Sep 17, 2019 • 2M

Klosterman's Razor

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Bite-sized frequent episodes, Stoic Designer is about applying the practice of stoicism to your design work as a means to benchmark the day, get your head right, and craft virtuously.
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By recommendation on twitter I’m reading But What If We’re Wrong? Thinking About The Present As If It Were The Past by Chuck Klosterman who talks about our inability to predict.

I think he meant it as a joke but early in the book he describes how Occam’s Razor — the principle that the simplest solution is probably the right one — doesn’t work with predicting the future, and instead suggests Klosterman’s Razor:

The best hypothesis is the one that reflexively accepts its potential wrongness to begin with.

Stoic design teaches us to allow for this. When we are motivated by an insight from user feedback to do a thing, we not only agree that our insight or our solution could be wrong, we prepare a contingency.

This is the premeditatio malorum principle - prepare for the worst, hope for the best. That contingency might just be a follow-up iteration — if our tweaks and experiments are sufficiently small then iteration is the default contingency — but large feature launches should be coupled with plans to roll those features back if something goes wrong.

Craft virtuously.

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Remember that design is not art, but a practice.

Michael Schofield