I have always been inspired by simple and focused experiences (my post on understated design) and today I present my take on the minimal website.
One of the more profound examples of second-order thinking comes from Ben Horowitz. In his book, What You Do Is Who You Are, he describes the use of a shocking rule to provokes his men into raising a “Why?” to instil a culture.
Creative Selection describes Apple’s product development process during the creation of Safari, Mail, iPhone and iPad. It was an approach that was characterised by prototype demos and feedback.
We are condemned to be free. Because once you are thrown into the world, you are responsible for all that you do. Jean-Paul Sartre describes us as radically free. Free to choose from a dizzying array of options at every turn. Even while there are things that are inherently outside of our control, we are free. We are free to at least choose how to react to what has been done to us.
Readers have two ways of interpreting the book. The kind interpretation is that the book warns readers of the cyclical nature of social revolutions, religious movements and nationalist movements; warning readers that the prerequisites of mass movements are always there. The less kind interpretation is that the book provides a play-by-play for creating your first cult.
Right now, as COVID changes the way we work, it’s the ideal time to relook the ideas in the book. I found three ideas in the book to be particularly meaningful:
What I like about the Zen practice is that it brings attention to something that is always there - the free, quiet and sufficient mind. In today’s busy, complex and anxiety-inducing landscape, Zen feels as relevant today as it did during its ancient origins.
A lot of life is about understanding and representing the real world. Words play a critical role in helping us to both internalise and socialise the ideas in our heads. We describe discrete objects with nouns, interactions with verbs, relationships with adjectives and so on.
In the workplace, taste is an unspoken concept that underpins all business decisions. Words, in the form of explanations and design rationales, only go so far in capturing the thought processes behind the idea or approval. The rest is up to the employee’s or the manager’s sense of taste.
For Zen students, the most important thing is not to be dualistic. Our “original mind” includes everything within itself. You should not lose your self-sufficient state of mind. this does not mean a closed mind, but actually an empty mind and a ready mind. If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything, it is open to everything.. In the beginner’s mind, there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind, there are few.