Jess Martin

⚠️ Warning! This is an in-progress research note exported directly from Jess's note-taking system. The ideas in this note are still under active development.

Last Updated: July 20, 2020

Douglas Engelbart

Doug's digital footprint is rather large and spans 50 years. You can begin by reading his papers, from his original proposals from the 1960s to summaries from the 2000s. You can watch videos of his talks from the "mother of all demos" in 1968 to a 2008 tribute at Stanford.

Big Ideas

In this section, I'll try to summarize the big ideas gleaned from Engelbart.

C Activities

ABCs of Organizational Improvement

  • A Activities are the core activities of the business. For Lambda School, that would be teaching classes, sourcing jobs for students, admissions, etc.
  • B Activities are activities that improve the ability of the company to perform A Activities. For Lambda School, that would be the Product/Engineering squads that work with each organization - they build new systems that
  • C Activities are activities that improve our capabilities for improvement. The Lambda School example would be the platform team themselves, building "paved roads" that allows our B Activity Teams to more productively improve their work.

When I engage in "meta-work", it's often "C Activity" work. Also, building a framework like RedwoodJS or Croquet is very much "C Activity".



Of all of his papers, the two that have been most recommended to me are:

Video - Improving How We Improve - Doug Engelbart at Groupware '92

Talk: YouTube

Lots of interesting ideas in this talk. May need to watch it a few more times in order to really get it. Need to document more.

Other References:

Writings about Doug Engelbart

© 2020 - Jess Martin