Reframing Ideas

One of the greatest techniques for advancing thought has been an ability to reframe ideas. When you can change the problem, or sculpt a new solution with a different understanding, you have an advantage.  And there are more than just a few ways to reframe ideas, from inversion to analogy.

Reframing by Inversion is one of my personal favorites because it’s so simple. If you can look at the negatives you can look at the positives; if you can start with a problem, what about starting with an answer. Inversion allows you to quickly expand your perspectives in ways that can show openings. Pivoting the thought process allows some drastic changes. Or it can ease stresses when used for comparative value.

Scope Selection
Reframing by Scope Selection is taking the idea and expanding it to some extreme or shrinking it to others. Think about how it could be applied if some constraint was raised, and what avenues that that may open. Or you can think about how simple you can make something, that still does what you want.

This kind of reframing can be used to increase productivity or target forward thought. If you can simplify the implementation details, you can save time, even if it took a little longer in thinking about the initial process. And if you think about expanding the concept and those avenues, you can project paths forward.

Reframing by Analogy is taking the idea and viewing through a completely different lens. It’s like taking an item and representing it as both a 3D object and a split projection draft. They are the same conceptually, but provide very different observations. Analogy also provides a great way for making conversation move a bit more fluidly by providing terms others may understand.

Ultimately, all of these examples of reframing allow changing the perspective in a way that allows growth. And sometimes a new viewpoint is all that is necessary for brilliance to be achieved. Just because something works, doesn’t make it right. And just because somethings right, doesn’t mean it will work. But there are times when you can take chances and see if it will. Play with the concepts. Maybe you’re working at a higher or lower level than necessary.

Regrets Are Not For The Living

One must not have regrets while living, to do so is a waste of time, since we cannot change the past from the present. No wrongs cannot be righted in some form, though not always brought back and mended to the original intent. If there is a regret for not doing, then the logical response is to do. If there is a regret for having done something, then to reverse it you must act with equal or greater impact in the other direction. This becomes that regrets are now actionable and somewhat dispossessed of guilt.

First Principles

Everything must come from some logical point of understanding, unraveling into more complex forms. First principles are the basis, the irreducible components, of any logical system. If you can understand the basics, you can build up an understanding of incrementally more complex tools and systems. First principles are the foundation, necessary to build a strong structure of robust knowledge, without them you may understand how to use a tool, but not understand the tool itself.

Something of those with considerable, and respectable, intellect that also have successes to show is that they tend to refer to first principles as a huge part of their thought process. That is anecdotal, but over and over again, I’ve seen people bring up the concept of first principles, and it’s started to stick out to me. The most noted moment for me occurred when re-watching Elon Musk episode of Foundation, where he is discussing his various ideas and ventures with Kevin Rose.

For me, it’s not the first time I’ve thought of or heard the concept, particularly in an education perspective. I think it’s very important to understand the basics, at least at some point, to  build from on your own. With a solid foundation to work from granted by education one can learn and expand further from those concepts outside the bounds of education independently. The biggest key is to independent thinking, if you can reason the solutions and then process their expansions, you’re in good shape.

Sometimes you have to jump backward, saying, ‘No,’ to the commonly accepted ideas, and work your way back up. Doing this often means placing constraints within your path; once you know it is possible, the question is how to do it better, for some definition of better.  This is a tool for thinking creatively.

Persistence Of Value

I’ve had several discussions with people lately about various things, from community in my town, arts & tech in school, and also about what and how I ended up doing what I do. I may talk about those later, because they are interesting, but I’ve also noticed the idea of persistence popping up, even as an aside.

A quote of advice I received a few years ago, from someone much younger than me was, “You don’t wait for them to call you, you call them.” I sort of ignored it, probably due to person’s age as well as my assessment of their mental acuity,  though even in that moment I realized it was something I had never considered. Thinking over the recent conversations, it brought me back to that quote, but also recent changes I made. I’d now rephrase that as “Don’t wait for the actions of others to tend in your favor. Come back with a reason for them to act in a favorable way. Present your value, and if they do not see it, come back again and again with something different.”

I lived my life free from most needs, but it also means that stuff is normally easy to attain. Breaking through the walls where I need to, is different, I tend to relax and soften rather than tensing up and getting hard enough to break through. I’ve accomplished this in minor ways, but I plan on continuing further with it. Bring the value, and keep bringing it. Build and build, let the inertia continue to push you all the way. Persistence of value is the key.

Optimizing On Time

Time is irretrievable once it is gone. Your goal should be to reduce the time your users must spend. This doesn’t just mean increasing output on the backend, but maximizing data throughput on the interface.

We all take time for granted, and even those who don’t tend to focus on our individual time-costs. As creators, though, we should also look at the time-cost of our products because if you think about it the math shows that to be even more important. Time is a limited resource, variable to perception, but limited to roughly 24 hours available to every person.

To break down my point, if you can reduce the time a person has to spend with your product, that effect is multiplied for all your users. This multiplication effect makes it quickly achievable to save time, in the global sense, over a set of uses. You might lose an hour or two, but assuming frequent enough use, or enough users, there is a possibility for that time to be reclaimed. Humans are constantly working with technology and further progressing, to achieve this goal; even if it isn’t the direct goal.

Automation means that you can remove a users usage at some scale, possibly even fully. If a user does something every day, and it takes 2 minutes, that adds up to an hour over the course of a month. If you can remove the process completely, you just saved the person 12 hours a year.

For example, I started buying similar sets of clothes, black t’s and cargo pants. I only have to think about what to wear maybe once or twice a month. I saved about 90 seconds a day, in getting dressed. I removed the selection process, so that the choice became automatic.

At scale though, with lots of people using it, even a second, or a few milliseconds can add up. If you cut 0.1 second out of a loading time, that happens 5 times per user a day, you save them 15 seconds a month. If you implemented this in an hour, and it was only you, it would take you 20 years to reclaim that hour. If you had 100 users, it would only take 72 days. So even a very small scale, the global availability of time can be increased.

You can’t just tweak the backend though. Eventually, the time-cost won’t work out mathematically to spend more time trying to get more data across the same channels. You can still manage this by increase the capacity you present, if you do it logically, this is why designers are important. An engineer can get stuff done, but they aren’t always focused on the cost of time for a user. Designers should focus on the user-first, to help increase the fluidity, and thus remove hidden time-costs.

Another option for modifying the time-cost is in condensing the data, in a loss-less manner. Think about he way we use compressors to shrink the data we send over the wire. If we can shrink the details down without losing the context; still conveying the message. We can take huge steps in create a total time-value, vastly greater.

These are the goals that I feel should be focused on. And I do not disregard the fact that the tendencies are when time is saved, to spend it on even more information. This could be said to be good, or bad. I feel it’s negative, but that requires a additional capacity to prevent continued indulgence. That’s a topic for another time.