A Long-Form Manifesto

  1. 1. Long-form for critical thinking and scale

    Long-form writing is not long. It includes the detail and context needed for critical thought and constructive feedback. Starving your team of that fosters bureaucracy, silos, and adversarial relationships. Without it you'll suffer brain drain, and long onboarding times.

  2. 2. Short-form for comradery and creativity

    Short-form is conversational and depends on shared context. That might be time and place, body language, or shared experiences. It is suitable for real-time operations coordination, brainstorming, or networking. Avoid short-form when you value accuracy or fidelity.

  3. 3. Braintrust not internal sales

    Slides and presentations are sales mediums. Sales is an exercise of provoking action based on emotion. It has no place in internal decision making, record keeping, or other matters where you value accuracy or fidelity. Think critically.

  4. 4. Questions are more valuable than answers

    A question is never right or wrong. Unlike answers, questions always spark interest and prompt motion, growth, and exploration. The willingness to ask critical questions is a unique value provided by braintrust.

  5. 5. Feedback not approval

    Don’t approve, refine understanding to adapt with shifting context. People perceive approval workflows as bureaucratic choke points. They're opaque, slow, and promote authority over merit. They frustrate teams.

  6. 6. Incomprehensible works are a wasted effort

    A document should be consumable in under 25 minutes of reading. People struggle to consume longer works. Those who do will have a difficult time thinking critically about the work and feedback will suffer.

  7. 7. Expectations not interruptions

    When we expect to interrupt others to get the information we need, we should expect to be interrupted. A great team will expect and plan knowledge creation, review, and handoff to keep the gears turning.

  8. 8. Managed formalism and emergent behavior not rigidity

    Set expectations for communication, your input and output, and your role within an organization. Be aware of your expectations and adapt them to fit conditions. Reflect on new behavior and cull low-value activities while codifying others.

  9. 9. Delegation and empowerment not monitoring and control

    Share goals, constraints, and context to empower bottom-up prioritization, and engagement. Delegate with perspective and avoid approval chains. Report to work together, not to track or create accountability.

  10. 10. Unity through transparency not adversarial incentive

    Socialize informed goals, constraints, and context to discover and fix organization misalignment. Siloed responsibility does not have to imply competitive efforts. Get more done together.

  11. 11. Work together, after all it’s your business

    Nobody will consistently deliver on any task for which everyone is responsible. When they do they'll build animosity for those who don't. It is your team, take responsibility for clear responsibilities and communication.

-- The Long-Form Manifesto Authors