#46 Practice Analytically, Perform Intuitively
Lessons from Pixar, David Perell, Ted Lasso and other favourites
James Clear recently shared this brief snippet on awareness in his 3-2-1 newsletter.
Awareness is often enough to motivate change.
Simply tracking your food intake will motivate you to alter it. Merely writing down your problems may spark ideas for possible solutions.
The process starts with seeing reality clearly.
A simple yet very powerful thought. While hiring, I prefer awareness and curiosity over expertise. I'm not into rocket science, so the risks due to ‘lack of expertise’ are low. If the person brings passion to the table, I'm even more confident. With the power of these three - awareness, curiosity & passion - we can achieve the unachievable.
Before we jump to today’s finds, I want to share another powerful idea that Austin Kleon shared recently. If you’re trying to be a better listener, remember this acronym people in the coaching world use frequently - WAIT.
WAIT = Why Am I Talking?
And with that, let’s get to today’s discoveries. You will find that some of my favourite topics have made a comeback after a long time. This week was really interesting that way!
Kevin Kelly wrote “You are not late” in 2014. Almost a decade since the post, and yet it speaks as if it is written now. In fact, this message is so timeless, we can revisit this post a few decades later as well and will still find it relevant.
There has never been a better time in the whole history of the world to invent something. There has never been a better time with more opportunities, more openings, lower barriers, higher benefit/risk ratios, better returns, greater upside, than now. Right now, this minute. This is the time that folks in the future will look back at and say, “Oh to have been alive and well back then!”
Atlassian's design team shared a brief post on how they used service design to bring 10 teams together and launched a new contact experience.
This post references many tools & approaches, you will have to dig deeper to learn more. But they explained the power of service design in a fairly simple way. For those short of time, here is a quick summary on how service design can be used to launch a new experience.
Align on the problem and approach while the space was still ambiguous
Tell the story from both the customers’ and business’s points of view
Visualize the roadblocks and areas of opportunities
Inspire and motivate the teams by showing them what is possible and giving them a tangible north star to work towards
Facilitate collaborations across teams by inviting them to become curious and involved in the process
Here’s an Apr’08 interview with Oscar-winning director Brad Bird covering his ideas on innovation, leading creative teams, PIXAR and Disney culture. Here’re some of my favourite bits.
On why he joined Pixar: Steve Jobs, Ed Catmull, and John Lasseter said, in effect, “The only thing we’re afraid of is complacency—feeling like we have it all figured out. We want you to come shake things up. We will give you a good argument if we think what you’re doing doesn’t make sense, but if you can convince us, we’ll do things a different way.” For a company that has had nothing but success to invite a guy who had just come off a failure and say, “Go ahead, mess with our heads, shake it up”—when do you run into that?
On nurturing innovation with black sheep and malcontents: So I said, “Give us the black sheep. I want artists who are frustrated. I want the ones who have another way of doing things that nobody’s listening to. Give us all the guys who are probably headed out the door.” A lot of them were malcontents because they saw different ways of doing things, but there was little opportunity to try them, since the established way was working very, very well.
Search for perfection in everything: Not all shots are created equal. Certain shots need to be perfect, others need to be very good, and there are some that only need to be good enough to not break the spell.
On malcontent people: I would say that involved people make for better innovation. Passionate involvement can make you happy, sometimes, and miserable other times. You want people to be involved and engaged. Involved people can be quiet, loud, or anything in-between—what they have in common is a restless, probing nature: “I want to get to the problem. There’s something I want to do.” If you had thermal glasses, you could see heat coming off them.
Importance of team morale: : In my experience, the thing that has the most significant impact on a movie’s budget—but never shows up in a budget—is morale.
How Ted Lasso became a television phenomenon is13 minutes piece covering behind the scenes, interviews with the creators and lots of stories on what made Ted Lasso possible.
Who could have guessed that the idea of Ted Lasso was 10 years in making!
I cannot wait for season 3!
We often debate how data cannot tell the whole story. Or that, it can tell many depending on whose point of view you use. So how do you make the best decision? How do you do that every time? Answer lies in intuition. Not those ‘I feel it could be like this’ sort of thoughts. But a strong call from the heart that is built with deliberate practice.
In David Perell’s words - “A motto for improving at any skill. When you’re away from your craft, you want to be scientific and left-brained. But in the heat of performance, you want to be artistic and right-brained.”
This essay takes examples from the field of sports & art to prove his idea of “practice analytically, perform intuitively.”
If you’re in Bangalore and are looking for something interesting to do, head to the Indian Music Experience Museum in JP Nagar. It’s India’s first interactive music museum. There is something for everyone - from experiencing the journey of music through beautiful narrated stories to exhibits that let you create your own music mix & record songs. It’s visually stunning, I could not stop myself from capturing photos of almost every wall and exhibit. Once inside, you will lose track of time.
This museum is by far the best museum experience for me in India. The experience aspect is really world class and makes your visit worth every bit.
Here’s a glimpse from my camera gallery:
Some random goodness from the internet:
Instagram: David M Bird (@davidmbird) is an ex-LEGO designer, and now he makes beautiful miniatures with acorns and sticks.
Instagram: ARC (@arc4g) creates oddly satisfying animations of tiny objects.
Fun reads: 30 Hilarious Scientific Jokes (this will test your intelligence to the limits), Phone booth in the middle of nowhere (curiosity leading to fun discoveries) Bizarro World (crazy story about official world records in arcade games), An honest UX design portfolio (it could not get more honest than this)
Twitter: A thread on Finnish defence policy covering a brief synopsis of how the Finnish military would probably fight if any hostile country decided to invade.
Youtube: Why it is impossible to lose things in Japan - Another fascinating aspect of Japanese way of living.
Before we sign off, here's a snippet that Dense Discovery had shared this week. Hats off to the person who came up with this idea. Heart touching words!
That's all for this week, folks!
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Thank you for sharing your learnings with us. Lot of things to pick up from this newsletter. :)