Jakob’s Law & Decorum

Jakob Nielsen had a simple principle in web design: People expect your site to work like all others. People spend 99% of their time on other websites, so conforming to the model of those sites will make your site more palatable. For instance, social sites have a log-in button in the top right, news sites […]

Unforced Errors

Tennis players make two errors: Forced. The player errors because of their opponent, like not returning a powerful first serve. Unforced. The player errors because of their mistakes, like serving into the net twice. What separates professionals from amateurs is the ratio of forced-to-unforced errors. The professional makes few unforced errors—they manage themselves to counter […]

Luck Surface Area

Leprechauns Patricia and Patrick collect lucky objects, such as rabbit’s feet and four-leaf clovers. But their approaches are wildly different. Patricia is a hard worker—spending 17 hours per day scouring fields for a four-leaf clover. She’s regimented, but she’s too busy to tell anyone about it. A friend could’ve pointed her to a quiet meadow […]

A Map is Not the Territory

Hiker Hillary ends up lost, the trail nowhere in sight. “This can’t be!” She frets. “The map says there’s a trail right here!” Hillary curls into a ball and waits for the trail to materialize. A map is a useful abstraction of the territory, but it’s imperfect—it may be dated, insufficient, or just plain wrong. The “map” […]

The Mythical Mother Month

Clarence wants a baby. Clarence reasons that a baby requires nine months of effort, so rather than one woman spending nine months, he could have nine women spending one month. Since Clarence doesn’t want to wait nine months for his wife to give birth, he gathers eight other women into a room and tells them […]

Alligators & Kittens

A sad woman in Louisiana loves kittens, as their little meows fill her with joy. So, she adopts a dozen kittens and brings them to her house in the bayou, which is crawling with alligators. These slimy reptiles make her sad and stressed, so the kittens are a welcome relief. But after a few days, […]

Inversion is Not

Inversion is not thinking forward. It’s thinking backward. Inversion is not pursuing positive outcomes. It’s avoiding negative inputs. Inversion is not converging. It’s diverging. Inversion is an approach to solving problems by flipping the direction. Let’s say a company wants to increase employee output. Their first approach is to mandate office attendance to better monitor labor. An […]

Shaving Yaks

A man wants to buy bananas, but his car has a flat. He needs his air pump but remembers he lent it to his neighbor. He can’t ask his neighbor for it because he hasn’t returned his neighbor’s jacket. He can’t return the jacket because he ripped it last week. He can’t fix the jacket […]

Four-Blade Razor

“Razors” are critical thinking tools designed to “shave away” complexity, and some are especially useful. Stay sharp with Turtle’s new four-blade razor! Occam’s Razor: The simplest explanation is often the best. Hanlon’s Razor: Never attribute to malice what can be attributed to laziness. Hitchen’s Razor: If asserted without evidence, it can be dismissed without evidence. […]

Hairy Arms

Asha is a young marketer pushing the boundaries for extraterrestrial fashion. Little green people have immigrated to Earth, but humans struggle to accept them. To build empathy, Asha wants to promote the green people in her company’s upcoming fall collection. However, her boss is prejudiced and always gives feedback before launching a campaign. So, Asha […]