Dan Paluska

Celebrate the small.
February 26, 2009, 7:44 pm
Filed under: feedback, information, opensource | Tags:
St Patricks Cathedral. via Flickr.com/Commons.

St Patrick's Cathedral. via Flickr.com/Commons.

We like big stories. We like big ideas. We like leaps. But do things really work that way? Is true lasting change ever the result of a leap? Or is it really the result of lots of small steps? Lots of noisy increments. Do things really leap? Or are we just missing the information that shows all the small steps that got there? When something tips, we all suddenly turn to look and voila! A big step. But it wasn’t a big step. We just weren’t paying attention before.

What has big done for us lately? What has consolidation of information and power done for us lately? It’s given us George Bush miserable presidency, failing banks, failing car companies, DRM on our media, etc.

Is “think globally, act locally” really a good motto? Maybe it should be “think locally, act locally” instead. When we think big, 2 things tend to happen: anxiety and lottery dreams. In some cases these are beneficial but in general, they require you to believe you have more control that you actually do. This is fine for the few who succeed, but when that success is largely random and a bit like weather prediction, this is a dangerous game.

So how do we get the most out of the little? Continued sharing of all those little things is a good first step.


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[…] was using what trainers call “approximations,” rewarding the small steps toward learning a whole new behavior. You can’t expect a baboon to learn to flip on command […]

Pingback by Animal training and the design of self rewarding systems « Plainfront.com/Dan Paluska

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