All posts by Merrill III

I Am Writing A Musical

What’s the next logical thing for me to do? Write a musical, of course.

Started almost 5 years ago, “Annie Get Your Scrum” is a tale of personal struggle, communal dynamics, and software development, of course.

In the course of writing my book, I’ve come to realize that the purpose of the book may have been already accomplished by a purpose of this blog! In learning about who I am and who I want to be, I have written about messages like:

And what’s a conclusion I’ve come to, almost 5 years ago?

Of course.

And thus, I surrender to my playful & silly & punny nature, drawn to create in a curious area where two of my gifts meet: music & Agility.

What’s the next logical thing for you to do?

I Am Writing A Book

If you’ve been reading this blog, you’ll notice that I haven’t been posting much lately.

If you’ve been writing this blog, you’ll notice that I haven’t been posting much lately, either, but you’re OK with it, since you’ve been prioritizing the rest of life, and since the role of this creative outlet is one of journal, where you think through your journey, aloud. This open ruminating on the odd intersection of personal development and Agility ultimately serves me. I am unabashedly the target audience.

(But he said in the title that he’s writing a book… tell us about THAT!) Continue reading

A High Bar for Product Culture

My daughter is in the phase where she’s always asking me “why?”, so she asks me, “Why do you go to work?” …and I hate how a toddler has given me so much pause… because I don’t like my answer.

Here’s a window into an internal struggle:

Do you work for a company with an inspiring vision? Why the heck not? And why do you choose to spend your days contributing to a group that’s not improving humanity?

And now, here’s my struggle as I iterate on my Agility:

Why continue to focus on how things are being built & done when what we are building & doing is not improving humanity?

What do I tell my 2-year-old daughter? Continue reading

Letters at the End of Your Name

It takes a special kind of idiot to go from point A to point B in a tank-top, short shorts, and gloves.

That’s right. In high school (the prep school half of it), I was on the cross-country team.

Why was I on said team, you might ask? (I’m so glad you might asked!)

On campus, of lush green grass & trees in the bustling metropolis barely-more-than-a-post-office town of Byfield, I would be seen jogging to class, as a result of leaving to said class at the last responsible moment. It never occurred to me that this was an abnormal ambulatory mode until someone mentioned, on my way, in my way, to said class, that I should join said team.

One year, one of the perks of said team was the track jacket.

That year, one of the perks of said jacket was the last name stitched onto the right sleeve.

That year, one of the perks of said sleeve was that mine said, Continue reading

Hate the Self-Help Genre?

Hate how positive & fake-feeling the self-help genre can seem?

Then read this longer New Yorker article: Improving Ourselves to Death by Alexandra Schwartz. It’s an impressive survey & criticism.

Self-help advice reflects the beliefs and priorities of the era that spawned it.

In the January 15, 2018 issue, it’s fitting for those who ponder New Year’s Resolutions, which she addresses, and then she covers:

  • The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg
  • SuperBetter, by Jane McGonigal
  • Grit: the Power of Passion and Perseverance, by Angela Duckworth
  • Smarter Better Faster, by Charles Duhigg
  • The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne
  • Desperately Seeking Self-Improvement: A Year Inside the Optimization Movement, by Carl Cederström and André Spicer
  • The Wellness Syndrome, by Carl Cederström and André Spicer
  • Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers, by Tim Ferriss
  • Selfie: How We Became So Self-Obsessed and What It’s Doing to Us, by Will Storr
  • You Do You: How to Be Who You Are and Use What You’ve Got to Get What You Want, by Sarah Knight (my blog post on her TED Talk)
  • Stand Firm: Resisting the Self-Improvement Craze, by Svend Brinkmann

Ending with Stoicism, this reminds me of my buddy Jesse, and what’s surely his addition to the above:

  • The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking, by Oliver Burkeman

So what’s the answer?

There’s a lot of different ones in the article. I’m currently looking into Stoicism.