I attempt to spend time with every single Academy cohort @ The Iron Yard so that I might pour into them as much as I possibly can so that they can have the most success when they leave the program.
I have a few presentations that I give covering blogging, personal branding, product development, entrepreneurship, and pitching for Demo Day. These talks are some of the best part of my job even though it often requires a bit of travel.
I first heard of this philosophy, “Decisions, Not Options,” via WordPress which I have since adopted for many of my previous products. Not only that, I’ve adopted this philosophy in general for some of my organizations as well. It’s nicely applicable to most things.
Here’s what they have to say about that:
Every time you give a user an option, you are asking them to make a decision. When a user doesn’t care or understand the option this ultimately leads to frustration.
As developers we sometimes feel that providing options for everything is a good thing, you can never have too many choices, right? Ultimately these choices end up being technical ones, choices that the average end user has no interest in.
It’s our duty as developers to make smart design decisions and avoid putting the weight of technical choices on our end users.
You and I have encountered this too many times to count as many of the apps and products that we use today are too bloated to be useful.
Most of the Microsoft suite of products (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.) are like this with far too many options for the user to choose from.
It’s been almost 4 months since I’ve turned off comments on this blog and although the intent was to originally move some of those conversations to Twitter I quickly adjusted my implementation to neither encourage nor explicitly direct people to comment there.
Social sharing. Yey.
I just removed them entirely and kept some of the social sharing links at the bottom. Boring, I know, but apparently that’s where I’m headed anyways.
Fame is an interesting thing. Being “internet famous” is even more weird. Stories like Phil Fish scare the shit out of me. Literally. A large dose of anxiety is attacking me as I type these very words.
I used to be somewhat “subculturally important” at one point in my life. I am no longer important in that particular context or culture; I am no longer “famous” or on the fringe of being “famous”.
In fact, the people that used to care about my opinion in that subculture no longer care – they’ve entirely moved on.
Combatting our unconscious biases is hard, because they don’t feel wrong; they feel right. But it’s necessary to fight against bias in order to create a work environment that supports and encourages diverse perspectives and people.
Not only is that the right thing to do, but without a diverse workforce, there’s a pretty good chance that our products—just like that early YouTube app—won’t work for everyone. That means we need to make the unconscious, conscious.
During one of his answers, he shared an enlightened observation about people who are “right a lot”.
He said people who were right a lot of the timewere people who often changed their minds. He doesn’t think consistency of thought is a particularly positive trait. It’s perfectly healthy — encouraged, even — to have an idea tomorrow that contradicted your idea today.
He’s observed that the smartest people are constantly revising their understanding, reconsidering a problem they thought they’d already solved. They’re open to new points of view, new information, new ideas, contradictions, and challenges to their own way of thinking.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a well formed point of view, but it means you should consider your point of view as temporary.
What trait signified someone who was wrong a lot of the time? Someone obsessed with details that only support one point of view. If someone can’t climb out of the details, and see the bigger picture from multiple angles, they’re often wrong most of the time.
I’ve been thinking about this more and more over the past few weeks (and the post is old, btw) as I’ve thought about the exciting scaling challenges that we’ve had with The Iron Yard as I’ve had to strongly reconsider my position on some very fundamental beliefs of how I run, grow, and expand a company.
I know this is obvious but it’s worth mentioning explicitly since it’s a clear value that Desk brings to the table: Note-taking.
I’ve started using Desk for simply taking note during my meetings. I can save these locally or in the cloud which is nice since I have multiple MacBooks that I use in a variety of different circumstances and can get access to the notes anywhere.
The term “headshot” always made me giggle a bit because my first thought isn’t related to a professional picture or portrait of someone’s head or face for professional and corporate needs but rather a distinct visual of a bullet passing through someone’s skull in a video game (Unreal Tournament) and this glorious sound clip:
Graphic, I know, but after giving that game a few thousand hours of my time I can’t seem to shake it.