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.
I think often about how the Wright brothers thought airplanes would end war. As in *permanently*. It's such a staggeringly naive misunderstanding of human nature. Our hardest problems are not technological but we desperately want to believe that they are.

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More from @berkun

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
22 Feb
1. It's easy to think being a star at a job will make for a good manager, but it's a fallacy. They are different roles. Good managers help everyone do better work, regardless of their talents - a very different skill from being a solo star.
2. Stars pride themselves on great solo work. Shifting to taking pride in how others work, removing roadblocks, coaching, encouraging... is often hardest for the greatest talents. They can't let go. They delegate poorly. Talent growth challenges their "supremacy."
3. More modest talents often make for better managers. They're attracted to leadership and team challenges, and don't mind having stars work for them. They recognize their value isn't personal greatness, but making others great. Or better. Or happier in their work.
Read 10 tweets
23 Sep 20
1. Interesting report on mask use in U.S.

On average 80% of Americans say they wear masks. But they observe only 51% of other people wearing them. Hmm.

I know it's based in cognitive bias, but surprised somehow to see it by such a wide margin. Image
2. This was less surprising: urban vs. rural, except for the *wider gap* in self vs. other perception in rural areas - more pressure to claim wearing masks even if they don't? ImageImage
3.This was definitely a surprise: Men 84% to Women 77%.

Were women simply being more honest?

I'd be really surprised in reality if men on average wore masks more often than women did. Image
Read 4 tweets
21 Sep 20
1. Leaders should always credit people when mentioning their ideas. Even if that person is not in the conversation.

You win just for saying the idea at the right time.

If you're unsure where an idea came from, say so or ask. Pretending it's yours will come back to haunt you.
2. PMs & people who work across disciplines hear many ideas in many contexts and it's hard to track it all in your mind. That's OK. But own it.

If you want more good ideas to come to you, err on giving credit away rather than taking it. Once burned smart people will avoid you.
3. Ideas are often collaborations, or the application of an old thought in a new context. So who possess the idea? Again, err on the side of giving credit away. There's little to lose.

If you solve someone's problem, but with another person's idea, you still made it happen.
Read 7 tweets
16 Sep 20
1. A great innovation in business tech was announced on this day in 1959 - The Xerox 914.

It's hallmark was simplicity: unlike competitors, you simply placed your paper on glass and pressed a button.

How Chester Carlson invented it is a great story of risk and persistence. Image
2. Carlson worked at Bell Labs in the 1930s in the patent dept. He had 100s of ideas for different inventions, but focused on copying because typing with carbon paper was messy and frustrating.

The "cc:" line in email today is a reference to carbon copy. Image
3. Carlson was fired in 1933 (Great Depression). By 1936 he had a new job and went to night school to study law.

Too poor to buy books, he had to hand copy them from the library! Copying was his nemesis.

There he learned about Pál Selényi's (shown) work on electrostatic images. Image
Read 15 tweets
14 Sep 20
1. The product world has an odd relationship with "designing for humans". Often it's designing to sell rather than designing for actual use.

Take this clever "have a look" feature - it briefly raises toast so you can see how done it is.

Another design that solves this...
2. Is this one. By just making the toast visible you don't need a button or any extra engineering to raise the toast.

It *eliminates the need for interaction*, which is often a better experience.

But wait... what problem does all this solve? Somehow that question gets lost.
3. The implication is "making toast is unpredictable and I don't want it burned".

Really? Maybe a new toaster take a few attempts to calibrate. After that u just leave it at the right level.

These designs imply a problem u probably don't have but... helps sell the toaster!
Read 13 tweets

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