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People vs traction is a Rorschach test

2 min read

From Amber Case's wonderful talk on the Rise of the IndieWeb:

When the storytelling is told by people, not by traction or real implementation, then whoever tells the best story wins.

- Blaine Cook

Her slides are over here.

It strikes me that this quote is a Rorschach test. People like me are likely to have a visceral reaction to this: of course the winner should be dictated by traction and active implementation. Whatever solution to a problem ends up being used is the winner. It makes sense.

But there's going to be a whole other set of people who see this and think, yes! Of course the winner should be the best, most persuasive storyteller.

In technology, I'm pretty adamant that the winner should very rarely be the best storyteller. Of course, in the real world, it's the people who can spin a story (or have some other advantageous property) who often win.

What this really means is that implementers - the people who do the real work - need to learn to tell better stories, as a group. That's why I very much appreciate people like Amber, who are not just deep thinkers and implementers, but also great storytellers. It's an important skill, and being able to convey as well as build multiplies your ability to effect change.