Possibility: learning to see

This morning one of my sons was trying to put a new water bottle in a bottle holder: “It doesn’t fit.” I laughed at him, because I’d put the same bottle in the same holder a day before. I told him. He tried again. It fitted easily. We’re often terrible at looking for things unless we know that they’re there.…

No Guru

I love gurus. The feeling of hope and promise of new efficiency, productivity and meaning that a good one brings. Insights. Ideas. The catch is how easy it is to end up chasing the feeling and not the ideas.¬† Or to chase the ideas, and not the difference they might make. A weekly in-person meeting with your favourite guru would…

It’s not for you

It’s so easy to want everyone to love what we do. When we’re writing, we want everyone to think it’s great. In our work building a service or product, we want everyone to buy in – to join us, or support us in some way. This leads to problems: By trying to make something that pleases everyone, we end up…

Who is it for?

This is a lesson that I’ve been learning slowly, and for a long time. When presenting to a group or leading a training it’s easy to fall into the trap of focusing on your own performance: Am I looking good? Am I doing well? It’s also easy to focus on what you want to get from the people you’re working…

One cigarette

Which smoke will kill you? According to a load of research, smoking just one cigarette a day does almost half the damage of smoking a whole pack. They expected the health risk of one cigarette to be five percent of the risk of smoking 20 (one divided by 20; this is true for lung cancer risk). But they found that…

Air Pollution

Air Pollution

The air is terrible in Jakarta at the moment – two or three times over the WHO recommended maximum. It’s easy to go down a technical rabbit hole here, which I won’t. The question is – how can little us have an impact on such a huge problem? Some thoughts: 1) Understand it better. Read about it. Measure it. 2)…

100 posts for… us?

I’m a practising writer. These posts are first of all for me, and for no-one else, for the time being. No sharing until I hit 100 at least. Then they’re for the readers and co-workers who will hopefully be blessed by the small percentage of useful ideas that come out of the regular work. And for the people we’ll serve…

100 days of showing up

“Ship it.” “Show up.” Today is the start of 100 days of showing up: shipping a blog post every day for 100 days. Not aiming for perfection. Aiming to get the job done every day until November the 8th, whether or not it’s ready. Whether or not it’s read.

The Maestro

Vision isn’t just for what you want to achieve: it’s for who and how you want to be in the world. This type of vision-of-ourselves’ is often called ‘values’. There’s a lot to say about values – and especially how values and culture sit together and slide around the place. But today is about The Maestro. At Seth’s¬†recommendation I’ve been…

Moving targets

Marshall McLuhan apparently once wrote that “If it works, it’s obselete.” He’s wrong of course. The wheel, concrete and the humble fork are just three examples of thousand-year-old-plus technologies that have stuck around exactly because they do their jobs so well. (Okay, okay, so wheels have got lighter since the Flintstones…) But McLuhan has a point (of course). And I…