Recent changes

2024-03-18 22:05:28 +0100 +0100


On a bit of a whim, I picked up and read through Slow Productivity. I found parts of it insightful but was struggling to see how it would really apply to e.g. my workplace and more particularly within an engineering group of a few hundred people.

By coincidence, I read this part of Zonal Marking recently and it seemed relevant–not entirely sure if it's a counterpoint or a complement to what Slow Productivity advocates, but I thought I'd share it, as it aligns more with my view about productivity as a collective rather than individual endeavour:

For all Juventus's superstars during the mid- to late- 1990s, it's those underrated, jack-of-all-trades, versatile squad players who best exemplify the nature of Italian football. Lippi could depend on four players who would struggle to identify their best position, something that would be considered a sign of weakness elsewhere but was very much a virtue in Serie A. […] 'Every year we sold our best players, but the backbone of the squad stayed', remembered Lippi. 'And when new players would arrive and wouldn't work hard, players like Di Livio or Torricelli would put an arm around them and say, "Here, we never stop, come on!" […]

This quartet of players were workers rather than geniuses, with a single year of Serie A experience between them upon their arrival at Juventus. […] 'It's not just the real quality players like Zinedine Zidane or Del Peiro that captured everyone's attention, […] but tough, wily defenders, guys nobody's ever heard of, who closed space down, timed their tackles to perfection, were instinctively in the right cover positions and read the game superbly.' (Michael Cox, Zonal Marking, p62-63, emphasis mine)

In my reading of Slow Productivity, it seems like the message is to aim to become a Zidane through declining to do the less glamorous stuff, whereas, perhaps from the biased perspective of someone who is most definitely not Zidane, I much more value the less glamorous and unseen work that allows a collective to be more than the sum of its parts. Maybe that is a somewhat unfair review of Slow Productivity, but I do think it is missing some important things about working collectively–timing your tackles right and being in the right cover positions–in favor the flashy moments of individual brilliance.


Hisarbuselik beste, Kim olur zor ile maksuduna reh-yab-ı zafe, composed by Hamparsum Limonciyan, and I can recommend this performance