A little bit extra

A few percent over or under makes a big difference in the long run. A little bit less on your plate each meal – three times a day The biscuit you don’t eat – twice a day, every day The run you don’t skip even though you’re taking your kids to the park later and will get some exercise then…

Friction (2): emotional friction

This is a different kind of friction: the uncertainty, delay and discomfort that comes from lack of trust or understanding. Like bureaucratic or procedural friction, emotional friction slows us down and makes things more difficult than they need to be. It takes many guises: The extra time we spend second-guessing and explaining ourselves because we’re worried someone will take what…

Friction (1): costs to convenience

Friction is anything that makes it harder to for us to get something done – buy a product or use a service, do our jobs, learn something, enjoy ourselves. There will always be friction – but poor design and execution and a lack of clarity about what things are for make it worse than it needs to be. For example:…

How to set salaries

Some ways of thinking about setting salaries: Market Rate You pay the lowest price that the market will bear. The bigger the market (the more appropriate candidates that you can reach), the lower the price is likely to be. This is commodity pricing: an average sort of price to attract average (or cheapest possible) candidates. Market-plus You pay the market…

Podcast Recommendation: Econtalk with Alain Bertaud on Cities, Planning, and Order Without Design

This is a great episode of Econtalk. Bertaud uses labour markets as a lens for thinking about cities. Helpful examples of emergent order and the challenges (impossibility?) of planning in complex adaptive systems. Highlights (coming up) include: Discussion of the importance of culture and context in how cities develop; Bertaud’s explanation of his broader-than-usual understanding of labour markets; When planning…

Finishing lines (4) – two numbers

Here’s Seth Godin with some of the best advice I’ve heard for drawing (finishing) lines. It’s especially relevant for businesses. Q: I’m wondering about personal financing your company and where you draw the line if you’re funding it yourself? Rule number one is you never put up your house. Don’t laugh. This means you can’t sign a personal guarantee on…

Finishing lines (3)

In the probably-quite-unlikely event that your project will last longer than you do – or at least lasts longer than your desire or ability to keep it alive – you’ll need to have a personal finishing line in mind. When, ideally, will you let go of the project? What state do you hope to leave it (what needs to happen…

Finishing lines (2)

Recognising the possibility – or rather, the inevitability – of the death of your project will focus your mind: Given that we can’t do anything in the time available, what’s most important? Will people miss us when we’re gone? Will your project’s main legacy be something physical you’ll leave behind, or an idea or value, or a change in people?…

Finishing lines (1)

Or The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living Where are the finishing lines for your project? Some projects get finished up and wrapped up neatly, others (often work serving people, like education or government) are by nature never finished. If your project has no clear…

Keepy uppies

Try playing keepy uppies with your projects: Do something every day, however small, to move them on and keep them alive Find friends for the project – people doing similar work, people interested in what you’re working on – and maintain a conversation about what you’re learning Keep half of your free moments empty – moments when you’d pick up…