A change of perspective is worth 80 IQ points

We’ve all done it–struggled over some problem until a frustrating end of the day. But after “sleeping on it” and stepping into a hot shower, a breakthrough idea pops up, as if out of nowhere. This often comes from getting too close to the problem. A little distance can make a decisive difference.

The quotation from the title is attributed to computer scientist and all-around deep thinker Alan Kay. And it’s more true now than ever before.

In my career across lots of big-name and smaller companies, I’ve often deployed this aphorism to help nudge folks out of a self-imposed box that was putting up barriers to effective problem-solving. After all, possibly the worst use of time for a bunch of brainy folks is to expend significant effort towards elegantly solving the wrong problem.

Although I’ve worked at a number of places, I’ve never quite fit in. Although I didn’t know it at first, there’s a word for this: “generalist.” On the other hand, pretty much every job posting dwells on the qualifications for whatever specialist fits a particular job description. So instead of continuing the chase, I’m offering a timeslice of my curious, contrarian, neurodivergent, peregrine mind toward interesting problems that are out there.

Curious about my perspective? Let’s talk.

(Featured image generated with Bing Image Creator. All text 100% free-range human written.)

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