After meeting Woody in a number of workshops and presentations about MOB programming, it was an unique and interesting opportunity to watch him talk about a different topic. He gave an inspiring talk about randomness, confirmation bias, serendipity, learning, experimenting, or as he called it “stumbling purposely and purposeful stumbling”. All of these coming from his own life experience, with a melange of personal stories, wise words and simply beautiful drawings.

What follows next are some of my random notes taken during the presentation and book references he mentioned.

apophenia = tendency to seek patterns in random information.

confirmation bias – we value information that agrees with what we already believe over opinions and data that disagrees with our beliefs

So convenient a thing to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for every thing one has a mind to do. – Benjamin Franklin

It ain’t so much the things we don’t know that get us in trouble. It’s the things we know that ain’t so. – Artemus Ward


serendipity:

  • what if we could increase the chances of it
  • what if we would be willing to embrace it when we see it?

The value of another’s experience is to give us hope, not to tell us how or whether to proceed. – Peter Block

I’m not a thought leader, I am just stumbling in the right direction

“Stumbling purposely and purposeful stumbling”

Perturbing the system


The buffet:

  • take a bit of a number of things, try each one
  • go back for more of the things you like
  • and take a bit of something new to try “each trip”

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