Published in Super8 -

Eight intriguing articles from February.

Today is the 29th of February: a leap day. In Julian and Gregorian calendars, it’s an ‘intercalary’ date that only occurs once every four years. A little extra time, added as a corrective measure because the Earth doesn’t orbit the sun in precisely 365 days.

Despite this momentously anomalous date, Mike McCusker’s February Super8 delivers the exact same thing you’ve likely come to expect from non-leap years, months, or days: the latest and greatest insights into marketing, technology, design, business, and culture from across the web. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s leap into Super8 in February.

1. The loss of the process in the name of progress.

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What’s more important: ‘making it’ in the creative world, or simply making creative work? This article serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of maintaining a comprehensive design process despite rapid advancements in technology. It highlights the risks of sacrificing essential design phases for the sake of progress and efficiency. By exploring real-world examples and the consequences of sidelining research, ideation, and iteration, the article prompts readers to reconsider their approach to design. It advocates for a balanced perspective that emphasises both innovation and quality, offering valuable tips to preserve the integrity of the design process. For designers and professionals in the tech industry, this article provides invaluable reflections and guidance to foster more meaningful outcomes.

2. You have more control over your emotions than you think.

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In this podcast episode, psychologist and neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett discusses groundbreaking research highlighting the transformative power of language on emotions. Co-hosted by Adam Grant, the episode debunks common misconceptions about the brain's construction and embodiment of emotions. Explore how language not only describes but actively shapes emotional experiences, offering surprising insights into emotional management. Through compelling evidence, Adam and Lisa showcase how easily you can influence your emotional states by changing your linguistic patterns. So, what tools do you need to reconsider and reframe your emotions? Check out the episode to find out.

3. The MVP is dead — how to avoid wasting six months building a crappy version of your final product.

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Historically speaking, the MVP (minimum viable product) was an MVP (most valuable player) for startup culture. Instead of labouring on a product for an extended period of time, the MVP—an idea devised by Eric Ries in his 2011 book Lean Startup—advocated for a bare bones product you can test in market and learn from. Now, this piece challenges the concept and highlights some of its potential pitfalls. It also offers an alternative approach that emphasises researching customer needs and market demands in the hope of avoiding launching with a subpar offering. It’s packed full of practical advice for product developers, entrepreneurs, and those of us who want to build good things that deliver value.

4. Transforming work and life: full conversation.

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Here, Simon Sinek offers a treasure trove of insights and strategies for both personal and professional growth. Renowned for his expertise in leadership, Simon shares practical wisdom on discovering your purpose, transforming stress into motivation, and embodying effective leadership principles. Through personal anecdotes and actionable advice, he addresses common workplace challenges such as remote work and negativity, and offers strategies to foster trust and community within teams. Whether you’re out to reignite your sense of passion, hone your leadership skills, or achieve a more balanced life, Simon's guidance will support you on a journey towards a more fulfilling experience of professional life.

5. Adam Grant: the surprising new research on procrastination, perfectionism, and happiness.

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This video featuring Adam Grant offers a comprehensive exploration of success, happiness, and personal development. With discussion covering a wide range of topics from finding meaning in life to redefining success, Grant delves into thought-provoking discussions on the characteristics of successful individuals, the dynamics of teamwork, and the importance of embracing challenges. Through insights on procrastination, risk-taking, and self-promotion, he provides valuable strategies for unlocking hidden potential and fostering innovation. Whether you're seeking advice on navigating workplace dynamics, building effective teams, or cultivating a growth mindset, this video promises to inspire and empower you on your journey towards personal and professional fulfilment.

6. 30 useful principles: ideas to help you make sense of the world.

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This piece takes 30 sophisticated principles that help rationalise behaviour and phenomena in the world and describes them in bite-sized chunks you can easily consume. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this piece is the potential for applying these principles in daily life. For example, consider principle number 12: ‘Serial-Position Effect’. We tend to recall the beginnings (Primacy Effect) and endings (Recency Effect) of things better than the middles. So, if you’re creating anything with a beginning and an end, focus most of your effort there. Hopefully articles one and eight in this edition of Super8 live up to the heightened expectation. Check out the full list for 29 more fascinating principles.

7. Unclear strategies are thwarting AI at traditional companies.

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While the adoption of AI is an exciting frontier, the challenges of implementing the technology are significant and well documented. In embracing AI systems, we’ll likely need to navigate everything from ethical concerns and job displacement to privacy issues and regulatory considerations. This article takes an interesting look at a comparatively lesser-known challenge, presenting some data and perspectives to help mitigate ‘strategic shortcomings that restrict organisational ambition’. Where are organisations failing in their attempts to implement AI? What frameworks, rituals, or practices should be in place to support the best chance at success? Find the answers to those questions.

8. New GitHub Copilot research finds 'downward pressure on code quality'.

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This piece explores advancements in AI-driven coding assistance, particularly focusing on GitHub Copilot. It delves into recent research that evaluates Copilot's effectiveness in aiding developers and its potential impact on the coding landscape by asking the question: what is the quality of AI-assisted code compared to what would have been written by a human? There are some surprising and potentially concerning answers, despite other studies—even from other GitHub research initiatives—espousing the value and efficiency of Copilot authored code. Check out the article and discover why we need to be discerning with AI-authored code.

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