#12 Tougher part of doing things
One about cognitive biases & new ways of doing things
“If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.” - Someone
“Strategy is the art of closing doors.” - Prof Saral Mukherjee, IIMA
“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” - Shunryu Suzuki
“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” - Steve Jobs
The funnel of ideas and experiments gets narrower as we learn. There is nothing wrong with having a lot of ideas - it’s the acceptance that we’re not yet there that makes one successful. Every step taken with such awareness is a success or learning. A worthy experience, in any case.
And on that thought, let’s get to today’s recommendations.
“Hanko” are the carved stamp seals that people in Japan often use in place of signatures. They are small objects but are deeply ingrained in Japan's culture & business practices. This episode of "99% invisible" tells the story of Hankos' fascinating history. It's a great listen uncovering a lot of fun facts about Japanese culture. Here's a small glimpse:
The Japanese metro train station has a staff known as Oshiya who ensure people are packed in before the doors close.
You need to have your own personal Hanko with you whenever you stamp something, and you have to stamp it in person.
Japan did not have a long history of having family names. So when required to have one, they invented some crazy surnames that have stuck around ever since. You can find families with names like God, cat house, cow poop, or simply the number 735.
Nemawashi is the traditional way of building consensus. It requires lobbying and consulting with everyone involved before taking any big decision.
It’s not uncommon for inanimate objects to receive funeral rites in Japan. Scissors, sewing needles, and even Hanko - there are ways to bid farewell to these items once they have served their purpose and are no longer needed.
Wes Kao shares practical tips for delivering engaging training sessions over zoom. She recommends aiming for a state change every 3–5 minutes to break up the monotony.
A state change is anything that punctuates an instructor’s monologue and offers a change in pace that causes students to perk up and snap back to attention.
My key takeaway from this essay: How to make effective slides?
A slide with many bullet point inputs does not serve the audience well. It provides limited opportunity for movement and thus keeping the attention becomes difficult. One needs high-quality insights or storytelling to save such slides. So, it's always better to break it into many slides with a single main point each. Each slide transition will break the state and will speed up the perceived pace of the live lecture.
Cognitive biases should be taught in schools. They tell us a lot about how we think & operate. Don’t expect to be a changed person overnight, once you know them. One needs to practice to be able to effectively apply them in their everyday lives. For me, this journey started with “oh wow! I never thought it would happen this way.” and now in “oh man! How do I not fall prey to these?” Awareness is a great start, rest is as I practice.
Vala Afshar had shared a good one-pager on this last week (click on the image to expand).
There is a longer and more usable list available here for use as flashcards.
Some random goodness from the internet:
Web: ~1.2 million emails are misaddressed to gail.com (in place of gmail.com) every week. That’s a lot of typos, I must say. I’m glad that I’m not the only one who makes this mistake. Check out gail.com for some more interesting FAQs like this.
Web: I used to collect matchbox covers as a kid. It was a lot less cool than collecting stamps or currencies. But I never imagined that there would be folks collecting air sickness bags. This Air Sickness Bag Virtual Museum is amazing. Hobbies can be surprising, sometimes.
Instagram: Eduardo Kobra creates some of the most beautiful street art. His work is colourful and full of life. Check out Banksy for some subtle yet highly objective commentary using art.
That's all, folks!
56 subscribers are getting ‘Stay Curious’ in their email now. Last week’s post had a 67% open rate. I write this newsletter to share what I learnt from others. If you learnt something from this today, can you forward it to a couple of your friends to continue this chain?
ps: Today's post is grade 5 as per https://hemingwayapp.com/.