📚 Channeling curiosity, Sign posting, Dory / Pulse, Winner's game vs. Loser's game
Dan Wang’s 2023 Letter + a lot more for the curious YOU
Hi and welcome to the post #145.
We’re 700 strong now, thank you for giving me this privilege of your time. I admire your curiosity and will do my best to serve it with timeless ideas & stories.
In #141, I had talked about ancient scrolls and Vesuvius Challenge. There is a super exciting update on that story. The challenge has been successful and we’ve the winners of 2023 now. How did they do it, and what does that scroll say - this story covers it in good depth and is a great conclusion to the conversation that we had started a few weeks back.
And now, let’s go to today’s ideas.
💪 Supercharging Decision Making does a followup post on his “art of multi-threaded meetings” and shares actionable inputs on how to make Dory / Pulse rituals work in different settings.
For the uninitiated, here’s a brief definition of the Dory / Pulse ritual in Shishir’s words.
Dory is what we call our question table, and it helps teams get the most important questions answered first. And Pulse is how we get the sentiment about a project or idea from a lot of people all at once. Together they are a powerful decision-making tool.
You may not be using this specific approach, but you should pay attention. His approach is tool agnostic and operates at the base level of how decision making & collaboration work.
Below I list the 7 ways to Dory (or ranking topics to focus your deliberations) that he covered
Classic Dory: “What’s most important to discuss?”
Unbiased Dory: “Ignoring authors and votes, what’s most important to discuss?”
Anonymous Dory: “What do you really want to know (but don’t want to say out loud)?”
Max Choice Dory: “You can only vote for 2 of these!”
Rank the Category Dory: “Lots of interest in questions on topic X, let’s start there.”
Sentence Starter Dory: “I like, I wish...”
Kitchen Sink Dory: My fav Dory rituals together, including AI
He has inputs on 7 types of pulse also. It’s a detailed approach, covering a lot of scenarios that we face in our operations.
This one is not for a quick read, park aside some time to enjoy it better. And read again, in case you want to put it to any use.
✨ Channeling Curiosity chats with Pablo Torre around Pablo’s podcast and explores what makes it worth doing. This is a great lesson in how to be curious & chasing your curiosity in all its earnestness.
This bit is my favorite. I aspire to build “Stay Curious” in this very spirit, I hope I do justice.
PT: My show’s title — Pablo Torre Finds Out — is its purview. I vow that a journalist named Pablo Torre is finding out stuff, by the end. And so it really does feel like I’m creating my own magazine: an outlet that, in dangerously heretical contravention of The Algorithm, will serve you stories that you didn’t know were coming. The struggle around expectations you just articulated is also the whole fun of it.
✨ Usefulness Of Useless Knowledge
Here’s my favorite excerpt from the essay:
“Stay Curious” is my attempt to gather that useless knowledge that will prove its usefulness when its time has come.
📜 Dan Wang’s 2023 Letter
My feed is filled with superlative praise for Dan Wang’s 2023 letter. I generally avoid chasing the ‘viral’ pieces, but this one seemed worth taking a look. And I’m glad I did that. I was hooked in the first couple of paragraphs and finished this one in one go.
It’s a super long read, but worth your precious time. It shows a way of observing people, society & economies in general that is uncommon for most of us. I found it enjoyable as Dan Wang keeps sharing super interesting ideas one after another.
I’m sharing a couple of them here, and highly recommend you to check this one out.
Many people still feel ambivalence about moving to Thailand. Not everyone has mustered the courage to tell their Chinese parents where they really are. Mom and dad are under the impression that they’re studying abroad in Europe or something. That sometimes leads to elaborate games to maintain the subterfuge, like drawing curtains to darken the room when they video chat with family, since they’re supposed to be in a totally different time zone; or keeping up with weather conditions in the city they’re supposed to be so that they’re not surprised when parents ask about rain or snow.
A bookseller told me that there’s a hunger for new ideas. After the slowdown in economic growth and the tightening of censorship over the past decade, people are looking for new ways to understand the world. One of the things this bookshop did is to translate a compilation of the Whole Earth Catalog, with a big quote of “the map is not the territory” in Chinese characters on the cover. That made me wonder: have we seen this movie before? These kids have embraced the California counterculture of the ‘90s. They’re doing drugs, they’re trying new technologies, and they’re sounding naively idealistic as they do so. I’m not expecting them to found any billion-dollar companies. But give it enough time, and I think they will build something more interesting than coins.
🪧 Sign-posting suggests - When you're sharing complex ideas or writing long memos, use sign posting to guide your reader. Use this for internal memos and external customer-facing messaging.
What’s sign posting?
Sign posting is using key words, phrases, or an overall structure in your writing to signal what the rest of your post is about. This helps your reader quickly get grounded, so their brain doesn’t waste cycles wondering where you’re taking them.
Where can you use sign posting?
Memo level: Headers, subheaders, toggles, paragraphs, white space
Paragraph level: Topic sentences, bullet points, numbered lists
Sentence level: Transition words or intentionally sequencing words in a sentence
Finally, she shares a list of her favorite (and highly usable) words that can be used for sign posting. Think of each of these as a hook/key to structure & signal your message.
🎾 Winner's Game vs. Loser's Game
In one of his recent posts, Sahil Bloom talked about winner's game vs. loser's game. Here’s a quick snapshot of the relevant section:
He expands this a bit more to make the learning relevant in a wider context. This offers a great model to think of where to focus, and is not very intuitive to imagine. I leave it here for you to figure out more, in case you are interested.
✨ Everything else
- curates some of the most amazing videos in his weekly newsletter “Video yes please”.
If you like “Stay Curious”, then Alderson’s newsletter is a lot like a video only version. It covers a wide range, brings hidden gems and surprises you every time with a lot of cool new ideas to discover.
24 exceptional Subway artworks to see in NYC. Praise those who champion such acts of creativity & playful expression. (via Art of Noticing)
Thomas Allen's Playful Paper Cutouts spring from vintage books and color swatches.
Dishoom Battersea - from Bombay with love. I am awestruck with the creativity & efforts in this one. (via Storythings)
That's all for this week, folks!
I hope I've earned the privilege of your time.
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