I’ve had this loose idea forming around what it takes to be a highly effective lead. It has to do with altitude. Specifically, the ability to quickly and consistently travel between the really high level to deep down in the details. Staying too long in either place causes you to be out of touch in some way – you can’t see the big picture, connect dots across areas, or ensure goals are carried through to quality output.
Designers are often hesitant to receive feedback on their designs from someone who is not close to the project.
“But they don’t have the context!”
This has always confused me. When I present a design flow, I find the people who are furthest away from the project gave really valuable feedback. They see things I don’t. And if I find myself having to explain things in order to figure out how to interact with my prototype, something is up.
After all, when this ships, the user won’t have been part of any of the project meetings, be aware of the research, any technical constraints, or otherwise. The design and implementation of it will need to stand on its own.
A highlight reel showcasing some of the great work the design team at Automattic has been working on in the last year. ❤️
Of course I stole the title for this talk from George Orwell. One reason I stole it was that I like the sound of the words: Why I Write. There you have three short unambiguous words that share a sound, and the sound they share is this:
In many ways, writing is the act of saying I, of imposing oneself upon other people, of saying listen to me, see it my way, change your mind. It’s an aggressive, even a hostile act. You can disguise its aggressiveness all you want with veils of subordinate clauses and qualifiers and tentative subjunctives, with ellipses and evasions—with the whole manner of intimating rather than claiming, of alluding rather than stating—but there’s no getting around the fact that setting words on paper is the tactic of a secret bully, an invasion, an imposition of the writer’s sensibility on the reader’s most private space.–Joan Didion, Why I Write
I just finished re-listening to Pema Chödrön Don’t Bite the Hook. I return to Pema often to get unstuck and this recording of hers is probably my favorite
Highlights from Don’t Bite the Hook:
The instruction is to not underestimate the things in your life that bring you happiness. Conscientiously note throughout the day anything that is pleasing. Little tiny things. Throughout the day there are a multitude of moments where you actually feel a fleeting happiness. As a species we have an unfortunate and habitual pattern that we emphasize the gloomy part… this shifts the balance.
As long as there is this charge in our likes and dislikes, as long as we get hooked by our views and opinions, then it doesn’t matter how right or peaceful or helpful to the earth our view is, we are still strengthening habits of aggression and still seeing people as ‘out there’ and other and ‘the problem’.
When you’re in a situation that you consider unjust, where you see that the motivation – in your view and opinion – is that something is happening that is motivated by greed or selfishness or trying to hurt you. But you see it, and it might be that if you did a poll of all the human beings on the planet, that you could get a really large percentage to vote for your side.
I started saying, ‘What’s happening here? I don’t like this.’ Period. End of story.
Sure, someone else might like it, but my opinion, my view is: ‘I don’t like it.’ That’s very different from: ‘It is wrong. It is bad. They are bad.’ It leads us towards not having a fixed view of ourselves or anyone else.
I keep track of all my favorite things Pema has said and written over on pemaquotes.com.
We’ve been doing the NYT crossword together every night for the past several months, which is a lovely way to end the day. This week, we started playing Wordle after seeing half the internet playing it. It’s so good. Here are the first four results, which are just fun to share. Can’t tell if we have beginner’s luck or if the crossword playing is helping. Probably a bit of both.
Wordle 204 2/6
Wordle 205 5/6
Wordle 206 3/6
Wordle 207 5/6
I’m still listening to books with the only exception being the physical books I bring along with me on camping trips in the van.
The books that have stayed with me
Ones I couldn’t stop thinking and/or talking about.
Ones I revisited
Getting Unstuck & From Fear to Fearlessness are recordings of Pema Chödrön giving talks on weekend retreats. I love listening to her and went back to both of these several times throughout the year.
with a ★ next to books I’d recommend to most anyone who asked.
The Midnight Library
by Matt Haig ★
Beautiful World, Where Are You
by Sally Rooney
Nothing to See Here
by Kevin Wilson ★
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr ★
From Fear to Fearlessness
by Pema Chödrön
Why Fish Don’t Exist by Lulu Miller
Getting Unstuck by Pema Chödrön
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid ★ (oops, I had this on last years list)
Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life by James Hollis
How to Weep in Public
by Jacqueline Novak
The Gifts of Imperfection
by Brené Brown
Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés
The Guest List by Lucy Foley
Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
The Searcher by Tana French
Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
Group by Christie Tate
And the books I’m in the middle of that I’ll carry into 2022 are Dune, Outline, and Hidden Valley Road.
I took a 4 day avalanche course by Baker Mountain Guides the week of Christmas in the Mt. Baker backcountry. I’ve been casually doing some backcountry stuff the past few years, but never pulled the trigger on buying avi gear or taking a class, which isn’t super smart or safe. The first two days were over Zoom with a firehose of information – logging it all here for future reference.
General info & videos to review regularly
- Ultimate Guide to Backcountry Skiing
- AIARE 1 classroom content
- Avalanche Encyclopedia
- AIARE – avtraining.org
- Know Before You Go
- Persistent Slab Avalanches
- Fracture Character in compression tests
- Learn Avalanche Safety – BCA youtube series
- Terrain Tricks for Backcountry Skiers
- NWAC Avalanche forecast for Baker
- NWAC Avalanche forecast for Snoqualmie
- Windy TV weather
- NOAA Point Forecast
- Mountain Forecast
- Hill map
- Caltopo maps
Where we went
Day 3 was our first day in the field. Built a snow pit to analyze the snowpack and practiced recovery using our beacons, probe, and shovel.
Forth and final day, went on a tour we planned the night before. Was an epic powder day with waist deep snow.
Grandmother & Grandfather always took pictures using slide film and we’d watch them on a projector in their living room – from their travels and just daily life. My cousin scanned 1,500 of them, from the 1960s to the early 2000s. They were scattered across different Google Photos links and I wanted an easy way to look at them and share with others so I created a site: ggslides.com. A few faves: