A week in review, 2019-W12


  1. Support systems hocus pocus (2019-03-23)
  2. Call your shot and record it (2019-03-22)
  3. Listening is hard (2019-03-18)


  1. Ken Favaro and Manish Jhunjhunwala, Why Teams Should Record Individual Expectations, MIT Sloan Management Review (2018-11-30). However, when individual expectations are recorded along with the key assumptions behind them, important differences become visible. One person might see 2+2 as the problem to solve, another might see 1+3, and another might think it’s 5-1. Even if you all arrive at the same answer, recording and then discussing the variety of paths that different stakeholders expect forces everyone to think in new ways. And often the team ends up concluding that 1+5 is the right starting place—and thus arriving at a different, unanticipated, and better decision altogether.
  2. Richard Brody, The Great American Novel Buried in Norman Mailer’s Letters, The New Yorker (2014-12-10). In effect, Mailer’s letters attest not as much to his experience as to his experience of experience—his very notion of experience as something simultaneously centrifugal and centripetal, an adventuresome excursion into a world outside one’s familiar circle as well as a plunge within, toward the impenetrable core of the soul. It’s the ordinary that strikes him as inert and infertile. Even while a student at Harvard (he studied engineering but was already an ambitious and successful student writer), his notion of literary experience was that it wasn’t the hand one was dealt or the way one played it, it was the game that one set out to learn.
  3. Andy Staples, Fletcher Magee's Perfectly Imperfect Shot Refuses to Stop Falling for Wofford, Sports Illustrated (2019-03-22). For most of his basketball-playing life, Magee—who wears No. 3 not because of his favorite shot but because he loves Allen Iverson—has sought to perfect an unblockable jumper. He concocts scenarios inside and outside of practice to force himself to shoot from awkward angles and positions. Quarterbacks would call it "off-platform." When teammates first see his fanatical devotion to ripping shots from every possible body contortion, they scratch their heads. But when they see him making those shots in practices and games, they understand.
  4. Naomi Rea, Two Photographers Traveled to the Arctic to Capture Powerful Images of the Rapidly Militarizing Region. See Their Work Here, artnet News (2019-03-15).
  5. Mark Maier, System and Software Architecture Reconciliation, Systems Engineering (2006-03-30). (notes) Why is there this distinction between traditional systems engineering practice with its emphasis on detailed and complete requirements specification and software architecture that does not need it? The difference is a matter of base assumption. The classical assumption in systems engineering (and often true) is that rectifying requirements mistakes late in the process (for example after a system is fielded) are orders of magnitude more expensive than avoiding the mistake very early in the process. In contrast, incremental software development is predicated on the assumption that it is impossible to know all the user requirements early, that many of the most important ones can be discovered only after a software system is shipped, and that making fielded changes to software is low cost.


  1. Petty Tyrant, This American Life (2010-11-12). What's striking about these tapes is that Steve sees himself on the side of good. He only does bad things to bullies, he says. He hates bullies. And anyway, most of what he does—like planting a bomb at the house of Laura Balogh, the one who broke up with his local union president—are on behalf of friends, against people he doesn't even know. He'll do anything for a friend, he says. He's loyal that way.
  2. Chip Conley: The Modern Elder and the Intergenerational Workplace, Long Now: Seminars About Long-Term Thinking (2019-03-13). [27:14] [...] and the thing that happens with your brain as you get older is, generally speaking, you get all-wheel drive, which basically means you do the left-brain right-brain tango better than a younger person [...]. You actually are able to move from linear to creative much more quickly, more adeptly, which means that--what is the result of that?--it means that you get the gist of things faster. You can think systemically and holistically much better than when you were young, when you were extremely focused. Now in the context of an organization like Airbnb that's growing as fast as it is, and has a lot of things happening all over the world all at once, and has a leadership that's very young, to be the person in the room who can occasionally synthesize and get the gist of something and say, "I see pattern recognition here"--and pattern recognition is another way of saying wisdom--and be able to call that out, is the value of a modern elder in that workplace.
  3. Math Major Counts Cards, Beats Vegas Dealers, Side Hustle School (2019-03-16). [5:33] Colin's advice is that running a business is a lot like counting cards at blackjack. It's about knowing how much value you are currently creating, figuring out how you can add to that, and making the right decision based on your observations. He also suggets you always bet on yourself.


Townes Van Zandt - Pancho and Lefty, Heartworn Highways (1981-05-13)


There might be additional links that didn't make the cut at notes.kirkkittell.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *