More on Anger, More on Change, More on growth that comes after the rain

It’s an amusing and little known fact that I cannot post a comment on my own blog. I […]

It’s an amusing and little known fact that I cannot post a comment on my own blog. I used to be able to type something random and short, typically “fish” then go into the MT interface and replace it with a real comment; but now nothing works at all. I nearly moved to wordpress, but decided to wait until PS was ready and then migrate. So here I am, holding forth and responding to your recent comments on the blog. I just don’t want you to think I’m ingorning you, my pretties.

I think the thing that hit me hardest was that my point was missed. I am not an IA, moreover I haven’t been an IA for at least four years. I know a lot about IA, and that informs a bunch of my choices as an entrapreneur (though not as many as one might suppose, and certainly different ones than you’d guess. For example, the taxonomy control on PS currently stinks. And it’s going to stink for a little while becasue there are more important parts of the ap to make work well.) I say this while liking IA, and liking IAs and wanting to hire them everywhere I go, because I think they add a lot of perspective, insight and design chops. Same goes for designers, and IxDers, and user researchers and the rest of the merry crew.

What resonated with me about Adam’s post is how little I had in common with the lists I was on, and moreover how my intial response was to say to the lists, grow up! But it was me that had to realize I had changed, and that I needed to admit that everybody is who s/he is and not who I wanted them to be. The newbies are new, the masters are masters, and the sideways lunatics are– well, a bit crazy. The day has only so many hours, and the brain seems to have limited shelf-space. You can spend your time filling it with new things, or go deeper in understanding old things and both are fine pursuits and belong in the larger context of a team.

Angry, awkward, “tribeless” and desperately trying to avoid a bunch of chores I know I need to do, I’ve lashed out on lists and overexpounded on the blog. While overcritical of many, I realize that the only quality I really need designers to have is not business chops or Microsoft office skills, but the one they profess to already have mastered: empathy. Being dismissive is the opposite of empathy, and if you want to stay a designer, it’s a behavior I suggest giving up. (I’m still on step one: admitting you have a problem.)

Beyond that you can learn from others to season your chops, or you can choose to go more deeply and find folks who are digging into the questions you ask — you can read business journals, or you can read academic ones. Architecture, microbiology, economics: if you are in the right state of mind, everything is teaching you all the time. You can research and seek better and better solutions, but don’t sit on your buttocks thinking you know all the answers.

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    Eric Reiss

    Interesting discussion. Check out my very first post to the SIGIA list back in April, 2000 and see what got me flamed:

    Keep in mind that my comments on marketing and business were considered extremely radical seven years ago.

    Whereas you now feel tribeless, many of us still want to help our tribe grow. And I think you do, too – but bitter blogposts are perhaps not the best way to accomplish this. As you so rightly point out, empathy is the key.

    Much love,

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