1. In the debate over the best communication tool, like Slack or email, what's missing is consideration of org culture. Tools rarely change culture, but culture always changes tools.

The trap is changing tools is less scary for managers than learning how to change culture.
2. Managers can't help but want tools that make their job easier. As much as they might say "this will help our team" unless they're doing user research to understand how their team actually works, they are heavily biased towards their own needs and experiences.
3. Often the worst abusers of "the spirit of the tool" are managers. Who writes the worst emails? Who clearly skims messages when replying? Who swoops in ignoring context to drop decision bombs and fly away? Managers.

Behavior modeling tells us what leaders do, others copy.
4. We tend to talk in big waves of change. "Email will cure the problem of office memos. Slack with cure the problems of emails...." but that denies how diff every organization culture is in it's norms of communication.

e.g. does hiring criteria truly include writing skills?
5. My experience at @automattic, a 100% remote company, was, shockingly, everyone wrote well! They asked clarifying questions. It was a trait in the culture.

It was NOT something that came from the tools they used. It WAS something that would make any tool more likely to work.
6. We should be asking how do we make "good communication skills" more than a platitude we all assume we already have?

How do we value and grow people into being good communicators with ANY tool? To write and read thoughtfully? That's the scarce resource that frustrates us.

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More from @berkun

6 Apr
"Legitimate political change doesn’t come from one person, even a superpowered just person making decrees. Legitimate change comes from a broad base of popular support, things like that. We don’t know what a comic book about that would look like."

"[superheroes] can be problematic... how are they using their power?...is a story about reinforcing the status quo, or about overturning the status quo? And most popular superhero stories are always about maintaining the status quo." - Ted Chiang
"Superheroes, they supposedly stand for justice. They further the cause of justice. But they always stick to your very limited idea of what constitutes a crime, basically the government idea of what constitutes a crime." - Ted Chiang
Read 4 tweets
5 Apr
We are sadly going to see dumb regressions where we fail to learn the best lessons of remote work:

Why should a boss care about about naps, breaks, socializing, etc. if the employee does their job well? The answer is they shouldn't.

Smart managers should always say:

"I will trust you to nap, take breaks, take time off for personal things, or other ideas you have, provided you do your job well."

Everyone wins. If trust is broken that's one thing, but not to even try makes for a foolish manager.
There is a paranoia in management around change.

So much is justified by "this is the way we've done it" which is among the worst arguments there is.

Our forced remote work experiment of 2020/21 is one of the greatest opportunities ever to question assumptions about work.
Read 5 tweets
31 Mar
1. The irony of being an expert:

You spend years studying, practicing, and developing deep skills to qualify for a job as an expert.

Then you discover work is often w/ people with none of your expertise but the power to ignore your field at a whim as if it didn't exist.
2. The joy of being an expert:

Your insights are needed in thousands of important places and situations and you are one of a small group of people who has the potential to make great things happen. The rewards from solving problems the way you can are rare in the working world.
3. The surprise of being an expert:

Is at first you think it's advanced knowledge that matters most, but you learn the real problem that holds progress back is mostly people who have never heard of your field or don't know the basics.
Read 5 tweets
20 Mar
The first principle of thinking about the future is to admit we are a foolish species. We do dumb things. We get distracted easily. We repeat history. We are tribal. We are wired for hunting/gathering, not for "civilization". If you don't start here you are part of the problem.
When people talk about the future they tend to imagine we are some other species that doesn't have our staggeringly dumb track record. It's an amazing phenomenon. It's almost like futurists have never studied history, much less the history of people talking about the future.
I really am all for progress, and finding ways to be optimistic, but it must be rooted in reality and an honest appraisal of human nature if there is any hope of achieving it.
Read 4 tweets
18 Mar
1. Many leaders in organizations set up designers to fail.

They hire designers without understanding their value and what must be done for them to succeed. The opportunity is a lie when the truth is designers are involved too late and with too little power to ever succeed.
2. Hiring designers only to ignore them might be the cruelest kind of design theater. It enables a CEO to say "we have a great UX team" while in reality, they reward unqualified PMs and engineers for doing most of the designing.
3. What is never said openly is projects *already* have designers who have not agreed to hand over power.

Without explicitly redistributing that power, leadership has failed. They either are incompetent for not recognizing it's their job to do this or for failing to do it.
Read 8 tweets
5 Mar
If you think everyone loves your product, you haven't done enough user research yet.
When projects start don't just write goals, write non-goals too.

A non-goal is a scenario/profile that coworkers might be tempted to design for, but you want to make clear is out of scope early.

"goal: simple meal ordering"
"Non-goal: filtering for custom diets"
The idea of a non-goal isn't to be exhaustive. There are always infinite non-goals. Instead it's to put up a warning sign against temptation.

Party goal: "everyone has a good and memorable time"
Non goals: "missing cat, broken furniture, arrest warrants"
Read 4 tweets

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