Part of the Kaizen Monthly blogchain.
Over the past month I wrote the following two (short) pieces:
A fairly eclectic mix of reading for me this month. I had a noted interest in drilling down on what it means for a medium to be effective, and the current ways we interact with the digital world.
Why books don’t work by Andy Matuschak is an excellent piece which breaks down why “as a medium, books are surprisingly bad at conveying knowledge”. Matuschak explains that the heart of this issue is that books (and lectures) weren’t built around an explicit model of how people learn. He proposes that we don’t necessarily have to make books work, we can make new forms instead. Spaced repetition may prove to be the key here.
The Holloway Guide to Using Twitter will help you to “find collaborators, generate ideas, build a brand, and more”. This was an informative and important read for anyone looking to build their personal brand online. Ultimately, you should be using Twitter as a testing ground for new ideas, sparking interesting conversations and attracting like-minded people.
A Brainless Slime That Shares Memories by Fusing; unicellular organisms with no brains and no neurons managed to create a network over a map of the Greater Toyko area that was almost identical to Tokyo's actual rail network. “Human designers had created that network to be as efficient as possible; the slime mold had done the same, but without any brainpower.”
Venkatesh Rao’s tweetstorm on being ‘plugged in’; “The way to manage your attention is not to "unplug" […] but to be sensitive to your mind quality and consciously target the zone, moving fluidly between small/great mind.” A great take on how to think about our level of online interaction—we need to translate our information consumption choices into winning bets.
Screens & Time; Sachin muses on how apps may be designed with short browsing sessions in mind and was a great read on how we should think about our interaction with apps, digital tools and screens in general. “Instead of talking about screen time per se, we should start talking more about sessions, activities, and outcomes. We should treat it as a given that (a) many times a day, people will find themselves with a few moments of idle time, and (b) they will usually turn to a digital space in these moments — and that's okay! […] The most successful mobile apps of the future will facilitate some activity to convert the idle moments throughout your day into positive outcomes. And they will be explicitly designed for short sessions, which better map to the natural rhythm of our lives.”
Skin in the Game by Nassim Nicholas Taleb; An enjoyable read tying together a number of concepts including the unreliability and uncertainty of knowledge, transactional information sharing and the need for risk/reward symmetry in human affairs.
Tempo by Venkatesh Rao; Essentially how the characteristic rhythms of an environment, including emotion and energy, can effect decision-making for the individual and the organisation. “Adapting to the Tempo of your environment is a basic decision-making skill; it is significantly harder to become a pace-setter or pace-disruptor—somebody who can actually influence the Tempo of the environment.”
“Accuracy is the absence of error, precision is the level of detail – effective problem solving requires always being accurate, but being only as precise as is helpful at a given stage of problem solving. Early in the problem solving process, accurate but imprecise methods, rather than very exact methods, will facilitate design explorations while minimizing the tracking of needlessly detailed data.” –101 Things I Learned in Engineering School
“The most basic choice you make as a creator does not concern content, medium, themes, sources of inspiration, or styles. The most basic choice is to create rather than not create.” –Elderblog Sutra: 10