A Trace in the Sand
by Ruth Malan
Can I, please, please, pleeeeeease
Want Me Back?
So we can carry on that secret Agile-Architecture liaison thing we have going?
Don't let anybody find out! (Peter, Gene, shhhhh. Everybody else is doing a really good job of keeping this whole thing quiet, and there you go...)
Aside: Those who read here know that Kevlin and I do interact. That was low-hanging joke fruit. You remember. The only kind I'm tall enough to pick. Of course, the fruit was ripened on the vines of this software field, which for the most part is blissfully unaware of me. Yes, there are those who're still getting acquainted with the (hush-hush) relations between agile and architecture. Of course, everyone who reads this tabloid Trace is up on those "relations."
10/5: Thanks Peter, Stuart, Jack, Tom. You save me from having to invent some company in the world. ;-)
10/6/13: There's all this talk of "lean in" and "take a seat that the table" and so forth. I look at it differently. I think sometimes people just want to create new tables, new dynamics of interaction, so they pull up a seat at a new table, and let people join a different style of interaction. We need at least some tables where dominance plays don't order conversation. I'm not saying they all need to be different, but it's a big world, and it could stand to experiment with lots of different kinds of tables. Tables where women don't have to "lean in" to be included. We do a wonderful job of socializing many women -- and men -- to be inclusive and to listen well, to be kind and to have positive expectations of others, to not emotionally bully and occlude with arrogance and cold silence... no matter what another person's body posture or the placement of their chair. Or rather, if the person is less assertive and aggressive, then seeking out their ideas and insights. Those who aren't talking so much are using those cycles to read people and the situation, and gaining much from the peripheral vision they can afford from not being in the heat of the rationalizations being argued. ;-) [Irony sensor check noted? ;-)]
(You know the expression "doesn't know me from a doorstop"? Well, as doorstops go... pure gold, that one.)
So. What do you think of this strategy: Whenever I see a tech event that has no women in the line-up, I'll tell one of the influencers that I exist. That acknowledges that people are not trying to exclude anyone, but they may just not be aware of some really important voices in this field.
Been Missing My Riding Updates?
Aw, you're so nice! Okay, just for you:
I call a country road we like to ride “the dragonback" because it goes up-and-down-and-up-and--iterate… I proclaim it to be awesome fun for a person who has turned 40 as many times as I have. :-) [Sheesh. Not thaaaat many. Well, more times than Sara has turned 12, but still.]
The 25 mile ride we did today included a category 5 hill…. On those, my heart says “I’m going to kill you for this! What were you thinking?!”
So. Want to go riding with Dana along the French Mediterranean? Me too! Well, I'm often in Germany at this time of the year, but alas not this year. Get on it, you Europeans. I'm like awesome too, you know. ;-)
Has this world all but run dry on whimsy and wonder? Well, my teens and I got a huge refill going through Buttercup Festival last night. Too much awesome not to share! Buttercup Festival is very intelligent, but it gently holds humanity and nature in a sort of crucible of wonder and humor that refreshes and replenishes hope and joy in a world where cynicism is one of the candidate responses. So, I have very high expectations of The Renaming of the Birds. Some things need to be supported because they are beautiful and good for the world. I think this is one of them.
And sheesh. Are people really so unimpressionable, or just not very susceptible when I call out "squirrel!"... No-one noticed:
That's as bad as not noticing Peter's dog days series. :-)
Come on, we can't let the curmudgeons confine playfulness and wonder to childhood. ;-)
Watching ballet, one sees the relationship between trust and vulnerability -- when a dancer leaps through the air and her pas partner catches her, we gasp at the beauty but also the daringness, and all it expresses about relationships. We make such leaps of faith, allow ourselves to be utterly vulnerable, and it takes courage. Sure. But it is also made possible by trust -- and competency, integrity, grit, doing what it takes to be trustable so that such leaps work.
Doing big things means doing lots of small things that come together sensibly -- creating that something that is "more than the sum of the parts." The more people, the more distributed, the more to be coordinated and aligned. Power is one avenue -- witness what Steve Jobs was able to achieve, not just through power though he did wield his positional power forcefully. But if we give up on the head monkey throwing his weight about and being willing to hurt people and so forth, we have to let respect, trust, vulnerability do much of the heavy lifting to create alignment and impetus. Doing big things with and through others is a highly social undertaking.
I did a little riff on the social lives of ideas theme (twitter sequencing so read bottom up):
Of course, there was also:
Playing with the conjugation of ideas can get a little raunchy (NSFW in a Shakespearian sort of way):
Lots of fodder for quips. But. Conversations are where ideas often conjugate.
Now, you know from personal relationships that openness, intimacy, comes at the price of vulnerability -- much gets bared that could be used against us. ("Knowledge is power, if you know it about the right person" -- Ethel Mumford.) What we're enabling in personal relationships is that "speed of trust" -- there is more leverage, in good part because much more can be anticipated (more can be "left unsaid"), more actions can be taken with confidence that they are both as well-conceived as possible in the moment and they will be taken to be so. Not only is success more likely because what is anticipated fits the relationship and its shared desired outcomes, but failure is "safe" in so far as it won't break the relationship*. Safe, because decisions/actions are taken on a foundation of positive expectation/interpretation and sufficient preparation -- foremost open communication.
As we move from close interpersonal relationships to larger organizational contexts, I'd like to lift some ideas into the conversation from Fractal and Emergent:
and a bit further on in Fractal and Emergent
... more rough framing, and filling in, to come... [gotta love continuous deployment, huh?]
connections... conversations... gatekeepers... and roadblocks...
... digital incursions are tempting on both sides of the law. We live in dangerous times. If you speak out, you risk being targeted. These issues play out at different scales -- organizational, national, global. [And I'm worried by the mass swarming public shaming with no due process thing we've unleashed. It makes having a voice unsafe. And that is bad for trust-based systems. Like communities. Digital-social, and organizational.]
trust means shoving over and letting someone with talent and vision lead:
There are lots of different ways that vulnerability shows up. Here's another vector:
Integrity and trust. At the personal level. And the system. And betrayals of trust that breed mistrust and slow down and undo interactions that systems -- including social systems -- rely on. Integrity of the bedrock and building blocks allows us to build more complex systems. But, we're human -- fallibly so. Tolerance necessary. Intolerance can be like rust to trust, eating it away. Breaking trust breaks the systems that depend on trust. But intolerance insidiously eats at trust too.
* Of course, in characterizing relationships thus, I'm making myself highly vulnerable to harsh judgment. ;-) I recognize that I'm talking about the merest sliver of a sliver of a sliver of what relationships are about and what makes them work and not and so forth, and I'm certainly no studied expert except is so far as one becomes one through longitudinal study, reading people and questing curiously through a variety of other rich sources of understanding of people and relationships. And I trust that you have high enough expectations of me that you interpret what I say from a positive standpoint, working with what I offer and what you bring to make the biggest most helpful sense of what I am trying to express... rather than working against me, trying to belittle me and find fault and diminish and undermine and subvert... I make myself vulnerable to your judgment because I have high expectations of what you bring to the discussion both in orientation to me, and in a well-prepared mind and ready, open spirit. I leap. And expect you to catch me. I expect you to find joy in the leap, in its beauty of expression and what it draws out -- but also to take joy in your ability to do your part.
Or you can hold the world in a crucible of wonder and positive expectation, seeking out what is good and beautiful or useful. When we do that, when we behold the world so, then we don't have to focus on shame as an instrument or a concern. We can expect the conditions and the relationships that let trust blossom -- where we can safely be vulnerable. So if anyone is amazed at how vulnerable I am, turn that around and be amazed that you make it possible for me to be. If you were mean and nasty, spiteful and viciously tore at my spirit, then I could not be vulnerable. The vulnerability would give way to fear. Context factors. Courage and trust too. The generosity of spirit that makes such trust possible is in the truster and the trusted.
It can be hard to give up control, to let others play their role with active anticipatory support, and without impedance.
10/6/13: Trust in Organisations November 23, 2012 by ralphstacey
Image source: Jessica Esch, Eschnotes
10/27/13: Oh, oh, oh. Throes of ecstacy -- I just read this (careful, it's about reading but if you think ideas having sex is dirty, then don't read this from E.B. White of Charlotte's Web fame) :
I'm not sure about unequalled... After Matt Palmer's performance last night I wrote:
Matt Palmer? Imagine this live, if you would:
I know, right?
Vulnerability and trust, Ruth? Well, um, let's see. You trusted that between what you know and have experienced and what you are reaching towards glimpsing and making sense of, and what I see and reveal glimpses of, you'd fire some new insight within yourself? That's what it's about, isn't it? What? Making new connections, moving frontiers of capability (new understandings shape new possibilities, options, shifts or provides new perspective, etc.). In conjunction, we make conjunctions, we build together. Whether it is understanding and insight, or some thing (more) tangible in the world, we cocreate. And doing so entails trust in different ways, to different extents, but trust. And when we trust, we are vulnerable to abuse of that trust, to bigger failures because risk is magnified, the more people and resources involved. And I do abuse your trust mightily, tossing sublime classical guitar and eureka ecstacy into the mix here? Oops. ;-) Well, I think it fits. We do bigger things by throwing our lots in together, and the reward is making bigger things viable. As traces go, we're hoping to push frontiers, are we not? Conjugate ideas, yours, and mine, and sparkle new insights in you. Why else would you read here? You are reading here, aren't you? Oh. Right. Well, there goes that theory. ;-)
Oh, don't worry! I know I need to pull out a bunch of the "creative" stuff, and reorganize and complete some actually pertinent thoughts to make this trace worthwhile... (well, I'll do that if I'm to leave it on this public facade anyway). :-)
3/12/15: Debrief: There is, of course, a meta-point to the style of this trace. The Fractal and Emergent paper I point to and quote from, is a formal piece of work, so self-contained and, well, frankly, static. It crystalizes (some of) Dana and my thinking at a point in time, but is held suspended there, save for what the reader now brings to it, interpreting it within their own contexts and from their frames of experience. A Trace is a very different thing -- a mind in motion, ever changing. Nothing is done. It is a highly vulnerable style of work, but it is one that we must adopt if we are to be collaborative. Our work is ever more complex and challenging, and needs to rely on others to make it better, to do their parts, and so forth. So we need to be comfortable and able to open our work up to others earlier. That exposes the work to harsh judgment at a time when we feel tentative and formative, so there is the concommitant trust that readers will not be mean, judgmental, dismissive, erosive and corrosive, but rather enter into the spirit of the unfinished nature of the thing. It takes a lot of confidence both in one's self, and in others -- confidence that between what is done and how it is encountered, something good and useful happens.
Trust is dynamic. It has to be built, for it lies within relationships that take work to open up, to develop not just credibility within, but also an ease of communication that entails positive expectations, generosity and goodwill... And it thins and tears and is repaired and rebuilt actively. With good intentions and holding others in a crucible of respect and mutual striving to make the shared thing work.
Vulnerability and Disruption
Discuss among yourselves. I'm writing. I'm writing.
SATURN 2014. No doubt they'll ask me to keynote! Riiiiight. ;-)
What? I didn't write the book? No.... I did something much more agile and dynamic than that. ;-)
I know. Architecture matters. And a well-designed book that makes architecture simple enough for me to understand is something I'm best positioned to write. So I'm on it. ;-)
Simple? Is very, very, very hard to do. Well.
Abstraction is hard. Simple, where the abstraction is deftly disguised in self-evidence, in plain speaking communication, is harder. No? Well, I find it hard. You have to wrestle with complexity, with messy nuance and shades of possibility. And find the essential. Lay it bare, simple yet deeply discoverable.
What's an example? My treatment of Conceptual Architecture tries to be. What d'ya think doc? [As far as the book goes, I want to get a fair number of modules drafted before I put them out for review, so you get a better impression of the new design/format. ;-) ]
So many books are just itching to get hold of my fingers so they can write themselves out...
I'm very interested to see what they say through Dana too, of course. :-)
Oh well... I like having an alter-ego, because if no-one else will RT, at least she will:
You get to pick what form your generosity takes. But take my word for it, David Troupes is important. If history is wise (it isn't), history will percolate David's voice up through the attention-sucking-glut of too much muchness. Why? He's very talented, and gets at the marrow of life while managing to charm and delight and challenge us to encounter ourselves and what is meaningful. I think, in times like these, there is a place for dark art. But there is also a place for an unbarred voice that is nuanced with dark but also gives expression to wonder and light and joy. For life is a complex of all that...
Aw. Do I fangirl without sufficient demure? It isn't seemly? Gracious me. I choose not to live under a stack of mores that encumber my wonder and freedom to express it. Does that make me a bad person? Oops. ;-)
Brilliant -- Yes. (Feynman did it)
The conversationlet (and youtube clip) is here.
More impetus to my regrooving attempts:
I sure wish that my Trace had been seen as a "thing" -- a thing worth doing at that... Because I'm so in the groove of tracing. But alas... morning overtook Shahrazad and she lapsed...
You wish! ;-)
Consider this story of Russell Atkins. Despicable we! Utterly sad, joy-forsaken, miserly we.
Hm. Ought I to take this advice:
I am so much in the habit of being self-(d)e(f)facing -- a defense mechanism I have developed in the face of our harshly judgmental field. If I kick at my own shins, perhaps others will let me alone and not trash me more thoroughly. It is my way of making a little space to focus where a contribution needs to be made that I can excel at.
Kudos for Trying
EPIC Complexity F(T)W
Tom Graves has updated his SCAN framework -- do take a look. Kai Schlüter's EPIC complexity breakdown jumped out at me as useful in other contexts, too:
Architecture's Neverending Story
Another wonderful post from Gene Hughson:
Gene's blog is a treasure in our field -- insightful content, beautifully crafted and presented. Lots of grist for the thoughtmill.
As architecture and narrative goes, I can't even get the words out without needing jump excitedly up and down, pointing to Tom Graves:
The Neverending Story is, however, a fun association, for those so inclined. You know how we get drawn into architecture, and become part of the story. How fanstastical it all is -- especially so, given all those who think it's concrete and completely objective and hence are the most fooled by the rationalizations that allow a constructed reality overlaid and underlaid and inlaid with all sorts of meanings and highly finctionalized accounts -- especially our reconstructions in hindsight. ;-)
And if your interest is piqued and you'd like to investigate my perspective a little too (how nice you are -- hugs!):
Wrestling with that Alter-Ego
My alter-ego is flattered if you take the trouble to scan over her little dew of insight and thought scatterlings. But she gets overly self-conscious if you follow her and she has to worry about what trifles she flings into your tweet stream. I know you manage your attention, and I'm honored that you send some of it my way. Truly, sincerely. But my alter-ego treats twitter as an experimental wall she throws stuff at, and you don't need to see all the mess she makes, in real time. Sound reasonable?
Speaking My Language ;-)
Thank you agile architects in The Netherlands. You lead the world!!
Of course... They already have Jim Coplien and Simon Brown lined up to speak -- before even contacting me??? Hmpf! ;-) And they didn't offer to cover travel costs.... So... probably not?
Conway's Law -- Improved?!
This is awesome:
Of course, it is not complete... Many factors factor. But this is one set, and worth considering and weighing in the mix. These two insights are especially exciting (not novel any more, but crisp and important):
Again, for emphasis: "Along the grain of the domain!"
Uh. How do we know the grain, in a new domain? May I recommend Visual Architecting? Or at least:
Remember, Conway's Law is, you might say, about the architecture of responsibility. And, as Tom Graves points out (in the title to a book, no less) -- responsibility is about response-ability. How we design the ability to respond. Important stuff for agility and adaptability. Oh, you should see my stuff on ecosystems and agility. Leading thought there, I are. ;-)
I are? Yeah, that's a recognition that my view is a complex composite that includes what I have learned from you, and others. So "I" because it is being channeled through me, and "are" because I speak with many voices, some of them echoes of yours. [Smiles in gratitude.]
As recommendations go, here's a useful perspective:
As I recall, Kent Beck tweeted/wrote about unfactoring before refactoring several months ago... Pointer?
* because he's one of the few who mention my work so he's got to be like super amazing... an out-of-the-box thinker who reads women...
Why We Need Diversity in Tech
This is frabjously brilliant:
Some traces? So kind of you to ask... ;-)
Sketches, Models and Visualization:
The Art of Drawing People In:
Oh. Whoops. I'm not used to being asked. I do kind of overdo, don't I?
Awww. Overwhelmed? Hey look, read this:
World's Most Beautiful Man Award Goes To
In frustration at the lack of follow-through on wonder, I pinged this world's most lovable bird lover:
Simple words. When one speaks "out of turn," one takes a risk. One does so in kindness, and it is kindness to see and appreciate that. A human interaction. Very human.
This too, made my day:
Why? Simple words that say "I see you, and you matter" matter. I said what I said out of wonder -- joy-filled awe -- at what David does. It was a simple, open-hearted spilling of what he -- his talent and the beautiful expressions he gives voice and image to -- lights in me. I didn't expect him to notice -- how we spill goodwill and joy doesn't want to draw attention to itself for itself; it wants to draw attention to the source of the joy, to share it, and yes, to nurture its source, but unobtrusively. So it was such a pleasant surprise to have that "wonder" word reflected back to me. :-)
Be beautiful. It is as simple as just being kind enough to notice, to appreciate, to anticipate what others need and give a little.
Sure, there is beautiful like a buff body and treating one's outer person like it is a work of art. Our mind is another avenue for developing beauty. But a gentle giving spirit is the kind of beauty our society accords far too little value to or appreciation for. But we don't have to reflect our society -- we can lead it. We can "be the change we want to see" -- we can "fake it 'til we make it" by acting kind to become kind, by acting generous spirited to become generous spirited.
Climbs off pulpit-soapbox. ...
I know. That was awkward. But you know what? Our field could do with more gentleness and generosity, and Craig Newmark is wonderful!
In truth, in the world of my experience, Peter Bakker clearly walks off with the award [if Dana is eliminated from contention]. But I just wanted to note that I admire Craig Newmark so much because he takes that joyful kindness from the personal sphere all the way to global leadership and does much, for those who are willing to see it, to reset our mental model of nerds and the beauty that is ours to claim for our world and ourselves.
No. This is not a contrived way to say I am beautiful. ;-) At least, not in your view. Beauty conceived is in the eye of the beholder and I do behold myself as beautiful. I get to. But I make no claims for how you do or ought to see me. I would advocate that if you don't see beauty in me, you shift your perspective until you find a way to see it. It would be good for me -- few are able to see beauty in me, and it would be nice. Smiles. But I advocate it because the more beauty you are able to see, the more beauty you take in to yourself. And I'm a challenge, to be sure. ;-) The conclusion I have come to, being a much-humbled practicer of awe, is that awe cracks open. Makes room. For a spirit and a mind to grow. And I have ever so much more room to grow! My goodness, I have this crushing feeling that though I like being me now, I wish now didn't pass in such a flash because I need ever so many nows to do even the growing I see myself needing, just from this vantage point!
At least, that's the sense I make... even as I know full well that sense-making is very much about rationalizing our desires into a persuasive form. ;-) It's how we build towers of babel like Twitter (and Reddit, Tumblr, blogs, ....) and other towers, Dubai, Fawlty and not.
Reality is many layered. I gasped at Sara to look at the sunset the other evening for the lower cloud puffs where already dark but the last rays of the day still reach the higher wisps above them, making for a spectacular layering of dark blue-grays on bright pinks against a sky that graded in blues from light to the herald of nightfall.
Oh my goodness. How did today become pulpit day? I'm so very sorry! And not. ;-)
I'm totally surprised you're not recommending me! ;-)
Some events and their aftermath have been raising awareness, and unfortunately a lot of wrath, in the tech-twitters extended by/into blogs the last few days... If these haven't reached you, let's just say a lot of pain, and different vantage points and perspectives on it, have been shared. Unfortunately, as such things go, that pain is taking expression in various forms, including lashing out, with more pain. And significantly, beautifully, there is also a lot of courage and caring too.
It is messy being a human being, and misunderstandings crowd in the fog of interpretation and projection and (mis)perception. I woke with the last fragment of a dream still in mind -- someone had tweeted a link to a children's book with the words "alternate interpretations and alternate endings." [One interpretation is that I should get off twitter. That'd lead to an alternate ending, to be sure.]
Let's be less quick to judge, less quick to flash into anger when we feel some of the ricochet from other people's anguish. Autonomy and consent are important. Human dignity, safety and fairness too.
When people offer us their personal stories at a distance, let's take them in the spirit of an opportunity to expand our capacity for empathy and caring. And if we do get angry, let's remind ourselves that that is a sure-fire signal of our fallible humanity, for anger feels its self to be "right" and "good" but it is a self-righteous kind of misperception that shrinks our personal resources and puts us in a place where we are willing to hurt another or others. We need to put some distance between our outrage and our rage. And it helps to really try to see from other vantage points, to ask ourselves what else we'd see, if we weren't in our own peculiar shoes.
I say this observing these events/disclosing stories from a distance, in humble recognition of my own foibles and limitations. And in frank fear because saying anything is a risk. I'm not sure where current neuroscience is on nucleus accumbens, but we do seem to get punchy on the desire to punish, and the flame and shame flocking in social spaces is dangerous for it makes us shutdown our voices. We want to be known for our expertise and contribution, and I have no expertise in this phenomenon. Danah Boyd studies bullying in social media among teens -- it'd be interesting to know whose expertise to appeal to when it shows up in tech circles.
10/13/13: I wouldn't recommend this to anyone in the thick of dealing with painful ramifications of these events, but:
We tell ourselves stories about events as we try to make sense of them. We need to be kind when we hear or tell and reflect on these stories. We're all human, and we can get off on a very high horse of self righteousness. If we think we haven't messed up in some way, we can remind ourselves that we haven't yet experienced what tomorrow will bring, and given how things go, we probably haven't listened to someone else's perception of what we have done, perhaps yesterday even. By this I simply mean there are things we do, even words we do or don't say, that hurt others.
Anyway. We each have a lot, lot, lot to learn so we can simply care for other people better. Be less quick to judge. More quick to care and see if there is a way to help..
10/15/13: As far as the events go, I'd like to draw your attention to Angela Harms for her forthright and caring leadership.
Not Even Funny...
Meanwhile, at the home of Facebook...
Greed festers and power corrupts.
10/14/13: Why do I do that? What? That "it occurred to me to tweet x" thing. Well, a lot of us, for one or other reason, still our voice. One factor, I expect, is the very limited body language on twitter... It is hard to communicate a smile back without intruding that smile into the whole shared follower pool (who may not be sharing the joke). The consequence is that we don't know how our sense of humor and play lands... The lack of feedback masses into a feeling of negative feedback. It's just a translation from other feedback systems in f2f communication, but it is faulty. We just don't know which direction we err in, so it is hard to adjust and course-correct, so we refrain. Safer. And in the digital swarms, it's just as well to be more cautions... in many cases, if not most. No? What sez you, doc?
Art and the Socially Situated "I"
If you've been reading here a while, you have likely at least had to choose to skip some of my probing of the place (and, given that it is so little supported, merit) of a(n online) journal (of the personal kind) in the software/systems/enterprise space.
I am going to take the liberty of quoting some extracts from a very well articulated piece on games criticism, or crical commentary/exploration of the gamez field. Anyway, here:
The articulation of encounter to probe and explore a field is arguably as important for developing a field's identity and self-concept, perspective and sense of meaning and meaningful, as art is in the personal realm.
Persuaded? Too didactic for art? Isn't art about beauty or at least a difficult abstraction that titillates the brain with discovery; where (the experience of some deep inner) truth or meaning is emergent -- or even a side-effect or indirect consequence? Which is to say, isn't art separated from the more pedestrian in good part because it doesn't have an agenda of explicating and explicitly reasoning a position, or conveying knowledge in direct terms? It may achieve persuasion, but indirectly by demanding a very active imaginative interactive collaboration between the person encountering the art and what the art yields to their understanding and appreciative inquiry.
So. About this Trace.. Not art? Philosophy then? No. Too unencumbered with rigor and technique to be art or philosophy. Yet. It gives rise to (or side-effects happy little avalanches of) insight about the self-concept and identity of this field -- its distinguishing focal concerns and their meaning(fulness), shaping what it contends with, and hence directing our attention and indicating how we approach this complex we call architecture... not to mention its boundaries and overlaps and interactions with other disciplines. Somewhat didactic. And yet it tells the story of a personal journey, a set of encounters and explorations. And when one zooms out, and considers what falls out from its coursing, its play, can one make a case that it is more than the average blog? No?
Rats. Back to that rationalization drawing board then. There has to be a way to frame this Trace that makes it a good thing to do. ;-) We just have to find it, and then bonus -- you'll have a legit reason to tell other people that it exists. With enthusiasm, even. Oh, I know, several people have been kind even without any legitimizing framing. Peter Bakker, most notably. has been exceptionally generous in pointing people here. But enough of that, unless you know what it means/in what way it serves. In which case you really should tell me, so I know! ;-) Oh yeah, well... trying to parse my sentences is a better brain work-out than extra tough cross-word puzzles or sudoku? There's that.
Didactic sidenote: all those who get antsy about revisiting "definitions" of architecture (of various flavors or scopes or foci) don't get this, do they? What? The importance of exploring how a field conceives itself, which shapes where we choose to see/place its boundaries, what form it takes, what it is and does. All those a-b-c's of systems, zoomed out and applied to the field or discipline itself. And if a field is dynamic, we can expect its self-concept to shift and morph and evolve as the field adapts and responds and frankly gets to know itself better, reaches for a more resourceful self-concept and set of projections and interactions with other fields and their peopleses. ;-)
Anyway. I know I do rather pound on the questionable merit of this Trace. Those who follow my work keep implying, by suggesting I do more useful things, that this Trace is of no merit. Very few bother to suggest that it has any merit at all, let alone try to express what that is --- to me personally, and to others. Does that mean it doesn't? I rebel at that. I think it belittles both what I do here and the capacity and tolerance of architects. Not that all, nor even many, would have a taste for this style and medium, or the very distinctive personality of this Trace.
Which I suppose is the heart in the advice to get the book done already -- leaven my self out of my work, so that it is more palatable and directly useful to more people. Important. Though I also think, just as art runs out ahead of various fields, including various sciences, and engineering and innovation, there is a freedom to explore and push frontiers here that a didactic book does not have. Oh. I know. If I want to earn a living I have to do more focused useful stuff. And I do! Too. I just need some actual positive feedback once in a while. Validation and affirmation is important... Self concepts have a hard time if they have to do all the heavy lifting on their own.
Image/Slide Source: Changing How We Think About and Lead Change - by john seely brown, Oct 16, 2013
See. My Trace is a preview of the future. ;-) So, how do you like it?
Alternately put: You've heard Gibson's "the future is already here, it's just not very evenly distributed" -- well, see, it's all heaped up in my Trace. ;-)
Ah yes, this is how to do it:
Ada Lovelace Day is October 15
Tomorrow (15th) is a good day to consider adding these good women to your twitter Serendipity sources:
The women I listed above have twitter streams and/or blogs I find interesting/useful, and/or play active roles in creating community within our field on twitter, and they follow me. Hopefully in your eyes, that last is a high recommendation. ;-)
I follow many more women in tech, so feel free to look at who I follow for more ideas. There are lots of interesting women -- and men -- in my follow list, but on October 15 let's focus on which women in STEM you find interesting so I can look them up. :-)
Thank you for your generous support and encouragement. Thank you too for all you share. You sharpen my saw, and I'm much beholden to you.
Let us make Ada Lovelace Day a day to celebrate women, because there is a lot of hurting going on among many women in our field, and because we need to draw more women into our field. It is a key career avenue into the future, and women need to find out how thrilling it is!
And let's make it and every day of the year about celebrating everyone, because men hurt when they are marginalized and occluded and not sufficiently valued too! It's a tough world. Let's make it better for all of us!
PS. While you're thinking about progress for girls' empowerment around the globe, you should read this:
and the backstory.
Again, while we 're about it, we need to be concerned about readying all peoples for a world where the job landscape is fundamentally reshaped by technology. Let's not make it another case of digital enablement that only shifts wealth to the privileged and ultrawealthy. We need to care. About all children. But girls are disadvantaged even in relatively privileged settings. At school a girl said to my daughter "Wow. You're smart. Do you have any friends?" Little boxes. They are less devastating than physical abuses and economic disadvantages girls face too many places, but the stereotypes are powerful shapers of identity and opportunity. It is sad. Really sad.
10/15/13: Ada Lovelace Day 2013. I think it is important to get the stories told, to color and enrich our history with some of her-story too. But I think it is also important to know that there are contemporary stories in the making by women who play valuable roles in our field and in our organizations too. Naturally, in architecture we are very aware that it is in collaboration and teams (of teams) that big things are accomplished, and the stories are all of ours -- being made by men and women. It'd just be awesomer if more women knew what a thrilling field this is to work in. In good part 'cos you make it fun and challenging (in a good way) and rewarding (in that sense of place way). :-)
A special shoutout of thanks to Tom Graves and Gene Hughson. Gentlemen, you make a huge difference! The ladies of enterprise architecture stand out too, for responding with encouragement to women in EA. Thanks to Brenda, Sally and Sarina for replying and making me feel like less of a dork doing it all wrong. ;-)
10/17/13: I would think that retweeting an Ada Lovelace Day a shoutout to women in architecture would be a no-brainer -- especially right on the heels of the Software Architecture Conference in London a week or so ago with NO -- read that again NO -- women in the speaker line-up.
It is not that men don't face many of the same issues that women do, it is that it is that they are more intense for women. If you just take the numbers, and acknowledge that women are capable, then you know that something is very,wrong in our industry. Use the pains you feel, not to diminish and shrug off the predicament for women, but to empathize and motivate being extra supportive. Be kind and celebrate the contribution women make. A positive word can make such an enormous difference to a person's day, validate their self-concept in important ways, and so forth. So many people don't care to give any positive reflection back to women, women get marginalized and silenced by the lack of positive reception. You can make a difference. Consider all the positive things women say to you at home, and at work. They aren't getting much of that, and, again, you can make a difference! Stop focusing on where you can offer "constructive criticism" and focus on where you can offer constructive appreciation. Build up, rather than tear down.
10/17/13: We think we are gender-blind in this field, but we need to recognize that all the subtle choices of men over women (in who we read and listen to, who we feel is the authoritative voice, who we feel comfortable giving a back-slap of positive words to, and so forth), marginalizes women.
Reciprocate a little, and we'll start to bring women's work more to the light it deserves.
Meritocracy is a banner used to preserve an extant power structure. It doesn't allow that other contributions may be more important to the future, it simply wants to preserve the power structure of the past. But we are shaping the future with the choices and actions we make today, tomorrow, and we can choose to foster more diversity in contribution and leadership styles, valuing those who make connections, for example, more, because that is how we forge new frontiers, too.
10/18/13: Reread this trace:
It makes useful points, yes?
Changing the content of minds. By adding to them. Reading and listening, writing and talking, and doing.
And staying flexible and willing to adapt or change one's position....
Which means, of course, that it is a good thing to change my mind about Tracing, and not. ;-) Ha, you thought it was a weakness. ;-)
Drawing It Out
Just catching up on the comments to
Well, as unintended consequences go... I'm reminded that I have a book (and a system) to write.
My boy at the start of Day 2 of the Hilly Hundred. It was really cold and rainy yesterday!
Yes, yes, Dana's riding too:
Me? Whelp. Want me dead? That's well over 3000 ft of climb each day! I can do that one day maybe, but two in a row? Next year ok? I've only been doing this since August. Cut me some slack. ;-) [Just 3500ft? Hey. We take our hills straight up and down here, remember? No wimpy switchbacks. It's serious latex country.]
Cool event though -- over 5000 cyclists from around the world. Makes for lots of color and fun. If serious up and down and up hills are your kind of fun. I love... the downs. The ups? I like... most of them. We have cat 5 hills, man!
Constructed reality? I thought I'd leave you to construct it. ;-)
Later: Woohoo -- done:
Doing It Wrong
I did tweet it, but promptly deleted the tweet 'cos I'm not sure if I did it wrong... (Modifying the tweet, so it could fit... And while it is one thing to be supportive of getting an error resolved, it is another to call errors out, when we're all error prone...) I think it is a neat example of fallibility -- of the kind I like to have in my back pocket when people think requirements (pre)"exist" other than as designed interventions and interpretations and judgment calls and and and... Yes, it's a bug -- of the obviously not-correct behavior kind. But if a human can eyeball a receipt and see something is very wrong, at what point does that become a requirement so the system flags it for human intervention, before the customer has to deal with ladders of customer support to appeal an error? That kind of thing. I stopped buying supplies through a printer company's online store because they flagged me as buying at small business volumes through the home office store -- the latter being cheaper for me. That kind of "meta" surveillance exists as a service to the business -- vastly irritating for the customer. But it could exist on behalf of the customer, too. Requirements (obvious things receipts do). Or (design) in(ter)ventions (creatively proactive customer care). No fixed lines. [Ops dashboards as system surveillance? Now there's a thought. Hey, analogies are where we find ideas. In a less-is-more, for goodness-sake-simplify this overly complex world, we're not looking to add processing overhead and code complexity and code bulk and... And we are looking to improve user experience and avert customer relations disasters that cause TV trucks to pull up to head office and crowd the CEO. So. Juggle. Juggle.]
Anyway, you need to add it to your fail-cases folder. You're welcome.
[Wait. Wat?! You don't have a fail-cases folder? And you call yourself an architect? Skande!! ;-)]
Social reactiveness and flock-and-shame behavior causes us to adjust/self-censure. Some would say this is good, but we also have to consider what we lose when we create a situation where we have to double-think and triple think what we do on social platforms? To have true community, we need to be able to trust that there will be less quick heated reactive judgmentalism...
Also. No-one has said anything nice about my alter-ego. Does it just stun you how ungenerous people are with encouragement and delight? Or do we have everyone in such fear of being accused of harassment, that supportive words are withheld? We have no clue what we're doing, really, do we?
10/22/13: Another for your #fail folder (via mfeathers):
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- Bredemeyer Resources for Architects