summing up 50

i am trying to build a jigsaw puzzle which has no lid and is missing half of the pieces. i am unable to show you what it will be, but i can show you some of the pieces and why they matter to me. if you are building a different puzzle, it is possible that these pieces won't mean much to you, maybe they won't fit or they won't fit yet. then again, these might just be the pieces you're looking for. this is summing up, please find previous editions here.

  • designed as designer, we've all been fooled the same way. many believe ronald reagan single-handedly defeated communism, tim berners-lee single-handedly invented (everything about) the world wide web, michael jordan single-handedly won 6 nba championships, gillette invented the safety razor.... the list of people (and companies) given more credit than is due could go on, perhaps as long as you like. there's something about our culture that seems to love heroes, that looks for the genius who's solved it all, that seems to need to believe the first to market - the best inventor - reaps justly deserved rewards. two factors combine to manufacture this love of heroes: a failure to perceive the effects of randomness on real life and a need for stories. a name and story are less abstract than an intertwined trail of ideas and designs that leads to a monument. luck and randomness go against the grain of human cognition; it's hard to see the role of the thing designed in its own design; and thus typically only talent is given credit for great achievement. highly recommended (pdf)
  • free is a lie, we can't harbor under this theory of trickle-down technology, which akin to trickle-down economics says if we have enthusiasts who are working to create tools for other enthusiasts, somehow these will also trickle down into being usable products for consumers. but it doesn't work. this is why we've given people personal computers for thirty years when apparently all they wanted were iphones. even worse than that, we told them that they were too dumb to use them, when we were too dumb to create simple enough solutions. it's about user experience. who gets user experience today? apple does, google does, and what's common between these two companies is control. control over all aspects of what they're doing. because it is the combination of components that is the experience. although we as the makers may be able to split them up, dissect them and examine each individually, people do not when they're using it. they either have a great experience or they don't. they either love it or they don't. the age of features is dead, we're living in the age of experiences. recommended
  • work hard you'll get there eventually (hint: no you won't), outdated business rules will not only accomplish little in this modern world, they will interfere with your career progress. if you take this impressing your boss and over-delivery advice to heart you'll very likely to be too busy (because you are working so hard) or too complacent (because your boss is telling you how great you are) to see an opportunity when it presents itself. you'll be blinded by the feeling that you are already doing the right thing when, in fact, you should be consciously seeking out the actual right thing
  • irresponsible journalism, any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word "no". the reason why journalists use that style of headline is that they know the story is probably bullshit, and don't actually have the sources and facts to back it up, but still want to run it
  • passwords are obsolete, it turns out that passwords are obsolete, and they have been for a long time. like the occasional pay phone you find in the back of a run-down restaurant, passwords have been unnecessary for years. the difference is that everyone laughs and reminisces when they see a pay phone, but nobody does that when they see a password field. but they should

Want more ideas like this in your inbox?

My letters are about long-lasting, sustainable change that fundamentally amplify our human capabilities and raise our collective intelligence through generations. Would love to have you on board.