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🦉 10x curiosity - My favourite links from around the web 2020 -  My favourite links from around the web 2020 - Getting better at work and random things of interest


🦉 10x curiosity

December 23 · Issue #187 · View online

🦉 A weekly sample of links that made me think 🤔

Also published in 10x Curiosity
To start, I found this concept of The design squiggle 
early in the ear and came back to it continually to help explain the progress of work:

I discovered David Hodes 
at the beginning of they year via his book “More than Just Work” and then found his website, which is just a treasure trove of knowledge on Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints and related ideas. Two of the best:
  • How much throughput is the system generating?
  • What operating expense is being consumed to generate that throughput?
  • How much is invested in generating the profit arising from the difference between the throughput and the operating expense?
  • How long is what the system’s doing going to take — that is, what’s the lead time or turn-around time?
  • How reliable is system performance — that is, what is delivery to promise like?
  • What is the quality produced by the system — that is, how much product or service is either rejected or reworked?
Balance the system to match the demand while reducing costs by removing unneeded extra capacity? The manager who thinks this way, trying to perfectly balance supply and demand across a connected sequence of steps is in for a nasty surprise.
With the newly ‘balanced system’ (all work-centres at 10 capacity), production consistently falls short. Why? The manager discovers that common cause variation means that each of the steps in the process has only a 90% chance of processing their full quota of 10 notifications per day.
weekly email has been a source of equal parts learning and amusement for me when it arrives every Saturday morning in my inbox. His thoughts about Tech and the digital economy I find very interesting. The way he blew apart the WeWork business model; His many observations on the US higher education system post Covid; and some of his more general writing for instance about FedEx or on the luck he has experienced in his life.
This great post highlighted how US election maps are wildly misleading
Bettina Forget
Data visualization insights:
Land doesn't vote. People do.
provided a summary of 3 Frameworks for making decisions. I found this complemented my own post on the subject of MAP frameworks:
  • Framework 1: Reducing Dimensionality
  • Framework 2: Mediating Assessments Protocol (MAP)
  • Framework 3: WRAP
Writing in Medium, Aiden Kenealy 
has a thoughtful post on the Four simple habits of exceptional leaders that I found useful to refer to through the year:
  • Habit 1: Re-framing problems to motivate and empower.
  • Habit 2: Focusing on what we can control — By focusing on the things we can have control over, and ignoring those that we can’t, we can ensure that our energy is best spent on achieving productive future outcomes.
  • Habit 3: Becoming process orientated, not goal orientated — By focusing on improving the way we and our teamwork to achieve our goals, and forming habits of always seeking to improve how we work, we will ensure our goals are continually met and exceeded.
  • Habit 4: Making it about other people. By ensuring others can succeed around us, we can empower them to achieve their goals. In doing so, our own goals then become much easier to achieve.
This post and youtube presentation on Agile was one o the best introduction I have ever come across —
Some examples of people quickly accomplishing ambitious things together. For instance Kelly Johnson and his team designed and delivered the P-80 Shooting Star, the first jet fighter used by the USAF, in 143 days. Source: Skunk Works.
Relevant to 2020 (well any year!) Erik Bern wrote —
It might seem obvious the way I put it that opportunity cost is the thing to blame. But it’s not. Human psychology works in weird ways. People love to conclude that something wasn’t done because they are stupid, or possibly lazy… Your friends aren’t stupid, just busy.
I am always looking at tools to help improve how we work 
and have found the Value proposition canvas to be particularly useful. This post is the best primer on the subject I have come across and I found the Mario Bros analogy particularly useful.
The Value Proposition Interface Canvas makes it explicit how you are creating value with your API for your customers and how you are providing value. It is a tool that helps you to systematically understand the customer needs and to design API products your customer want
Again, you might think ‘So what? I guess things are complicated but I can just notice the details as I run into them; no need to think specifically about this’. And if you are doing things that are relatively simple, things that humanity has been doing for a long time, this is often true. But if you’re trying to do difficult things, things which are not known to be possible, it is not true.
The more difficult your mission, the more details there will be that are critical to understand for success…
Before you’ve noticed important details they are, of course, basically invisible. It’s hard to put your attention on them because you don’t even know what you’re looking for. …This means it’s really easy to get stuck.
Stuck in your current way of seeing and thinking about things. Frames are made out of the details that seem important to you. The important details you haven’t noticed are invisible to you, and the details you have noticed seem completely obvious and you see right through them. This all makes makes it difficult to imagine how you could be missing something important.
Complex systems have a number of characteristics that fly in the face of leadership control. They are nonlinear, meaning that there isn’t direct causation between our leadership actions and the effects that result. Such systems are also subject to emergence: novel outcomes that are difficult to predict or regulate.
There are two other key characterises of complex systems that render our ability to control them questionable. That is they are adaptive and they are interdependent.
When leaders assume they can control a situation, it’s based on an assumption of cause and effect being uni-directional. That is that the leader can create a cause that has a predictable effect. Yet what we know about any system that involves people who have opinions and are in any way able to govern their own actions, is that they will have a view about any intervention from a leader and they in turn will act back on that decision.
wrote a piece that resonated with me as a reminder to slow down the busy work — How not to be so busy you forget to be exceptional
Never lose sight of the fact that your success is not measured by number of meetings or speed of answer to slack and email, it’s measured by impact on your goal
  1. Delete meetings.
  2. Do NOT accept a lack of preparation.
  3. Go Deep for 2 hours every day.
  4. Turn off notifications.
  5. Your time is yours, defend it like it was your child.
Aidan McCullen 
highlighted how important it is to have many experiments on the go — Die into your innovations — fail enough for the winners to emerge
The barbell approach is based on a principle called asymmetric risk. It breaks down to an investment strategy that embraces 20% aggressive risk with a 80% conservative approach. This is a useful way to think about innovation work within large organisations where 80% represents business as usual, the core business. The risky 20% represents innovation work, but within the 20% we need to be running many experiments at once.
The reality of these 250 bets, most will fail, some may be relatively successful, but the one that works out will represent a huge win, big enough to cover all the losses and save your organisation from disruption.
And Paul Graham, 
who has written many though provoking pieces over the years, highlights how in the moment you often don’t know if something is revolutionary or bonkers — The risk of discovery — Paul Graham
But maybe there is a simpler explanation. Maybe the smartness and the craziness were not as separate as we think. Physics seems to us a promising thing to work on, and alchemy and theology obvious wastes of time. But that’s because we know how things turned out. In Newton’s day the three problems seemed roughly equally promising. No one knew yet what the payoff would be for inventing what we now call physics; if they had, more people would have been working on it. And alchemy and theology were still then in the category Marc Andreessen would describe as “huge, if true.” Newton made three bets. One of them worked. But they were all risky
The Boeing 737Max crisis 
was another one that came to a head late last year with investigative articles coming out through 2020 highlighting a fascinating series of lesson about how this once great company, progressively moved from and engineering led business to an accountant led business where profits where the only objective. Read about, The 1997 merger that paved the way for the Boeing 737 Max crisis or The long forgotten flight that sent boeing off course :
The present 737 Max disaster can be traced back two decades — to the moment Boeing’s leadership decided to divorce itself from the firm’s own culture.
Boeing’s “reverse takeover” of McDonnell Douglas — so-called because it was McDonnell executives who perversely ended up in charge of the combined entity, and it was McDonnell’s culture that became ascendant. “McDonnell Douglas bought Boeing with Boeing’s money,” went the joke around Seattle.
You had this weird combination of a distant building with a few hundred people in it and a non-engineer with no technical skills whatsoever at the helm.” Even that might have worked — had the commercial-jet business stayed in the hands of an experienced engineer steeped in STEM disciplines. Instead McNerney installed an M.B.A. with a varied background in sales, marketing, and supply-chain management.
Speaking of flight, in this post on “The Belly of the beast — photos from Soviet Eekranoplan”. This thing is mad…
And to flight of the natural kind. Xavi Bou has an incredible set of images of bird flight online. The Project — bird flight —
And who wouldn’t want a nuclear reactor driving about on the roads — Ford’s nuclear concept car. Especially from the makers of the Pinto.
Slate wrote a fine warning 
about the escalation of commitment in the post The Decision to bomb Hiroshima wasn’t a decision at all —
There never was a decision to drop either bomb. Instead, there was a decision to build an atom bomb. Once it was ready, it was used; once the second bomb was ready, it too was used. From the outset, this was the plan — an automatic sequence from building the bomb to testing it to dropping it on the enemy. The only decision Truman made was not to alter the plan.
And the population of Hawaii had its own nuclear scare resulting from a design fail — Hawaii Missile Alert Fail
Following the incredible Ammonia Nitrate explosion in Beruit —
 Visual Capitalist released this post on the Biggest Ammonium nitrate explosions 
Beirut Blast: What is Ammonium Nitrate?
There were numerous reminders of how susceptible our society is to cyber attack. This was a great example of how 30 lines of code blew up a 27-ton generator 
Kevin Kelly 
gave us — 68 bits of unsolicited advice. Four I particularly liked:
  • Over the long term, the future is decided by optimists. To be an optimist you don’t have to ignore all the many problems we create; you just have to imagine improving our capacity to solve problems.
  • The universe is conspiring behind your back to make you a success. This will be much easier to do if you embrace this pronoia.
  • If you desperately need a job, you are just another problem for a boss; if you can solve many of the problems the boss has right now, you are hired. To be hired, think like your boss.
  • Art is in what you leave out.
Seth Godin 
never fails to release daily wisdom on his blog. Many worth reviewing — this one in particular on developing additional skills — the 100 hour asset .
We’re all so busy doing our work that sometimes we fail to build a skill worth owning.
If you invest 100 hours in a rare skill, you’re likely to acquire it.
Something that anyone who was focused enough to invest 100 hours could have, but few will choose to commit to.
String together a few of those, or dig deep and develop a 1,000 hour asset and now you truly have something.
There’s huge pressure to fit in, and plenty of benefits if you invest the time and stand out instead.
And this John Mulaney 
joke summed up the year for me…
There's a Horse In The Hospital | John Mulaney | Netflix Is A Joke
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