Dec 31, 2012

Time for a buzzword diet?

I’ve been swimming drowning in buzzwords for a while, being into startups and all.

Beyond the birth of a new idea, where buzzwords are an efficient shorthand for something fresh and progressive, I’ve seen them become a liability as the idea starts to spread. They get misinterpreted, hijacked and used to exclude rather than include. Where they were once shorthand to communicate a common understanding, they become a way to disguise a lack of understanding.

Worst of all, I’ve seen a tendency to pull discussion towards abstract and semantic hair-splitting, rather than practical progress.

As an educator and community convenor, I’m trying to understand the best place for buzzwords, and keep them there.

Am I being ruthless? Or is it about time for a buzzword diet?

What am I up to these days?

I’m in a cozy place, preparing for parenthood, dabbling with some art projects, getting my hands dirty with ZK and ML. One of my more “product-y” projects is a communication tool for community groups and unconferences. It focuses on autonomising teams rather than “coordinating”. Another is a set of primitives for “hyperstructuring” Free Software to help contributors get paid fairly.

I’m also part of Discover Mode - where I’m a solver-for-hire helping a Web3 projects with product design and strategy.

In the past, I've designed peer-learning programs for Oxford, UCL, Techstars, Microsoft Ventures, The Royal Academy Of Engineering, and Kernel, careering from startups to humanitech and engineering. I also played a role in the Lean Startup methodology, and the European startup ecosystem. You can read about this here.

Books & collected practices

  • Peer Learning Is - a broad look at peer learning around the world, and how to design peer learning to outperform traditional education
  • Mentor Impact - researched the practices used by the startup mentors that really make a difference
  • DAOistry - practices and mindsets that work in blockchain communities
  • Decision Hacks - early-stage startup decisions distilled
  • Source Institute - skunkworks I founded with open peer learning formats and ops guides, and our internal guide on decentralised teams