Yesterday, Team Seattle ducked out of Friday Labs Git training to do our own group focus time on ‘What is Batchbook?’ We were all feeling concerned that we didn’t know how to organize all our information.
I liked that we all worked together to solve the problem. If we tried it alone, we wouldn’t have started to build a collective dialogue, or problem solve. I hope we do lots more of this. LOTS more of it. It’s awesome that we are all really good at what we do, and I think working as a group helps bring us together. I think more than anything, I want to be part of a team.
In the past, I’ve tried and tried to be in a team environment, but most of the personalities I have dealt with were pretty hard to feel team-like. I think this is all because of the assumption of specialization. This is why I detest specialization and I think I’m done with it and going to refuse to ever believe in it or support it. People aren’t machines. Some of us might like to do work, and sometimes we might want a break from extroversion - but! - we also like to be able to adjust and shift and grow.
Last night I watched Obama’s address for the Arizona shootings memorial. I like that our Code for America T-shirt is the binary version of “a more perfect union.” I think CFA staffer Abhi Nemani was right, Obama was totally on his game.
It’s pretty easy to assume that a society of heartless technocrats is architecting a borg-like universe for the sole purpose of extracting as much as possible from people. And that union could be a more perfect union with an efficient system…
BUT, that’s not really what most people are actually hoping for. I think Obama said it perfectly. In that version (his definition of “a perfect union”, progress is a perennial cycle of human life and growth towards being a better person, a better role model, and liberating people to be able to accomplish dreams - and help ourselves and those around us to be happy. Happy in the sense of satisfied and proud.
I often struggle that “progress” is seen as only material wealth. There’s not much point in worrying about that and trying to change others. It seems to me that working on your own stuff and behaving as you might expect others to behave - that’s pretty big. I think the rest follows.
This is my attempt at doing my homework:
(Seattle, if you are reading this, this isn’t a final version. We have meetings and will come to an agreement about what we’re doing. But we haven’t met yet. I’m just sharing for educational purposes.)
“I’m a Code for America fellow. Code for America is a new kind of public service. We’re partnering with the City of Seattle to improve how efficiently information can be conveyed between civic leaders and the City. We are spending a month in February, in Seattle, conducting interviews and learning as much as we can about the varied experiences of people who are already trying to communicate. This research will inform the technology solutions we make. February is really about meeting people and learning as much as we can about the problem. Ultimately, we will be suggesting and building technology tools to offer some sort of technology solution that addresses this problem.”
This pitch is a bit too long, and boring.
“I’m here in Seattle this month. We are interviewing people who work for the city and community organizers. We will be building a technology based solution to help improve communication.”
I usually like to try to write the 1 sentence version. I really only ever get to being able to rattle off the 1 sentence version if I talk to dozens of people. Just wait til February, I’ll totally have it down.