Snapshot: April 28, 2019

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SAIT Polytechnic, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Contemplating

 
Moore’s law came with a social corollary: high-tech could not remain high-tech for long.
— Michael Lewis, from his (excellent) book, The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story
 

Reading

  • Rumours. Collusion. Mafia-esque tactics. Death threats. Managed reserves. Declining market share. Factory worker strikes. Reconciliation on the horizon. Tiny red boxes. Fresno, California. What’s the industry?!? … The raisin industry. Yup, raisins. Longish read, but lively storytelling from The New York Times in: The Raisin Situation.

  • There are thousands of exercises and prompts we can use to devise more creative solutions and unexpected innovations (beyond the dreaded group brainstorming myth!). The book, A Beautiful Constraint, explores this idea of limitations (self-imposed and invented) as catalysts for ingenious problem solving and design. For example, the propelling question method that combines bold ambition and a significant constraint, such as “How do we grow better barley using less water?” or “How do we exhibit at this furniture fair in Italy without paying for a booth?” The inherent tension and discomfort of these constrained aspirations that seem paradoxical generate more divergent, both/and solutions that embrace integrative complexity.

Seeing & Listening

  • Great interview with Kevin Systrom, Instagram co-founder, on The Tim Ferris Show podcast & video interview. Many topics covered, including the bumpy origin story of Instagram, but my favourite is his advice to startup founders that they should actually solve a real problem instead of hacking trends! Systrom talks about the best ways to read a book — reminded me of what’s sometimes called “Harvarding” — an approach to strategic reading that helped me a lot in my graduate studies. He also suggests some helpful old-school business books to read, including The Goal. I read The Goal and Maverick in the 1980’s (as suggested by my friend, Noel Cheeseman) and still highly recommend both books.

  • A significant aspect of my research is uncovering the values-based vocations and creative drivers of innovative entrepreneurs. This episode of Ezra Klein Show podcast (from Vox), “Work as identity, burnout as lifestyle,” explores our current obsession with personal productivity, finding meaning in our work, and tying up our identity in our jobs.

  • Airbnb needed a new font that was better at scaling between fine print, digital UI, magazines, and billboards. They had a lovely sans serif font designed by the folks at font foundry Dalton Mag. The results are fresh and the font name that winks at the BnB (breakfast) is brilliant: Cereal ;-).

Learning

Doing

Question of the Week

 

“If you want people to modify their behaviour, is it better to highlight the benefits of changing or the costs of not changing?” — Adam Grant, PhD, Professor & Author, in his book, “Originals - How Non-Conformists Change the World”