Early in 2022, I did something radical for me.  I stopped almost everything:  blogging, public speaking, social media, and writing for other publications.  I was tired of all the noise generated about remote work, the promise of hybrid work (that didn’t work out, did it?), and all the hundreds of overnight remote experts shouting from the virtual rooftops.

What I missed

After a few months, I asked myself, “What did I miss?”  Here is what I came up with:

  • writing (it’s become such a useful way for me to organize my thoughts and sometimes help others with their thinking). Thanks to Johanna Rothman for introducing me to this valuable habit.
  • communicating with people who have problems with how they work and are ready to solve them (not everyone is)
  • collaborating (being a solo entrepreneur can be lonely and I always value bouncing ideas off of others and hearing their ideas)

What I didn’t miss

  • conference / meetup talks where I do all the talking - I really like questions in the middle of my talks.  I want to make sure people are engaged and it helps me stay engaged with the people.  Anything with pre-recorded talks is off my list now.  Any meetup that is highly structured and discourages interaction is off my list now as it doesn’t help me or the audience.
  • webinars and workshops where people have become accustomed to “edutainment”.  I may save an explanation for a future blog post, but I bet some of you know what I mean.

What I did with the learning

I took a hard look at places where I could communicate, collaborate and write about where I feel the future of work will move and how I’m experimenting toward that.  While I have a full-time job again with a fully remote organization (and enjoying it), my experimentation platform, K5 Labs, is still in action, and I’ll offer opportunities for you to experiment with me.  Stay tuned.

It’s also why I’m shifting my newsletter to Substack. Substack is focusing more on writers and how writers can collaborate with their community.  You will be able to comment directly on these newsletters, and easily share them with friends. Hopefully, we can influence each other on what the future of work might be.  I believe that future will be different for all of us.  There is no single future solution for all.

What surprised me: There is a “thing” called Subtraction Neglect

Since I cut out many things from my digital diet of online consumption, I missed the Feb 2022 HBR article called When Subtraction Adds Value.  It talks about a recently discovered phenomenon called “subtraction neglect”.  In short, we have a difficult time removing things from our lives to make things better.  When faced with a problem, our twenty-first-century minds jump to the question, “What can I add to make this better?”  But addition is not always better.  Sometimes, the simplest solution means you need to take something away.  (A huge thank you to Dan Blank’s newsletter on introducing me to the concept.)

I did add one thing: new collaborators

I was asked earlier this year to join the faculty of Modus Institute.  I’ll share more about that later, but let’s say that this collaboration strongly fulfills my needs for communicating, collaborating, and writing.  

Please bear with me as I get back into a rhythm of writing.  I have many ideas I have to share and I look forward to hearing what you think.

Go well,

Mark Kilby

P.S. I found this video that is a great 7 minute summary of subtraction neglect that I thought you might like.