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The Green Box Exercise, Bike Shed Effect, & More

Sahil Bloom

Welcome to the 242 new members of the curiosity tribe who have joined us since Wednesday. Join the 57,887 others who are receiving high-signal, curiosity-inducing content every single week.

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content,

just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

  • mldsa
  • ,l;cd
  • mkclds

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of"

nested selector

system.

Question on your certainties:

What am I certain of today that I'll laugh at in 10 years?

Consider this tweet from my friend Tim Urban:

It wasn't that long ago that people were entirely certain of a whole host of facts that would now be laughed at.

I like to think about the individual level of this...

Think of yourself 10 years ago: What actions and behaviors were you regularly engaged in that you cringe or laugh at today?

I'm willing to bet there are a few—and that's a great thing. It means you're changing, growing, and developing as a person. It also means you had some core beliefs that you were certain of then, that you are laughing at now.

Now imagine your future:

What are you certain of today that you'll laugh at in 10 years?

What actions or behaviors are you engaged in today that you'll cringe or laugh at in 10 years?

This is a healthy exercise to question the underlying certainties and assumptions in our lives. I highly recommend you go through it.

As David Foster Wallace said in his famous "This is Water" speech (emphasis mine):

"The point here is that I think this is one part of what teaching me how to think is really supposed to mean. To be just a little less arrogant. To have just a little critical awareness about myself and my certainties. Because a huge percentage of the stuff that I tend to be automatically certain of is, it turns out, totally wrong and deluded. I have learned this the hard way, as I predict you graduates will, too."

To paraphrase Mark Twain, what do you know for sure that just ain't so?

Quote on the meaning of home:

"Home is not where you are born; home is where all your attempts to escape cease." - Naguib Mahfouz

Home is not a physical location, but a state of the mind.

Home is peace.

(Share this on Twitter!)

Framework to fix your meetings:

The Bike Shed Effect

Cyril Northcote Parkinson, the British naval historian who coined Parkinson's Law (the idea that work expands to fill the time allotted for its completion), once wrote of a hypothetical scenario in an organization that may feel all-too-familiar.

A committee is gathered to discuss two items:

  • A proposal for a $10 million atomic reactor
  • A proposal for a $350 bike shed

Parkinson describes the scene and suggests that a tiny amount of time is spent on the $10 million reactor, while most of the time is spent on the $350 bike shed.

He concludes that the amount of time spent on an item is inversely proportional to the amount of money involved.

This became known as the Law of Triviality, or, more colloquially, the Bike Shed Effect.

The essence of his argument is that, in large organizations or bureaucracies, complex, expensive topics fly over most people's heads, so go through quickly, while simple, cheap topics are understandable, so everyone wants to provide their opinion.

Everyone feels the need to add their input to the simple matter to prove their value to the whole, even if the input doesn't add anything of note.

A few simple tips to avoid this in your organization:

  • Ensure that all meetings are highly targeted. Broad meeting mandates with scattered agendas should be avoided if possible. Clear, narrow purpose and action items are a must.
  • Ensure that meeting attendees are specifically chosen for the purpose of the meeting. They should have high credibility to weigh in on the task at hand. Consider rotating through attendees if a meeting has multiple agenda topics.
  • Steal the Amazon playbook and require a pre-read memo before a meeting to push information gathering and discussion into the preparation.

Use these tips to avoid the Bike Shed Effect and make your meetings and organizations run more efficiently and effectively.

Tweet of tactics for the inevitable end:

I had the great pleasure of spending a few days with Michael Girdley recently. He is as smart, thoughtful, and funny as advertised.

This thread was very unique: Tactical insights on a topic very few want to think about or address (until it's too late). Over 2x as many bookmarks as likes is always a good indication of something with lasting value.

Definitely got my wheels turning!

Short story that will blow your mind:

The Last Question

I came across this short story by Isaac Asimov after a strong recommendation from Tim Ferriss in a recap of his top stuff from 2023.

It blew my mind.

I will quote his exact advice: "DO NOT read anything about this story before digging in, as even a small spoiler can ruin it."

Give yourself the pleasure of this 15-20 minute read. Enjoy, my friends...

The Green Box Exercise, Bike Shed Effect, & More

Sahil Bloom

Welcome to the 242 new members of the curiosity tribe who have joined us since Wednesday. Join the 57,887 others who are receiving high-signal, curiosity-inducing content every single week.

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content,

just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

  • mldsa
  • ,l;cd
  • mkclds

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of"

nested selector

system.

Question on your certainties:

What am I certain of today that I'll laugh at in 10 years?

Consider this tweet from my friend Tim Urban:

It wasn't that long ago that people were entirely certain of a whole host of facts that would now be laughed at.

I like to think about the individual level of this...

Think of yourself 10 years ago: What actions and behaviors were you regularly engaged in that you cringe or laugh at today?

I'm willing to bet there are a few—and that's a great thing. It means you're changing, growing, and developing as a person. It also means you had some core beliefs that you were certain of then, that you are laughing at now.

Now imagine your future:

What are you certain of today that you'll laugh at in 10 years?

What actions or behaviors are you engaged in today that you'll cringe or laugh at in 10 years?

This is a healthy exercise to question the underlying certainties and assumptions in our lives. I highly recommend you go through it.

As David Foster Wallace said in his famous "This is Water" speech (emphasis mine):

"The point here is that I think this is one part of what teaching me how to think is really supposed to mean. To be just a little less arrogant. To have just a little critical awareness about myself and my certainties. Because a huge percentage of the stuff that I tend to be automatically certain of is, it turns out, totally wrong and deluded. I have learned this the hard way, as I predict you graduates will, too."

To paraphrase Mark Twain, what do you know for sure that just ain't so?

Quote on the meaning of home:

"Home is not where you are born; home is where all your attempts to escape cease." - Naguib Mahfouz

Home is not a physical location, but a state of the mind.

Home is peace.

(Share this on Twitter!)

Framework to fix your meetings:

The Bike Shed Effect

Cyril Northcote Parkinson, the British naval historian who coined Parkinson's Law (the idea that work expands to fill the time allotted for its completion), once wrote of a hypothetical scenario in an organization that may feel all-too-familiar.

A committee is gathered to discuss two items:

  • A proposal for a $10 million atomic reactor
  • A proposal for a $350 bike shed

Parkinson describes the scene and suggests that a tiny amount of time is spent on the $10 million reactor, while most of the time is spent on the $350 bike shed.

He concludes that the amount of time spent on an item is inversely proportional to the amount of money involved.

This became known as the Law of Triviality, or, more colloquially, the Bike Shed Effect.

The essence of his argument is that, in large organizations or bureaucracies, complex, expensive topics fly over most people's heads, so go through quickly, while simple, cheap topics are understandable, so everyone wants to provide their opinion.

Everyone feels the need to add their input to the simple matter to prove their value to the whole, even if the input doesn't add anything of note.

A few simple tips to avoid this in your organization:

  • Ensure that all meetings are highly targeted. Broad meeting mandates with scattered agendas should be avoided if possible. Clear, narrow purpose and action items are a must.
  • Ensure that meeting attendees are specifically chosen for the purpose of the meeting. They should have high credibility to weigh in on the task at hand. Consider rotating through attendees if a meeting has multiple agenda topics.
  • Steal the Amazon playbook and require a pre-read memo before a meeting to push information gathering and discussion into the preparation.

Use these tips to avoid the Bike Shed Effect and make your meetings and organizations run more efficiently and effectively.

Tweet of tactics for the inevitable end:

I had the great pleasure of spending a few days with Michael Girdley recently. He is as smart, thoughtful, and funny as advertised.

This thread was very unique: Tactical insights on a topic very few want to think about or address (until it's too late). Over 2x as many bookmarks as likes is always a good indication of something with lasting value.

Definitely got my wheels turning!

Short story that will blow your mind:

The Last Question

I came across this short story by Isaac Asimov after a strong recommendation from Tim Ferriss in a recap of his top stuff from 2023.

It blew my mind.

I will quote his exact advice: "DO NOT read anything about this story before digging in, as even a small spoiler can ruin it."

Give yourself the pleasure of this 15-20 minute read. Enjoy, my friends...