Business Language Philosophy Productivity

Guidelines for Productive Discussions

By Clemens Lode on Thursday, February 12, 2015 at 10:06pm

Do you want your discussions to be productive and draw people’s attention? Here are guidelines to help you become productive in any discussion you may encounter. Before posting, please keep these following guidelines in mind:

First of all, if you are linking to an article or video, summarize it. A discussion needs to be possible even if the person is not reading or watching the whole thing. Moderators need to be able to determine if something posted is spam or if it’s a worthwhile topic to discuss. Quote the most relevant part of the link and give context as to why the link is relevant.
It is wrong to say, “Oh, boy.”
Rather one should say, “ARI starts a new headquarters in Europe in 2016. “” I think this is relevant because this marks a major change in policy and we should all look into it as to how we can help.”

Next, summarize your position. Add it to the original post or in a reply to your thread. If your position is controversial, provide a more thorough explanation in the original post or a link to an essay you have written.
Don’t say, “I think Ayn Rand got it wrong. Consciousness creates existence.”
Rather say, “… and here is why I think so: *link to your essay* Is my argumentation sound? What was Ayn Rand’s argument in that regard?”

Then, clearly define the limits of the discussion. People should be able to judge if their post is on-topic by reading the original post.
Saying, “Abortion. Democracy. Capitalism. God. Go!” is wrong.
What’s right is saying, “In this thread, I would like to discuss land property rights. Here is the definition: . Given an outside military threat, is it an initiation of force for the army to use that land? For example ”

Try to give complete answers. Do not simply link to an answer. Many questions will repeatedly show up here, and most questions are already answered in the literature. But there is a reason as to why people make the effort to create a thread in order to ask a question. You can link your answer, but please summarize its core message. If you cannot summarize your answer from the book, you probably have not read or understood the book in question. If someone asks you for an address, a good answer is to point him/her to the direction of the building. A bad answer is when one being pointed to the local tourism information booth.
Refrain from saying something like, “You haven’t read the book, have you?”, “A true Objectivist wouldn’t ask such a question.”, “This is a dumb question.”
Instead say, “Ayn Rand wrote an essay on this very subject in… Her idea was to start from the homesteading principle and explain the parallels to modern broadcast technology. … .”

Make sure your statements are verifiable when you give them. Be specific, give concrete sources and concrete examples.
It’s wrong to say, “Some scientists claim…”
But it’s right when you say, “We know from experiments that … . See reference , , and . Their main conclusion was…”

Also never let the other person be part of your argument. While logical fallacies are commonplace in discussions (knowingly and unknowingly), ad hominem arguments are usually the most destructive arguments. Remember that there are potentially thousands of people who would follow the thread you are about to derail. Even if you have reasons to believe that the other person is an idiot, it is not up to you to “repair” the situation. Report the post and let an admin deal with it.

Finally, be very careful when posting a sarcastic or humorous post. Not everyone shares your humor. If possible, make clear that the statement or post was not meant seriously. If you are a sarcastic person, add a “;)”. Yes, this is an Objectivist group, but besides a superfluous check of the profile of each member we add, people here are not necessarily Objectivists. And even among Objectivists, they have completely different sense of humor from each other. Do not mistake similar philosophic views with similar personality.

There you have it guidelines to help you become productive in any discussion. As you have read, most of these guidelines are ‘obvious.’ But it’s easy to miss them in the heat of an argument or when casually posting an article. These are based on experience as to what type of threads derail and what type of threads actually help the readers share their ideas and learn from other’s as well. If another topic develops within the discussion, an admin will then create a new thread for that new topic. These guidelines will still help no matter what type of discussion or topic you are in.

Business Productivity


Learning Ways on How to Be Productive

Let me start this with a question, how can we be productive at work or even in school? Let me tell you, if you already know what to do, then delegate. This way, the work itself becomes more like a game. But, what if you have no one to delegate? Well, hire someone. It doesn’t necessarily have to be someone who knows how but one who is eager to learn. It’s better to have somebody willing to learn than to hire someone who thinks he knows it all, even though he does not and then fail big time.

Productivity should surround around knowledge management. Get a structure in order wherein you can share knowledge with others and work as a consultant to them.

A common practice in working in teams is creating a matrix comprising of all the skills people have such as primary and secondary skills.  And then, assigning people to work on tasks utilizing their secondary skills while supervising the people working on a task requiring the supervisor’s primary skill. Now that should be easy. The topic here is knowing what to do in most case but not in absolutely all cases.

There are certain tasks that will involve further study or scrutiny. Break down the tasks according to those which you are struggling with and those which could be done by someone else. Then separate these tasks into roles and delegate them. Now even if you will have to do all the work by yourself in the end, doing this helps you to stay focused. You can still delegate work for yourself. The foundation of a well-defined ‘work package’ helps achieve a milestone easier than simply mixing up management and carrying out projects.

In my case, even if it takes longer, I still delegate more and more tasks out to people. I need to DEFINE what I actually want them to achieve, and that alone is already half of the workload. Even if the other person does his/her job sloppily and I have to do some corrections (or even do most of their work myself), I am still light-years ahead compared to doing everything myself without a plan. Having an employee helps insofar as much as you are forced to put what you want into words while being able to ‘weasel your way out’ than if you keep the tasks at hand undefined and unspoken.

Think of the concrete goal you need to achieve, like for instance, your attendance and participation in every lecture and exam. Learn to express your goals.  Focus on these goals. Know what you need to deliver. Evaluate whether you have been successful in attaining your goals or not. Determine if you have excellently brought your tasks and goals into completion. Set a definite time frame to complete your goals. Do not procrastinate.

If you have to take a certain curriculum, do so and then use it to learn other valuable skills. Get familiar with the internet like Github or any other repository.  Create an open source project, put your agent on the site and invite others to discuss ideas on ways to improve it. Remember to be open to everybody’s suggestion. It doesn’t mean you have to do everything being suggested, but it helps to have varied ideas. Ultimately, it altogether depends on the set goals.

What happens if you hit the deadline and your program does not perform well? Does that mean you freak out? Or do you do something to improve your next project? Perhaps, an even more important lesson is to know one’s own limitations.  Ask someone to coach you in the subjects you have insufficient knowledge of. Accepting one’s own limitation will help you achieve higher and better goals. This helps define one’s own character better. Like with sports, wherein you test out your limits; you’ll recognize how far you can go or can contribute.

You would probably agree with me when I say that the best job is doing what you love, but if you can’t have the job you love then learn to love the job you’ve been given.

In personality psychology, there is this dichotomy wherein you are good at one thing, but you long for another. For example, I am good at coming up with fresh ideas and relating these to people, but what I am really longing for is to work with businesses and systems. I like to combine everything into one. Usually, it’s best to partner with someone who covers the parts you long for. Find someone who deals with ideas and people, and then another who deals with details and management. Well, you are automatically drawn to a person who shows strengths in those qualities; simply because you can see that they need much less effort to do something that normally takes so much time and effort. Likewise, they are drawn to you, as you (ideally) show the opposite strengths. Again, that’s psychology, not philosophy.

When we came into this world we weren’t handed out with identical brains. By nature, some actions require either some more or much less energy. Some are more focused on the intimate, minute details while others are more focused on the broader scope of the whole picture. The actual grouping of people into those two concepts is more or less arbitrary. But see it as a form of division of labor with the goal of minimizing the required mental effort to accomplish a certain task.

So then, how can we be productive? Delegate tasks to people who are willing to learn. Be open to suggestions and don’t procrastinate. I tell you, you are on your way to being productive whether at work or in school.


Your project sounds interesting. Can I apply for a position?

Sure! Just head over to our job section Apply now! and send us a message at


Why should a human being, whose life expectancy is 80 years, focus on that?

It is not about selling books, it is about communicating ideas and it doesn’t matter with which medium it will be done. Also, businesses can live longer than that. People construct houses that stand longer than 80 years. They start out with the idea of one day either selling the house or leaving it to their children. The customer of an entrepreneur is not the end consumer, but a possible future investor who will take over at some point. Myself, I’m not the company; I’m just the entrepreneur. While I still work “in” the company, I plan to remove myself bit by bit over the years. It is entrepreneurship. An entrepreneur builds businesses.


Why do you talk about your goal or vision for 300 years from now?

The idea is to move away from the concrete. You ask yourself how the company should look in 300 years and thus have to concentrate on the core values. It is kind of weird, but actually a common practice in business. Or it should be at least! We should look for value-based cooperation between people and a moral backbone to rely on in times of crisis.


Why do we need leaders or heroes?

Concerning the concept of a leader: we can be a leader or hero in a situation. It doesn’t mean that we devote our life to fighting crime. But we need to prepare ourselves for a situation in which our will and view of the world will be tested. It can be a blink of an eye when our mind is occupied with the question of acting or not acting in a situation… and making the right decision. It can be a question of what career path to take. And of course, we also need principled leaders in important positions. If we don’t encourage people to become leaders, then only one type pf person will go into this position: the type of person who cares only about power. We should encourage everyone to take responsibility in his or her area of expertise, community, family, and group of friends.


Who are the authors whose work most closely resembles your book series?

If I were to choose authors whose work relates to each of the book in the series, I would name Ayn Rand and Aristotle for the first book. Not only did each provide groundwork  for philosophy, but also Ayn Rand explained the real concept of the hero and leader. Concerning the second book, which is science and theory of the mind, I will point to Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins,  William H. Calvin,  David Bohm,  and Lawrence Krauss as major influences. The third book, focusing on values and drugs, is greatly based on Ayn Rand (theory of values) as well as own views and current scientific results. I drew a lot from Karen Armstrong‘s books for the fourth book about religion and theology, and the chapter about psychology is greatly influenced by the ideas of Carl JungPeter S. BeagleJoseph Campbell, and Robert Cialdini. While Ayn Rand again provided basic philosophical ideas, modern science and personality theory help us to connect with who we are and what our values actually are. Finally, for the book on art and heroism, I will draw heavily on Ayn Rand, general music theory and a number of authors of motivation books.


What’s the most important thing you have learned in your life?

That I can positively affect and effect change and people. And the realization that I have choices and that those choices have consequences. Being aware of having a choice is very empowering.


What is MBTI?

It goes back to psychoanalysis a hundred years ago. Carl Jung, one of the major figures in that field, found out that we basically have four cognitive functions on which we operate and that we process information in a certain sequence. There is Feeling, which refers to “global thinking,” meaning you include all your life experiences and your values (your ethical system), intuition (situational thinking, including your subconscious), Thinking (step-by-step, conscious, logical analysis), and Sensing (immediate sensations). They can be of the same intensity for someone, but they are “called up” in a certain order, i.e. e.g. “Feeling” personality types evaluate a situation usually first according to their ethical point of view.

Imagine your mind being like a small company of four people representing the four functions. The job goes to #1 always. He might pass it down to #2, etc. Employee #4 might be great, but most of the times he won’t receive any work or has to wait until the work is passed down to him. Different people have a different sequence of functions, and each function can be directed to the inside and to the outside. In the end, you have about 16 different types, with some much more prevalent than others.


What are you (the author) doing for a living?

I’m currently working at a medical company as a software architect, connecting patients with their doctors through smart phones and the Internet. It is my day job to finance my writing. I lead a small team there, so I’m used to handling projects. The actual application in mind gives the work meaning.