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.

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 our real bottleneck 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.

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. What can do we differently with what we’ve already got?

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.

Simplicity means the people who are meant to get it easily will.

Simplicity has nothing to do with a lack of complexity. It has everything to do with comprehension.

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 a business is booming, more people are experiencing it at our most compromised. Build the capacity for success right into your projects from the outset.

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.

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 September 17, 2017