Note — Jun 07, 2020

Managing Abyss Gaze In a Time of Difficult Futures

Although focused on practitioners in the fields of research, strategy, forecasting, and similar, I think this piece by Scott Smith offers valuable recommendations for anyone having to pay a lot of attention to what’s coming, something most readers here likely have / want to do. Smith proposes things like balancing the load with a network (I’m not doing enough of that), finding new voices, maintaining some distance from the data, skipping the rabbit holes, and looking up once in a while.

Your goal is not to imbibe all the information available and give yourself a data hangover, it’s to develop and improve your ability to taste the important (and relevant) notes. This ability to scan at arm’s length takes on new importance when the news itself becomes difficult to digest. […]

Networking a group with diverse interests, tolerances, knowledge of industry dialects and players, and strategically spread across time zones can work together to keep their eyes on the landscape, and save any one person from burning out on breadth, depth, and span of material. […]

Since the pandemic struck, we’ve found connecting broader networks of curious minds to be more effective. WhatsApp groups, various Slacks, and Discord instances have been useful, as they provide space for discussion of various stories and signals, and debate about emerging narratives. […]

[S]mart contrarians not seeking to be edgelords but intelligently challenge conventional wisdom, and most definitely people not like us who can share their analysis of the world from a different position. […]

Keeping a constant check on the filter bubble is critical, and this churn of insights is incredibly valuable in keeping our own views fresh, challenged, and informed in ways we can’t inform ourselves.