Lessons learnt from the 200 words project

For 8 years since June 2009, I used to share a story or idea from a book with folks I’d met over the years via a mailing list. It turned out to be a wonderful way to stay in touch and share learning from books.

Over the past 3 years, that project came to be known as the 200 word project. And, I used to share these notes every Sunday. I decided to close that project last weekend. Below was my note.

Aside from the many lessons shared, I reflected on the 2 biggest lessons I learnt from the process of putting these notes together –

1. Feeling comfortable shipping. This list is a collection of colleagues, managers, and clients from over the years. So, pressing the send button was a bit nerve wracking for a long time. Over time, I learnt to say “this might not work.. and that’s okay” as I kept the faith that the good and bad ones would average out over time. :)

2. Learning how to read a book. Thanks to this project, I pause every 5-10 minutes when I read and synthesize what I’ve learnt. It has been game changing.

Looking forward – Notes by Ada. But, like all good things, the time had come on this project. Post having a baby, time is more at a premium than ever before and I realized I’d like to spend my time learning more about technology – by sharing more, of course.

The Notes by Ada project is inspired by Lady Ada Lovelace. She was the first to visualize and write about the computer as a “general purpose machine” in a paper she aptly titled “Notes.” We’re living at a time when tech has far outgrown tech and my goal is to bring together weekly narratives around a theme every week. It is 11 editions old and includes notes on augmented reality, the unbundling of retail, and bitcoin among others. But, mostly, inspired by Ada Lovelace, it is really all about thinking about the future.

I still haven’t made up my mind about whether I want to share weekly posts from the “Notes by Ada” project here as I also share them on Medium and LinkedIn. I guess we’ll play that one by ear.

And, while I don’t plan to share stories in the 200 word project format, sharing lessons from what I read is key to my learning. So, more to follow on that for sure.