The cost of deliberation

Waiting to make a change means incurring greater costs down the line. Larger organizations process decisions so much that they end up lowering productivity dramatically by creating a bureaucracy that is unable to move swiftly.

If a project costs 10k to implement but we spend 4x as much effort as we should evaluating, jockeying, positioning, and deliberating, we just upped the cost of the project by the following equation: cost of labor multiplied by time spent deliberating.

Whether the project is renting a vending machine or launching a volunteering initiative, we’re better off basing our evaluations of success on data, not notions of control.

If we’re honest with ourselves, we know when those respective entities are steering the ship.

When we deliberate too much, we rob ourselves of an opportunity to let data determine efficacy.

If we make decisions quicker, speed up iteration cycles, and reduce the cost of launching, over time, we’ll have spent much more of our days working on the aspects of creation and collaboration that move the needle forward, instead of gumming up the gears.

Deliberate too long and data takes a back seat. As a feeling man, this is something I’m learning myself.

Better values

‘When we have poor values – that is, poor standards we set for ourselves and others – we are essentially giving fucks about the things that don’t matter, things that in fact make our life worse. But when we choose better values, we are able to divert our fucks to something better – toward things that matter, things that improve the state of our well-being and that generate happiness, pleasure, and success as side effects.’

– Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck

Don’t know = huge costs

We don’t have to be experts in everything, but we do need to know enough about everything to avoid getting taken.

A CEO must know how everything works so she can pull in the reigns on her VP of Digital when he’s building something that’s way too expensive, unnecessary, or hard to pivot from.

A homeowner must know how the furnace works, where the fusebox is, and how much it costs to fix the roof.

Being conversant in many things because we’ve done the research that enables meaningful participation, prevents us from paying top dollar, whether in time or cash, for someone to solve our blind spot.

Blind spots are dangerous. The bottom line is, ‘don’t know’ = huge costs.

Not afraid to be pop

It’s interesting how at certain points in life, the worst thing we can be is “pop.”

As in, pop music. As in, mainstream.

Pop music also has perfect tone and pitch, reaches people from all walks of life, and provides a platform for the next thing we make. So you know, it’s not all bad.

The connotation of pop includes a flattening of skill or talent, a simple something for the masses. But as long as we feel good making, enjoy the people we work with, and have an ethos that feels right for us, we might as well invite everyone to hear our song.

 

The Greatest

Why put rudders on ourselves? Why talk ourselves down? Why short our options? Why undercut our goals?

There are plenty of obstacles in life as it is, the last thing we need to do is get in our own way. That’s probably why I love creative expression that in a sober, victorious, heartbreaking, and emancipative way, affirms our struggles & hope while uncompromisingly showing us that every moment we’re alive is a chance to get it right.

This song and the video created for it recently provided me with one of those moments when art stops us in our tracks.

Between the lyrics, the unassailable pop format, a beautiful melody, a great island beat, the incredible choreography, the best makeup, and some of the coolest art direction I’ve seen in a while, I found this both non-cheesy and massively creative.

Props to Sia.

‘Don’t give up, I won’t give up
Don’t give up, no no no
Don’t give up, I won’t give up
Don’t give up, no no no

I’m free to be the greatest, I’m alive
I’m free to be the greatest here tonight, the greatest
The greatest, the greatest alive
The greatest, the greatest alive

I’m a cultural spy

Being part of the cultural majority means that we have the ultimate bias. It means our version of reality is the correct one and that we get to decide what norms everyone else has to aspire to.

My ethnic background provides all the advantages of being part of the cultural majority while also giving me relevant perspective on what it’s like to not be part of the cultural majority.

My dad is from Argentina and my mom is from Kansas, and they met in Spain. Go figure.

Ethnically, they’re both European. My father’s family in Argentina all immigrated there from Calabria in Italy. My mom’s family came to America from Guernsey, a little island between England and France.

That’s why when you look at me, you see a white man. That’s what I am.

That said, I grew up speaking English and Spanish, traveling to Argentina often, learning and living by cultural norms my dad grew up with, and generally looking at the world from what felt like two distinct perspectives.

The school I went to growing up was about 65% Latino, and I was ‘one of the white kids,’ while still enjoying some of the benefits of being part of the cultural majority within that community.

I was in while being out.

I enjoyed the upside and the downside, and it made me keenly aware of what either side felt like, as well as what assumptions we make when we have no reason to see things from the another point of view.

I don’t say that to solicit sympathy the way some in the cultural majority do for those few seconds when they don’t enjoy that perch. I say it because this experience provided me with a glimpse into the dynamic of cultural majorities from a very early age.

When I went to a white majority high school I enjoyed the benefits of being part of that cultural majority, while also being able to score a few bonus points for being bilingual and having a dad with a cool accent.

It wasn’t until after college that I came up with the term ‘cultural spy’ as an explanation of my experience, but it feels so apropos.

I don’t think any of us, regardless of grouping, have any type of monopoly on virtue. I do think that experiencing both sides of the cultural majority coin is a hugely important experience. You don’t have to be multiethnic to experience it either. Travel provides the opportunity to not know the local language or be the cultural or racial exception, and it’s important that we embrace those experiences as welcomed discomfort.

I’ve used the term ‘cultural spy’ a lot over the last few years, so I thought it was about time I write it down.

Personal evolution

Personal evolution happens whether or not we’re intentional about it, but there appears to be massive upside to thinking at least one move ahead. Instead of reacting to external presets, this allows us to make proactive decisions instead of reactive ones.

It helps in entrepreneurship.

It helps with finances.

It helps with soccer.

But it also helps right before we hit a fork in the road.

I’m trying to drink my own kool-aid in that respect. For as much as I talk about flexibility, strategy, and creativity, I should certainly always be thinking about moves I can make that will set up tomorrow’s projects and goals.

So… that’s where my head is at.

Websites that rock

Over the past 5 years, I’ve worked with WordPress (and now Squarespace) to develop websites for my projects and for clients. I love the feeling of coming up with a creative idea and making it so. With some practice, it has become a really fun way for me to build things – and I love that process.

I recently finished a site for an incredible baritone opera singer and am super proud of it.

You can check it out here.

As with every site I’ve built recently, it provided learning opportunities, frustration, turning points, communication practice, and a really cool end result.

While the tendency can be to get overly precious with our websites, articles, social media posts, and blogs, the reality is that everything is an iteration. What’s more, the world of web development and design is flattening, creating better solutions that take less time, and allowing us to pivot without a ton of angst.

That said, building websites that rock is constantly a reminder for me to keep learning and taking things from idea to reality.

If you need a new website, feel free to give me a shout. Helping creatives and small businesses put their best foot forward is a blast… especially when it provides me an opportunity to learn and create.

It’s important that we feel activated. It’s important that we have fun.