A class to teach,a bank to start, and a website to redesign. In a word; clarity

I offer you the following three pieces of evidence:

Article A)

In a blog post on svn Jason Fried writes about a writing class he would love to teach some day. He was asked during a Q&A session about his take on the value of a university education, and after giving his answer “great socially, not realistic academically”, he says the following about a course he would like to teach:

It would be a writing course. Every assignment would be delivered in five versions: A three page version, a one page version, a three paragraph version, a one paragraph version, and a one sentence version.

I don’t care about the topic. I care about the editing. I care about the constant refinement and compression. I care about taking three pages and turning it one page. Then from one page into three paragraphs. Then from three paragraphs into one paragraph. And finally, from one paragraph into one perfectly distilled sentence.

Article B)

In a similar blog post by Matt Mullenweg, Matt muses about his dream job if he weren’t making out like a bandit with Automatic, WordPress, etc. what he would be doing. He would start a bank. Boring eh? Well… not really. He says the following in the post

There are very few people who really love their bank. We’ve all dealt with overage fees that stack up, brain-dead fine print, and a general malaise. There’s also a unique opportunity in that mainstream contempt for financial institutions has never been higher, while at the same time there is an incredible amount of government backing that essentially makes it a no-risk environment. People are hungry just for anything different, something contrarian. A David to the Goliath banking industry.

The name of my bank would be something supremely boring, like SafeBank. The idea behind it is that bad behaviour in the banking world has been largely inevitable because their compensation structures incented people to do overly risky things. SafeBank would maintain a reserve level 2-3x higher than Fed requirements and any other bank. SafeBank would have no bonuses. Critics would say this would make it impossible to attract top-shelf talent. Every time the bank gets attacked we’d turn it into an advertising opportunity to emphasize why we’re different. “We can’t attract top-shelf talent? We take your money and put it in a vault. We don’t need the million-dollar bonus geniuses on Wall Street to do that. SafeBank. Bank, safe.”

Article c)


Matt Warner writes in a blog post for the National Catholic Register about how the most recent redesign of the Vatican’s website (www.vatican.va) is frustrating at best.

I’m quite sure I’m missing something.

I know they have unique challenges that no other website in the world has – technically, culturally and theologically. I want to be charitable. I just don’t get it. You can view it here: Vatican.va

They are guilty of at least 2 of the 7 deadly sins of parish website design (which also apply to them) and a long list of venial ones.

I don’t want to be too critical as I’m sure they have further plans and this is just a small, first step. It just seems like a step in the wrong direction to me. But maybe that’s just me….

We are just missing so many opportunities and I’m anxious to see the vatican website start to embrace them. It’s exciting that they are beginning to do that. I just hope it continues and in the right direction. I got mad love for them.

It all three blog posts the request and the need is clear. The need is for greater clarity. Greater clarity in writing, greater clarity in banking policies and tools, and greater clarity of purpose in ones online presentation of themselves.

When your going to school, working on your next project, and trying to make a difference try your very best to focus on clarity. Can you tell me what your purpose is in one sentence? If not then you’ve got some work to do.


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