#41 Make no mistake: a culture happens, whether you want it to or not
Disney’s magic, Jobs’s genius, AI to rescue of endangered language and more.
“How Will You Measure Your Life?” by Clayton M. Christensen is an inspirational read. His essay on the same theme for HBR is one of their most popular pieces. The book expands the idea further. I am revisiting a couple of snippets from the book for the starters.
“Culture is a way of working together toward common goals that have been followed so frequently and so successfully that people don’t even think about trying to do things another way. If a culture has formed, people will autonomously do what they need to do to be successful.”
“In order to really find happiness, you need to continue looking for opportunities that you believe are meaningful, in which you will be able to learn new things, to succeed, and be given more and more responsibility to shoulder. There’s an old saying: find a job that you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
I’m sure you will be enticed sufficiently to go explore his work further. For now, let’s jump quickly to the finds for this week.
Deb Liu’s weekly emails provide a lot of valuable lessons and ideas for becoming better. In “How Painted Doors Can Be a Powerful Tool in Testing and Decision Making” she introduces the concept of painted doors. Here’s a brief snippet from the start of the post:
A painted door is an architectural design element. The designer creates an image of a door where none actually exists. This serves a number of functions, such as making a building seem larger or more symmetrical without the extra cost of adding a real entrance.
What is a Painted Door test?
Painted door tests are tools in building tech products that accomplish something similar: You show your customers an option where none really exists… yet. This serves to help you gauge reactions to a feature that has not yet been built or fully implemented.
You get the gist. Simple yet very powerful. There are some risks of bad implementation here though; do ref to her principles before trying these at home (or at your work).
Malcolm Gladwell wrote “The real genius of Steve Jobs” a month after Steve Jobs’s death. It's difficult to pin this one as a eulogy from the famed journalist. He did not tell us any new anecdotes from his life. It takes most of the inputs from Isac Assimove's biography of Steve Jobs. However, he makes a daring claim that the real genius of Steve Job was that he was a tweaker. He has his logic and a lot of examples to support his point. I don't know if Malcolm was cancelled then, but this one is a very different read on Steve Jobs.
Also, I have not read “Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography”, but I must say I am tempted to add this one to my list of books to read.
Have you seen Encanto? If not, you must see it. Even if there are no little ones to give you company.
I loved the movie, it reminds me of Inside Out. There are many characters, that seem non-consequential for most of it. But then when you look closely, each one has a strong story to tell and some lessons to share. I loved the music as well, it was enjoyable. The whole world seems to be loving it.
CNN Health had an interesting story on how this movie’s characters are helping therapists handle & explain complex issues around diversity and inclusion. Who could have thought?
Trivia: This story is based on the book Thousand Days’ War, about a Columbian Civil War over resources.
“The dead outnumber the living fourteen to one, and we ignore the accumulated experience of such a huge majority of mankind at our peril,” Niall Ferguson wrote once.
While it applies to most of our endeavours, there are some humans out there defying it. They are trying their best to discover the wisdom our ancestors had accumulated. Today, we find plenty of physical artefacts of our ancestor’s creations. Yet, many of those are not able to pass along the learning completely. The missing link? Languages that are not used and understood anymore. Rest of World (RoW) recently covered inspiring efforts by some language, math and computer geeks in cracking an ancient language that we have not been able to translate yet. The efforts for this have been going on for almost a century, so you can imagine the complexity of the challenge!
Oh, by the way, there is the use of AI and ML in these projects. Finally!
In case you like this theme, I had shared another post from RoW around an endangered Indian script in post #17. Different ways of using technologies - one to revive, the other one to save.
And before we jump out of the topic, here’s an insightful Twitter thread on Devnagari typography. I did not know there were two different styles of Devanagari script.
Here's a bonus segment today. I’ve been using Hemingway for a long time now. It helps clean up what I write. It helps increase the readability of my work. I love their home page. It's a great example of a good onboarding & instruction screen. Simple, lightweight and surfaced at the perfect moment.
Know any other product onboarding that hits the nail so good?
Some random goodness from the internet:
Web: Narrative Device is an interesting use-case built on GPT3. You just need to input two random words and the system will dish out a nice little story built around that theme.
Instagram: @iknowalotofthings a collection of beautiful covers from Kids’ books. I wonder why is this handle named such!
Short reads: Red light green light is a very short read with superb storytelling, I wanted to start the post with this story, but then I realized I will need to copy the whole post.
Before we sign off, here’s a tweet worth saving. The message is loud and clear, are you listening?
That's all for this week, folks!
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Hey Pritesh, this post was insightful as always! :) On a separate note, the Walter Isaacson biography of Jobs is an absolute delight to read! There are great lessons in it re. building long lasting organisations (apple) and technologies*products that marry business sense and great design. it also is a primer in building an technology stack/ecosystem that one can control end-to-end (hardware , software et all) which is also often a prerequisite to deliver an unparalleled user experience.