There’s not a lot of cultural payoff to being silent.
This quote from author, teacher, noticer-of-things Rob Walker comes from an 2019 episode of the Hurry Slowly podcast during an interview with host Jocelyn K. Glei and following the release of his latest book The Art of Noticing.
Silence, quiet, and focus are all things on my mind constantly, but Rob’s comment struck me today while revisiting that episode. Silence in a real Catch-22 in the tech world when it comes to communication. It’s seen as not communicating. Except being quiet and listening to someone else may be the most generous form of communication. It shows you care and value the thoughts of others, and it’s an invitation for real dialogue.
Being quiet is not something I’ve seen actively encouraged very often; certainly not rewarded. That’s not how product growth in apps works. Yet it’s so sorely needed. It’s our first line of defense against many problems we’ve unleashed on the world and offers so much more than immediately apparent. But it requires more people need to get off the rocket ship and slow down enough to figure that out.