I would rather keep the tough rules and be okay with breaking them than come me up with crappy rules that I never break. – Merlin Mann on Episode 309 of Back to Work

This was a good bit. Here’s more:

I like the ambition of something that would be difficult for me to do flawlessly, but I adore the feeling that it’s ok for me to fail at it but still keep doing it. I’m the one who gets to decide if I keep doing this or not. I do it on my own terms. I’m the judge who gets to decide how I’m allowed to feel about it.

If you dropped your notebook
in a lake

I got better at using a notebook when I stopped thinking of it as an important artifact of my life.

If you feel any resistance at all about the value of your notebook as an artifact being higher than the value of your stupid, crappy thoughts that go into it, it’s time to re-evaluate.

Merlin Mann on Episode 287 of Back to Work (~42:30)

I’m happy to say that I’ve been through a fancy, expensive notebook phase and made it out the other side.

I used to stockpile notebooks from Muji and Moleskine. Hard-cover, soft-cover; Squard, lined, blank. My obsession with fresh school supplies carried on. But I was scared to put pen to page, afraid that an errant stroke would tarnish an otherwise perfect symbol of organization and productivity. Four pages in and a smear was all it took to start over with a completely new book.

What are questions?

“Questions are places in your mind where answers fit. If you haven’t asked the question, the answer has nowhere to go. It hits your mind and bounces right off. You have to ask the question — you have to want to know — in order to open up the space for the answer to fit.”

Jason Fried paraphrasing Clay Christensen on Medium.

World’s Biggest Indie Ad Agency Wieden+Kennedy Have Mastered Office Culture, Too, NBD

No matter the client or project scope, the agency first undergoes what Featherstone refers to as an “archeological” process. “We have to understand the brand and go to its roots to understand its DNA.” Once the agency is able to identify what a brand is ultimately about, Featherstone says, “We try to find what’s human about the brand, because we’re designing stories to build emotional connections.” Hoffman adds, “As far as style goes, it can be funny, like Old Spice, or serious, like Nike. But if a story is based on truth, then no one can argue with it. We can be successful with any brand if they will let us dig into the truth.”

From AIGA Eye on Design

Beyond The Whiteboard: Rethinking How Business Schools Teach Design

“In business, design has become very systemized,” Helfand says. She equates some of the techniques that businesses rely on (such as whiteboard brainstorming) as hoary, plug-and-play techniques that are just surface cover for a lack of real understanding about what makes design work.

Down the line, this superficial knowledge of design can cause problems between designers and clients, who are not really speaking the same language, even though they might think they are.

Jessica Helfand and Michael Bierut featured in an article on Co.Design about their new program at Yale School of Management.

It feels like design thinking has reached its saturation point. This program sounds like a good sort of course correction.