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Here's what I do, and I do it well. - Elf M. Sternberg
Here's what I do, and I do it well.
I play.

I was leading Larry Winget's It's Called Work for a Reason the other day, one of the many business books that I read from time-to-time, but it's the title that kinda stuck in my craw. Sure, it's work.

Henry Jenkins, on the other hand, points out that when the world is as complicated as it is now, it is not just the capacity to work that is critical: the capacity to play is vital. Jescribes "play" as "the capacity to experiment with one's surroundings as a form of problem-solving."

I was working with Omaha on fixing a printer problem, and she asked me, "Tell me what would you do?"

I told her, "I would just sorta play around with different settings, trying stuff out. I'd keep a backup so if I broke anything, I could just delete the configuration and start over. Then I'd mess with it until it worked, or something broke."

She didn't like that answer. The idea that I might "break" something in her precious Mac was too much to take.

But that's beside the point. It's being able to play with the stuff I have that makes the job worthwhile and succesful. I know what I want to do, I have a vague idea of how to do it and a clear idea of where to get more information. A couple of iterations and eventually I hit on a solution, and a couple more (some with breakage, some without) and I've got a streamlined solution.

It's this unwillingness to break stuff that makes people ineffective developers and designers (and writers, for that matter). You can't make the world suck less (as Jenkins puts it) until you learn to live with your own suck, embrace your suck, understand what sucks, and finally understand that if something sucks, maybe you need to get off the couch and deal with it.

Current Mood: Orbital, Sad but True

3 comments or Leave a comment
halloranelder From: halloranelder Date: April 16th, 2010 10:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
For many years my mother taught people how to use computers.

She said her least favourite training sessions were with "normal", middle aged people because they would only ever do exactly what they were told, nothing more.

Kids and old folk were willing to play, find out what happens when I do this, and as a result learnt a hell of a lot more than those who only pushed that button when Mum told them too.

At the start of each lesson, Mum would tell them that everything was backed up, and there was no way they could break anything permanently, but the "normals" still only did exactly what they were told.
ideaphile From: ideaphile Date: April 18th, 2010 05:09 am (UTC) (Link)

This post in graphical form

lemur123 From: lemur123 Date: April 18th, 2010 06:03 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: This post in graphical form

I have that on the wall above my desk!
3 comments or Leave a comment