A sense of urgency (2): Clayton Christensen on measuring your life

John Greenall wrote this about our lack of a sense of urgency about the most important things in life: I wonder if it comes back to overscheduling, busyness, lack of prioritisation and an internal need to look good. This all leads to overloaded diaries and an overly full life. The routine is downplayed and not given sufficient time or consideration…

Carl Sagan on starting from scratch

If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe. Carl Sagan Starting from scratch is overrated (and impossible). Some better questions are: – Has someone else already made what I’m trying to make? Or something similar? Or part of it? (Readymade is usually easier than DIY). – What new things can I make…

Podcast recommendation: Econtalk – Andy Matuschak on Why Books Don’t Work

This is a fantastic interview that takes Andy Matuschak‘s controversially titled essay as a springboard for a not-really-controversial but fascinating discussion of teaching, learning and tech informed by Matuschak’s work at Kahn Academy. Highly recommend. Highlights to follow.

What’s the story? (1)

We’re always telling stories about who we are, where we’ve come from and where we going. We tell stories about what’s good and what’s bad, what should be and what shouldn’t. We tell ourselves stories about what’s possible and why and how, and about which things that will never happen, or which things we’ll (or they’ll) never be able to…

Seth Godin on responsibility

Following on from yesterday’s post about supervision, here are some links to Seth Godin on responsibility: Rules and responsibility “Use your best judgment.ā€ Bureaucracies have a very hard time saying this to their staff. They create an endless series of scripts and rules, procedures that force people to not care. “Iā€™m just doing my job,ā€ which is the precise opposite…

BYOG

Be Your Own Guru The next time you want to ask someone a question, first ask yourself these two questions: Why is this important to me? What am I going to do with the answer? If you don’t have satisfying answers to those to questions, don’t ask. If you do have satisfying answers, a third question is: Why aren’t I…

Questions (1): who’s it for?

A questions about questions: Who is it for? Always, our questions are self motivated: We’re looking for answers. We just want to know. The answer will help us in some way. We also ask questions for other people: We ask on behalf of others who can’t or won’t ask – because we want their question to be heard by others,…

Drucker on the theory of the business

The theory of the business must be known and understood throughout the organisation. This is easy in the organization’s early days. But as it becomes successful, an organization tends increasingly to take its theory for granted, becoming less and less conscious of it. Then the organization becomes sloppy. It begins to cut corners. It begins to pursue what is expedient…

Where do you want to go?

And do you trust that the people you’re following can get you there? Have they been there before? Has anyone been there before? For interesting work, there probably isn’t a map of the route, so you’ll looking for: People who have been to similar places People who have been part of the way A cohort of fellow travellers Compasses, not…

Seeds (2): bikes, planes and automobiles

Many of the seeds of the automobile industry came from bicycle manufacturers (I touched on this in Use, Copy, Repair, Make), and on a visit to the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu I learnt some more of the story. Karl Benz, widely credited as the maker of the first practical automobile, started in mechanical engineering and ironwork and started experimenting…