CHAPTER 7The Social Life of Buts

Momentum Thinking is a lot easier with help from other humans. They're in a much better position to see your but clearly. However, revealing your intentions to a room full of people who are likely to turn around and unceremoniously present their buts to you is like attending the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert wearing nothing but body paint. At the very least, it takes some getting used to.

When it comes to applying the Two But Rule in a group, there are nuanced social dynamics at play, especially in a world where there are no buts allowed. These dynamics are at play when working in small groups, single companies, large distributed teams, and, as in the following case, when trying to work with teams across legally separate organizations.

Drunken Buts

The research departments of two companies—one in material science and the other in healthcare—met for a week to share their research into very small things—nanotech and cellular biology.

Day one began with the first company's chief scientist presenting a set of slides. In the afternoon, the second company's chief scientist followed suit. An attendee, bored to tears and finding solace in furtively opening his laptop and surfing the Web, noticed that in both cases the slides had been pulled from the companies' public websites.

What made the presentations that first day so boring was not simply that anyone could have read them on the Web and saved themselves the trouble of attending the ...

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