The Ford Test

Anybody who reads this blog knows that I’m hungry for learning and inspiration and look for it in every direction. My friend Bill Ford has been a major source of inspiration over the past couple years. In addition to being my yoga teacher, he is also an opinionated and multi-talented designer and technologist, and you can see his fingerprints over all my work.

Recently, inspired in turn by Milton Glaser, Bill has proposed the following framework for design, which is to answer three simple questions:

  • Who am I talking to?
  • What do I want to say to them?
  • What do I want them to do as a result?

Applying these questions – which I’m now dubbing The Ford Test– to this blog as a whole, and to each of my posts in turn, I discovered (re-discovered?) that although I have plenty to say, I have no idea who I’m talking to, and no sense of how or whether the content is actionable in any meaningful way.

Remixed

After failing the test miserably, I decided to give it another thought. This isn’t necessarily what the blog is in its current form, but what it wants to be.

Who am I talking to?

You are a friend, friend in the making, or simply a like-minded explorer of the nooks and crannies of this globalized and increasingly techo-biased world. You’re fascinated by the micro and the macro alike.

What do I want to say to them?

I’m giving you a set of complete thoughts that dissect a system way too complex for me to properly understand. When weaved together, they form a larger, slowly congealing narrative. Underlying all these thoughts is a general theme is about getting better about whatever we do, as individuals, as a group, and as a society.

Life is too complex to figure much of anything out, but it’s possible to make powerful steps forward by making small observations, generalizing them, broadcasting them to a community, gathering feedback, and synthesizing. (Or, as Bill would call it, “flocking”)

What do I want them to do as a result?

Agree with me. Disagree with me. Point me at examples, counter-examples, related points of view, and tangents. Let’s solve this riddle together as a distributed army of Watsons that together form a mega-Holmes in a Voltron-like symbiosis. Are you feeling it?!

Reflected

With all that in mind, I need to get a lot better at engaging. Getting my thoughts out is only a small part of the feedback loop. To that point:

  • Does this outlook speak to you?
  • Should I focus tighter, and if so, where?
  • Do you have any suggestions for creating a healthy discussion here?

Please share your thoughts below – your feedback is crucial … and much appreciated!

Image courtesy of Fool-on-the-Hill at Flickr under Creative Commons License.

New Blog!

Despite several tries at blogging over the past decade, I’ve never managed to consistently turn my thoughts into bits and blast them out to the Internets. An eternal optimist, I’m at it again. This time the blog is public, rather than being restricted to a password-protected audience. I’ll also post whatever I feel like – gosh! – but mostly I plan to write about technology, startups, finance, and globalization.

If you like what you see:

  • Subscribe to the feed to see posts hot off the press!
  • Comment on the posts! Your thoughts are most welcome!

I’ve also got a travel blog. It’s out of date, but contains some nice pictures from parts of my marathon honeymoon, which I plan to update one of these days.

Image courtesy of leeksandbounds on Flickr under Creative Commons license.