👋 Hi, I realized we didn’t update the quote or links for this week in our previous email, sorry about that. Updated version below, carry on.
Common Discourse is a project designed to help others (and ourselves) think through creativity, focus, and intentional work—from Alex Tan & Alice Otieno.
Every Tuesday we share words from a journal, a few ideas, a quote from somebody else, and links worth sharing. On Fridays we invite a guest to share images from their camera roll and a sound that resonates with them. Words from the Journal come once a month.
Thanks for joining the Mother Design Meets MW.S talk last week if you were able to make it. The “room” was nearly 400 people big at some point and the comments were encouraging.
For those of you asking if we’ll be sharing a recording of the event, the plan is to keep it a live event only for now, but we can assure you that there will be similar talks coming in the future as the team had fun putting it together and delivering it.
If you’re on this email list, I’m working on an abbreviated version of our presentation in a new Journal with the same core takeaway: Doing work that matters to you, sharing it proudly, and using it as a tool to shape your future.
I’ll get that thing fired off as soon as I can catch my breath between travel. The plan is to hit publish before we leave CDMX this week. Hold me to it.
A few ideas
I. SHIP IT
Gutenberg launched the printing press when fewer than 8% of Europe’s population knew how to read.
Carl Benz launched the car when it was against the law to drive, when there were no roads sufficient for cars or gas stations for public use.
Good things happen when we’re brave enough to ship it before it’s ready, simply, because it’s never ready. It’s never the right time. And it never makes sense.
It’s true, it could always be better.
But better can only come after possible.
II. IDEAS THAT GET STOLEN
Are ideas that were worth stealing.
Imagine working all that time, putting everything you had into it, then releasing it only to find that nobody thought is remarkable enough to expand on it. Would we prefer that?
Ideas that matter are ideas that move the needle. They push us forward, together.
The weight releases when we shift our goals from credit to change.
III. SLICED BREAD
Today, we compare life changing inventions to “The greatest thing since sliced bread.”
But when Otto Rohwedder invented it in 1912, nobody cared. For 18 years nobody cared.
It wasn’t until 1930 that Wonder told everyone why they should. It promises convenience, saves time, remains fresh contrary to popular belief, and 8 slices of it has as much iron as 3 lambchops. Wonder realized that it wasn’t sliced bread itself that was going to do the trick, it was the lifestyle that could be unlocked for consumers that would make sliced bread the greatest invention of the 20th century.
Buyers today are the same as they were nearly 100 years ago: unfazed by a spec sheet or cutting edge technology.
If you want an idea to spread, don’t sell hype. Don’t sell numbers. Don’t sell things people can’t see, touch, feel, or hear.
Ideas that spread are ones that make people fall in love.
A quote from somebody else
“Because listening stops the moment we mark limits. The moment we think that we know exactly what it is.”
— Abolitionary Listening, Carson Cole Arthur, Petero Kalulé and AM Kanngieser
Links worth sharing
🏠Ways to pass time inside this room, by Laurel Schwulst and Webb Allen
〰 Stories Behind A Line is a visual narrative documenting six asylum seeker’s routes, as they travel from their hometown to Italy
🌀Critical Coincidences, by Nicole explores moments of serendipity that lead us along paths that we wouldn’t have otherwise have encountered if it wasn’t for certain events, people and circumstances.
🌈 Found Colour Archive is an exploration of unlikely colour schemes and combinations, curated by Eighth Day
🚶♂️Whatever the Problem, It’s Probably Solved by Walking, via The NYT describes the physical and mental benefits of walking. I loved this quote in the piece, “The great naturalist John Muir keenly observed, “I only went out for a walk and … going out, I found, was really going in.” that illustrates so well how such activities bring us closer to our inner world.
Thanks for consuming!
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