Note 87: Who makes things happen so you can make things happen?
And, be still, my beating Earth…
Whatever our job, we are never there just to make things happen, but also to keep things—the wrong kind—from happening.
The problem with that is we don’t tend to notice when things go right. We assume that’s what should happen. This past couple of weeks alone, my deliveries have included coffee from Pact, Faith in Nature shampoo and conditioner, souvlakis on Deliveroo—and today, my preordered copy of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Each has gone entirely without event, allowing me to move on to whatever’s next.
Except something goes wrong.
Like, recently, when I was assured a moisturiser I’d ordered on Amazon was delivered, but I never saw it. I did get refunded and was able to re-order, but not everyone is so lucky. All that to say, we notice when things go wrong—as we should because then we can do something about it. And we get understandably upset when they stay wrong.
It’s worth taking time to be glad for all the times things go right and for all the people who help keep our lives uneventful.
I used to know someone who thought they should only give five stars to couriers and cab drivers who went above and beyond. This person thought there was no need to give them more than 3 or 4 for “just doing their job.”
I disagreed then, and still do. People doing their job isn’t a “just.” As I mentioned ina previous essay, good enough is good enough. And sure, delight is great, but let’s not sneer at uneventful experiences. And making that happen are countless people taking on a bunch of complexity to ensure we get simplicity.
To quote the best definition of admin I’ve ever heard, from a friend years ago:
Admins are the people who make things happen for the people who make things happen.
Keeping things uneventful is no small feat. So over the next week, consider taking a minute to thank the people in your life who keep things moving and without drama—the people who make things happen for you to make things happen. And maybe also consider what you can help make happen for them.
And I hope you, too, are appreciated for whatever ways you do that for others.
Speaking of making things happen—consider sharing this with a friend!… 😃👇🏾
🍎 Apple, Nintendo and you (again)
Well, not really “again”. I talked about Apple and Nintendo in my 84th Note, and I said I’d be expanding my ideas on the subject into an essay. Well, it’s up now, and even nicer, it’s been boosted on Medium, which is always lovely—a little signal that someone thinks what I shared deserves a bit more attention. After spending three weeks composing the essay, I can assure you any extra validation is welcome!
Here’s an excerpt from near the start of the essay:
The greatest over the latest
“A delayed game is eventually good. A bad game is bad forever.”— Shigeru Miyamoto
Both companies prioritise delivering great experiences at a profit. Note those last five words: great experience at a profit. You see what’s missing there, don’t you?
The two companies are obsessed with delivering great experiences, but you know what else they take very seriously? Making money. And all the more because both have historically come close to closing shop.
You know the saying, “Fast, good, cheap — pick two”? In this case, it’s more like, “Experience, specs, profit — pick two.”
Read the whole thing here: Apple and Nintendo Succeed by “Being Human”
🌍 Regular Earth vibes
I recently came across the weirdest, most intruiging tidbit of information—the kind that feels like it could be the start of some fascinating sci-fi, except it’s all entirely real. And yes, I got intrigued enough to follow it into a rabbit hole. I learned it courtesy of Andrew Alli on Twitter (protected account), and it goes thus:
Every 26 seconds, like clockwork, a tiny vibration occurs in the earth, from just off the coast of Nigeria.
And by tiny, I mean so tiny, it wasn’t discovered until 1961—six decades ago— by researcher Jack Oliver, who later helped prove continental drift. And get this—he did it all with paper records! He worked out that these vibes were stronger in what would be summer in the UK, and that their source was somewhere in the Atlantic. But the research went forgotten until 2011 when it was traced more specifically to the Bight of Bonny.
And it gets stranger. You see, no one agrees on what’s causing it: one theory argues for waves hitting the coast, another for volcanoes, but neither explains why it doesn’t happen anywhere else.
It’s very curious stuff, and I love how reality is so often as strange as anything we could make up—and sometimes even stranger. (Want more on this? Start with this 2020 article.)
I’ll leave you with a great XKCD comic that has fun with the idea:
Before you go, join (or invite a friend to) the 600+ people receiving Notes on Being Human weekly!
It’s always good and nice to be appreciative ‘cos it gives good impression of how we feel about what was done to us. One good turn deserves another they say. Moreover, sign of appreciation booster upcoming actions. Also, many thanks for taking us down the geographic memory lane.👍👏
There’s a kaiju off the coast of Nigeria, got it.