2017年6月22日 星期四

Seth's Blog : Make two lists

Make two lists

On one list identify the grievances, disrespects and bad breaks:
  • People who don't like you.
  • Deals that went wrong.
  • Unfair expectations.
  • Bad situations.
  • Unfortunate outcomes.
  • Unfairness.
It's all legitimate, it's all real. Don't hold back.
On the other list, write down the privileges, advantages and opportunities you have:
  • The places where you get the benefit of the doubt.
  • Your leverage and momentum.
  • The things you see that others don't.
  • What's working and what has worked.
  • The resources you can tap.
  • The things you know.
  • People who trust you.
Now, take one list and put it in a drawer. Take the other list and tape it up on your bathroom mirror. Read the list in the drawer once a month or once a year, just to remind you that it's safe and sound. Read the other list every day.
The daily list will determine what you notice, how you interpret what you see and the story you tell yourself about what's happening and what will happen.
You get to pick which list goes where.
Picking your list is possibly the most important thing you'll do all day.

Seth's Blog : Blame Charles Mochet

Blame Charles Mochet

The standards of your industry and our culture were set a long time ago. So long ago that we often forget why... we forget and then we fail to change them.
In 1934, the rules of bike racing were changed to ban recumbent bicycles. And that rule has stood for more than 80 years, because Charles Mochet made the mistake of giving his faster, safer bike to a cyclist who wasn't respected. To preserve the status of existing riders who had paid their dues, the governing bodies banned the bike forever.
All of those riders are now dead, but the rule persists.
Cars have two headlights because horse-drawn carriages had two lanterns. Of course you couldn't put a lantern in the middle, that's where the horse goes. Now, it's easy to make a bar of light, one that illuminates from edge to edge.
And jobs used to be done by men, because statistically, it's easier to find people who can lift heavy objects among the males in the population. But now, most lifting isn't heavy, it requires insight and care instead.
What else is still stuck? 

Seth's Blog : A professional stumbler

A professional stumbler

Leo's working hard to do something he's never done before. He's just turned one, and he doesn't know how to walk (yet).
There are no really useful books or videos on how to walk. It's something he has to figure out on his own. But instead of waiting on the couch until the day he's ready to proudly strut across the room, he's there, on the floor, every day, trying it out.
He's already discovered a hundred ways that don't work, and stumbled countless times.
But he persists.
I don't know about you, but this is precisely the way I learned how to walk as well.
In fact, it's the way I learned how to do just about everything important. By doing it.

Seth's Blog : All it takes is effort

Customer service used to be a great divide. Well-off companies would heavily invest in taking care of customers, others would do the minimum (or a bit less). Of course, back then, organizations couldn't possibly give you all the service you might dream of. They can't all afford to answer the phone on one ring, it's expensive to hire enough operators and train them. And they certainly can't dedicate an operator just to you, someone who would know your history and recognize your voice.
Today, though, when more and more of our engagements are digital, it doesn't take an endless, ongoing budget to delight people. All an organization needs to do is care enough (once) to design it properly.
To make a process that is easy to use, clearly labeled and well designed. 
To build a phone system that doesn't torture you and then delete everything you typed in.
To put care into every digital interaction, even if it's easier to waste the user's time.
[Insert story here of healthcare company, cable company or business that doesn't care enough to do it right. One where the committees made the process annoying. Or where the team didn't cycle one more time. Or where the urgency of the moment takes attention away from the long-term work of system design.  The thing is, if one company can do the tech right, then every organization with sufficient resources and motivation can do the tech right.]
The punchline is simple: In consumer relations and service, good tech is free.
It's free because it pays for itself in lower overhead and great consumer satisfaction and loyalty.
But it requires someone to care enough to do it right.
Perhaps we need to change the recording to, "due to unusually lazy or frustrated design and systems staff (and their uninvolved management), we're going to torture you every single time you interact with us. Thanks for your patience."

Seth's Blog : Winner take all

Winner take all

Almost nothing in our daily lives is actually a winner take all competition.
Somewhere, there's someone fitter, faster, thinner, quicker, smarter, more popular or richer than you. And there's someone else fitter, faster, thinner, quicker, smarter, more popular or richer than they are. And you're (far) ahead of someone else who is busy looking at you from behind.
And yet we see people angry because someone's passing their car, or gaining more followers online. They mistakenly believe it's a race. It rarely is.
If you can use your situation as fuel, fuel to dig in and care more and do better, by all means.
But if not, ignore it. Do your work, not theirs.

Seth's Blog : Staring at the numbers

Staring at the numbers

Sometimes, you can learn a lot by watching. But not always.
An alien observing our behavior in elevators would note that most of the time, a person gets in, approaches the front corner, leaves that corner, goes to the back and then stands silently, staring at the numbers above the door.
Only one of those actions is actually required. If you don't push the button (or have someone push it for you) nothing happens. The rest—the moving to the back, standing silently and most of all, staring at the numbers—it's just for show, a cultural tradition.
Most practices work this way. From eating in restaurants to marketing, we add all sorts of extraneous motion to our effort. Which is fine, unless you don't understand which ones actually matter to the outcome.
Too often, we train people in the motions without giving them understanding. Then, when the world changes, we're stuck staring at the numbers going by, unable to find the insight to push a new kind of button.

Seth's Blog : Worth being afraid of

Worth being afraid of

We're pretty good at finding demons to be afraid of.
  • The other.
  • The one in the shadows.
  • Change.
  • The family member we can't possibly please.
  • Competition.
  • Critics.
  • The invisible network of foes conspiring against us and what we stand for.
It turns out, though, that the one who usually lets us down is us.
Our unwillingness to leap, to commit, to trust our own abilities.
It's the internal narrative that seeks disaster just as much as it craves reassurance.
That's the one we ought to be vilifying, fortifying ourselves against and frightened of.
It gets less powerful once we are brave enough to look it in the eye.

2017年6月15日 星期四

Seth's Blog : Living in dissatisfaction

Living in dissatisfaction

For the creator who seeks to make something new, something better, something important, everywhere you look is something unsatisfying.
The dissatisfaction is fuel. Knowing you can improve it, realizing that you can and will make things better—the side effect is that today isn't what it could be.
You can't ignore the dissatisfaction, can't pretend the situation doesn't exist, not if you want to improve things.
Living in dissatisfaction today is the price we pay for the obligation to improve things tomorrow.

Seth's Blog : "But what if it works?"

"But what if it works?"

Fear of success is at least as big a challenge as fear of failure.
Because if it works, things are going to change.
Are you ready for that?

Seth's Blog : Accelerating revolutions

Accelerating revolutions

Four hundred years ago, almost no one on Earth had tasted coffee. It was too difficult to move things a few thousand miles.
A hundred years ago, if you wanted a cold drink in the summer or needed to ice an injured knee, you were largely out of luck. It took millions of years of cultural and technical evolution to get to the point where people had a freezer in their house.
The industrial revolution was mighty indeed. It paved the Earth, created the middle class and changed everything. And it was a powerhouse for generations, incrementally changing what hadn't been changed yet.
The TV revolution followed, introducing mass marketing as a force that could change our culture.
Then, the 60s brought the computer revolution, which involved large devices capable of sorting, calculating and processing things that were previously unsorted.
We're living right now in the connection revolution, one powered by the internet, in which people connect to people, computers connect to computers and our culture changes ever faster, daily.
The next two revolutions are right around the corner:
The biology revolution, which has had some fits and starts, will transform our bodies and our planet. Once computers are able to see, understand and modify living things, the same acceleration of the last three revolutions will kick in.
And the AI revolution, in which we engage with computers as much as with each other, is showing itself now too.
Faster, ever faster. Moore's law ratchets technology, technology changes the culture, the culture changes the economy and it continues.
Revolutions are impossible, until they're not, and then they seem totally normal.
Iced coffee, anyone?