Staying beginners

The TED talk (below) by Tony Fadell popped up in my Twitter feed, today. In his talk, he mentioned, (emphasis added):

During my years at Apple, Steve Jobs challenged us to come into work every day, to see our products through the eyes of the customer, the new customer, the one that has fears and possible frustrations and hopeful exhilaration that their new technology product could work straightaway for them. He called it staying beginners, and wanted to make sure that we focused on those tiny little details to make them faster, easier and seamless for the new customers.

I love learning new things and so I’m a natural beginner. As a writer, however, I’ve found that being able to stay a beginner is very difficult–more so, when under pressure. There is often pressure to become an expert (quickly), which requires creating the shortcuts and habits Tony describes in his talk. Once you start doing this, it gets harder to decompose them back to see their components as a beginner would. It’s not impossible; however, it’s not the nature of habits so it takes some effort.

Not to give away too much of his talk, here’s what Tony suggests,

My first tip is to look broader. You see, when you’re tackling a problem, sometimes, there are a lot of steps that lead up to that problem. And sometimes, a lot of steps after it. If you can take a step back and look broader, maybe you can change some of those boxes before the problem. Maybe you can combine them. Maybe you can remove them altogether to make that better.


…and notice.


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