Posted by: rolfsky | February 29, 2008

what is a pattern hound?

A few months back, I appended the phrase “pattern hound” to my blog title which was previously just “Rolf Skyberg”.

This morning, I wrote up a page about what a pattern hound is and why I am one. Because I wanted to keep this at the top of my blog, I created it as a “page” rather than a “post”.

So for those of you who only read my blog via RSS, here is the text in full:

We are driven as humans to understand. From our first waking moments, we look at this world with keen eyes and follow how the parts and pieces curve and interact, how this causes that, and in turn rolls towards us. We delight in waving our pudgy arms through the air knowing that, “hey, I’m doing that! now I get it!”

We are natural problem solvers and tool makers because it has been driven into our blood, our very genes. The big ‘ol brain on our shoulders is our advantage, and whoever can figure out this world first, wins. We are formed analyzers. Understanding gets you ahead.

As we experience this world, useful bits are passed on to us by other helpful humans, thing that help us cope. Language becomes our universal communicator to express our needs, wants and desires of the moment. Our mental models help us predict what will happen next.

Sometimes these models are taught to us (theft is wrong!), some we learn on our own (fire is HOT!), some we pay thousands of dollars for (SWOT is one method of looking at business). And usually, the models we base our thinking on are delivered by those most involved with the topic at hand. We learn business models from business people, because they should know, right?

But unfortunately, often these experts are too far into their world to deliver new solutions. It has often been said that you can’t solve a problem with the same thinking that created it.

And this is where Pattern Hounds come in.

Hounds are a special type of dog, bred to help its master while hunting. Some sniff out the quarry, some lock on with steady vision. Regardless of their methods, hounds lead their masters to “the good stuff” by seeking it out and pointing the way.

I am a pattern hound. I sniff out new ways of looking at the world and deliver it to those who seek it. Maybe your models are stale and leading to dead-ends, maybe your are just starting off and looking for fresh models to form your mind.

I pry out the curious, the patterns, the connections. I deliver them as analogies, parables and observations. Occasionally I stretch them into the future.

With each of these new frames on the world, I hope I bring you a new piece to fit into your understanding of your world.

I hope to help you get closer to the good stuff.

Here are five patterns I’ve hounded in the past two months:



  1. You are definitely one of my favourite Pattern Hounds Rolf. It is always fun and inspiring to read about the patterns you detect in life.

    Keep up the great writings. I’ll definitely be thinking and reusing them in one way or another 😉

  2. Sometimes a pattern hound might sniff out some really rotten stuff too and that is a good thing to alert his master to.

  3. read The Speed of Dark, by Elizabeth Moon

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