Link: Choose boring culture

The title of the piece is actually Choose boring technology culture, but I don’t know whether I can get strike-through in titles. Regardless, I think the piece says a lot about how to create a workplace people want to turn up to on a grey, windy Monday morning:

Dan McKinley coined the phrase “choose boring technology” and the concept of innovation tokens nearly a decade ago.

“Boring” should not be conflated with “bad.” There is technology out there that is both boring and bad. You should not use any of that. But there are many choices of technology that are boring and good, or at least good enough… The nice thing about boringness (so constrained) is that the capabilities of these things are well understood. But more importantly, their failure modes are well understood. — @mcfunley

The moral of the story is that innovation is costly, so you should choose standard, well-understood, rock-solid technologies insofar as you possibly can. You only get a few innovation tokens to spend, so you should spend them on technologies that can give you a true competitive advantage — not on, like, reinventing memcache for the hell of it.

The same goes for running a business, and the same goes for organizational culture. We have collectively inherited a set of default practices that work pretty well, like the 40 hour work week and having 1x1s with your manager. You CAN choose to do something different, but you should probably have a good reason. To the extent that you can learn from other people’s experience, you probably should, whether in business or in tech; innovation is expensive, and you only get so many tokens. Do you really want to spend one on a radical reinvention of your PTO policy? How does that serve you?

Innovation gets all the headlines, but I would posit that what most companies need is actually much simpler: organizational health.

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