#43 Visible signs of crime lead to further and more serious crimes
Lessons on effective coaching, predicting future and communicating in crisis
In my experience, desperation is the single greatest advantage you have as a startup. It takes you down to the lowest level of detail. Desperation inspires creativity and intense focus. It is an essential ingredient to building great products and services.
In Desperation-induced focus, Ravi Gupta suggests the next time you feel desperate, lean in. Embrace it. Use it as the fuel to create the next founding moments for your company.
He used ‘building process’ as a premise here. But his reasoning & recommendations are fairly applicable when it comes to funds, people & every type of resource. Constraints & limitations can be great enablers, if you give them an open mind.
Your time & attention is a big constraint too, so let us not wait any more and let’s get on to today’s finds.
I’m usually quick to jump in with a solution when people tell me their problems. But apparently being a good mentor is more about listening hard and asking the right questions.
Sounds relatable? Read on.
The Coaching Habit talks of key questions that can help do better in such situations. Here are those questions in the right order of usage. Notice the role each question plays in your conversation.
1. The Kickstart Question: What’s on your mind?
2. The AWE Question: And what else?
3. The Focus Question: What’s the real challenge here for you?
4. The Foundation Question: What do you want?
5. The Lazy Question: How can I help?
6. The Learning Question: What was most useful for you from this conversation?
There is one more strategic question possible before the learning question - “If you are saying Yes to this, what are you saying No to”.
This book summary does a good job in further elaborating these points.
This post - dwmkerr/hacker-laws - comes from an unusual source for this newsletter - Github. It does not focus on any specific code or coding language. Instead, it covers Laws, Theories, Principles and Patterns that developers will find useful.
It’s an interesting read and gives a good view of challenges & thinking models in software developments. Yet, some of these laws are more universal and can be used in fields other than software development as well.
Here are my top 10 picks from the list:
90–9–1 Principle (1% Rule): Within an internet community such as a wiki, 90% of participants only consume content, 9% edit or modify content and 1% of participants add content.
Broken Windows Theory: Visible signs of crime (or lack of care of an environment) lead to further and more serious crimes (or further deterioration of the environment).
Cunningham's Law: The best way to get the right answer on the Internet is not to ask a question, it's to post the wrong answer.
Dunning-Kruger Effect: If you're incompetent, you can't know you're incompetent... The skills you need to produce a right answer are exactly the skills you need to recognize what a right answer is.
Gall's Law: A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over with a working simple system.
Parkinson's Law: Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.
Law of instrument: Give a small boy a hammer, and he will find that everything he encounters needs pounding.
Peter Principle: People in a hierarchy tend to rise to their "level of incompetence".
Chesterton's Fence: Reforms should not be made until the reasoning behind the existing state of affairs is understood. I briefly covered it earlier in post #33.
Goodhart's Law: When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure. I briefly covered it earlier in post #10
I found this link in a recent post of Recomendo. Subscribe to Recomendo if you like discovering cool stuff like this.
Effective communication in crisis - that’s an art very few are able to master. I won't dare to comment on the do's and don'ts for this. But here're three instances from recent times that I have found worth checking out.
Ukrainian President Zelenskyy's speech to the Russian people is a moving account on the current situation. A ~9 minute long message that will connect at many levels - emotional and logical.
Peloton’s new CEO, Barry McCarthy's email to all employees. He took charge at the most challenging moment in the brand's history. The task ahead is not easier. Still, the grace and confidence in this email is top notch.
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky's letter to all employee announcing COVID led layoffs & other measures in May'20
Can we predict the future? For all our acquired experience & collective confidence in our abilities - all we can do is make some measured guesses. Some guesses may turn out to be true, others could be no farther from reality when their time comes. These attempts to connect the dots can be humbling experiences.
Youtuber Tom Scott had published a video in 2012 predicting the world a decade away. Here’s a followup to that with his assessment on how his prediction turned out. Now, he has made a few suggestions for 2032 as well here. Let’s see how well he reads the decade ahead.
Closer home, in 1967 the Film Division of India made a documentary called “I am 20”. They selected 20 people born on Independence Day in 1947 and interviewed them to know their hopes and desires, ambitions, hobbies, fears and frustrations. The documentary is a snapshot of their inputs and gives a good glimpse on their prediction of how India will be a few decades ahead.
Youtuber India in Pixel made a video “Where are they now?” some time back chasing the folks that had featured in that “I am 20” video. It tried to find who they were, where they are now and most importantly how their predictions turn out. Some hits, some misses. Fascinating stuff!
Some random goodness from the internet:
Instagram: Thomas Deininger (@tdeininger) creates mind boggling 3D installations. What’s so special about his work? You have to see it and experience it yourself.
Video: 40 animators from around the world collaborated on a 2-minute video called Pass the Ball: each person had three seconds to animate a ball and “pass” it to the next person. Constraints creating a beautiful outcome, you see!
Before we sign off, here’s a tweet capturing learning that has cost hundreds of hours to consultants across the world! :)
That's all for this week, folks!
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