Small flip, big impact.

I like to frame problems in such a way that I look at them from all sides. Then I go looking for the smallest thing that makes the biggest impact.

As a little game, I sometimes put my mind to work solving something that’s largely outside my sphere of influence.

This morning, I saw Meryl Streep’s speech. It moved me and it oriented me for a while towards what to do about democracy in the USA. Just one of today’s thought experiments.

The simplest thing I could think of is that the ACLU starts to raise and distribute funds for three things towards the next Presidential election:

  • reimburse every eligible voter the cost of a photo ID if they can’t afford one;
  • lobby corporations and organisations to give all workers paid time off to vote;
  • reimburse workers for the time it takes to vote in the case they don’t get paid leave.

This requires no change to the larger system. It simply works with what is there. And it could produce a sea change.

On cue, the doorbell rang. A box of books. From Seth. Title: “What to do when it’s your turn? (And it’s always your turn)”

The pricing is set in such a way that you would never buy 1. Because he designed it that way: he wants it to spread. I bought 3. And then he sent me 5.

Now I am writing about it. And recommending it: you can buy yours here. Why do I go as far as “advertising” it? It’s a good book. And because Seth eats his own dog food: he continues to earn his tribe’s trust. Including mine. It’s also a really well executed example of this “small flip, big impact” thinking I am talking about here.

What’s the smallest thing you can do to make the biggest impact?

Another way to get the book: I’ll give you one if you take me for a (virtual) coffee to discuss a meaningful problem we can work on together. Come find me.

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