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Knowing it can be done

We can improve and magnify things in very short order.

Light bulbs, elevators, website technology–give it some time, and people will pile on and all of the important metrics will be sharpened, made more efficient and more powerful as well.

That’s not really the hard part. The hard part is doing it when people aren’t sure it can be done.

And in that stage of development, taking notes isn’t nearly as important as taking leaps.

If you do it once, we’ll figure out how to do it again.

Reblogged from: here

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Uncountable

A mass noun is one that doesn’t take an S when we have more. “Butter” and “Information” are both uncountable in use, because when we only have only one unit of butter (or information) we use the same word as if we have four or six units. Butter is butter.

Uncountable words are understandably difficult to measure at a glance. They don’t fit easily into the industrial mindset, and we’re often pushed to find things that are less mysterious.

But it turns out that uncountable words like trust, honesty, commitment, passion, connection and quality are a fine thing to focus on.

Reblogged from: here

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Can you see it?

Do you notice that you’re dressed dramatically differently than everyone else at the event?

That you’re driving at a different pace than everyone else?

That your question at the end of the talk lasted four times longer than anyone else’s?

That your band’s new single is half the volume of everything else that’s being pitched to this program director?

That your code isn’t commented and everyone else’s is?

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being different from the crowd. In fact, it might be the ideal path forward. The problem begins when you don’t see what’s not matching up.

The best way to transform the path is to see the path first.

History doesn’t always repeat itself, but it usually rhymes.

Reblogged from: here

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Confusing identity with strategy

Who we are isn’t the same thing as what we do.

But sometimes, what we do can change who we are.

Our identity describes the person we see in the mirror, the groups we identify with, the version of ourselves (and reality) that we come back to over and over. “I’m not a writer,” or “I’m not an entrepreneur,” or “I’m not a leader,” are fairly definitive statements.

But when the world changes, opportunities change as well.

All of us struggle when our identity doesn’t match the reality of the world around us.

In the face of that confusion, it’s tempting to abandon possibility and to walk away from an opportunity simply because it doesn’t resonate with the person we are in this moment. But only when we do something new do we often begin to become someone new.

Reblogged from: here

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Everyone is rational

But if that’s true, then why don’t we all agree on the right next step?

It could be because everyone has a different experience, different data and different goals.

Or, it could be that you are the only one who’s rational.

And it could be that we all like to tell ourselves we’re doing the right thing, but ultimately, all we can do is make choices based on how we see the world.

The way we see things drives our choices, and, of course, our choices change the way we see things.

Reblogged from: here

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“But how will you know?”

It pays to know what something is for. It helps us figure out how to do it better, how to allocate resources and how to know when we’re done.

Much of what we build or invest in is complicated. It serves multiple purposes, has to please many constituents and has competing priorities.

So the question: “How will we know if it’s working?” is a powerful one.

It opens the door to a useful conversation about what it’s for.

Reblogged from: here

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The benefit of the doubt

Rarely talked about, and the heart of marketing and more than that, of culture.

We can’t possibly know precisely what’s inside the book or the box or the bottle before we buy it for the first time. We take meds or go to the movies in anticipation of an outcome, and we give the producer the benefit of the doubt (or we don’t go, because the doubt is too much for us to handle.)

And we do the same thing with people. Who we hire, who we are afraid of, who we marry. We can’t know, not for sure, not until our experience with them is complete.

And we make all of these decisions without a conscious thought.

When we persistently and consistently do it incorrectly, we suffer. We create injustice, we miss out on opportunities, we fall prey to scams. The more we generalize our benefit of the doubt (and worse, the amplification of the doubt) the more damage we do.

The internet has overwhelmed us with data, and some of it (but not much) is actually turned into useful information. Some of that useful information is helping us see how long we’ve been mistaken about the benefit of the doubt in so many of the biases and actions we take (and don’t take).

Examining how we instinctually make these choices is a powerful first step in making better ones.

Reblogged from: here

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Mouth to mouth resuscitation

It might be the best way to save someone in distress.

But it doesn’t scale.

You can only offer this sort of lifesaving intervention to one person at a time.

Often, we get stuck because we try to take our useful local magic and somehow make it for everyone. Perhaps we’ll need a different approach when it comes to serving more people.

Not because it doesn’t work. It does. Because it doesn’t work at scale.

Reblogged from: here