Archive for November, 2009

smart people leading smarter people

“Among the leadership practices we observed were:”

1. Leader as talent-scout

All of the teams that we studied featured a leader who devoted substantial time and energy to identifying potential talent.

2. Listening rather than telling
If you assemble all-stars at each position and pay the premium for doing so, then listening should be the leader’s most important activity.

3. Focus on collaboration and an exchange of ideas (not idea-hoarding)
Ideas have value only if they’re shared. All our teams succeeded because they shared rather than protected ideas.

4. “Fail faster to succeed sooner” [2]
When facing big risks, taking small ones frequently allows a team to move faster and with less chance of catastrophic failure. The use of “prototypes” is a different way of learning, and all of our teams used experimentation and failure to achieve fast-learning.

5. Challenge ideas not the “person”
Virtuoso teams thrive on direct, and impolite, challenges to ideas, without diminishing the individuals. … Comic genius Sid Caesar and his virtuoso writing team, which included Woody Allen and Mel Brooks, were challenged to create a new show every week. They wanted every show to be memorable, and their slogan became: Polite teams yield polite results!

6. Let individuals soar
Perhaps in our efforts to be inclusive, we’ve allowed the “we’s” to so dominate the “I’s” that we’ve wound up “just average”? If you go to the trouble and expense of finding and recruiting great people, let them be great. Don’t bend them to fit the team.


Leave a Comment

do you live in the city? probably

And by 2050, very probably.

"Less than 5 per cent of the world’s population lived in cities a century ago. In 2008, for the first time in humanity, that figure exceeded 50 per cent. In the last two decades alone, the urban population of the developing world has grown by an average of 3 million people per week.”

“By 2050, it will have reached 70 per cent, representing 6.4 billion people. Most of this growth will be taking place in developing regions; Asia will host 63 percent of the global urban population, or 3.3 billion people in 2050.” (Source: the Global Report on Human Settlements 2009, October 2009.)

December 2009 briefing

Leave a Comment

believe & invent – the rules of the garage

Believe that you can change the world, and that together we can do anything. Make a contribution every day.

Invent new and different ways of working; work quickly, work whenever, share tools & ideas, radical ideas are not bad ideas.

In 1999, HP CEO Carly Fiorina, summarized the spirit of that HP Way with her Rules of the Garage:

  • Believe you can change the world.
  • Work quickly, keep the tools unlocked, work whenever.
  • Know when to work alone and when to work together.
  • Share tools, ideas. Trust your colleagues.
  • No politics. No bureaucracy. (These are ridiculous in a garage).
  • The customer defines a job well done.
  • Radical ideas are not bad ideas.
  • Invent different ways of working.
  • Make a contribution every day. If it doesn’t contribute, it doesn’t leave the garage.
  • Believe that together we can do anything.
  • Invent.

Believe that you can change the world, and that together we can do anything.

Invent new and different ways of working; work quickly, work whenever, share tools & ideas, radical ideas are not bad ideas.

Leave a Comment

brands alone are not viral enough

“To date, having a strong brand doesn’t really seem to matter to Facebook app users. On the AppData Leaderboard, the big brands that we’re used to seeing in the video game space are nowhere to be seen. Will EA be able to change that? It’s hard to say, but it seems unlikely unless they’re willing to really invest in building their user base. The social game companies on Facebook have built their enormous user base both by building viral spread into their games through notifications and rewards for bringing in friends, but also by millions upon millions of dollars of Facebook ads. That’s why you can’t log on without seeing an ad for "Mafia Wars."

Since these games are social, building up the user base has a multipliciative effect on the value to the player and to the viral spread — when you see all your friends are playing something, you’re far more likely to check it out, and once you do, you’re more likely to have a good time interacting with your friends in the game. “

Leave a Comment

novelty seeking zombies


We can easily become slaves to novelty, especially in the form of shiny technological toys that push novelty to us every hour of the day.

“…The brain is built to ignore the old and focus on the new….
Novelty is probably one of the most powerful signals to determine what we pay attention to in the world.”

“Researchers have found that novelty causes a number of brain systems to become activated, and foremost among these is the dopamine system…
…research shows that dopamine is more like the "gimme more" neurotransmitter.”

“…the role of dopamine is not in the pleasure that one may get from the drug, but in establishing the craving that keeps one coming back for more…
When dopamine is released, it is a signal to the brain that is it now time to start learning what is going on.”

Leave a Comment

money doesn’t motivate

An excellent TED presentation by Dan Pink on how money doesn’t work…

Comments (2)

are people concepts?

Are we evolving to absorb the language of marketing in to our ideas about ourselves. Are social networking, and transparent life streams making us more careful about crafting personas and living our unique brand concept?

“…They’re not presenters, yet they’ll hand over serious money to be shown how to “present” better: how to style their clothes, how to style their websites, even, in some cases, how to style their minds. It’s partly the global recession, which makes having a clearly defined public persona more vital in getting, or keeping, a job. Or it may be that the ideas and language of marketing are now so inescapable that people don’t think of themselves as just people any more. They’re concepts.”

For most ordinary people, they follow the trend and do what everyone else is doing. A few set the trends and lead the way.

Leave a Comment