If it is not clear already, our relationship with media (broadcast, social, and otherwise) is quite complicated. Often, this relationship bears it say in regulations, filters, disadvantages, conversations, memes, and more. And yet, if one isn’t careful, you will find more dependency on media for “living” than assumed. It’s not a simple thing to untangle either. Attempts to simplify our relationship with social media often find one in a knot of circumstances. It’s probably closer to an inter-dependent relationship then a dependent one, but it’s hard to see were each of those boundaries lie.
If you look at it from the perspective of regulations, The need to regulate media comes from a sense of control. Either control of the message, or control of who is able to receive the message. Regulations also come in to play where a medium, or the channel that carries that medium, cannot be easily filtered on an individual level. And so regulations are crafted so those who might be within consuming range of that media, have some semblance of control in its reception.
This inter-dependency also reveals itself on a more simple level when we talk about filters. Some will do all sorts of things to ensure only the preferred elements come through the media they are invested in. From changing channels, to registering for specific services, to using an unsubscription button; there are several methods that we use in order to filter the various ways that elements are pushed through the various mediums in our lives. Done successfully, a person is both encouraged and informed; and also protected/blocked from other streams which might be threatening. Privilege is a term given weight in this context. Some have the privilege to live within filters, others must navigate around those filters in order to live.
Memes are yet another space in which we see the interconnected nature of media. Memes are a product of social memory. A clip or context is shared amongst a small group; then granted a more definitive property by a larger group; then shared as fast as its definition can be communicated. A meme relies on the receiving and forwarding of this shared definition… and often, also as shared experience. Without a prior relationship to either the sender or the meme’s context, there’s no value to the item. The media is “cancelled.”
These and other examples are several reasons why it is very difficult for many to separate themselves from various communication channels. From conversations about “what are you binge watching these days,“ to conversations about sharing or not sharing traumatic experiences seen in-person or heard by chance, it seems separating oneself from media is almost impossible. However, being exposed to streams of media means there is some control, some agency, which can be exercised. It might be as powerful as labeling a tweet as threatening content. It might be as blunt as shutting off internet services within a geographical area. It might also be the parent to disconnects the router, sending their children to crafts and offline activities in which there’s no logical (to them) connection to the media they’d been so focused towards.
Media as an interdependent relationship? Perhaps there’s nothing wrong with such an arrangement. The complexity of this moment means not only that we must understand it; but also make worthwhile decisions about what our perspectives will be towards this media, and how much of it we internalize in order to create, reshape, or destroy the culture in which we live.
There is always a level of snark when looking at acronyms constituting various attitudes and responses this day and age. Some of those acronyms really are nothing more than language making itself more convenient for highly connected individuals. But every once in a while, there’s an acronym which comes along sounding on the surface like an arrogant response to or from a technologist to someone else. But when you peel beyond the surface, it speaks to a deeper structural issue. One in which it’s possible that the culture which has developed is actually incapable of sustaining itself.
Is every team organization constrained by what they are willing to pursue? Should knowledge be contained in the reputation or accessibility of those who are capable, or the systems that those teams in organizations maintain?
What is the culture of search? What is the culture of a manual?
For many years, have had the approach of designing software and processes which require very little explanation, but the joy was found in the story created in order to explain it. When someone says “let me Google that for you,“ are they also continuing with the story? Or, is the culture-response something more along the lines of “here’s how something could’ve been better designed for you, let me show you?“
A preface to this could be heard in arrogance — part of this composition is drafted before a few workshops where much of the work could be reduced to finding the answer in a search on YouTube. And yet, what people aren’t able to do, what some are paid to do, is to take the impersonal search engine and be a personal search agent. A personal search agent… let me google that for you.
Looking back over 20+ years of various entrepreneurial and employee pursuits, a common theme of innovation and inventiveness comes through. At various stops, a way of thinking or method has been taken from inside the head into something applicable for others to employ. From a thought to a tool if you will.
One could go their entire career using tools created by others. But, when given the opportunity or the challenge to create tools from their own experience or expertise, they fall flat. This might be because the way many of us were educated, we were taught how to use tools, but not really given a sense of how to create them. Hence, a wonder about this post-pandemic phase of productivity for knowledge workers:
will new thinking and activity/behaviors come from the sense-making and tool-making which is imagined by only those who are able to create them?
This gets into the crux of a few projects currently and past. In one endeavor, it took seven years of trial and error, sense-making and obstruction, and a few bold statements which can never be taken back, before a sound methodology and usable tool could be created and utilized. Truth be told, it was a painful process. Anyone who has created a theory goes through several rounds of trying to validate whether the theory has legs. And then when they validate it, there are even more series of validation which comes from others who have interest in (positively and negatively) the success of that validation. For that endeavor, it made a lot of sense. But it took more than seven years for it to validate such that it added energy to a movement.
Many companies do not have that kind of time to wait for validation and application. Design thinking, as one example of a field, has many theories and methodologies. But, very few tools which are usable by those who are unfamiliar with the space. Even more disparagingly, the tools which are available still require more friction than they enable application. One design tool is simply a collection of sticky notes along a spatial plane. And yes, this works. It also requires a level of cognitive gymnastics many groups do not have the time (or do not value the time) in understanding. Therefore, this collection of sticky notes, grouped on a board, gets several remixes. Each one claiming to solve the friction in thinking that the original said it offered.
For Avanceé projects, there is an attempt to overly simplify applicable methods. That is, accessing tools which distill the most important points into a traceable map or matrix the client can own the interpretation and application of. Because of this approach, the client is invited to think along side the solutioning. Meaning, they do not just take the methodology and slap it on top of their organization. They are invited to take the methodology and reshape the tool — a remix. In a few instances, the use of maps, matrixes, and forms combine to be a tool themselves to make a better analogy of the methodology. Skillfully applied, these allow an organization to make sense of what they are making. Or, to say it more directly: reengineer complexity.
Unfortunately, an unsolved part of creating new tools is what happens when the tool maker is no longer present? In every instance, the tool was only useful when its creator was there to facilitate. A hope for current tool in development is the tool’s creator is only needed for the first generation of learners. Afterwards, the tool becomes only a reference point. For this first generation, the methodology becomes embedded or infused into the very character of that first generation. They are empowered to create new tools themselves, but tools based on their reformed imaginations. If successful, reengineering complexity also means reigniting imagination. If not successful, this does not mean a failure in the methodology with the tool, but it does mean a misapplication of energy.
This is the key point about new tools. Every tool that is valuable expands the energy of its wielder. Every invaluable tool doesn’t just expand the energy of its wielder, it creates new energy for those to whom the tool was applied. This is why it takes so long to move from methodology to an applicable tool. Its possible much of the work happening in knowledge-based fields is not actually an energy enabler. Yet, if the tools for thinking were applied differently, there might be less aversion to imagination. Less inhibitors to maturely developing resiliency.
Have been writing for a long time. And it seems as if every few years that writing shifts a paradigm or two. Before microblog, there was a series of these kind of post happening on Medium. Noticed a few new subscribers to the series called “Lessons from Mobile” and decided to go ahead and update it with some of the more forward thinking pieces posted here regarding going beyond “mobile devices and connectivity.”
Feel free to check out the series here; but if you’ve been reading on this site for any amount of time, most of the points may be fairly familiar. That said, there’s always room to expand and hear other ways forward. Let’s see what happens.
I figured it out… sort of (thoughts while reading MacStories Apple Magic Keyboard First Impressions)
The “why keyboard is needed for the iPad to be a computer” discussion hits a nerve. On the surface, it seems like a “but the software isn’t designed for touch” argument… but that’s not it, it’s control.
Specifically, a lack of knowing how to control one’s own hands and fingers (appendages). Many, having not been in such a “need to learn” state since being a kid learning fine motor skills, software leaps such as multitouch, gestural, and spatial interfaces show how little folks have actually learned how to use their bodies.
So no… devs can’t push ahead and make better iPad software unless it needs a mouse and keyboard. Why? Because it paints them under the same brush… they have underdeveloped their own bodies. Kids don’t “learn” how to use touchscreens because they are magical, they know them because it’s normal behavior. They learn them becuse they are not restricted to any concepts of “what may be” until it isnt.
We (adults, digital immigrants, etc.) haven’t moved past being kids with controlling environments… and for some, the interface on which the iPad/iPhone is based is a loud, subconscious reminder of that.
Many knowledge workers have been relegated to working remotely against the foreground (many Zoom) meetings and attempts to recreate what’s lost in office culture sparked a thought summarized in a recent tweet:
Half wondering why we’ve not heard much about bulk or strategic purchases of HoloLens/Occulus/Magic Leap/etc devices… is available software, or the platforms themselves, still too immature for this productivity reset
For all of the individuals and companies making batches of rush purchases for monitors and keyboards, it’s a wonder why there’s not been so loud an ask for more omni-channel tools like he HoloLens, Occulus VR headsets, and similar. Thinking of just the projects am engaged within now, a HoloLens combined with PowerBI or Figma/Sketch2Code and brokered by MS Teams/Slack would essentially be all the “workstation” needed.
Now, there’s something to be said already about those whose home lives have also become the office. Nothing about putting on a helmet and googles will make that experience better. In fact, it might make it worse by actually removing an option to shift one’s physical space away from the restorative space of the home (for those with children,this is perhaps a non-starter and those folks could turn off the exit here). So, let’s not ignore that aspect. However, let’s sharpen the introspection a bit towards the “why not” for a mixed reality or omni-channel experience enabled by MR/VR/AR.
Using pieces of existing and recently past projects, let’s talk about a few ways forward for these workspaces and the work which comes from this:
One doesn’t have to go far as to wondering why these haven’t been pursued. These platforms are still quite new, quiet expensive, and largely unavailable in the quantities needed to make such conceptual leaps of interaction more feasible. There’s also the outstanding learning curve, the physical and mental fatigue it would cause over the course of a formal workday and week, and even the quality of connectivity given the rise in midday gaming and Netflix. Suffice to say, there’s quite a few reasons to not even get this ball rolling.
And yet, here’s one near-futurist asking “why not?” Aside from a spread of contexts ranging from Minority Report to Her, what does the information/knowledge worker really have to lose by moving from the “workstation” to the “workspace?” And if they can shift there easily, while increasing the quality of what’s being produced (let’s leave the tangible goods as simply “strategy and insights”), the potential to reset the value of work becomes much easier to realize.
In something of a half step there, the home office is an iPad Pro connected to a USB-C monitor, using an application called ShiftScreen, the Apple Pencil 2, the Tap wireless keyboard, and a pair of prescription, bone-conduction glasses from Vue. There’s a sense that the workspace is much larger than what can be contained on those screens and the tooling is allowing interactions beyond typing, pointing, and clicking.
If this were an opportunity to change work, perhaps moving it from a station to a space would open up more than simply the previously imagined worlds we found in science fiction. Perhaps we could finally move from simply being remote workers, to being a part of a omin-channel-like participants. Where more of our whole selves aren’t just involved in passing along the facts, but actively crafting dimensions in a world in which those facts are waiting to be discovered anew.
As many companies are beginning to understand what they can and cannot do in regards to a distributed workforce, it is a good time to take a look at the resiliency of workflows. Specifically, what does it mean to have a workflow that is more impervious to disruption, against one that is conductive to relational specifics?
For example, one company looks at how they can continue to maintain a particular level of support. However, realizing in this “remote only climate“ is that support has actually been more about an interpersonal relationship which leads to addressing problems/amplifying solutions. This isn’t a bad thing. In fact, this realization can lead to better articulation of organizational desires. The problem is however, the company only knows how to articulate and discover those problems within the context of a physical, interpersonal communication. And this is what has been cut off with “social distancing.“
Another has found almost no disruption in the way they work. At least as it relates to direct productivity. They mention the lack of commuting as being something which adds time to the day, leaving needed room for creativity and spontaneous productivity. There is also a better handling of pivots, shorter (more direct) meetings because of bandwidth considerations — there is, some resiliency to the way their work flows from one into the other regularly. Nothing about the current context has actually changed productivity except that more space is now given to “deep thought” work to breathe.
At these and other stories, the idea of a disruptive workflow comes to mind. Or more specifically bouncing disruption against this framing: have work environments created themselves to be resilient against/towards change? Is it possible that some organizations’ ideas relating around work, work culture, or productivity, increases social bonds but makes “work” or productivity less resilient to change?
Should a work culture, or even a state of productivity, be resilient? There should be bonds which allow those folks who are doing the work to gain a sense of worth and compensation. But, should there also be behaviors inside of this culture, inside of this “productivity“ which is able to leverage not only the things which have made the business profitable, but also the paradigms to which that business now exist?
What we are seeing today is a validation (re: judgment) of the many organizations who have promoted “digital transformation.” A truth about whether they were preaching the right thing, or merely shuffling forward or culture they did not understand. Is the tide now changed in such a way that it’s impossible not to see whether transformation is real, engineered, or managed?
Reposting from my personal blog — from 2011 — with a few small edits because it’s a view remembered and maybe worth exploring anew
For a number of weeks, on an on and off basis, I’ve been following John Prolly’s documenting of a project he and Parlee Cycles is doing with Toyota. Essentially, what they are doing is taking the ethos of the Prius and distilling that into a bicycle. What they came up with is amazing, ingenious, and to me, points at a possible detour towards the discussion towards doping in professional cycling.
First, the Amazing Notes
When I first read about this project (have been following this site for some time), I raised my eye, but no more so than when a car company usually gets a bicycle designed and made for them – then slaps their labels on them. An exercise, and probably a few components that make the hardcore folks go “ooh,” but at the end of the day its a ride that’s much more the showpiece than it is something to live with. I was surprised.
It wasn’t so much that it was a bike, but that it was to point towards incorporating technologies inspired by Prius design philosophies. In effect, ending not so much with a hybrid bicycle, but one that takes the basic idea of transportation, and pushes it to an attainable and innovative plateau.
Then, the Ingenious Additions
Of course, you’ll have a bicycle made by a (very good) and small frame builder that’s basically funded by one of the largest automotive outfits in the world. So that means that you’ll actually get to pass around ideas that would ordinarily be thrown out because of timelines and the lack of a budget. One of the posts talked about the design of the rear that was to look like the drawing, but was essentially a few pieces of the frame joints welded together.
At this point I should bow out of the really techincally bicycle engineering talk because I go “ooh” and “ok” way too much.
But it was really interesting when they talked about changing the way a bike shifts gears. Instead of simply being able to use your fingers, or doing one of those heavy automatic shifting jobs (I had the Auto-Bike, it was heavy and the chain broke less than a week into owning it), they built a means for the rider to shift the bike by thinking. They developed a system that worked inside of a modified helmet which sent wireless signals to the bike to cause it to shift. All the wearer needed to do was to “train” for about 10 minutes and then they were able to shift. That’s Prius-like innovation in my book.
A Possible Future of Professional Cycling
When they got to the end of the project, my thoughts were going in one direction – and you can blame the Tour de France for it totally: what if professional bicycling added that component where all of the shifting happened from a helmet and their brain waves? What if, instead of simply relying on skill, instinct, and muscle memory, that their brains had to be reengaged to racing because the bike was literally an extension of their brain (not just their bodies)?
I went out on a ride a few days after that post and just kind of let my imagination take over on that thought. Here I am, purely a consumer just riding. Something like using my mind to shift would be too much like a workout. At least at this point. But, I do like the idea of the bicycle (probably assisted by linking it to my mobile) learning how I shift, logging how I ride, and adjusting on the fly faster than I can shift. Like I said earlier, I had that Auto-Bike, it made a lot of sense and added to the fun of riding in a way that shifting yourself just doesn’t do.
But, when I framed it against professional cycling – a sport being marred by doping and banging hard against the physical limitations of the body and machine – it makes all kinds of sense to go that route. Thinking even for something that’s as grueling as the Tour de France, to not only have to keep your body in check, but your mind has to be even more ready to adapt to the course since they would be “one with the bike.” Would there be issues such as small computers making up for mental disabilities in some competitors? Sure. Could that be seen on a brain scan, and probably easier diagnosed than doping? Probably so. Would sure make for a crazy race when the more emotional cyclists throw their shifting out of wack because of how they respond to something surprising.
Where Do We Bike from Here
When I look at The Toyota Prius Bicycle Project, that’s where my mind goes. Not so much that sustainability and efficiency need to be thrown out. At the time of this writing, I’m wondering how that aspect of building and maintaining a bicycle was addressed. But, to integrate those kinds of technologies that could effectively get a person even closer to the road. To take away that last bit of friction and disconnect between thinking about moving and being at a place powered by your body – that excites me about that project to no end. And the best place to see that, with the athletes who seem as if they are admitting that there’s no other place for them to go but towards assisted substances.
Which lands at the rest of us. Can we see something changing about bicycling that should make more sense. Biking because its fun, exercise, or a form of transportation is one layer. But beyond that, is there something that could better improve our relationship to the land under our wheels? Have we truly exhausted the bicycle and how it extends our abilities to travel? Or, as this project seems to indicate, have we not even begun to let loose our minds to the possibilities?
Is it really a relationship, or something different
Ruminating on the recently announced update for iPad devices (iPadOS 13.4), the conversation about “is this a computer“ is sparked again because of the addition of external pointer/mouse support. And really, this is something that only seems to happen in a very small, yet loud contingent of media and fans of Apple devices devices. But, it was notable enough to cause some reflection to a past writing, and later a statement which lingered a little bit longer than the 280 characters it was given:
Realized as I put on my computers this morning… iOS invites you to ask for richer controls (for your computers). It’s not tap and drag remixes; it’s slides, pulls, 3-finger, 2-hand, etc… iOS requires a different (lost) dexterity. Perhaps that’s why it’s felt like a toy for so many reviewers/press… forgotten muscles
What about computing, or more specifically, our relationship to computing, is based on it being some kind of “point of reference,” versus it being an augmentation? When looking at the contrasts between MacOS and iPadOS, one gets the sense that this argument is being played out in a very acute manner from Apple. The argument, computing is more than something that you go to, more than something that you tap indirectly… and it can and should be more. The other side of the argument, computing is about exploring the outer limits of one’s relationship to ideas in space. That the tool should only foster exploration, not limit it to the language of a few. It’s looking through this lens, you can almost hear Apple saying, “there’s more to interacting with the ideas that you have, help us help you explore.“
And therefore, when we are now considering this idea of remote work as a “near normal.“ When people who are used to go into an office, now have dedicated spaces in their home where their productivity happens. In the spaces, they “go to” the computer. And then once they have gone into that space, they then become “able to input value into the world.” However, when I look at iPadOS, tvOS, HomePod, and even the AirPods in other accessories, I’m starting to feel like Apple is saying less “go to the computer,” and more “ how do you want to extend the moment.”
Admittedly, this is a very tender and new idea. However, it does have some legs. At least from the personal experience of the person writing this; computing is more like manipulating a canvas with several fingers, voice, ears, and silicon in some kind of concert. It’s less “go to” and more “putting it on.” And as such, notifications aren’t the pirate of attention. They are managed like any other stimuli. Reading takes a backseat to sketching. There’s a different pull-push to computing from this perspective… and I’m not sure it’s about sitting under the gaze of what the shadow of “personal computer’ offers.
Is the better reality for personal computers that they amplify us more like clothing, rather than shape us like broadcasting? And if so, then perhaps the tablet was the more personal computer all along.
For the past week, have been comparing the use of smart ring (Ōura) and a mood ring. In many respects, both of these devices do the same thing. However they get there by different means. The smart ring is a series of circuits and electricity, analyzed on device, and then passed to another device to be combined with a series of algorithms to give one a trend map of a particular set of wellness parameters. The mood ring, on the other hand, uses a less technological bed. This material, thermochromatic crystals, interacts with the human body‘s temperature and changes color based on it. It is calibrated, like the smart ring, outside of the wearer’s view. But, the meaning it gives the wearer is personalized all the same. Fewer wellness parameters, but also much more real-time.
What’s most interesting so far is the reduced cognitive load of what a measurement might mean between them. If you will, the mood ring more or less expresses your body temperature (and that can, for some people, indicate a state or being). Ōura, on the other hand, is a bit more of a coach for specific wellness events. There’s the sleep report, the weekly report, the poke to either get moving or get ready for bed, the activity goal, and more. None of these are noticed from the ring itself. This information passed from the ring to one’s mobile, and the notification from there. For both, the metrics aren’t what you think about. You stay “in the moment” and the ring’s state is passed to you when you need to notice it.
Which sparked thinking: why wouldn’t a connected ring, like the Ōura, also use the same thermochromatic crystals as a mood ring? The thinking here is that even though thermochromatic crystals are not an accurate indicator of emotional status, the correlation to body temperature could be combined with the active coaching have a connected ring in order to be more present wellness advocate for the wearer. Over time, the wearer wouldn’t just look at the prompts and stats from the networked intelligence of the connected ring to understand their present psychological condition, but also use the transformative appearance of the ring to “adjust their frequency” to stimuli in real time.
For now, am just wearing both on the same hand. And when the mobile is near, am able to make some inferences between the data provided by Ōura and the “in the moment” state of the mood ring. Perhaps, there’s already been an exploration of this kind of dual-signaling and am just on the latter side of what works alongside the other physics caused by batteries, processors, etc. Or, maybe the connection we have to various elements is a route to explore with wearables. A route knitting us closer to not just understanding our own state of being, but how that state is probably much more aligned to unique elements in the organic world around us.
Came across this via a friend:
The short-term goal, Mason said, is for UCSF and San Francisco General emergency room doctors and nurses to get a heads-up of a fever or impending illness, not just COVID-19, so they stay home or get treated. Already taxed front-line medical workers can little afford to spread illness among themselves, she said.
The long-term goal is to collect as much data of healthy and COVID-positive patients who wore the ring and determine common bio-marker activity that precipitated symptoms, such as heightened temperature or breathing patterns. Whether they will be able to differentiate the common flu from COVID-19 is unclear.
If you are interested in assiting this work and have an Oura ring, read more and signup here.
Not reading into this too much, but it seems like am already on the right path. And maybe, just a little bit ahead of where some aspects of self diagnosis may be able to help an even larger problem.
Haven’t published the “Notable Reads” series at all this year. Part of that being a bit less disciplined in the end of week contemplation. Part of that wondering if that’s the right format for sharing longer bits of content here. Not sure. But, today was full. So how about a share from what’s just been read today?
This was compiled and formatted using the previously shared Avanceé Reads Apple Shortcut.
Posting a bit different than the usual, a video of one of my latest bike rides. Some call it “gravel,” and some prefer the term “all-road.” Both work, because both happened during this roll.
Per the usual, Snap’s Spectacles are the tool of choice for recording. There are a few reasons for this. But, the best reason is simply the versatility of memory-eyes which are in the same position as organic ones. Might be worth shifting to this type of experiential content from time to time. The other types still happen, but it’s in moments like these where the observations shared here are more lived.
As appropriate a day as any other to speak on how to move forward.
Leap days could probably be better termed corrective days if one looks not just at the reason for their being, but also the analogy to an application. One doesn’t just leap into the next thing. But, over time, debt and deposit create conditions for a transformation. Once that transformation happens, there’s a new normal. Maybe similar set of conditions or context, but the normal is actually different.
Granted, most of these leap moments we want to believe are able to be calculated. And if the analogy to this day would hold, it isn’t just calculated, but planned for. However such moments are less obvious, less subject to direction than we would want. Leaps happen when a specific set of conditions not only present themselves, but entropy itself seems to want to join the narrative. And once these conditions show, bang!
There might be ways to identify when that leap might be primed to happen. Looking at a series of powerful questions, one can’t help but find a pattern in the shape. And when you find the pattern within the shape, the ability to move he boulder into position so that the avalanche of change can begin is merely up to you. Once moved, that boulder doesn’t necessarily mean change will happen, only that the conditions are more favorable.
And when “favorable” is met, the cliff is all that remains. Leap, or stop. There’s no longer “continue as one had before.” There is only a decision point. Every four years he Gregorian calendar makes its decision and we abide by its choice. At moments in our lives or companies, the same point is come to. Will you leap? Will you simply stop and rebel against the change you’ve been setting the stage for? After today, that answer might become clearer.
Breaking down how an ant eats an elephant
On a current project, a comment was made, “you are playing chess while others are playing checkers.” It continues to stick, in part because there was some truth to it. But, also because in the design space, having an accessible long term goal seems to be the “highly wanted” grail of many once they get to a certain point. Before then, it’s a lot more about being reactive, majoring in the minors, “swimming in the weeds,” and many other apt analogies. Long-term goals, where very small, seemingly insignificant moments accumulate to the eventual reality, is a difficult strategy to grasp. And, perhaps deservedly so, continues to remain the province of “those who figure it out” rather than those who learn.
When it comes to long-term goals, it’s not too difficult to create them. It is harder to achieve them. From our own inclination to finding the paths of lowest energy, to the utter reality that entropy is more normal than order/discipline, being set towards a goal further out is simply just harder. This is why those folks who seem to be persistent/stubborn enough to become successful we laud as heroic. They took some aspect of a reality that was a long way off, and pushed the present out of the way until it became their present.
But how? How does one create a strategy of long term goals, and even achieve them?
First, the goal has to be sharpened. Meaning, it cannot be so esoteric it rings only good in hearing. It has to be sharp enough to persist once the early energies, the honeymoon phase, has worn off.
Secondly, the goal has to have a specific, measurable outcome. Not output, outcome. Specific to the point of even needing to create the thing which measures it. Because that which can be measured, can be communicated. That which can be communicated can be achieved.
Another strategy, it has to be a step beyond realistic. If it’s realistic, then it’s not a long-term goal. It’s hope, and statistically possible. A long term goal needs a prospect of failure. A prospect of being unachievable. And then, it has to still be measurable.
Last how to for long term goal strategies: it should not be easily seen by others. Your steps to achieve need to be small and measured. But, not so large that others see the entire road. Yes, I’m advocating for a bit of secrecy and non-collaboration. You want the benefit of adjustment, readjustment, and discovery alongside this journey. It would be harder to do so when also yolking to others the voice of the vision and it’s outcomes.
It’s in these methods strategies for long-term goals gets its legs. And as the person or team setting forth on such a goal. It allows a full stomach for every bite of the elephant. Right even to the point when he elephant realizes it no longer can move because it too is under the spell of wanting to see you succeed.
Where a rogue comment about USA history invokes computational evolutions
A friend mentioned about the changing ideals the USA has been undergoing, and it was something like another ember to a festering thought about computing — specifically, the tablet-based productivity which has marked the past decade or so of my work. This wasn’t the only kindling for such a thought, there are (at present) a number of unfinished written pieces pointing to similar. On the balance, the way productivity happens from this perspective is guided by a different set of principles than others. It deserves a reflection, and maybe some more fanning.
As with many of my particular generation, personal computers came into the home at an early age. They evolved slowly, then splintered into gaming, educational, and “things your parents worked on” kinds of spaces. My specific experience had me not only learning DOS, but also getting both hands into Windows and macOS frames at nearly the same time. Frustrations landed early on the side of “why isn’t this easier,” not “what can it do.”
And now, not only personal computers, but speakers, watches, rings, glasses, and shoes have embedded within them a case of being “different than the generation that birthed them.” If the viewpoint is that countries evolve from a “land of immigrants to a nation of indigenous citizens; then can the same be said for aspects of built-culture which evolves as well? Productivity was once described by what archetypes such as Rockefeller, Ford, Crock, Anderson, and others gave shape to. What if those principles have served their course, and what this has evolved into is a new shape? What can productivity do with that?
Perhaps what was admired as a teen drives adulthood after all
This could probsbly be considered a response to @brooksreview.net’s 13 Jan member journal; and it’s also a “state of the workspace” piece
When fall of 2019 rolled around without an announcement of a new iPad Pro, I was left at something of a crossroads. Having been waiting earnestly for the next evolution in iPads — to push my own visualization and implementation of computing — I was left somewhat disappointed. Apple’s hardware releases are very consistent. Offering both fan and buyer alike a chance to let rumors stoke fires, while the eventual reality a chance to evolve and reset expectations for personal and communal computing. It didn’t happen like that this fall. Slightly disappointed… just slightly.
Yet, that didn’t deter purchases. The 5th generation iPad Mini entered home-based usage. An evolution of the Kindle Paperwhite for weekend reading, while also a harder break from the iPad Pro’s use during business hours. The Mini and Apple Pencil combination has been a pleasant, and contrary addition. It puts pressure on the larger, older iPhone, asking “what is social and necessary about the larger screen phone versus the smaller screened tablet?” And still, has found a neat niche. It works, and doesn’t get in the way, even if carried with only the Apple Watch during café sessions.
It has also found a niche as a better device for video than the larger iPad Pro. So much so, a purchase of an external screen seems to make more sense than having the larger iPad nearby as an AirDrop recipient of what’s found in home’s moments. Conjuring another screen when the smaller Mini isn’t immersive or dismissive enough sounds like a case of “why not use the larger iPad or a TV,” yet misses the instances where personal becomes a context of “just for a moment of difference” rather than always needed. Scaling up, versus removing to scale down.
An opening to acquire the iPad Pro in Jan 2020 adds to the multiple canvases used across productive contexts. The latest iPad Pro, purchased alongside the Pencil 2 and Brydge keyboard, shapes a picture for something more. The initial thought of feeling like Captain Picard at a desk full of PADDs (defined by fans) hasn’t gone away. In fact, it feels almost right — mainly for the inability of most software to extend as fast as the hardware is allowing. Agreeing with @ben, a workflow utilizing two iPads at the same time doesn’t seem unproductive. In fact, it seems “best case” because of the inability of iPadOS apps to enable casting non-mirrored instances to external screens. It still doesn’t feel correct — just more correct than what I’ve been doing.
That said, the Star Trek TNG reference rolls strong. I’m almost in that posture of saying “yes it makes sense for tablet interfaces to adapt to the needs of the person holding it.” Seeing this when my niece FaceTime’s questions about her iPad (she also moved up, from Mini to the full-sized). There’s this context or multiple iPads and their shaping of a more personal computing context which seems to just fit. Star Trek TNG came out during my teens, and I argue this viewpoint comes from Gene Roddenberry and his team’s keen messaging to my subconscious.
Whatever the shaping of those evenings spent with mom watching her feed her Trekkie nature, what is true is that multiple iPads does manage to reset an expectation around screens and interfaces. Watching Avengers again recently brought this to light all the more. Casting information into space, assuming all who are in that space can interact with it, has been something of a dream for productivity spaces and fictional models for a while. It gets more real as devices like iPads show up not simply as accessories to the tools we have, but begin becoming default states for the worlds we are shaping. These default states offer us a glimpse into the very realities which used to entertain us. Realities I’m noticing a chance to act upon, and become something of a canary for what might be yet another shift.
Things seem to be a little bit slow in terms of the new publishing here, but the fact of the matter is that activities happening elsewhere that speaks into why this place matters.
Design thinking, or more honestly, design mentorship seems to be a key topic in terms of professional development and organizational maturity. Some of that comes from the interactions where I am running into people who are both new to professional spaces, and those people who see that some spaces need a more personal touch — humane touch as it relates to creating intentionally, ethical, beautiful products and services.
Some of the conversations are focusing more on the future. How do we get from seeing technology has an appendage to seeing it as a part of who we are and dealing with the successes and ramifications of such adoption. This is actually pretty interesting. And if you follow on IG or Twitter #FromAFuture, you would see some of the conversations as they are happening.
Other aspects of those conversations are happening in the devices currently in hand. From this exploration of having more than one tablet, to being OK with the idea of talking into the air, there’s something to be said about activities happening elsewhere, but manifesting in our future that everyone has not yet realized.
Clearly, having content here doesn’t mean being completely divorced from Twitter. But it does mean to push the future of Avanceé in a somewhat different direction. What is that branch? Well, that’s what this year is all about discovering.
Casting new patterns for a new year
The past two years, Avanceé has been something of an experiment, and another part a package. The experiment: to put into a business model, an approach to design and process which elevates individuals and companies from “do what they’ve seen modeled” to “invent and do what they’ve imagined.” Experiments are hard — especially this one where it’s also got to be a package. It has been the “package” bit which has been hardest to clarify for Avanceé. But, that’s ok. That’s why this space was shaped. Hearing what you see is not a simple construct.
In light of this, have had some roaming thoughts of where to take Avanceé for 2020. To some, describing the year as “an invitation to clarity and contentment” resonates. Yet, it’s not clear enough on this site that “designing experiences and (re)engineering complexity” does that. It happens in conversations, and in coaching/mentoring, and in design-birthed work. But, not quiet hearing-seen.
Came across a phenomenon called grapheme synesthesia not long before drafting this, and it seemed to make sense. In the article it was found, the author describes her experience of synesthesia and a tool she’s developed to help others understand it. It was in seeing Avanceé in this frequency that hearing what 2020 could be began to take a better tone.
As much as there’s been the technology and methods talked about here, the things actually heard has been more around coaching, mentoring, and strategy. Much more the “hey, let’s walk alongside you for a bit and figure out what’s actually complex.” And more often than not, one or two conversations are all it takes to unpack — demystify — the wall or speed bump. Is there design strategy and organizational redirection? Sure. But, more of the re-engineering happens as a result of relational stacks, not technological ones.
To that end, let this be a shift to posing more of that relational content here. Maybe more along the lines of what’s shared with current friends and mentees. Because what’s best seen, is often just a better color of what’s heard, At least, for 2020…
This time last week, didn’t intend on writing another one of these composed link lists. But, it’s a behavior now associated with a slice of reflecting on the week. There’s a whole behavior forming — in part because of the fall/winter stealing light and warmer temperatures from cycling. A major part of this is now leveraging technologies which move slower yet further (an iPad Mini 5, an Apple Watch Series 3, Snap’s Spectacles or Vue glasses). There’s intentional envisioning, and occasional sketching. Yet it’s mostly for the purpose of enabling rivers to form elsewhere. And perhaps enabling the following week to tide into something more permanent, more sustaining. Notable reads have become an intentional space of walking thru the weeds found during the week.
This is actually a bit hard to pull together… go figure
One more than the usual, but there’s been something sparked by just bits watched and read today. A few from here:
Lastly, am raising funds to support an upcoming NYC to Philly bike ride. Learn more and support the effort by going here.
written with Tactilis Scribe
Reflecting on the week, there’s a lot which can theme it. But, an overwhelming sense from others is a sense of tiredness and irritability. Perhaps due to the holiday now in full swing. Or, maybe the weight of the continuous news and notes, mostly sensationalist and negative unless one has deliberately tuned their dial differently. Maybe the choice to turn the dial differently is the theme here. And as such, reflecting on week’s notable reads is a chance to focus on something better.
Nothing on deck which was new. And maybe not for the rest of the year. If keeping to last year, the next steps are reflection. And so, let’s take care of that in the near future. Until then, enjoy this week’s share, and tune into new sounds, on purpose.
While part of the world yells for redemption, another part aims to grab monetary redemption from feelings ascribed to holiday culture and business value. Truly, the end of the year is an expanse, best understood for the whole picture, not just the parts we take part of. However we review our response to the end of the year and decade, we must agree that it’s only a part of the whole… and that the river of time bends it’s own direction. We are simply those who travel along it.
With such a theme in place, here are a few bits which aided this week’s river travel:
Share this… or pick up an oar and express your experience in this river
Drawn with Tactilis for iPad, titled “river running thru forest”
When Avanceé launched, it was like finally finding shape to the bottom of a very deep well. That well being a mind and set of experiences so unique, it could only be described as “put your mind in a can and make it available to others.” In some respects, Avanceé has been a quiet, small success. It’s garnered no real fame, but amongst those who’ve been engaged since its unveiling, Avanceé has certainly proven to be a demonstrative step forward for their efforts — even if it’s taken a few stumbles to get there.
What Avanceé hasn’t yet become is profitable. At least not in the shape of a few favored (and sometimes too linked) other sites and endeavors. This isn’t for lack of effort. The winds of maintaining a roof over one’s head requires hard and soft decisions. One of those being attaching to more consistent income than the consulting which Avanceé aimed to monetize. This was understood to be a slow build. And such hard and soft decisions were made — in part — because at the outset it was assumed these adjustments would be necessary.
Didn’t expect to consider a more major shift. The one under consideration speaks to a good bit of the coaching and facilitation which has happened. And it’s something less reliant on maintaining a front of being a “business first” endeavor, and more of an “individual embraced” one.
Change is worth debating a bit longer than what’s given here. Yet, it’s clear that for the upcoming third year of Avanceé, for this to be more than a hobby of links themed around the occasional project, it’s got to springboard into a fuller frame. At this point, change and pivot is just a debate. There’s hopefully some time before a decision and road needs to be taken.
Was going to theme this around some design concepts, but it occurs that a better topic is that of silence. Or, more specifically, noise. Following the cadence of the week to respective reflections and insights is a case of taking noise and filtering out the unnecessary bits to hear something more pure than just another newsletter. This is hard for some. Energy levels, boundaries, expectations, and he weight of experiences are all their own bits of noise. And yet, those of us who still ourselves, and hear better what ways we sync with the world around us, tend to find the volume much lower of those unnecessary bits. The natural bits accent life not only nicely, it in ways which resonate to others.
Noise and silence as a theme for this week’s reads? Sure, why not.
Nothing new published this week… was too loud to pull it all together one could suppose. A few previously posted items along this vein:
Preparing for next spring’s NYC to Philly Bike Ride; support the efforts of this venture thru that effort.
Reading this weekend a few Kindle samples, and there’s one which has made enough of an impression to consider the full read. Specifically, Why Cities Look the Way They Do hits between the eyes of the consistent conversation about design and it’s value — for itself and for the things design behaviors communicate.
…Design responds to processes, such as the demands for housing, or for places for people to work, or for buildings that make attractive capital investments, to pick examples of typical urban processes… and design is often trying o ameliorate the effects of processes…
Such is part of what mediates the theme of this week’s notable reads. Design is communication, orchestration, and artistry. These reads are efforts to understand the frequency and friction at play.
A single article posted, a single initiative started, and a reminder of the roads travelled are the times from here:
Signed up for the NYC to Philly Greenway Bike Ride (page tweaks in progress). This ride is to support the efforts to complete the East Coast Greenway. Instead of asking for the usual site support, will promote this effort until the ride. Still want the site support, but this is a decent endeavor.