#80 “As soon as possible” is a trap if you focus on soon instead of possible
SPADE, doing-centric, subculture, design & more
If you are of the type who loves to buy gifts for your near & dear ones, then I’ve a tip from Tiramisú’s an ode to that "coffee friend" to start today’s post.
Buy gifts that match the recipient's hobby or things they are passionate about. Once you know their hobby, your souvenir shopping experience will be super easy. You will rarely go wrong and will mostly give something really worth cherishing.
We’ve a lot to discover today, let’s get going.
1. S.P.A.D.E. framework
A lot of forward-thinking companies practice consensus. Google is famous for it. But consensus is impractical and ineffective for one clear reason: consensus means no ownership. What is important isn't that everyone agrees, it's that everyone is listened to. And then the right person makes a decision, communicates it clearly, and rallies everyone around it.
By now, I’ve accepted that using committees to make a decision is hardly useful or effective. If one has to take charge in the process, it’s critical the approach used to take the decision is conducive to rally the rest of the team behind the decision.
S.P.A.D.E. provides one such framework. Gokul Rajaram has written a very actionable post describing the framework and how coda can be used to implement it seamlessly. As he says, tools can't make decisions for you, but this one definitely takes some of the guesswork out of the process and removes burden in sharing the result.
For a quick overview, here’s what S.P.A.D.E. stands for:
S = Setting (not just what, but why & when as well)
P = People (responsible, consulted and approver)
A = Alternatives (feasible, diverse, and comprehensive)
D = Decide
E = Explain (commitment meeting & broadcast)
2. Subculture evolution
If the above snippet ignites any interest, then David Chapman’s essay “Geeks, MOPs, and sociopaths in subculture evolution” is going to be a fascinating read for you.
I somehow got an “Animal Farm” like feeling when I read this essay. It describes a world that we have become all too familiar with. But we have no clue why it is so. Why things are the way they are - we don’t ask. And we hardly see the most of the wrong in it.
3. Doing-centric explanatory mediums
So here’s another problem with books, and specifically with books meant to help you learn a skill: the medium makes it difficult to collapse the distance between prose and action. Books rarely involve doing what they’re about. Most books, even books intended for skill-building, are only about what they’re about. Reading about the board game, not playing the board game. Reading about counterpoint, not composing counterpoint.
Andy Matuschak takes inspiration from unusual sources (video games & Figma) to propose a better way of making training (or teaching) materials. His core idea remains in keeping the gap between content & actual doing.
In my early career, I learnt a bunch of technical skills using W3School courses. They had a fair bit of “doing” involved in those inline simulators. They were decently useful in getting started. The ideas presented by Andy are a step jump from that.
If you’re interested in topic, you may want to revisit these resources from my recent posts:
Tutorial on tutorials by George Fan (from #78)
Level Design Lessons by Anna Anthropy (from #75)
4. Design isn’t always creative
One of the biggest surprises many new designers experience is that design isn’t always about coming up with the most creative solution. Sometimes, a well-worn pattern is the right tool for the job. For the new designers I’ve managed, the disappointment is often palpable: They wanted to think outside the box, but what we needed was in the box all along. Is this really what they signed up for?
Matthew Ström describes a situation that’s all too familiar in most roles, more so in those with “design” as a sub-title. He goes on to use the analogy of ballet dancers and shot putters to make some sense of this.
I’ve experienced this tension multiple times, but could not think of it in such a beautiful way.
5. 50 ways to be generous
Behaving generously doesn’t necessarily mean “donating money” or “giving away your last cookie.” Those are two options, sure, but there are plenty of other ways to be generous.
You can share knowledge freely, instead of hoarding it. You can send a handwritten note, instead of a text message. You can make eye contact, instead of checking out and staring down at your phone. You can introduce a friend to someone they ought to meet and help them secure a new job, client, or opportunity. You can do big things, simple things, all kinds of things.
Alexandra Franzen shares 50 ways to be ridiculously generous—and feel ridiculously good. Some simple tasks, worth trying out.
(via Tuesday Dispatch)
16th August, 1980. The darkest day of Indian football. The day when the beautiful game turned deadly – leaving sixteen dead, countless injured, and families shattered. What happened that day? Why did a football game turn into such unrestrained violence? How did common people, who thronged the ground for the love of football suddenly become so savage with passion?
Trinanjan Chakraborty & Paperclip.in did a fascinating story covering this incident. There are so many questions that still remain unanswered. Still, a really good read to get a quick view of journey of the game of Football in India (specially in West Bengal).
Paperclip’s Twitter feed is filled with interesting stories like this & more. Worth a follow.
7. Everything else
Some random goodness from the internet:
Penny Thomson makes tiny yet intricate kinetic creations using paper mache & some unique mechanics. (via Dense Discovery)
What can Giacomo Casanova’s life teach us? (via Genius Biographies)
There’s a real monkey island and it looks nothing like a monkey.
Official apple ranking - there is so much I did not know about Apple (the fruit). (via The Hustle)
Feynman and his “I'm going to play with physics, whenever I want to, without worrying about any importance whatsoever.” approach to physics. (via Twitter)
Van Halen and the tripwire of “no brown M&M’s in the backstage area” (via Satyajit Rout)
Wikipedia’s list of common misconceptions - hats off to the folks who curate & update such lists.
Today’s post title is from Seth Godin’s post by the same title.
Before we sign off, here's a brilliant thought on product building.
That's all for this week, folks!
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