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Nick Ang

Be whacky and compel feedback

I like feedback. No, let me make that clearer: I love feedback. When I receive it, I’m presented with an opportunity to grow. When I give it, I in turn offer that opportunity to someone. Feedback makes us better people.

But it’s obvious to me that we live in a world where we don’t hear feedback as much as we could or should be. I think this is because we have it hard enough already without someone effectively telling us how we are kind of bad (i.e. suck) at something. That’s a shame.

This brings me what I ate at home for lunch today. My wife cooked something totally whacky and presented it to me as a “China burger”. I’ve never heard that term before and I am sure she just made that up.

China burger made by my wife

This is what it looked like.

In case it’s not obvious from the picture, this burger contains very unusual ingredients (for a burger):

  • Grilled onions
  • Rucola salad veggies
  • Coriander / parsley
  • Stir-fried egg and tomato, Chinese style
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Multi-grain burger bread

I looked at this “China burger” and smiled to myself. Before I took my first bite, I had already known that I wanted to say something to my wife after I take that bite. I knew I wanted to give her feedback because this burger is so whacky that I needed to say something about it to its creator!

It turned out to be a really tasty burger by my (biased) standards, by the way. I told her that I honestly wouldn’t mind having it again.

This got me thinking: maybe we can all compel people to give us feedback if we just decided to courageously do whacky things more regularly.

A few other places I’ve seen this “whackiness compels feedback” phenomena:

  • In a field journal for my final year undergraduate module, I wrote timestamps of when I started writing each entry. My professor gave me an A+ and wrote her feedback: “I loved the personal journal-style entries with the time stamps!”
  • This person @visakanv on Twitter sharing publicly his effort to doodle a picture of his own face using the “chaos shading”, which is drawing with long, messy lines. He got a lot of feedback from his 20k followers

I think this is a thing, and I’m going to try and test it out. So here’s what I’m going to do.

For the next 30 posts on this blog, I will append an image of the place I was at when I first wrote the post at the end of the post. This is something I’ve wanted to try for a while. I partially tested this with a contextual by-line before, but that was just text (examples 1, 2, 3). This time, I’m going with text and an image. It might affect page loading times but you know, at least it’s whack.

Writing at home at 10:00pm, at the end of a work day spent restructuring my team’s task backlog. Worked from home, because corona.

Nick Ang's writing desk for 27.05.2020

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Husband, dad, and software engineer that writes. Big on learning something everyday and trying to have fun before the lights go out.
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