Steve Jobs is a lousy role model

September 26, 2011

By    Article

“Jobs was a technological visionary who created a corporate culture that consistently generates fantastic products.  Even so, he’s a terrible role model for CEOs specifically and managers in general.  Here’s why.

As a manager, Jobs was well-known for being needlessly cruel.  He had a habit of belittling employees, calling them “bozos” and so forth, and generally making people around him thoroughly miserable.

There is, of course, a “theory” of management that says that Jobs’s success, and the success at Apple, was the result of this behavior.  However, that’s confusing correlation with causality.

The truth is that it’s not just possible, but entirely practical, to manage a team or a company, without acting like an ass. Thousands of managers (and hundreds of CEOs) do it all the time.

Belittling behavior, rather than making the manager and team more effective, is a productivity tax.

The employee spends energy (which could otherwise be  spent on productive work) overcoming the resulting anxiety and dread.  And the manager must similarly spend unnecessary energy apologizing and ameliorating the effects of what, in the end, is a lack of both self respect and self control.

The element of his character that made him (and Apple) successful (i.e. his vision) is not easily emulated.  By contrast, any jerk can emulate Jobs’s self-indulgent behavior… and (sad to say) all too many managers do so.”


10 tips for intrapreneurs

September 26, 2011

by James Gardner   Article

“I spent a few hours the other day with a ultra-successful corporate intrapreneur. I was so impressed I thought I’d share her top ten tips for success.

  1. The business as it stands now today is the business. Accept that, don’t fight it. It’s the thing that’s providing you a job. …
  2. You don’t work for a start-up. You work for a corporate, so you need to behave appropriately. Appropriate behaviour means showing up to all the pointless corporate meetings, responding to all the pointless corporate emails and filling in all the pointless corporate forms. …
  3. Just because you’re not a start-up doesn’t mean you can’t be nimble and fast. You just can’t be so fast you blow everything around you into bits.
  4. Relationships are key to everything. Build them, cultivate them, love them. If they don’t love you back, keep trying till they do.
  5. Relationships aren’t politics. Don’t play politics no matter how good an idea it seems. Politics always bite, and the bite really is worse than the bark.
  6. Be satisfied with the wins you get, however small. You have to believe you’re on a journey not a cliff edge.
  7. Be Zen about failure. Calmness is the key to turning failure into success.
  8. Bringing in the money is going to be important, sooner or later. Best to plan for sooner because even the smallest amount of new money is evidence you’re moving forward.  …
  9. Avoid creativity traps. Also be cautious around people whose primary value proposition is “creativity”. They are distracting to the main game of creating new business, a task which is only a creative exercise for about the first 5 minutes.
  10. … Being an intrapreneur is a job which requires you to personally bring the mountain to Mohammad. If you’re going to last, you must love what you’re doing.”

Seven ways leaders move first for best results

September 26, 2011

By Dan Rockwell   Article

“Moving first is the difference between leading and following. Seven ways leaders move first.

Leaders:

  1. Move toward people first. When you wonder if you should greet someone, you should. Extend your hand first and say, “Good morning,” first. Don’t hold your head down while walking the hall. If you don’t move first, you may give the impression you’re frustrated or disappointed.
  2. Move toward problems first. Leaning into problems and hard conversations expresses toughness and courage. Poor performing leaders may be great with people but they all lack toughness.
  3. Move toward solutions first. Although leaders courageously move toward problems first, they never focus on problems; they always focus on solutions.
  4. Move toward relationships first. Great challenges require great teams. Networking leaders always go further than isolationists.
  5. Move toward learning first. High performing leaders think more about things they don’t know. Confusion and uncertainty is the path to discovery. Certainty is the path to safety and stagnation.
  6. Move toward curiosity and questions first. Great questions make leaders look smart not dumb. Ask about resources, timelines, and deliverables. Answers end curiosity.
  7. Move toward responsibility and accountability first, not only for themselves but others.

Bonus: Move toward revising plans first. Working the plan is great. Working plans that aren’t working isn’t perseverance, it’s dumb.

Leaders don’t: ….”


How to focus in the age of distraction

September 26, 2011

By Barry Ritholtz

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The great bank robbery

September 26, 2011

By and    Article

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“For the American economy – and for many other developed economies – the elephant in the room is the amount of money paid to bankers over the last five years. In the United States, the sum stands at an astounding $2.2 trillion for banks that have filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Extrapolating over the coming decade, the numbers would approach $5 trillion, an amount vastly larger than what both President Barack Obama’s administration and his Republican opponents seem willing to cut from further government deficits. That $5 trillion dollars is not money invested in building roads, schools, and other long-term projects, but is directly transferred from the American economy to the personal accounts of bank executives and employees. Such transfers represent as cunning a tax on everyone else as one can imagine. It feels quite iniquitous that bankers, having helped cause today’s financial and economic troubles, are the only class that is not suffering from them – and in many cases are actually benefiting. …

In other words, banks take risks, get paid for the upside, and then transfer the downside to shareholders, taxpayers, and even retirees. In order to rescue the banking system, the Federal Reserve, for example, put interest rates at artificially low levels; as was disclosed recently, it also has provided secret loans of $1.2 trillion to banks. The main effect so far has been to help bankers generate bonuses (rather than attract borrowers) by hiding exposures.

Taxpayers end up paying for these exposures, as do retirees and others who rely on returns from their savings. Moreover, low-interest-rate policies transfer inflation risk to all savers – and to future generations. Perhaps the greatest insult to taxpayers, then, is that bankers’ compensation last year was back at its pre-crisis level.”


How badly do you want to succeed

September 26, 2011

by Usman Sheikh   Article and Video

“I came across this video recently and found it truly inspirational. It is one of those videos that makes you stop and think for a minute. About where you are, what you are doing and whether you are still on the path you want to be on. Life has this infinite capacity to consume you with the details, that we begin to lose sight of the bigger picture. You need to be constantly reminded about your end goal and make sure what you are doing today, is leading up to where you want to be.”


7 Laws of Technology

September 19, 2011

by Scott Brinker  Article

1. Moore’s Law

The most famous technology law of all time: the performance of hardware doubles about every 2 years. … Witness the Osborne computer from 30 years ago next to a circa-2009 iPhone — the iPhone is 100 times faster and almost 500 times smaller. …

2. Wirth’s Law

The ironic corollary to Moore’s Law, Wirth’s Law states: software gets slower more rapidly than hardware becomes faster. … This is why the latest version of Microsoft Office running on a new computer seems to run about the same speed as an older version of Office running on an older machine.  …

3. Brooks’ Law

A technology law that has been the bane of managers for decades, Brooks’ Law says: adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. … there are two reasons why this is generally true:

  1. It takes some time for new people added to a project to become productive (“ramp up time“), which sucks time away from the existing team members to educate them.
  2. Communication overhead increases as the number of people increases.

4. Hofstadter’s Law

Related to Brooks’ Law is the lovely paradox of Hofstadter’s Law: it always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law. It’s a recursive statement on the difficulty of accurately estimating the time to complete tasks of any substantial complexity. …

5. Segal’s Law

Short but sweet, Segal’s Law is relevant for anyone involved in marketing measurement (i.e., everyone in marketing): a man with a watch knows what time it is; a man with two watches is never sure. If you’ve ever spent time trying to get two different web analytics packages to report the same numbers, you already have a deep appreciation for this law. …

6. Conway’s Law

Conway’s Law is my favorite: any piece of software reflects the organizational structure that produced it. … software — and other complex systems, such as web sites and marketing operations processes — reflect both the structure and culture of the organizations that create them. This is why there is so much opportunity for differentiation for innovative products and services, even in crowded markets. For example, personal finance was a pretty mature category when Mint.com launched in 2007. Yet their fresh ideas, intuitive UX design, and simple workflow won them millions of users….

7. Metcalfe’s Law

Metcalfe's Law

Saving the best for last, Metcalfe’s Law states: the value of a network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users. Robert Metcalfe, the inventor of Ethernet, first formulated this law to characterize the benefits of having compatible communications devices — e.g., computer networks, fax machines, etc. — adopted by a growing number of people.

This exponential increase in value emerges because of the number of pair connections within a group of N people is equal to (N)(N-1)/2 — which is approximately N2. Or, put more simply, a network’s value grows exponentially. At least up to any human limit to take advantage of these interconnections.”