Lessons, Questions, and Work

Making Sense:

  • How to Be Alone: An Antidote to One of the Central Anxieties and Greatest Paradoxes of Our Time. Brain Pickings: We see moral and social conventions as inhibitions on our personal freedoms, and yet we are frightened of anyone who goes away from the crowd and develops “eccentric” habits. We believe that everyone has a singular personal “voice” and is, moreover, unquestionably creative, but we treat with dark suspicion (at best) anyone who uses one of the most clearly established methods of developing that creativity — solitude. We think we are unique, special and deserving of happiness, but we are terrified of being alone.
  • 23 Things I've Learned as a VC — looking back at three years in venture. Taylor Davidson: I quickly came to believe in two heuristics, “bad market beats great team” and “bet on technology risks, not market risks, that guided how I thought about markets, products and teams. Instead of asking about product features or product paths, I learned to spend more time learning about an entrepreneur’s thesis on how the world is evolving and what people need. I learned to look closer at the people and how they came to their theses, rather than the specific product vision they were able to articulate at the moment.

Making Do: Questions

  • The Case For Letting Employees Choose Their Own Job Titles. Fast Company: Why did such a small change make such a big difference? The researchers believe the new job titles provided self-verification, psychological safety, and external rapport. In less technical terms, the job titles helped workers express their own identity and personality, and put them at ease when interacting with others.
  • Thirty Things I've Learned. Nick Crocker: Most people never ask for what they want. A lot of good happens if you ask for what you want. First of all, you’ll be forced to define what you want. Second, you’ll be forced to think about how you might get it. The third step, is the easiest and the least utilised. Just ask.

Making It: Work

  • Jonathan Ive and Marc Newson curate Bono's charity auction. Dezeen: Two of the world's foremost design pioneers, Sir Jonathan Ive, KBE and Marc Newson, CBE, have collaborated with musician and philanthropist Bono to organise a (RED) auction celebrating the very best of design and innovation.
  • When Big Data is Dumb. CMO.comBig data is dumb if the company using it doesn’t know why customers behave the way they do. Marketing that is personalized without any previous direct engagement to get to know the customer is frequently seen as creepy. It repels, rather than attracts, customers. So how do you make your big data smarter? It’s fairly straightforward: You need to directly engage with your customers to better understand them and why they do the things they do.

From Conversation Agent:


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Valeria is an experienced listener. She designs service and product experiences to help businesses rediscover the value of promises and its effect on relationships and culture. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. Book her to speak here.