My Favourite Letters from More Letters of Note

Book Cover of More Letters of Note!

1. Let us blaze new trails

Our agency is getting big. That’s something to be happy about. But it’s something to worry about, too, and I don’t mind telling you I’m damned worried. I’m worried that we’re going to fall into the trap of bigness, that we’re going to worship techniques instead of substance, that we’re going to follow history instead of making it…

A really interesting letter about how, as organisations grow, the original culture erodes.

It reminds me of this clip on “Why companies fail” from Steve Jobs - The Lost Interview.

2. I don’t enjoy this war one bit

Maybe what I want to hear is that this prenominate war is natural and necessary and a sign of Towering Intellect: maybe I want a pep-talk, because I have to tell you I don’t enjoy this war one bit. I think my fiction is better than it was, but writing is also less Fun than it was. I have a lot of dread and terror and inadequacy-shit, now, when I’m trying to write. I didn’t used to. Maybe the terror is part of the necessary reverence, and maybe it’s an inescapable part of the growing-up-as-a-writer-or-whatever process; but it can’t – cannot – be the goal and terminus of that process. In other words there must be some way to turn terror into Respect and dread into a kind of stolidly productive humility.

This certainly feels true to me.

I used to spin up a new Rails app on an almost weekly basis to try out an idea or learn a new technique. My programing skills are now far better than they’ve ever been, but I can’t remember the last time I felt excited about a new app in the same way as I used to.

I think now the fun is more in doing less, but with higher quality.