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It Seemed Like The Thing To Do At Time: State of Mind and Failure
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It Seemed Like The Thing To Do At Time: State of Mind and Failure

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How to avoid failure by changing states of mind, outlooks and goals. A comparative tale of personal and global success and failure as driven by states of mind.

How to avoid failure by changing states of mind, outlooks and goals. A comparative tale of personal and global success and failure as driven by states of mind.

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  • Show of hands on who’s failed before? People ask about failure - “ Why did you do that?” A first response = seemed like the thing to do at the time. Seems trite, but is really an Insightful response > indicates state of mind matched actions and choices that lead to failure. State of mind shorthand for understanding of who you are the situation your role and others’ roles available choices and actions the likely outcomes the consequences of each outcome

It Seemed Like The Thing To Do At Time: State of Mind and Failure It Seemed Like The Thing To Do At Time: State of Mind and Failure Presentation Transcript

    • State Of Mind And Failure
    “ It Seemed Like The Thing To Do At The Time” “ Whoever longs to rescue quickly both himself and others should practice the supreme mystery: exchange of self and other.” Shantideva Panel Presentation
  • “Stay the course”
  • Help Me, Obi Wan…
    • When failing, we often seek rescue.
    • We look to others.
    • From outside…
  • Shantideva
    • “ Whoever longs to rescue quickly both himself and others should practice the supreme mystery: ex change of self and other.”
    • Shantideva
    • Shantideva
      • 8th century Buddhist philosopher
      • Author of Bodhicaryavatara “Entering the Path of Enlightenment”
      • “… long poem describing the process of enlightenment from the first thought to full buddhahood ”
  • The Wrong Thing, At the Wrong Time My Tale “ Whoever longs to rescue quickly both himself and others should practice the supreme mystery: exchange of self and other.” Shantideva Panel Presentation
  • A Great Idea!
    • Winter 1999 - March 2000:
    • Decide to become venture-back entrepreneur
    • Assemble founding team: 2 in US, 1 in China
    • Refine initial idea
    • Field research and business development in China
    • Draft business plan
    • >> Dot com crash…
    “ ChinaVertex will be a Pacific Rim trade nexus that links suppliers in China with buyers around the world in a secure, neutral, real-time trading environment which converts surplus consumer goods into sale-ready, profitable commodities.”
  • Comprehensive Execution…
    • Spring 2000 – Spring 2001
    • Receive & reject first international funding offer (high-risk)
    • Refine plan: strategy, financials, technology, operations, marketing, etc.
    • Grow team from 3 to 7 people
    • Identify advisors in US and China
    • Active business development in China, US
    • >> We were already failing, but didn’t realize it!
  • A Great Plan
  • Impressive Prose
    • “ A fully-dimensioned B2B trading space is defined by three orthogonal axes: material or goods, information, and capital. Traditional B2B exchange ventures occupy positions in the trading space that intersect with only two of these axes, information and capital, making them effectively two-dimensional entities. Though the B2B exchange model does increase the value of the capital and information flows which it manages in a limited fashion, it in fact restricts the opportunities for buying and supplying parties to maximize the value of the axial constituents they are primarily interested in, by confining the interconnection and exposure of transactions to only two dimensions. More importantly, a two-dimensional model can only be successful when other entities external to the trading space proper can supply would-be exchange customers with services that address their business needs along the third, material axis. Typically, these needs revolve around confirming, maintaining, or even increasing the material value of traded goods to their buyers. China is such a trading space, where unique conditions mandating that solution-providers exhibit immanence on all three axes prevail. While several B2B ventures address the China trading space on the two common axes of information and capital flow, none adequately acknowledges the importance of the third (material) aspect to their business model or strategy. At best, they provide poorly integrated, second-degree access points to goods verification and logistics services, through loosely structured partnerships and referral arrangements.”
  • Detailed Financials
  • Going All In
    • March - August 2001
    • >> Decide to pursue venture full-time
    • Hire CEO
    • Team grows to 10 people
    • Prospect & reject first US funding offer (insufficient)
    • Prospect & rejected 2 nd US funding offer (untrustworthy)
    • Continued Business development in China
    • Prospect 3 rd funding offer (legitimate)
  • Chasing A Moving Target
  • The End
    • September 2001
    • >> Resume working full-time
    • >> September 11 attacks shut down capital markets
    • >> Disband venture
  • A Moment of Contemplation Conan; on the Tree of Woe
  • A Series of Classic Blunders
    • Complex concept
    • Difficult funding climate
    • Hiring the wrong CEO
    • Refusing 1st funding offer
    • Growing team too quickly
    • Unrealistic financial projections
    • Underestimated operational challenges
    • >> Didn’t get involved on the ground in Asia (soon enough)
  • Our True Mistake(s)
    • We defined ourselves as venture funded.
    • We never changed our self definition.
    “ Whoever longs to rescue quickly both himself and others should practice the supreme mystery: exchange of self and other.” Shantideva
  • No, really, it *is* falling! When The Sky Is Falling “ Whoever longs to rescue quickly both himself and others should practice the supreme mystery: exchange of self and other.” Shantideva Panel Presentation
  • Societal Failure As A Learning Opportunity
    • Stakes of societal failure are *high*
        • A society / culture is at risk, or has failed
    • Affects are comprehensive
      • Involves *everyone*
      • Affects *everything*
    • Societies have resources to help avoid failure
      • Specialized knowledge
      • Sophisticated structures for decision making and control
      • Humans adaptable species >> resilience
      • Connections to other societies >> potential rescue
  • Societal Failure As A Learning Opportunity
    • Failure on the level of a whole society shows:
    • High intensity
    • Broad scope
    • Why did they fail?
    • Why didn’t they succeed?
    • Can this shed light on my failed venture?
    • Is there is a broader lesson or insight?
    • A Machine For Making Statues
    Easter Island “ Whoever longs to rescue quickly both himself and others should practice the supreme mystery: exchange of self and other.” Shantideva Panel Presentation
  • No Man Is An Island
    • Easter Island is the most remote inhabited area on the planet
  • A Moai Making Machine
    • 300 ahu (platform and burial sites)
    • 300 tons of stone in a small ahu
      • 10,000 tons of stone in largest
    • 400 moai on platforms around the island
      • Average moai 13’ tall, weighs 10 tons
      • Larger moai up to 32’ tall and 75 tons
    • 400 moai partly completed in quarries
      • Up to 75’ tall, weighing 270 tons
  • The Product…
  • A Recipe For Failure
  • Collapse
    • "The overall picture for Easter is the most extreme example of forest destruction in the Pacific, and among the most extreme in the world: the whole forest gone , and all of its tree species extinct .”
    Diamond, Jared . Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed . Penguin Books: 2005. ISBN 0-14-303655-6 .
  • Collapse
    • “ In the 19th century, disease due to contacts with Europeans, as well as deportation of 2,000 Rapanui to work as slaves in Peru, and the forced departure of the remaining Rapanui to Chile, carried the population of Easter Island to the all time low of 111 inhabitants in 1877 .”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_Island
  • Easter Island Today
    • Easter Island is almost totally deforested
    http://maps. google .com/maps? f=q &hl=en& q=Easter +Island&layer=& ie=UTF8 & z=13 & t=k & om=1 & iwloc=addr
  • A Forest of Moai http://www.tagzania.com/item/35784 http://maps.google.com/maps?q=-27.1257820129,-109.276832581(Easter%20Island%20Statues,%20Chile)&z=14&t=h
    • A Tikopial Paradise
    Tikopia “ Whoever longs to rescue quickly both himself and others should practice the supreme mystery: exchange of self and other.” Shantideva Panel Presentation
  • Tikopia
  • Tikopia [http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&ll=-12.296397,168.831367&spn=0.185166,0.248222&t=k&om=1&mid=117457773]7
  • Changing Models of Sustenance
    • Colonist
    • 900 B.C - ~100 B.C.
    • Slash and burn farming
    • Mining shell fish
    • Harvesting bird colonies
    • >> Not sustainable
    • Shellfish populations crash
    • Land birds extinct
    • Sea bird colonies reduced
    • Forest cover destroyed
    • Traditional Farmer
    • ~100 B.C - 1600 A.D
    • Forest orchard cultivation
    • Intensive pig farming
    • >> Not sustainable
    • Cannot support population growth
    • Livestock destroy gardens and orchards
    • Permaculture
    • 1600 A.D. - Present
    • Managed permaculture
    • Managed use of sea turtles, fish, shell fish
    • >> Sustainable
    • No large land animals
    • Tightly managed stable population
    • Introduced plants recreate forest canopy as garden
    Deliberate change to permaculture
  • A Comparison
    • Tikopia
    • Settled earlier (~100 B.C.E.)
    • Smaller (2 sq. miles)
    • No native large land animals
    • Fewer natural resources
    • Higher population density
    • Closer to other settlements
    • Easter Island
    • Settled later (~900 A.D.)
    • Larger (69 sq. miles)
    • No native large land animals
    • More natural resources
    • Lower population density
    • Remote: closest settlement 1400 miles
  • Tikopian Flexibility
    • 2 impending societal failures
    • 2 dramatic shifts in sustenance model
    • 2 changes in self-definition
    • 2 failures averted
    • Potentially high level of resilience…
  • Tikopia Today
  • A Review of the Examples Presented Is Shantideva Right? “ Whoever longs to rescue quickly both himself and others should practice the supreme mystery: exchange of self and other.” Shantideva Panel Presentation
  • Beginning Proposition
    • “Just as states of mind, cultural outlooks, and unspoken framing assumptions make substantial contributions to failure on smaller scales - such as small teams, or for a single design project - large organizations and even whole societies find themselves failing because of the ways they think about situations and themselves.”
  • Our Examples
    • My team refused to change self-definition, and failed.
    • Tikopians avoided failure by changing their self-definition.
    • Easter Islanders refused to change, and failed.
    • Possible Conclusions:
      • Changing one’s self-definition can (sometimes) avoid failure
      • Ability to change self-definition increases potential for averting failure
      • Ability to change self-definition increases resilience
    • >> Shantideva may be onto something
  • Implications for designers
    • You may be part of the problem
      • Self definition limits your ability to define situations and problems
      • Boundaries limit ability to change things
    • Your client may be the problem
      • Self-definition may make failure inevitable
      • Unless you can change the client’s view, failure may be inevitable
  • What To Change? Looking For Leverage “ Whoever longs to rescue quickly both himself and others should practice the supreme mystery: exchange of self and other.” Shantideva Panel Presentation
  • The Problem of Self
    • Self-definition is very broad
    • Retrospectives look backward…
    • … Life moves forward!
    • Who has time for contemplation?
      • Often no trees are handy…
        • Especially if your society is collapsing!
    • How do groups discuss self-definition?
      • Let alone a whole society
    • *This painting = anatomically correct…
    Self Portrait with Felt Hat painted by Vincent van Gogh, 1888. Oil on canvas. 44x37.5cm. The painting is in the collection Van Gogh Museum , Amsterdam
  • Potential Leverage Points
    • All kinds of things can be described as complex systems:
      • Societies
      • Ecologies
      • Corporations
      • Startup teams
      • Design projects
    • Smart people have found leverage points for complex systems
      • “ These are places within a complex system …where a small shift in one thing can produce big changes in everything. ”
    • Leverage points are specific, identifiable, actionable (sometimes…)
    • >> Successful push on a leverage point might avert failure!
  • The Twelve Leverage Points
    • Set of defined leverage points for intervening in complex systems
    • First published by Donella Meadows in Whole Earth Catalog of 1997
    • Donella Meadows:
      • Ph.D. Biophysics (Harvard University)
      • Founder of the Sustainability Institute
      • Professor at Dartmouth College
      • Pew Scholar in Conservation and Environment
      • MacArthur Fellow
      • Initiator of discussion on global growth limits and sustainability
      • Nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 1991
    • >> Donella Meadows = systems dynamics and environment / ecology expert
  • The First Six Leverage Points
    • 12. Constants, parameters, numbers
      • (such as subsidies, taxes, standards)
    • 11. The size of buffers and other stabilizing stocks, relative to their flows
    • 10. The structure of material stocks and flows
      • (such as transport network, population age structures)
    • 9. The length of delays, relative to the rate of system changes
    • 8. The strength of negative feedback loops, relative to the effect they are trying to correct against
    • 7. The gain around driving positive feedback loops
  • The Last Six Leverage Points
    • 6. The structure of information flow
      • (who does and does not have access to what kinds of information)
    • 5. The rules of the system
      • (such as incentives, punishment, constraints)
    • 4. The power to add, change, evolve, or self-organize system structure
    • 3. The goals of the system
    • 2. The mindset or paradigm that the system — its goals, structure, rules, delays, parameters — arises out of
    • 1. The power to transcend paradigms
  • Starring Captain Kirk and Shantideva Showdown! Your State of Mind vs. The Twelve Leverage Points Panel Presentation versus
  • Example 1: The Wrong Thing At the Wrong Time Must …get …VC funding!
  • Example 1: The Wrong Thing At the Wrong Time
    • Twelve Leverage Points
    • 12. Constants, parameters, numbers
    • 11. The size of buffers and other stabilizing stocks, relative to their flows
    • 10. The structure of material stocks and flows
    • 9. The length of delays, relative to the rate of system changes
    • 8. The strength of negative feedback loops, relative to the effect they are trying to correct against
    • 7. The gain around driving positive feedback loops
    • 6. The structure of information flow
    • 5. The rules of the system
    • 4. The power to add, change, evolve, or self-organize system structure
    • 3. The goals of the system
    • 2. The mindset or paradigm that the system — its goals, structure, rules, delays, parameters — arises out of
    • 1. The power to transcend paradigms
    Shantideva says: Consider changing your goal…
  • Example 1: The Wrong Thing At the Wrong Time External …funding …is …the only way!
  • Example 1: The Wrong Thing At the Wrong Time
    • Twelve Leverage Points
    • 12. Constants, parameters, numbers
    • 11. The size of buffers and other stabilizing stocks, relative to their flows
    • 10. The structure of material stocks and flows
    • 9. The length of delays, relative to the rate of system changes
    • 8. The strength of negative feedback loops, relative to the effect they are trying to correct against
    • 7. The gain around driving positive feedback loops
    • 6. The structure of information flow
    • 5. The rules of the system
    • 4. The power to add, change, evolve, or self-organize system structure
    • 3. The goals of the system
    • 2. The mindset or paradigm that the system — its goals, structure, rules, delays, parameters — arises out of
    • 1. The power to transcend paradigms
    Shantideva says: Consider changing your mindset…
  • Example 1: The Wrong Thing At the Wrong Time Can’t …do anything …without …VC funding!
  • Example 1: The Wrong Thing At the Wrong Time
    • Twelve Leverage Points
    • 12. Constants, parameters, numbers
    • 11. The size of buffers and other stabilizing stocks, relative to their flows
    • 10. The structure of material stocks and flows
    • 9. The length of delays, relative to the rate of system changes
    • 8. The strength of negative feedback loops, relative to the effect they are trying to correct against
    • 7. The gain around driving positive feedback loops
    • 6. The structure of information flow
    • 5. The rules of the system
    • 4. The power to add, change, evolve, or self-organize system structure
    • 3. The goals of the system
    • 2. The mindset or paradigm that the system — its goals, structure, rules, delays, parameters — arises out of
    • 1. The power to transcend paradigms
    Shantideva says: Consider changing your paradigm…
  • Example 2: A Moai Making Machine Must …build …more statues!
  • Example 2: A Moai Making Machine
    • Twelve Leverage Points
    • 12. Constants, parameters, numbers
    • 11. The size of buffers and other stabilizing stocks, relative to their flows
    • 10. The structure of material stocks and flows
    • 9. The length of delays, relative to the rate of system changes
    • 8. The strength of negative feedback loops, relative to the effect they are trying to correct against
    • 7. The gain around driving positive feedback loops
    • 6. The structure of information flow
    • 5. The rules of the system
    • 4. The power to add, change, evolve, or self-organize system structure
    • 3. The goals of the system
    • 2. The mindset or paradigm that the system — its goals, structure, rules, delays, parameters — arises out of
    • 1. The power to transcend paradigms
    Shantideva says: Consider changing your goals…
  • Example 2: A Moai Making Machine Statues …are …part of …our culture!
  • Example 2: A Moai Making Machine
    • Twelve Leverage Points
    • 12. Constants, parameters, numbers
    • 11. The size of buffers and other stabilizing stocks, relative to their flows
    • 10. The structure of material stocks and flows
    • 9. The length of delays, relative to the rate of system changes
    • 8. The strength of negative feedback loops, relative to the effect they are trying to correct against
    • 7. The gain around driving positive feedback loops
    • 6. The structure of information flow
    • 5. The rules of the system
    • 4. The power to add, change, evolve, or self-organize system structure
    • 3. The goals of the system
    • 2. The mindset or paradigm that the system — its goals, structure, rules, delays, parameters — arises out of
    • 1. The power to transcend paradigms
    Shantideva says: Consider changing your mindset…
  • Example 2: A Moai Making Machine Can’t …function …without statues!
  • Example 2: A Moai Making Machine
    • Twelve Leverage Points
    • 12. Constants, parameters, numbers
    • 11. The size of buffers and other stabilizing stocks, relative to their flows
    • 10. The structure of material stocks and flows
    • 9. The length of delays, relative to the rate of system changes
    • 8. The strength of negative feedback loops, relative to the effect they are trying to correct against
    • 7. The gain around driving positive feedback loops
    • 6. The structure of information flow
    • 5. The rules of the system
    • 4. The power to add, change, evolve, or self-organize system structure
    • 3. The goals of the system
    • 2. The mindset or paradigm that the system — its goals, structure, rules, delays, parameters — arises out of
    • 1. The power to transcend paradigms
    Shantideva says: Consider changing your paradigm…
  • How To Change? Applying The Leverage Points “ Whoever longs to rescue quickly both himself and others should practice the supreme mystery: exchange of self and other.” Shantideva Panel Presentation
  • A Recipe For Success
    • When failure is imminent:
    • Look for leverage points
    • Choose the most effective
    • Push, pull, or change it
    • Begin good times!
    • finding a leverage point
        • and
    • (ex) changing self-definition
    • does not
    • guarantee rescue
    Remember…
  • A Tale of Of Rescue Coda “ Whoever longs to rescue quickly both himself and others should practice the supreme mystery: exchange of self and other.” Shantideva Panel Presentation
  • Cyclone Zoe Devastates Tikopia in 2002 “ Cyclone Zoe hit remote Pacific islands Tikopia and Anuta (part of Solomon Islands) last weekend with winds estimated to have reached 350 kilometres per hour (220 mph).”
  • Rescue Arrives!
  •  
  • References & Citations
    • Can climate shape cultural development? A view through time
      • http://coombs.anu.edu.au/Depts/RSPAS/RMAP/haberle.htm
    • Twelve leverage points
      • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Places_to_intervene_in_a_system
    • Easter Island's End
      • http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/24/042.html
    • Easter Island
    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_Island
    • Places to Intervene in a System
      • http://www.wholeearthmag.com/ArticleBin/109.html
    • In Pictures: Cyclone Zoe
      • http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/2624193.stm
    • Help Save A Civilization
      • http://home.netcom.com/~yellowrose/tikopia/id13.html
    • Contact Points
    • Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/moJoe/it-seemed-like-the-thing-to-do-at-time-state-of-mind-and-failure
    • Email: [email_address]
    • Web: http://www.joelamantia.com
    • AIM: joelamant1a
    • MSN: joelamantia_@hotmail.com
  • Further Reading By Donella Meadows
    • Donella H. Meadows, Jorgen Randers and Dennis L. Meadows Limits to Growth-The 30 year Update , 2004, hardcover ISBN 1-931498-51-2
    • Dennis L. Meadows, Donella M. Meadows, Donella H. Meadows and Tzonis' Toward Global Equilibrium: Collected Papers , Pegasus Communications, 1973, hardcover ISBN 0-262-13143-9
    • Donella H. Meadows and J. M. Robinson, The Electronic Oracle: Computer Models and Social Decisions , John Wiley & Sons , 1985, hardcover, 462 pages, ISBN 0-471-90558-5 ・ Donella H. Meadows, Global Citizen , Island Press , 1991, paperback 197 pages, ISBN 1-55963-058-2
    • Donella H. Meadows, Limits to Growth: A Report for the Club of Rome's Project on the Predicament of Mankind , New American Library, 1977, paperback, ISBN 0-451-13695-0 ; Universe Books, hardcover, 1972, ISBN 0-87663-222-3 (scarce).
    • Donella H. Meadows, Beyond the limits ハ : global collapse or a sustainable future , Earthscan Publications , 1992, ISBN 1-85383-130-1
    • Dennis L. Meadows, Donella H. Meadows and Jorgen Randers, Beyond the Limits: Confronting Global Collapse, Envisioning a Sustainable Future , Chelsea Green Publishing , 1993, paperback, 320 pages, ISBN 0-930031-62-8
    • Donella H. Meadows, John Richardson and Gerhart Bruckmann, Groping in the Dark: The First Decade of Global Modelling , John Wiley & Sons , 1982, paperback, ISBN 0-471-10027-7
    • edited by Sandi Brockway, foreword by Marilyn Ferguson, introduction by Denis Hayes, preface by Donella H. Meadows, Macrocosm U. S. A.: Possibilities for a New Progressive Era... , Macrocosm , 1993, paperback, 464 pages, ISBN 0-9632315-5-3
    • Michael J. Caduto, foreword by Donella H. Meadows, illustrated by Joan Thomson, Pond and Brook: A Guide to Nature in Freshwater Environments , University Press of New England , 1990, paperback, 288 pages, ISBN 0-87451-509-2