About the Chaos Map

The Chaos Map is an experiment in visual philosophy. I'm developing it one essay at a time to help myself and others more clearly navigate the chaos of life, work, and relationships.

It's a work in progress; Take a quick excursion through the site, and you'll find it's not yet very practical or cohesive. It might never be. But it's a sketch that I hope to keep sketching on for a while.

How I tend to move on the Chaos Map.

As a founder and conceptual designer at Pathwright, my favorite work exists between order and chaos: the messy middle area that connects our vision for the future of education with the practical reality of what's possible now. The Chaos Map helps us surface insights as we develop our product; For example, it lead to throwing out our roadmap.

But I find the Chaos Map most helpful for navigating the part of building a company that's far more important and complicated than any technology: the people-part. The ability to see the personalities, role structures, and initiatives in one coherent visual map makes spotting gaps and aligning solutions more manageable. With the map in my mind's eye, it's easier to make a thousand small decisions that nudge us towards that difficult and magical balance between stability and creativity.

Privately, I use the Chaos Map to understand and harmonize the perspectives and paradigms I come across. I find that it helps me synthesize many views I'd previously assumed were in conflict.

If you have a suggestion – or especially a critique – of any aspect of the Chaos Map, please send me an email or book a live conversation.

Paul N. Johnson

Other Essays & Projects