• Liam Wickham

Sunday's Thoughts on Risks & Community

Updated: Jun 2

Hello.


Liam here, just wanting to check in and leave some thoughts around what I have been reading and watching today that might be useful.


I received some interesting items in my inbox today - the first from the Obama Foundation. President Obama had three pieces of advice for the graduating class of 2020, which he left in a message to US school seniors:

  • Don’t be afraid.

  • Do what you think is right.

  • Build a community.

I think this sums up nicely how I feel about this website and what I am trying to do here. Rather than attempt to sell me as the font of all knowledge, I am committed to bringing as much knowledge here as possible. I truly believe that we are under-served as a community and we are not supported with the foundation training we probably need to feel like we know what we're supposed to be doing. Experience is surely a great kind of osmosis towards confidence in your role, but so is knowing what that experience should encompass and studying it from the pros.


With that in mind, this coming week I have four podcast interviews lined up from very different kinds of producers. One is a guy who is a few years into his journey at quite a junior level, another is with a lead producer who believes he has the answers to questions such as "why is game planning so chaotic? Surely we can do it better?". I will be speaking to two old mates from back at Wargaming - one of them is now a Head of Production and the other has been all sorts, from a Head of Ops, to EP (now), to head of an academic department teaching Game Design. I hope you enjoy the chats and they provide something useful.


The next tidbit came from Peter Attia and his weekly email - he reminded me of the red vs blue team origins and how useful that can be to consider as a strategy in assessing risks:


"In the early 19th century, the Prussian army adopted war games to train its officers. One group of officers developed a battle plan, and another group assumed the role of the opposition, trying to thwart it. Using a tabletop game called Kriegsspiel (literally “wargame” in German), resembling the popular board game Risk, blue game pieces stood in for the home team—the Prussian army—since most Prussian soldiers wore blue uniforms. Red blocks represented the enemy forces—the red team—and the name has stuck ever since."


As Peter suggests, we can use this same practice to see what might go wrong, or even to roleplay a conversation around discussing why it has already gone wrong (before it might). Frank honest conversations around how we are probably kidding ourselves is a powerful state of mind to practice, as is not believing in the best outcomes for every situation. "Getting into the habit of performing a premortem on your ideas—envision what can go wrong before the start—is another effective way to test them." That links to the Stoic Ryan Holiday's article on negative visualisation. It's very useful.


If you're interested, the original email in all its glory is on Peter's website.


As always, please let me know your thoughts.


Cheers.


Liam

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