1/ Time management is top of mind for all as the universally scarce resource is time. There’s also a lot of advice and best practices to be had. I think a lot of what I see is counter to success (long and short term) for project and career. Here’s how I think/rant on time mgmt.
Most important thing is time management (TM) is like all other personal development and growth—what works for one person (leadership style, product) may or may not work for you. The big thing about time is how you manage your time impacts how others collaborate w/you. So think.
When seeking role models or suggestions for TM it is always best to look to people doing amazing work at the same type of job in the same type of role as you. Don’t seek TM tips from a CEO or VC if you are an eng or in sales, or bigco if you are series A.
“Why Small Teams Win And Bigger Ones Fail” by @esanueugenuxplanet.org/why-small-team… // Me: Number of designers should be a reflection of the interaction surface area of the product, not a measure of importance of design. Better for the product. Better for design. Better for eng/pm.
2/4 Mostly I see design teams that are too big for the surface area (experience) they design, and product management teams too small for the surface area they PM (code, APIs, experience).
3/4 Many think that having 1 PM for ever 2 or 3 eng (when at scale of ~100 eng) is extraordinary, but it all depends on how much you want to iterate before coding and how much coherence desired across a product line.
1/ “The End of the Big Idea?” by @bob_buzzardmedium.com/@bob_buzzard/t… // Interesting and realistic post about customer input program at Salesforce and the challenges at scale. Always super tough to argue against "listen to customers" but at scale two realities (to consider).
Some tough customer love in this thread. An early stage company (ent or cons) outnumbers customers. So listening is relatively straight forward mapping of resources to input. In fact, early stage companies often have a feel of "work for hire" in traversing product market fit.
This is especially true when building a product that must work for groups or bigCo process as regardless of founder vision, making that vision fit within constraints is a good thing.
How Tesla Made the Model 3 Better Than the Model S jalopnik.com/how-tesla-made…@jalopnik // This teardown is super interesting. Strategically this is integrated versus modular, which has defined competitive dynamic in industry many times. Could this be the biggest bet Tesla makes? 1/
Historically cars were entirely about modularity—build many cars and brands from common parts differentiating at go-to-market and minimal trim (Camaro, Firebird, Transam). Excellence came from perfect match of buyer segment ⨯ price ⨯ brand image, etc.
This drove volumes, low prices, and high margins. (Read: "My Years At GM").
BUT it also left a lot to be desired when it came to quality (leaving room for Germany) and big strategic shifts like fuel economy (Japan).
For Detroit modularity was great strength, then weakness.
1/ "50 Years In Tech: When HP Led Desktop and Mobile Computing" @gasseemondaynote.com/50-years-in-te… // WOW an amazing start to a career—a look back at what it was like to join early days at HP _and_ computing. HP was incredibly innovative and a massive contributor to PCs. An example:
2/ HP was always pushing the edge of what was possible as JLG describes with "put a computer in your pocket". BTW, those HP calculators were still in the Cornell Math Library in 1983 when I got there and you used your ID to use one that was bolted to a table! But what about PCs?
3/ Fast forward to about 1990 or so which the arrival of the Compaq LTE 386, the first laptop one could travel with. It weighed 7+ lbs travel weight. It had a 386 processor, 2MB memory, and 10MB hard drive. *Everyone* in the industry had one. Nice power brick and trackpad.
Multitasking/number of people isn’t the issue but focus. Why? <cont’d>
2/ A company/team doesn’t want to get in a situation where actions on one hand are counter to the other hand, which can easily happen when mixing growth and health (and how they got there) or “work a new way” with “keep going how you were going”.
3/ What you want as a mgmt team is to get the whole company efforts focused on a “new way of thinking”, in this case “health” over “growth”. To do that everyone needs to act in new ways.
1/ Google fined a record $5 billion by the EU for Android antitrust violations theverge.com/2018/7/18/1758… via @Verge // Oh noooo…Is this "here we go again", "beginning of the end", or something else? Thoughts… (Note: not a lawyer, just reading stuff)
This is a long process—started in 2013 (at least). Didn't end today. But much happen(ed) behind closed doors so tough to know what is going on. No matter appeal or not, Google now has to craft a solution to meet criteria outlined.
That's a unique part of EU process—upon losing, the defendant is responsible for designing and implementing (and deploying) remediation and then monitoring that it works. You never get "yes that is good" only "no, not quite". Yikes.
1/3 A baby was treated with a nap and a bottle of formula. His parents received an $18,000 bill. vox.com/2018/6/28/1750… via @voxdotcom // no one can claim our system is the most efficient, transparent, or cost effective BUT there's more to a story like this:
2/3 "Trauma activation" is a thing. Show up in ER and it follows a protocol ("standard of care", potential internal head injury due to fall), a whole "system" happens—doctors are on call, pagers activate, imaging taken/evaluated, specialists, consulted, & more—instantly.
3/3 Having that standard of care "on call", available 7x24 *in case* surgery or specialty care is needed is a thing.
Whether this case needed or not, is our system optimal? Who knows. But do know, that in the US there's a massive, amazing, infrastructure called "activation".
“Perhaps it is simpler to say that Intel…was disrupted”—@stratechery // Simple to say but many factors at play. Disruption is never one feature, but full set of *assumptions* that go into a business. Some stories stratechery.com/2018/intel-and…
Some key assumptions that the mobile/ARM ecosystem inverted, many of which were rooted in the transition from desktop to laptop PCs:
• Proprietary instruction set
• Discrete graphics
• Low power
• Go to market
A little on each. Frst what about manufacturing?
Ben’s post nails the idea that Intel thought no matter what, it could out-manufacture everyone. And that was true for a very long time. It was just as true that Microsoft could out-software most anyone.
1/ For whom a product is designed is an interesting question. Sounds easy…most say they know but…
Software people love to “build for myself” or “solve my problem” — those become products and companies—it can work.
But there are challenges to listening to yourself and team?
It is not uncommon for engineers and designers to start out believing “if we can’t please ourselves then we can please many more” when it comes to making a product. “If I like it, then others will too”.
In fact this “for me” is even codified in a “favorite” book of programmers, “The Fountainhead”.
“My ideas are mine. Nobody else has a right to them except on my terms. Those who need them
must take them my way or not at all.” —“Howard Roark” (Ayn Rand)
“React Native at Airbnb” by @firstname.lastname@example.org/airbnb-enginee… // this is an *incredibly* thoughtful and detailed MUST READ multi-part series on the choice to use and ultimately transition away from react native at airbnb. 1/
2/ I am sure this is controversial for many but it shows in great detail the trials and tribulations of cross-platform, abstracting from native, mobile <> web development. The biggest risk with x-platform is early success as you can read in these posts.
PLEASE. READ. PLEASE!
There's no doubt confirmation bias for me in the posts, but I've also built and lived through these expectations and reality (and regrets).
Apple announced “Marzapan” at WWDC—a much anticipated iOS <> OS X extension to App/UI frameworks on both platforms. It is both more and less interesting that many want or believe. Why?
Many were hoping for a merger of iOS + OSX—a refrigerator/toaster. @gassee pointed out in his post, there are too many things that don’t work/make sense across phone/tablet/legacy desktop. This is sooo true. mondaynote.com/ios-macos-what…
This goes beyond the core difficulty of adding touch to the existing OS X desktop and apps. Saying this is “difficult” rancors many b/c of the feeling that Windows “solves” this. It doesn’t. It makes it functional v. usable.
Long ago, computer science == developing languages. It was like getting a PhD was an exercise in creating a programming language. We all used YACC, Lex constantly.
That came from the era of languages dramatically improving programming compared to assembly language.
Literally every conversation in the “computer basement” (actual physical place) devolved into a debate over which language was better. 4 years of college and 2 years of grad school (in PLs!) debating imperative, declarative, object, GC, functional, etc.
Invisible asymptotes @eugeneweieugenewei.com/blog/2018/5/21…. // This is excellent and well worth reading, but as you read it note a few things stated with certainty are more “Yes, but” sorts of things. 1/
Everyone in retail knew customers hate shipping costs (ask LL Bean). The challenge has never been offering it but offering it sustainably (ask LL Bean), which has been the challenge with every retail innovation ever. Predict: Prime shipping will shrink in availability over time.
The history of retail are innovators followed by a mean reversion squeezing profits out even more. A perfect example of this from Amazon are Basics. Retailers invariably move to house brands, and with that come channel/partner conflicts with brands customers want. Ask Walmart.
1/ Bundle, bundle, toil and trouble. Software bundles are big part of biz software. Big Cos love bundles. Startups compete w/them. Customers want best of breed, choice, oh and also single vendor simplicity.
A complex topic worth exploring:
Bundles are everywhere. Office 365, Creative Cloud, Marketing Cloud, G-Suite, Endpoint Protect, and to some degree AWS, GCP, and Azure.
Nature of business and "the two ways to make money"—the cycle of bundle 🔄 unbundle.
Why do have bundles? Vendors say: whole > sum of parts, single vendor simplicity, integration. Vendors love single sales motion, simpler messaging, sell one thing.
Customers say they value integration, single vendor one-stop shop.
1/ Many enterprise products rely on a "provider" or "connector" model to be fully capable. This is much harder than it looks and much more of a potential failure point than most might think.
A thread on strategy, implementation, challenges.
Your strategy is always clear--you are building a product that must connect to data, expose functionality, or rely on a 1:many set of partners to be fully realized. Examples: connect to SaaS data, auth models, logs, join n products into one experience, analysis reporting, etc.
The benefit to your product is obvious. The core strategy question is why does anyone care about your problems. Everyone is always busy. Everyone always wants to serve customers more. Not everyone feels their product has big holes waiting to be filled in.
2/ If Apple created all new controls and capabilities *in* a new framework that was simultaneously written for iOS & OSX they could make x-plat work because they control the implementation of both platforms.
This is a unique execution capability a platform owner has.
3/ Apple could also build a framework that maps to existing iOS & OSX APIs (which have lots of sharing anyway) handling OS differences.
This is hard because of existing code, so would really only “work” for new apps.
Again, Apple controlling evolution of both is key. // end
1/ It’s a toy. It’s the next big thing. Tech is magical. Tech is trivial. When talking about “blockchain” it is easy to debate in abstract.
But what about when you’re living a potential technology transition/disruption.
A story about Microsoft Office.
By 2000 Office enjoyed a solid 8 years of explosive growth reaching $10B in revenue that year. Product “pivoted” from individual to enterprise purchasing and IT deployment. It seemed extremely secure.
Competition from prior gen (Lotus/IBM, Borland, WordPerfect) still “existed”. New competition was “Open” Office which was an open source copy. We were confident in execution abilities that lesser/free product wouldn’t pose material threat.
1/ “Often Copied, Never Duplicated” is a great way to describe challenges learning and operationalizing best practices from one company/team to your company team. Thoughts on applying best practices…(ie, are you writing a Six-Pager as we speak?)
Here as a reminder is Jeff Bezos' description of the Amazon "Six-Pager". A full replacement for PowerPoint at meetings designed to "improve results through the simple act of teaching scope" sec.gov/Archives/edgar…
Reading this new description having heard from many Amazon people over the years about this, I immediately though about executives all around the world embarking on two initiatives: