“The result of our approach,is that we end up with a team of people who will quickly become bored by performing tasks by hand and have the skill set necessary to write software to replace their previously manual work.”
– Ben Sloss, Google
Google engineers are not afraid of automating themselves out of a job. They embrace the challenge of finding the next best thing in machine learning, in big data, in medicine, or moonshots like longevity, because of this philosophy.
Are we bored with clicking and measuring things by hand yet? Spell checking your report manually for semantic (i.e. error of meaning not spelling) errors? Making a differential diagnosis strictly from memory? We should get bored. Then we can start to improve it.
It’s when we are satisfied from “good enough” that we forget “doing better” is possible.
Delight strikes when we recognize patterns but are surprised by them… It’s seeing a beautiful landscape and thinking all is right in the world… A perfectly closed-off plot, with just a couple of loose threads. A picture of a farmhouse, but the paint is peeling. Music that comes back to the tonic note and then drops a whole step further to end on an unresolved minor seventh… It’s like the smile from a beautiful stranger in a stairwell—it’s fleeting. It cannot be otherwise—recognition is not an extended process.
– Raph Koster
“When you are eighty years old, and in a quiet moment of reflection narrating for only yourself the most personal version of your life story, the telling that will be most compact and meaningful will be the series of choices you have made. In the end, we are our choices”
– Jeff Bezos, as quoted in The Everything Store by Brad Stone
[I]t was the curious power of electronic collaboration that contributed to the New Groupthink in the first place. What created Linux, or Wikipedia, if not a gigantic electronic brainstorming session? But we’re so impressed by the power of online collaboration that we’ve come to overvalue all group work at the expense of solo thought. We fail to realize that participating in an online working group is a form of solitude all its own.
Susan Cain, Author, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
Most people realize that they tend to perform best when they’re feeling positive energy. What they find surprising is that they’re not able to perform well or to lead effectively when they’re feeling any other way. Unfortunately, without intermittent recovery, we’re not physiologically capable of sustaining highly positive emotions for long periods.
Tony Schwartz and Catherine McCarthy, Harvard Business Review, as cited.
Any aspect of life to which attention is directed will loom large in a global evaluation. This is the essence of the focusing illusion, which can be described in a single sentence:
Nothing in life is as important as you think it is when you are thinking about it.
Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize-winning Economist, in Thinking, Fast and Slow