The world is complicated, the modern technologies and business flows are even more complicated. In such a situation it becomes very valuable when someone can explain and describe something complex in simple terms.
My favorite parts of almost any book, especially tech or business books, are when the author explains complex thought as a real live example using ordinary and familiar concepts. I would like to share a couple of examples that drew my attention in the book I read recently: “Hello, Startup” by Yevgeniy Brikman.
“When is your home cleanest? Just before guests arrive. The same is true of anything that you share with others. One of the unexpected benefits of open sourcing your code is that the mere act of preparing the code for open source often leads to higher quality code because you know that “guests” will be looking at it. You’ll probably take the time to clean up the code, add tests, write documentation, and generally make the project more presentable to the rest of the world.”
That’s really true, your home is cleaner than usual when you expect guests, your car is shining when you sell it. As well as your work and your knowledge are better and more structural when you need to present it.
“Scaling a startup is a bit like shifting gears in a car with a manual transmission. Scaling too early is like shifting into a high gear while the car is moving at a low speed: the gears will grind and you may stall out completely. Scaling too late is like flooring the gas pedal while staying in low gear: you put a lot of stress on the engine, push it into the red, and if you keep it up too long, you’ll overheat without ever hitting top speed.”
Premature vs overdue optimization, heh.
“Imagine you were driving along and saw a cow on the side of the road. Would you stop and take notice? Probably not. You’ve seen cows plenty of times in your life, so you’d just keep on driving. But if you saw a purple cow, you’d almost certainly pull over and take some pictures. Why? Because a purple cow is remarkable. It works the same way for products. Consumers are so overloaded with product choices and marketing messages, that the only way you’re going to get them to pay attention to you—and just as importantly, get their friends to pay attention to you—is if you do something remarkable.”
These words belong to Seth Godin, but it was given in the book as a quote and I really like it.
Let’s simplify complex things and produce purple cows 😉
- Losing the sense of time: it’s very easy to spend hours on something that could be done less than an hour, especially on something interesting when you can deep dive into the problem
- Multitasking: having a few things that need to be done in a day could lead to the situation when you switch from one to another or even start to work on both simultaneously. Such approach is very unlikely to boost the performance
I asked myself many times: why it’s so hard for an enterprise organization to achieve a result ? While startups eagerly move toward their goals, enterprises move deliberately and usually very slow. Of course there are many reasons, but I would like to highlight one of them that was not so obvious for me from the beginning – internal competition.
The researchers distinguish two types of competition – positive and negative. Positive competition leads to better results and productivity from all competitors, eventually everyone wins when a collaborative goal will be reached, someone will receive a reward, someone recognition, someone experience, etc. Negative competition leads to poor results, each competitor trying to create obstacles to prevent other competitors from succeeding, even if the collaborative goal is reached there could be losers because of the poor results, someone could not receive a bonus, someone could be fired, etc.
Small companies or startups are in a good situation to clearly envision their goal as a company. When the goal is clearly defined people start to move collaboratively toward the goal, no time would be wasted for negative competition – if someone doesn’t help another person or team then all of them could go out of business. On the other hand enterprises are usually so big that the overall goal of the company becomes ephemeral. People don’t feel their value for the company’s success as well as realize that their or any other team’s failure would not impact the company’s business. Also big teams (internal organizations) usually have deep pocket and enough resources to work on the same things over which someone has been already working in the other internal organization. All that leads to unhealthy collaborative process and negative competition.
At this moment I don’t see any easy solution, but I believe there is some and hope enterprises will work on eliminating this problem.
The first blog post should be very simple: