The power of social pressures on behaviour

Here’s Don Norman in The Design of Everyday Things on fighting the incredible power of social pressures on behaviour. What kind of social pressures? The social forces that cause “otherwise sensible people to do things they know are wrong and possibly dangerous.” When I was in training to do underwater (scuba) diving, our instructor was so concerned about this that he said he would reward anyone who stopped a dive early in favour of safety. People are normally buoyant, so they need weights to get them beneath the surface. When the water is cold, the problem is intensified because divers...

Reflecting on Design and WordPress (with art)

I wrote a post on one of our design blogs at work: Why I’m so excited about the Gutenberg Editor for WordPress. Potentially interesting if you’re interested in design and WordPress. Or, if you’re just curious about where WordPress is heading. I was in a reflective mood when I wrote it so to accompany it I chose a painting of mountain climbers surveying a new landscape after reaching a summit. I’ve been trying to add photos to all my blog posts lately so they’re a bit more engaging when they hit Facebook. Pexels is a great choice for free stock...

Your new creative manifesto

Adweek’s reasons why this second grade handout should be your new creative manifesto feels like it has everything right. At least for me. Maybe I should go back to second grade.

The Biggest Trolling Operation in History

If you’ve been following the increasingly strange news about Russia’s Internet Research Agency and their involvement in U.S. political life you might find this in-depth look at their activity — from way back in June of 2015 — as fascinating as I do. I friended as many of the trolls on Facebook as I could and began to observe their ways. Most of the content they shared was drawn from a network of other pages … clearly meant to produce entertaining and shareable social-media content. There was the patriotic Spread Your Wings, which described itself as “a community for everyone...

Goethe and Nietzsche on Instruction

Moreover I hate everything that merely instructs me without increasing or directly quickening my activity. — Goethe Nietzsche prefaces his “untimely meditation” on “the use and abuse of history for life” with this quote. He thought it could stand in as a ceterum censo — a call for total warfare — in his mind against something like what he conceived as history, or research, without purpose and correct action. “We need it for life and action, not as a convenient way to avoid life and action.” It’s a tough ideal I’ve been thinking about and one I’ll be thinking about...

100 days of exercise, journaling, and habit-forming or: How I spent my 3-month vacation from work

Many of my friends and family know this already but for the past three months I’ve been on vacation from work. Everyone that works at Automattic (What’s that? You’ve probably heard of our biggest project, WordPress.com) can take a 2-3 month vacation, or sabbatical, every five years. That’s a lot of time to take off work! I haven’t had that much time off since I was four or five. “What are you going to do with all that time off?” One thing you could do with some time off like that is try and make some changes in how you...

Daily Colour Schemes

An oddly satisfying habit I've picked up this summer: making a colour scheme every day with the Adobe Capture app. You can check out the colour schemes I've made at color.adobe.com.

The Highest Form of Disagreement

The Atlantic has a good read on being charitable with the people we disagree with. In a nutshell, leaving behind the straw man and weak man versions of an argument we often construct. Instead, building up a steel man version of that argument.  It reminds me of investor Charlie Munger’s advice on “having an opinion.” I’m not entitled to have an opinion unless I can state the arguments against my position better than the people who are in opposition. I think that I am qualified to speak only when I’ve reached that state. —   Charlie Munger It’s good advice.

What I learned about building habits from 30 days of exercise

As of this morning, I’ve done some sort of bodyweight exercise for 30 days straight. It’s been mostly push-ups, with some chin-up training, dips, and squats, mixing it up with lighter and heavier days so I don’t over exert myself.   I use the Todoist app to remind myself to do this (and some other fundamental things) every morning. It’s one of a very limited set of Q2 activities I have set as a top priority. After I check off the activity in Todoist I then mark the chain in a calendar using a “chain” app. There’s tons of these....