“I could never do that”

Out of the gate with a post on Process… BOR-ING. I know. But I think it’s important, because as you explore these GlyphNotes, I want you to be saying “Hey, I could do that,” not the opposite. Like, “But I can’t draw!” Which is what I usually hear, and I’m over it. That’s boring. So I’m going to start off by showing you how this began – with some scribbling and three boxes.

Mid October 2014: Condi’s class on the Dubai Port Authority Case. The only professor who can set the stage for a case discussion with, “So it’s 2006, I’m Secretary of State, and… no, that is not hypothetical…” (Awesome) content aside, this is a pretty good example of what my notes looked like at the beginning of the school year. Trying to capture every word, and I have to re-read them – three times- to know what’s actually important. My attempt at the time was to box up the words “ARABS” “PORTS” “NEW YORK” which does capture the highlights of the case… sort of. Masterpiece, right? Yea, that’s what I thought.

Week 1

October 2014: A week later in Strategy class, we’re having a case discussion on the Economist to compare horizontal competition with vertical competition. Riveting stuff. But suddenly there are more of those boxes, and they have some arrows and dotted lines coming from them. My fancy drawings include a circle meant to be a globe, and a badge that looks like a Batman logo gone long. But hey, the effort was there.

Week 2

October 2014: A week later, we’re discussing Org Design in Strategy class and I’m really starting to get crazy with those boxes. They’ve morphed into arrow-boxes. And a couple of circles, too. I’m finally exploring format (rather than just form), and a bit of typography (the fancy write-the-word-three-times-on-top-of-itself font). How to design an org for exploration rather than exploitation never looked so good.

Week 3

November 2014: The DaVita Culture case is clearly really inspiring me, because I’m drawing all sorts of stuff – waves, triangles, even a circle+upside-down-U person. The format’s a mess though, because it’s nearly impossible to read unless you, too, had the pleasure of being in that class. But every little bit helps. You’re a star!

Week 4

November 2014: One of my favorite Strategy classes (because I got to draw Mickey Mouse out of circles like I did when I got a “How to Draw Mickey’s Face” book for my sixth birthday) on Disney Corporate Strategy. Even more translation of ideas into images, but I’m still using simple shapes. More use of format and visual models with lots of circles and arrows, and even a filter symbol in there. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize, people.

Week 5

December 2014: Exam time, and I spice it up by adding in a blue pen for a secondary layer of details below the most important pieces. Makes it easier to read, but this is still pretty hectic, since it’s a one page summary of everything we learned in the class. While I may not remember every detail nine months later, I remember way more than I would have, had I used bullet points. The Pie and Four Slices of value creation is forever burned into my memory, whether I like it or not.


Two months of practice (drawing in class) later, and I’m starting to get the hang of Glyph. Yes, you could do that.

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