Golf balls

May 25, 2015

By Mitch Ditkoff via   Article

The Professor and the Jar

“A college professor stood before his philosophy class at the start of a new semester. Silently, he picked up a very large jar and filled it with golf balls. Then he asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly, pebbles settling into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students again responded with a resounding ‘yes.’

The professor then produced two beers from under the table and poured them into the jar, filling the empty spaces between the sand. The students laughed.

‘Now,’ said the professor. ‘I want you to understand that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things — your family, health, friends, and feeling of well-being. If everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.’

‘The pebbles are the other things that matter — your job, your house, your accomplishments etc. The sand is everything else — the small stuff.’

‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there’s no room left for the golf balls or pebbles. The same holds true for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you’ll never have room for the things that are really important to you.’

‘Pay attention to the things that are essential to your happiness. Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Take your spouse out to dinner. Smell the flowers. Enjoy the beauty of existence. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first — the things that really matter. The rest is just sand.’

One of the students then raised her hand and asked what the beer represented. The professor smiled, ‘I’m glad you asked. The beer shows you that, no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of beers with a friend.'”

$1.67 for a plan

May 25, 2015

“During World War I, while inspecting a certain area, Gen John J. Pershing found a project that was not going well, even thought the second Lieutenant in charge seemed to have a pretty good plan. General Pershing asked the lieutenant how much pay he received. On hearing the lieutenant’s reply of ‘$141.67 per month, Sir,’ General Pershing said: ‘Just remember that you get $1.67 per month for making your plan and issuing the order, and $140.00 for seeing that it is carried out.'”


Thanks to Stan Simms for sharing this quote

Fuzzy correlation

May 25, 2015

By Tom Fishburne via   Article

Marketing seat at the table

“Around the executive table, marketing has traditionally had the hardest time proving their value. The correlation between marketing investment and revenue impact has often been fuzzy.

This is particularly true for consumer marketing. When a shopper picks up a particular bottle of shampoo in the grocery aisle, how much of that decision was influenced by marketing? How much of that decision related to years of brand investment, how much to the latest ad, how much to the recent packaging redesign, how much to the placement on shelf, how much to the in-store sales promotion? There are a lot of factors that go into any purchase. How much related to a brand-building message, and how much direct-response? Which tactics should get the credit, and therefore more investment in the future?

Even with online transactions, it can be fuzzy. Credit has often been attributed to the last ad a customer clicked on or the last keyword searched rather than all of the activities that may have played a part.”

Real risk or ego risk?

May 25, 2015

By Minda Zetlin via  Article

“Are you frightened of taking a risk? If so, ask yourself a question. Are you scared because it could have real, dire consequences? Or could it just have dire consequences for your ego?

A few weeks ago, I took part in a podcast about risk and what stops us from taking the chances that could propel us to a higher level of success. It suddenly struck me that–although we often confuse them–there are two very distinct forms of risk. And though we may be equally afraid of both, they deserve very different levels of respect.

The first is when we take a chance on something that could really harm us, either physically or materially. Athletes and explorers take physical risks routinely, and so do the rest of us when we, say, go scuba diving or go out driving in a snowstorm to an appointment or event we just don’t want to miss. We may also take material risks, for instance when we quit a job to start a business or take out a mortgage. We take the risk in pursuit of something we consider important, but we’re also aware that things can go horribly wrong and we could wind up much worse off than we were before.

But then there’s ego risk, the kind of risk where the only harm we might suffer is to our pride, our public image, and our self-esteem. Much too often, we treat this kind of risk as though it were equal to real physical or material risk.

This is why in surveys people routinely rank fear of public speaking above fear of death. It’s nonsensical of course. I’m fairly sure that if you stood most people at a podium, pointed a gun at their head and told them to give a speech or die, they’d start speaking in a hurry. Stack up ego risk against real risk and ego risk will crumble every time.”


On the hook

May 18, 2015

By Heather Somerville via   Article

Ellen Pao may be on hook for $1M in Kleiner Perkins’ legal expenses

“Venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers paid nearly $1 million in court costs and expert witness fees during the sex-discrimination trial brought by former employee Ellen Pao. Now Pao, after losing the high-stakes case, could be on the hook to pay those expenses.

Kleiner Perkins on Wednesday filed court documents detailing the venture firm’s costs in the five-week trial — $972,814, the sum of court filing fees, transcribing and videotaping testimony, traveling expenses for witnesses and fees for expert witnesses. That figure doesn’t include fees for Kleiner’s legal team, led by Orrick attorney Lynne Hermle.

Legally, Kleiner has the right to recover court costs and witness fees for two reasons: The firm won the gender-bias case on all claims, and Kleiner offeredPao a settlement of nearly $1 million, which she turned down.

Last month, a jury found Kleiner was not liable in allegations of gender discrimination and retaliation, delivering Pao a staggering loss in her $16 million case. The high-profile lawsuit riveted Silicon Valley and put the venture industry’s boys-club culture under international scrutiny.

The VC firm, however, submitted the bill to the court to deter her from filing an appeal — not necessarily because it wants the $1 million. ‘KPCB has offered to waive all legal costs due to the firm should Ellen Pao choose to bring this legal matter to a close,’ spokeswoman Christina Lee said in a statement.

The only way Pao would be exempt from paying Kleiner anything is if she files an appeal and wins. Several experts have said an appeal would be a losing battle. …

Before leaving Kleiner Perkins, Pao had asked for a $10 million settlement. She was fired in October 2012, five months after suing the firm, and continued to receive her salary, benefits and bonuses until she was hired at Reddit, where she serves as interim CEO, in March 2013.”

3D printing factory

May 18, 2015

By TJ McCue via   Article

A Glimpse Into The Future of American Manufacturing

“In 2014, Aleph Objects’ revenue was $4.6 million, and as of the end of April they are on track to surpass their 2014 sales, a company spokesperson shared with me. The company operates a cluster of 144 LulzBot 3D printers that run 24 hours a day, five days week, creating parts for their own printers. This week the company hit 500,000 parts produced in their own 3D printing factory. The milestone part was an x-end motor mount for the company’s award-winning LulzBot Mini desktop 3D printer.

This is a significant milestone in another way as well – the media frequently talks about how traditional manufacturing is going to disappear, but very rarely has examples of companies producing, at scale, via 3D printers. There are examples out there and I’ll share more of them in the coming months. But Aleph has proven they can base a major portion of their manufacturing process on their own printers. That means they can easily scale production to meet customer demand.”

Better to receive

May 18, 2015

By Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman via   Article

The Assumptions That Make Giving Tough Feedback Even Tougher

“We asked a global sample of 3,875 people who’d received negative or redirecting feedback if they were surprised or had not known already about the problem that was raised. We were taken aback to discover that fully 74% indicated that they had known and were not surprised.

Very often, when we see someone performing poorly we say to ourselves, ‘If they only realized they had a problem they would do better.’ But most of the time, that’s simply not so.  A struggling employee may not realize how serious the problem is, but more likely, he or she is very much aware but hasn’t figured out how to do better. That means that simply pointing out the problem isn’t going to be all that helpful. …

Because both the person giving the feedback and the person receiving it are anxious, they both want to get it over quickly. That’s understandable: the human organism is wired to avoid pain. In practical terms, this usually means a meeting where the manager does a lot of talking and the subordinate remains silent. This might seem like the quickest and the kindest way to get things over with (on both sides), but it’s a terrible mistake. …

Simply put, the less people felt their managers listened to them, the more likely they were to believe that their managers were not being honest and straightforward. One could look at this the other way too – that is, those who felt strongly that their managers listened to them rated them high on their ability to give honest feedback.

It is something of a paradox that we crave constructive feedback and the same time we don’t want to give it. Perhaps getting past that paradox is a matter of remembering, when it’s your turn to be the giver, that it’s really so much better to receive. We can all think of some feedback that has been a gift – advice that has helped us perform better and made us more successful.”