expanding concept of truth.
  • So long as the Arabs fight community against community, so long will they be a little people, a silly people, greedy, barbarous and cruel, as you are.
  • The scientific method, when it functions properly, allows truth to emerge via competing hypotheses—at least in the domain of what can be quantified and verified through repetition of an experimental procedure.
  • philosophy gets interesting, even challenging, is when it confronts the reality that dogma, opinion, and deception can create in the mind a view of reality that is not real, but that one considers to be truthful.
  • events that are not an Act of God but rather an Act of Man acting very badly over time and space.
  • Will Durant, one of the greatest philosophers and historians in the English language. His 1916 doctoral thesis, Philosophy and the Social Problem,5 and his life’s work with his wife Ariel Durant, the eleven-volume The Story of Civilization,
  • learning to discern and disseminate the truth is the ultimate role for any human.
  • The financial interests of Wall Street leverage the two-party system as a theatrical sideshow that legitimizes and legalizes massive fraud against the public interest.
  • Durant defines duty not as unquestioning submission to the group but as individual excellence in thinking and action.
  • Innovation and creativity come from having a whole-systems perspective, inculcated through education that recognizes a diversity of approaches.
  • Transparency is the new “app” that launches civilization 2.0 as an open-source operating system.
  • conditions for a direct democracy, where an engaged and informed citizenry can determine its own fate through continuous referendum.
  • At a very simplistic level, “diversity” is accomplished by embracing the inherent value of every brain and the inherent right of every person to “connect” to all others and to information.
  • We create the World Brain to play the World Game in which we are each a node with an all-access pass to the main event.
  • Integrity is not just about honor—it is about wholeness of view, completeness of effort, and accuracy or reliability of all elements of the whole.
  • uphold the Constitution, not support the chain of command.
  • (a control we all abdicated by failing to be alert and engaged)
  • turning out into the streets all incumbents seeking re-election to a third or later term,
  • The Department of Justice has claimed in writing that it has the right to lie to the Court when it deems lying to be necessary.
  • From agriculture to health to water, our government is a model of waste, fraud, and abuse.
  • Four percent of the force (the infantry) takes eighty percent of the casualties, and costs one percent of the military budget.7 The other ninety-nine percent of the budget goes toward “big systems” that never work as promised and always cost a great deal more and require vastly more logistics support in the field
  • lying—any falsification of information—is a corruption of the feedback loop and has consequences within a complex whole-systems environment. Lying is like a cancer—a cancer that is ultimately fatal.
  • in society we rely on the transmission of accurate and authentic information for the health of the entire social organism. This is why open-source everything is fundamental.
  • special interests to press their concerns about selling “inputs” rather than being held accountable for “outcomes.”
  • An authentic relationship to data and intelligence must become the basis for public discourse if the public and its appointed officials are to make sound decisions in the public interest.
  • Absent a completely open and transparent information system, lies and misrepresentations are difficult to identify. They take root and fester, like a cancer within the corporate body.
  • a primal scream against lies and a plea for integrity as a common good.
  • Corporations exist on the basis of public charters.
  • a strategic analytic model, a process for doing intelligence so as to do informed activist democracy, and a call to arms that brings us all together centered on taking back our government or routing completely around it.
  • the advanced analytic mode of Reflexive Practice—the practice of Buckminster Fuller and Russell Ackoff, and more recently George Soros, Stuart Umpley, and Kent Myers, among others including myself.
  • Two of the best high-level views of panarchy as it pertains to the future of humanity and the Earth are those of Stewart Brand, the arch-father of Co-Evolution Quarterly, Whole Earth Review, and so many other things, and Venessa Miemis, co-creator with Doug Rushkoff of the Contact Conference,
  • Charles Perrow in Normal Accidents: Living with High-Risk Technologies,6 where he discusses three levels of systems, how they fail, and how diagnosis and remediation become increasingly difficult:
  • what turns disasters into catastrophes is a poor culture of planning and agile response.
  • Resilience is the ability to absorb varying forms of shock, attack, disorder, and unanticipated setbacks, and to emerge more or less whole and able not just to carry on but to grow.
  • Resilience begins with a demand for and a commitment to the rigorous application of intelligence
  • putting the rights of nature ahead of the rights of exploitation maintained by corporations.
  • have to overcome the fragmentation of knowledge, we must be able to integrate and apply various disciplines of scientific learning in real time.
  • The era of empire is over for the United States of America—not because the USA has lost its military might but because the rest of the world now has the tools to independently evaluate the truthfulness and coherence of actions, both
  • Education is not a privilege, it is a necessity.
  • There is a nuanced feminine instinct for compassion versus the male inclination to focus on black-and-white “justice” as (generally) defined by white males to the detriment of everyone else.18
  • embrace multiple truths from the past—multicultural truths and multi-class truths.
  • we all share the blessings of being human, of being able to seek, sense, and share.
  • Integrity, in my view, starts with the individual human being and grows in a compounded manner from there. The citizen must be an “intelligence minuteman.”
  • the achievement of panarchy is in my view inevitable.
  • the focus of this book: everything is information, information is everything, and if we open-source everything we are really opening up all information and all minds to creating the equivalent of heaven on Earth—that is to say, a world that works for all in which no “bug,” i.e., no corrupt act, no lie, no betrayal of the public trust, can escape notice in near-real time.
  • In contemporary society, the nature of man’s relationship to himself, his community, to science and spirit is at best poorly understood, at worst manipulated and subverted.
  • create the noosphere imagined by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and amplified in José Argüelles’ Manifesto for the Noosphere.
  • the consciousness and good intention in the world will be irrelevant if we cannot arm the public with intelligence (decision-support) on all topics at all levels of governance.
  • a world that works for all, for one hundred percent of humanity—as one articulated by Buckminster Fuller.
  • demand complete transparency of all decisions at four levels of decision-making (strategic, operational, tactical, and technical).
  • It was this realization, learned from Dr. Herman Daly, the pioneer of “ecological economics,”8 that led me to the fact that government is not “doing” intelligence and therefore the government is not perceiving the truths—the true costs, the true options—that need to be perceived in the public interest.
  • I used to say that you could not have a Smart Nation without a smart engaged citizenry, and that still applies, but now I emphasize that a Smart Nation cannot exist without being part of a very transparent and truthful multinational network of information-sharing and sense-making that creates trust and enables true cost to be deeply and consistently understood.
  • They are discounting and distributing the public treasury for no better reason than to claim their “cut” of an inherently corrupt transaction.
  • We need to create a global grid for health that encompasses every human, every animal, every form of vegetation, every form of organization, every type of activity.
  • We are on the verge of making other decisions (e.g., Keystone) and allowing practices such as fracking that are totally against the public interest if the facts can be marshaled in a compelling public manner. If they can be ignored, they will be.
  • if shared, would yield much greater value for one hundred percent of humanity.
  • the most important attributes are a) a personal commitment to the public good; and b) eyes on the target, i.e., co-location with whatever is being monitored.
  • citizens can dominate a holistic policy process by using a strategic analytic model that sees everything in relation rather than in isolation.
  • Governments and corporations will not do this for us—the last thing they want is an educated citizenry that is attentive and insistent on intelligence and integrity in all domains.
  • Although open data access is vitally important, an open analytic model is equally vital to accelerate information-sharing and sense-making.
  • The Linux model is the model for public intelligence—a globally distributed network of volunteers whose reputation is developed over time in a very transparent manner, all operating in a voluntary hierarchy that provides coherence and quality control.
  • Participatory democracy without public intelligence is a charade.
  • At Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog, a wealth of free information is available, including online handbooks about how to “do” public intelligence in the public interest.
  • The capability to learn and be informed on anything,
  • The ability to intervene to reverse an implementation or outcome that is going badly,
  • An Earth Dashboard, something Medard Gabel has been developing,
  • Candidates are expected to provide clear policy objectives
  • Iraq was sold as a war that would pay for itself, where we would be welcomed as liberators, it now turns out that 935 lies were told (all documented by truth.dig)
  • We can harmonize and accelerate our goodness with information. Truth is free. Intelligence is free. Integrity is free.
  • Barry Carter nailed it in the 1990s in his book Infinite Wealth: A New World of Collaboration and Abundance19 with his emphasis on the need to deconstruct bureaucracies and liberate individuals to self-organize.
  • India is the most complex testing ground for this idea, and one hopes they will consider its adoption.
  • transparency and truth foster trust, and trust lowers the cost of doing business.
  • We have failed as an economy and as a society because we lost sight of both the irreplaceable value of the human with dignity, and of the truth.
  • Empowered by open software, hardware, spectrum, data access, and intelligence, we are within reach of open democracy.
  • Connected, we are One.
  • Decision-support (intelligence) is information that has been deliberately collected, processed, analyzed, and presented in response to a specific intelligence requirement from a specific person or decision-making organization. Without the requirement, it should not be done and has no value.
  • decision-support: requirements definition, collection management, single-source discovery and validation, multi-source fusion, automated and human processing, automated and human analysis, and finally, visualization and presentation to a human “decider.”
  • Dr. Stevan Dedijer, the founding father of what was then called Business Intelligence.
  • down in the weeds, uncovering little secrets that are out of context, without a larger sense of the coherent whole.
  • it includes public intelligence in the public interest, with the goal of synthesizing a vast amount of information to provide a meta-perspective on world affairs as well as decision-support to every person on every issue of importance
  • IO is something we can all do for ourselves (e.g., crowd-sourcing of answers), though in the U.S. government it has been corrupted to mean secret intelligence and secret control of all communications, to include even spying on every citizen without regard to the rule of law.
  • I resigned from a very promising civil service tenured position to become a one-man small business educating mostly governments about the urgency of their getting a grip on OSINT. It took me twenty years to realize that I should have focused on teaching the public how to do public intelligence in the public interest, not on teaching brain-dead organizations how to capture and then make secret what the public and most of their clients (whose needs are not being met now) need to know.12
  • the only effective OSINT unit in the U.S. government to date, J-23.
  • Tom Atlee through his book, The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World That Works for All,
  • We have been deconstructing community for centuries and separating from nature, only to recognize now that our salvation as a species lies in reconnecting with our natural roots.
  • credit Buckminster Fuller and Russell Ackoff with my realization that instead of focusing on reforming government and how government does intelligence, I needed to focus on re-empowering the public, routing around government, and using public intelligence to harmonize all interested groups irrespective of their “organizational” character.
  • I gradually realized that I was—as Russell Ackoff puts it—striving to do the wrong thing righter (improve government) instead of doing the right thing (help the public self-govern).20
  • Everything is alive—everything is connected—everything has a spirit—we are One, but only when we rise to the challenge of being One.
  • restore all elements of the human spirit, reestablishing the balance between the male techne and the female psyche,22
  • Bio-Mimicry is our path back to integral consciousness.
  • Silicon Valley Hackers Conference
  • robert.david.steele.vivas@gmail.com. I
  • information is no longer valuable when it is hoarded; it acquires its greatest value when it is shared many times over.
  • “The Citizen as ‘Intelligence Minuteman,’ ” International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence (16/1, 2003).
  • José Argüelles, Manifesto for the Noosphere: The Next Stage in the Evolution of Human Consciousness (Berkeley, CA: Evolver Editions, 2011).
  • “Open Code and Open Societies,” keynote address to “Free Software—A Model for Society?” (Tutzing, Germany, 1 June 2000).
  • The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush; it will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment.
  • Buckminster Fuller’s Ideas and Integrities: A Spontaneous Autobiographical Disclosure
  • Dr. Russell Ackoff is one of a handful of pioneers of reflexive thinking. Among his works are the seminal manifesto, “Transforming the Systems Movement,” 26 May 2004, and his book with Sheldon Rovin, Redesigning Society
  • Ron Paul, “Lying is Not Patriotic,” YouTube (5:23), as recorded on the floor of the House of Representatives, 9 December 2011.
  • http://contactcon.com/
  • http://emergentbydesign.com/
  • “The Citizen as Intelligence Minuteman,” International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 16/1 (Spring 2003). The full text can be viewed at www.phibetaiota.net/2003/03/2003-ijic-161-the-citizen-as-intelligence-minuteman/.
  • The Smart Nation Act: Public Intelligence in the Public Interest (Oakton, VA: OSS International Press, 2006).
  • “Memoranda: Policy-Budget Outreach Tool,” 17 December 2003, online at www.phibetaiota.net/2003/12/mem-oranda-policy-budget-outreach-tool/
  • intra-terrestrial intelligence
  • “Communications without intelligence is noise; intelligence without communications is irrelevant.” Absent a unifying public intelligence network, all the advocacy groups will remain “noise.”
  • refuse to meet any requirement not entered into the all-source intelligence requirements database for the command.
  • Empowering Public Wisdom: A Practical Vision of Citizen-Led Politics (Berkeley, CA: Evolver Editions, 2012).
  • John Warfield, A Unified Systems Engineering Concept (Columbus, OH: Battelle Memorial Institute, 1972);
  • 2007 at Gnomedex, an annual gathering in Seattle of techno-bloggers. The keynote speech, “Open Everything: We Won, Let’s Self-Govern,” was videotaped and posted to the Web.

Personal Kanban: Mapping Work | Navigating Life

  • a digital world where every keystroke is persistent
  • Personal Kanban as my roadmap. The approach is both simple and elegant; clear and commonsensical.
  • your capacity is not the same as your throughput,
  • I simply want people to make conscious, informed decisions about the actions they take.
  • Professional life. Personal life. Social life. They are often treated as separate entities, but our lives and insights cannot be segregated.
  • When we lack the tools to expand our relationship to work—our participation in it, our control of it—we become careless about what it is that we actually do.
  • When time becomes a function of income rather than personal or professional value, we become psychologically and emotionally detached from our actions.
  • We crave and deserve context.
  • Without context, being told what to do is a communication failure. We cannot make informed decisions or create a quality product without first understanding why we are doing what we are doing.
  • Shu Ha Ri, a cycle of learning where first you learn the basics, then you question them, and finally you find your own path.
  • Our systems need to be flexible to adapt to this variation.
  • It was the first time our geographically dispersed group had a constant and fairly comprehensive idea of what was going on.
  • We were operating under some basic assumptions taken from Lean manufacturing models.3 We were visualizing work, limiting our work-in-progress, pushing decisionmaking to the last responsible moment, and continuously striving to improve.
  •    Personal and professional life are not distinct and should not be artificially separated.
  • Personal Kanban has to be endlessly flexible. It needs to be a system that abhors rules. It’s an enigma. A process that hates process.
  • Rote, universal solutions exhibit little respect for the individuality of a problem, and epitomize lazy management.
  • Visualizing work gives us power over it.
  • When we see work in its various contexts, real trade-offs become explicit.
  • We don’t dare drive without watching the road or checking our gauges, but oddly enough we manage our work blindly all the time. We don’t visualize our tasks or rely on information radiators to alert us
  • While we might be able to infer the level of our tank by our mileage, we would never buy a car without a fuel gauge. Without seeing the real-time impacts of our fuel consumption, it is likely we will run out of gas.
  • Personal Kanban is an information radiator for your work.
  • The message is there, but the information is not.
  • value to the organization, usually creating something tangible like a widget, a report, a defined service. The goal is to understand the predictable and repeatable process of creating something,
  • Innovation relies on inspiration through exploration and experimentation. Innovation requires improvement.
  • With increased access to information people feel more respected, teams are more
  • Personal Kanban facilitates kaizen. When we visualize our work, we adopt a kaizen mindset; we are weened from the comfort of complacency and actively seek out opportunities for improvement. Our brains become sensitized to patterns of waste and ineffectiveness. As we track patterns in our work, problems are made apparent and solutions become easier to find.
  • When we’re able to represent each of our tasks on individual sticky notes our workload assumes a physical shape. It becomes tangible.
  • existential overhead.
  • Visualizing work reduces the distractions of existential overhead by transforming fuzzy concepts into tangible objects that your brain can easily grasp and prioritize.
  • Our work is our story, both interesting and instructive.
  • As your understanding of your work evolves, so too will your Personal Kanban. Your context will shift. Project types will change. Team members will come and go. You’ll need to adapt your Personal Kanban to suit. You’ll create new types of tasks. You’ll add steps. You’ll refine how you work. Simply erase and redraw as needed.
  • we tend to fear what we don’t understand.
  • If our backlog—the sum of our personal goals and expectations—is unknown, and if as humans we tend to fear the unknown, then we risk fearing our own success.
  • Without visualizing our work, we don’t see the number of incomplete tasks we’ve amassed. This makes it nearly impossible to understand just how many incomplete tasks remain. Our brains hate this because our brains crave closure.
  • With its tendency to seek out patterns to process meaning, the brain becomes preoccupied with missing pieces of information.
  • what does Flameau teach us?
  • stress reaches into the recesses of his mind and pulls out painful memories and—combined with his insecurities and fears—converts them into WIP. Moments of heightened stress can translate into more WIP than we realize, because we’re simultaneously battling our
  • increasing work linearly increases the likelihood of failure exponentially.
  • Personal Kanban helps us find the sweet spot, that point where we do the optimal amount of work at the optimal speed; where our work is manageable and enjoys the slack necessary to deal with other areas of life.
  • Pulling tasks is simple yet vital. The physical act of moving sticky notes across a value stream to change their status satisfies our brain’s need for closure. It’s a kinesthetic expression of completion, an antidote for the Zeigarnik Effect.
  • REVISION FINAL
  • While you’re temporarily sequestering tasks in THE PEN, keep in mind that clarity is still the goal. You’ll want to add a prompt such as Left voice mail on June 10th. Make follow-up call on June 12th. That way, a task slips out of your WIP, but not without ensuring you have a reminder to revisit the task before it goes stale. Always be sure items in THE PEN are actionable.
  • Always refer to THE PEN first when pulling tasks into DOING.
  • Let your context be your guide—change your Personal Kanban as needed.      2.   Be honest about your backlog.      3.   Your value stream may be adapted for specific projects.      4.  Visualizing the nature of your work is the key to seeing what is really happening.      5.   When WIP limits are exceeded, stress results.
  • Capacity: How much stuff will fit Throughput: How much stuff will flow They are not synonymous.
  • For us, “full” doesn’t refer to our capacity, it refers to our throughput. We don’t contain work, we process it.
  • capacity, it optimizes for throughput. Capacity is a spatial relationship, while throughput is a flow relationship.
  • to accommodate all driving styles. This means that at a certain level of congestion, traffic begins to slow; it reaches its maximum throughput.1 The more vehicles, the greater the variation in driving styles, the slower traffic becomes, and the more its flow becomes constrained. Traffic can only move as fast as the slowest vehicles on the road. We begin to experience congestion, even though the roadway may only be at 65% capacity.
  • A 2009 Stanford University study dispels the myth that multitaskers have a mental edge over those who focus on a single task, ultimately deeming multitasking counterproductive.2
  • When asked to ignore one data set and concentrate on another, they had trouble filtering the data. They simply took in everything, overtaxing their ability to focus and complete assignments.
  • We don’t want our roadways or our work gridlocked, we want flow. We want throughput. Throughput is a flowbased system. It measures success by the amount of quality work flowing from READY to DONE over time, not just the volume of work we can cram into our schedule.
  • Throughput is something we can measure, appreciate, and use to make informed decisions. We can begin to manage our work by our ability to thoughtfully complete tasks.
  • We need to control our workload. We need to divide it into manageable chunks and finish what we start.
  • Time lost searching for lost time.
  • If you can’t remember it, you can’t improve it.
  • Options have unexpected relationships, and so your decisions should be based on your entire portfolio of need.
  • make decisions based on a deeper understanding of your work’s context.
  •      You are never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true.
  • we allow the planning phase to stall the action phase.
  • be, well, dehumanized. We need context, something to-do lists don’t provide.
  • In the absence of context, we have little information to guide our decisions. We can’t see tradeoffs, and with little insight into our options we fail to recognize our opportunities for fulfillment.
  • By using Personal Kanban, we begin to set our own boundaries around the “games” of work and living. Games require actions in context. They are goal driven. There is a primary goal (to win) and several supporting goals (steps to complete in order to win).
  • It’s only when we can see our context and understand our options that we can effectively prioritize, work with our passions, and find purpose.
  • Without understanding why we’re working, how we’re working, and what options are within our reach, we end up working for the sake of working, rather than to appreciate how our efforts have a greater purpose.
  • observing a specific event is often less informative than observing a stream of events. It is precisely this flow which gives us context, and that context leads to clarity.
  • We need slack in our workflow, we need space to adjust. Without slack, we will overload.
  • focus on production (productivity) over value (effectiveness) dehumanized the workplace.
  • Production became more important than people and innovation suffered.
  • Most management systems are put in place to stabilize a company (get control of backlog, balance the books) and promote sustainability (keep the company competitive, innovative, and profitable). Similarly, Personal Kanban helps you gain control of your backlog, understand your commitments, and pull work more effectively so that you too can achieve stability and sustainability while innovating.
  • Pull is essential for stability and sustainability. The more a system relies on a core mechanism to force action, the less sustainable it becomes. Push systems tend to cause bottlenecks by ignoring natural capacity. Work is released downstream whether or not the worker has the capacity to process it.
  • Pushing tends to be a blind act; the initiator has little idea of the terrain situated before him. When you push, you’re irrationally pushing your intent forward whether your intent belongs there or not.
  • When the cart blindly hit the constraint, momentum halted abruptly and production turned into destruction.
  • pulling is a rational act. The initiator is familiar with the terrain that lies ahead, and can gauge the amount of room in which to maneuver. Pulling allows for more nuanced intention.
  • Personal Kanban makes our obligations explicit and transparent.
  • Understanding which tasks to pull and the physical act of pulling those sticky notes into DONE lowered my existential overhead and made me feel awesome.
  • Personal Kanban provides not only a map, but a narrative of how we work, creating systems of instant understanding and rewards, learning and cognition, education and growth.
  • we can’t be effective without actually understanding our context.
  • We focus so intently on task completion that we lose sight of the work we’re engaged in.
  • simply understanding our work is not enough. We also need to understand our decision-making processes, appreciate context, recognize relevancy, discern patterns, and choose between options. Clarity is not just understanding what we’re doing, it’s why and how we’re doing it.
  • Personal Kanban is a metacognitive tool.
  • Metacognition is knowing about knowing, it’s becoming self-aware about how we choose what to do.
  • seeing our is work helpful. Once visualized, our work takes the form of a narrative, plotting out the story of our daily lives with telling details such as actors, action, location, implications, and backstory. This narrative is told through the map of our work, which graphically depicts our work’s contexts and relationships.
  • I unconsciously deprioritized walking because there was no control to satisfy.
  • Managing a concept is merely guesswork. In the absence of a visual control we don’t estimate, we guess.
  • dreams, rather than reflect our reality.
  • needed a familiar trigger like a deadline to compel them to action.
  • focus on limiting WIP and completing tasks first, and make task size reduction a secondary concern.
  • avoid becoming mired in detail and committing prematurely.
  • Planning should occur with minimal waste; it shouldn’t become overhead.
  • perpetual state of planning. It becomes part of our work’s flow.
  • You watch the narrative of your work take shape—you see context, you see natural progression, you see options and from this insight you can make truly informed decisions.
  • options provide the foundation for prioritization. Prioritization represents a decision of value: we canvass existing options and choose the ones ready for immediate attention or attention in the near future.2
  • Our focus should be on avoiding emergencies, not reacting to them.
  • quality-related tasks—the time and effort you spend here is an investment in future quality.
  • an investment in a portfolio of social options.
  • Sometimes a little visual reinforcement is the push to action we need.
  • Metrics help us gauge our progress, validate our performance, measure proximity to our goals, and show us where our actions can be improved. Progress, as we’ve seen, is relative to and a matter of context. Metrics should reflect our context, revealing the difference between expected and actual progress.
  • Metrics gathered but not used are waste, so choose them with care. Ensure they are actively and thoughtfully proving an hypothesis.
  • Transparency into work sensitizes you to its patterns.
  • Part of kaizen is creating positive change without over-thinking it.
  • legitimate opportunity costs in doing things you don’t enjoy.
  • The more you do what you are good at, the more you enjoy your work, and the better you become at the work you enjoy.
  • Expertise is no substitute for observation and measurement.      2.   Clarity drives prioritization, completion, and effectiveness.      3.  Metrics don’t have to be difficult.      4.   Visual controls remove guesswork.      5.   Real-time flexiblity beats rigid up-front planning.      6.   Happiness may be the best measure of success.
  • artistry is not born of technical prowess, but of clarity of purpose.1
  • By providing transparency into the people, activities, and responsibilities guiding our daily lives, Personal Kanban promotes clarity of purpose.
  •      Genius is personal, decided by fate, but it expresses itself by means of system. There is no work of art without system. ~ Le Corbusier
  • Rooted in the self-actualization level of Maslow’s hierarchy, it provides a tool (a “system,” as Le Corbusier explains) to recognize patterns and spontaneously solve problems.
  • reflecting our ethics, our aesthetics, and our dreams—components intrinsic to a balanced life.
  • Making course corrections while they’re still small ensures success with the least degree of disruption.
  • Rigid plans with fixed definitions of success limit our options and invite failure.
  • adjustments are natural and necessary.
  • Blindly followed plans are no substitute for being attentive, and adjusting our actions to best serve our goals.
  •      What good is experience if you do not reflect? ~ Fredrick the Great
  • whether we realize it or not, we engage in reprioritization—the cognitive process of options trading—all day long.
  • long-term pragmatic view, a short-term emotional one, or a combination of the two?
  • We need to revisit our decisions after the fact, because while we may know the outcome, do we really understand the motivation?
  • When we’re introspective, we observe our thought processes to understand the reasoning behind our decisions. We look at past events through the filter of our own emotions, motivations, and biases.
  • With introspection, we come to understand whether our priorities truly balance our needs and our emotions.
  • We want to focus on the context that led to success or to failure—not necessarily the success or failure itself.
  • Celebrate victories. Learn from defeats.
  • Whether you’re working alone, with your family, or with a team, don’t pass up opportunities to address issues before they escalate.
  • By visualizing our work and understanding its flow, we can solve problems at their source.
  • Drawing connections between related objects and behaviors, humans have an innate ability to seek, draw relationships between, and store patterns.
  • Synthesizing patterns—connecting the dots, so to speak—allows us to interpret and make assumptions about our environment.
  • small changes are less taxing and—because they don’t engage the brain’s fear response—are more successful than larger ones.
  • Poorly performing patterns are often merely symptoms of an underlying problem.
  • Stopping after the first Why? confuses the symptom with the cause,
  • Five Whys, five is a good start, but an arbitrary number nonetheless. You can go deeper or less so as your situation dictates. Stopping at five probably isn’t rigorous enough for solving the U.S. health care crisis, for example. Let the exploration of root causes be your goal.
  • Arguments like that are the product of a number of colliding bits of stress, fear, and existential overhead!
  • knowledge was not something to be gained passively, but instead was something to be
  • pursued in an interactive exercise.
  • Successful application of these methods requires finesse, so be sure to use them in a constructive way to solve a problem collaboratively, rather than in a destructive way that hones in on failure.
  • Rigid systems invite failure. Flexible systems invite customization. Always strive to have as few rules and as few controls as possible.
  • PERSONAL KANBAN HELPS YOU DO MORE WITH LESS. We don’t want to simply do more. We want to do right. We want to do better. We want to choose tasks that, over time, increase our options, encourage
  • experimentation, and lead to balanced and successful lives.
  • To exercise the right options we need to understand context.
  • Without visualization, prioritization is reactionary and thoughtless. Our actions gravitate towards the emergency du jour. We repeat this fatalistic and self-defeating process until soon everything presents itself as urgent. After a while, we begin to assume that this is just the nature of life.
  • Personal Kanban depersonalizes and demystifies our work. It aligns our emotions with our goals, and transforms our fears from a specter to a sticky note.
  • We discussed what she enjoyed, what she valued, what her aspirations were. Within minutes of what would become a three hour conversation, it became apparent that Jessica was not simply goal-oriented, she was a goal-collector. First and foremost, we needed to get that under control. Setting well-defined and achievable goals is admirable, but when they generate more tasks than we can handle they need to be tamed.
  • When they’re incorporated into your regular WIP limit, repetitive tasks can clutter your Personal Kanban and create wasteful overhead.
  • Projects like these require their own distinct value stream to track their progress and flow independent of other tasks.
  • Don’t fear functional clutter. Is it optimal? No, but neither is life. This is your war room—the one place where, no matter what is happening, you can observe and know what is going on.
  •      If you pick one thing to do, and do it completely, people will notice.

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

  • don’t have to guide you, because you’re guiding yourself. These habits become a new self-identity, and, at that point, we just need to support you and get out of your way.”
  • “We must meet hate with love,” King told the crowd the night of the bombing. “If I am stopped, our work will not stop. For what we are doing is right. What we are doing is just. And God is with us.”
  • “A movement is a saga. For it to work, everyone’s identity has to change. People in Montgomery had to learn a new way to act.”
  • “People went to see how other people were handling it,” said Branch. “You start to see yourself as part of a vast social enterprise, and after a while, you really believe you are.”
  • “They thought they were dealing with a group who could be cajoled or forced to do whatever the white man wanted them to do. They were not aware that they were dealing with Negroes who had been freed from fear.”
  • Movements don’t emerge because everyone suddenly decides to face the same direction at once. They rely on social patterns that begin as the habits of friendship, grow through the habits of communities, and are sustained by new habits that change participants’ sense of self.

The Power of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion

  • What, in other words, does it take to turn passion into success? The common dynamic that we see underlying all of these success stories is what we call “pull,” the ability to draw out people and resources as needed to address opportunities and challenges.
  • By understanding those fundamental changes, and by grasping how pull works, we think you can be happier working at something you love, build institutions that can act as platforms to catapult change (and create real value while doing it),
  • tapping into deep processes that have lessons for all of us. More often than not, these processes start with a simple question: What interests us? What are we passionate about?
  • “Every time a new movie came out they’d watch it a hundred times,” Wendell recalls, “dissecting how this guy did that move or some other guy did something else, analyzing it in the living room and then going out the next day to try those moves on their own.”
  • Then they’d go out and try to incorporate those moves into their repertoire, practicing again and again until they became second nature. In this way, they came to capture hundreds of little maneuvers, each of them made in response to the unpredictable movements of the waves.
  • performance breakthroughs accomplished in spontaneous (and often unconscious) reaction to the demands of the moment and the unforeseeable dynamics of the wave.
  • Pull starts by exploring three increasingly powerful levels of pull—access, attract, and achieve.
  • This journey by necessity starts with the individual and then builds out to the institutional level and ultimately to broader arenas—markets, industries, and even society in its entirety.
  • changes will be driven by passionate individuals distributed throughout and even outside the institution, supported by institutional leaders who understand the need for change but who also realize that this wave of change cannot be imposed from the top down.
  • Institutions will themselves become powerful pull platforms, helping individuals gain leverage they could never achieve on their own and, as a result, develop their talents more rapidly than they could as independent agents.
  • To succeed now, we have to continually refresh our stocks of knowledge by participating in relevant “flows” of knowledge—interactions that create knowledge or transfer it across individuals.
  • Refreshing the stocks of what we know by participating in flows of new knowledge is fundamental to performance improvement, no matter the endeavor, both for individuals and, more broadly, for institutions.
  • this represents a significant challenge for our existing institutions, since they have been organized around the proposition that economic value comes from protecting existing stocks of knowledge and efficiently extracting the value that these stocks of knowledge represent.
  • It’s quickly dawning on us instead that our education was at best a thin foundation that needs to be continually refreshed in order for us to stay competitive.
  • Can any of us imagine a time when we could not turn to search engines to access people and resources that could help us with our needs?
  • Louis Pasteur famously observed, “Fortune favors the prepared mind,”
  • What if it is possible to shape those unexpected encounters so that we could increase the probability and quality of the encounters?
  • Serendipity is also one of the secret ingredients explaining the continued growth of “spikes”—geographic concentrations of talent around the world.
  • When talented individuals choose to live in spikes, rather than in, say, small towns or rural areas,4 they’re doing so because it increases their rate of discovery, making it more likely that they’ll stumble on what they need. Of course, it’s important to choose the right spike. If you’re interested in surfing (or your child is), it doesn’t do you much good to live in Washington, D.C., even if it might be easier to get there.
  • being appropriately open with our personal and professional information on social networking sites—in all these ways we can enhance the potential for attracting serendipitous encounters. In other words, we can shape serendipity rather than waiting passively for it to occur. Following Louis Pasteur’s advice, we can work to prepare ourselves.
  • For many people, it also requires overcoming the terrifying sense that we’ll get it “wrong” when we use digital media like Facebook or Twitter. Maybe we’ll say too much, or what we say won’t be interesting, or we’ll be ridiculed for posting an idea that we haven’t really thought through.
  • Edges are places that become fertile ground for innovation because they spawn significant new unmet needs and unexploited capabilities and attract people who are risk takers. Edges therefore become significant drivers of knowledge creation and economic growth, challenging and ultimately transforming traditional arrangements and approaches.
  • the “productive friction”7 generated by unfamiliar circumstances can be surprisingly beneficial, as can surrounding ourselves with people whose ways of perceiving the world and solving problems differ from our own.8
  • Pull is a way of creating value, period, not just extracting a bigger piece of some mythical pie for yourself.
  • they know that today’s level of achievement will not be sufficient tomorrow.
  • Malcom McLean, who changed the way the world shipped everything with the introduction of the shipping container in 1946, started off driving a truck for someone else.
  • It is no accident that these early examples of performance improvement come from various edges, because it is exactly at the edge that the need to get better faster has the most urgency.
  • These practices involve participation in, and sometimes orchestration of, something we call “creation spaces”—environments that effectively integrate teams within a broader learning ecology so that performance improvement accelerates as more participants join.
  • they are not primarily focused on learning—their goal is to drive more rapid performance improvement, and learning occurs as a by-product of these efforts.
  • A powerful virtuous cycle begins playing out as more and more people enter creation spaces in their quest to learn faster.
  • Passionate individuals (that’s you) naturally seek out these creation spaces to get better faster, while most institutions are still deeply concerned about protection of knowledge stocks and do not yet see the growing importance of knowledge flows in driving performance improvement.
  • As passionate individuals engage and experience the performance benefits of participation, they will help to drag institutions more broadly into relevant creation spaces, becoming catalysts for the institutional innovations required for effective participation.
  • you can start on your journey now. There’s no reason to wait. You know what your passion is. Find like-minded souls and get moving.
  • focus on three broad imperatives corresponding to the elements of trajectory, leverage, and pace
  • Their passion is their profession.
  • We need to marry our passions with our professions in order to reach our potential.
  • Passion in this context refers to a sustained and deep commitment to achieving our full potential and greater capacity for self-expression in a domain that engages us on a personal level.
  • Rather than viewing change as a threat and something to be feared, we will find ourselves embracing change, recognizing its potential to drive us to even higher levels of performance.
  • What we gain from living and working in spikes enhances all three levels of pull—access, attraction, and achievement.
  • passions become our professions,
  • Our passions will motivate us to extend and explore the edges of our networks more actively than ever as we pull relevant people and capabilities to us.
  • Over time, we will discover that many of these edge connections become part of our core network, in the process transforming that core in deep yet unexpected ways.
  • Maximize Return on Attention
  • The speed, diversity, and force of the knowledge flows involved might otherwise easily overwhelm us as we lose the signal in the noise. Our progress can be materially slowed by the time it takes to sort through the noise to find the signals that can guide us. If we are to achieve the pace we need to keep up with, much less get ahead of, the changes unfolding around us, we need to make return on attention a top priority.
  • serendipity tools
  • Any institution that cannot provide a powerful platform for talent development will find its most talented people fleeing their cubicles and corner offices for other “homes” (or perhaps even literally setting up business from home).
  • Institutions designed for push cannot easily accommodate pull.
  • Rather than focusing on attracting and retaining talent, as they do today, institutional leaders must shift their attention to accessing and developing talent.
  • Though at first this may sound like meaningless rhetoric, it actually is a re-framing of the issue that is critical.
  • “Open innovation” means reaching out to take advantage of talent beyond the firm (or responding to such outreach opportunities), but most of these efforts at this time involve only narrowly defined, short-term transactions—for example, posting a problem and offering a reward to individuals proposing an effective solution (or responding by offering that solution). This is a powerful technique, but it misses the opportunity to build longer-term, trust-based relationships that can be used to engage diverse teams in tackling more diffuse and broadly framed challenges.
  • These dynamics will in some cases reverse the way mentoring commonly occurs: Institutional leaders will need to seek out “reverse mentors” among (often younger) individuals who can help them understand and master edge practices.
  • As these groups of individuals coalesce, they can begin to target and address specific institutional initiatives to harness pull that require fairly limited investment but have the potential for significant near-term impact. Rather than seeking massive change at the outset, these groups will focus on defining pragmatic paths to institutional change in ways that deliver near-term value to strengthen champions of change and neutralize resistance of entrenched interests.
  • The forces of change need to move as quickly as possible to demonstrate impact and rally more people to their side. Technology can play a key role in all of this by making the pull platforms that support and organize people’s activities and interactions possible.
  • In practice, this means embracing the technology platforms that many individuals, especially the younger generation of employees, are already using to connect with their colleagues across institutional boundaries.
  • Our individual dispositions represent a far “softer,” but ultimately more powerful, accelerant of our own transformation. When institutional leaders help to pull core participants of the institution out into relevant edges and celebrate the most passionate workers and their contributions, employee attitudes and dispositions will begin to evolve, with more and more individuals embracing change and seeking out new challenges to test and expand their performance horizons.
  • Shaping strategies represent pull with its broadest reach and on its biggest scale.
  • shapers disproportionately reap the rewards from these strategies, all institutions mastering the techniques of pull will find that they enjoy increased rewards by supporting them.
  • Shaping strategies show how small moves, smartly made, can have an impact far beyond the initial resources and effort invested.
  • way we live, learn, socialize, play, and work that is now taking place, driven by a new technology infrastructure and public policy changes.
  • The world is transforming around you.
  • The truth is, the things you did to get there will no longer work to keep you there.
  • We have new ways of carrying out these activities. But we’ve yet to realize that these changes in how we search for things or people are only the very beginning
  • We need a systematic framework for how these changes fit together, a map for the journey.
  • change takes time to play out.
  • Because of the work required to specify, monitor, and enforce detailed activities, push programs tend to be restricted in terms of the number and diversity of participants. This is especially true beyond the boundaries of a single institution; complexity increases exponentially as the number and diversity of participants (and interactions among them) grows.
  • The tight coupling of the procedures in these programs tends to make companies rigid and inflexible. After all, every time you modify one part of a push program you cause (often unanticipated) disruptions and difficulties in other parts of the program. You can’t change the way you shelve items in the warehouse without also changing how your customers display them at retail or how, where, and when your suppliers deliver items to your warehouse—all with commensurate changes to paperwork, IT systems, processes, routines, and, often, contracts and other legal agreements. These difficulties multiply with the number of facilities and participants involved. For this reason, designers tend to approach modifications very cautiously and bunch them together into major reengineering efforts. Local experimentation or improvisation becomes deeply threatening.
  • push programs operate with zero-sum reward systems for their participants.
  • Their own individual needs and interests are purely secondary, if relevant at all. These programs default to extrinsic rewards as a way to motivate participants. Push programs lead to a curious combination of boredom and stress among participants.
  • Push-oriented companies not only suppress the creative instincts of their workers, they ultimately suppress the individuals themselves—except perhaps for the inner political animal, which gets a chance to thrive, often with non-value-adding (and sometimes destructive) results. For example, individuals find infinite ways to game virtually any top-down performance-management system so that they can advance their own agenda—whether
  • The infrastructures to support these new technologies took time to build and spread.
  • First, there is the innovation of the technological building blocks themselves. Second, the innovation causes a society to engage in a rethinking of the infrastructures required to deliver these new technologies most effectively to everyone.
  • In this phase, the rest of society works on discovering the best way to use the new technology in their professional and personal lives. The best of the new methods spread and become common.
  • the Great Depression ended up being a key catalyst for change. As individuals and firms wrestled with rapidly intensifying performance pressures, they began to embrace the capabilities of the new infrastructures of their day—and to rethink how they did things accordingly.
  • The scale of manufacturing operations led inevitably to efforts to build comparable scale in marketing operations: If companies were going to mass-produce products, then they needed mass markets to consume them.
  • Ronald Coase wrote his path-breaking essay, “The Nature of the Firm,” in 1937.4 He effectively captured the primary thrust of institution-building during this period, arguing that firms existed to reduce the transaction costs that made coordinating activity across independent entities difficult. For this insight, he won the Nobel Prize in Economics.
  • A new generation of labor unions emerged to help negotiate standardized and predictable contracts with workers so that firms could minimize unanticipated disruptions in the workplace.
  • Push reigned supreme across all institutional domains, helping to create enormous wealth. Such success helped to shape mindsets, and many key assumptions about the value of push became so ingrained that following the push methods seemed to be the obvious best choice. No other option even merited discussion—these ways of doing things were, after all, common sense.
  • As access increases, individuals gain power and institutions have a harder and harder time exerting control.
  • A world in which citizens gain political power relative to political institutions.
  • The Big Shift captures the fundamental shift from a world of push to a world of pull that has been playing out for decades and will continue to unfold for decades more.
  • rapid, unflagging evolution of a new digital infrastructure and parallel shifts in global public policy. These foundational forces, playing out over the past five decades, catalyze and contextualize the many other changes occurring in nearly every domain of contemporary life.
  • the efficiency potential of push programs begins to erode as well. This sets the stage for a far-reaching transition in how we mobilize resources and, indeed, how we conceive of what a company is.
  • Consumers are no longer limited by what’s carried in the local store.
  • Push is no longer the dominant paradigm in business, education, or civic life. Welcome to the foundational change that makes pull the dominant paradigm in our lives.
  • In this second wave, the sources of economic value move from “stocks” of knowledge to “flows” of new knowledge. “Tacit” knowledge becomes more valuable than “explicit knowledge” as the edge transforms the core.
  • topple rates (the rate at which companies lose their leadership positions)
  • Across many industries, product life-cycles have begun to compress—early success with a blockbuster product has become harder and harder to sustain. Said differently, the “clockspeed” of products has increased—as MIT professor Charles H. Fine put it in his book of the same name. Fine also found that the rate of change has been rising for processes and organizations.
  • As clockspeed increases, companies must continually refresh the sources of their success: their knowledge stocks.
  • Edge players are more likely to introduce us to new insights and to help us more rapidly develop new knowledge stocks.
  • treat knowledge flows as the central opportunity and knowledge stocks as a useful by-product and key enabler.
  • As in all relationships, reciprocity is essential. Knowledge stocks thus become both a means and an end to participation in knowledge flows.
  • we are able to create even more value if we can bring people together across different companies to engage in deep problem solving around a performance challenge so that they are creating new knowledge. Now we are not simply accessing knowledge that already exists, but driving performance to new levels that could not be achieved without distinctive new knowledge.
  • Knowledge flows naturally flourish on the edge. Why? Because, by definition, participants on these edges are wrestling with how to match unmet needs with unexploited capabilities and all the uncertainty that implies.
  • What we’re focusing on is tacit knowledge—the “know-how” rather than the “know-what”—that we often have difficulty expressing.
  • “Forget it. Just come over on Saturday afternoon and I’ll show you.”15
  • All knowledge represents some mix of explicit and tacit knowledge—some of it can be easily expressed and quantified, while a lot of it remains deeply embedded within each of us and we struggle to express it.
  • If the mix includes a large amount of tacit knowledge, it becomes very hard to share with others, except when we work together over long periods of time.
  • the most valuable knowledge is often the most difficult to express and share.
  • Trust also fosters the shared understanding that makes it easier to access tacit knowledge.
  • core participants are too busy concentrating on defensive strategies within the core, trying to protect their profits and position, to understand the true growth opportunities represented by relevant edges.
  • core participants who understand the full potential of the edge—and are able to reach out and connect into the rich knowledge flows occurring on the edge—will be in the best position to create economic value.
  • if firms want to enhance their participation in tacit knowledge flows, they must find ways to expand and enrich the social networks of their employees, helping them to connect with other individuals on relevant edges.
  • the edge transforms the core through flows. (Therefore the most valuable flows first emerge on the edge.)
  • The speed at which the edge transforms the core has become compressed.
  • push-oriented institutions will fall by the wayside as more pull-based companies learn to harness the first two waves of changes through innovations to institutional architectures
  • SCALING WHO KNOWS WHOM
  • People are seeking out others for mutual support around common interests and passions more actively than ever before.
  • Anthropologists believe that in the absence of digital technology, there is a limit to the number of people with whom we can maintain social relationships. It is roughly 150—Dunbar’s Number.3
  • two very different problems in two very different contexts. But he solved both of them the same way: by using his network to access the people and information he needed when he needed it.
  • education we invested so much time and money to pursue has failed to prepare us for the lives we are now leading.
  • institutional boundaries have tended to limit visibility and the ability to connect with needed resources.
  • search engines have their limitations. They work best when we know what we’re looking for and when we’re looking for publicly available data presented on the Internet.
  • the most valuable search is the one that connects us to people;
  • retailers might even offer personalized advice based on a detailed understanding of the individual customer to help the customer find the right product.
  • We can use new tools and platforms to access people who share our interests and hobbies, no matter how esoteric, and build sustained relationships with them over the Internet that often spill over into “real life.”
  • For most big institutions their very size works against them: Scale becomes a barrier to access, not an enabler.
  • Lew Platt, the former CEO of Hewlett Packard, famously observed, “If HP knew what HP knows, we would be three times as profitable.”4
  • there are a lot more smart people outside any particular company than within it.
  • our ability to connect with relevant expertise within our own institution—let alone beyond it—is at best sporadic and episodic rather than systematic.
  • The software industry started to go through a wrenching change earlier in this decade as it moved from large, complex, tightly integrated application software to much more loosely coupled modules of software embedded in service-oriented architectures.
  • It required considerable confidence in their product, a willingness to receive criticism about NetWeaver, or about the SDN itself, and an operational ability to respond in a timely manner to inquiries, complaints, and commentary so as not to appear standoffish or as if they were stonewalling. All too many companies underestimate the difficulties these challenges present when they set up online communities and discussion forums.
  • FROM PROGRAMS TO PLATFORMS
  • Pull approaches to providing access to resources are fundamentally different from push approaches, as the SAP story illustrates. The way of organizing resources is different, and the management techniques are different—very different.
  • A key to the pull approaches is the use of “platforms” that are designed to flexibly accommodate diverse providers and users of resources.
  • The contrast between push programs and pull platforms is quite stark. Pull platforms tend to be much more modular in design.
  • the core assumption of pull platforms is that the needs of participants cannot be well anticipated in advance. Pull platforms are designed from the outset to handle exceptions, while push programs treat exceptions as indications of failure.
  • the more participants and modules the platform can attract, the more valuable the platform becomes.
  • The design of these platforms is emergent, shaped by the participants themselves as their own needs evolve.
  • Because these modules are relatively self-contained, this improvisation and experimentation does not introduce as much risk of widespread unanticipated adverse effects as in tightly specified push programs. You can change one thing without having to change everything.
  • Because pull platforms can be flexibly configured to serve the individual needs and interests of each participant, they provide much greater opportunity for intrinsic rewards as a key motivator for participation.
  • contributors participate based on interest, and they are motivated by the desire to contribute and share their interests with others.
  • pull platforms help people to come together and innovate in response to unanticipated events, drawing upon a growing array of highly specialized and distributed resources.
  • Tertius Gaudens, “the third who benefits.”
  • Tertius Iungens, “the third who joins”—and who in so doing creates value for all concerned. 6
  • Yet, in other respects, even the lean-manufacturing practitioners continue to rely on push. For example, to make their just-in-time manufacturing work, Toyota limits the number of suppliers that it deals with and tightly integrates its operations with these suppliers, often requiring colocation of facilities to reduce cycle times and enhance the potential for rapid problem solving. Activities throughout its operations are highly specified and standardized.
  • most of their followers focus more on efficiency than learning, missing entirely the crucial collaborations with business partners that can yield new tacit knowledge and push the performance edges out.
  • equating platforms with technology misses some significant elements of pull platforms. Scalable pull platforms depend upon the definition and adoption of standards and protocols for interaction.
  • The scalability of this global pull platform critically depends upon the sophisticated techniques that Li & Fung uses to define and deploy standards and protocols for coordinating complex activities across multiple levels of production operations. Li & Fung invests considerable time and effort in specifying modules of activity
  • Rather than specifying the activities to be performed within each module, it focuses on defining the outputs required from each module.
  • Li & Fung has also established a set of protocols for hand-offs across modules so that each participant knows how to interact with other partners in the supply-network process.
  • The power of its pull platform is certainly not in the technology; rather, it is in a deep understanding of how to orchestrate complex supply-network activities through standards and protocols governing interactions among its global partners.
  • a micro-multinational with its own operations based in both San Jose, California, and Hyderabad, India.
  • If we do not master the ability to access people and resources as needed, we will risk becoming progressively marginalized by those who understand and embrace the foundational changes playing out on a global scale.
  • Rather than relying on financial leverage, we need to become more adept at “capability leverage”—finding and accessing complementary capabilities, wherever they reside in the world, to deliver even more value.
  • Can you identify the fifty smartest or most accomplished people who share your passions or interests, regardless of where they reside? • How many of these people are currently in your professional / personal networks? • How many of these people have you been able to engage actively in an initiative related to your shared passions or interests?

Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now

  • It’s akin to the onslaught of changing rules and circumstances that 1970s futurist Alvin Toffler dubbed “future shock.”
  • We are not approaching some Zen state of an infinite moment, completely at one with our surroundings, connected to others, and aware of ourselves on any fundamental level. Rather, we tend to exist in a distracted present,
  • II—allowing us to forget everything and devote our minds to solving the problems of today. The information would still be there; it would simply be stored out of body, in a machine.
  • We have, in a sense, been allowed to dedicate much more of our cognitive resources to active RAM than to maintaining our cerebral-storage hard drives. But we are also in danger of squandering this cognitive surplus on the trivial pursuit of the immediately relevant over any continuance of the innovation that got us to this point.
  • What we are doing at any given moment becomes all-important—which is behavioristically doomed. For this desperate approach to time is at once flawed and narcissistic.
  • we look at the effort to squish really big timescales into much smaller ones.
  • Without a timeline through which to parse causes and effects, we instead attempt to draw connections from one thing to another in the frozen moment, even when such connections are forced or imaginary. It’s a desperate grasp for real-time pattern recognition I’ll call “Fractalnoia.”
  • When things begin accelerating wildly out of control, sometimes patience is the only answer.
  • We have time for this.
  • Although this was blamed on the dot.com bubble, the market’s softening had nothing to do with digital technologies actually working (or not) and everything to do with a larger societal shift away from future expectations and instead toward current value.
  • stories helped us construct a narrative experience of our lives, our nation, our culture, and our faith.
  • Storytelling became an acknowledged cultural value in itself.
  • “Narrative imagining—story—is the fundamental instrument of thought. Rational capacities depend upon it. It is our chief means of looking into the future, of predicting, of planning, and of explaining.”
  • Our disorientation would have less to do with any particular change than the rate of change itself.
  • The lack of basic predictive skills would for Toffler amount to “a form of functional illiteracy in the contemporary world.”
  • If we could only get better at imagining scenarios, modeling future realities, and anticipating new trends, thought Toffler, we may be less traumatized by all the change. We would be equipped to imagine new narrative pathways that accommodated all the disruptions.
  • stories are usually much less about predicting the future than influencing it. As a medium, stories have proven themselves great as a way of storing information and values, and then passing them on to future generations.
  • Aristotle was the first, but certainly not the last, to identify the main parts of this kind of story, and he analyzed them as if he were a hacker reverse-engineering the function of a computer program.
  • the more dependent we are on the storyteller for a way out. That’s why he can plug in whatever value, idea, or moral he chooses.
  • interactivity. Perhaps more than any postmodern idea or media educator, the remote control changed the way we related to television, its commercials, and the story structure on which both depended.
  • moving away from anxiety states and into more pleasurable ones.
  • You don’t click the channel button because you are bored, but because you are mad: Someone you don’t trust is attempting to make you anxious.
  • It’s as if the linear narrative structure had been so misused and abused by television’s incompetent or manipulative storytellers that it simply stopped working, particularly on younger people who were raised in the more interactive media environment and equipped with defensive technologies.
  • Aristotle explained, “When the storytelling in a culture goes bad the result is decadence.”
  • their satire provided a layer of distance and safety between viewers and the programming they no longer trusted.
  • The linear progression of the film’s story is sacrificed to the more pressing need for a framework that mirrors the viewing experience.
  • a new media education for the show’s audience. Almost all of the humor is derived from references to other media.
  • Narrative becomes a self-conscious wink.
  • It’s less like being walked along a pathway than it is like being taken up high and shown a map. The beginning, the middle, and the end have almost no meaning. The gist is experienced in each moment as new connections are made and false stories are exposed or reframed. In short, these sorts of shows teach pattern recognition, and they do it in real time.
  • We are just now finding a new equilibrium in a transition that has taken over twenty years—most visibly in the cinema.

Program or Be Programmed

  • instead of optimizing our machines for humanity—or even the benefit of some particular group—we are optimizing humans for machinery.
  • The digital age challenges us to rethink the limits of the human mind: What are the boundaries of my cognition?
  • Every Google search is—at least for most of us—a Hail Mary pass into the datasphere, requesting something from an opaque black box.
  • As our own obsolescence looms, we continue to accept new technologies into our lives with little or no understanding of how these devices work and work on us.
  • I can’t help but look back and wonder if we adopted certain systems too rapidly and unthinkingly. Or even irreversibly.
  • Freedom—even in a digital age—means freedom to choose how and with whom you do your reflection, and not everything needs to be posted for the entire world with “comments on” and “copyright off.” In fact, it’s the inability to draw these boundaries and distinctions—or the political incorrectness of suggesting the possibility—that paints us into corners, and prevents meaningful, ongoing, open-ended discussion.

Ready Player One

  • The OASIS would ultimately change the way people around the world lived, worked, and communicated. It would transform entertainment, social networking, and even global politics.
  • The lines of distinction between a person’s real identity and that of their avatar began to blur. It was the dawn of new era, one where most of the human race now spent all of their free time inside a videogame.
  • Looking around, I wondered why Halliday, who always claimed to have had a miserable childhood, had later become so nostalgic for it.
  • immersive interactive games that they dubbed Flicksyncs.
  • “Anyone smart enough to accomplish what they have should know better than to risk everything by talking to the vultures in the media.”
  • the OASIS had evolved into something horrible. “It had become a self-imposed prison for humanity,” he wrote. “A pleasant place for the world to hide from its problems while human civilization slowly collapses, primarily due to neglect.”
  • “Jim always wanted everyone to share his obsessions, to love the same things he loved. I think this contest is his way of giving the entire world an incentive to do just that.”
  • Chatlinks were primarily used for business purposes, when a company wanted to host a meeting in a specific OASIS location without spending the time and money to transport everyone’s avatars to it.
  • I hailed an autocab and entered my new address on the touchscreen.
  • We shared the same interests. We were driven by the same goal.
  • my haptic chair reshaped and reoriented itself, transforming from a bed back into its chair configuration,
  • Capitalism would inch forward, without my actually having to interact face-to-face with another human being. Which was exactly how I preferred it, thank you.
  • they sent me free gear (shipped to me through a series of remailing services, which I used to maintain my anonymity).
  • OASIS fitness lockout software
  • If I didn’t meet my daily exercise requirements, the system prevented me from logging into my OASIS account.
  • When the two months ended and I was finally given the option to disable the fitness lockout, I decided to keep it in place. Now, exercising was a part of my daily ritual.
  • another bank of monitors displayed all of my favorite news and entertainment vidfeeds. Among these was my own channel: Parzival-TV—Broadcasting obscure eclectic crap, 24-7-365.
  • It allowed anyone who paid a monthly fee to run their own streaming television network.
  • Every flavor of weirdness the human psyche could cook up was being filmed and broadcast online.
  • the average person was no longer limited to fifteen minutes of fame. Now everyone could be on TV, every second of every day, whether or not anyone was watching.
  • As with most quests in the OASIS, playing as a team made it easier to defeat the various enemies and complete each of the levels.
  • If I’d been hungry, I could have ordered a real slice of pizza at the counter. The order would have been forwarded to a pizza vendor near my apartment complex, the one I’d specified in my OASIS account’s food service preference settings.
  • You know you’ve totally screwed up your life when your whole world turns to shit and the only person you have to talk to is your system agent software.
  • “I hereby place you under corporate arrest.”
  • now that I was company property. A human resource.
  • A thick film of neglect still covered everything in sight. The
  • This was a complete joke, of course. Indents were never able to pay off their debt and earn their release.
  • scrolled to the bottom of the contract without bothering to read it. It was over six hundred pages long.
  • Genetic Privacy Act
  • Surveillance cameras were mounted in every room in the IOI complex, but that apparently wasn’t enough. They also had to mount a camera to the side of every indent’s head.
  • a nonstop stream of company-related news and propaganda.
  • illegally eavesdropping on most of the world’s Internet traffic in an attempt to locate and identify the handful of gunters they considered to be a threat.
  • The Indentured Servant Protection Agency also used it to monitor and record my daily activities, to ensure that my human rights were being observed.
  • making sure to select one operated by a local cab company and not a SupraCab, which was a wholly owned subsidiary of IOI.

Rebel Buddha: A Guide to a Revolution of Mind

  • When we talk about freedom, we’re also talking about its opposite—bondage, lack of independence, being subject to the control of something or someone outside ourselves. No one likes it, and when we find ourselves in that situation, we quickly start trying to figure out a way around it. Any restriction on our “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness” arouses fierce resistance.
  • we don’t see who we truly are at the deepest level. We don’t recognize the power of our enlightened nature.
  • We trust the reality we see before our eyes and accept its validity until something comes along—an illness, accident, or disappointment—to disillusion us. Then we might be ready to question our beliefs and start searching for a more meaningful and lasting truth. Once we take that step, we’re starting off on the road to freedom.
  • drama is illusion that acts like truth, and dharma is truth itself—the way things are,
  • my personal search for truth began right there, with questions, not answers.
  • Vinaya literature, the Buddha’s teachings on social science, governance, and ethical conduct intended primarily for the monastic community.
  • it’s difficult to distinguish the tools themselves from their cultural packaging.
  • He simply wanted to know what was true and what was mere illusion.
  • With practice, we can sharpen our eyes and ears of wisdom, so that we will recognize the truth when we see it or hear it. But this kind of looking and listening is an art we must learn. So often, when we think we’re being open and receptive, nothing is coming in. Our mind is already full of conclusions, judgments, or our own version of the facts.
  • It’s one thing to welcome an interesting new spiritual tradition into our culture. It’s another thing to keep it fresh and alive.
  • When we lose our heart connection to anything, whether it’s an old collection of comic books, a wedding ring, or the spiritual beliefs that will accompany us until the moment of our death, it becomes just part of the background noise of our life.
  • Buddhism is primarily a study of mind and a system for training the mind. It is spiritual in nature, not religious. Its goal is self-knowledge, not salvation; freedom, not heaven. It relies on reason and analysis, contemplation and meditation, to transform knowledge about something into knowledge that surpasses understanding. But without your curiosity and questions, there is no path, no journey to be taken,
  • Doubt only becomes negative when it continues on and on, never finding its end. If we never get beyond our uncertainty to a sense of understanding, then we can start to feel a little crazy or paranoid. Doubt that leads us to authentic knowledge and confidence turns out to be wisdom in the end.
  • If you can discover a meaningful question right here, it will probably apply to someone else as well—and maybe to the motion of the planets. You never know.
  • All our questions are connected to something we already know. Each question will lead to an answer that will lead to further questions and so on. As our understanding grows, our questions become clearer and our answers more meaningful. This is how the spiritual path progresses.
  • There can be no clear answer to a half-baked question.
  • Real wisdom is when you find a true question. When you find it, you should not rush to answer it.
  • We live in “instant times”—instant messaging, instant pictures, fast food—and our mind is accustomed these days to instant gratification. If we bring this expectation to our spiritual path, however, we’ll be disappointed. Some of our questions can’t be answered right away. We must be as patient as scientists are when they run their experiments and diligently evaluate and verify their findings.
  • Our confusion is created by our own mind, and it can only be transformed by our mind. So the most powerful entity in the Buddhist spiritual path is the mind.
  • We need to ask ourselves in the beginning, “Am I willing to let go of my attachment to what I believe in order to see something new? Am I open to the possibility of an inconceivable reality?”
  • When we’re able to think critically and at the same time be open to experiences that lie beyond what we know, then we start seeing the big picture.
  • We also don’t see the power of those labels to shape our thinking or limit our understanding. When we call a table “a table,” a couple of things are happening. We know where to sit to eat dinner or set up our computer. At the same time, we’re assuming—without ever thinking about it—that something called “table” truly exists. So naming and labeling always function on multiple levels. They help us live together in the world (a definite plus), and they also make our world heavier and more solid.
  • after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.1
  • accept it and live up to it.” This is an important teaching for us, because it’s possible—in fact, it’s common—to hear a profound teaching on compassion or emptiness or to read a scientific proof of global warming and accept it, but not live by its implications. We’re so enthusiastic at first, but there is no follow-through. This is because we haven’t examined it to such an extent that we really know what it means. As long as our understanding is vague, we’re doubtful. So if there is any wisdom there, it never touches us in a meaningful way.
  • genuine faith is simply confidence and trust in ourselves, in our own intelligence and understanding,
  • In many ways, our mind is like the stranger we see on the streets of our neighborhood. We might protest, “But how can this be, when I am with my mind all the time?” To say that our own mind is a stranger seems absurd. The problem, for most of us, is that our acquaintance with our mind doesn’t go much past saying hello.
  • there is a table in front of us, by the time we notice it, what we’re seeing is just our thought, “Oh, it’s a table.” We aren’t seeing the actual table anymore; we’re seeing the label table, which is an abstraction. An abstraction is both a mental construct—an idea we form quickly based on a perception—and a generalization that’s one step removed from our direct experience. It lacks the experience of genuine contact,
  • We end up living in a world that’s made up almost entirely of concepts and emotions.

Service Design: From Insight to Implementation

  • Another cause of stress is the remorseless drive for growth.
  • Could economic growth be decoupled from energy growth and expand to infinity that way?
  • a race to the bottom,
  • This industrial model made it difficult to orient the silos to work together to deliver a unified experience to customers.
  • The underlying principle was that customer orientation should be grown from the inside out rather than being driven by outside consultants, and that the activities should be funded by the business units themselves.
  • identifying what ultimately amounted to 183 concrete actions to improve customer experience.
  • Quantitative methods are good for creating knowledge and understanding the field, but they are not very useful for translating knowledge into action
  • trust is very fragile. It takes some time to build up and is quickly broken.
  • All the small glitches in delivery—letters sent to the wrong address, billing errors, problems with communication, customers having to repeat details multiple times—damage people’s trust in an insurance company. They wonder whether similar chaos happens behind the scenes. Fixing the small glitches can have a big impact on the level of trust.
  • service design, the challenge is to make the invisible visible, or to make the right things visible and get rid of the noise in the rest of the offering.
  • The challenge is to achieve this in a transparent and trustworthy way for customers.
  • The underlying need here is that they do not want to have to choose from lots of options, but they want the experience of having made their own choice.

Several Short Sentences About Writing

  • There are no rules, only experiments.
  • I had to overcome my academic training, which taught me to write in a way that was useless to me (and almost everyone else). Unlearning what I learned in college—teaching myself to write well—is the basis of what I know. So is a lifetime of reading and a love of language.
  • Everything in this book is meant to be tested all over again, by you. You decide what works for you.
  • I don’t mean “write the way I do” or “write the way they do.” I mean “write the way you do.”
  • Which can the reader possibly believe? Your sentences or you?
  • The only link between you and the reader is the sentence you’re making. There’s no sign of your intention apart from the sentences themselves, And every sentence has its own motives, its own commitments, Quite apart from yours.
  • Write these things down—the contents of the noise in your head as you write. You can’t revise or discard what you don’t consciously recognize.
  • assumptions and prohibitions and obligations are the imprint of your education and the culture you live in. Distrust them.
  • Many people assume there’s a correlation between the reader’s experience while reading and the writer’s experience while writing—her state of mind, her ease or difficulty in putting words together. There isn’t.
  • (Learn to diagram sentences. It’s easy.)
  • writing by implication should be one of your goals.
  • use one of a writer’s most important tools: The ability to suggest more than the words seem to allow, The ability to speak to the reader in silence.
  • Your job as a writer is making sentences.
  • The possibility of saying something you didn’t know you could. Shape, form, structure, genre, the whole—these have a way of clarifying themselves when sentences become clear. Once you can actually see your thoughts and perceptions, It’s surprising how easy it is to arrange them or discover their arrangement. This always comes as a revelation.
  • Complete with a road map, if only they could find it.
  • from the very beginning, Open the reader’s trust and curiosity, Creating a willingness in the reader to see what you’ve discovered,
  • read like a writer,
  • The words in a sentence have a degree of specificity or concreteness. They have complex histories. They derive from dense contexts—literature, culture, the worlds of work. They’ve been shaped by centuries of writing, Centuries of utterance by living human beings.
  • You’re the curator of all these qualities in the sentences you make,
  • There’s another trouble with meaning. We’ve been taught to believe it comes near the end. As if the job of all those sentences were to ferry us along to the place where meaning is enacted—to “the point,” Just before the conclusion,
  • Why not begin where you already are? Is there only the one way to get where you’re going?
  • house of
  • Writing isn’t a conveyer belt bearing the reader to “the point” at the end of the piece, where the meaning will be revealed.
  • Good writing is significant everywhere, Delightful everywhere.
  • A single crowded sentence has only itself to relate to,
  • Every work of literature is the result of thousands and thousands of decisions.
  • see the invisible tensions that arc from line to line, Paragraph to paragraph, page to page.
  • That’s how we need to read, as writers— Paying attention to the decisions embedded in each sentence,
  • Decisions visible in the structure of the sentence itself. What you write—what you send out into the world to be read— Is the residue of the choices and decisions you make. Choices and decisions you are responsible for.
  • what are the choices? That’s like asking, what are the nuances? It depends on how perceptive you become.
  • nothing in your education has taught you that what you notice is important.
  • If you notice something, it’s because it’s important. But what you notice depends on what you allow yourself to notice, And that depends on what you feel authorized, permitted to notice In a world where we’re trained to disregard our perceptions. Who’s going to give you the authority to feel that what you notice is important? It will have to be you. The authority you feel has a great deal to do with how you write, and what you write, With your ability to pay attention to the shape and meaning of your own thoughts
  • value of your own perceptions.
  • Being a writer is an act of perpetual self-authorization. No matter who you are. Only you can authorize yourself.
  • You do that by writing well, by constant discovery. No one else can authorize you.
  • Is it possible to practice noticing? I think so. But I also think it requires a suspension of yearning And a pause in the desire to be pouring something out of yourself. Noticing is about letting yourself out into the world, Rather than siphoning the world into you In order to transmute it into words.
  • Practicing noticing will also help you learn more about patience And the nature of your mind. Noticing means thinking with all your senses. It’s also an exercise in not writing.
  • Rushing to notice never works, Nor does trying to notice. Attention requires a cunning passivity.
  • You’ll never run out of noticings,
  • Don’t neglect such a rich linguistic inheritance. It’s your business to know the names of things, To recover them if necessary and use them. This isn’t merely a matter of expanding your vocabulary. It’s a matter of understanding that everything you see and know About your presence in this moment of perception Is overlaid by a parallel habitat of language,
  • Like any rhetorical device, the less you use it, the more effective it is.
  • one reason to abandon the idea of inspiration. All the idea of inspiration will do Is stop you from revising
  • The writer’s job isn’t accepting sentences. The job is making them, word by word.
  • This brings us back to the difficulty of knowing what your sentences actually say. The problem most writers face isn’t writing. It’s consciousness. Attention. Noticing.
  • One basic strategy for revision is becoming a stranger to what you’ve written. Try reading your work aloud.
  • Try reading the words on the page as though they were meant to be spoken plainly To a listener who is both you and not you— An imaginary listener seated not too far away. That way your attention isn’t only on the words you’re reading. It’s on the transmission of those words.
  • Someday, you’ll be able to articulate what causes it. But for now, what’s important is to notice it. Noticing is always the goal.
  • Actually, the goal right now is noticing that you’re noticing.
  • Find out what’s causing it and fix it Even if you’re not sure how.
  • Turn every sentence into its own paragraph.         (Hit Return after every period. If writing by hand, begin each new sentence at the left margin.) What happens? A sudden, graphic display of the length of your sentences And, better yet, their relative length—how it varies, or doesn’t vary, from one to the next. Variation is the life of prose, in length and in structure. Having all your sentences in a column, one above the other, makes them easier to examine. Suddenly you see similarities in shape.
  • Many people assume there’s an inherent conflict between creativity and a critical, analytic awareness of the medium you work in.
  • The history of a word is part of its meaning, Sometimes even the better part of its meaning.
  • nuances are embedded in etymology.
  • every word carries a social freight.
  • Ask yourself too how present the writer feels to the reader.
  • Every piece is an ecosystem of words and structures and rhythms.
  • Be patient with yourself and the things you discover. This isn’t a test. Every reader will notice different things. You won’t know the significance of everything you notice. Don’t let that deter you.
  • Don’t try to give a meaning to the things you notice. Just observe them.
  • the effect of these discoveries may be nothing more than Noticing the effect of making these discoveries.
  • The point of learning the fundamental language of grammar and syntax Isn’t correctness or obeying the rules. It’s keeping the rules from obtruding themselves upon the reader Because you’ve ignored them.
  • Flow is something the reader experiences, not the writer.
  • The reader’s experience of your prose has nothing to do with how hard or easy it was for you to make.
  • You’re not writing for a reader in the mirror whose psychological state reflects your own. You have only your own working world to consider. The reader reads in another world entirely.
  • Your labor isn’t a sign of defeat. It’s a sign of engagement.
  • The difference is all in your mind, but what a difference. The difficulty of writing isn’t a sign of failure. It’s simply the nature of the work itself.
  • the word “flow” is a trap.
  • The more you know about making sentences, the easier it is to fix them,
  • What matters isn’t how fluidly the sentences are emitted. Only how good they are.
  • Getting rid of useless, even harmful, ideas is hard work.
  • In writing, there’s always a separateness, The sense of manipulating a tool for producing words at arm’s length, Out there at the ends of your fingers,
  • In writing, there’s a psychological separateness too, The sense of watching yourself think and thinking about it as you do, A self-consciousness that interrupts the movement of your thoughts
  • Above all, there’s never learning to trust yourself
  • it’s always useful to ask yourself, “What exactly am I trying to say?” The answer to that question is often the sentence you need to write down.
  • It’s sometimes worth reworking the piece you’re writing as if it were A letter or a long e-mail to a friend,
  • it’s far easier to get that feel By writing to the reader you imagine reading it. The reader you construct in your imagination Changes the way you write almost without your noticing it.
  • The priority of thoughts over sentences. Thoughts leaping ahead, words barely keeping up,
  • You were protecting the memory of the excitement of really concentrating,
  • Concentration, attention, excitement, will be part of your working state. Daily. Flow, inspiration—the spontaneous emission of sentences—will not. That distinction is worth keeping in mind.
  • Write consciously, deliberately. Learn how to get out of trouble.
  • Learn how to free yourself when you’re stuck.
  • Inspiration has nothing to do with the sustained effort of making prose.
  • Sooner or later the need for any one of these will prevent you from writing.
  • Anything you think you need in order to write— Or be “inspired” to write or “get in the mood” to write— Becomes a prohibition when it’s lacking. Learn to write anywhere, at any time, in any conditions, With anything, starting from nowhere. All you really need is your head, the one indispensable requirement.
  • reading means surrendering to the manipulations of the author’s prose.
  • Writing can’t convey sincerity—or any other emotion or mood in the writer—simply because you feel it.
  • The emotional power the reader feels Depends on how clearly you know what your words are doing. That clarity isn’t natural. It’s artificial, the result of hard work.
  • You be the narrator. Let us be the readers. You’ll discover that being the narrator is not the same as being yourself. It’s a role, and a dramatic one. Absorb it and inhabit it.
  • The sense of who you are, what role you choose to play, What gesture you make toward the reader— These things are far more important than ideas of “style” or “
  • We assume that style is self-expression. It can be, but only in this sense: It’s the fusion of your command of language and your commitment to your own intent,
  • In the pursuit of clarity, style reveals itself.
  • Years later, looking back over your collected works, You can contemplate your style at leisure. But for now you have more important things to think about. Like revision.
  • All writing is revision.
  • Writers at every level of skill experience the tyranny of what exists.
  • Whether you love what you’ve written or not, Those sentences have the virtue of already existing, Which makes them better than sentences that don’t exist. Or so it seems.
  • They form an overlapping grid with unsuspected gaps, A network that seems to defy revision. Fixing one sentence almost always means fixing another and then another As though revision were an infinitely recursive act. There’s almost never enough time for revision, if revision comes after the fact
  • Revise at the point of composition. Compose at the point of revision. Accept no provisional sentences. Make no drafts And no draft sentences.
  • Think of composition and revision as the same thing, Different versions of thinking, Philosophically indistinguishable.
  • The usual premise is that composition brings something new to the page And revision fixes it. This is a useless distinction, and it creates a false sense of priority— A belief that the writer’s real work is making newness out of nothing,
  • Revision is thinking applied to language, An opening and reopening of discovery, A search for the sentence that says the thing you had no idea you could say Hidden inside the sentence you’re making.
  • Revision is the writer’s reading,
  • what you mean to say will emerge By setting aside the things you don’t mean to say
  • you’ll also find yourself making discoveries you never could have predicted, Finding thoughts you never knew existed because they didn’t exist Until you were exploring sentences for their implicit possibilities.
  • thought and sentence are always a collaboration,
  • realize that writing comes from writing.
  • Squander your material.
  • you can only run out of material If you haven’t been thinking or noticing.
  • think. And think again. Learn to be patient in the presence of your thoughts. Learn to be equally patient in the presence of a new sentence or a phrase you like. Let yourself pause and work on that sentence. In your head. Don’t write it down. Be patient. Pay attention to everything you’re thinking. Notice your thoughts, See if you can feel your awareness illuminating them.
  • Don’t try to distinguish between thinking and making sentences. Pretend they’re the same thing. Don’t rush your thinking. Don’t rush to make sentences.
  • You’ll have to teach yourself. Above all, you’ll have to teach yourself to be patient.
  • Trying this once or twice won’t do. It’s a skill, not an instinct.
  • you may have to cling to a partial outline for a while. That’s okay, As long as you’re prepared to abandon it.
  • Resist the temptation to start organizing and structuring your thoughts too soon,
  • Just try out some sentences. Lots of them.
  • Discard them readily, easily, with no sense of loss, Then try out some more. This is important. Get used to discarding sentences.
  • You’re holding an audition. Many sentences will try out. One gets the part.
  • The reader doesn’t need grabbing. She needs to feel your interest in the sentence you’ve chosen to make. Nothing more.
  • You—your role as a writer, the role you construct, your presence to the reader—you and your first sentence begin together.
  • The beginning is one sentence long.
  • write the sentence that arises from the first sentence, Not the sentence that follows from it,
  • Resist the temptation to rush ahead to see where they’re pointing. What matters isn’t where they’re pointing
  • Writing is the work of discovery.
  • before writing anything down. Sit back from the keyboard or notepad. Sit back, and continue to think. That’s where the work gets done.
  • If the thought was worth having, you’ll rediscover it or find a better one. The fear of forgetting and the rush to be done are closely related.
  • Allow your thinking to adjust your intentions in the light of your discoveries. This may mean relinquishing your original intention If you find a better one
  • Learn to accept the discontinuity between yourself and what you write, The discontinuity between your will, your intention, your plan
  • Abandon the idea of predetermination,
  • How soon will you be getting good? Why not ask how soon you’ll be getting clear? Look for improvement wherever you find it, And build on every improvement. But don’t look for too much improvement all at once. Finding a flaw is an improvement.
  • Accept it: you’ll surely fail again and just as surely succeed.
  • live somewhere between certainty and flux.
  • the ability to remain open to the work and let it remain open to you.
  • Don’t confuse order with linearity.
  • The assumption that logic persuades the reader Instead of the clarity of what you’re saying.
  • Writing doesn’t prove anything, And it only rarely persuades. It does something much better. It attests. It witnesses. It shares your interest in what you’ve noticed. It reports on the nature of your attention. It suggests the possibilities of the world around you.
  • how obnoxious that is, That persistent effort to predetermine and overgovern the reader’s response.
  • Writing is often an appeal not to the order of our chronological lives But to the order of our internal lives, Which is nonchronological and, in fact, unorderly.
  • Use the one detail you need as you need it. Beware of the way it sticks to other details. Why reproduce the whole scene when only one moment matters?
  • the order of the piece is not determined by any single one of them. It can have many orders, all flowing into one, Which is the reader’s experience.
  • Authority always rests in the hands of the reader,
  • All the authority a writer ever possesses is the authority the reader grants him. Yet the reader grants it in response to her sense of the writer’s authority.
  • Authority arises only from clarity of language and clarity of perception.
  • The question isn’t, can the reader follow you? That’s a matter of grammar and syntax. The question is, will the reader follow you?
  • The reader is in love with continuity, with extent, with duration, Above all with presence
  • No subject is so good that it can redeem indifferent writing. But good writing can make almost any subject interesting.
  • And filled with perception, You can write about anything, even yourself.
  • Part of the trouble may be this: You’re afraid
  • But what if your ideas are coherent and thoughtful? What if your perceptions are accurate and true? Your sentences clear and direct? What if allowing us to see what’s accurate and true is among the best work writing can do? Saying the obvious thing briefly and clearly and Observing the critical detail are hard enough. It’s surprising how often ideas that seem obvious to you Are in no way apparent to the reader. And vice versa.
  • One purpose of writing—its central purpose—is to offer your testimony
  • Who asked you to say how things are? Where do you get the authority to do any of this? The answer is yours to find.
  • Discipline is nothing more than interest and expectation, a looking forward. It’s never hard to work when you’re interested in what you’re working on.
  • The trouble is anything that keeps you from looking with undiverted attention at what you’re thinking and trying to say,
  • True discipline is remembering and recovering—inventing if necessary—what interests you.
  • Are you writing on a truly blank screen or piece of paper? Or are you writing on a palimpsest of rules and regulations, Things you think you must do, methods you must conform to?
  • Make yourself aware of the forces getting in the way of your writing. You may be creating syntactical and logical patterns that cast themselves forward Into future sentences and end up constricting you.
  • They seem to offer structure and guidance, but they’re tying your hands.
  • It’s as though you can’t help wanting the piece to move faster or seem easier to write. Resist that instinct.
  • Question that obligation. See if you can think your way around it.
  • The ordinary reader—the ordinary audience—is a barren conceit. It guarantees a shared mediocrity. Don’t preconceive the reader’s limitations. They’ll become your own.
  • Imagine a reader you can trust.
  • what happens if you trust the reader? All the devices of distrust fall away, The pretense of logic, the obsession with transition,
  • A prose about hierarchy and its demarcations Rather than the authority of clarity and directness.
  • If you write ambiguous sentences, you create a state of uncontrolled implication, And among those implications are commitments to the reader that can’t be fulfilled Because the writer isn’t aware of them.
  • The work selects its audience.
  • your prose is going to be read Against two different backdrops: What the reader knows about reading and what the reader knows about life.
  • lets the reader share the burden of comprehension.
  • When will you be done? This isn’t about getting to the end of the writing day and out of your head at last. It’s about knowing when a piece is finished.
  • “perfection enough,” As perfect as possible under the circumstances.
  • There’s no objective measure of “
  • revise toward brevity—remove words instead of adding them. Toward directness—language that isn’t evasive or periphrastic. Toward simplicity—in construction and word choice. Toward clarity—a constant lookout for ambiguity. Toward rhythm—where it’s lacking. Toward literalness—as an antidote to obscurity. Toward implication—the silent utterance of your sentences. Toward variation—always. Toward silence—leave some. Toward the name of the world—yours to discover. Toward presence—the quiet authority of your prose.
  • All you’re doing is noticing what you notice.
  • There could not have been a more generous scene, nor one which was less suited to receive the remains of Mr. Setty, who from infancy had been so deeply involved in calculation, and so unhappily, who had tried keeping figures outside his head and got sent to prison for it, and had kept them inside his head and got killed for it.
  • After a while I realize that I can do it a long time. And that I’ve written my poem. JOYCE CAROL OATES, “Against Nature”
  • Don’t expect to find an answer. Expect to find some possibilities.
  • it feels so normal to try to deduce the meaning of the sentence instead of observing what its words actually say. We’re so trained to read for meaning—to look through the sentence to
  • You can feel the pressure of that locution in this sentence, even though it doesn’t belong there.
  • Note the shift from the first to the second person.
  • the kind of redundancy that adverbs often create.
  • The author of this sentence has completely lost track of the beginning by the time he reaches the end.
  • Note the metaphorical feeling of “tangle”—it wants to be more literal, and plural,
  • This problem is solved by using the dictionary.
  • animates the already metaphorical
  • a very weak verb—“are had.
  • The verb again gets turned into a noun, and a noun that’s incapable of action.
  • “He,” as the subject, offers better verb choices than “his gaze.
  • the sentence is fundamentally passive.
  • it has the ambiguous overtone
  • Plural persons in a singular jacket.
  • Replace the noun phrase with a verb form.
  • This sentence is studded with the attributes of prose as it is usually taught today. It’s periphrastic, illogical while insisting on its logic, and awkwardly metaphorical,
  • Any sentence containing “it was noticed that” qualifies for instant demolition and reconstruction.
  • Writers often try to be humorous by being hyperbolic. They never succeed.
  • Never substitute noun phrases for verbs.
  • One has to be taught to write like this. And then one has to be taught not to write like this. Barely intelligible.

Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered

  • “Creativity is not a talent. It is a way of operating.” —John Cleese
  • “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”
  • In order to be found, you have to be findable.
  • Instead of wasting their time “networking,” they’re taking advantage of the network. By generously sharing their ideas and their knowledge, they often gain an audience that they can then leverage when they need it—for fellowship, feedback, or patronage.
  • your work as a never-ending process,
  • influence others by letting them steal from you.
  • “Give what you have. To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.” —Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  • creativity is always, in some sense, a collaboration, the result of a mind connected to other minds.
  • Being a valuable part of a scenius is not necessarily about how smart or talented you are, but about what you have to contribute—the ideas you share, the quality of the connections you make, and the conversations you start.
  • “That’s all any of us are: amateurs. We don’t live long enough to be anything else.” —Charlie Chaplin
  • amateur—the enthusiast who pursues her work in the spirit of love
  • amateurs are willing to try anything and share the results.
  • Sometimes, in the process of doing things in an unprofessional way, they make new discoveries. “In the beginner’s mind, there are many possibilities,” said Zen monk Shunryu Suzuki. “In the expert’s mind, there are few.”
  • Amateurs are not afraid to make mistakes or look ridiculous in public. They’re in love,
  • “On the spectrum of creative work, the difference between the mediocre and the good is vast. Mediocrity is, however, still on the spectrum; you can move from mediocre to good in increments. The real gap is between doing nothing and doing something.” Amateurs know that contributing something is better than contributing nothing.
  • “I saw the Sex Pistols,” said New Order frontman Bernard Sumner. “They were terrible. . . . I wanted to get up and be terrible with them.” Raw enthusiasm is contagious. The world is changing at such a rapid rate that it’s turning us all into amateurs.
  • Share what you love, and the people who love the same things will find you.
  • the only way to find your voice is to use it.
  • Ebert was blogging because he had to blog—because it was a matter of being heard, or not being heard. A matter of existing or not existing.
  • if your work isn’t online, it doesn’t exist.
  • Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.
  • I’m not going to sit here and wait for things to happen, I’m going to make them happen, and if people think I’m an idiot I don’t care.”
  • I read the obituaries every morning.
  • Thinking about death every morning makes me want to live.
  • “A lot of people are so used to just seeing the outcome of work. They never see the side of the work you go through to produce the outcome.” —Michael Jackson
  • There’s “painting,” the noun, and there’s “painting,” the verb. As in all kinds of work, there is a distinction between the painter’s process, and the products of her process.
  • all viewers but yourself, what matters is the product: the finished artwork.
  • “In order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen—really seen.” —Brené Brown
  • whatever the nature of your work, there is an art to what you do,
  • How can you show your work even when you have nothing to show? The first step is to scoop up the scraps and the residue of your process and shape them into some interesting bit of media that you can share.
  • David Carr when he was asked if he had any advice for students. “No one is going to give a damn about your résumé; they want to see what you have made with your own little fingers.” Become a documentarian of what you do. Start a work journal: Write your thoughts down in a notebook, or speak them into an audio recorder. Keep a scrapbook. Take a lot of photographs of your work at different stages in your process. Shoot video of you working. This isn’t about making art, it’s about simply keeping track of what’s going on around you.
  • Overnight success is a myth. Dig into almost every overnight success story and you’ll find about a decade’s worth of hard work and perseverance.
  • forget about decades, forget about years, and forget about months. Focus on days. The day is the only unit of time that I can really get my head around.
  • Ze Frank was interviewing job candidates, he complained, “When I ask them to show me work, they show me things from school, or from another job, but I’m more interested in what they did last weekend.”
  • A lot of social media is just about typing into boxes. What you type into the box often depends on the prompt. Facebook asks you to indulge yourself, with questions like “How are you feeling?” or “What’s on your mind?” Twitter’s is hardly better: “What’s happening?” I like the tagline at dribbble.com: “What are you working on?”
  • “Sometimes you don’t always know what you’ve got,” says artist Wayne White. “It really does need a little social chemistry to make it show itself to you sometimes.”
  • I like to work while the world is sleeping, and share while the world is at work.
  • don’t let sharing your work take precedence over actually doing your work.
  • “One day at a time. It sounds so simple. It actually is simple but it isn’t easy: It requires incredible support and fastidious structuring.” —Russell Brand
  • “Post as though everyone who can read it has the power to fire you.”
  • There’s a big, big difference between sharing and over-sharing. The act of sharing is one of generosity—you’re putting something out there because you think it might be helpful or entertaining to someone on the other side of the screen.
  • Always be sure to run everything you share with others through The “So What?” Test.
  • You can turn your flow into stock. For example, a lot of the ideas in this book started out as tweets, which then became blog posts, which then became book chapters. Small things, over time, can get big.
  • “Carving out a space for yourself online, somewhere where you can express yourself and share your work, is still one of the best possible investments you can make with your time.” —Andy Baio
  • if you get one thing out of this book make it this: Go register a domain name. Buy www.[insert your name here].com. If your name is common, or you don’t like your name, come up with a pseudonym or an alias, and register that.
  • Don’t think of your website as a self-promotion machine, think of it as a self-invention machine.
  • Be concerned with doing good work . . . and if you can build a good name, eventually that name will be its own currency.”
  • Wunderkammern, a “wonder chamber,” or a “cabinet of curiosities” in your house—a room filled with rare and remarkable objects that served as a kind of external display of your thirst for knowledge of the world.
  • wanting to draw people’s attention to things that I liked, to shape things that I liked into new shapes.”
  • For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer.”
  • “I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. If you f---ing like something, like it.” —Dave Grohl
  • “Dumpster diving” is one of the jobs of the artist—finding the treasure in other people’s trash, sifting through the debris of our culture, paying attention to the stuff that everyone else is ignoring, and taking inspiration from the stuff that people have tossed aside for whatever reasons.
  • Michel de Montaigne, in his essay “On Experience,” wrote, “In my opinion, the most ordinary things, the most common and familiar, if we could see them in their true light, would turn out to be the grandest miracles . . . and the most marvelous examples.” All it takes to uncover hidden gems is a clear eye, an open mind, and a willingness to search for inspiration in places other people aren’t willing or able to go.
  • We all love things that other people think are garbage. You have to have the courage to keep loving your garbage, because what makes us unique is the diversity and breadth of our influences, the unique ways in which we mix up the parts of culture
  • When you find things you genuinely enjoy, don’t let anyone else make you feel bad about it. Don’t feel guilty about the pleasure you take in the things you enjoy. Celebrate them. When you share your taste and your influences, have the guts to own all of it.
  • “Do what you do best and link to the rest.” —Jeff Jarvis
  • Art forgery is a strange phenomenon. “You might think that the pleasure you get from a painting depends on its color and its shape and its pattern,”
  • “When shown an object, or given a food, or shown a face, people’s assessment of it—how much they like it, how valuable it is—is deeply affected by what you tell them about it.”
  • our work doesn’t speak for itself. Human beings want to know where things came from, how they were made, and who made them. The stories you tell about the work you do have a huge effect on how people feel and what they understand about your work, and how people feel and what they understand about your work effects how they value it.
  • our audience is a human one, and humans want to connect. Personal stories can make the complex more tangible, spark associations, and offer entry into things that might otherwise leave one cold.”
  • Your work doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Whether you realize it or not, you’re already telling a story about your work. Every email you send, every text, every conversation, every blog comment, every tweet, every photo, every video—they’re all bits and pieces of a multimedia narrative you’re constantly constructing. If you want to be more effective when sharing yourself and your work, you need to become a better storyteller. You need to know what a good story is and how to tell one.
  • The most important part of a story is its structure. A good story structure is tidy, sturdy, and logical.
  • I like Gardner’s plot formula because it’s also the shape of most creative work: You get a great idea, you go through the hard work of executing the idea, and then you release the idea out into the world, coming to a win, lose, or draw. Sometimes the idea succeeds, sometimes it fails, and more often than not, it does nothing at all. This simple formula can be applied to almost any type of work project: There’s the initial problem, the work done to solve the problem, and the solution.
  • A good pitch is set up in three acts: The first act is the past, the second act is the present, and the third act is the future.
  • “Whatever we say, we’re always talking about ourselves.” —Alison Bechdel
  • The minute you learn something, turn around and teach it to others.
  • If you want fans, you have to be a fan first. If you want to be accepted by a community, you have to first be a good citizen of that community.
  • You have to be a connector. The writer Blake Butler calls this being an open node.
  • The Vampire Test. It’s a simple way to know who you should let in and out of your life. If, after hanging out with someone you feel worn out and depleted, that person is a vampire.
  • “It’s all about paying attention. Attention is vitality. It connects you with others.” —Susan Sontag
  • “Compulsive avoidance of embarrassment is a form of suicide.” If you spend your life avoiding vulnerability, you and your work will never truly connect with other people.
  • “There is no misery in art. All art is about saying yes, and all art is about its own making.” —John Currin
  • You just have to be as generous as you can, but selfish enough to get your work done.
  • “Work is never finished, only abandoned.” —Paul Valéry
  • next, use the end of one project to light up the next one.
  • “We work because it’s a chain reaction, each subject leads to the next.” —Charles Eames
  • “If you never go to work, you never get to leave work.”
  • When you throw out old work, what you’re really doing is making room for new work.
  • the lessons that you’ve learned from it will seep into what you do next.
  • become an amateur.
  • dedicate yourself to learning it out in the open. Document your progress and share as you go so that others can learn along with you. Show your work,
  • 2. Think process, not product. The title of the second section comes from something Gay Talese once said in an interview: “I am a documentarian of what I do.”

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

  • Bigger container = more eating.
  • wait a second. If you want people to eat less popcorn, the solution is pretty simple: Give them smaller buckets. You don’t have to worry about their knowledge or their attitudes.
  • You can see how easy it would be to turn an easy change problem (shrinking people’s buckets) into a hard change problem (convincing people to think differently).
  • the first surprise about change: What looks like a people problem is often a situation problem.
  • all change efforts have something in common: For anything to change, someone has to start acting differently.
  • all change efforts boil down to the same mission: Can you get people to start behaving in a new way?
  • In our lives, we embrace lots of big changes—not only babies, but marriages and new homes and new technologies and new job duties.
  • What it shows, fundamentally, is that we are schizophrenic.
  • The beauty of the device is that it allows your rational side to outsmart your emotional side.
  • The unavoidable conclusion is this: Your brain isn’t of one mind.
  • First, there’s what we called the emotional side. It’s the part of you that is instinctive, that feels pain and pleasure. Second, there’s the rational side, also known as the reflective or conscious system.
  • recently, behavioral economists dubbed the two systems the Planner and the Doer.
  • Good thing no one is keeping score.
  • this strength is the mirror image of the Rider’s great weakness: spinning his wheels.
  • If you want to change things, you’ve got to appeal to both. The Rider provides the planning and direction, and the Elephant provides the energy.
  • when Elephants and Riders move together, change can come easily.
  • The Rider can get his way temporarily—he can tug on the reins hard enough to get the Elephant to submit. (Anytime you use willpower you’re doing exactly that.)
  • the Rider can’t win a tug-of-war with a huge animal for long. He simply gets exhausted.
  • psychologists have discovered that self-control is an exhaustible resource.
  • Self-control is an exhaustible resource
  • Much of our daily behavior, in fact, is more automatic than supervised, and that’s a good thing because the supervised behavior is the hard stuff. It’s draining.
  • Here’s why this matters for change: When people try to change things, they’re usually tinkering with behaviors that have become automatic, and changing those behaviors requires careful supervision by the Rider. The bigger the change you’re suggesting, the more it will sap people’s self-control.
  • you hear people say that change is hard because people are lazy or resistant, that’s just flat wrong. In fact, the opposite is true: Change is hard because people wear themselves out. And that’s the second surprise about change: What looks like laziness is often exhaustion.
  • It would have been so easy, so natural, to make a presentation that spoke only to the Rider.
  • if you reach your colleagues’ Riders but not their Elephants, they will have direction without motivation.
  • Once you break through to feeling, though, things change.
  • What looks like resistance is often a lack of clarity.
  • If you want people to change, you must provide crystal-clear direction.
  • We call the situation (including the surrounding environment) the “Path.” When you shape the Path, you make change more likely, no matter what’s happening with the Rider and Elephant.
  • there’s a good reason why change can be difficult: The world doesn’t always want what you want.
  • IHI made joining the campaign easy: It required only a one-page form signed by a hospital CEO.
  • By staying laser-focused on these six interventions, Berwick made sure not to exhaust the Riders of his audience with endless behavioral changes.
  • He was designing an environment that made it more likely for hospital administrators to reform.
  • Whether the switch you seek is in your family, in your charity, in your organization, or in society at large, you’ll get there by making three things happen. You’ll direct the Rider, motivate the Elephant, and shape the Path.
  • The solution was a native one, emerging from the real-world experience of the villagers, and for that reason it was inherently realistic and inherently sustainable.
  • knowing the solution wasn’t enough. For anything to change, lots of mothers needed to adopt the new cooking habits.
  • He knew that telling the mothers about nutrition wouldn’t change their behavior. They’d have to practice it.
  • Sternin said that the moms were “acting their way into a new way of thinking.
  • Sternin’s role was only to help them see that they could do it, that they could conquer malnutrition on their own.
  • The cooking classes, in effect, were changing the culture of the village.
  • bright spots solve the “Not Invented Here” problem.
  • He would have faced a much more difficult quest if he’d brought in a plan from a different village. The local mothers would have bristled: Those people aren’t like us. Our situation is more complicated than that. Those ideas wouldn’t work here
  • Concepts are rarely exclusive.)
  • they weren’t experts. They didn’t walk in with the answers. All they had was a deep faith in the power of bright spots.
  • The Rider loves to contemplate and analyze, and, making matters worse, his analysis is almost always directed at problems rather than at bright spots.
  • Solutions-focused therapists, in contrast, couldn’t care less about archaeology. They don’t dig around for clues about why you act the way you do. They don’t care about your childhood. All they care about is the solution to the problem at hand.
  • understanding a problem doesn’t necessarily solve it—that knowing is not enough.
  • Maybe small adjustments can work after all
  • The Miracle Question doesn’t ask you to describe the miracle itself; it asks you to identify the tangible signs that the miracle happened.
  • What the therapist is trying to demonstrate, in a subtle way, is that the client is capable of solving her own problem.
  • Solutions-focused therapists believe that there are exceptions to every problem and that those exceptions, once identified, can be carefully analyzed, like the game film of a sporting event.
  • Let’s replay that scene, where things were working for you. What was happening? How did you behave? Were you smiling? Did you make eye contact? And that analysis can point directly toward a solution that is, by definition, workable. After all, it worked before.
  • bright spots provide not only direction for the Rider but hope and motivation for the Elephant.)
  • “What’s working and how can we do more of it?
  • the managers’ first reaction to the good news was that it must be bad news!
  • Even successes can look like problems to an overactive Rider.
  • anytime you have a bright spot, your mission is to clone it.
  • There is a clear asymmetry between the scale of the problem and the scale of the solution. Big problem, small solution.
  • Big problems are rarely solved with commensurately big solutions. Instead, they are most often solved by a sequence of small solutions, sometimes over weeks, sometimes over decades.
  • If the Rider spots a hole, he wants to fill it, and if he’s got a round hole with a 24-inch diameter, he’s gonna go looking for a 24-inch peg. But that mental model is wrong.
  • they also concocted big systemic plans to address those forces. But that was fantasy. No one, other than Sternin, thought to ask, “What’s working right now?
  • To pursue bright spots is to ask the question “What’s working, and how can we do more of it?” Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Yet, in the real world, this obvious question is almost never asked. Instead, the question we ask is more problem focused: “What’s broken, and how do we fix it?
  • This problem-seeking mindset is a shortcoming of the Rider in each of us.
  • a psychologist analyzed 558 emotion words—every one that he could find in the English language—and found that 62 percent of them were negative versus 38 percent positive.
  • “positive-negative asymmetry.
  • “Honey, you made an ‘A’ in this one class. You must really have a strength in this subject. How can we build on that?” (Buckingham has a fine series of books on making the most of your strengths rather than obsessing about your weaknesses.)
  • Our Rider has a problem focus when he needs a solution focus
  • If you are a manager, ask yourself: “What is the ratio of the time I spend solving problems to the time I spend scaling successes?”
  • We need to switch from archaeological problem solving to bright-spot evangelizing.
  • Even in failure there is success.
  • What happened here is decision paralysis. More options, even good ones, can freeze us and make us retreat to the default plan,
  • This behavior clearly is not rational, but it is human.
  • Have you ever noticed that shopping is a lot more tiring than other kinds of light activity? Now you know why—it’s all those choices.
  • As Barry Schwartz puts it in his book The Paradox of Choice, as we face more and more options, “we become overloaded. Choice no longer liberates, it debilitates. It might even be said to tyrannize.
  • decision paralysis can be deadly for change—because the most familiar path is always the status quo
  • What they needed was someone who could bring a noble goal within the realm of everyday behavior,
  • script the critical moves
  • The four rules were clear: (1) Unblock revenue. (2) Minimize up-front cash. (3) Faster is better than best. (4) Use what you’ve got. These rules, taken together, ensured that cash wouldn’t be consumed unless it was being used as bait for more cash. Spend a little, make a little more.
  • To spark movement in a new direction, you need to provide crystal-clear guidance. That’s why scripting is important—you’ve got to think about the specific behavior that you’d want to see in a tough moment,
  • You can’t script every move—that would be like trying to foresee the seventeenth move in a chess game. It’s the critical moves that count.
  • What tires out the Rider—and puts change efforts at risk—is ambiguity, and Behring eliminated it.
  • Barbara’s e-mail should highlight the fact that almost two-thirds of reports are turned in on time. No one likes to hear that they’re underperforming relative to their peers.
  • The Food Pyramid, which specifies the types and quantities of food that make up a healthy diet, is the perfect example of how not to change people’s behavior.
  • As an analogy, most of us have internalized the rule of thumb to get the oil in our cars changed every 3 months or 3,000 miles. It’s transparent and actionable, like the 1% milk campaign.
  • If you are leading a change effort, you need to remove the ambiguity from your vision of change.
  • more successful change transformations were more likely to set behavioral goals:
  • Until you can ladder your way down from a change idea to a specific behavior, you’re not ready to lead a switch.
  • To create movement, you’ve got to be specific and be concrete.
  • Whatever the child is doing, the parent offers no resistance, so the child has nothing to fight against.
  • “In my experience, the physically abusive parent has the same goals as a normal parent; it’s their method and their ideas that are wrong.
  • scripting has power beyond what any of us could have predicted.
  • the community. The Elephant herd was ready to move. But where? What can a few people do to restore an entire county?
  • when you’ve dug up stumps together and you start to realize you have shared ideas about what you want the community to be, then things start to happen.
  • the knowledge was TBU—true but useless. It was paralyzing knowledge.
  • To the Rider, a big problem calls for a big solution.
  • if you seek out a solution that’s as complex as the problem, you’ll get the Food Pyramid and nothing will change.
  • Clarity dissolves resistance.
  • We want a goal that can be tackled in months or years, not decades.
  • Notice that the goal she set for her students didn’t only direct the Rider; it also motivated the Elephant. It was inspirational. It tapped into feeling.
  • The main barrier to this vision was the lack of coordination among medical departments. If they could be integrated more tightly, then weeks of agonizing waiting could be eliminated, the patient would not have to leave the building, and the experience would be designed around the patient’s needs, not the departments
  • it’s an organizational challenge to make people feel like they belong to something.
  • For the first year, the Center stuck with the one-day-per-week model. Then, once the work was going smoothly, Esserman expanded to two days per week. More surgeons started to get involved, and then nurses, and counselors, and support staff, and the snowball began.
  • The patient stays in the same place and doesn’t need to go anywhere.
  • “For the first time,” said Esserman, “we put the woman at the center.
  • Our first instinct, in most change situations, is to offer up data to people
  • drawn. To the Rider, the “analyzing” phase is often more satisfying than the “doing” phase, and that’s dangerous for your switch.
  • You have a choice about how to use the Rider’s energy: By default, he’ll obsess about which way to move, or whether it’s necessary to move at all. But you can redirect that energy to helping you navigate toward the destination.
  • Goals in most organizations, however, lack emotional resonance.
  • SMART goals presume the emotion; they don’t generate it.
  • The expectations dance is the perfect symbol of short-term thinking.
  • How will life be different for the progressive CEO who rids himself of the burden of managing to the quarter rather than to the long term? What’s the destination postcard?
  • play up the fact that the CEOs of some well-respected companies—GE, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Google, and others—have already made this change.
  • What if Samuelson could make it that easy to join a “No Earnings Guidance” campaign?
  • offer a simple checklist of things to address (including legal, PR, and operational issues) and support the companies as they change. 2. Rally the herd.
  • behavior is contagious.
  • what if your team isn’t inspired?
  • What if, in fact, members of your team are secretly or not-so-secretly resistant to the vision of the future you’ve articulated?
  • We’re all loophole-exploiting lawyers when it comes to our own self-control.
  • If you’re worried about the possibility of rationalization at home or at work, you need to squeeze out the ambiguity from your goal. You need a black-and-white (B&W) goal. A B&W goal is an all-or-nothing goal, and it’s useful in times when you worry about backsliding.
  • The strategy had changed in a way that gave lower-level employees an equally credible voice in the decision.
  • smarter next time.
  • If you worry about the potential for inaction on your team, or if you worry that silent resistance may slow or sabotage your change initiative, B&W goals may be the solution.
  • What is essential, though, is to marry your long-term goal with short-term critical moves.
  • back up your destination postcard with a good behavioral script. That’s a recipe for success.
  • What you don’t need to do is anticipate every turn in the road between today and the destination. It’s not that plotting the whole journey is undesirable; it’s that it’s impossible.
  • When you’re at the beginning, don’t obsess about the middle, because the middle is going to look different once you get there. Just look for a strong beginning and a strong ending and get moving.
  • when analysts were making presentations to clients, they cite their colleagues’ work at least twice. “I don’t want to hear ‘I—I—I’ in the presentation. I want to hear ‘we,’ and I want to hear other people’s names.
  • Rivkin didn’t just script the critical moves—Make 125 calls, and cite your colleagues’ work—he also pointed to the destination: We’re going to crack the I.I. (Institutional Investor) Top 5. That was something everyone in his department understood and aspired to.
  • evidence of the Rider’s flaws—his limited reserves of strength, his paralysis in the face of ambiguity and choice, and his relentless focus on problems rather than solutions.
  • follow the bright spots
  • the core of the matter is always about changing the behavior of people, and behavior change happens in highly successful situations mostly by speaking to people’s feelings. This is true even in organizations that are very focused on analysis and quantitative measurement, even among people who think of themselves as smart in an MBA sense. In highly successful change efforts, people find ways to help others see the problems or solutions in ways that influence emotions, not just thought.
  • when change works, it’s because leaders are speaking to the Elephant as well as to the Rider.
  • Kotter and Cohen say that most people think change happens in this order: ANALYZE-THINK-CHANGE.
  • Kotter and Cohen note that analytical tools work best when “parameters are known, assumptions are minimal, and the future is not fuzzy.
  • Kotter and Cohen observed that, in almost all successful change efforts, the sequence of change is not ANALYZE-THINK-CHANGE, but rather SEE-FEEL-CHANGE.
  • Waters thought carefully about what her colleagues would see because she knew what she wanted them to feel: energized, hopeful, creative, competitive.
  • He knew his colleagues weren’t enthused about his idea for centralized purchasing, so he didn’t bother talking about the numbers.
  • Trying to fight inertia and indifference with analytical arguments is like tossing a fire extinguisher to someone who’s drowning. The solution doesn’t match the problem.
  • It can sometimes be challenging, though, to distinguish why people don’t support your change. Is it because they don’t understand or because they’re not enthused? Do you need an Elephant appeal or a Rider appeal? The answer isn’t always obvious, even to experts.
  • Omidyar was convinced that teens simply weren’t getting the message. She sought a new way of influencing their behavior—something unconventional, something that spoke in their language. Her inspiration: We’ll make a video game.
  • At many software companies, the developers—who are responsible for writing new software programs—fall in love with their code.
  • that the test of a great developer isn’t the quality of his or her first-draft code; it’s how well the developer codes around the inevitable roadblocks.
  • Can we make an effort to snap the user-testing onto an existing routine, so we’re not complicating the Path?
  • Require developers to program on the same machines customers use.
  • When people push for change and it doesn’t happen, they often chalk it up to a lack of understanding.
  • when it comes time to change the behavior of other people, our first instinct is to teach them something.
  • We speak to the Rider when we should be speaking to the Elephant.
  • Why can’t we simply think our way into new behavior? The answer is that, in some cases, we really can’t trust our own thinking.
  • How can we dispel people’s positive illusions without raining down negativity on them?
  • One reason we’re able to believe that we’re better-than-average leaders and drivers and spouses and team players is that we’re defining those terms in ways that flatter us.
  • I thought being a good accountant was about rigor, but now I see that it’s also about service
  • We often hear that people change only when a crisis compels them to, which implies that we need to create a sense of fear or anxiety or doom.
  • Two professors at Harvard Business School, writing about organizational change, say that change is hard because people are reluctant to alter habits that have been successful in the past. “In the absence of a dire threat, employees will keep doing what they’ve always done.
  • In other words, if necessary, we need to create a crisis to convince people they’re facing a catastrophe and have no choice but to move.
  • Fear and anger and disgust give us sharp focus—which is the same thing as putting on blinders.
  • Joy, for example, makes us want to play. Play doesn’t have a script, it broadens the kinds of things we consider doing.
  • We become willing to fool around, to explore or invent new activities. And because joy encourages us to play, we are building resources and skills.
  • The positive emotion of interest broadens what we want to investigate.
  • When we’re interested, we want to get involved, to learn new things, to tackle new experiences. We become more open to new ideas. The positive emotion of pride, experienced when we achieve a personal goal, broadens the kinds of tasks we contemplate for the future, encouraging us to pursue even bigger goals.
  • Waters helped shift an entrenched culture, product by product, because she found a way to instill hope and optimism and excitement in her coworkers. She found the feeling.
  • People find it more motivating to be partly finished with a longer journey than to be at the starting gate of a shorter one.
  • One way to motivate action, then, is to make people feel as though they’re already closer to the finish line than they might have thought.
  • if you want to motivate a reluctant Elephant. You need to lower the bar.
  • If you want a reluctant Elephant to get moving, you need to shrink the change.
  • wouldn’t it be easier just to make the house cleaner rather than clean
  • Can we free ourselves from dread by scaling down the mission?
  • The Elephant hates doing things with no immediate payoff.
  • once you start cleaning house, chances are you won’t stop at 5 minutes. You’ll be surprised at how fast things turn around. You’ll start to take pride in your accomplishments—starting with the clean sink, then the clean bathroom, then the clean downstairs area—and that pride and confidence will build on itself. A virtuous circle. But you couldn’t have enjoyed the virtuous circle without first shrinking the change.
  • Being a certified nerd, I always used to start with making the math work.
  • I have learned that the math does need to work, but sometimes motivation is more important than math.
  • you can’t combat powerlessness with math. You combat it by proving to people that they can win.
  • people are facing a daunting task, and their instinct is to avoid it, you’ve got to break down the task. Shrink the change. Make the change small enough that they can’t help but score a victory.
  • It becomes the social norm to think of cuts from the perspective of the university as a whole (a strong, shared identity), rather than from the perspective of individual departments.
  • There were lots of problems with procurement. Over the years, the government had established many protocols and protections to prevent abuses of various kinds. There were good intentions behind these protections, but as they built up, layer upon layer, they began to cause more harm than the abuses they’d been designed to prevent.
  • When you engineer early successes, what you’re really doing is engineering hope. Hope is precious to a change effort.
  • Once people are on the path and making progress, it’s important to make their advances visible.
  • Unfortunately, there’s no off-the-shelf scale for “new-product innovation
  • The value of the miracle scale is that it focuses attention on small milestones that are attainable and visible rather than on the eventual destination, which may seem very remote.
  • By using the miracle scale, you always have a clear idea of where you’re going next, and you have a clear sense of what the next small victory will be. You’re moving forward, and, even better, you’re getting more confident in your ability to keep moving forward.
  • “When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur…. Don’t look for the quick, big improvement. Seek the small improvement one day at a time. That’s the only way it happens—and when it happens, it lasts.
  • Psychologist Karl Weick, in a paper called “Small Wins: Redefining the Scale of Social Problems,” said, “A small win reduces importance (‘this is no big deal’), reduces demands (‘that’s all that needs to be done’), and raises perceived skill levels (‘I can do at least that’).” All three of these factors will tend to make change easier and more self-sustaining.
  • No one can guarantee a small win. Lots of things are out of our control. But the goal is to be wise about the things that are under our control.
  • When a task feels too big, the Elephant will resist.
  • we cannot anticipate every possible turn of events, and no matter how diligently we are prepared, we are eventually caught off guard. Meanwhile, we’ve expended so much time and energy trying to predict future events, soothe future hurts, and prevent future consequences that we have missed out on today’s opportunities.
  • It’s OK if the first changes seem almost trivial. The challenge is to get the Elephant moving, even if the movement is slow at first.
  • The Elephant has no trouble conquering these micro-milestones, and as it does, something else happens. With each step, the Elephant feels less scared and less reluctant, because things are working. With each step, the Elephant starts feeling the change. A journey that started with dread is evolving, slowly, toward a feeling of confidence and pride. And at the same time the change is shrinking, the Elephant is growing.
  • It’s very difficult to protect the precious areas of the world without the support of the residents of those areas, but Rare had proved it could inspire those residents to care about their environment.
  • Paul Butler didn’t shrink the change. Instead, he grew the people.
  • He inspired them to feel more determined, more ready, more motivated. And when you build people up in this way, they develop the strength to act.
  • James March, a professor of political science at Stanford University. March says that when people make choices, they tend to rely on one of two basic models of decision making: the consequences model or the identity model.
  • In the identity model of decision making, we essentially ask ourselves three questions when we have a decision to make: Who am I? What kind of situation is this? What would someone like me do in this situation?
  • We’re not just born with an identity; we adopt identities throughout our lives.
  • As you develop and grow in that identity, it becomes an increasingly important part of your self-image and triggers the kind of decision making
  • Because identities are central to the way people make decisions, any change effort that violates someone’s identity is likely doomed to failure.
  • How can you make your change a matter of identity rather than a matter of consequences?
  • When nurses left, replacing them cost a lot of money, morale suffered, and patient care was put at risk during the transition period.
  • Appreciative Inquiry, a process for changing organizations by studying what’s working rather than what’s not
  • as soon as we started them in a conversation about what they were good at, the tone changed.
  • their satisfaction was an identity thing
  • Identity is going to play a role in nearly every change situation.
  • When you think about the people whose behavior needs to change, ask yourself whether they would agree with this statement: “I aspire to be the kind of person who would make this change.
  • Employees of Brasilata became known as “inventors,” and when new employees joined the firm, they were asked to sign an “innovation contract.” This wasn’t simply feel-good language. Top management challenged employees to be on the lookout for potential innovations—ideas for how to create better products, improve production processes, and squeeze costs out of the system.
  • In 2008, employees submitted 134,846 ideas—an average of 145.2 ideas per inventor!
  • Another unexpected idea was jointly suggested by two employees: Eliminate our jobs; they’re not necessary anymore. The idea was accepted, but the company found a new place for the employees. Brasilata has a no-dismissal policy and also distributes 15 percent of its net profits to employees.
  • Freedman and Fraser called this strategy a “foot in the door” technique. Accepting the tiny driver-safety sign greatly increased the likelihood that the home owners would accept the gigantic driver-safety sign.
  • This result confused even Freedman and Fraser. They hadn’t expected the “Keep California beautiful” petition to be a “foot in the door” for a commitment to driver’s safety. The two domains were completely unrelated. After some reflection, they speculated that the petition signing might have sparked a shift in the home owners’ own sense of identity.
  • “Once [the home owner] has agreed to the request, his attitude may change, he may become, in his own eyes, the kind of person who does this sort of thing, who agrees to requests made by strangers, who takes action on things he believes in, who cooperates with good causes.
  • people are receptive to developing new identities, that identities “grow” from small beginnings.
  • Once you start seeing yourself as a “concerned citizen,” you’ll want to keep acting like one.
  • Salsa Moments. (Don’t worry, we’re not going to adopt that as a buzz phrase.) Any new quest, even one that is ultimately successful, is going to involve failure.
  • You need to create the expectation of failure—not the failure of the mission itself, but failure en route.
  • If you are someone with a fixed mindset, you tend to avoid challenges, because if you fail, you fear that others will see your failure as an indication of your true ability
  • You feel threatened by negative feedback, because it seems as if the critics are saying they’re better than you, positioning themselves at a level of natural ability higher than yours.
  • people who have a growth mindset believe that abilities are like muscles—they can be built up with practice.
  • If you want to reach your full potential, you need a growth mindset.
  • people with a growth mindset—those who stretch themselves, take risks, accept feedback, and take the long-term view—can’t help but progress in their lives and careers.
  • we quit because letting other people see that natural lack of ability made us uncomfortable. Someone with a growth mindset never would have jumped to this conclusion.
  • “Everything is hard before it is easy,
  • He started handing in assignments early so he could get feedback and revise them.
  • working hard was not something that made you vulnerable, but something that made you smarter.
  • “Everything can look like a failure in the middle.
  • If failure is a necessary part of change, then the way people understand failure is critical.
  • a second peak of positive emotion, labeled “confidence,” at the end.
  • Brown says that design is “rarely a graceful leap from height to height.” When a team embarks on a new project, team members are filled with hope and optimism. As they start to collect data and observe real people struggling with existing products, they find that new ideas spring forth effortlessly. Then comes the difficult task of integrating all those fresh ideas into a coherent new design. At this “insight” stage, it’s easy to get depressed, because insight doesn’t always strike immediately.
  • The project often feels like a failure in the middle. But if the team persists through this valley of angst and doubt, it eventually emerges with a growing sense of momentum. Team members begin to test out their new designs, and they realize the improvements they’ve made, and they keep tweaking the design to make it better. And they come to realize, we’ve cracked this problem. That’s when the team reaches the peak of confidence.
  • Notice what team leaders at IDEO are doing with the peaks-and-valley visual: They are creating the expectation of failure. They are telling team members not to trust that initial flush of good feeling at the beginning of the project, because what comes next is hardship and toil and frustration. Yet, strangely enough, when they deliver this warning, it comes across as optimistic.
  • That’s the paradox of the growth mindset. Although it seems to draw attention to failure, and in fact encourages us to seek out failure, it is unflaggingly optimistic. We will struggle, we will fail, we will be knocked down—but throughout, we’ll get better, and we’ll succeed in the end
  • people will persevere only if they perceive falling down as learning rather than as failing
  • it offers big benefits to the patients of teams that adopt it, but only if the surgery teams are willing to endure the initial learning period.
  • At Mountain Medical Center, Dr. M adopted a learning frame. He often wore a head camera, which allowed the team to see what was going on, and he encouraged questions about what he was doing and why. He also made sure his team practiced diligently: He deliberately scheduled the first six MICS cases in the same week, so team members could practice repeatedly, with no chance of forgetting what they were learning in the lag times between cases. He also ensured that the same team would be together on the first fifteen cases. After that, he added new members one at a time, so each new person could learn without introducing much risk to the procedure.
  • the only grades offered at Jefferson County High School were: A, B, C, and NY. Not Yet.
  • Howard transformed her students. She cultivated a new identity in them. You’re all college-bound students. Then she flipped Jefferson from a fixed-mindset school to a growth-mindset school.
  • we’ve seen that motivation comes from feeling—knowledge isn’t enough to motivate change. But motivation also comes from confidence.
  • What looks like a person problem is often a situation problem.
  • Stanford psychologist Lee Ross surveyed dozens of studies in psychology and noted that people have a systematic tendency to ignore the situational forces that shape other people’s behavior. He called this deep-rooted tendency the “Fundamental Attribution Error.” The error lies in our inclination to attribute people’s behavior to the way they are rather than to the situation they are in
  • It’s the situation, not an immutable stubbornness built into his character, that produces the behavior.
  • the Path, is so critical. If you want people to change, you can provide clear direction (Rider) or boost their motivation and determination (Elephant). Alternatively, you can simply make the journey easier. Create a steep downhill slope and give them a push. Remove some friction from the trail. Scatter around lots of signs to tell them they’re getting close. In short, you can shape the Path.
  • (Bottom line: If you’re hungry and need a can of food, you’re three times better-off relying on a jerk with a map than on a budding young saint without one.)
  • What looks like a people problem is often a situation problem. And no matter what your role is, you’ve got some control over the situation.
  • Today, as you go through your day, notice how many times people have tweaked the environment to shape your behavior.
  • Tweaking the environment is about making the right behaviors a little bit easier and the wrong behaviors a little bit harder.
  • Amazon’s site designers have simply made a desired behavior—you spending money on their site—a little bit easier. They’ve lowered the bar to a purchase as far as humanly possible (at least until they launch “1-Blink Ordering
  • The opportunities are endless for simple, 1-Click-style tweaks.
  • people who are trying to change things often reach instinctively for carrots and sticks. But this strategy indicates a pretty crude view of human behavior—that people act only in response to bribes and punishments.
  • “People weren’t being defiant,” said Bregman. They were just proceeding on the easiest Path.
  • they were mentally stuck: “‘Well, I already asked them to do it. I taught them how to do it. I told them they had to do it. I don’t know what else to do!
  • executives—and parents—often have more tools than they think they have. If you change the path, you’ll change the behavior.
  • Often troublemakers have the illusion that their defiant behavior makes them folk heroes. They can be deflated quickly by frank peer feedback.
  • Once the data were in, the hatred faded.
  • One IT group adopted the “sterile cockpit” concept to advance an important software project.
  • The goal was to give coders a sterile cockpit, allowing them to concentrate on complex bits of coding without being derailed by periodic interruptions.
  • It wasn’t the people who changed; it was the situation. What looks like a people problem is often a situation problem.
  • people have discovered that, when it comes to changing their own behavior, environmental tweaks beat self-control every time.
  • by rearranging the furniture in her office, Tucker made herself into a different “kind of person.
  • There is something satisfying about outsmarting ourselves. (By now, you realize what “outsmarting ourselves” means—that our Riders are outsmarting our Elephants.)
  • Poof—you have made a dangerous behavior impossible.
  • We didn’t mention their Elephants or their Riders. We simply tweaked the environment to make bad behavior impossible.
  • what looks like a “character problem” is often correctible when you change the environment.
  • Simple tweaks of the Path can lead to dramatic changes in behavior.
  • our environment acts on us is by reinforcing (or deterring) our habits.
  • action triggers can have a profound power to motivate people to do the things they know they need to do
  • the value of action triggers resides in the fact that we are preloading a decision.
  • By preloading the decision, we conserve the Rider’s self-control.
  • Action triggers simply have to be specific enough and visible enough to interrupt people’s normal stream of consciousness.
  • Gollwitzer says that, in essence, what action triggers do is create an “instant habit.” Habits are behavioral autopilot, and that’s exactly what action triggers are setting up.
  • By preloading a decision, they created an instant habit.
  • Instant habits. This is a rare point of intersection between the aspirations of self-help and the reality of science. And you can’t get much more practical. The next time your team resolves to act in a new way, challenge team members to take it further. Have them specify when and where they’re going to put the plan in motion. Get them to set an action trigger.
  • Leaders who can instill habits that reinforce their teams’ goals are essentially making progress for free. They’ve changed behavior in a way that doesn’t draw down the Rider’s reserves of self-control.
  • Habits will form inevitably, whether they’re formed intentionally or not.
  • The peer group has great power.
  • The habit needs to advance the mission,
  • The habit needs to be relatively easy to embrace. If it’s too hard, then it creates its own independent change problem.
  • she asked herself, “Which parts of this chaos can I tame? What kind of morning routine can I set up that will improve the chances that the kids are ready to learn?
  • A change leader thinks, “How can I set up a situation that brings out the good in these people?
  • we’ve encountered two strategies: (1) tweaking the environment and (2) building habits. There’s a tool that perfectly combines these two strategies. It’s something that can be added to the environment in order to make behavior more consistent and habitual. That tool is the humble checklist. We discuss it with some trepidation, because we know the associations buzzing in most readers’ heads: mundane, routine, bureaucratic.
  • checklists can be game-changing,
  • Even when there is no ironclad right way to do things, checklists can help people avoid blind spots in a complex environment.
  • Checklists provide insurance against overconfidence.
  • People fear checklists because they see them as dehumanizing
  • They think if something is simple enough to be put in a checklist, a monkey can do it. Well, if that’s true, grab a pilot’s checklist and try your luck with a 747. Checklists simply make big screwups less likely.
  • It’s easier to persevere on a long journey when you’re traveling with a herd.
  • Why do groups fail to respond as well as individuals? In ambiguous situations—smoke pouring into a room, the apparent sound of a fall—people look to others for cues about how to interpret the event.
  • We all talk about the power of peer pressure, but “pressure” may be overstating the case. Peer perception is plenty.
  • In this entire book, you might not find a single statement that is so rigorously supported by empirical research as this one: You are doing things because you see your peers do them. It’s not only your body-pierced teen who follows the crowd. It’s you, too. Behavior is contagious.
  • you want to change things, you have to pay close attention to social signals, because they can either guarantee a change effort or doom it.
  • In situations where your herd has embraced the right behavior, publicize it.
  • For instance, if 80 percent of your team submits time sheets on time, make sure the other 20 percent knows the group norm.
  • The campaign had two goals. The first was to create a mocking label for sugar-daddy behavior.
  • The second goal of the campaign was to encourage “interventions” by outsiders—friends, relatives, teachers, even waitresses—by modeling the behavior in the radio spots. The message was: “It’s your responsibility to look out for these young women. Protect your loved ones from a Fataki!
  • the underlying dynamics: You want certain people to act differently, but they are resistant to the change. So you rally the support of others who in turn could influence those you hope to sway. In essence, it’s an attempt to change the culture, and culture often is the linchpin of successful organizational change.
  • For the interns, social status was at stake. The interns felt they wouldn’t be respected if they embraced the signout. Change was coming into conflict with culture, and let’s face it, a new rule is no match for a culture.
  • teams were meeting in the computer lounge, where lots of people who opposed reform could overhear their conversation, which led reform-minded members to self-censor.
  • At Beta, the afternoon rounds were irrelevant to the change. At Alpha, they became the spark, and the rounds became, in essence, underground resistance meetings.
  • Researchers who study social movements call situations like these “free spaces”—small-scale meetings where reformers can gather and ready themselves for collective action without being observed by members of the dominant group. Free spaces often play a critical role in facilitating social change.
  • Some people are old school and say, “I’m going to do it myself.” For me, it is the team that is going to take care of everything.
  • Every culture, whether national or organizational, is shaped powerfully by its language.
  • At Alpha, the reformers had the space and the language needed to brew a new identity. At Beta, they didn
  • If you want to change the culture of your organization, you’ve got to get the reformers together. They need a free space. They need time to coordinate outside the gaze of the resisters.
  • First, you need to tweak the environment to provide a free space for discussion.
  • Second, you should build good habits. Recall the idea of action triggers—visualizing when and where you are going to do something important.
  • As a leader, you can help prod them to create this language, to find ways to articulate what is different and better about the change you seek.
  • what about the situational forces?
  • individual character competed with situational forces, and situational forces won.
  • yes, a long journey starts with a single step, but a single step doesn’t guarantee the long journey.
  • To develop better relationships, you don’t need to know whether your colleague is a Navigator or a Pleaser or a Passive-Aggressive Chieftain. You just need to notice and reinforce your colleague’s positive behaviors
  • Reinforcement is the secret to getting past the first step of your long journey and on to the second, third, and hundredth
  • And that’s a problem, because most of us are terrible rein-forcers. We are quicker to grouse than to praise. At work, we love to bond with our colleagues through communal complaining.
  • Learning to spot and celebrate approximations requires us to scan the environment constantly, looking for little rays of sunshine, and it isn’t easy. Our Riders, by nature, focus on the negative. Problems are easy to spot; progress, much harder. But the progress is precious.
  • Kazdin urges parents to “catch their children being good.
  • reinforcement does require you to have a clear view of the destination, and it requires you to be savvy enough to reinforce the bright-spot behaviors when they happen.
  • Change isn’t an event; it’s a process.
  • To lead a process requires persistence.
  • Psychologists call one of them the mere exposure effect, which means that the more you’re exposed to something, the more you like it.
  • cognitive dissonance works in your favor. People don’t like to act in one way and think in another. So once a small step has been taken, and people have begun to act in a new way, it will be increasingly difficult for them to dislike the way they’re acting.
  • although inertia may be a formidable opponent in the early goings of your switch, at some point inertia will shift from resisting change to supporting it.
  • Their situations were different, and the scale of their changes was different, but the pattern was the same. They directed the Rider, they motivated the Elephant, and they shaped the Path. And now it’s your pattern.
  • Don’t overanalyze and play to the weaknesses of the Rider. Instead, find a feeling that will get the Elephant moving.
  • Create a destination postcard. That way, the Rider starts analyzing how to get there rather than whether anything should be done
  • Simplify the problem by scripting the critical moves: What’s your equivalent of the 1% milk campaign?
  • The old pattern is powerful, so make sure to script the critical moves, because ambiguity is the enemy.
  • Problem: I know what I should be doing, but I’m not doing it. Advice: 1. Knowing isn’t enough. You’ve got an Elephant problem. 2. Think of the 5-Minute Room Rescue. Starting small can help you overcome dread. What is the most trivial thing that you can do—right at this moment—that would represent a baby step toward the goal?
  • Behavior is contagious. Get someone else involved with you so that you can reinforce each other.
  • Motivate the Elephant by reminding people how much they’ve already accomplished (like putting two stamps on their car-wash cards).
  • Teach the growth mindset. Every success is going to involve rough patches.
  • www.switchthebook.com/resources
  • Good metaphors are “generative.” The psychologist Donald Schon introduced this term to describe metaphors that generate “new perceptions, explanations, and inventions.” Many simple sticky ideas are actually generative metaphors in disguise.

Trillions: Thriving in the Emerging Information Ecology

  • Once these trends get past their initial chaotic stage, they will quickly coalesce into something new and disruptive: an environment of computation. Not computation that we use, but computation that we live in.
  • The book is really about people—how we might arrange for them to live well in this new kind of built environment,
  • In other words, it is about design. Exactly what that means, and what it takes to be an effective designer is a topic that needs a fresh look in each technological epoch.
  • a belief—at the very heart of MAYA’s approach to design—that the problems we and our clients now face are beyond the ken of any one disciplinary tradition.
  • a few of us are ready to bite the bullet and start the trip, even if it means reversing some hard-won progress and then mapping a whole new territory.
  • Our name, “MAYA”—an acronym standing for “Most Advanced Yet Acceptable”—is an homage to Raymond Loewy,
  • Behind all the great material inventions of the last century and a half was not merely a long internal development of technics: There was also a change of mind.
  • difference between complexity-as-mechanism and complexity-as-software. The former represents a unit cost, and the latter is what is known as a nonrecurring engineering expense (NRE).
  • That seed is connectivity.
  • All computing is about data-in and data-out.
  • we already have a network. But as long as the dominant transport mechanism of that network involves human attention and effort, the revolution will be deferred.
  • Its significance is that it hinted at a swarm of relatively simple devices directly intercommunicating where no single point of failure can bring down the whole system.
  • During the hegemony of the PC, it was difficult for most people to see the distinction between medium and message.
  • “The scientific man has above all things to strive at self-elimination in his judgments,” wrote Karl Pearson in 1892.
  • Why is this important? The obvious answer is that simple, logical rules are easier to learn than complex, idiosyncratic ones.
  • the transfer of learning that results from a high level of consistency more than makes up for the disadvantages associated with a one-size-fits-all approach to design.
  • But the biggest advantage accruing from such a rigorous framework (or from any other widely-accepted architectural framework) is that it forms the basis of a community of practice.
  • As a whole society struggled together to figure out these strange new machines, having everybody trying to sing the same song was of inestimable value.
  • In design . . . the vision precedes the proof. A fine steel building is never designed by starting to figure the stresses and strains of the steel. We must get off the ground with an impulse strong enough to make our building stand up, high and shining and definite, in our mind’s eye, before we ever put pencil to paper in the matter. When we see it standing whole, it will be time enough to put its form on paper and begin to think about the steel that will hold it up.
  • The prize to those who correctly discern the large-scale trends is the opportunity to influence and profit from those details.
  • we will sketch out a future computing landscape based upon the trillion-node network. This picture has three basic facets: (1) fungible devices, (2) liquid information, and (3) a genuine cyberspace.
  • It is not the physical similarity that is important; it is the functional equivalence that matters.
  • Although the Internet has continued in its role as the “spinal cord”
  • A great deal of information flows through ad hoc, spontaneously self-organizing networks that function as “tributaries” to the Internet.
  • Storage devices, displays, and general computational resources will all be orthogonally composable.
  • This will be accomplished not by providing VGA and keyboard ports on the phone. Rather, “semantic interconnects” mediated by simple universal “information objects” will permit such operations to be mediated at the message-passing level.
  • To the extent that building blocks of a system are fungible, that system is easier to build, easier to maintain over time, and more likely to benefit from the positive forces of free market processes. This is the point of modular architectures of all kinds.
  • Fungibility builds markets and empowers users.
  • Instead of using deliberately incompatible designs and protocols, manufacturers must begin to see themselves and their products as participating in an ecology—an
  • in an information ecosystem, interoperability must become a sacrament.
  • The previous paragraph may seem trivial and simplistic, but it is the key to the path forward. The trick is to recognize that the set of all devices requiring only, say, two messages forms a class.
  • The answer to both problems involves one of the most basic patterns of nature: recursive decomposition. This is just a fancy way of saying that complex things should be built out of simple things.
  • the distinction between devices and information.
  • This is indeed a big step forward, but in most cases the effect is more like the layering of one or more transparent acetates over a map than a true intermingling of independent data objects.
  • The Internet slices everything up into a bunch of little data containers called packets. The problem thus reduces to a relatively simple one of creating mechanisms for moving around packets. The strategy is the same as that seen in the use of standardized shipping containers for the transport of physical goods. Instead of having one system for moving machinery and another one for moving dry goods and so on, we simply put everything into standard containers, and then design all our cranes and trucks and ships and railcars to efficiently move those containers.
  • Achieving some basic degree of understanding among different computers to make automatization possible is not as technically difficult as it sounds. However, it does require one very difficult commodity: human consensus.
  • make their slices at semantic boundaries. So, for example, if a web page comprises a list of travel information about 50 cities, each city will tend to be given its own box. This, in turn, will tend to support the evolution of user interfaces that make it possible to tear off parts of visualizations that are of interest to the user. Such fragments of data could be mixed and matched and caused to flow into tight spaces of the pervasive computing world,
  • In Gibson’s stories, cyberspace is accessed via a “consensual hallucination” produced by a machine
  • one can travel and occasionally bump into “objects” in the form of radio channels.
  • There is no sense of “distance” in the web model. One can ask how many clicks it takes to get from one web page to another, but beyond that, it makes little sense to ask how “far apart” they are.7
  • We have made up for this randomness with the miracle of Google.
  • real places8—places where you could put what amounted to real things. It didn’t take a lot of imagination to picture multiuser versions of the game in which people could “go” to meet and collaborate
  • It is as if every piece of real estate in the world somehow had an undiscovered companion lot right next to it, waiting for development. How valuable would some of those lots be?
  • Tolkien (who wrote extensively on similar topics) called himself a “subcreator”—the builder of a reality embedded in the larger one provided by nature.
  • Middle Earth is artificial, but once created can we really say that it is not real? We think not.
  • what is true of literature is true of cyberspace: It is synthetic, but it is quite real.
  • The promise of such interactions is not just about computing as such, but about the blending of the digital and physical world into one seamless whole.
  • are “topological” in nature. A true cyberspace can support “topographic” distances.
  • Implicit in the ideal of the Internet is the existence of a free, open, distributed, seamless public information space. This ideal is directly at odds with the idea of “applications” as the fundamental building block of the “platform” for worldwide computing.
  • The browser is in fact a meta-application, aspiring to be the “last application.” That is to say, it aspires to be The Platform of the Future. This is all well and good.
  • Progress in the realm of designing and interacting with data objects virtually ceased, its potential all but forgotten.
  • If the power of the press is limited to those who own the presses, the web has not fundamentally improved the situation.
  • The World Wide Web was created at a Swiss physics lab, and its ostensive original purpose was to permit scientists to more easily share drafts of scientific papers without the need for mediation by a central “publisher.”
  • client/server interests are deeply vested, and users remain emasculated.
  • server’s data silo. This fact has two primary negative consequences: (1) When data flow together and intermingle, their quality and value multiply.
  • Exponential growth can balance out many deficiencies, even those as egregious as the way we run the web.
  • the net effect is that everyone—sellers and buyers alike—are having such an overwhelmingly good time with the good parts, that it is difficult to even begin a conversation about the merits of roads not followed.
  • direct manipulation of data objects is struggling back onto the user interface scene.
  • Apple’s Applescript scripting language and its Quartz Composer visual programming environment, although platform-specific and limited largely to technically savvy developers, provide a glimpse of the future of software development.
  • Enthusiasm among the digerati for the Semantic Web, although naive in the extreme, is illustrative of a widespread understanding that the future lies in the separation of data from presentation.
  • Propeller-driven airplanes were advancing steadily toward the speed of sound. None, however, ever reached it. Achieving that goal took new thinking and new architectures.
  • Inverting the notion of computing: From information “in” in the machine to applications, people, environments, and devices being “in” the information.
  • Each “story box” is carefully rendered to look like a “thing”—separate from all the other things on the page. It is almost as if users could “clip” the stories that interest them and “paste” them into a scrapbook of accumulated knowledge for later reference. Almost.
  • This little thought experiment illustrates that the web is a long way from information centricity.
  • Even better, you could create new empty pages to be used as containers for your stuff—dragging things that interest you and making new pages that you can save and share with your friends. And, of course, just as with pictures, you can drag articles, videos, and even entire tabs onto your desktop, into e-mail messages, or anywhere else that strikes your fancy. Suddenly, all of your data have ceased being mere pixels on a screen, and have turned into well-defined, concrete things, and things can be moved, arranged, counted, sorted, shared and subject to human creativity. The data have been liberated. They have become liquid. It is hard to overstate the significance of this seemingly small step.
  • The act of moving from a world in which the data are in the apps to one in which the apps are applied to the data has profound effects on the potential for interoperability across apps.
  • When a public information space blossoms, it will be the Mother of All Datasets. It will give rise to the Mother of All Platforms.
  • A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals.
  • “At Google, we like to launch early, launch often, and to iterate our products. Occasionally, this means we have to re-evaluate our efforts and make difficult decisions to be sure we focus on products that make the most sense for our users.”
  • What happens when popular “free” media-sharing sites like Flickr or Picassa or YouTube stop producing value for their owners’ stockholders and get taken down? Sterling companies like Yahoo! and Google wouldn’t do that, you might say. They most certainly would, we reply. Not just “would”—will.
  • to be choosing (or that we were having chosen for us): “Take the Net, mix it with the fanciest TV, add a simple way to buy things, and that’s pretty much it.”
  • Why are we going backwards? The simple answer is that we’re incorporating badly designed complexity into virtually everything.
  • we’re incorporating badly designed complexity into virtually everything. Most people’s experience will jibe with this statement: “Computerizing any device makes it far more complex than it was before, and the predictable side-effects of that complexity are that the device becomes harder to use and its reliability goes down.”
  • dim glimpses of looming disaster. Put bluntly, we are heading, as a civilization, toward a cliff. The cliff has a name, but it is rarely spoken. Its name is complexity.
  • Put bluntly, we are heading, as a civilization, toward a cliff. The cliff has a name, but it is rarely spoken. Its name is complexity.
  • Today, our time and attention are drained daily by products that force consumers to understand technical things they shouldn’t have to think about. And it’s about to get much worse. We tell ourselves that this goes hand in hand with progress. It doesn’t, but manufacturers with quarterly profit targets need us to accept that story.
  • it depends on the “cost” of failure or an error.
  • is there a point where countless annoyances become equivalent to one death?
  • We could live with it, though we shouldn’t have to.
  • the limitless extension of our current technologies, then we have to consider the possibility (among many others) of people dying in skyscrapers because some pervasive, emergent, undesigned property of a building’s systems—or an entire city’s systems—starts a chaotic cascade of failures.
  • complexity is never free.
  • We are about to meld superminiaturized computing and communication devices into the very fabric of the physical world, ushering in the age of Trillions. This will create a planetary ocean of awareness and intelligence with the potential to transform civilization.
  • it will make us vastly more dependent upon digital technology than we are right now. More importantly, the technology itself will be vastly more dependent upon the core design principles and engineering intelligence of its creators.
  • Complexity itself is inevitable. Dysfunctional complexity isn’t.
  • If complexity is our destiny, and ill-designed complexity is the death of us, what does well-designed complexity look like? It should look a lot like life.
  • In life, limitless complexity is layered upon carefully constrained simplicity.
  • long as the owner of that “place” possesses the resources and the will to maintain the pointer. And we all know that this will not be forever. Sooner or later, all links on the World Wide Web will go dead.7
  • We need an entirely new information architecture that is designed from the bottom up to support the key qualities that our paper-book system gave us: namely, information liquidity and massive replication.
  • The very heart of the miracle that is the Internet is that it is able to establish virtual connections between literally any two computers in the world such that they can communicate directly with each other.
  • The other main virtue of the old cloud was that nobody owned it. It wasn’t the Microsoft Cloud or the Apple Cloud or the Google Cloud or the Amazon Cloud. It was just the Internet.
  • The one and only Cloud of Information, property of Humanity.
  • appliances” that would have no local “state” at all. There would be nothing to configure because these machines wouldn’t have anything “in” them. Instead they would be “in” the information—in
  • those activities made a great deal of sense, culturally and technically. Unfortunately, both were also political landmines.
  • Visage. Another project dating from this period sharing a similar vision (although a very different technical approach) is the OceanStore project from UC Berkeley.
  • the GRIS model is based on radically distributed computing in which all network nodes—peers—are both clients and servers that transact with each other directly.
  • Like most successful complex systems, it works in a way that compares well to nature.
  • every component is a part of a sustainable ecosystem.
  • The real cloud has the deep virtue of being able to bootstrap from zero infrastructure while remaining scalable without bound.
  • The real cloud is made of information itself, and computing devices are transducers that make information visible and useful in various ways.
  • One of the essential roles of communities of practice of all kinds is to serve as reservoirs of the accumulated wisdom of their communities.
  • Building codes do not themselves have force of law (although they are often included by reference in municipal building laws and regulations). However, apprentice tradespeople are trained from the beginning to treat them with sacramental reverence.
  • it would scale gracefully—that is, grow arbitrarily without deforming or breaking its architecture. It could do that because its architecture was rigorously modular and because its designers did the math before they wrote the code.
  • Programmers are the gods of the microworlds they create, and this status, along with the puzzle-solving appeal of the work itself, has produced a global culture of devotees who hunger for influence and approval, and who know just enough to create code that others find useful.
  • It is fair to say that a large percentage of production software comes into existence via a process that shares many of the worst aspects of both traditional craft-based production and of serial manufacture. Most software is produced by a small group or even an individual, with little separation between conception and realization. But it shares with serial production the fact that, unlike the craftsperson, the programmer tends to produce a given product only once.
  • A working piece of code is almost never reimplemented from scratch the way a potter repeatedly throws ceramic vessels on a wheel.
  • software is more like literature than like a physical artifact: Its quality varies widely with the talents of the individual creator.
  • it’s just part of what happens in the world.
  • Abstraction can be a powerful tool, but it can also lead to heads buried in the sand.
  • It is almost certainly true that the bazaar process will be faster and cheaper than the cathedral process, but only if you want to end up with a bazaar rather than a cathedral. Cathedrals focus communities, lift spirits, inspire greatness of many kinds, and for centuries were a driving force in the advancement of building technology. Bazaars just go on—essentially without change.
  • The digerati and geek culture are the vanguard of a computer-dominated future10 in which technology is a pleasurable end in itself.
  • How can you be content to use a computer like a typewriter when it could do anything?
  • The digerati are like the star child at the end of Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey: “For though he was master of the world, he was not quite sure what to do next. But he would think of something.”
  • We get the enchantment of computing; we just don’t expect our neighbors or our children’s classmates’ parents to get it.
  • Design the whole thing much better than we do today.
  • Technologically, open source is inherently conservative.
  • the promulgation of “free” versions of mainstream tools—Linux for Unix, MySQL for Microsoft SQL Server, and so on—reduces the economic incentives for people to attempt disruptive innovation. Thus even the market mechanisms of open source tend to reinforce the status quo.
  • There is such a thing as the wisdom of crowds, but it is an inherently conservative wisdom. A crowd can tread a meandering cowpath into a highway. What it will never do, however, is decide to dig a tunnel through the mountain to shorten the path, or to leave the mountain altogether for a better one.
  • parasitism (good for one, bad for the other) or commensalism (good for one, does no harm to the other) in symbiotic
  • How do you find important patterns in a sea of information when a global, top-down view is impossible?
  • If you think of an architecture as the blueprint for how to define all the constants and variables in a system, you can find no better example of the power of architecture than the Periodic Table of the Elements.
  • One of the powerful things about architectural frameworks like this is that they confer predictive powers and help us future-proof our endeavors.
  • it gave us generativity, which is an example of what we call beautiful complexity.
  • The information stored in libraries is massively replicated in the form of books. Literary citations don’t point to individual copies—any copy of Moby-Dick will resolve a link request.
  • We can recognize this beautiful complexity because it is built on a few powerful structural (or “architectural”) principles. These include hierarchy, modularity, redundancy, and generativity.
  • layered semantics. The levels below don’t need to “know” how they will be used by the layers above or what those higher layers do.
  • in the design of complex systems, one of the important, and often difficult, tasks is to identify the best boundaries between the layers of the hierarchy—to find the natural joints.
  • In naturally evolving systems, the boundaries emerge over a long time in response to functional needs, such as the requirements of replication or growth.
  • component and a complex system)
  • over time, hierarchical layers and their boundaries become well established when they support the system’s survival—its creation, its modification or adaptation, its performance.
  • If every time we wanted to develop a better fuel delivery system (e.g., fuel injector versus carburetor) we had to redesign all the way down to the level of pistons and bearing journals, evolutionary progress would be stymied.
  • There were once two watchmakers, named Hora and Tempus, who manufactured very fine watches.
  • Through hierarchical means, complex systems can evolve—part by part, level by level—to adapt to changing conditions and shifting needs. And in designing to this advantage it is important to consider, not just the hierarchy itself, but the number and size of the layers, and to get the boundaries between layers in the right places.
  • Not everything is hierarchical, and you can’t assume that systems can be completely decomposed without losing some critical essence.
  • we have to plan for unbounded complexity.
  • Generally, a module is a standardized part or unit that can be used to construct a more complex structure.
  • A system with few distinctly shaped parts enables a vast variety of distinct creations.5
  • Redundancy may seem inefficient at some level, but it turns out to be a critical optimization if your goal is long-term resilience.
  • Architectural theorists proposed generative “form grammars” by which they characterized practicing architects as generating building forms through a set of hierarchical rules. While no working architect may admit to consciously invoking generative rules, the notion of an architectural form-generation process maintains its viability.
  • The well-worn practice of designing just states (products, devices, messages) will not do to satisfy such a demand. We will have to also get good at designing processes by which people author and tune the digital environment in which they live.
  • we are not merely copiers, we are subcreators—we need to understand the rules that give rise to the systems we create.
  • While patterns found in Nature inspire us and give us ideas for how to build things, they are not the end but rather the beginning of the story. Design, as a practice, continues the tale.
  • a trimtab—it is the rudder’s rudder. By changing the angle of that little device, just enough turning force is created to counteract the direction of the ocean current and keep the ship moving at the intended bearing. The realization that he was just one small part of a very large system, but that he could change the world by consciously applying design techniques to solve problems at the point of greatest leverage, was profound, and for Fuller, life saving. When asked what he was, rather than answering with a typical discipline descriptor such as engineer, or architect, he liked to say, “I am not a noun, I seem to be a verb.”
  • Structured methods have been developed for sensing problems, defining problems, and solving problems. But they also help us with elements of drama, surprise, and satisfaction. And because many of these specializations rely on the visual language of design, they are spatial and holistic at their core.
  • HEARING HISTORY RHYME
  • recurring paradox of great technological revolutions: increased productive power coupled with a seeming loss of judgment about how to use that power—about making the right products.
  • Charles Eames, accounted for this problem—an eternally recurring problem in his mind—in terms of constraint and restraint. He believed that one or the other was a necessary condition for good design.
  • good design decisions are increasingly influenced by the need to be context dependent and dynamic.
  • We come to understand that the natural world, paintings, and software interfaces are all information designs. They all get their diversity and harmony, their variety and coherence, from the interplay of constants and variables in both appearance and behavior.
  • What constitutes “good design” is always contextual, and never more so than in the case of complex, rapidly changing systems.
  • designers of the new world force technical complexities upon users, burdening them with the intricacies of whatever arbitrary designs pop into their heads and forcing them to suppress their natural gifts for functioning in the real world—the accumulated endowment of a million years of evolution.
  • Like anything else immature, high technology tends to be amazed by itself and to want to call constant attention to its own wondrous powers. The powers are wondrous, but they are also supremely ugly—ugly because they continue to demand that human beings become computer literate when, by all that is right and just, computers should be becoming human literate.
  • times of revolution must equally inevitably be followed by more deliberate, more evolutionary periods during which the technologies are tamed, the possibilities are explored and sorted out, and mastery is sought and attained. It is during such periods that design assumes center stage.
  • hire designers who are not only experts in their chosen fields, but who value doing great work more than they value winning arguments.
  • Draw What You Mean
  • Our prediction is that on Trillions Mountain everyone involved in building new experiences, new services, new connected things, and new business models (not just designers but business leaders and even customers) will draw as a basic literacy of collaboration (Figure 5.10).
  • the most advanced schools of design and the most successful technology firms are re-immersing themselves in the challenging but satisfying discipline of making, and using this experience as the glue that bonds the interests of people from across a variety of disciplines. I attribute this to the leap in scope and interconnectedness that is being recognized in contemporary design problems combined with the radically lowered costs of prototyping complex products—and not just the form, but prototyping those actions, behaviors, and component relationships that represent the joint efforts of several disciplines.
  • it is possible to partially isolate some aspects of a design solution—the appearance of a graphical user interface from its behavior, for example, or the development of back-end capabilities. We call this method parallel prototyping, and it works marvelously well as long as the designer remembers two things: that parallel prototyping is iterative with incremental gains in knowledge and understanding, and that, eventually, parallel prototypes have to give way to a holistic prototype of the entire designed experience
  • “If it’s about the relationships of things to things, it’s engineering; if it’s about the relationships of people to people, it’s the social sciences; but if it’s about the relationships between people and things, it’s design.”
  • the same old problems and questions: Does the form of the solution grow naturally out of the materials and processes of the solution? Is the design sustainable, and are valuable resources preserved? And mainly, are people better with or happier having the design at their disposal than they were without
  • You can imagine—and may have even experienced—an example of a time in which two strong-willed innovators are at each other’s throats. They encode and process and present information differently. But what you discover when you work at this form of collaboration is that those supposedly great differences are actually superficial.
  • “having a violent agreement.”
  • Analogues to such moments are also found in the actions of great leaders, whose actions usually lead, not to the dismissal of one view or another but the discovery of a third way.
  • When smart people from different disciplines hang around with each other, share ideas, teach each other, and solve problems together, it exercises collaborative muscles and creates a professional context that you learn, over time, to trust—because it works.
  • A rigorously interdisciplinary setting gives people the potential to detect valuable patterns that more vertically oriented teams might not see. One reason is simply that they experience and learn to appreciate many points of view and are thereby exposed to many more samples of reality.
  • “The future is already here, it’s just unevenly distributed.”
  • In 1996, Robert F. Curl, Jr., Sir Harold W. Koto, and Richard E. Smalley were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their discovery of buckyballs in 1985.
  • but the Internet is a public communications utility.
  • GRIS is a massively replicated, distributed ocean of information objects, brought into existence by shared agreement on a few simple (very simple) conventions for identifying, storing, and sharing small “boxes” of data, and by a consensual, peer-to-peer scheme by which users—institutional and individual—agree to store and share whichever subset of these boxes they find useful—as well as others that just happen to come their way.
  • the idea of putting data in particular devices (be they removable media, disk drives, or distant pseudo-“cloud” server farms) will rapidly begin to fade. Taking its place will be something new in the world: definite “things” without definite locations.
  • We are as gods, we might as well get good at it.
  • its development is guided by principled design science, technology and information will coalesce into a coherent, evolutionary, organic whole—a working information model of and for the world.
  • A genuine design science—along the lines of what Buckminster Fuller had in mind—will need to be put into practice. Fuller called his approach Comprehensive Anticipatory Design Science.
  • Stepping back and seeing how all the elements interact. Thinking about the entire system, rather than some local issue. Fuller teaches us that if you understand the whole and also some of the parts, you will be able to infer more of the parts.
  • Design is,
  • it is the systematic attempt to affect the future.
  • The natural sciences—physics, biology, chemistry, and astronomy—deal with what is. Design science deals with what might be. Its domain is human artifice in all its forms, the artificial world rather than the natural world.
  • First, measuring something does not kill it.
  • opposite—the deeper the understanding, the greater the wonder.
  • in every science our knowledge is imperfect and limited.
  • Human needs and desires defy simple classification, and no matter how rationalized it is, design is always for and about people.
  • One should consider the design process as one of using up degrees of freedom. At every stage of the process, one makes choices that embrace certain options and close off others.
  • of field research, user studies, and digital prototypes. We had come to realize that we needed to understand the long-term ecology of our system—the interactions and dependencies among the people, the places, the papers, and the information they held. So during the project we turned all of MAYA into a mock-paperless office.
  • Making—through iterative, frequent, parallel prototyping—is a design method that turns indistinct dreams into tangible goals in record time.
  • We need to remind ourselves that even though we may have some prowess in making things right, we need to put equal emphasis on making the right things.
  • Design on Trillions Mountain will incorporate: Deeply interdisciplinary methods Focusing on humans Interaction physics Information-centric interaction design Computation in Context
  • the interstices between disciplines are always where the action is. It is where the best practitioners go to invent the future.
  • Depth isn’t achieved by sprinkling on interdisciplinary fairy dust. It requires a thorough transformation of professional practice.
  • at the end of the day it wasn’t our passions or our debating skills or even the trust that won the day—it was those 100,000 lines of code.
  • As the information itself takes center stage and the devices that mediate the information recede into the woodwork (sometimes literally), the user experience ceases to be a direct consequence of the design of individual devices. Instead, it becomes an emergent property—a complex interaction that is difficult to measure and even more difficult to design. Studying one product in isolation, unconnected from its “social life,” will no longer suffice.
  • Larry Tesler’s Law of Conservation of Complexity states, “You cannot reduce the complexity of a given task beyond a certain point. Once you’ve reached that point, you can only shift the burden around.”
  • All of science is based on cycles of HYPOTHESIS >> MODEL >> TEST >> NEW HYPOTHESIS,
  • check out some first guesses about how a user will perceive her options.
  • Later still may come preference interviews regarding the more superficial aspects of the design, where preference is the issue.
  • In all cases, care is taken that divergent paths be preserved so that the structure of the “space of possibilities” is not lost.
  • The reason for this is that the goal is not to converge on a single product. Rather, it is to evolve an architecture that defines an entire family of potential products.
  • What happens to a number when you let go of it? When an idea becomes important, does it look any different?
  • Our collective goal must be convergence toward a unified user experience. A common interaction physics is the golden path to this goal.
  • A consistent physics provides the trust that “this thing I put down today will still be there tomorrow.” Such trust is the foundation for our ability to build new things.
  • superstitious behavior is extremely common in users of complex software.
  • When users engage with a system, they naturally try to form mental models of how it operates. These models evolve with experience as each user plays a kind of guessing game with the system—trying to learn the rules of the game.
  • interaction physics implies strict self-consistency, it does not necessarily imply consistency with nature. There must be a physics, but not necessarily the physics.
  • if all we did was slavishly copy nature, what would we have gained? In such an environment, how far can we push the physics? Where will the Most Advanced become Unacceptable?
  • What computers let us do that paper never could is to dynamically change the form while maintaining the underlying identity of an information object.
  • information-centric interaction design is intimately related to the ideas of persistent object identity and of cyberspace
  • First, the physical context allows us to make our devices responsive to their actual, real-world locations. Second, the device context concerns the relations among information-processing systems as such—machines talking to other machines. Finally, computing systems have an information context. The study of information contexts is the province of the discipline of information architecture, which the next chapter will explore in detail but in brief may be defined as the design of information entities abstracted from the machines that process them.
  • a future in which computing devices float freely in a vast sea of data objects—objects whose existence and identity are quite distinct from those of the devices that process them. In this world, the data have been liberated from the devices and have claimed center stage.
  • From this view, computing devices are seen as merely “transducers”—a sort of perceptual prosthesis. We need them in order to see and manipulate data just as we need special goggles to see infrared light. In both cases, it is the perception that is of interest, not the mediating device.
  • Services exist that extend this concept to other kinds of data, allowing appointments, to-do lists, and even editable text documents to exist as coordinated replicates on any number of mobile devices and desktops simultaneously.
  • The sea of data will be far from homogenous. Natural patterns of human and machine interaction, as well as deliberate data replication, will create currents and eddies of data flow within the larger sea.
  • we must acknowledge the user as a teleological force—the source of purpose and meaning for the system, guiding it from the outside.
  • No amount of clever hacking will achieve our goals unless it is layered on top of a common model of identity and reference.
  • until we start treating information as objects, we will be stuck in an ever-growing pool of informational quicksand.
  • In the broadest sense, architecture refers to what might be called metadesign —that is, the stepping back from mere design to consider the deeper patterns in entire families of designs.
  • abstraction is at the very core of the art of taming complexity.
  • When Wright used the term organic architecture, he meant the discipline of designing buildings with an intrinsic integrity that stems from Architecture with a capital “A.” Buildings (or any other designed objects) that are informed by such a conception of Architecture will harmonize not only with nature but also with each other. Implicit in this way of thinking is the supposition that these rules are discovered, not invented. They are “out there,” existing a priori waiting to be found.
  • an intrinsically self-consistent model of the house completely separated from any particular view of it.
  • The metaphor of a parametric CAD-style model for cyberspace can help us crystallize the fog of information.
  • the only remaining alternative to chaos is the loose but pervasive consensual shared agenda that we refer to as deep Architecture.
  • There is a danger: A dominant style can cause one to accept designs without examining their consequences.
  • Architectural thinking should be particularly attractive to business leaders because it is the one true path to genuine and sustainable innovation.
  • For practitioners of Architecture (and their clients), there’s always more where that came from, and it doesn’t require starting over from scratch; the next innovation follows naturally from adjusting the parameters of the principles already put into play.
  • We often confuse information with the form it takes, but information itself has no form.
  • Information architecture is the specification of abstract patterns governing the relationships among information objects. Of course, all information is itself abstract, so IA represents a second order of abstraction—patterns of patterns.
  • books have a great deal of design—much of it having nothing to do with appearance. When an author organizes topics into an outline, that is an act of design. The choice of voice and expository tone are design issues. None of these things are “content,” they are decisions that structure and organize the content.
  • books don’t just have design; they also have Architecture.
  • there are patterns that transcend the design of any single book. We structure books into chapters. We start them with prefaces and end them with epilogues. We put tables of contents in front and indexes in the back. These are decisions that float above not just the content, but also above the design. They are acts of information architecture.
  • The bottom line was that the user interface decisions would be associated with the user, not with each device. Users could literally carry their UI preferences in their pockets.
  • The goal was not actual commercialization, but to provide a concrete product context that would require us to do some deep work about the Architecture of user interfaces at the intersection of information and atoms—to understand and describe data types (continuous, discrete, binary, etc.), decision sequences (to save, or autosave?), kinesthetic principles (point, push, slide, twist, etc.)—all the actions and feedback elements of user interfaces that we commonly encounter in a multitude of combinations and permutations.
  • (In a practical implementation, such adaptors would provide a transitional technology until “PUC native” devices started to appear.)
  • we configured a PUC controller device so that it requested the control description from any PUC-aware system within wireless range and dynamically assembled a user interface to control these devices.
  • the improvement across product types demonstrates the extra benefit an Architectural approach brings to an experience.
  • “How does one design an emergent property?” We are now prepared to offer an answer. It involves two steps: First, develop and perfect an architecture. Second, subject your architecture to market forces.
  • Architecture and evolutionary processes are the Yin and the Yang of complexity design.
  • The bible is the show’s architecture. It is not a script. You can’t watch it. But it provides coherence and continuity across episodes.
  • All true sciences have two facets: the observational and the theoretical.
  • If design science is going to be more than mere pretension, it must develop work products that exhibit the same powers of abstraction and generalization as do the differential equations of the physicist and the periodic table of the chemist. As we hope we have made clear, capital “A” Architecture is the medium for such generalization.
  • As we face the task of sculpting a future of unprecedented complexity, Architectural principle will sketch the outlines and market forces will fill in the innumerable details.
  • Any person or firm that desires to be an active participant in creating, influencing, or making money from the information ecology will have to become familiar with ecological principles and the properties of ecologies.
  • Each actor has an essential freedom of action, and so is free to discover and exploit locally available resources that would have been overlooked and thus wasted by a system that relied upon centralized control. If you’re not fast, you become food. And there’s no begrudging the discarded waste that somebody else finds useful.
  • device architecture (DA). Made up of things like application program interfaces (APIs), modular packaging standards, and the like, the DA guides the evolution of the ever larger and more complex systems that will evolve within this new ecology. These architectures are not laws or any other kind of coercive mechanism. They work with carrots, not with sticks. They operate like the lines painted in a parking lot. Their mere presence tends to result in drivers doing the right thing all on their own. You don’t need traffic cops or physical barriers. You just need to establish the proper patterns.
  • good architecture is generative.
  • The best of them explore the underlying architecture of the problem and discover its hidden depths, ultimately giving them the agility and strategic reserves needed not only to play, but also to change, the game.
  • The skills involved are those of the surfer who sizes up patterns in a wave’s unalterable energy and rides them toward her own goals.
  • the entrepreneur with the insight to foresee a high-leverage branch-point in the chaotic but nonrandom processes of the marketplace and to capitalize upon it for self-profit and social progress.
  • It seems plausible that the kind of supply-chain transparency that such technologies make possible may become a routine and essential part of establishing and maintaining the provenance of even commodity products.
  • We are facing an engineering project as big as any that humanity has ever faced, but the system being engineered will be as much human as it is machine. The trick will be to insure that it is also humane.
  • microcommunities-of-interest exist in vast numbers and on just about every conceivable topic.
  • This democratization of access to specialized knowledge is where the real significance of social networking lies.
  • This function of vouching for authors will be at least as important in the new information ecology as it has been historically.
  • whether or not we choose to treat a modicum of privacy as a basic human right, we have to acknowledge it as a basic human need.
  • For all the wonders that pervasive computing will bring, it must be admitted that it will not in the natural course of things be very good for privacy. These negative side effects of a generally positive technological trend are analogous to the air and water pollution that inevitably accompanied industrialization. They can’t be entirely avoided, but they can and must be mitigated.
  • situational awareness technologies that are becoming practical every year are beginning to boggle the mind.
  • It was a simple, powerful concept that made sense to business users.
  • money is a carrier of information.
  • There are lots of different plumbing components in the hardware store—more than are strictly necessary. But they represent time-proven, cost-effective designs that emerged from a process that works better than any process involving central planning or attempts at grand unification.
  • we will finally be able to return to the normal pattern of “complex things built out of simpler things” that characterizes all competent engineering design.
  • We have long since reached this stage with more mature technologies, such as plumbing. While there are many realms of plumbing, consider just three: water pipes, gas tubing, and a garden hose. Most of the pipe and tubing that constitutes these realms falls in approximately the same range of scale—a fraction of an inch to a couple of inches in diameter. And, while all three do roughly the same thing—conduct a fluid along a controlled path—they are intentionally incompatible. This is accomplished by specifying slightly different diameters and incompatible screw threads at the connections (device interfaces)—a means for facilitating the adherence to various building codes. Of course, some interrealm connections are possible—you can connect a garden hose to a water pipe—but it takes an adapter.
  • When one can pick up a discarded newspaper on the subway and use it to check your e-mail, any sense of distance between space and cyberspace will have vanished.
  • that organization for its continued availability. In contrast, the Commons will be controlled by no one (although it probably will require some kind of nongovernmental organization to coordinate it). Its purpose will be less the accumulation of information than its organization. It will serve as a kind of a trellis upon which others may hang information (both free and proprietary).
  • Thus, to start with the most obvious and compelling example, it will maintain a definitive gazetteer of geopolitical and geophysical features.
  • It is not that we don’t already have such lists. The problem is that we have too many. They are compiled over and over for special purposes, they are often proprietary, rather than freely available, and they come in diverse formats and organizations, with idiosyncratic and mutually incompatible identifier schemes.
  • The existence of the trellis of the Commons will support the evolution of a web organized by topic.
  • The already-common disasters associated with too-big-to-fail centralized services will become ever more common and serious. As a result, it will begin to dawn on the public that the vulnerabilities that these events expose are not growing pains but are inherent in the model.
  • We cannot build such a world if all access to information is predicated upon real-time connectivity with remote, centralized servers. Two major changes will have to happen before there is much progress here: Peer-to-peer networking has to cease being thought of as synonymous with music stealing, and end-to-end encryption of consistently identified data objects must become routine. Once both of these milestones are reached, things will start to move quickly.
  • Entire new industries will be born around managing and visualizing people’s personal information spaces.
  • How might we evolve the Wikipedia model to support features requiring clear object identity and provenance (and thus make it acceptable for use in mission-critical situations, such as legislation and regulation) without killing the goose that laid the golden egg?
  • we believe taking it to the next level will require an equally bold experiment in distributed publication.
  • Of all the bad things that happen when things get too complex, perhaps the worst is that they become too complex to audit.
  • anything that is too complex to understand is inherently dangerous.
  • http://www.civium.org.
  • Creating generalized type systems of this sort is a known hard problem. Our answer is “don’t worry about it.” What is important is the framework, not the particulars.
  • Markets are better than designers at this kind of thing.
  • We have repeatedly employed a metaphor of climbing mountains to represent the familiar cycles of progress. Inevitably, we see long periods of local-hill-climbing within an established orthodoxy, punctuated by the occasional fundamental paradigm shift. The metaphor is rich, highlighting both the fact that each mountain is only so high, and also that higher mountains are very often clearly visible in the distance long before anyone other than adventurers is willing to journey to them.
  • Life is an adventure. Going there is not an option; it’s a done deal. We’re going there because “there” is the future.
  • the future will reward those who can resist the siren call of Moore’s Law and produce products and components that are designed to find their place in the evolving ecology, rather than attempting to dominate. Or, put differently, the very nature of dominance will be fundamentally different in the future.
  • The general point is that in the future, everything is going to be an accessory to everything else.
  • “big data.” The focus of the field is how all the information we capture across countless transactions can be converted into value.
  • In the age of Trillions, we will have at our disposal a nearly boundless data feed from the physical world’s ground truth to the liquid realm of cyberspace. In such a context, no skill will be more valuable than the creation of lucid, unbiased visualizations of complex information spaces. Indeed, at its core, the very notion of cyberspace is inseparably bound to that of visualization.
  • When groups of people can comprehend information rendered in different forms, and watch each other manipulate it as they experiment with hypotheses and “what-if” tests, the quality of insight increases significantly.3
  • High performing teams—when given collaborative visualization tools—build information literacy and collaborative interplay as they tune their tools—and their teams—to fit their business process.
  • An architectural model of information will provide a common framework for such mixed dialogue and decision making.
  • On Trillions Mountain, “smart” means understanding the architecture of a true cyberspace and the potential of a world where every manufactured thing is connected.
  • The only way to build good complexity is by combining simple, stable components in carefully designed layers. That’s the meaning of architectural thinking.
  • get in the practice of building dynamic simulations—even
  • We’ve spent a half-century believing that people should become computer literate. That’s precisely backward. Computing should become human literate.
  • people will no longer have the attention or patience to tolerate untamed complexity.
  • Prospero File System:
  • Tale of Two Watchmakers: Herbert A. Simon, “The Architecture of Complexity,” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 106, no. 6 (December 1962): 470.
  • Lego Technics: Gwendolyn D. Galsworth, Smart, Simple Design: Using Variety Effectiveness to Reduce Total Cost and Maximize Customer Selection
  • 101 Figure 4.7 Generative Sketching: Visual design educational materials created by Professor J. M. Ballay at the School of Design, Carnegie Mellon University.
  • Comprehensive Anticipatory Design Science: R. Buckminster Fuller, “A Comprehensive Anticipatory Design Science,” Journal-Royal Architectural Institute of Canada 34 (1957): 357.
  • three-dimensional document management system: S. K. Card, G. G. Robertson, and W. York, “The WebBook and the Web Forager: An Information Workspace for the World-Wide Web,” ACM Conference on Human Factors in Software (1996).
  • information-centric manipulation: P. Lucas, S. F. Roth, and C. Gomberg, “Visage: Dynamic Information Exploration,” paper presented at the Association of Computing Machinery, CHI ‘96 Conference, Vancouver, Canada (1996); P. Lucas and S. F. Roth, “Exploring Information with Visage,” in Video Proceedings of the Association of Computing Machinery CHI ‘96 Conference, Vancouver, Canada (1996); S. F. Roth, P. Lucas, J. A. Senn, C. C. Gomberg, M. B. Burks, P. J. Stroffolino, J. A. Kolojejchick, and C. Dunmire, “Visage: A User Interface Environment for Exploring Information,” Proceedings of Information Visualization, IEEE (San Francisco: IEEE Computer Society Press, 1996): 3–12; Fact File, A Compendium of DARPA Programs, August 2003, Command Post of the Future,
  • Geographic Names: The U.S. board of geographic names is responsible for domestic place names, but non-U.S. names are the responsibility of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, an agency of the U.S. Department of Defense. See http://geonames.usgs.gov /foreign/index.html. The proprietary Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names may be found at http://www.getty.edu/research/tools/vocabularies/tgn/index.html.
  • T. K. Harris, R. Rosenfeld, and M. Pignol, “Generating Remote Control Interfaces for Complex Appliances,” in UIST 2002: 161–170; see also Jeffrey Nichols, Duen Horng Chau, and Brad A. Myers “Demonstrating the Viability of Automatically Generated User Interfaces,” http://www.jeffreynichols.com/papers/viability-chi2007-final.pdf.
  • electronic shipping tags: Hosang Jung, F. Frank Chen, Bongju Jeong, eds., Trends in Supply Chain Design and Management: Technologies and Methodologies (Springer Series in Advanced Manufacturing, 2007).
  • You have zero privacy anyway: Scott McNealy. Quoted in Hal Abelson, Ken Ledeen, and Harry Lewis, Blown to Bits: Your Life, Liberty, and Happiness After the Digital Explosion (Boston: Pearson Education, 2008), 296.
  • VisiCalc: Daniel Bricklin, Bricklin on Technology (Indianapolis: John Wiley & Sons, 2009), 423–465.
  • Net’s traffic is aggregated: Jonathan E. Nuechterlein and Philip J. Weiser, Digital Crossroads: American Telecommunications Policy in the Internet Age (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2005), 131–132.
  • the Future of Information: The Internet Beyond the Web.” Harbor Research Whitepaper, September 2005, http://www.scribd.com/macurak/d/15481864-Designing-the-Future-of-Information-The-Internet-Beyond-the-Web. Peter Lucas, “CIVIUM: A Geographic Information System for Everyone, the Information Commons, and the Universal Database,” MAYA Design Group, Inc., presented at the International Institute for Information Design (IIID), Vision Plus 10 Conference, Lech/Arlberg, Austria, 2003.
  • http://archive.darpa.mil/DARPATech2004/awards.html; http://www.army.mil/article/16774/.
  • NATO Workshop on Visualization of Massive Military Multimedia Datasets. Quebec, Canada. June 7, 2000, http://www.vistg.net/VM3D/.

Understanding the Facilitation Cycle (Facilitation Analytics Book 1)

  • plan for a warm greeting.
  • Share a second welcoming message and thank all for coming. Introduce the facilitators and others helping with the meeting, provide a brief overview of the process you will be using
  • Participants come with different understandings of the larger process, schedule, and community constituting the “external context” for this event. When you focus the group, you are grounding them in a shared sense of this context.
  • there should always be at least one “next step”.
  • was the meeting scheduled to hear concerns about recent events, to generate ideas, or to deliberate on recommendations and information previously received? Sharing concerns, generating ideas and deliberations are very different types of processes and mixing them up often causes unnecessary confusion and conflict.
  • It also means accepting, by identifying and summarizing, the range of emotions, values, experiences, and information that are shared.
  • Acceptance is not the same as agreement.
  • arguments occur because people are talking about different things and not listening to each other.
  • facilitator needs to guide the group through that discomfort as well.
  • Statements that direct rather than guide erode trust in a process and cause participants to disengage or, worse, become angry and disruptive.
  • guide participants by summarizing the discussion that is occurring, referring back to the original focus statement, inviting feedback and providing choices as to where the discussion might go.
  • review the work done at the meeting and how it relates back to the purpose, acknowledge key contributions and emerging themes, and state how the learning (information and ideas shared) will be preserved and can be accessed in the future (e.g, minutes, written summaries, informational archives, blog posts, or email).
  • If specific actions are expected or required to move forward toward resolution of issues discussed during the session, this is the time to list specific action steps and assign them to individuals or organizations who agree to be accountable for following through.
  • When participants and convenors go their separate ways after an intense and powerful discussion, the momentum and commitment the meeting generated may simply dissipate and be lost. Sending forth channels this energy into ongoing, constructive engagement.
  • close by thanking the participants not only for their efforts during the meeting, but also for their willingness to engage, and their efforts still to come.
  • Quick Review

Value Stream Mapping: How to Visualize Work and Align Leadership for Organizational Transformation

  • ‘very few things are unmanageable once they are distilled to their basic components.’
  • operations design—
  • Value stream mapping presented a holistic and visual way to deeply understand how work gets done and to design an improved future state.
  • the most powerful metric we’ve seen for analyzing processes in office, service, and knowledge work environments: percent complete and accurate (%C&A).
  • the entire point of value stream mapping: viewing work systems from macro-level perspectives in order to create organization-wide alignment.
  • The Machine that Changed the World (1990),
  • Lean Thinking (1996).
  • a value stream is the sequence of activities required to design, produce, and deliver a good or service to a customer, and it includes the dual flows of information and material.
  • The primary type of value stream is one in which a good or service is requested by and delivered to an external customer.
  • support value streams include recruiting, hiring, and onboarding; IT support; the annual budgeting process; and the sales cycle.
  • Wherever there is a request and a deliverable, there is a value stream.
  • One way to determine how many value streams your organization has is by looking at the types of internal and
  • external customer requests your organization receives and the number of variants of high-level process flows that each of those requests pass through.*
  • WHAT IS VALUE STREAM MAPPING? The roots of value stream mapping can be traced to a visual mapping technique used at the Toyota Motor Corporation known as “material and information flows.”
  • Lean Thinking framed Toyota’s philosophical and operational bias around five key principles—value, the value stream, flow, pull, and perfection—
  • perhaps we naturally gravitate to mechanistic solutions because they are concrete. After all, dealing with people is complicated and messy. Part of the reason may lie with those consultants who—even after Lean literature was replete with information about the vital role leadership, problem solving, and daily improvement played in transformation—continued to focus on tools-based “implementation” versus people-based transformation.
  • Value stream maps offer a holistic view of how work flows through entire systems,
  • The inclination to jump into the weeds and design micro-level improvements before the entire work system—the macro picture—is fully understood, is a key contributor to suboptimization.*
  • Value stream mapping, the macro perspective, provides the means for leadership to define strategic improvements to the work flow, whereas process-level mapping† enables the people who do the work to design tactical improvements.
  • FIGURE 1.1 Granularity of work
  • value stream maps provide a highly visual, full-cycle view—a storyboard—of how work progresses from a request of some sort to fulfilling that request.
  • visually depicting the cycle of work typically includes three components: information flow, work flow, and a summary timeline.
  • FIGURE 1.2 Basic current state value stream map
  • By distilling complex systems into simpler and higher-level components that can be understood by everyone from senior leaders to the front lines, organizations create common ground from which to make decisions.
  • the quantitative nature of value stream maps provides the foundation for data-driven, strategic decision making.
  • Measuring overall value stream performance and identifying the barriers and process breakdowns as the work flows through the value stream is a powerful way to drive continuous improvement so that an organization is able to better meet the needs of both its customers and its internal operation.
  • value stream maps reflect work flow as a customer experiences it versus the internal focus of typical process-level maps.
  • value stream maps force an organization to think holistically in terms of cross-functional work systems and product families.
  • Value stream mapping forces an organization’s hand to either make the difficult structural changes that are more in line with the cross-functional reality within which they exist,
  • FIGURE 1.3 Vertical organization structure versus horizontal reality
  • the benefits of well-executed value stream mapping go far beyond how it’s commonly but narrowly viewed: as a work flow design tool.
  • Transformation requires fundamental changes in an organization’s DNA;
  • In most office, service, creative, and knowledge work environments, much of the work centers on information exchanges that are either verbal or electronic. The ability to visualize non-visible work is an essential first step in gaining clarity about and consensus around how work gets done.
  • In the hands of a skilled facilitator, value stream mapping is a highly unifying activity.
  • The organization-wide clarity that results from gaining a cross-functional, fact-based understanding of the current state begins the process of identifying and accepting the need for change.
  • FIGURE 1.4 Basic future state value stream map
  • Value stream maps provide a clear line of sight to the external customer from every function and work area involved in the value stream. This degree of clarity helps an organization make the transition from internally focused thinking to customer-focused thinking,
  • When organizations see the interconnectedness of various departments and processes, they make better decisions, work together in more collaborative ways,
  • Value stream maps connect disparate parts of an organization into one whole with a singular goal: providing higher value to its customers.
  • For many organizations, creating these visual storyboards is the first time any one person has understood the entire work flow.
  • people. As Deming is commonly reported to have said, “If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.”
  • Very few things are unmanageable once they are distilled to their basic components.
  • FIGURE 1.5 Cycles of continuous improvement
  • value stream maps are highly iterative tools that need to be frequently consulted and updated as the value stream changes.
  • We recommend physically posting the maps in strategic locations and holding regular stand-up meetings to discuss value stream performance and drive ongoing improvement. Value stream maps should not merely reside on shared drives. They are working blueprints for how your organization functions and should drive discussions and decision making at all levels.
  • Effective Means to Orient New Hires Value stream maps also serve as a simple visual means to orient new hires during the onboarding process. Helping people understand where they fit in an organization fills a fundamental need all human beings have for connection and begins instilling holistic thinking from an employee’s first day of work.
  • It’s the process of value stream mapping rather than the maps themselves that carries the greatest power by instilling transformational mindsets and behaviors into the DNA of an organization.
  • One of the failings we often see is value stream maps being used mechanistically
  • the domain for process-level maps: defining the micro details about how specifically the macro-level change should be designed, tested, and implemented.
  • begin with value stream mapping to align leadership and set priorities. We often turn to process mapping for those sections of the value stream that require deeper exploration and for creating standard work,
  • kaizen events are a specific format for designing, testing, and implementing actual improvement, whereas a value stream mapping activity’s purpose is to create a plan and alignment for improvement.
  • Value stream mapping activities are strategic; kaizen events are tactical.
  • Kaizen events should be heavily biased with the people who do the work being improved, and value stream mapping activities should be heavily biased with the people who oversee the work being improved.
  • Creating Maps but Taking No Action
  • Many organizations need to move beyond where they often have the greatest comfort—analysis and design—and become far better at execution.
  • As Goethe asserted, “Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”3
  • if no one on the team has the authority to make the changes, the future state map and transformation plan must go through a “sales” process, which can delay the initiation of improvements by weeks or months, or even stall them permanently.
  • Value stream mapping is a team sport.
  • having one person decide how work should be done at a strategic level is a recipe for disaster.
  • a typical value stream map has three key components: information flow, work flow, and a timeline.
  • if you don’t truly understand what needs to be done, how can you design an organization that satisfies the needs?
  • We define optimal performance as delivering customer value in a way in which the organization incurs no unnecessary expense; the work flows without delays; the organization is 100 percent compliant with all local, state, and federal laws; the organization meets (and, ideally, exceeds) all customer-defined requirements; and employees are safe and treated with respect.
  • *Suboptimization occurs when you make an improvement to one component of a system while ignoring the effects of that change on the other components.
  • We use PDSA throughout this book, but you may substitute PDCA (plan-do-check-act), DMAIC (define-measure-analyze-improve-control), Ford’s 8D methodology, or any other cyclical scientific improvement method in its place.
  • the team focuses on three distinct improvement phases: discovery, design, and planning.
  • The longer the break between sessions, the more rework the team will encounter.
  • The mapping activity results in three deliverables: a current state value stream map, a future state value stream map, and a value stream transformation plan.
  • Executing the value stream transformation plan should begin as soon as the mapping activity ends.
  • in many cases, organizations have never studied the way they work all the way from an initial customer request to delivering on that request—
  • it’s critical that you provide an overview of value stream mapping to the mapping team and as many of your leaders as possible.
  • every leader needs to understand the organization’s key value streams and how his or her team supports the delivery of value to external customers.
  • review the charter in detail to set context and expectations, clarify scope, discuss roles and responsibilities, establish the rules of engagement, and address logistics.
  • The more people begin to view work holistically (how they connect with the customer and how their work is interconnected to everyone else’s), the more engaged everyone will become in understanding the customer and the business, the better decisions will be, and the less you’ll experience resistance to change.
  • The charter serves a fourfold purpose: planning, communicating, aligning, and building consensus.
  • FIGURE 2.2 Value stream mapping charter
  • To work through the current state mapping activity as quickly as possible, and yet create the environment for deep understanding to occur, it’s helpful to narrow your scope and have the mapping team consider a very specific set of conditions for the current state. Otherwise, you risk spending significant time trying to understand all of the possible variations and not getting to the important work of understanding how the work flows, where the disconnects are, and so on.
  • Value stream mapping often demonstrates that, at a macro level, there isn’t as much variation as it “feels” like there is.*
  • Simplifying one’s thinking about work flow can be highly unifying, a necessary condition for executing consensus-driven improvement.†
  • in nearly every case we’ve encountered, once the team members design a future state for the narrow set of conditions they’ve established for the current state value stream map, they find that the future state map applies to a far broader set of conditions.
  • Demand Rate This is the volume of incoming work per day, week, month, or year.
  • It’s impossible to truly understand current state performance without knowing the volume and types of work flowing through a system. And it’s difficult to design flow and pull in a system if you don’t know the quantity of work the system needs to accommodate.
  • use a verb-plus-noun format to reflect the process in its active form—for example, “enter order” (instead of “order entry”), “register patient” (instead of “patient registration”),
  • Clarity is a significant lever for building consensus and driving change.
  • problems and needs could be financial, operational, market related, compliance related, people related, or any combination thereof.
  • At a minimum, the executive sponsor should be actively engaged in the development of the charter, address the team during the kickoff, attend the briefings, and monitor progress on the transformation plan.
  • A good facilitator can also maneuver effectively in various environments, and has the ability to connect quickly and communicate easily with people at all levels of the organization.
  • the facilitator should neither oversee nor work in any part of the value stream being transformed.
  • facilitators often double as the logistics coordinator.
  • We prefer the term socializing to communicating because it indicates that more is needed than merely e-mailing
  • †Consensus, used throughout this book, means that a team fully commits to a decision, plan, or action, even if not all parties fully agree with the decision, plan, or action.
  • when you ask people to describe a specific process in a value stream, there are at least four different versions: how managers believe it operates, how it’s supposed to operate (i.e., the written procedure, if one exists), how it really operates, and how it could operate.
  • kick off the event with team introductions, even if the team members all know one another. Identifying each of their roles in the value stream begins to highlight the interconnected nature of the work and the process of shifting mindsets from siloed thinking to holistic thinking.
  • ask each participant to share his or her expectations
  • the executive sponsor or the value stream champion should also review the charter with the team once again so that the team is clear about the scope and its mission.
  • If the team hasn’t been exposed to Lean thinking, PDSA, and value stream basics, the facilitator should provide a brief overview.
  • We often use a three-knock rule: anyone can knock three times on the table if he or she feels a rule is being violated, and the team will address it. Posting the rules in a visible place in the base camp is an effective way to minimize straying from the rules.
  • No silent objectors.
  • Gemba is a Japanese term that means “the real place, where the work is actually done.”*
  • For a value stream walk to be truly effective, you need to properly prepare the workforce in the area being visited so employees understand the objectives and spirit (understanding, not judgment) in which the walk will be conducted.
  • You may choose to walk the value stream from the first to the last process within the scope you’ve defined, or you may choose to walk the value stream in reverse, from the last process to your starting point.
  • It’s easier to discover the need for higher quality output from an upstream process when you first ask the downstream recipients to describe what they receive and what they do with it.
  • Pull is a work management system where upstream suppliers deliver work to downstream customers only when the downstream customers are ready to receive it.
  • the five steps to documenting the current state: walking the value stream, laying out the map, walking the value stream a second time, adding details to the map, and summarizing the map.
  • a value stream is a series of processes that connect together and transform a customer request into a good or service that’s delivered to the customer, which completes the request-to-delivery cycle.
  • the purpose of value stream mapping is to design a strategic improvement plan that will be executed over a period of time; it’s not designed to address problems at a detailed level.
  • a judgmental tone causes workers to behave defensively or shut down, inhibiting the team’s ability to gain valuable insights.
  • Some of the most positive and longest-lasting benefits we’ve seen from value stream mapping have occurred when leadership-based mapping teams have seen the pain that frontline workers experience in a dysfunctional value stream, and have apologized for placing the workers in a system that doesn’t allow them to contribute fully.
  • To aid in targeting the right level of information, we aim for 5 to 15 serial process blocks. If you end up with fewer than five process blocks on your map, you may not have enough detail to make substantive decisions about the future state. Having more than 15 serial process blocks is an indication that either your scope’s too broad for a single mapping activity or, more commonly, you are likely inching your way toward a process-level map
  • You may also find that the output from one process is passed to two or more functions and is worked on concurrently. We call these parallel processes.
  • We use three metrics to evaluate the current state of 98 percent of the office and service value streams we’ve encountered: process time (PT), lead time (LT), and percent complete and accurate (%C&A).
  • Process time (PT)—also referred to as processing time, touch time, work time, and task time*—is the time it takes people to complete the process tasks to transform an input into an output for one unit of work.
  • Process time does not include waiting or delays.
  • The purpose of value stream mapping is to make strategic decisions about the future state.
  • there are two types of non-value-adding work: necessary and unnecessary.*
  • lead time includes queue time and delays plus process time.
  • FIGURE 3.4 Process time versus lead time across the value stream
  • Introduction, percent complete and accurate (%C&A) is the most transformational metric we’ve encountered.* It reflects the quality of each process’s output.
  • There are two primary types of batches: (1) batch size—holding work until a specific number of items have accumulated (e.g., entering orders once 10 have been received), and (2) batch frequency—performing an activity at a specific time of day, week, or month (e.g., nightly system downloads).
  • don’t let value stream mapping become an exercise in data collection.
  • work can accumulate in three places, and you must include the quantities in all three places to get the accurate work-in-process quantity for the process you’re reviewing: (1) work that’s in queue but hasn’t been started yet, (2) work that’s being processed but hasn’t been completed, (3) work that’s been completed but hasn’t been passed on to the next process
  • some of the most significant transformations we’ve seen can be traced back to leadership’s “aha moments” when they’ve seen the overly complicated nature of their information systems and the overprocessing, errors, and operational chaos caused by the disconnections, gaps, and redundancies.
  • FIGURE 3.10 Complicated information flow
  • It’s not uncommon to see current state activity ratios in the 2 to 5 percent range, meaning that, while people are generally very busy, the work is idle 95 to 98 percent of the total time it takes work to flow through the value stream. This discovery, while sobering, begins to open people’s minds to the significant need for improvement, another technique for reducing resistance to change down the road.
  • Freed capacity is the result of process time reduction through the elimination of wasteful activities and/or optimizing work.
  • For organizations that want to absorb growth without a commensurate increase in labor expense, freeing capacity is an important objective.
  • bottom line: the team shouldn’t be limited to the value stream walk to gain the information it needs to gain a deep understanding about the current state.
  • FIGURE 3.14 Common process findings
  • *Inattentional blindness, also known as perceptual blindness, is the failure to notice an unexpected stimulus in one’s field of vision when other attention-demanding tasks are being performed. It often occurs when there are excessive stimuli in one’s environment.
  • a seasoned facilitator will watch out for “groupthink”—especially during the future state design phase—and take steps to ensure that groupthink doesn’t take hold.
  • *Some organizations may prefer to use the terms essential and nonessential. In Lean Thinking, authors Womack and Jones refer to necessary non-value-adding work as Type One muda (waste) and unnecessary non-value-adding work as Type Two muda.
  • eight types of waste: overproduction, overprocessing, errors, inventory, waiting, transportation, motion, and underutilization of people (in terms of experience, knowledge, skills, and creativity)—all of which are symptoms of underlying problems.
  • †Other goals of value stream mapping are to eliminate mura (unevenness) and muri (overburden).
  • Because the future is infinite and there are often multiple ways to achieve the same end, there is no single “right” future state
  • Once you begin the future state design phase, the tenor of the activity shifts from one of fact-finding and discovery to one of innovation and creativity.
  • Obviously, it would make no sense to spend valuable time and resources improving a value stream that delivers a product your customers don’t want.
  • making the “wrong work” flow isn’t a wise use of time and resources.
  • In the Lean community, improvement has rightly been focused on adding value through the elimination of waste (muda), unevenness (mura), and overburden (muri).
  • there are two ways to eliminate waste: eliminating work and adding work.
  • Value stream improvement requires strong team-player mindsets and mapping team members who are comfortable designing for the greater good.
  • Consistent with the adage “creativity before capital,” our mapping teams often discover the untapped potential not only of human beings but also of existing IT applications and systems.
  • If freeing capacity results in a decision to lay off people, there will be unintended negative consequences. Companies that have the greatest success with sustained Lean transformation make an up-front commitment that eliminating work won’t result in eliminating people.
  • It’s the work that’s non-value-adding, not the people.
  • If you use freed capacity to lay off staff, it’s a sign of disrespect.
  • In those rare circumstances where layoffs are the only way for a business to survive (e.g., extreme market conditions), the organization should perform the reduction in force before
  • It’s difficult to experience high levels of success if people fear losing a paycheck due to continuous improvement.
  • A key Lean maxim that should guide your mapping team’s every step is “maximum results through minimum effort.”
  • freeing capacity enables an organization to accomplish one or more of the following outcomes: Absorb additional work without increasing staff Reduce paid overtime Reduce temporary or contract staffing In-source work that’s currently outsourced Create better work/life balance by reducing hours worked Slow down and think Slow down and perform higher-quality work with less stress and higher safety Innovate; create new revenue streams Conduct continuous improvement activities
  • Get to know your customers better (What do they really value?) Build stronger supplier relationships Coach staff to improve their critical thinking and problem-solving skills Mentor staff to create career growth opportunities Provide cross-training to create greater organizational flexibility and enhance job satisfaction Do the things you haven’t been able to get to; get caught up Build stronger interdepartmental and interdivisional relationships to improve collaboration Reduce payroll through natural attrition
  • during the future state design phase, the team needs to consider two critical questions: (1) how will you determine if the value stream is performing as you intended? and (2) who will monitor and manage value stream performance? Many organizations fail with transformation because they don’t put robust systems and measures in place that address these two key requirements for continuously improving performance.
  • choose wisely: what are the two to five metrics that provide the best reflection of overall value stream performance?
  • most organizations have established neither value stream KPIs (remember that most don’t even have their value streams defined, let alone mapped and actively improved) nor process-level KPIs.
  • If there are no metrics in place, how can you know how well the value stream is performing, let alone if it is getting better or worse?
  • Establishing KPIs that are actively managed is a fundamental requirement for achieving operational excellence. The key phrase is “actively managed.” It’s one thing to establish KPIs; it’s another to use them to drive decisions and improvement on an ongoing basis.
  • deliberate but aggressive approach to improvement.
  • pull systems, batch reduction, level loading, work balancing to takt time, cells and colocation, work segmentation, cross-training, automation, and other work design and management methods.
  • While putting the basics in place isn’t as sexy and creative as some of the more advanced improvements, results and sustainability are the goal. We are quick to sacrifice sexy for results.
  • What visual systems can be created to aid in managing and monitoring the value stream?
  • FIGURE 4.1 PACE chart for setting priorities
  • significant transformation typically requires multiple PDSA cycles;
  • what form the standardized work should take: a checklist to reduce errors, a visual and concise SOP (standard operating procedure), laminated work instructions,
  • *Countermeasures are hypotheses until they are put through a full PDSA improvement cycle and are found to address the defined problem sufficiently.
  • five unavoidable facts: you need a well-crafted plan, consensus around that plan, the discipline to stick with it, the wisdom to know when to adjust the plan, and the restraint to deviate from the plan
  • There’s a big difference between needing to change a plan because new data or new conditions warrant it and deviating from a plan because an avoidable distraction has taken away the focus of an improvement team.
  • Like the future state value stream map, the value stream transformation plan is a living document that’s regularly updated. It’s best if it’s physically posted next to the future state value stream map in the work areas being affected by improvement so that entire work teams can follow the progress.
  • list what needs to happen improvement-wise, not specifically how the improvement will be achieved. The authority for determining how the improvement will be designed and implemented is given to the people who do the work
  • a continuous improvement culture, which begins with how people think and speak.
  • Improvements are temporary countermeasures, not permanent solutions.
  • Process flow redesign and development and implementation of standard work are common improvements made during office and service kaizen events.
  • confirm that the degree of aggressiveness matches up with the organization’s ability to absorb change,
  • push hard to have the plan approved within one week. The longer the delay between concluding the mapping activity and starting to make improvements, the higher the risk that the future state will be delayed.
  • it’s critical that the executive sponsor remain fully engaged throughout the transformation process by attending as many of the review meetings as possible and monitoring the transformation plan by going to the gemba on a regular basis.
  • We find a direct link between results and the degree to which the executive sponsor remains visibly engaged.
  • the purpose of creating value stream maps is to make improvements. No execution, no improvement.
  • executing and sustaining change requires a different set of organizational behaviors than those required for planning.
  • Whereas clarity and ingenuity are required for creating current and future state maps, focus and discipline are essential for successfully executing and sustaining improvement.
  • if the mapping team doesn’t include representation from all of the key functions or is made up of people who lack strategic authority, the future state map and transformation plan have to go through a postmapping sales cycle to gain the support of leaders in the areas that will be affected by the proposed changes. This phase often stops improvement dead in its tracks because, to gain leadership support for the future state design and transformation plan, the team members have to retell the story of the three days they spent together discovering, analyzing, and innovating.
  • When people see the truth about the current state—and especially the metrics around the current state—it’s far more difficult to reject the future state design.
  • when an organization gains consensus about the future state design and performance goals, improvement can occur more quickly and with less organizational angst than what occurs when people lack understanding about why specific improvements are being made.
  • Avoid succumbing to the temptation that you can simply distribute a digital version of the map and plan and/or physically post it. You need to talk about it. Explain it. Let people ask questions.
  • One approach to spreading organizational learning we’ve found effective uses a technique borrowed from medical education: grand rounds.
  • When possible, we recommend that you use pilots (using a defined subset of the whole, such as a specific geographic area, department, customer group, or product) so you can test, evaluate, and refine the improvement before rolling it out to the entire group of stakeholders who could be disrupted by an improvement that needs more refinement.
  • Pilots are experiments, and carefully planned experimentation is the foundation for robust continuous improvement.
  • FIGURE 6.1 Nested PDSA cycles
  • If the plan is revised, it needs to be resocialized to maintain alignment across all stakeholders.
  • leverage the experience the team gained and spread the organizational learning—and results!—as broadly as possible.
  • sustaining improvements begins with proper planning, followed by proper execution and management.
  • Once you’ve successfully realized the iterated future state, you must have two things firmly in place to sustain it: (1) someone formally designated to monitor value stream performance to assess how it’s performing, facilitate problem solving when issues arise, and lead ongoing improvement to raise the performance bar, and (2) key performance indicators to tell whether performance is on track or not (value stream management).
  • When everyone’s responsible, no one’s responsible. You need one person keeping his or her eye on the entire value stream.
  • Delivering high value to the customers while maintaining a high level of fiscal stewardship and providing a fulfilling workplace is why most businesses exist. So let’s get out of our own way of success and create the means to achieve the organization’s most critical goals.
  • you do need to have one person whom everyone recognizes as “owning” value stream performance and who has the authority to affect it.
  • We’re often asked how frequently a value stream should be improved. The answer is continuously.
  • While strategy deployment (mentioned in Chapter 1) and value stream mapping are strategic activities, the bulk of ongoing improvement is actually quite tactical.
  • if you approach value stream management with the seriousness it warrants, the future state value stream map that a mapping team designed six months ago, and which has been rigorously worked on since, is now the current state. Now it is time for another round of the macro PDSA cycle and a new future state that addresses higher-hanging fruit and raises the performance bar. Another round of improvement will enable you to deliver greater value for lower cost, capture greater market share, keep your competitors at bay, create a healthy return to distribute to shareholders or reinvest in the organization, and help you become an employer of choice.
  • Learning to see and manage work from a value stream perspective is a powerful way to instill new ways of thinking into the DNA of your organization and achieve higher levels of performance.
  • as with any learning, practice is the means to mastery.
  • FIGURE A.1 Common value stream mapping icons

The War of Art

  • Resistance cannot be seen, touched, heard, or smelled. But it can be felt. We experience it as an energy field radiating from a work-in-potential. It's a repelling force. It's negative. Its aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work.
  • Resistance seems to come from outside ourselves. We locate it in spouses, jobs, bosses, kids. "Peripheral opponents," as Pat Riley used to say when he coached the Los Angeles Lakers. Resistance is not a peripheral opponent. Resistance arises from within. It is self-generated and self-perpetuated. Resistance is the enemy within.
  • If you take Resistance at its word, you deserve everything you get. Resistance is always lying and always full of shit.
  • Though it feels malevolent, Resistance in fact operates with the indifference of rain and transits the heavens by the same laws as the stars.
  • Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul's evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.
  • fear doesn't go away. The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.
  • Resistance has no strength of its own. Every ounce of juice it possesses comes from us. We feed it with power by our fear of it. Master that fear and we conquer Resistance.
  • The winds burst forth now in one mad blow, driving Odysseus' ships back across every league of ocean they had with such difficulty traversed, making him endure further trials and sufferings before, at last and alone, he reached home for good.
  • The highest treason a crab can commit is to make a leap for the rim of the bucket.
  • The best and only thing that one artist can do for another is to serve as an example and an inspiration.
  • Procrastination is the most common manifestation of Resistance because it's the easiest to rationalize. We don't tell ourselves, "I'm never going to write my symphony." Instead we say, "I am going to write my symphony; I'm just going to start tomorrow."
  • is that it can become a habit. We don't just put off our lives today; we put them off till our deathbed. Never forget: This very moment, we can change our lives. There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny. This second, we can turn the tables on Resistance.
  • This second, we can sit down and do our work.
  • Anything that draws attention to ourselves through pain-free or artificial means is a manifestation of Resistance.
  • Attention Deficit Disorder, Seasonal Affect Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder. These aren't diseases, they're marketing ploys. Doctors didn't discover them, copywriters did. Marketing departments did. Drug companies did.
  • Depression and anxiety may be real. But they can also be Resistance.
  • The acquisition of a condition lends significance to one's existence.
  • Casting yourself as a victim is the antithesis of doing your work. Don't do it. If you're doing it, stop.
  • What finally convinced me to go ahead was simply that I was so unhappy not going ahead. I was developing symptoms. As soon as I sat down and began, I was okay.
  • The artist and the fundamentalist arise from societies at differing stages of development. The artist is the advanced model. His culture possesses affluence, stability, enough excess of resource to permit the luxury of self-examination. The artist is grounded in freedom. He is not afraid of it. He is lucky. He was born in the right place. He has a core of self- confidence, of hope for the future. He believes in progress and evolution. His faith is that humankind is advancing, however haltingly and imperfectly, toward a better world.
  • The fundamentalist entertains no such notion. In his view, humanity has fallen from a higher state. The truth is not out there awaiting revelation; it has already been revealed. The word of God has been spoken and recorded by His prophet, be he Jesus, Muhammad, or Karl Marx.
  • Fundamentalism is the philosophy of the powerless, the conquered, the displaced and the dispossessed.
  • The fundamentalist (or, more accurately, the beleaguered individual who comes to embrace fundamentalism) cannot stand freedom. He cannot find his way into the future, so he retreats to the past.
  • The humanist believes that humankind, as individuals, is called upon to co-create the world with God. This is why he values human life so highly. In his view, things do progress, life does evolve; each individual has value, at least potentially, in advancing this cause. The fundamentalist cannot conceive of this. In his society, dissent is not just crime but apostasy; it is heresy, transgression against God Himself.
  • the truly free individual is free only to the extent of his own self-mastery.
  • those who will not govern themselves are condemned to find masters to govern over them.
  • The professional tackles the project that will make him stretch. He takes on the assignment that will bear him into uncharted waters, compel him to explore unconscious parts of himself.
  • The opposite of love isn't hate; it's indifference.
  • The more Resistance you experience, the more important your unmanifested art/project/enterprise is to you — and the more gratification you will feel when you finally do it.
  • Grandiose fantasies are a symptom of Resistance. They're the sign of an amateur. The professional has learned that success, like happiness, comes as a by-product of work.
  • It is a commonplace among artists and children at play that they're not aware of time or solitude while they're chasing their vision. The hours fly. The sculptress and the tree- climbing tyke both look up blinking when Mom calls, "Suppertime!"
  • It hit me that I had turned a corner. I was okay. I would be okay from here on. Do you understand? I hadn't written anything good. It might be years before I would, if I ever did at all.
  • the more psychic energy we expend dredging and re-dredging the tired, boring injustices of our personal lives, the less juice we have to do our work.
  • the more energy we spend stoking up on support from colleagues and loved ones, the weaker we become and the less capable of handling our business.
  • When your deeper Self delivers a dream like that, don't talk about it. Don't dilute its power. The dream is for you. It's between you and your Muse. Shut up and use it.
  • The only exception is, you may share it with another comrade-in-arms, if sharing it will help or encourage that comrade in his or her own endeavors.
  • It's one thing to lie to ourselves. It's another thing to believe it.
  • What's particularly insidious about the rationalizations that Resistance presents to us is that a lot of them are true.
  • It is one thing to study war and another to live the warrior's life. — Telamon of Arcadia, mercenary of the fifth century B.C.
  • Aspiring artists defeated by Resistance share one trait. They all think like amateurs. They have not yet turned pro.
  • In my view, the amateur does not love the game enough. If he did, he would not pursue it as a sideline, distinct from his "real" vocation.
  • The professional loves it so much he dedicates his life to it. He commits full-time. That's what I mean when I say turning pro.
  • Someone once asked Somerset Maugham if he wrote on a schedule or only when struck by inspiration. "I write only when inspiration strikes," he replied. "Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o'clock sharp."
  • He knew if he built it, she would come.
  • The artist committing himself to his calling has volunteered for hell, whether he knows it or not. He will be dining for the duration on a diet of isolation, rejection, self-doubt, despair, ridicule, contempt, and humiliation.
  • The amateur, on the other hand, overidentifies with his avocation, his artistic aspiration. He defines himself by it. He is a musician, a painter, a playwright. Resistance loves this.
  • the amateur composer will never write his symphony because he is overly invested in its success and overterrified of its failure. The amateur takes it so seriously it paralyzes him.
  • consider the amateur: the aspiring painter, the wannabe playwright. How does he pursue his calling? One, he doesn't show up every day. Two, he doesn't show up no matter what. Three, he doesn't stay on the job all day. He is not committed over the long haul; the stakes for him are illusory and fake. He does not get money. And he overidentifies with his art. He does not have a sense of humor about failure. You don't hear him bitching, "This fucking trilogy is killing me!" Instead, he doesn't write his trilogy at all.
  • The amateur has not mastered the technique of his art. Nor does he expose himself to judgment in the real world. If we show our poem to our friend and our friend says, "It's wonderful, I love it," that's not real-world feedback, that's our friend being nice to us. Nothing is as empowering as real- world validation, even if it's for failure.
  • I realized I had become a pro. I had not yet had a success. But I had had a real failure.
  • the Muse favors working stiffs. She hates prima donnas. To the gods the supreme sin is not rape or murder, but pride. To think of yourself as a mercenary, a gun for hire, implants the proper humility. It purges pride and preciousness.
  • The professional arms himself with patience, not only to give the stars time to align in his career, but to keep himself from flaming out in each individual work. He knows that any job, whether it's a novel or a kitchen remodel, takes twice as long as he thinks and costs twice as much. He accepts that. He recognizes it as reality.
  • The professional steels himself at the start of a project, reminding himself it is the Iditarod, not the sixty-yard dash. He conserves his energy. He prepares his mind for the long haul.
  • The professional cannot live like that. He is on a mission. He will not tolerate disorder. He eliminates chaos from his world in order to banish it from his mind. He wants the carpet vacuumed and the threshold swept, so the Muse may enter and not soil her gown.
  • A pro views her work as craft, not art. Not because she believes art is devoid of a mystical dimension. On the contrary. She understands that all creative endeavor is holy, but she doesn't dwell on it. She knows if she thinks about that too much, it will paralyze her. So she concentrates on technique.
  • The sign of the amateur is overglorification of and preoccupation with the mystery.
  • The professional shuts up. She doesn't talk about it. She does her work.
  • It would never occur to him, as it would to an amateur, that he knows everything, or can figure everything out on his own. On the contrary, he seeks out the most knowledgeable teacher and listens with both ears.
  • The professional loves her work. She is invested in it wholeheartedly. But she does not forget that the work is not her.
  • The professional cannot let himself take humiliation personally. Humiliation, like rejection and criticism, is the external reflection of internal Resistance.
  • The professional cannot allow the actions of others to define his reality.
  • A PROFESSIONAL RECOGNIZES HER LIMITATIONS
  • I like the idea of being Myself, Inc. That way I can wear two hats. I can hire myself and fire myself.
  • Making yourself a corporation (or just thinking of yourself in that way) reinforces the idea of professionalism because it separates the artist-doing-the-work from the will-and- consciousness-running-the-show.
  • If we think of ourselves as a corporation, it gives us a healthy distance on ourselves.
  • I'm not me anymore. I'm Me, Inc. I'm a pro.
  • The pro keeps coming on. He beats Resistance at its own game by being even more resolute and even more implacable than it is.
  • There's no mystery to turning pro. It's a decision brought about by an act of will. We make up our minds to view ourselves as pros and we do it. Simple as that.
  • The point, for the thesis I'm seeking to put forward, is that there are forces we can call our allies.
  • As Resistance works to keep us from becoming who we were born to be, equal and opposite powers are counterpoised against it. These are our allies and angels.
  • the most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.
  • When we sit down and work, we become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron filings. Ideas come. Insights accrete.
  • What I call Professionalism someone else might call the Artist's Code or the Warrior's Way. It's an attitude of egolessness and service. The Knights of the Round Table were chaste and self-effacing. Yet they dueled dragons.
  • We're facing dragons too. Fire-breathing griffins of the soul, whom we must outfight and outwit to reach the treasure of our self-in-potential and to release the maiden who is God's plan and destiny for ourselves and the answer to why we were put on this planet.
  • I had no understanding of this at the time) I could not handle Resistance. I had one novel nine-tenths of the way through and another at ninety-nine hundredths before I threw them in the trash. I couldn't finish 'em. I didn't have the guts. In yielding thusly to Resistance, I fell prey to every vice, evil, distraction,
  • I didn't know what Resistance was then. No one had schooled me in the concept. I felt it though, big-time. I experienced it as a compulsion to self-destruct.
  • Nobody knew I was done. Nobody cared. But I knew. I felt like a dragon I'd been fighting all my life had just dropped dead at my feet and gasped out its last sulfuric breath. Rest in peace, motherfucker.
  • if a man comes to the door of poetry untouched by the madness of the Muses, believing that technique alone will make him a good poet, he and his sane compositions never reach perfection, but are utterly eclipsed by the performances of the inspired madman.
  • The gods, though not unlike humans, are infinitely more powerful. To defy their will is futile. To act toward heaven with pride is to call down calamity.
  • the image of the Muse whispering inspiration in the artist's ear is quite apt. The timeless communicating to the timebound.
  • By Blake's model, as I understand it, it's as though the Fifth Symphony existed already in that higher sphere, before Beethoven sat down and played dah-dah-dah-DUM.
  • The catch was this: The work existed only as potential — without a body, so to speak. It wasn't music yet. You couldn't play it. You couldn't hear it. It needed someone. It needed a corporeal being, a human, an artist (or more precisely a genius, in the Latin sense of "soul" or "animating spirit") to bring it into being on this material plane.
  • before I sit down to work, I'll take a minute and show respect to this unseen Power who can make or break me.
  • That's what we want, isn't it? More than make it great, make it live. And not from one angle only, but in all its many bearings.
  • "Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
  • I believe that above the entire human race is one super-angel, crying "Evolve! Evolve!"
  • What does it tell us about the architecture of our psyches that, without our exerting effort or even thinking about it, some voice in our head pipes up to counsel us (and counsel us wisely) on how to do our work and live our lives? Whose voice is it? What software is grinding away, scanning gigabytes, while we, our mainstream selves, are otherwise occupied?
  • This is why artists are modest. They know they're not doing the work; they're just taking dictation.
  • Where did this dream come from? Plainly its intent was benevolent. What was its source? And what does it say about the workings of the universe that such things happen at all? Again, we've all had dreams like that. Again, they're common as dirt. So is the sunrise. That doesn't make it any less a miracle.
  • Superficial concerns fall away, replaced by a deeper, more profoundly-grounded perspective.
  • When we deliberately alter our consciousness in any way, we're trying to find the Self.
  • The Self is our deepest being. The Self is united to God. The Self is incapable of falsehood.
  • The instinct that pulls us toward art is the impulse to evolve, to learn, to heighten and elevate our consciousness. The Ego hates this. Because the more awake we become, the less we need the Ego.
  • Resistance feeds on fear. We experience Resistance as fear. But fear of what? Fear of the consequences of following our heart.
  • That we can become the person we sense in our hearts we truly are. This is the most terrifying prospect a human being can face, because it ejects him at one go (he imagines) from all the tribal inclusions his psyche is wired for and has been for fifty million years.
  • We fear discovering that we are more than we think we are. More than our parents/children/teachers think we are. We fear that we actually possess the talent that our still, small voice tells us. That we actually have the guts, the perseverance, the capacity. We fear that we truly can steer our ship, plant our flag, reach our Promised Land. We fear this because, if it's true, then we become estranged from all we know. We pass through a membrane.
  • We come into this world with a specific, personal destiny. We have a job to do, a calling to enact, a self to become. We are who we are from the cradle, and we're stuck with it.
  • If we were born to overthrow the order of ignorance and injustice of the world, it's our job to realize it and get down to business.
  • To labor in the arts for any reason other than love is prostitution.
  • THE DEFINITION OF A HACK I learned this from Robert McKee. A hack, he says, is a writer who second-guesses his audience. When the hack sits down to work, he doesn't ask himself what's in his own heart. He asks what the market is looking for.
  • The hack is like the politician who consults the polls before he takes a position. He's a demagogue. He panders.
  • the Muse had me. I had to do it. To my amazement, the book succeeded critically and commercially better than anything I'd ever done, and others since have been lucky too. Why? My best guess is this: I trusted what I wanted, not what I thought would work. I did what I myself thought was interesting, and left its reception to the gods. The artist can't do his work hierarchically. He has to work territorially.
  • Our role is to put in effort and love; the territory absorbs this and gives it back to us in the form of well-being.
  • The artist and the mother are vehicles, not originators. They don't create the new life, they only bear it.
  • What do I feel growing inside me? Let me bring that forth, if I can, for its own sake and not for what it can do for me or how it can advance my standing.
  • Do it or don't do it.
  • Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It's a gift to the world and every being in it. Don't cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you've got.

Why Information Grows: The Evolution of Order, from Atoms to Economies

  • From Atoms to People to Economies
  • The Quantization of Knowhow
  • information is rare.
  • This book is about the growth of information, and about the mechanisms that allow information to battle randomness and grow.
  • We know of many places in our universe that concentrate more matter and energy than the Earth, but not of places that concentrate more information.
  • what makes our planet special is not that it is a singularity of matter or energy, but that it is a singularity of physical order, or information.
  • What are the social and economic mechanisms that enable information to continue growing in society?
  • We will learn about the mechanisms that help information win small battles, prevailing stoically in our universe’s only true war: the war between order and disorder; between entropy and information.
  • Ludwig believed in atoms at a time when many of his colleagues considered atoms to be nothing more than a convenient analogy.
  • The lack of direct evidence left Ludwig vulnerable to the critiques of his colleagues.
  • Ludwig showed that the microstructures of the universe gnaw away order, making it ephemeral.
  • a shell of atoms that began a steady but certain decay, just as his theory predicted.
  • Ludwig connected phenomena occurring at different spatial scales, mainly atoms and gases.1
  • Many of Ludwig’s colleagues saw science as a hierarchy of Russian nesting dolls, with new structures emerging at each level. In this hierarchy, transgressing boundaries was thought unnecessary. Economics did not need psychology, just as psychology did not need biology. Biology did not need chemistry, and chemistry did not need physics.
  • Information is not a thing; rather, it is the arrangement of physical things.
  • It is physical order, like what distinguishes different shuffles of a deck of cards.
  • Meaning emerges when a message reaches a life-form or a machine with the ability to process information; it is not carried in the blots of ink, sound waves, beams of light, or electric pulses that transmit information.
  • humans cannot help interpreting incoming bursts of physical order.
  • Our planet, which is four to five billion years old, has since then exploited this chemical richness to become a singularity of complexity.
  • For billions of years information has continued to grow in our planet: first in its chemistry, then in simple life-forms, more recently in us. In a universe characterized mostly by empty space, our planet is an oasis where information, knowledge, and knowhow continue to increase, powered by the sun but also by the self-reinforcing mechanisms that we know as life.
  • It is the high concentration of complexity that we see every time we open our eyes, not because information is everywhere in the universe but because we are born from it, and it is born from us.
  • In twenty-six minutes Iris traveled from the ancientness of her mother’s womb to the modernity of twenty-first-century society. Birth is, in essence, time travel.
  • the world of early hominids resides not in the physicality of matter but in the way in which matter is arranged. That physical order is information.
  • The replication of DNA and RNA is not the replication of matter but the replication of the information that is embodied in matter. Living organisms are highly organized structures that process and produce information.
  • Humans are special animals when it comes to information, because unlike other species, we have developed an enormous ability to encode large volumes of information outside our bodies.
  • what is the difference between us, humans, and all other species? The answer is that we are able to create physical instantiations of the objects we imagine, while other species are stuck with nature’s inventory.
  • we will study the physics of information. This will explain what information is and the physical mechanisms that allow information to emerge. Yet the physics of information can explain only the simplest forms of physical order. To explain the order that pervades our modern society, we will need to go beyond physics and explore the social and economic processes that allow groups of people to produce information.
  • Knowledge and knowhow are two fundamental capacities that relate to computation, and both are crucial for the accumulation of information in the economy and society.
  • knowledge involves relationships or linkages between entities.
  • Knowhow is different from knowledge because it involves the capacity to perform actions, which is tacit.
  • Knowhow is the tacit computational capacity that allows us to perform actions, and it is accumulated at both the individual and collective levels.
  • As Marvin Minsky, one of the fathers of artificial intelligence, once said: “No computer has ever been designed that is ever aware of what it’s doing; but most of the time, we aren’t either.”4 Another distinction that I should mention up front is the one between information as something and information about something, such as the information we transmit in a message.
  • physical order, regardless of whether or not it was produced to convey meaning, coevolves with the universe’s ability to compute.
  • knowledge and knowhow always need to be physically embodied. Yet unlike information, knowledge and knowhow are embodied in humans and networks of humans that have a finite capacity to embody knowledge and knowhow. The finiteness of humans and of the networks we form limits our ability to accumulate and transmit knowledge and knowhow, leading to spatial accumulations of knowledge and knowhow that result in global inequality.
  • products—which are made of information—are expressions of the knowledge and knowhow that are available in a location.
  • the economy as the system by which people accumulate knowledge and knowhow to create packets of physical order, or products, that augment our capacity to accumulate more knowledge and knowhow and, in turn, accumulate more information.
  • the $2.5 million worth of value was stored not in the car’s atoms but in the way those atoms were arranged.3 That arrangement is information.4
  • information is a measure of the minimum volume of communication required to uniquely specify a message.
  • It is worth noting that entropy, even though commonly associated with disorder, is not exactly a measure of disorder. Entropy measures the multiplicity of a state (the number of states that are equivalent).
  • the word information refers to the presence of order, not just the number of bits needed to communicate a genetic sequence, book, or music score.
  • ordered states are both uncommon and peculiar.
  • To identify which states are common, we need a method to map out the set of all possible states. One way to achieve this is to look at how these states are connected. We can say that two states are connected if I can get from one to the other with a simple transformation.
  • If we let the people in the stadium evolve their seating arrangements by choosing a neighboring seat at random (and, of course, allowing only transformations that satisfy our middle row constraint), we will never bump into the states that spell words or draw pictures. These states are extremely uncommon and hard to reach.
  • physical system, information is the opposite of entropy, as it involves uncommon and highly correlated configurations that are difficult to arrive at.
  • Uncommon configurations of atoms, like a Bugatti or a guitar, embody more information than more common configurations of the same atoms, even though technically (and Shannon is right about this) communicating an ordered configuration and communicating a disordered configuration require the same amount of bits if we ignore the correlations that are prevalent in an ordered state (which we can use to compress the sequence and hence reduce the number of bits we need to communicate the ordered state).
  • consider all of the Bugattis with rotated tires to be equivalent.
  • The group of Bugatti wrecks, on the other hand, is a configuration with a higher multiplicity of states (higher entropy), and hence a configuration that embodies less information (even though each of these states requires more bits to be communicated).
  • systems are not free to jump from any state to any state.
  • the present state of a system constrains the possible paths that a system can take, and for a system to travel from disorder to order, many consecutive moves need to be made.
  • there are fewer paths leading a system from disorder to order than from order to disorder.
  • it is always possible to solve a Rubik’s cube in twenty moves or less.
  • information is rare not only because information-rich states are uncommon but also because they are inaccessible given the way in which nature explores the possible states.
  • sequence, we can identify portions of DNA that are uncommon—meaning that they should not appear based on what we would expect from the random sequence.
  • the sequences found in DNA are not those that would be arrived at by exploring the space of sequences at random; rather, they are rare sequences that have been found, preserved, honed, and expanded through the iterative work of evolution.13
  • the presence of information is independent from our ability to decode it.
  • we are not confusing information with meaning,
  • when it comes to communication, the meaningful rides on the meaningless.
  • Finding rare but useful states in a continuum of possible configurations is a good minimalistic model of our ability to process information, or compute.
  • The irreversibility of time is the mechanism that brings order out of chaos. —ILYA PRIGOGINE
  • The idea that information involves aperiodicity and a multitude of correlations of different lengths is also explored in Douglas Hofstadter’s Gödel, Escher, Bach.

Wool - Part One (Silo series Book 1)

  • three years spent silently waiting for what would never come, each day longer than any month from his happier lifetimes.
  • The only thing crazier would have been to not try everything, to leave some silly séance or tale untested.
  • be the last?” Allison’s chair squealed on
  • someone wiped the servers. Which, I’ll tell you, isn’t as easy as pressing a few buttons or starting a fire. There’s redundancies on top of re