Naive Principles

It Takes A Lifetime To Paint Like A Child

Kristoffer Tjalve
Another Monday, Another Naive Weekly - Curated stories on Technology and Internet Culture.

Many of you reading this newsletter are shaping digital products used by hundreds, thousands, millions and even billions of people. You are developers, designers, copywriters, investors, founders and product managers. Each with your own toolbox, each with your own set of best-practices shaped by years of hands-on experience.

I’ve noticed that people often reflect on their young selves as naive; lacking the experience, wisdom and judgment that comes with age. Being naive rings with negative connotations and offers a stark contrast to the sophisticated and enlightened person they have grown to become; the person who knows how the world runs from a real-world-pragmatic point of view.

But the pragmatic position is rarely what get us started. We do not kickstart our journey because we are sceptic and experienced, but rather because we are over-trusting, ignorant and starry-eyed.

People have called me naive more than once. I think it is something else than a lack of experience in building, designing and creating products, I think it is a way of thinking about the world. To dare believe in utopia, to dare trusting in humans, to dare show vulnerabilities. At least that is what I tell myself.

Ten Naive Principles

Below is the very first draft of ten principles for utopian communities. Drafted together with twenty participants at a workshop Severin and I hosted at last year’s IAM Weekend.

  • Exitness

    We spend countless hours and significant money in convincing people to join our party. But when did you last time think of the goodbye? Log-off, unsubscribe and delete account are the digital fire escape, build them first.

  • Randomness

    It has never been easier to feed people’s fears and desires. It has never been easier to confirm people’s biases. But sometimes the easy way is not the right way. Build your products around trust in randomness, create spaces for divergent opinions and let inspiration bubble.

  • Interoperationalness

    You can defend your land by creating walls, but you can also defend your land by not starting wars. Dare to let your competitors become collaborators and allow your users to define when to pull the curtains for themselves.

  • Facelessness

    Let people be strangers. Let people decide when to knock on your door and introduce themselves. Let people leave your house and become strangers again.

  • Humanness

    When the building is taller than four storeys it starts to be hard to recognize the faces of people passing by on the street. It is also hard for the parents to call the kids on the pavement. We could fit the entire human population into one chatroom, but I’m doubtful if anyone would get any meaning out of 7.7 billion people writing at the same time. Build digital services and tools for human-sizes, and human-limits.

  • Goallessness

    What is the call to action? If we asked this question in every aspect of our lives, how would we play, love, learn and socialize? Not all games should be played for winning, some games should be played for playing.

  • Laterness

    Crafting urgency is an effective way in nudging behaviour. It is also an effective way in shifting priorities. But do you want people to use the tools you are creating because of limited-time-only offers that fits your quarterly defined growth targets?

I’m not good with numbers. I only wrote seven principles.

Five Stories on Technology and Internet Culture

  1. Selfies as a Second Language

    I’m uncomfortable of taking selfies. Meanwhile I’m comfortable looking at myself in mirror. For people born with the front-facing camera of the smartphone in their hands, selfies are second nature, used to communicate with each other instead of text. It all makes sense and Eugene Wei did a good job explaining it.

  2. What is TikTok?

    One of the apps that is taking selfies and self-recording to another level is TikTok. There are reportedly 500M TikTok users. If you like me still haven’t explored the world of TikTok, this New York Times article is a solid introduction that also offers thoughts on how it marks a new direction for online conversations focused on global topics and challenges.

  3. Under the Influence of a Super Bloom

    When I backpacked around SE Asia 10 years ago I started to think about Lonely Planet cities. Those were cities mentioned in Lonely Planet as a good location for a specific purpose, e.g. Hoi An in Vietnam that was mentioned as the best place to get a tailormade suit or Ubud in Indonesia recommended as a place to do a yoga-retreat. These cities would basically only be about that one thing. In comparison with Instagram, Lonely Planet is nothing. This article about how a super bloom and Instagram completely transforms a small city is worth to reflect upon.

  4. Do One Thing Every Day That an Algorithm Didn’t Choose For You

    The title says it all.

  5. Spotify vs Apple - Apple’s Response

    The other week Spotify launched a lobby campaign called Time to Play Fair addressing Apple’s position in the music streaming business. I remember watching the video and thinking ‘meh’. It is odd, because usually I’d side with the underdog, but while Apple surely is playing two games at the same time, I honestly think Apple has the upper hand in this argumentation. Where are you standing?

Naive Weekly

Hi, I’m Kristoffer and I’m one of the founders of co-matter. You just read Naive Weekly - Curated stories on Technology and Internet Culture. Thanks to the five Naive Friends who chip in every month or year to support me making time to write this newsletter: Nikolaj, Dries, Mikkel, Tina & Angela!

If you are looking for podcast inspiration, I can highly recommend Severin’s latest episode of The Community Podcast featuring Claire Evans telling the story of the women who built the internet. At least a handful of readers made that episode possible. First Nynne and Tina made me aware of Claire. Later Martin booked her to speak at Techfestival. Finally Sabina helped Severin polish and share the episode.