Note — Mar 13, 2022

World Building

World building and storytelling are two of those over-exposed words but don’t let that make you skip over, it’s a good piece by Alex Danco on using world building around projects. As you might have guessed from the issue two weeks back, labels, groups, pods, and communities have been on my mind, even more so following two good chats this week. Here Danco is talking more about a company setting but it can definitely be read for a variety of perspectives. Offering a variation on “everyone works in sales, even if they don’t realize it,” he argues that “everyone’s job is world-building, even if they don’t realize it,” which is even better tailored for a “world of abundant narrative and complex choices.” Everyone likes a good story, and even better if it’s set in a captivating ‘world’ that people can be drawn to and want to participate in, so how do you create something that attracts and mobilizes? The piece mixes systems thinking, complexity, time, purpose, and he closes with a few metaphors to get us thinking on what to address.

The more complex or valuable is whatever you’re trying to sell, the more important it is for you to build a world around that idea, where other people can walk in, explore, and hang out – without you having to be there with them the whole time. You need to build a world so rich and captivating that others will want to spend time in it, even if you’re not there. […]

If you want to change how a system works, and move the system into a new steady state that’s closer to your goal, sequential effort won’t do much. What you need is parallel effort: you need several different things to happen, all at the same time, for the system to actually move in the direction that you want and stay there. […]

Initially you’ll have to walk them around and show them what’s in your world, but your goal is to familiarize them with your world sufficiently, and motivate them to participate, to the point that they can spend time in your world and build stuff in it without you having to be there all the time.