The DriverlessBookodile roadmap

One my my 2019 resolutions was to completely re-order DriverlessCrocodile and make it easier to find stuff by theme.

I’d also like to collect the best insights and resources together in a series of five-minute pages that just might work together as chapters in a very short (but very helpful) ebook* and companion limited podcast series.

This is proving very hard to do as well as keeping on top of daily posts, but I have a plan: the first part of the book will be written in installments here (so far, so Charles Dickens and the Serial Novel).

The differences will be:

  1. I won’t be paid by the word, so I’ll keep it short.
  2. I’d welcome – love – comments and feedback as I go. Everyone who comments during writing will receive an honourable mention in the final Bookodile.
  3. I’d welcome – love even more – contributions under each theme. Contributions could be recommended resources (see next post about the draft chapter structure / spec), seeds-of-riffs that you think I should write on, fully-fledged candidate paragraphs on the theme, or bigger-picture ideas for how to make the thing better. Everyone who contributes will be credited as a contributor, and anyone who contributes something that makes it into the final version of the book will be honoured in a special way (probably an in-chapter credit and maybe that driverlesscroc t-shirt I’ve been meaning to have made) and perhaps the option of recording your own segment of the podcast when the time comes.

And that’s the MVP of the roadmap. Call it Dickens and Tolstoy meet Osterwalder and Pigneur meets CafePress meets DriverlessCrocodiles.

DriverlessBookadile is officially open for comments below.

Let’s go!

*Don’t hold your breath for the coffee table edition

Future partners

The next time you’re working a colleague or partner, ask yourself if it’s possible that you’ll still be working together in ten or twenty year’s time.

If the answer is “I hope not,” think about why – and ask why it is you work with them now, and how you might stop.

But if it’s even vaguely possible that you might be working together for a long time, you’re look at a fellow traveller, and should ask questions like these instead:

  • “What will make them want to keep on working with me?
  • “What impact could our partnership have over the next decade?”
  • “What will our partnership look like if we both continue to get better at what we do?”
  • “How can I help them get better?”
  • “How can I make it easier for them to do what they do?”
  • “Which bits of my work could I leave to them – or what could they leave to me?”

Lastly ask:

“Who else could join us?” and “How can we grow our scene?”

Starting line

Where’s the starting line for your project?

How good does someone need to be to…

  • Work for you?
  • Work with you?
  • For you to work for them?

What type of ‘good’ are you looking for?

It’s highly likely that the best contractor / employee / partner / donor / customer isn’t simply the cheapest / most available / one with the most money.

In most cases, a person’s qualifications will tell you little or nothing about what they actually have to contribute, or what they might drain from you and your team.

Five Questions: Krissie Ducker

1) Introduce yourself: who are you, what do you do, and why is it important?

I’m Krissie Ducker. I am a screenwriter for TV, and one day I’d like to write a film that actually gets made (I’ve written many un-produced movie scripts).

It’s important (for me) because it was my dream to do this, and the fact I actually get paid to work with people I admire and who inspire me makes me joyous at least 35 seconds if not more of each day.

It’s important (for the world) to provide an escape, a fun distraction from the grey that can descend on life. There is so much content being created at the moment and I think it’s a result of people craving connection – and they get that from watching the same show and being able to share it with others, or from watching human connections on screen even if in a heightened environment.

2) What’s your most valuable skill?

Being able to navigate a path to where I wanted to be and not getting distracted from the main goal even if the journey changed. I guess the skill in that was learning to be adaptable.

3) Describe a tool, technique or practice that makes a difference to your work.

Creative vulnerability. I have been in many writers rooms with successful and intimidating brains and I learnt quickly that I should just say everything that comes into my head and not edit myself when it comes to story ideas… yes, some of them are terrible but that terrible idea might spark something in someone else that we end up using. So the initial mortification of the room going silent with my bad idea is ultimately bearable if it’s for the greater good!

4) What advice do you most need to hear?

To have patience. I am always worried about where the next job is coming from because the industry is so crazy – getting a show green-lit and actually made relies on so many people that anything can happen. So patience and keeping faith!

5) Suggest an interesting/humorous/endearing question for question number five – and answer it.

Q: What was the last thing you googled?
A: “How exhausting is it to murder someone with a butter knife?”(Research for a murderous TV show, I assure you!)

Caterina Fake: 5 Cs

If you look at all of the companies that I’ve been involved with and the investments that I’ve made, they are companies that emphasise creativity, communication, connection, collaboration and community.

Caterina Fake – Tim Ferris Show #360

Caterina Fake co-founded Flikr, where they popularised – newsfeeds, tags (which later evolved into hashtags), followers and likes. She played a key role in the development of Etsy, Kickstarter, and a many others besides.

These five Cs are values that she describes as being key to the success of her projects.

What role do they (could they, should they) play in yours, not just for you and your team, but for your partners, donors, customers, clients?

Contact

Next time you read an article, listen to a podcast, watch a program that you like – why don’t you get in touch with whoever made it?

Not just the person who was in it – the ones we normally notice – but the people who made it too. Drop them an email, or even that hand written note that you always think about but never get around to.

Why did you like it? Is there something you had a (generous, non-snarky) question about, or something (of genuine potential interest to them) that you can share?

Try it – make it a light touch. It feels funny at first but gets ever-easier. They’re a person like you, and they’ll probably reply, which will probably be fun.*

*You have permission to stop after twenty unreplied-to contact attempts.**
** To different people.

Complementary goods

Basically this means that since the demand of one good is linked to the demand for another good, if a higher quantity is demanded of one good, a higher quantity will also be demanded of the other, and if a lower quantity is demanded of one good, a lower quantity will be demanded of the other.

Wikipedia – Complementary Good

The more your work helps others to do theirs – the more your success adds to theirs – the more you’ll find that people want to work with you, and cheer you on.

Can you find ways of being so generous and useful to your customers – even to your ‘competitors’ – that their success is a win for you, and vice-versa?

You might become an indispensable part of someone else’s product, or the add on that people buy to complete or enrich their purchase.

It’s a good thing for them to miss you if you’re gone – it’s transformative when they can’t imagine doing it without you.

The butter to their bread

You make everything a little bit better and people include you without thinking. When they do forget you, they find that their sandwiches go soggy, and everything falls apart.

The cream in their coffee

There are other ways to do the job, but you hit the spot. Your presence turns something good-but-no-frills into something safe but luxurious.

The chilli to their gorengan

You’re not for everyone, but you are transformative. You the add the spice and interest that turns a greasy little something into a pick-me-up with a lasting glow.

The rubber to their sole.

They may think they’re hitting the road, but it’s you making what they do stick. You’re the interface that gives them traction.

What is that’ll make them sing about you?

Compound interest

We all know about compound interest in the world of money. Save £100 a month for thirty years at one percent interest** and you’ll have a little under £42,000 by the end of that time (compared to £36,000 at zero-percent).

Make that investment at 5% and suddenly you’ll hit £83,000.

10%*** makes almost £228,000.

It takes time, and the commitment to building something steadily. No tricks, no promises of outrageous returns, a degree of risk – but not when compared to not investing at all.

What if the interest we seek for our work – attention, respect, partnership, remuneration – could compound in the same way? Often it seems that we’re after a flash in the pan (Viral. Now.), or that we’re not building anything consistently at all.

Starting with almost nothing, drop by drip, brick by brick, little by little, we can build a mountain.

** 1% annually, calculated monthly

*** A reasonable return from a stocks-and-shares index fund

On making stuff: that Steve Jobs quote

When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money.

That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact, and that is – everything around you that you call life, was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.

I think that’s very important and however you learn that, once you learn it, you’ll want to change life and make it better, cause it’s kind of messed up, in a lot of ways. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.

Steve Jobs

GNU-GPL – a base of code

Richard Stallman famously wrote the GNU GPL, which is a license based on copy-left, not copyright. His position is the freedom to work with computers and work with software and work with software is hindered by copyright.

That in fact these are useful tools, and there are people who want to make useful tools and remix the useful tools of people who came before. Everything you use in the internet – that website that you visited that’s running on Apache, that email protocol, you’re able to do it because so many other entities were able to share these ideas.

So the way copy-left works is that if you use software that has a GPL license to make your software work better, it infects your software, and you also have to use the GPL license.

So if it works right, it will eat the world. So as the core of software in GNU gets bigger and deeper, it becomes more and more irresistible to use it. But as you use it the software you add to it also becomes part of that corpus.

And if enough people contribute to it, what we’ll end up with is an open, inspectable, improvable base of code that gives us a toolset for weaving together the culture we want to be part of.

Seth Godin Akimbo, November 21 2018 – Intellectual Property

An open, inspectable, improvable base of code.

For software.

For tools for making software.

How about for educational outcomes? For assessments?

For a set of tools and resources for running an organisation?