— On Comms Design. From London

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Ideas

I didn’t use to keep any type of checklists when doing my job. Which, by the way, is not to sit and think to get ideas. That’s nobody’s job, not even a creative’s 🙂

But, in all seriousness, there comes a time after doing any job for a while when you think you have a process built in, and you will naturally just go through the motions. Read the client brief, do some desk research, ask for the debrief questions, see what additional info we have and what we need, read through that, scan user research, try to source independent research etc. You think you know what steps you go through and that you will go through all the necessary ones to get to the desired outcomes.

Routine is not a guarantee.

But you don’t. And I found myself just skipping one of these, not by design, nobody makes the decision to just skim through the brief, but because I thought I had in-built some steps and I didn’t need to pay attention if I was going through all of them.

Primarily, though, what I have found myself doing is skipping steps because I think I’ve cracked a problem before going through ALL the steps. So my brain gets into a very comfortable space where I feel like I have finished my task and I am unwilling to put more effort into it. [BTW, this is where there is a very useful thinking “hack” you can use which is to “put a pin in it” — basically, yo mentally decide that is a good idea but you need to go and think of something else.]

Your brain wants to be lazy.

The other thing that happens is my brain also actively works to keep me from information that might get in the way of the comfort that having “cracked” the problem has generated. I actually have gotten annoyed at getting info which seemed to contradict an opinion which I had already formed. So this is where you and I both need to go back to Daniel Kahneman’s “Thinking, Fast and Slow” and always remember that if the brain thinks it can solve something on autopilot, it will go out of its way to do that and not engage the more active part of it. The brain wants to be lazy.

So, I keep checklists for everything I do. Research — I have a research checklist. User research — separate checklist for that. Taking notes — checklist for that. Documents I should be filling in — okay, these are on the research list, I’m not totally crazy. And every day, I go through my checklists to make sure I have done my due diligence before I form an opinion. And I have checklists for after that as well?

Is this counter-creative? Maybe, but I’d rather have three good solutions to optimise, than 45 questionable ones that will get killed by someone in the room. Get checklists. 

PS: no, you cannot have my checklists 🙂 make your own.

I am definitely not the first one to say this but of course the reason the likes of Uber and Airbnb make shitloads of money is because they simply do not abide by regular taxation, safety and employment policies like all the other companies do. Even that is a mis-statement because, while other companies try creative accounting  (remember this? which is an interesting take on the original story, tax avoidance), the likes of Uber and Airbnb simply pronounce themselves a completely new and original way of doing business which is outside normal taxation and employment rules.

You know I LOVE Uber. I seriously do. I am less in love with Airbnb, mostly because I am a more fussy sleeper than car rider, so I like to only sleep in certain hotels with specific types of beds and sound proofing levels. But the way Uber and Airbnb have empowered millions of people to become small scale business owners tugs at my heart strings. So this will not be about how Uber should pay health benefits to its drivers. Because I don’t think it needs to. Most of the Uber drivers I speak to (and I speak to all the ones that drive me which still makes my 4.7 rating confusing to me :((( really Uber, really!) seem to have a very down to earth, common sensical way of looking at their relationship with the app. They know how much they need to drive to make a profit. They think about it like a business partnership. They should be informed about the need to pay tax and health, true, but Uber is free to decide whether they want to contribute to that.

The security of passengers and travellers, however, now that’s a different story. That Uber and Airbnb do not want to take responsibility for the drivers and landlords raping, locking in house and allegedly abusing clients is another matter. This is not about the relationship between you and a business partner and the contracts you BOTH sign when you enter into that partnership. This is about a third party which buys into your promise and you should, both company and driver/landlord business partner, be held responsible. The easiest thing to do is put in a place a simple procedure to make sure help is made available asap. Of course this might cut into your profits but, on the up side, regulators might look more kindly on you when they come a-knocking.

8 years ago I would not have written this post. Back then it was cool to wake up at 6 just to be the first one to find out about the latest start-up to get funded, it was ok to eat in front of the computer just to go through my 600+ feed articles during lunch time, it was expected that I would have time to do my job, blog every day, maintain both my Fb and Twitter accounts with different content strategies, know everything there was not know about anything marketing related, hang out with my cool entrepreneur friends. Back then having a car to take me to work faster, a flat closer to the city centre and all the devices and apps in the world was required because it fed into my lifestyle of being alway on top of everything.

The need for uber-productivity and the level it’s gotten to scare me a bit today. Read More

I was watching the last episode of Mad Men season 7 and something struck me. All of those people sitting in their living rooms, hotel rooms, any room really, watching the first man land on the moon.

We’ve been lucky to live in a time where some amazing scientific accomplishments have happened already. The LHC came online only a couple of years back. We put a rover on Mars and another one on a comet.

How many of us were perched on the edge of our seats watching this live as it was happening and NOT playing Candy Crush on our phones?

Not many, I promise you.