Leave It Better Than You Found It

Last week I wrote about the social club idea I launched with local friends:

I Swear It’s Not Old School

The spirit of this project is to unlock serendipity and growth from the informal yet material bonds that glue a community together.

It’s an instance of a more abstract idea — not all of our values can be measured and of course not all of the things we measure have value.

Check this out:

Fairness is overrated and bragging is underrated (6 min read)

This post resonates not so much because I was interested in co-living (although with my in-laws moving in next door we are in the process of cutting a hole in the fence so the kids can go back and forth!) but I like experiments in motivation. Experiments in appealing to the multitudes within us and the needs that get neglected because they are more squishy than conventional legible desires.

Suppose you live in a house with strangers. It’s typical to designate responsibility with a chore wheel. But what if we re-framed the responsibility as a “brag sheet”? This article provides some experimental models for motivating any group that shares common goals. While it admits that these experiments do not make sense at scale it wonders how many examples abound that lazily accept the large-scale solution.

  • How big can a network become before its governance needs to change?
  • At small scale do we borrow too much from large-scale architecture forgetting that the trade-offs that exist at a large scale may not apply at the smaller one?
  • Choosing a “brag sheet” over a chore wheel may be an example of low-hanging fruit that applies to everything from co-living to motivating our children.

At some scale, overbearing rules might be necessary to impose order. But it would be nice if we could adhere to a simple maxim: leave it better than you found it.

That’s my attitude to the internet. Thanks for helping me.

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