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House of Cards and So? May 19, 2009

Posted by johnshinozaki in Uncategorized.


This was a great exercise, and I have been telling many many many friends and family about it.  I think this intense exercise of competition, strategy, negotiation, building, thinking, problem solving etc. where there’s no time to think about “Oh, how do I look…what do others think of me….” unveiled a good glimpse of who we really are as people.

With me, I saw myself dashing to my apartment for tape because I “thought” we needed tape.  I saw myself cutting cards trying to think of ways to use the card for both height and stiffness.  I saw myself wanting to know how many cards I can get in return for my tape.  I saw myself focusing on building and not thinking about the rules.

The rules.  The rules.  The rules!

Since I didn’t spend too much time reading the rules, I found myself doing things that didn’t really matter.  Like the three or four different versions of the houses we were building that later got broken down.  Or, the tape I ran and got.  I was exerting so much effort doing unnecessary things.

This was a huge revelation! I reflected and wondered if I was doing the same thing with my life.  Am I misinterpreting the purpose of life, and running around doing useless things?

I don’t want to be goofy and over dramatic by saying, “House of Cards has changed my life!”  But, there has been a definite change in the way I think now that’s running on a different track then before from the d.school, and I’ll share it by simply doing a trail of so what questions.

I found out that I tend to misinterpret the rules and build useless things wasting resources and energy.


So, I don’t want to be this person anymore.  I don’t want to waste my time and energy building things that don’t matter to people.


So, I want to make sure that whatever I devote my time to…has the most meaning to people.


So, what I found out from the House of Cards exercise is that we all tend to have the same goals, and think we are competing for it…one group wins, and that is it.  We just need to change our frames.


So, it seems competitions in classes and sports makes us think sometimes that in the real world, it’s the same thing.  We’re all competing based off of teams, companies….differences we build and see in each other.


So, there was this huge revelation we saw in this class exercise! Teams were able to change their frame, team up, and work together.


So, I know people do this in the real world, but do you know how cheap we were able to get our auctioned deck of cards?  One chip!


So, that means if we are all working together resources will be much cheaper, and we won’t expect to get something for what we do for others.  Did you see the foolish and sometimes evil negotiations going on in class?!


So, this means supplies for innovation like electrical cars, solar panels, new electrical grids, supplies for cancer research…we would all sell supplies cheap to each other if there was no competition and we knew we were all on the same team.


So, this would take away a huge hurdle from innovating – cost!


So, this would speed up innovation and cures!


So, I think the whole world should know about it!


So, I want to help make that happen.


So, I’m going to start to rethink how I’m approaching my present projects…trying to create the perfect team..keeping certain ideas secret.  And, am I really valuing and supporting the act of collaboration for all that it’s worth to be?  I don’t want to be the engineer continually building a “House of Cards” that are unnecessary, or the strange guy in the classroom building a barrier of “white boards.”  Did you see me do that?


So, I want to be the guy that was philosophizing over  “the rules” and saying, “hey guys, we have the same goals.  Let’s team up and start working with a complete deck of cards, and help each other innovate new methods to solve this problem.”


So, if the whole world was working together…can you imagine what it would be like?  How fast we’ll be able to solve problems and help one another get what we need?!


So, I gotta get going with this massive collaboration movement.  I want to show people that we all have common goals and can benefit greatly by working together.  I think this is what my core goal will be for the rest of my life because I think it has the most value to everyone in the world.


So, I think I’m finally figuring out what I want to do with my life – full scope…with great meaning.  This is what I’ve been looking for – great meaning out of my life, where I’m not just an engineer building satellites or iphone apps.  I’m the guy trying to get the whole world working together.


So, this is fantastic, and I’m happy to know this is what I…or WE all should be spending more time doing…And yes it’s super super fantastic because I will be more focused on doing more collaboration then I was doing before.


So, I’m done reflecting now.  Perhaps, I’ll do another one in a year or so, and see if what I’m doing has any real meaning or not.



1. o24321 - May 20, 2009

This was great to read! It made me reflect on a couple of things. First, ultimately if we all buy in on a communal effort, everything will be better. But if even one person/group chooses not to, then the whole this is undermined. So the trick is getting a mass buy in. Even with our half of the room this was tricky, let alone getting a whole civilization to do it.

Another component- if Tina wanted something we had, then perhaps there could have been a trade or something to balance the transaction. But as things stand, she sold all her decks for only one chip. Sure we SPENT only one chip. But she MADE only one chip. Maybe something to think about.

Also, I jokingly referred to us as OPEC. OPEC and other cartels are positive for the members, but often times are negative presences to other markets (think the huge jump in cost of oil in the 70s).

I’m not negging on your life goal! Just adding some layers of complexity 😉

2. Anonymous - May 22, 2009

This is a really provocative posting! Thanks of sharing these reflections with all of us.

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