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We learn as we go

If we stop going, we stop learning…

and

If we're not willing to keep learning, we should probably stop going.

Today is the best day

And now is the best time.

If you're doing something generous, if you're building something worthwhile, if you're making an important ruckus…

Do it today.

You don't need more time, you simply need to decide.

Kettle logic

Originally the work of lawyers, it’s a concept that’s spreading, aided by the immediacy and unfiltered nature of social media.

In short: When you use contradictory excuses/statements to make an argument. Freud used this example:

A man who was accused by his neighbour of having returned a kettle in a damaged condition. He offered three arguments in rebuttal.

“I returned the kettle undamaged”
“It was already damaged when I borrowed it”
“I never borrowed it in the first place”

This is a dumb way to win a logical argument, because without a doubt, you’re lying in at least some of these statements.

Kettle logic is actually a glimpse into how the emotional side of our brain works. And of course, the emotional side is 95% of our brain. It’s squirming and the words simply get spun out.

When a customer or colleague begins to use kettle logic, the useful response is to seek out the emotions behind it. Because dismantling the logic part of kettle logic does nothing to get you closer to what the person really needs to talk about.

Like burning a hammer for heat

Yes, it's true that your hammer has a wooden handle.

But throwing it in the fireplace to get a few BTUs out of it is a huge waste.

The same thing is true of your reputation, of the relationships you have, of your hard-won trust.

Don't burn it just because you're a little chilled.

Mistakes, failures and problems

A mistake is something you learn from… you did it wrong, you’ll do it better next time.

A marketing failure is a mismatch between what you built and the market.

And a problem is an invention waiting to be built, an invitation to find a solution.

The struggle is real

Once a computer (or a player piano) begins to do a task, part of the appeal goes away.

Yes, the goods or services might be identical, but the story we tell ourselves about what they took to create disappears.

Effort is insufficient, but extraordinary effort (and our perception of that effort) can add value.

Diving boards

The leap at the swimming pool is obvious indeed.

Ten steps up the ladder.

The wait at the end of the board.

The moment in between not-diving and diving.

The leap is clear. We can see it and we can feel it.

In day to day life, we have worked to eliminate that feeling. Organizations and marketers and friends work hard to have it happen gradually instead. An incremental, almost invisible creep along a slippery slope, until the next thing we know we’re in a rut, or bored, or ill.

We’ve constructed a life where we rarely leap (new job!) and most of the time, we coast or fade or increment our way forward.

It might be worth investing the effort into turning some of your decisions back into leaps.

Semi-public

The internet began as a way to connect private networks. First it was university researchers. But then, as email kicked in, it was a tool for private conversations among people who knew each other. That's just one of the reasons that spam is so hated–it intruded on a space reserved for people with permission.

The next leap was a public one. Geocities and websites. Facebook and Twitter. This is the public, all of the public, or at least as much as you care to engage with.

The interesting phase that's happening more and more, and is amplified by the blockchain, is the semi-public/semi-private world. This is a group of people (perhaps a tribe, even) that are connected to one another (insiders) but the riff raff (outsiders) aren't invited.

These semi-public groups can work together in ad-hoc or permanent teams to create new work of value.

Lyft isn't a public system. You can't become a Lyft driver without going through some sort of vetting process. The same goes for a discussion board online that's just for licensed doctors, or volunteer firefighters…

There's a huge opportunity to become an organizer of semi-public groups. These entities will become ever more powerful as the economies of the firm begin to fade, replaced by the speed and resiliency of trusted groups instead.

Toward the honest job interview

The candidate thinks, “I really need this job.”

The hiring manager thinks, “I’m tired of this, I really need to fill this job.”

As a result, the candidate says what he thinks will get him hired. He’s not listening, not really. And he’s not telling the truth, not really. He knows that he needs to thread a needle and say what needs to be said to get the job. He lies to himself about what he wants and lies to the interviewer to get the job.

As a result, the hiring manager isn’t really listening, not really. She’s looking for clues, unstated hints about what this person is really like. And when she shifts to sell mode about the organization, she alternates between glossing over the bad bits, exaggerating the good ones (“Everyone here is really creative, and there’s no office politics…”) and being impossibly skeptical about the potential of the person across the desk.

No one is acting badly here. Cognitive dissonance is real, and the hope is that once in the new role, the hired person will grow to love it. And no job is static, and the hope is that with the earnest and generous work of the hired person, the role will get better.

But…

We could all save a lot of time and energy if we could figure out a way to find an actual fit.

One person thinks, “I have room in my career for just a dozen jobs. Is this one worthy?”

And the other realizes, “We could outsource this work, but we’re going to keep it in house if we find the right match. Is it you?”

How to run a better meeting (The conference series)

You rarely have the chance to quickly alter the culture of a group the way you do when you organize a retreat or a meeting.

So many of the variables are within your control, and the outcome is often directly related to the choices you make. Sure, there are pressures on you to compromise toward average, to fit in and to make the providers you work with fit the status quo. But if you resist, you can make a huge difference.

I’ve written four posts about off-sites, presentations and conferences. If they’re relevant to you and your team, I hope you’ll read and share:

The secret of the five top

How to organize a retreat

How to organize the room

How to run a (useless) conference

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