A lot has been happening over the past couple of weeks, quite a few things I want to write about and ideas to explore. It’s just been a very busy couple of weeks, and all of my writing (and coding and much of my thinking) has been aimed at my day job. You know, the one that pays the bills.
Here’s a list of drafts I’ve created in the past two weeks or so that I’m working on in bits and pieces and will hopefully start pushing out in the next couple of days. Or maybe over the Christmas slowdown. (“Christmas slowdown”? Yeah, that’ll happen 🙂
- Layers of abstraction and the cost of convenience
- Passion and Warfare in St. Louis – an evening with Steve Vai
- If everyone gave him $20
- From Android to iPhone
- Some notes and thoughts on WordCampUS 2017
- Accidents of Phenotype
- The work of art (as opposed to “a work of art”)
And one I haven’t started yet that I’ve had in the back of my mind for years and was brought to the front earlier tonight, that will likely be called What Capital Wants (see Capitalism is Skynet for a hint what that might be about).
But right now I need to put together some notes on a proposed talk about crowdsourcing innovation for JiveWorld 2017.
1. You have to break the rules in order to learn the rules.
2. You have to learn the rules before you can break the rules.
3. You should always follow the rules, except when you shouldn’t.
Illustration from Rework
In their book Rework, the guys from 37signals make a compelling argument for staying small in a chapter called “Why grow?” My favorite quote from that chapter:
Small is not just a stepping stone. Small is a great destination in itself.
And this isn’t just empty talk from someone trying to sell books, this is how they actually run the company. From a recent article on Fast Company, here is 37signals CEO Jason Fried (@jasonfried):
I’m a fan of growing slowly, carefully, methodically, of not getting big just for the sake of getting big. I think that rapid growth is typically of symptom of… there’s a sickness there. There’s a great quote by a guy named Ricardo Semler, author of the book Maverick. He said that only two things grow for the sake of growth: businesses and tumors. We have 35 employees at 37signals. We could have hundreds of employees if we wanted to–our revenues and profits support that–but I think we’d be worse off.
This is kind of a follow up to yesterday’s post, Living life for a living, which got me thinking again about the 37signals philosophy. What it really comes down to, it seems, is the difference between a businessperson – who wants to run a business that makes money; big is better – and a person in business – who wants to build a business around something they do; the bigger the business gets, the less they get to do what they got into business for in the first place.
Last week Seth Godin wrote that rehearsing is for cowards. My first thought when I saw that headline was, “Seth Godin just called me a coward!” If you’ve read my The importance of rehearsal, you know what I mean.
Like most of Godin’s writing, though, you have to take this one in the spirit in which it is written – deliberately extreme headline to catch your attention and then a very specific context in which it applies. In this case, his definition of rehearsal is very narrow and, to me, is really a definition of memorization.
At the end of the article he says that “A well-rehearsed performance will go without a hitch.” As if that is a bad thing. If you are trying to create your art live, then obviously it is bad. But not all art is created live and unfiltered, unedited.
Some art is created in post-production, when the book / album / film is edited into it’s final form.
And some art is created in pre-production, during rehearsal as things are tried and discarded, tried and changed, or new things added.
Rehearsal is simply editing in pre-production.
Standardization of medicine as a result of the desire for predictable outcomes. Unbelievable differences between US practice of medicine and doctors in other parts of the world.
Doctors as cogs in the machine as the “art” of medicine is systematically removed from the practice of medicine, despite the fact that those in the need of the most critical medical care require a doctor who grasps the art, not just the science. (Think “House, MD”).
What does it mean to be a “good” doctor? Who are you trying to please, who are you really serving? Should doctors be embarrassed about how much money they make? should they not make so much money? How much is too much?
Why would anyone want to be a doctor under these conditions?
These were all thoughts left rattling around in my mind after reading Atul Gawande’s book “Better”. I’m still not sure what to think.