Newsletter

"We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters."

PETER Thiel

Co-founder of Paypal, venture capitalist, and best-selling author of Zero to One

140 characters, referring to Twitter specifically and software generally, is the world of bits. Bits scale easily and instantly, and new bits can displace old bits at light speed just by updating the code. Mistakes in the world of bits are more easily fixed. It also means that rapid iteration is good development strategy because failure can be more easily learned from and turned into success.

Cars, flying or gravity-bound, are the world of atoms. Mistakes in the world of atoms are NOT easily fixed. Build a building with the wrong materials? Put a road in the wrong place? Manufacture a flawed O-ring? Extremely expensive to fix in terms of time, energy, money, embodied carbon, other physical resources, and more potentially dangerous to human life. The ideas, solutions, and designs created to solve atom-centric problems have much higher stakes.

Therefore:

  1. In the world of atoms, innovation feels riskier because failure is more expensive. This makes industries which impact the built and manufactured environment more risk-averse, which makes communicating the value of an innovative solution more difficult.
  2. Because the barrier to innovation in the world of atoms is higher, innovation is extremely valuable to companies who want to gain market share or preserve a dominant position.
  3. Because atom-centric innovation is both risky and valuable, technical experts with innovative ideas MUST have the communication skills to bring executives and other stakeholders on board.
  4. Technical experts who work on atom-centric projects make a disproportionate impact on human civilization and the Earth. 

The purpose of this newsletter is to explore how technical experts can upgrade their communication skills, present their innovative ideas more effectively, and maximize their positive impact at the company, industry, and planetary levels.

I'll be covering topics such as storytelling, pitching, meeting strategies and tactics, active listening, and leadership from a technical vs executive mindset.

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