The Manifesto

A mixed bag of thoughts on life, design and business.

Feelings Rule the World

The world is changed by feelings, more than ideas. There is immense value in feeling good, even if it’s hard to measure. Empathising and apologising can be more powerful than simply fixing someone’s problem. Good feelings give rise to better decisions, creating a positive feedback cycle that can change lives.

Good communicators know that facts don’t win people over – make them feel something.

If you want to make a difference in someone’s life, you don’t have to give them a million dollars. Make them feel like a million dollars and they’ll do the rest themselves. The destitute are more out of hope and confidence than anything else. Give each other a reason to go on.

Show, don’t tell.

Don’t just take people to the conclusion – let them arrive themselves. Let them own the story, the message, the facts. It goes for everything, wherever possible – and precludes the possibility of bullshit.

Escaping prophecies is difficult.

We build the future with every action. Every day has been planned by our past. Creating a better future is hard because you experience the meagre results of yesterday while you lay better foundations for tomorrow. You need to put in more than you immediately get back and it doesn’t feel worth it. This is why we need hope, faith and patience. Foster them and change your life, the lives of those around you, your organisation – and the world.

It’s not what you believe, it’s what you do.

Some people like to think our beliefs define us, but they only really differentiate us.

Beliefs are just words in our heads. They can help or hinder us in our interaction with the world.

The danger of beliefs is that they become fences. The potential of beliefs is that they can inspire actions that make things better.

Forgive anyone who believes something differently to you. What really matters?

It’s not all about technology.

Technology gets more powerful and efficient all the time. But the real bottleneck for is imagination. The first TV shows were of people reading radio-like scripts. We need technology, but to make any use of it, we need lateral thinking more than technical progress.

Technology makes our computers, apps and networks possible, but it’s human creativity that takes it from there. There’s so much left acheive, even without technical advances.

Time isn’t money.

What works and what doesn’t is unpredictable, and sometimes disconnected from the effort or time put in.

Try to see the value, or lack of, in what you do – irrespective of the time it takes or the money it brings.

“Simple” is in the eye of the beholder.

It doesn’t mean simple to make, conceptually simple. It means the people who are meant to get it will.

Simpliciy, as a design trend, hardly relates to simplicity as an experience. It has nothing to do with the inherent complexity of a thing, it has everything to do with whether it is understood.

The old are young, the young are old.


It’s not only that age is a number, or a state of mind, but quite literally the old have all been young, not so long ago, and the young will be old in no time. See the young woman in the old – see the old man in the young. Be old when you’re young, without fear of the future. Be young when you’re old, without regret for the past.

We belong to each other.

Under the surface lies a web of interconnectivity. We eat food grown and delivered. We are mostly water managed by the local council. On our own, we’d be dead in days. Our knowledge of the world and universe, and our ideas and beliefs often inherited or borrowed. So sometimes, we should afford to measure success by wider metrics than usual.

Business should be designed to be busy.

A machine is most useful at capacity, but a cheap one will break.

When business is booming, more people are experiencing us at our most compromised. Are we ready for the business we need to succeed?

Cook chips how you like them.

There’s a million ways to cook potato chips. Everyone likes them differently, and you’ll never please them all. The only way you really know if chips are good or not is by your own standards. Then people who like chips like you do will come for miles to get the best chips in the world. Others will at least appreciate your consistency and integrity – at least you have an opinion and stand for something (eg: crispiness). And if you don’t stand for anything, ie: you really don’t care about chips, just don’t cook them.

Of course most of the people in the world cooking chips have no opinion. Hopefully they work for someone who does.

Always coming always going.

That person you used to love, you’re not in love with any more. The person you’ll love tomorrow, maybe you haven’t met yet.

Ups become downs, downs become ups. Take a wider view of your own experience. Get above this emotional roller-coaster and exercise strength from deeper within.

Parts of you will fall away or change. But something is always the same. That part is the centre of your revolving universe, never coming, never going, and is you.

Choose reality.

You can’t blame basically everyone for choosing emotional comfort over reality. The two things are not often mutual. But the more you stick to reality, the easier it gets, because reality is a place for deeper comfort.

There’s no such thing as customer service

Companies like to talk about their culture, and their customer service. They’re the same thing. Your internal culture will be passed down through the ranks to the customer. Efforts to manufacture a customer experience at the emotional expense of those delivering it will fail. Sure, systems and rules will make it easy to know what to serve the customer, but as to how, that’s your company culture. Treat everyone like your best customers.

Posted on June 27, 2014, modified February 6, 2017.