Recipes that cook themselves

Altering your method to achieve better madness, the Recognition-primed decision model, and why some dude filled his computer with beans

Hello, friendly human. Every week, this dispatch helps you make better creative and strategic choices through the exploration of decision-making frameworks. It’s good to see you.

When we use the decision-making language of business—when we talk about strategies and frameworks, algorithms and business models—we’re really just using different words to say the same thing. Everything we do, from marketing to coding, from creating content to selling a product, all of it is just the act of creating and following recipes.  

A recipe requires ingredients.

Those ingredients are things.

A recipe also includes steps.

Those steps are actions.

When you follow a recipe—when you take action upon those things—your goal is to create an outcome. 

You want that outcome to duplicate the results of previously successful attempts to follow the recipe—otherwise the recipe wouldn’t be worth following. A delicious dish, a compelling article, an award-winning product, etcetera etcetera.

Everything works this way, from the simple to the complex, from cooking mashed potatoes to making a car in Detroit. You’re following a set of actions on a set of objects to create a result. 

The act of experimenting with recipes is itself a recipe—one that varies an approach to create a variety of competitive results.

You can change how closely you follow the recipe—how exacting you are with the actions, how similar the ingredients you use. This is a line cook making the chef’s meal, or the faithfulness of a workout routine.

You can change how quickly you follow the recipe, producing more outcomes more quickly with less regard for quality. This is DDoS attacks, and shitposting, and automatic gunfire.

And you can change how many times you follow the recipe, producing a greater amount of outcomes with less regard for quality or speed. This is crap. This is mass produced crap. 

Happily, these rules of fidelity and speed and amount align with that old saying about hiring somebody to get work done:

You can have them make something good.

You can have them make something fast.

And you can them make something cheap.

But you can’t have all three at once.

You can only have two.


Sources and Further Reading

Gif by Miguel E.


Currently working on

Unfuckulating content strategies for a culture design agency and developing healthcare content for a marketing agency. Do you need something unfuckulated? Get in touch. P.s. I was delighted to be interviewed about my media consumption habits for Why Is This Interesting last week—hello to the 100+ new subscribers who joined :)

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Last week’s most clicked links:

  1. A crowdsourced spreadsheet of creative industry freelance day rates

  2. Why you should spend on marketing and advertising during a recession, according to several studies

  3. The Righteous Joy of Finding the Right Simplifier: on the need for a moral compass instead of a precise map


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This 100% organic, free-range, desktop-to-inbox newsletter is devoted to helping you make better creative decisions in marketing and beyond. Delivery at 6pm ET every Sunday, sharp as cheddar. Your host is Steve Bryant, who is for hire. Three reasons to get in touch:

1. You want to develop, manage, or staff your brand’s content marketing (content marketing strategy, content product development, team building, ops modeling)

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