Invisible mess

First let me share 4 links and 1 story.

Was reading this interview with Aly Raisman.

Q: We’ve seen so many turnovers in leadership. Is it possible for USA Gymnastics to change, or will reforming the culture of the sport require a much broader overhaul of the governing body?

A: When I think about USA Gymnastics, I think it’s just, like, rotten from the inside out. It’s not a good organization. Perhaps there are some people who have the intention of doing the right thing, but I think the leadership at the top needs to be completely redone. The United States Olympic Committee is a disaster, too. It’s not just a problem in USA Gymnastics. I know that figure skaters and other athletes have spoken out about abuse. A lot of these organizations are corrupt, and the U.S. Olympic Committee is in charge of all of that. They need to hire people who actually care, who take this seriously, and they’re not.

It reminds me of this tweet from 2018 where an ex-Tesla employee shared an insider view of Tesla’s questionable technical decisions.


Sure, dude seems to be a bit sensation-seeking but you would’ve thought Tesla is built on top of mature engineering practices from day one instead of duct-taped half assed solutions. But hey, deadlines, tradeoffs, and charisma.

And then let me remind you of the recent controvery of church in Canada.

The churches were destroyed as Canada confronts its history of systemic abuse of Indigenous communities with the recent discoveries of hundreds of human remains at the sites of two former boarding schools, which were operated by Catholic religious groups.

Similar streak with what was uncovered in Ireland.

Fresh research suggests that some 796 children were secretly buried in the sewage tank of the home in Tuam, County Galway, where unmarried pregnant women were sent to give birth in an attempt to preserve the country’s devout Catholic image.

Then one last snip of story: I recently had an ex-direct report quit and 1 month later reached out wanting to come back because apparently the place he moved to (at a 100% salary increase) was a complete operational chaos. It’s pretty encouraging to know that things are silly here (magnified by the fact that I felt it’s my responsibility to put a solid support structure in place to make the work possible and enjoyable) but it’s actually sane enough compared to this competitor with a much shinier exterior.

So what? Let me dump my raw thoughts now.

It’s easy to get trapped in our own loop of reality and lost perspective.

We see only the imperfections of the systems we are participating in, and assumes the grass is greener on the other side. We see other’s highlight reel and we present, publish, share our own highlight reels. We only know our own behind-the-scenes and we think everyone else has got it figured out.

We thought our own country’s leaders are the worst. We judge judge judge. We don’t know what we don’t even know. Heck, we barely pay attention to these.

There are patchworks and emergency plumbing everywhere. Tech debt, hundreds of discarded takes, hours of training and experimenting.

We only have insider’s view of our mediocre reality and elusive accomplishments that became our new baseline in 5 seconds while gluing ourselves 24/7 to a shiny parade of the world’s best and the worst. We ooh and aah-ed at overnight successes and forget about the invisible process.

Feeling disillusioned? Good. No system, no situation, and no one is perfect. Get out of your cave and pick your shit sandwich.

To end on a more positive note: Ship your imperfect work now. If Tesla can operate with so many technical debt and slowly improving them, there is no reason you can’t. Perfection takes iteration. Make it work, make it beautiful, make it fast.

Also published on Medium.

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