The Stupidity Manifesto

The Stupidity Manifesto

[Photo: @FelixFoggCircus, by @Karol_Jurga]

I’ve been delivering the talk “Let’s stop making each other feel stupid” for a few years now. It’s a popular talk, and a topic that’s close to my heart. Here’s a video of the talk from DevBreak 2021, and here’s a blog post which summarises the talk.

At the end of that talk and blog post I present the “Stupidity Manifesto”, which I’m reproducing below so that you can sign it and encourage others to sign it too!

The Stupidity Manifesto


  • Lead by example: Be honest when we’re confused
  • Value curiosity over knowledge
  • Prioritise clarity over jargon
  • Remember we all forget stuff
  • Get excited about teaching and learning
  • Acknowledge the broad range of knowledge in our industry, and avoid judging someone if their knowledge doesn’t match ours

To sign the manifesto, simply add your support as a comment on this post. Each comment will be counted as another signature in favour of the manifesto.

The lucky 10,000:

To sign the manifesto, simply add your support as a comment on this post. Each comment will be counted as another signature in favour of the manifesto.

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50 thoughts on “The Stupidity Manifesto

  1. The sad truth is that there are many (many!) commercial concerns who make a business model out of making us feel stupid so that they can sell us stuff (to make us feel less stupid, to sell us stuff *while* we’re being stupid,…)
    The only answer I can see is to take our business away from them by reinventing those things they use to make us feel stupid and making the free and freely accessible to everybody.
    Sign me up!

  2. Enthusiastically agreed. It can be so hard for some of us (me), when we’ve invested so much of our ego in our ability to be “smart”, to let go of pretending to know everything, and to stop being competitive with others about who knows the most. But life is so much better when we do let go, and value learning and curiosity instead. Much of our ego is invested in that too, after all!

  3. This manifesto lays out what every team and individual needs to understand before anything else. The most important thing to learn is how to learn.

    Thanks to Clare for spreading this message!


  4. I actually like to play dumb and ask questions even if I know the answer just for the people in the back who might be too shy to ask.

  5. Yeah – the competitive smartness thing so often is coming from a feeling of inadequacy or some other negative source. Love this manifesto!

  6. Sometimes I ask questions I already know the answer to incase there are people in the room who don’t know the answer and so they don’t have to feel embarrassed by asking. I think it’s worth the risk of people assuming I have a lower level of knowledge to foster the environment where asking for more information is normalised

  7. Signed! thanks for this and the great keynote that I just watched on Youtube (“Let’s stop making each other feel stupid”)

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