RAMPS – Ways to Affect Rhythm

This entry is part [part not set] of 15 in the series RAMPS

Achieving good Rhythm, a well-tuned distribution of "feels good" across time, is at once the most visceral of sensations and the most difficult to reliably prescribe. Affecting rhythm, therefore, is a fundamentally experimental effort. There are three broad levels to think about, and each has its own possibilities and limits. There is the individual maker, a team of makers, and an organization that hosts, funds, plans, and manages that (or those) teams. At the outer circumference, the org has the …

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Change Pro-Tip: Reset

Change Pro-Tip: I sometimes will take an individual or group relationship of mine and ask for an explicit "reset". It’s not a frequent solution, but when the circumstances are right, the rewards for doing it can be huge. Early last year, I was in a wrangle with a person I’ve known for a few years. It wasn’t a crisis, exactly, but it wasn’t a happy or even neutral relationship. He called me, and as we spoke it became ever more …

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RAMPS – Rhythm is Tension and Release

This entry is part [part not set] of 15 in the series RAMPS

Rhythm is about sequences of alternating tension and release. Noticing, orchestrating, and managing the levels and timing of those sequences is one way I can affect the motivation of myself and others. Take a second right now give yourself a nice full-bodied stretch, complete with a yawn. Feels good, yeah? Some of you are at the end of your day, others the middle, and to be honest I’ve only been up for a couple of hours. But it still feels …

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RAMPS – A Way I Approach Motivational Puzzles

This entry is part [part not set] of 15 in the series RAMPS

Motivational Puzzles Rhythm, Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose, and Safety are important bands in my own motivational spectrum, so I often use them when I’m thinking about other people’s motivational spectroscopy. I’ll give you snapshots of the meaning behind those bands in a minute, but I want to start with that base metaphor, of spectrums, spectroscopy, and signature. When you bombard an element with electromagnetic radiation — for the sake of shorthand, when you make it glow — it gives off visible …

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Stories About Stories

This entry is part [part not set] of 4 in the series Stories

Some stories about stories, continuing from How Stories Change Things. First, a story-story from history or two. In 1900 the story of Thomas Jefferson was that he was a founder of our nation, a naturalist, and inventor, a President, and the author of some of the most stirring language about human equality ever penned in English. In 2000 the story of Thomas Jefferson was that one of the hundred-odd slaves he owned, the young half-sister of his deceased wife, was …

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How Stories Change Things

This entry is part [part not set] of 4 in the series Stories

What is this thing about telling & re-telling the story until it’s the story we want? There’s back-muses, check my timeline, but I’ll offer the relevant text: "I believe we have to re-tell the story. We have to tell the story again, and again, changing it each time, until it becomes the story of bringing a large and diverse group of people together in a common culture of kind and creative community." To make that case, it seems to me …

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What I’m Up To

This entry is part [part not set] of 4 in the series Stories

Yesterday, I spoke about thin culture, insecurity, and a possible way forward: telling and re-telling the story of us. I don’t know what will thicken the software making trade’s culture. But I know (part of) what I’m trying to do: tell the story of us, re-tell it, and re-tell it again, as many times as it takes, until that story is the story of a community of kindness and creativity. I’m trying to make a sociotechnical approach to the trade …

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Thin Culture and Stories

This entry is part [part not set] of 4 in the series Stories

I believe the thinness of geek culture is a major player in many of the ills of the trade. It is sociotechnical in impact, simultaneously affecting areas as seemingly distant & distinct as the "social" gender diversity and the "technical" iterative design. Last night, I enjoyed Virginia doing a hilarious profane rant about an incoherent technical manual she’d used that day. We’re not talking about jargon or domain ignorance, but of flat-out incoherence: bad sentences, contradictory advice, poor case discrimination, …

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MCE #3: Mindful, Collaborative, Experimental

This entry is part [part not set] of 3 in the series Mindful Collaborative Experimental

What matters most when I’m collaborating on activity X isn’t activity X, it’s collaborating. I’ve given this MCE series a lot of thought, which is why the items appear so slowly. My take seems fundamentally different from what others seem to be saying. And it doesn’t feel like a tweak. It’s not one premise of the zeitgeist I would change, but most of them. Some ideas are baked so deeply into the zeitgeist, it is very difficult to use the …

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Endpointing & Nextstepping

In our trade, a great deal depends on the distinction between two ideas, manifested as behaviors, cutlures, practice-sets, attitudes, approaches, whatever you call it. I call these ideas "endpointing" and "nextstepping". The central thesis of endpointing: "There’s a finish line, and it’s what matters most." The central thesis of next-stepping: "There’s no finish line, and what matters most is the next step we take." Even a casual glance will show the extraordinary reach of that distinction. It can be applied …

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