Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Random observations – Part 5

Random observations – Part 5
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Things remain interesting around smashLAB. (Interesting is code for “really great and also really fucking hard”.) Lots of new lessons for us, including some that have taught us a little humility, which I’ll talk about in a future post. That being said, here are a few more random observations.

41. Looking or being?

I used to think that hiring meant growing, which meant “more money”; unfortunately, the two aren’t necessarily connected. We now only hire if there is no physical way to get the work done otherwise.

If I had it to do again, we wouldn’t even have an office. Most of the stuff that looks like “business” is unnecessary. In business you make money or you don’t. The way it looks is largely window dressing.

42. Let it be

We often try to make things wear too many hats. As a result, their purpose becomes confused.

Maybe you don’t need any more features, deeper layers, or options.

Perhaps the solution is to just let things be what they are.

43. Always ask if a choice is driven by emotion or what’s in your real best interest

Recently we made a decision to downsize our space. Initially I felt badly about leaving behind such a beautiful office.

I knew that keeping cash at hand was more important for the company’s health, but it took a while for my gut to catch up with my brain.

Reminder to self: Consider letting the brain drive a little more than gut.

44. Memory is short

When times are good, no one remembers them being bad.

When times are bad, no one imagines them being good again.

Smart people seem to profit from this “memory loss” issue.

45. Everything becomes wallpaper in time

The new is often shocking, off-putting, and even sometimes exhilarating. Once we’ve processed and classified this new thing though, we tend to move it aside and make room for the next disruption.

This is relevant in messaging and life. Want to be seen? You may have to do something unexpected and know that it only will be noticed for a brief while. Want to appreciate your life? Perhaps you have to “re-look” and try to see things as you once did.

46. Be honest

You know when it’s not quite right, it’s in a “gray zone”, or you’re cutting corners.

It’s sometimes inconvenient, but being honest at all times simply feels better.

47. Definitions

Design is clarity; marketing is a reason; sales is frequency.

48. Opportunity is easy to spot after the fact

We often reflect on life with statements like, “If I would have done [insert action here] then; I’d be a millionaire now.” Hindsight being what it is, such observations are easy to make and worth very little.

Oddly, it only takes is a little imagination to see opportunity, but we’re generally disinclined to do so. Consider the death of print media. Most see only darkness, but this shift is ripe with possibility.

Will news die just because the printed delivery device becomes obsolete? Who’ll next deliver the news? Given the low entry cost of online publishing tools, could you become the news?

49. Being lucky

Nirvana’s songs were fine, but hardly ground-breaking. The Rubik’s Cube was fine, but not really that exciting. Twitter works, but isn’t that wild of an idea. What all of these things share, however, is that they seemed to be just the right thing for a particular time. No one could have planned or predicted this.

Being the “right thing” at the “right time” isn’t altogether that likely. It requires luck. The funny part with luck though is that it’s a numbers game. Play a few hands and you might get a little. (You can’t win if you don’t play though.)

50. Waves

You can ignore waves, but that won’t stop them. Alternately, you can ride them and benefit from the force of something bigger than you.

Want more? You can read the other ones here:

- Random observations – Part 1
- Random observations – Part 2
- Random observations – Part 3
- Random observations – Part 4

Follow @karj to hear about these posts first.

Comments & Trackbacks

  1. Let It Be.

    This is the best advice in all the Random Observations. I'm going to put it to good use right now.

  2. Evan Meagher says:

    I love your random observation posts. Out of all the stuff that makes it onto your blog, they're probably my favorite. Thanks for the latest round!

  3. Vince says:

    Lucky can be viewed in so many different ways. Am I lucky to win the lottery on one try or lucky to win the lottery on my 1000th try?

  4. "Be Honest"
    Loved this post as I always felt this. It seemed that nobody else minds this anymore. It made me very happy after reading this. People do believe still....

  5. Ryan T. says:

    You've truly got a knack for simple wisdom, Eric. Keep it up! Just these quick snippets has given me some fresh energy - Thanks!

  6. william reid says:

    saying "fuck", or "fucking" in your articles is getting tiresome.

  7. Easy solution: stop reading.

  8. @William Reid

    What's really getting tiresome: people like you leaving worthless comments. 'ideasonideas' is a great read for two reasons: the articles, and the discussion. Both of which I return for. So piss off.

  9. Pamela says:

    I actually agree with William. Profanity has its place, but here it just seems out of place, and kind of immature. It doesn't make the writing better.

    There seems to be a contradition between the advice you give -"be honest", "surround yourself with nice people" and a kind of snotty, screw-you attitude where any constructive criticism is met with "thanks for the comment; that being said, I'm right". The 9-5 post was a a classic example of being misguided and then stubbornly defending your stance rather than contemplating the possibility (bizarre as it might seem) that you might be wrong.

    And to Clayton.......grow up.

  10. Come now Pamela. I've never been wrong. Ever.

  11. Pamela, please dismount your moral high horse. I guess my honesty wasn't appreciated, but I stand by what I posted - with my real name ( gasp!). William's comment hardly registers as 'constructive criticism'... I mean, come on.

  12. Pamela says:

    William's honesty gets a "go piss off". Your honesty is supposed to be noble. Lovely.

  13. William' s post was a sucker punch. His comment was inflammatory, arrogant and, like I mentioned before, worthless. I wouldn't have had a problem with Mr Reid's own choice of words, if he would have actually addressed the composition, and provided, just a little helpful feedback: even an etymology lesson. But he didn't. Instead, he attacked the person, and ignored anything good about the actual article.
    I'm sure the author has taken into consideration the use of profanity in his articles, and chosen not to sanitize them for a reason.

    And please, we're not talking about honesty.

  14. Design says:

    I hear some wisdom in these words.

  15. Pingback: Random observations - Part 5 | The Design Blog Database

  16. Mishtu Banerjee says:

    43"Always ask if a choice is driven by emotion or what’s in your real best interest"

    Corrollary: If a 'logical' choice creates a deep emotional response -- step back, your gut's telling you something you are wise not to ignore. When driving, keep both logic and emotion firmly on the steering wheel.

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