Microcosmographia by William Van Hecke

Balanced Values

Microcosmographia xxxi: Balanced Values

Microcosmographia is a newsletter thing about honestly trying to understand design and humanity.

What are your values? Yours individually, and those of your organizations and projects? I think identifying values works best if you can phrase both the value and its opposite as positives.

Stated values should help you make decisions. Saying that you value “making great stuff” is meaningless, because it’ll never help you choose one course of action over another. Nobody would ever wonder, “hmm, should I make this thing great? or awful?“

But! If you say you value “sweating the details”, as opposed to “moving fast and breaking things”, now you’re getting somewhere. You’ve identified and come to terms with the trade you’re making. “Patience” alone isn’t helpful, but “Patience over alacrity” (or vice versa!) is.

Consistency versus flexibility. Wit versus sobriety. Maybe you choose different ones in different contexts.

Now you’re thinking on another level — not just how to be good, but what makes your implementation of good different from someone else’s. Making decisions this way, alone or in an organization, feels to me like my brane is growing up.

Thank You and Be Well

The schedule for sending these letters has apparently become “whenever someone says something nice about these letters”!