Alex Hillman
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Alex Hillman Podcasts Episode 7: On the Stack with Vanessa Gennarelli 2

Learning community researcher and Indy Hall member, Vanessa Gennarelli, joined Alex Hillman to talk about three seemingly unrelated topics that they related back to coworking.


Fractals are patterns that occur in nature which seem to be chaotic but are actually organized.  We see these patterns happening all around us. They can help us recognize things and jog memory.  However, they can also be inhibitors to thoughts. A Lot of cognitive biases rely on patterns. Patterns help us but we need to be aware of when they hurt us too.  Fractals serve as mental shortcuts that influence how we make future decisions. Humans have evolved to notice patterns as they occur. We fit things into a system because it is the easiest way for our minds to work.

There are also patterns to human behavior.  We can use these patterns to design workplaces and things like desk layout.  Patterns can make people more likely to next to strangers. Additionally, as communities grow, they naturally subdivide based on interests, focus, or projects.  This is normal and can help a community stay strong. Unfortunately, it can also become a problem. Sometimes, subdivisions become isolated from the greater. It is important to think about subcommunities versus cliques.

Fractals work with sub communities too as it pertains to people’s natural habits.  That is when it is the space’s responsibility to get these subgroups to interact. Give an environment where what  they want is likely to happen, even when they make the least optimal choices.


Part of becoming an adult is accepting that your needs are not as important as the needs of everyone else.  Although, sometimes what you want and what you want for other people fall in line making things much easier.

There is nothing wrong with wanting things.  The damage happens when your wants take priority over and dominates everything else.  When your space is not based in any reality of what members of the community want people will not be as inclined to be a part of it.  People will not participate, get involved, or contribute because you have not aligned your wants with theirs.


One of the things Alex feels most adult about is his confidence.  Due to confidence, he trusts himself to make a decision even in the face of people who do not agree.  He is able to believe that the direction he is heading is best for him, and the people around him in the long run.  

However, be careful of narcism.  You need to earn the ability to trust in yourself.  It comes with experience and adjusting to how people respond.  Do not blindly trust. Trust has to evolve.


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