Compromising or compromise

Compromising is a great idea, until generosity leads to grievance between those who give and those who take.

We enjoy working with people who are willing to accommodate, shift their posture to our needs. However, we would be a fool if we expect them to compromise endlessly.

Long-term relationships are built on alignment. It is when the thing that matters most to you is the same thing that matters the most to them.

Here’s an example: Mercedes make prestige cars that is unattainable to many and people want to send a message that they can pay a lot.

Mercedes doesn’t pretend to be the fastest, safest or coolest. They work hard to be reliably expensive.

Compare to the tense relationships which goals don’t align. These relationships are connected on a small opening but the deal was never fully understood or communicated.

The young chef exploring the culinary edges and the hungry diners that wants the same winning dish.

The venture capitalist plotting a hockey stick trajectory and the entrepreneur that wants to grow sustainably.

The architect graduate yearning to paint the skyline and the client wants a functional building.

This is no one’s fault but a lesson to learn about the edges, your edges. And perhaps to be compromising, it starts what you won’t compromise on.

Ideas for a better memo

A call came in at lunch, I had to get out of my co-working space ASAP. An event was happening, things needed to get done, and my stuff was getting in the way.

It turns out that the organiser had anticipated and prepared for it. An email memo was sent and alternative solutions were offered.

The problem is – I did not remember receiving the memo.

Wait… except actually, I did receive it. However, I heard something totally different. “Hey, there’s an event. Come join us”.

The difficult parts:
a. no one is waiting to hear from you.
b. you need to know who it’s for, what’s it for and precisely what you want them to do.
c. you have to have the guts to leave out everything that isn’t part of (b).

Consider a memo that was emailed to everyone in the office. The management sent it to 100 people, some got dropped into spam, and perhaps ten people read it and took action.

Here are some ideas that could level up the memo:

1. Pattern interrupt. When was the last time you listened to the seat belt announcement on an airplane? We ignore it because we’ve been trained to ignore it. Choose a different place, at different time, a different format.

2. Ten words per page. That how many words get read in the first pass. Which ten do you want someone to scan so they’re intrigued enough to slow down and read the rest? Help me scan instead of study.

3. Frame the message. Make it about me, my status, my needs. Create urgency.

4. Choose one intention. How many things are you trying to say? Should I attend the event or get out of the way. (Hint: two might be too many).

Take a look at the 2 different memos that were left outside every room of Hyatt hotel. Which is better?

If you’re committed for people to get the message, I think to you’ll find delivering it person, human to human, is a proven practice. And perhaps, the next best thing is a carefully crafted memo.

(h/t to Seth Godin)

The problem of problem

Do you have a problem with gravity?

Because if it is not actionable, it is not really a problem, is it?

Except actually, you can relocate the earth’s orbit and pull that off. That just really hard.

Perhaps being angry and getting stuck by gravity (pun intended) is a choice.

We all have gravity problems. Our upbringing, where we are born, and ageing.

The easy part is to choose the ONE gravity problem to work on. The hard part is letting go (at least for now).

Making money and making art

We don’t need to look very far to realise that the relationship between making money and making art isn’t what you might have guessed.

Enter an art gallery and you’ll be outraged at the price tag of paintings that a 7 years old could do. And yet many of your talented artist friends are starving.

In fact, making money and making art are unrelated skills.

So, let’s say you are really good at Origami. The problem is there’s no demand for Origami. You could spend years making the most beautiful Origami swan and trying to persuade people to pay you $10,000. It’s an uphill battle.

But it turns out that you can use Origami as a problem-solving technique. When your hands are busy with paper, your brain is freed up to be creative. Then, you can realise that really expensive meeting take place where people sit around a table, wasting time and money trying to brainstorm stuff. And maybe you could become a facilitator of those meetings, using origami as a tool to help people get tactile when they’re trying to solve a problem that’s not tactile. You’ll make a living still doing your art – doing it in a totally different way.

One way is to make better art. But what would happen if instead, we spend it on making people feel better?

Remote Work, Learning to Code & Happiness – Steph Smith

Steph Smith (@stephsmithio), 25 is a senior analyst working on Trends, tracking up-and-coming trends. 

After less than a year of learning to code (while having a full-time job), she has won the Golden Kitty award for inclusion, on Product Hunt. 

Steph writes a blog about remote work, women in tech and learning to code. 

These days when she is not at work, she is building Upread, a tool connecting indie publishers with their readers.

In this conversation, we spoke about:

  • Things women face in the tech industry
  • Steph’s transition from consulting to remote work
  • The ups and downs of remote work
  • and much more!

If you’ve only got 2 minutes, here’s a short video 

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