Super Inteligent-Aliens

When I was growing up, I shared a large attic bedroom with my two brothers. On late Sunday nights, we always went to bed listening to King Crimson Biscuit Flower Hour on Public Radio, followed by many probing shows that asked and attempted to answer big questions. One of my favorites is still a conversation starter I love using today that has led to hours of facinating conversation.

If we were ever visited by super-intelligent aliens:

  1. Who would you put in the room besides yourself?
  2. What would be your three questions?
Please do not hold against us!

The obscure questions/answers often lead to the most intriguing insights.

“I would invite God.”
Why: “Because if he does not show up for this, he doesn’t exist, or we are in some real deep trouble.”

“I would ask what is the best Beatles Album?”
Why: “Because it will tell us how much the know about us, if they are reading our minds.”

This can go on for a very long time with a small group of interesting people, but the lesson is that the insight is not neccesarily in the question or answer itself, but by in the nature of why it was asked and context of what it answers.

The Feature Factory

How do you recognize a feature factory?

  • Product releases are focused on sizes and colors.
  • Services and pricing focus on subscription bundling.
  • Marketing is focused on loyalty and rewards programs.
  • Business model is built on upgrade cycles and obsolescence.
  • Sustainability strategy is based on blitzscaling your way to a monopoly.

Here is a more nuanced view about the “12 Signs You’re Working in a Feature Factory” from John Cuttlefish’s blog.

The Great Disconnect

There are 4.2 million people whom have dropped out of the labor force during the pandemic. A surge of 3.6 million people have also retired during the pandemic, 2 million more than expected. This has left us with labor force participation rate at just 61.7% in the U.S.

BLS Labpr Force Participation Rate

Despite a overall decline of 5 million jobs since the start of the pandemic, businesses are also facing an accelerating quit rate as 3.8 million Americans resigned in June alone.

Gallup analysis finds that 74% of workers are actively disengaged and 48% are actively job searching. Potentially questioning how/why they work, and who they do it with.

70% of workers feel that COVID-related restrictions led to the most stressful period in their career. This is not business as usual. It’s time to ask the hard questions about your work from home policies, child care, ageism, DEI and organizational health.

Designing for Happy

Learning and adapting is an essential part of any organization’s culture. Yet, so many continue with the status quo. Why is this? It is both complex and complicated. It also questions our core values, and identity. This process is scary, and requires physiological safety.

Technology Sherpa

Product development should be a team sport, but occasionally you need that certain someone to act as a sherpa. Hopefully, that person is not afraid of heavy lifting. Knows when to lead and how to follow. Builds consensus on how to assess effort, risk, and reward. They are fantastic at inspiring teammates. They are masterful at aligning stakeholders and prioritizing. They also appreciate the unique challenges ahead while humbly knowing they have not mastered all of the lessons from the past.