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💡 Look for things that don’t make sense
Your weekly dose of new ideas & inspirations
Hey, Pritesh here.
Welcome to those who joined us recently in this journey of discovering new ideas & inspirations. You are in good company and it’s going to be a lot of fun ahead.
Today, we’ve reached post #112. Here’s a quick glance of what do we cover today:
📉 Anti-retention patterns
💡 50 ideas from David Perell
📚 Degree of alignment
💑 Culture of listening
3️⃣ Three kind of leverages
And much more…
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And with that, let’s dive in.
1. Anti-Retention Patterns
Martin Gontovnikas talks of anti-retention patterns in his blog titled “Uncovering anti-retention patterns”. In simple terms, you can think of these as experiences or events in user journey that negatively impact their probability of retaining. Below chart from the essay gives a good glimpse of how to identify these.
One can also use data to find factors that have negative correlation for retention of the user. One critical learning from studying these patterns is that many times these are caused by secondary or non-core features that get exposed or tried too early in the user journey. Keeping your product UX focused to core experience that leads to aha moments can be a good solution to avoid that pitfall.
Below snippet from the essay expands it more.
2. 50 ideas from David Perell
I follow David Perell for three reasons:
He writes about a diverse set of topics. His range of interests is crazy.
His writing is simple - in the choice of words as well as style of writing. Its inviting for a wider audience.
He has a gift of simplifying complex ideas and presenting them in a memorable way.
He is another Morgan Housel minus some storytelling.
His “50 Ideas that changed my life” is a good curation of key ideas he has written about in the last couple of years. Below are my five picks from the list.
13. Look for Things That Don’t Make Sense: The world always makes sense. But it can be confusing. When it is, your model of the world is wrong. So, things that don’t make sense are a learning opportunity. Big opportunities won’t make sense until it’s too late to profit from them.
20. Bike-Shed Effect: A group of people working on a project will fight over the most trivial ideas. They’ll ignore what’s complicated. They’ll focus too much on easy-to-understand ideas at the expense of important, but hard to talk about ideas. For example, instead of approving plans for a complicated spaceship, the team would argue over the color of the astronaut’s uniforms.
29. Occam’s Razor: If there are multiple explanations for why something happened and they are equally persuasive, assume the simplest one is true. In the search for truth, remove unnecessary assumptions. Trust the lowest-complexity answer.
39. The Paradox of Consensus: Under ancient Jewish law, if a suspect was found guilty by every judge, they were deemed innocent. Too much agreement implied a systemic error in the judicial process. Unanimous agreement sometimes leads to bad decisions.
46. Via Negativa: When we have a problem, our natural instinct is to add a new habit or purchase a fix. But sometimes, you can improve your life by taking things away. For example, the foods you avoid are more important than the foods you eat.
3. Degree of Alignment
I’ve read some of Will Larson’s essays and found him to be a very structured thinker & problem solver. While a lot of his writing is for the ‘engineers’, his framework & inputs are useful in a much wider context. His book “An Elegant Puzzle” is a great collection of tactical and strategic advice for managers and people leaders.
Here’s a brief snippet from the chapter around “identifying your controls''. It's targeted towards finding a management style that prevents you from micromanaging your team. He defines it as a process to identify where to engage and where to hang back while working with your team.
Controls are mechanisms that you use to align with other leaders you work with. Some of the most common controls are vision, strategies, organization design, headcount, transfer, roadmaps and performance reviews.
For whatever control you pick, the second step is to agree on the degree of alignment for each one. Some of the level I’ve found useful are:
I'll do it. Stuff that you'll personally be responsible for doing.
Preview. I would like to be involved early and often.
Review. I would like to weigh in before it gets published or fully rolled out. But we’re fully aligned on the topic.
Notes. Projects you'd like to follow but don't have much to add to. Often used for wide reaching initiatives.
No surprises. The work that we're currently aligned on but requires updates to keep your mental model in tact. I want to be able to stay on top of this.
Let me know. We’re well aligned on this. If something comes up that I can help with, but otherwise I am totally confident it'll go well and so we don’t need to talk about this much.
It's a very novel way of looking at alignment and gives a structured approach to make it work in any context.
4. Culture of Listening
Kim Scott’s essay on “Creating a culture of listening” starts with establishing what she calls - GSD (Get Stuff Done) wheel. Here’s what the GSD wheel entails:
The first step is to listen more and talk less. She describes two different style of listening cultures:
Quiet listening - staying silent to give people room to talk
Loud listening - saying things intended to get a reaction out of them
She has used Steve Jobs, John Ive & Time Scott as the stars of her narrative. This is helpful in setting context and highlighting the difference between the two styles.
Finally, she talks about how to create and sustain this culture of listening. Worth a read for those who are looking to become better at listening.
5. Three Kinds of Leverage
Jason Cohen’s recent blog on “the three kinds of leverage” shares an interesting perspective on our usual understanding of performance improvement levers. He states loudly -
Leveraging strengths is the only way to do great work. (Not “fixing weaknesses.”)
Better yet, leveraging differentiated strengths means you beat the competition.
Best is when that differentiation is durable over time.
He breaks down his recommendation into easy to digest ideas. One idea that stood out for me:
This is why typically the best answer to “what tool/language/framework/process should I use to do ______?” is “the one you already know1.” That’s the one that best leverages your time—your most limited resource.
6. Light reads & watch
Some interesting posts & essays that are well worth reading.
How to create a masterpiece - by Tomas Pueyo.
Mathematically, you have three levers to create a masterpiece: 1) Increase your average: Get better. 2) Increase your variance: Try different things. 3) Increase your sample size: Try more times, churn more quantity. Out of these three, the third lever is by far the best, because it’s the only one that acts on all three levers.
The absurd logistics of concert tours - a short documentary covering a brief peek into what is mostly hidden around the great concert tours. If you liked this one, you will like this video about Formula 1 logistics as well.
Explicit vs. Implicit Strategy - by John Cutler
It doesn't matter what the strategy is. What matters are the goals we commit to, our budgets, our forecasts, our promise, and our commitments. We will be held accountable for these things, and they will set the constraints of how we work.
7. Everything else
Some random goodness from the internet:
100 amazing photos without any photoshop touch (hopefully). Nature is super colorful, I must say.
Lost & found - World's largest collection of rustic Automata. This video’s description reads - “For over ten years Blair has single-handedly owned, operated and ceaselessly expanded the Lost Gypsy Gallery, his wonderland of homegrown wizardry and a playground for kids and adults alike. Using only recycled materials, Blair takes DIY to artistic extremes. His creations are ingenious, interactive, and often hilariously impractical. They take many shapes and forms and share an uncanny ability to amaze, entertain and inspire.” I am confident you won’t need more reasons to check it out.
It’s all in the name, as Hari Sadans and Krishna Kunjs transform into Caesar’s Towers and Beverly Hills. This story is written in the context of Mumbai, but I can see the trend highly pervasive in other metros & tier 1 cities in India as well.
Before we sign off, a couple of housekeeping stuff.
The title of today’s post is from David Perell’s post.
If you’re new to this space, do say a quick hi in comments or writing to me.
That's all for this week, folks!
I hope I've earned the privilege of your time.
If you enjoyed this post, show your love by ❤️’ing it or leaving a comment or sharing it with a couple of your friends.