Knowledge Work Effectiveness not Efficiency

The default marketing strategy for this category of tool is to emphasize efficiency….

The marketing from efficiency argument is simple to articulate and deeply rooted in an industrial mindset. Tools are good if they make workers more efficient; Frederick Taylor opined on the size and shape of shovels to improve the efficiency of strong-backed men moving stuff from pile A to box B. Knowledge workers aren’t shoveling coal. None of us work in typing pools.

These tools and their effective (not efficient) use are better understood from the perspective of augmentation laid out by Doug Engelbart. Saving keystrokes isn’t the point; redistributing cognitive load is.

Jim McGee – Knowledge Work Effectiveness not Efficiency

Touch Screens and the Loss of Nuanced Control

As software eats more of the world, we’re abstracting more controls to panes of glass. Touchscreen-based user interfaces are more flexible and cheaper to design, develop, deploy, and iterate than dedicated physical controls. But touchscreens come at the expense of nuanced control in critical situations, where tighter feedback loops between the system and its operators can make all the difference.

Jorge Arango – Touch Screens and the Loss of Nuanced Control

An example of Layers of Abstraction, the Cost of Convenience, and the Commoditization of Experience

Brittle Careers

There is no standard. There is only the ongoing work to learn, to work with others and to be better. This vulnerable mindset keeps us outwardly engaged and with a strong focus on learning and adaptation.  Engaging with our communities and helping them to create change, learn and adapt is an important part of this process of mastery.

Simon Terry – Brittle Careers

It’s never a good time to do research (which is why you should be doing research all the time)

While the methods and the amount of collaboration required may differ, what goes for individuals goes for organizations. Every single time you are faced with a decision, you need to ask “Do we have the right information to make this decision?” If you are continuously making decisions, you need to continuously ensure that those decisions are well-informed.

Erica Hall – It’s never a good time to do research

Life’s economy is primarily based on collaborative rather than competitive advantage

If we want to re-design economics based on what we know about life’s strategy to create conditions conducive to life, we need to question some basic assumptions upon which the narrative underlying our current economic systems is built. The narrative of separation has predisposed us to focus on scarcity, competition, and the short-term maximization of individual benefit as the basis on which to create an economic system. Life’s evolutionary story shows that systemic abundance can be unlocked through collaboratively structured symbiotic networks that optimize the whole system so human communities and the rest of life can thrive.

Source: Life’s economy is primarily based on collaborative rather than competitive advantage

Scaling: The surprising mathematics of life and civilization

So what is “scaling”? In its most elemental form, it simply refers to how systems respond when their sizes change. What happens to cities or companies if their sizes are doubled? What happens to buildings, airplanes, economies, or animals if they are halved? Do cities that are twice as large have approximately twice as many roads and produce double the number of patents? Should the profits of a company twice the size of another company double? Does an animal that is half the mass of another animal require half as much food?

Geoffrey West – Scaling: The surprising mathematics of life and civilization

Want to innovate like Amazon? This is their formula

You can’t escape Amazon in the digital economy. Now a trillion-dollar company, they have disrupted diverse sectors from retail to software development with a deftness and drive that’s admirable and alarming. They actually seem to be speeding up their rate of innovation as they scale, defying the Law of Large Companies that causes giants to get dragged down by their own girth.
How do they manage that?

Scott Brinker – Want to innovate like Amazon? This is their formula

Some great insight into how Amazon is able to innovate at scale, especially in AWS. Provides some insight into answers to the questions I asked a couple of years ago in Companies and Superlinear Scaling. (Which I now need to revisit and expand)