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Chris SquaredEvery year, Chris Brogan has introduced a theme summed up in three words. I enjoy playing along with the theme as it usually does a good job of crystallizing what the year will be about. They’re not goals so much as lenses, ways to focus and make decisions about whether something is worth doing or worth investigating. 2011’s three words for me are:

System. Shatterpoint. Leverage.

  • System. As an avid World of Warcraft player, there are thousands of systems within the game that make it relatively easy to succeed, from designing armor sets with reforging for tanking to manipulating the Auction House. I’ve learned many, many lessons about controlling systems from the game and this year, I want to see how many of those systems and models can be brought to life in the non-virtual world. Some of them may port directly, while others will need to adapt to life’s greater complexities and randomness.
  • Shatterpoint. In the Star Wars universe, a shatterpoint is a juncture in the Force where things are especially vulnerable, where one little change can make or break not just a person or a campaign, but have galactic consequences. In any given framework, there are critical points where a relatively simple change can make a company run smoothly or stop business completely. There are key players who can be bolstered or neutralized and the company will flourish or wither. This year, I’ll spend time looking at all of the frameworks that I use and determining where the shatterpoints are and how to neutralize them in my own stuff while looking for them in competitors.
  • Leverage. As a companion or corollary to shatterpoints, there are multipliers that can take a little change and amplify it far out of proportion to the original inputs. These might be marketing methods that provide unforeseen synergies with existing efforts, interactions which are not obvious but which are tremendously powerful. These might be fitness techniques or strategies that accomplish far more than they appear to on the surface. This year, I’ll spend time looking at the amplifiers that I already know about, to see if they can be used in new and different ways, as well as looking for new amplifiers, methods, and tools to bolster what I already have.

As the year progresses, I’m sure I’ll be sharing some of the outputs from the research. Some stuff will remain hidden by necessity (or contractual requirement) while other stuff will appear on the blog here or in the other channels I participate in. Stay tuned in and what I can share, I will.

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