Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. He's so funny, that Elon Musk.
Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. He's so funny, that Elon Musk.
I was a few weeks into my maternity leave when I heard that my company named a new CEO. Several of my colleagues emailed me saying, “You’d better get in here; she’s developing relationships with the key people, and you’re missing out.
The world's growing ever more competitive. Even if you already have a job, making sure you have access to the best opportunities means going beyond the usual. It's not enough to stay on top of your to-do list or meet the expectations of your job description.
When you're a manager, your employees are constantly watching to see how you behave and what you say. As a result, it's important to be intentional about your choice of words in any setting. As the boss, there are certain things you probably shouldn't say.
Back in the spring of 1992, Steve Jobs was invited to speak to a group of students at the MIT Sloan School of Management. (According to MIT, the lecture was a bit of a surprise, the result of the efforts of a Sloan student whose sister had recently married Jobs.)
Software development is notoriously difficult to estimate. For this reason, I know few people who take the Waterfall process seriously. There are many factors that create a level of unpredictability. One is that there are usually pieces that need to be built that a developer has never built before.
If you're just getting wind of the latest race-related debacle, it involves two black men arrested at a Starbucks in Philadelphia last Thursday. The short version: They came in, asked to use the restroom, and were denied access because they hadn't shown their patronage and ordered anything.
The nature of marketing at a software company is that it’s easy to have a highly data-driven view of everything you do, and overlook hard to measure things like building a brand. Brand is the emotional connection you establish with your customers and those whom you would like to become customers.
When I talk to founders, other Product leaders and recruiters about hiring Product Managers, the consistent conclusion is: It’s hard. Typically the reasons given are
Every leader, boss, or manager with emotional intelligence whom I have ever met didn't arrive there overnight. Most worked hard for years to develop new habits, and especially new ways of thinking (i.e., self-awareness) that will inform great decisions.
It can feel tremendously frustrating to expect a particular kind of support of your manager, and have them fail to deliver it, or even acknowledge it.
Last week, I interviewed Tien Tzuo, the former CMO & CSO at Salesforce, and founder/CEO of Zuora. During our conversation, he spoke about one of the major challenges facing fast growing startups. He called it recognizing the breaking points of management.
Management consulting is a $250 billion industry. It's big. It's growing. It's highly profitable. And it's about to be disrupted. Whether the focus is strategy, operations, tax, finance, HR, or IT, business consultants are a staple of corporate life.
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.
Here’s something that baffles me: the fact that most companies don’t invest in helping their employees develop effective workflow systems. Most people don’t dedicate much thought to such systems.
Consider the daily schedule of famed novelist Haruki Murakami. When he’s working on a novel, he starts his days at 4 am and writes for five or six continuous hours.
Regular readers know I definitely believe in the power of hard work. As Jimmy Spithill, skipper of Team Oracle USA, says, "Rarely have I seen a situation where doing less than the other guy is a good strategy." But we can all work smarter, too.
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There’s an all-too-common cycle in tech these days. Startup avoids management. Founder makes all the decisions. Startup gets traction. Hiring takes off. Management is suddenly needed. Founder turns to his best engineer: “I’m drowning. Can you manage this team for me?"
We live in an age of “total work.” It’s a term coined by the German philosopher Josef Pieper just after World War II—describing the process by which human beings are transformed into workers, and the entirety of life is then transformed into work.
For many of us, work can feel like a never-ending cycle of long meetings, overflowing inboxes, and urgent demands. No matter how fast we go or how hard we work, there’s far more to do every day than there is time to do it.
It’s National Preparedness Month, which means it’s time to make sure you’re ready for whatever life throws your way. Emergency preparedness isn’t about doomsday prepping, though, it’s about being ready for the realistic events that can disrupt life at any time.
Welcome to engineering management. It’s fun, it’s exhausting, it’s rewarding — but most importantly it’s new! What worked for you before won’t work now. You’ll have to acquire a new set of skills, and shed some bad habits in the process. Here is a short guide to get you started.
“When you’re juggling a lot of tasks, things will fall through the cracks, and lists are amazing for keeping yourself on target and getting things done,” says Paula Rizzo, author of Listful Thinking: Using Lists to Be More Productive, Highly Successful, and Less Stressed.
One reason programmers dislike meetings so much is that they're on a different type of schedule from other people. Meetings cost them more. There are two types of schedule, which I'll call the manager's schedule and the maker's schedule. The manager's schedule is for bosses.
Explained in 10 sketchesAssigning TasksDelivering NewsConducting 1:1sGiving FeedbackDealing with TurbulenceFor more detailed reads of the sketches above:Managing with Martians — or, why frameworks are better than answersSo, You Think You Want to Manage — what is management? and why woul
You have a new goal. Maybe it’s New Year’s and you’re ready for a fresh start. Maybe it’s July and you’re ready for change. Regardless, you’ve got the vim and vigor to make this happen. But then you worry. People abandon their goals all the time.
Is blockchain technology the new internet? The blockchain is an undeniably ingenious invention – the brainchild of a person or group of people known by the pseudonym, Satoshi Nakamoto.
I absolutely believe in the power of hard work. Like Jimmy Spithill, skipper of Team Oracle USA, says, "Rarely have I seen a situation where doing less than the other guy is a good strategy." That's basically my mantra: I may not be as talented, or educated, or experienced as other people...
When individual contributors are tapped to manage large-scale projects, oversee direct reports, or participate in strategic planning, they need to develop new skill sets on the fly — skills such as interpersonal dexterity, emotional agility, and communication savvy.
Time is the raw material of getting anything worthwhile done. Time is precious and valuable. More valuable than money. Time is the only element in the world that is irretrievable when it’s lost. Lose money and you can make more. Lose a job and you can find another.
I love lists. I’ve sung their praises tirelessly. Lists help you feel in control, because you’re no longer relying on your brain to keep track of your to-dos; lists help you see your work more objectively, so you know when you’ve taken on too much.
I’m not surprised that Jeff Bezos didn’t recognize the Amazon depicted by Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace, a NYT exposé on its culture. Jeff would never have heard those stories, because nobody would ever tell him.
At this time, The Review traditionally reflects on the extraordinary people we’ve interviewed and long-form articles we’ve published over the last year.
NEXT year marks the 500th anniversary of the event which, more than any other, gave birth to the modern world: Martin Luther promulgated his 95 theses and called the Catholic church to account for its numerous theological errors and institutional sins.
Enacting Pichai’s advice is easier said than done. But Google is sharing some tools that might help. Its Re:Work blog is offering a series of instructive documents used by managers at Google.
Procrastination comes in many disguises. We might resolve to tackle a task, but find endless reasons to defer it. We might prioritize things we can readily tick off our to-do list—answering emails, say—while leaving the big, complex stuff untouched for another day.
A few years back, I interviewed some of the most successful CEOs in the world in order to discover their management secrets. I learned that the "best of the best" tend to share the following eight core beliefs. 1. Business is an ecosystem, not a battlefield.
Last week, we ran a piece with Adil Ajmal, CTO of LendingHome — the 300-employee strong startup remaking the mortgage industry — in which he focused exclusively on how to hire (and close) the best engineering candidates for your team.
People constantly think about improving their quality of life. If they spend their days doing useless things, such as watching the Kardashians or Big Brother reality game show, sooner or later they start feeling guilty about the way they waste their days.
If you’re the kind of person that takes pleasure in building a computer—choosing the case, finding the best processor (and cooling system so that you can overclock it), doting over all of the components to maximize your rig and topping it off with LED lighting—then you should probably know Lin
There are so many things to do in a startup. The things you choose to do and don’t do, ultimately determine success or failure. Prioritization is crucial. Unfortunately, not everything on the to do list is fun. Sometimes you have to do “shitty” work. I built the product in just a few weeks.
There’s plenty of good advice on how to be productive. But most of it makes you feel like you need to turn yourself into a machine. You don’t want to be Robby the Robot. Here’s the thing: you often don’t need help with the doing part. You know what to do.
Humanity has a track record of wielding some serious project management chops. From building the Great Pyramids to landing on the moon, humanity's greatest endeavors have required thousands of people working together on common goals. That requires intricate project management to pull off.
A young friend recently remarked that the worst boss he ever had would provide him with feedback that always consisted of “You’re doing a great job.” But they both knew it wasn’t true — the organization was in disarray, turnover was excessive, and customers were not happy.
Three years ago, Jessica McKellar and a group of friends from MIT started stealthy chat startup Zulip. Less than two years later, it was acquired by Dropbox. And this wasn't an anomaly. They'd done it once before, selling Ksplice to Oracle just as fast.
Trello is an awesome project management tool that makes collaboration easy and, dare I say, even fun. But this visual list tool can do so much more, whether you’re organizing work projects, family chores, travel plans, or just about anything else.
I remember talking with an acquaintance a few years back who had recently graduated from college about how she envisioned her career progressing. Here’s how she broke down the steps: Get a job. Master that job. Manage other people doing that job. “Run sh*t” (her exact words).
In Real Leaders Don't Follow, Steve Tobak explains how real entrepreneurs can start, build, and run successful companies in highly competitive global markets. He provides unique insights from an insider perspective to help you make better-informed business and leadership decisions.
When you think about it, a personal brand is one of the most useful things you can build. It’s powerful. It’s valuable. It’s killer.
Recently, at our consulting firm, we were scheduled to begin strategy work with a new client. But, the night before our session, he emailed us, asking to postpone the meeting until the next week. He had something come up at the last minute that he felt couldn’t be put off.
Sound familiar? Looking back, I realize I used my work to try and fill a void in myself. The problem was that this void was like a black hole. No matter how many hours I worked, it never seemed to fill it up. If anything, it made me feel worse.
Researchers at the University of Nottingham recently published findings from their exploration of 83 separate studies on energy and self-control. What they found will change the way you start your day.
Google has opened its trove of management processes to one and all, for free. It might not feel that surprising — after all, Google has created plenty of free tools for the world to use, from internet search to email. Management tools may not seem that different.
Download apps to organize your to-do list—and your life. Between work, activities, appointments, and ever-growing to-do lists, many of us constantly feel rushed and anxious. And all too often, the distractions of our smartphones only make this busy pace more hectic.
Back in the days of paper based planners, I depended on mine to help me stay on top of my to-do list and commitments. Making the switch to electronic tools was difficult and disruptive, and initially I didn’t want to do it.
The to-do list and the calendar are like square pegs and round holes. With the rare (or deadline-driven) exception, the time spent completing a task doesn’t fit into polite half-hour chunks.
Getting rid of managers may seem like just another tech trend, but much of the skepticism around going “bossless” or flat is due to misleading terminology.
Alex Le and Kavin Stewart have a fairly unusual “how we met” story. Today, the two are oddly (but aptly) co-VPs of Product at Reddit. But when they first encountered each other eight years ago, they were founders of competing social gaming startups.
Nancy started her day feeling prepared to brief her executive team on a high-stakes project she had been working on for the past two months. She had rehearsed her slide deck repeatedly, to the point where she had every level of content practically memorized.
A coaching client of mine is managing partner at a very large law firm, and one of the issues we’ve been working on is how to cope more effectively with the intense demands on his time—clients who expect him to be available, firm partners and other employees who want him to address their concer
Julie Long, a senior developer at a software company, was identified by her manager as a high performer. When she was asked to coordinate a team of three junior developers on a project, Julie was excited about the opportunity to finally move into a management role.
What if everything you’ve been taught about time management has been wrong? You were told to keep a task list for your “to-dos” and your calendar for phone calls and appointments. Meetings at work, doctor’s appointments, kids’ dance recitals and soccer games.
20 years ago, you probably would've laughed if someone said your life would one day be irrevocably changed by a company called Google. What's a google? But, as you know, Google's become the largest entity in one of the biggest tech companies in the world.
If you’re like me, you work long hours every day and are constantly busy.
Estimated Reading Time: 1 minutes, 8s. I recently got chatting with an executive who leads around 150 employees at a large company.
I first started managing people seven years ago, three years after I graduated and got my first design job. At the time, I was woefully unqualified. I barely had any experienced being managed, let alone managing others. I remain grateful to my then-manager for her leap of faith in me.
Have you ever wondered why some people are uber-productive? You know the people who always respond to emails and finish projects on time. It's not because they work 80 hours a week. They're so productive because they're masters of time management.
I often get asked what a product manager is. What do they do? Where do they come from? Why do they like sharpies so much? In his book Inspired, Marty Cagan describes the job of the product manager as “to discover a product that is valuable, usable and feasible”.
When talent is in short supply, business leaders see HR as a valuable strategic partner. But when the labor market loosens up, HR suddenly seems like a nuisance, because we don’t like being told how to behave—and we see no immediate benefit to complying.
So much of being successful at your job has little to do with the actual work you do. A lot of success comes from how you approach your workday: Are you optimistic? Curious? Productive? Did you get enough sleep?
These course materials were originally designed for Google managers to help them transition from individual contributor roles to manager roles. In addition to building skills, the curriculum incorporates introspection, perspective shifting, and awareness building.
Projects can quickly take on a life of their own, spiraling out of budget and taking far more time than planned. Project management software can help—but it adds an extra item to your already-strapped budget. Don't worry. There are still great, free project management apps for you.
Burnout is, unfortunately, a very real phenomenon in software development — especially when creating and maintaining open source projects with large numbers of users. I've experienced it, and I wanted to share my personal experience with the subject.
It’s hard to imagine a living room — or board room — where Netflix needs an introduction. Today, it boasts over 65 million subscribers across more than 40 countries. Even its culture document went viral to become part of startup canon. It spurs hundreds of cable cancellations daily.
Change management is having its moment. There’s no shortage of articles, books, and talks on the subject. But many of these indicate that change management is some occult subspecialty of management, something that’s distinct from “managing” itself.
When your to-do list becomes a monster, and an item next to a checkbox will actually take a long time and multiple people to complete, you need more than a checklist to keep track of it. What you really have is a project, and you need a tool designed to manage them.
The fog of war envelops every battlefield.