Sunday Book Review : Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for Less by Robert I. Sutton

Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for LessScaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for Less by Robert I. Sutton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I grabbed this interested in Sutton’s take on scaling. I am already a fan of greatness/excellence as a path to magnificence. This book re-enforced that there are no silver bullets and that everyones journey is a bit different. It did a good job of laying out what others have experienced and what it looks like. Scaling isn’t about simply more. That more has to be excellent to scale. Additionally an organization is really a collection of individuals and having great ones is pre-requisite to scaling. I am reminded again that illusion, impatience and incompetence are sure fire traits that will kill scaling in it’s tracks. If you are serious about scaling the work you are doing, you should check this out. If you feel that it is the role of someone else or you aren’t attempting to scale I would skip this one.

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Sunday Book Review: One Click: Jeff Bezos and the Rise of Amazon.com by Richard L. Brandt

One Click: Jeff Bezos and the Rise of Amazon.comOne Click: Jeff Bezos and the Rise of Amazon.com by Richard L. Brandt

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A good high level look into where Amazon came from and where they are going. If you are wanting an indepth dive into Amazon culture and operations this isnt the book. If you want a 3rd party view point on how the company got started, some of its early history and some nice anecdotes. The book is well written but a bit shallow. It is a shame that Brandt didn’t take a deeper dive.

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3 Rules For Dealing With Trolls

Spotting a Troll Victim

I see it time and again. Someone has their feelings hurt on the internet (or real life). They spend time obsessing or feeling the victim. Often times pleading for sympathy or trying to villianize the offender. While noble, it is not very effective.

An Example

Troll Victim

Let’s take a play out of the play book of a famous wise man, James Dalton. Let’s lay down the rules for dealing with these trolls, so we can stop being the victim. People who want to enjoy life won’t tolerate these trolls.

Sound too good?

Rule 1: Never Under Estimate Your Opponent, Expect the Unexpected.
Your offenders will come in all shapes and sizes. They will say and do things that hurt you in ways you can’t currently comprehend. They will cross the line and take another hundred steps. They will be relentless. They will infuriate you. They will involve people you don’t want involved.

Rule 2: Take It Outside. Never Start Anything Inside. Unless You Absolutely Have To.
Don’t take the bait. Keep your incoherent emotional tranmissions to yourself. If you feel like you are going to explode if you don’t respond, that is a great cue to NOT RESPOND. Keep your cool and move the conversation to a place and time where you won’t damage yourself or the things you care about.

Rule 3: Be Nice.
Yeah, that’s right, I said it. Be Nice.

“If someone gets in your face and calls you a cocksucker, I want you to be nice.”

That might sound impossible to do, but think about it. If someone says something to you that isn’t true; why do you let it bother you? If it is true and it bothers you, maybe you need to change something about you, not be mad at the offender. If you struggle with this ask for help.

Remember your offender is only trying to illicit a response. Don’t give them the satisfaction of providing one.

The Path to Immediate and Unanimous Team Decisions

Digging a Hole / Copyright Jay Wood

Digging a Hole / Copyright Jay Wood

The Tanga team uses the Decider Protocol, part of the Core Protocols fromSoftware For Your Head by Jim & Michele McCarthy, which is a great way to move a group immediately and unanimously towards results. Sounds impossible doesn’t it? Part of the reason it is so effective is it removes discussion and gets to the heart of what it is that is keeping people from committing to moving forward. A bias to action so to speak.

How does it work?

It starts with someone proposing something. A very simple, concise and clear something. Immediately followed by people stating their level of ability to support the proposed action via vote. Voters, using either Yes (thumbs up), No (thumbs down), or Support-it (flat hand), vote simultaneously with other voters. Voters who absolutely cannot get in on the proposal declare themselves by saying “I am an absolute no. I won’t get in.” If this occurs, the proposal is withdrawn.

What is the difference?

People new to the protocol often ask what is the difference between Yes (thumbs up) and Support-It (flat hand) or No (thumbs down) and Absolute No.

Historically I have used the following to illustrate “absolute no”.
An absolute no, should be used only if there is nothing to do to get you in. Example, “You propose we rob a bank to fund our startup. 1.2.3.” I might be morally opposed to theft so am an absolute no. Nothing can justify to me robbing a bank. However, I might hate banks and be totally fine with that but only if it isn’t armed robbery, because I hate guns. Thus, making me a thumbs down, to get me in we can’t use guns.

I have used this to illustrate “flat hand”.
If “I propose lets dig a six foot hole. 1.2.3.” and you say flat hand. If I hand you the shovel to be the first to dig, you can’t say no I didn’t really want to dig.

An easy way to remember.

Our team made the following humorous matrix which I quite enjoyed.

If “I propose lets dig a six foot hole. 1.2.3.”

Thumbs Up means I am so eager to dig that I will fight you for the shovel.
Flat Hand means I will take the shovel if you hand it to me and start digging.
Thumbs Down means I won’t take the shovel unless something changes.
Absolute No means I would rather you hit you with the shovel, than start digging.

Please remember hitting people with shovels is not polite. Please refrain from doing it often.

Sunday Book Review : Wittgenstein in 90 Minutes by Paul Strathern

Wittgenstein in 90 MinutesWittgenstein in 90 Minutes by Paul Strathern

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paul Strathern gives the 90 minute run down on the “last philosopher” Wittgenstein. I love the 90 minutes series for philosophers as it gives you a good idea of their background and careers while jumping into their most famous works. Wittgenstein like most the rest of his time seemed to toe the line between genius and crazy on a regular basis.

I was curious to learn of his relationship with philosopher Bertrand Russell as some how I missed the two were friends and exchanged ideas often. Wittgenstein came from a tremendously wealthy but disturbed family (three of his brothers committed suicide). Wittgenstein is one of the few philosophers that was truly original and summed up key thoughts into simple yet powerful postulates.

“God is Dead” – Friedrich Nietzsche
“I Think Therefore I am.” – René Descartes
“Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein

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Sunday Book Review : The Start-up of You by Reid Hoffman

The Start-up of YouThe Start-up of You by Ben Casnocha Reid Hoffman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The title and cover made me think that this would for sure be a dud. When it started off all I could think was, “Shit why I am a listening to a book on how to get a job. FML.” I tend to finish a book if I start it so, kept with it past the first chapter. I am glad that I did. Reid Hoffman founder of LinkedIn and one of the ring leaders of the Pay Pal Mafia is full of wisdom. He drops enormous amounts of it in The Start-up of You. More importantly the wisdom is for much more than the job seeker.

This book is about the foundations of charting the course for own life. Setting out to follow your dreams and implement the strategies to get there while still providing a place to land if they all go horribly wrong. I love that a basis of the book is around “All humans are entrepreneurs not because they should start companies but because the will to create is encoded in human DNA.” I find this to be so true to the essence of my world view.

Hoffman’s assertion that “No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.” rings true to the work I have done the past decade at Integrum and Gangplank. I am reminded also that “The fastest way to change yourself is to hang out with people who are already the way you want to be.” Who are you hanging out with today?

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Sunday Book Review : Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki

Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and ActionsEnchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions by Guy Kawasaki

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Who better than to talk about what makes a company or product enchanting than Guy Kawasaki. If you are building products or running a company this should be on your reading list. Kawasaki’s insider views from the start of Apple to the influence of Garage Ventures should be enough to make it worth picking up. It is easy to pass this book off as social media fluff, but I think that there are some gems buried within. Learn how to get DICEE, deliver and make your product truly enchanting.

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Sunday Book Review : Ahead of the Curve by Philip Delves Broughton

Ahead of the Curve: Two Years at Harvard Business SchoolAhead of the Curve: Two Years at Harvard Business School by Philip Delves Broughton

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Former journalist Philip Broughton decided to take a turn in his career and learn business. What better place to do so than at Harvard Business School. He thought for sure doing so would put him Ahead of the Curve, but after two years he felt the truth needed to be told. This is his account of what it was like, what his peers were like and what opportunities existed for him on exit.

Philip is able to be light hearted and to the point. This gives a little peek into how the other half lives and what drives them. If you plan on going to HBS or are disappointed you didn’t get the chance but always dream about it, this book may be for you. It might give you a glance into what you missed or as the case might be, didn’t miss.

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Sunday Book Review : The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful BusinessesThe Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Eric Ries breaks down what startup success can look like and furthermore how it can be learned and replicated. Bringing forth the following principles.

1. Entrepreneurs are everywhere.
2. Entrepreneurship is management.
3. Validated learning.
4. Innovation accounting.
5. Build. Measure. Learn.

Items 1 and 5 are critical to how we think about innovation. This was a quick read that has influenced a lot of thinkers in the software startup scene. Well worth the read.

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Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take ActionStart with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sinek’s Start with Why or his Golden Circle is probably already familiar to you in some fashion if you are in the technology or marketing industry. Start With Why is based on Simon’s powerful Golden Circle model and the question “Why?”. Ultimately getting to the bottom of how great leaders inspire everyone to take action. What makes Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and others so capable for leading their organizations to greatness? This is a simple look at how leaders should lead based in the tenets of biology.

“We follow those who lead, not for them, but for ourselves. And it’s those who start with ‘why’ that have the ability to inspire those around them or find others who inspire them.” — Simon Sinek

Golden Circle

Golden Circle

Sinek has a great TED Talk on the How Great Leaders Inspire Action. Check it out to get a feel for whether this book would be meaningful for you.

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