Updates from June, 2016 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Doug Belshaw 9:12 pm on June 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Loomio Co-op Handbook 

    John Bevan, former Mozilla colleague and co-founder of our co-operative, We Are Open, shared the Loomio Co-op Handbook earlier today.

    It includes the above tools, which are pretty much exactly what we’ve settled on, independently! The whole guide is great, but I particularly liked this section:

    Working at Loomio is probably a bit different to other places. We’re a decentralised organisation with a very dynamic structure and no explicit chain-of-command. This only works by operating in a high-communication environment.

    Because all contributors have access to pretty much everything, anyone can share their insights and expertise. By swimming in information, we maximise our collective intelligence. Sometimes that high volume of information can be overwhelming and it starts to feel more like drowning than swimming.

    We’re continuously improving our systems to strike the right balance and serve diverse needs. There’s a lot of DIY. We’re making it up as we go along. You’re at least as smart as anyone else here, so if you’ve got something you want to offer don’t wait for permission – just get started and pitch in, preferably with a friend to help 🙂

    Well worth checking out, even if you’re currently shackled to an email-and-meetings culture!

  • Doug Belshaw 1:15 pm on June 24, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    I woke up to a different world this morning 

    I arrived in Denver yesterday to present and run a workshop at a couple of events. That means there’s a seven-hour time difference between here and UK time, so I was awake at ~5am BST when the BBC announced that it was mathematically impossible for to win.

    Lots of people have shared their thoughts and feelings, but it’s sentiment as opposed to facts that got us into this mess. I’m just going to share the following graphic that appeared in my Twitter stream thanks to Sarah Horrocks:

    I think the best we can hope for now is:

    1. General election called
    2. Article 50 trigger postponed until results of general election
    3. Labour win
    4. Negotiations with EU
    5. Second referendum

    Oh, OK then, one bit of opinion. This comment on the Financial Times website (discovered via this tweet) seems to have got things about right: 

    Comment on FT website

    I feel like I don’t even know my countrymen (including members of my own family) any more. How could they vote for something so backwards, so xenophobic, and so likely to impoverish future generations?

  • Doug Belshaw 6:51 pm on June 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Not waving, drowning (in information) 

    [I]f statistics persists, most of you probably won’t make it through this entire article. Don’t worry, I won’t blame you.

    Clayton d’Arnault doesn’t think I’d finish his article. But I did. Mainly because it was so interesting. If I was being picky, I’d say that most of the reason people have ‘short attention spans’ is that they quite like people getting to the point. He could have used less words, to be fair.

    There’s some familiar material in here such as quotations from The Shallows by Nicholas Carr, and statistics to do with how often we look at our mobile devices. That being said, he does point out that our addiction to information and social connection is nothing new:

    Infomanics like myself are likely to feel the effects of information overload, a phenomenon caused by overdosing on information, which reportedly developed as early as the 3rd century BC, when writing allowed us to record and preserve information longer than memory. Information overload is a mentally, and physically, taxing condition. Symptoms include sluggish thinking, a flitting mind, and stifled creativity.


    [A]ccording to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, there are five stages of needs that motivate humans. Two of these stages, social connection and self-actualization (specifically the pursuit of knowledge) make it clear why we’re addicted to the Internet. The Internet more than satisfies these needs by providing an unlimited connection to family and friends, lovers and life partners, thoughts, ideas, theories, opinions, data, and other invaluable resources. It’s the perfect solution — social connection and endless knowledge on demand.

    I do take issue with his rationale (echoing Carr) about our concentration spans diminishing because of technology:

    As a kid, I was able read the Harry Potter series front to back. Now, it’s just as Carr asserts: “The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle.” It seems that my infomania has taken a toll on my sense of concentration. I can’t focus on an article for more than a few minutes at a time without checking my phone or opening a new Chrome tab and disappearing into a click hole of links. I have to consciously force myself to finish reading a piece longer than 500 words. I have a habit of scrolling to the end of an article to determine how much more reading I have left, and ultimately to decide if I plan on finishing the article, skimming it, or just moving on.

    I’m of the opinion that it’s equally as likely to be because of the sheer number of options we have, both as a result of a more ‘free’ and open society — but also because, well, when you become an adult, you can kind of do anything you want. So long as what you’re doing is legal, there’s no constraints.

    The reason I’m sharing this article here is because of two pieces of advice the author gives us. First, recognise the power of the ‘Zeigarnik effect’ and attempt to close any open loops in your life:

    I’ve found, to my relief, that this feeling of self-induced amnesia is grounded in the Zeigarnik effect — the tendency to experience subconscious, nagging mental reminders to tie up loose ends. Bluma Zeigarnik, the psychologist whom this phenomenon was named after, successfully demonstrated that people are more inclined to recall uncompleted tasks; therefore, completed tasks are lost among the uncompleted.

    Second, recognise that it’s not digital detoxes themselves that are important, but the re-prioritisation they afford:

    The key is not disconnecting, but understanding why we need to disconnect: to appreciate the constant of life as it is without technology. I believe that understanding this while filtering out the unnecessary can lead to a more satisfying type of inspiration and insight, than you could ever find beneath the online information treasure trove we call the internet.

    A worthwhile article from a Medium publication I’ve only just started following. Recommended.

  • Doug Belshaw 4:07 pm on June 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Never mind #Brexit, let’s get rid of our royal family