2020-07-20 5 min read


Notes, 2020-07-20.

Early this year I wrote about my desire “to transition The Prepared from a hub-and-spoke model to a distributed network...to do a better job at connecting *you* with *each other.*” The truth is that I’ve never been sure how to achieve this, and my efforts to do so have mostly been ad hoc and opportunistic. And yet somehow the level of discourse on the paid subscriber Slack has increased dramatically since then, and it’s clear that spontaneous and beneficial interactions actually are happening on a level that’s beyond my own direct efforts.

I recognize, though, that the next challenge - building a culture that actively seeks out and is strengthened by heterogeneity, embracing change while remaining close knit - will require me to be a lot more strategic. As always, if you have thoughts about this I’d love to hear them here; I’d also invite you all to grab a half hour on my calendar if you have more in depth thoughts.

Also on my mind: Remaining calm in the face of toddler craziness, taking at least one bike ride for pleasure every week, and finally tackling a few Baltic birch plywood projects around the house.

-Spencer Wright

The most clicked link from last week's issue (~11% of opens) was a thoughtful essay on what it would mean to decolonize design.

Planning & Strategy.

  • I really enjoyed the Biosphere 2 documentary, Spaceship Earth, that made the rounds a couple months ago. The project strikes me as a classic example of literary tragedy: A story in which a generally admired hero is brought down by their own ordinary human flaws. It might be an odd observation, but I was particularly taken with the idea that, as one of the central characters notes, “it’s unusual to find business partners who are willing to think long term.” My immediate reaction to this statement is that it’s true, but it also seems to me that perhaps Biosphere 2’s greatest flaw was a failure to project their immediate actions into the medium term.
  • A proposal to build what will be the largest solar energy facility in the US was approved back in March - Gemini, a 690MW installation with 380MW of battery storage. See also the Wikipedia list of photovoltaic power stations, which shows impressive capacity in India, the UAE, and China.
  • A *very* critical calling out of Autodesk, which (like most of us, I suspect) makes fairly bold claims about their efforts to measure & limit their impact on the environment - and also sells software to coal mining companies. This particular calling out is on the idealistic end of the spectrum, but the directive to move corporate sustainability out of marketing and into operations feels totally reasonable and right to me.

Making & Manufacturing.

Maintenance, Repair & Operations.

Distribution & Logistics.

Inspection, Testing & Analysis.


A photo tour of the remarkably automated Sony Playstation assembly line.

Read the full story

The rest of this post is for SOW Subscribers (free or paid) only. Sign up now to read the full story and get access to all subscriber-only posts.

Sign up now
Already have an account? Sign in
Great! You’ve successfully signed up.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
You've successfully subscribed to Scope of Work.
Your link has expired.
Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.
Success! Your billing info has been updated.
Your billing was not updated.