Hello! You’re getting the email because you’ve either (1) joined The Mighty Minds Club, (YAY!!) or (2) asked to be notified about The Might Minds Club at launch.
Welcome to 9th ever Mighty Minds Newsletter!
Part 2 of the “Exploring Alternative Futures” became parts 2a and 2b. I shared several new lessons over the weekend, with more to follow… And, dang. This thing has grown into a beast. But, useful right?
I’m excited to announce the details of our next Mighty Minds Salon, happening this Thursday.
This one will be more of an open discussion, on a broad set of topics. More details on the registration page.
I’m hoping with this salon to model something I’d invite any of YOU to also do, which is to share ideas / models / concepts / games while they are still in the formative stages. This should be a safe space to get constructive feedback—and encouragement—from a really smart collection of brilliant minds. 😃 I know I’ve had 1:1s with a few of you who have book ideas or new models you’re developing—this is great space to get early stage feedback from a supportive community.
I’ve set up a Google Doc where anyone can share Mighty Minds Salon Ideas. Keep adding your suggestions. I’ve got some good things in the works…
Volunteers needed! Hey, I can’t do this all on my own. And there are certain things (scheduling, logistics, following up on emails) that I am absolutely terrible at!! According to StrengthsFinder, I should try to find folks who are good at and love doing these things. So… Any takers? I’m looking for 1-2 people to help plan and coordinate upcoming salons with me.
I’m kicking the tires on a Slack alternative. Let me know if you want to kick the tires on a different platform. First 10 people who reply to this email get invites.
Polarity Mapping? Worked with it? Used this tool? Know someone who has? Let me know! Thats the next planned topic I’ll be turning to… (though, this may get pushed back another month, for reasons).
I actually didn’t click through to this post “The Characteristics of White Supremacy Culture” for several weeks. Mostly as I didn’t want to read about white supremacy. But, it kept showing up in various streams and feeds. As it turns out, it’s NOT what I was expecting. In fact, it’s a GREAT resource for thinking about how to build better organizational cultures, and it’s 100% aligned with other stuff I’ve been researching.
One of the topics I’m digging into is how to help people become aware of the personal narratives that sit behind many of our beliefs and behaviors. On this topic, fellow Mighty Mind Andrea Mignolo shared the idea of “Structure of Interpretation” with me, which led me to this article: “How to See Beyond Your Structure of Interpretation”. Related: If you have some time, here’s a deep introduction to Integral Coaching.
I’m very interested in playing with different ways to structure learning experiences. Some things I’ve made note of in recent months:
Here’s some good—no, GREAT—questions to ask: First, this question pairing from Kenny Baas-Schwegler who asks (at the beginning of a workshop) ‘Why you want to be here and why don’t you want to be here today’. He notes how the second question “creates really valuable conversations so that other people can actually help make life easier for people.” Seems like a good, tactical way, to nurture psychological safety.
Add to this Carolyn Barclay’s remark that she “no longer ask[s] children what they want to be when they grow up..” Instead, she says… 🥁
Did you see this story about machine learning being used to grade (quite poorly) student work? Fortunately, “these students figured out their tests were graded by AI — and the easy way to cheat.”
Speaking of students and clever hacks…
Here’s a simple way to share your work with others over Zoom (or some similar service).
This simple distinction made by Mark Marijnissen has stuck with me now, for several weeks:
Do you want to have a debate, which is about truth, facts and accurate models of reality (one perspective)? Good for effective action.
Or a dialogue, which is about creating a shared understanding including the underlying human motivations? Good for community
That’s a nice framing. Which leads us to…
I want to expand a bit on something I shared last week…
You may recall this little nugget:
James Royal-Lawson, also a fellow Mighty Mind, shared some great, brief thoughts on data collection, in which he distinguishes between data collection for measuring, learning, and exploitation. I found this simple framework very useful, if only as a reframing. It asks the question “how can we measure and not exploit?” and moves past the binary argument of data collection vs not at all; all built on privacy, ethics, & consent. Nice!
And the accompanying image:
Now, as to WHY I found this so relevant…
I have strong feelings about data privacy; for me, it’s a human rights issue, and something necessary for a healthy democracy. You can blame my views on everything from the work of Cory Doctorow (including his book Little Brother) to the work of activitist Aral Balkin to things I’ve learned about ‘personal’ health data in the US. Oh, and I’ll throw in work done by investigative journalist Carole Cadwalladr among others. How strong are my feelings? Aside from all the personal choices I’ve made, I recall working with a company where, in a moment of exasperation over some thoughtless decisions behind made regarding customer data, the words “I don’t want to be on the wrong side of history” came out of my mouth (not recommended!). Yeah, this is something I feel strongly about.
As I’ve mentioned previously, one of the reasons I chose Buttondown for these email newsletters is that the ethos behind this tool fits with many of my values, including this respect for privacy. I’m not sure if you know, but I had turned off all possible tracking on the emails. No pixel tracking. No viewed/unread information. No opened links tracking. Yeah, dumb marketing move, but this decision came from a good place. Aside from concerns over your data privacy, there was also a conscious choice on my part to not get caught up in vanity metrics and other distractions.
I’ve been rethinking this decision.
It turns out that writing these newsletters can feel a bit like shouting into the wind. Is anyone reading these? Are they actually making it to people’s inboxes ? (No, in some cases!) Should I keep writing them week after week? The feedback loop is… well, anecdotal, at best. These weekly emails have been a bit of a shot in the dark for me, though I’ll quickly add that I am getting personal satisfaction from organizing and writing these thoughts, even if no one is reading them! (Topic for another day.)
Anyway, here’s where we can talk about mental models. I think I’ve had a rather stark and binary view on this topic. Data collection, bad. No data collection, good. I’d chosen to turn off pixel tracking and such, as this is often done without people’s consent or awareness.
While I was, independently, beginning to conclude that turning these metrics off wasn’t exactly the smartest idea, and that with good intentions and communication, it might not be a violation of my own value system, James’s model added more nuance to this whole thought process.
What I love in his model is how it reframes things: Are we using data to:
This simple classification system can facilitate better conversations and debates. It’s less about the data itself, and more about how it’s used. By simply introducing the category of exploitation, and (I’m assuming) the criteria by which data might fall into each these three buckets, we have a better way to assess usage.
Moreover—and this is critical to this classification system—James bases all this on a foundation of privacy, ethics, & consent. We (a company or organization) shouldn’t even begin talking about how we might use data collected about individuals if we haven’t grounded ourselves in shared—and I’m presuming a public—position regarding privacy, ethics, & consent.
All of that to say: this is the first newsletter where I’ve turned back on this tracking stuff that allows for analytics. Primarily, for my own learning.
If you’re using something like hey.com that blocks pixel tracking, or have a plugin that does this for you—that’s cool. I’ll never push back or seek workarounds. For all I know, Buttondown has already, just to be extra privacy-centric, never built out things common to most email services. Anyway, heads up. I’m turning on some basic analytics to get a general sense of how these emails might be getting received. 🤷♂️
The biggest takeaway from all this, and why I wrote this post: I have a new and different way—a new mental model—by which to think more constructively about this complex topic. That’s worth writing about and sharing with others.
“Orville Wright did not have a pilot’s license” —Gordon MacKenzie