(Check out How This Works, Episode 11, with Skipper Chong Warson. I discuss some of things I cover below, but also some neat facets of human behavior, the problems with ‘fitting in’, and the majesty of a hot Krispy Kreme donut.)

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https://www.howthisworks.show/11

After I wrote Brushfire, I took a step back and asked, “Okay, now what?”

Brushfire is the bedrock of my thinking, the core of my approach to designing a workplace. That’s fine, from a purely philosophical, theoretical perspective. But, as much fun as navel gazing can be, what good is a philosophy if there isn’t a way to apply…


One of the common complaints about the WELL standard is that it’s just too hard to meet. The amount of additional work being tossed into the maelstrom that is construction is unmanageable, in their eyes.

To help simplify things, I’ll be writing up the simplest ways to meet the WELL standards in NYC. Why NYC? Because I work here and it would be foolhardy to claim I can do the same thing for another city that I know nothing about.

First up, the Air Feature.

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Photo by Michal Matlon on Unsplash

In the new WELL v2.0 standard, the following are the bare minimum requirements for the…


In one of my previous positions, I worked in a really dry office. Like, need a humidifier to get through winter without a nosebleed, kind of dry. Some of my coworkers had similar issues and cobbled together solutions. In one case, there were several plants on the desk, a humidifier, an air purifier, a sun lamp, and regular desk cleaning. Okay, almost hourly desk cleaning.

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Photo by Sarah Dorweiler on Unsplash

New employees were given the rundown about which desks were the driest, which ones were too hot, which ones were too cold, etc. HR said they didn’t have any control over the environment and that…


After a year or so of Covid-y goodness, I doubt there are a lot of people who remember their offices fondly. Oh sure, you miss your coworkers, you miss the camaraderie, you miss the stability of having physical separations between your work and your personal life, and so on.

But missing the actual office? The actual four walls and drop ceilings and carpet? The times you could tell someone was microwaving Thai leftovers? The way your eyes stung if you went to the bathroom too early in the morning?

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a dreary, horrible, yet common office

What about the one sad, abused Brita pitcher in the fridge…


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Photo by 贝莉儿 DANIST on Unsplash

Back in 1993, the LEED standard was created. It was based on the idea that a building, a constructed thing, should be as environmentally friendly as possible to the outside world. There have been some questions and concerns since its inception, but the LEED standard has been adopted globally as an environmental benchmark.


Travel is a funny thing. We think of ourselves as a thing, a person, a set of ideas and ideals, a single point in space time. I am here. I am this now and was that then. I come from here and I will go there.

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Photo by Simon Migaj on Unsplash

But the concept of “I” is a side effect. We eat the food and speak the language of our family when we are children. As we get older, we eat the food and speak the language of the people around us. We ingest more information, digest new theories, and excrete fresh ideas in symbiosis…


If you are over the age of 35, you witnessed first-hand how technology can change the world. You watched land lines give way to cell phones give way to smartphones. You watched hoodie’d nerds go from their slovenly basements to ruling Silicon Valley to discussing policies at Davos. You watched web technologies go from empowering the masses to controlling the masses.

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Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

You thought you were watching the birth of a new era. Instead, you saw a particle accelerator turning small, unseen problems into reality shredding arguments at superluminal speeds.

  • Anti-vaxxers were a historical footnote. Now, they’re a voting bloc.
  • The…


Could you make an exception?
Could you grab my dry cleaning?
Could you create that spreadsheet?
Could you take over the presentation?
Could you fly down to Albuquerque tomorrow?
Could you come by my office for a meeting in 15 minutes?
Could you stay late so I can get this submitted before 9pm?
Could you answer the phones until we get a new receptionist?
Could you help the new staff figure out how to use the HR system?
Could you cancel your vacation and make this new project your top priority?

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Photo by Inga Gezalian on Unsplash

Could you not focus on what one person wants…


Everyone’s gone through it. That moment when something truly horrible happens to you. When it feels like your world will never be the same. When you look around and marvel that there is still air in your lungs, that you can still see the sun, that people can still laugh. That the world has not simply stopped is unbelievable to you.

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Photo by Kristina Tripkovic on Unsplash

And yet, you feel time tick along. Days later, you feel like you can move again but every step is like walking along the bottom of the ocean. Weeks later and you can still feel the weight of it…


Crocodiles are old and in their niche, they are unstoppable. The dodo was perfectly suited for its environment.

Coral and algae are even older and they have been radically impacted by environmental changes.

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Photo by Lance Anderson on Unsplash

There are young strains of bacteria that have evolved to consume plastic, a food source that did not exist before 1900. Certain breeds of dogs have evolved muscle controls that allow them to mimic human facial expressions.

Given time, everything changes. For some things, adapting to those changes is unnecessary. For other things, it is crucial.

Information technology is still very young.

Thejus Chakravarthy

if i’m not optimizing some operations puzzle or the other, i’m probably reading (or writing, apparently)

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