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Be Bold

Cricket+Facebook=Security

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Cricket+Facebook=Security

Have you ever wondered “How long would it take for security to show up if you were to pull into Facebook’s corporate headquarters in Menlo Park with a Cricket Trailer, unhitch it, push it into a parking spot, start popping the roof, and wind down the steadies?”

Well, we have an answer.

It’s a little less than two minutes.

But to give the security guy credit he was on a bike, someone had to see us on CCTV, wonder what the bloody hell we were up to, communicate it to him, and then he had to find us. Two minutes in that context is a pretty rapid response. Kudos to Facebook security!

Once we explained to him that we were there to see Tim Campos the CIO, and yes we were planning on meeting him in the parking lot—in the Cricket, that had transformed into a mobile-blitzing-lab-come-conference-center he was mightily impressed, and as the Cricket is now a giant dry erase board Greg wrote “Approved by FB security” on the front and we were good to go (that apparently is all it takes!).

We then had to convince Tim’s executive assistant that we were not going to kidnap one of the most influential CIO’s in the world, we're pretty sure he was only 22% joking about that.  Upon inspection, he agreed that our conference room was far superior to any on their campus* and he went inside to return with Tim.

*He may not have said that, but it was pretty obvious what he was thinking!

Greg had used his illustrative talents to draw, amongst many things, a picture of Tim on the side of the Cricket along with his quote: 

“Technology matters, but talent matters more”. 

Some people, like John Bielenberg for instance ;), might have thought such a thing creepy, weird and slightly stalker-esq… conversely we thought it mildly sidesplitting and with John being in Maine at the time, what was he going to do about it?

Mercifully, Tim’s team saw the hilarity, and he himself was impressed that he’d said such wise words.

Tim Campos and the Cricket Trailer

To the meeting itself, is there a better environment in which to describe a Blitz than a hacked Cricket, that was born from a Blitz, out in a parking lot, sipping delightfully chilled REBBL tonic (born from another Blitz), from the onboard refrigerator? Let’s examine:

  • Be Bold: We think showing up in a Cricket adorned with the CIO’s face on the side is pretty bold.
  • Get Out: Well yeah—not only did we get out, but we gave the Facebook team the opportunity to get out of their environment too, to be receptive and invite serendipity.
  • Let Go: This was most definitely not the same old same old meeting!
  • Make Stuff: We were sitting in a space that was living testament to making, and the Facebook team engaged having fun with the physical space, playing with the writable surfaces and the Cricket itself.
  • Bet Small: The worse thing that could have happened is thinking it was a little weird and having the meeting in a conference room instead.
  • Move Fast: The Cricket was still a Cricket until a week before, and we had no way of moving it. Plus, it is a conference room that can go about 70mph—that’s a pretty fast conference room.

There was serendipity of doing all this at Facebook whose culture fosters the traits of blitzing and the Think Wrong Practices themselves, and we're thankful the team was more than willing to return serve with us, how’d the meeting turn out? 

You’ll just have to wait and see.

P.S. If we did it again, we would put beer in the cooler!

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Cricket+Hack=Facebook

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Cricket+Hack=Facebook

What happens when a Cricket Trailer finds itself within sight of a blitz? 

Uh-oh…

Solve Next friend, founder of Taxa, and inventor of the distinctly awesome Cricket Trailer Garrett Finney lent Project M one of his early Crickets to use in their adventures. Via the M-ers inHALE effort said Cricket ended up at The Think Wrong Lab, where it collided with the Future Mavericks and their Blitz.

One of the moonshots conceived in their Blitzing the Blitz Blitz was Milk—a mobile rapid ingenuity lab.

Huh, what existing resource do we have that’s mobile and already ingenious to make a small bet?

Oooo – a Cricket Trailer!

We had 5 Mavs for 5 days, and Mav Anthony hanging around for a little longer. Sweet. Let’s do it! Let’s hack the Cricket. We had no collective experience in doing this sort of thing—how hard could it be?

Here’s where we started… we gutted the Cricket.

We took out all the seats, rewired it, moved the batteries to provide room to accommodate 10 people, all while not losing utility so that John could use it on “expeditions” (his words, John clearly is  unfamiliar with a hitched Jetta’s ground clearance).

Speaking of hitches, here’s one—you’ll note I wrote Garret lent us the Cricket, but here’s what John had said “Garrett GAVE us the Cricket”— what he meant to say was “Garrett gave us the Cricket TO USE”, five letters, big difference in meaning!

Thankfully, Garrett was beyond agreeable telling us to “go mad” —good, after the fact, given what we’d already done!

 We primed, sanded and finished the exterior turning it into one giant dry erase board using IdeaPaint.

By the time we were done, we’d converted the interior walls and hanging table-come bed into white boards, added a projector screen, storage for our blitzing accouterments, and seating for 10—and John could still be expeditionary. 

So what does this have to do with Facebook?

It’s Tuesday and Anthony added a potted plant as a finishing touch before heading home to Kansas City. We’ve never towed it, the Jetta still doesn’t have a hitch, we don’t know what it takes to get one (it’s more than you think!), and the Cricket looks insane. Greg and I have, what we consider to be, a brilliant idea for an incredibly important meeting with Tim Campos, the CIO of Facebook and his team on Friday.

John’s response to our brilliant idea, “Is that a good idea?”. When John—the conceiver of Think Wrong—verbalizes concern regarding the potential wrongness of our thinking you’d think we’d pause.

We didn’t.

What could possibly go wrong?

Find out what happened next in our next blog post!

*** For a different perspective check out Anthony's blog here — it's where we stole a bunch of pictures from ***

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A Boy Named Sue

Think Wrong Shel Silverstein

This post is courtesy of Solve Next collaborator Adam Butler. Shel Silverstein was definitely a natural wrong thinker. He was never one to play things politically correct. Hell, he wrote the Johnny Cash hit "A Boy Named Sue".

If you grew up in the 70s, you likely grew up with his poems. They are infused with an utter lack of appreciation for the status quo and plenty of sardonic truth about human nature—a timeless combo. I read them to my sons now.

We all laugh a lot at the absurdity of his situations and his spunky images. But sometimes my mind drifts, and I end up chasing the depth of Shel's words. And just when I arrive at the understanding my boys yell "Read another one!"

This poem by Shel is for you.

shelsilverstein

Goodness, innovation, and creativity always lie off the beaten path, so start there. Anything can be—if you are willing to Be Bold.

Thinking Wrong begins where the sidewalk ends.

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The Toxic MBA

Think wrong about toxic MBAs

The problem-solving orthodoxies they teach you in business school kill ingenuity. Greg Galle explains why at TEDxGrandRapids.

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I Have a Green Watch

green_watch_think_wrong

This post is courtesy of Solve Next co-founder, Mike Burn 

Why fit in when you were born to stand out?―Dr. Seuss

“Your glasses are too funky, your shirts are too loud and your watch is too green. If you want to succeed here you should try ‘mirroring’ the executives, you’ll be a VP in a year."

This sage, enlightening, and simultaneously horrific statement was given to me once as well-meaning career advice. My advisor even got more specific, suggesting I go to Brooks Brothers and spend $300 at the sale rack. The most tragic aspect of this advice? It was absolutely spot on.

Obviously I didn’t go off and do it; it sounded more like part of a sick and twisted sociological experiment than career advice.

But what is so threatening about a green watch?

I am genuinely amazed by the number of people who comment on my watch—it’s started many a conversation. The comments fall into three categories:

• observational - “You have a green watch.” • contemptuous - “You have a green watch?” • aspirational - “You can have a green watch!”

I’m not raising the stereotyping associated with this watchism to a level of hateful prejudice here—but it does seem to be an effective technique for identifying close mindedness. Stereotyping and closed mindedness being symptoms of groupthink, and its associated desire for conformity. The next stage of this cycle is self-censorship, with the peer pressure asserted against deviant watch-wearing behavior bringing about the switch to a more consensus-driven timepiece. A tried-and-true, gold, with a brown leather strap edition perhaps?

Once the pattern of morality, peer pressure and group belief in what is right and appropriate is in place, the status quo and uniformity get continually reinforced. The guards are in place to prevent both outside and internal dissent.

The drift towards homogeneity starts. The watch, the blue shirt, the pleated khakis and the shiny slip-on shoes with brass ended tassels, then the Brooks Brothers sales rack, and the mirroring, and the promotion, the title, the success. And once you’ve made it, don’t rock the boat, don’t speak out, don’t stand up, just go along to get along, we all agree, we’re all on the same page, we know how to do this, everything is just fine as it is—and don’t let the crazy dude with the green watch in.

Of course, this is not just about watches—this is about ideas and thinking wrong. And incidentally...the green watch at the top of this post belongs to another Solve Next collaborator, Marty Butler. Coincidence?

Solve Next is on the lookout for places where green watches are challenging the status quo. Green watch = thinking wrong. Check it out here.

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