My twenty-two month-old son’s daily growth amazes me. He has taught me about the centrality of patterns in our lives.
Patterns are one of the first things to develop in a child. Detecting faces (two spots (eyes) on top; up spot (mouth) on bottom) is one of the only things a newborn knows how to do. Around week 8, babies tend to get extra fussy due to the flood of patterns their brains begin to understand.
In what feels like 15 minutes later, babies become toddlers. They can recognize colors, shapes, letters, words, music, and Sesame Street characters. All based on patterns. My son delights in calling out letters he finds all over the house. Any face that has two eyes, one mouth, and red fur leads to an immediate shout of “ELMO!” I’m proud and in awe.
Patterns are central to my career. Data analysis is all about pattern matching. Every step in a transformation. Every line of code. These all instruct the machines about how to match meaningful patterns in data. Learning (human and machine) involves repeat exposure to patterns.
Strategy work is also driven by patterns and frameworks.
- How to think about businesses and processes
- How to engage with clients and stakeholders
- What to do when trouble comes along
- What kinds of solutions to propose
- How to write a presentation or an essay…
Thinking in patterns is like seeing the Matrix. You can predict what is going to happen based on what already has. You can solve old problems with “new patterns” identified in different domains.
Good writing is an exercise in pattern sharing. I’m posting observations that are interesting to me. I plan to learn from the patterns of my own repeat posting and reader feedback. How will I know what is useful and entertaining to you? I’ll look for patterns.