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The more you know, the more you don’t know *

Whilst recently cycling up an incredibly steep hill, Mirko and I discussed that accumulated knowledge makes decision-making more complex. Which made me think, “the more you know, the less you know”, upon which Mirko mentioned that someone else* had come up with that line of thought quite a while before I did. 🤷‍♂️

6 min read

Portrait of Peter Whinyates
by  Peter Whinyates

Three years ago, WONDROUS kicked off the monumental undertaking of rethinking our very existence. Who are we, what we do, who would we like to do it for, and how should we go about it? We set it out in front of ourselves:

  1. Get the entire team on board.

  2. Rethink our organizational processes and structures.

  3. Create a new headquarters in Basel as a home base that was futureproofed and would accommodate our plans.

  4. Complete overhaul of our communications strategy.

Once the first three steps had been achieved, we set off to rebuild our digital headquarters, wearewondrous.com, and the same thought cropped up again. One might think it’s an easy ask for a digital agency that excels at doing the same thing for other companies. Honestly? It isn’t. Why? Because we know too damn much. But that’s a good thing; read on, and you will find out.

When you ask a novice to make a table, most will be able to nail four legs to a plank of wood. It might be wobbly. It might look nasty. And yes, it will probably soon fall apart. But you could call it a table. However, suppose you were to ask a skilled carpenter to make you a table. In that case, he’ll ask you a million different questions to determine what kind of a table they should build for you. 

>Knowledge = >Complexity

In light of a pretty monumental internal change process, we decided to give ourselves the challenge of refreshing our four-year-old website. We set this project up as we would for any client to avoid the pitfalls of the ultimate “internal project”, not finishing on time nor within budget. We created the story, blocked the resources and planned the various elements meticulously and with utmost care. Nothing would come between us and this project. It had to be “in time” and “on budget” like every other project.

I recently had a great discussion with a guest on the DX podcast – we both have children, and both enjoy re-seeing the world through their eyes. Not knowing can be such a gift. Driven by curiosity, you learn so many things. From that moment you create your first table, you understand what went wrong and know what needs to be better next time. Doing something for the first time is a fantastic experience.

Honing your skill and continually perfecting what you do daily is the supreme challenge, as Malcolm Gladwell’s theory of 10’000 hours would confirm. By doing something for the 100th time, the result will surely be much better than the first time. You have that wealth of wisdom from having built a hundred tables already. Plus, you know it wasn’t a fluke. You knew what you were doing and would be able to replicate it over and over – a little bit better each time.  

We’ve launched many a platform in the past 13 years – none of them was perfect. Neither will this one be. It’s a reality of shipping digital products. But it is our digital home, and we love it. Today we launch our new home. Once we can return to our new (old) physical headquarter in Basel, we will also be updating a lot of the imagery.

Team-Kudos to Caroline for doing a great job keeping everything together and us all on track! Simon made some significant design updates with the help of Georg. Sabine, Mirko and Manuel got the whole thing coded and up and running. On-time and budget. Thanks also to Roman and Jonas for their support with the copy. 


* Quote from Aristotle, a Greek philosopher during the Classical period in Ancient Greece.

About the author

This is Peter

Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes, well, he eats you.

Portrait of Peter Whinyates