If your team isn’t on-track, try this

The most concise, truly beautiful definition of leadership I’ve heard is “having others WANT to follow you.” This definition means two things 1) that you’re actually moving somewhere, not standing still and 2) that others are convinced, not coerced, into going along. There are so many leadership books out there, some talking about vision, some […]

Your team just screwed up badly — here’s what you do next

You’ve been there. Someone on your team just screwed it up. Your production website went down in the middle of the night, it took hours to bring it back up. It’s 10am the next day, you’re at your daily standup, and the culprit is looking down, ashamed and quiet; the team is noticeably uncomfortable and […]

Machine Learning and Digital Marketing: Melding Human and Machine

In digital, you can easily spot two opposing camps — the artists and the quants. Artists are folks like the New York Times: Pulitzer prize-winning journalists use their intuition and skill — their unique talents — to create one-of-a-kind stories, and the judgment of the Chief Editor is pure gold. Artists create incredible brand value; true loyalty — lifelong fans. Quants are […]

Are Your Company Values Just Empty Words?

I had a chance to interact with two companies recently: Homegrown and City of Bellevue Utilities. These two companies helped me crystallize the difference between “value statement on the wall” and “values that are coming through to customers.” Homegrown’s tagline is “sustainable sandwich shop.” Their About Us page has the word “organic” mentioned 22 times. It says that “stores are designed to […]

Full Price is for the Lazy, or Stop Financing Their Marketing

In life as in business, if you are willing to invest effort into something, you will do better – a lot better – than average. Today’s story is about a real-estate purchase – and how doing your homework makes a 10x price difference for services. Did you notice that you just paid your agent $1000/hour? Basic dynamics of […]

Dogfooding: Find a way to be your own customer

This article was originally published as a guest post on Geekwire; it is republished here for the readers of this blog.  In early ‘90s, while working on Windows NT, Microsoft popularized an idea to make everyone on the team use early builds of their own software. Back then, it was quite a painful request — imagine developing an […]

Hackathons at Startups: Creative ‘Fresh Air’

This article was originally published as a guest post on Geekwire; it is republished here for the readers of this blog.  Every now and again, we hear about hackathons: Startup Weekend, Facebook’s famed all-nighters, Hack Week at Dropbox. However, in a startup, it’s so difficult to imagine how organizing a hackathon can be anything but harmful: “What do you mean, […]

Measuring interruptions: How to keep your team in the ‘zone’

This article was originally posted as a guest post on Geekwire; it is republished here for the readers of this blog.  When you look at productive output from a software development team, there’s one factor that almost always predicts problems. You can have top talent; an outstanding idea; great agile process. And yet, if you don’t […]

Facebook: The personalization engine for all of the Web

This article was originally posted as a guest post on Geekwire; it is republished here for the readers of this blog.  Facebook and its third-party applications today know a hell of a lot about each us: what content we read (Washington Post Social Reader); what music we listen to (Spotify); what movies we watch (Netflix). […]

Influence of Your Work on the World

As I was finishing school, I had a dream – I wanted my job to maximize my influence. I wanted the product of my craft to touch, in a meaningful way, as many people as possible, helping them in small and large ways. It’s mostly pride and desire to maximize the control over your environment: […]