Please Don’t Be Generic (When sending LinkedIn requests)

in conferences, rant

I believe in first impressions, especially if you’re asking someone else for something. When you make a connection to another person, even on the interwebs, please take 60 seconds to say something personal about why you’re making the connection. If you’re not willing to take 60 seconds to write something personal, and explain why you […]

Read More »

Big Questions for “Secret Ingredient for Success” (NYTimes)

in Business, rant

Ranting about opinion pieces isn’t generally worthwhile, but some pieces are deeply flawed and popular enough that they demand critiquing. I’ve taken Susan Cain and Jonah Lehrer to task in the past, and I’ve come across another post worthy of examination. The article is a New York Times opinion piece titled “Secret Ingredient For Success” and […]

Read More »

The truth about choosing book titles

in rant, Writing Well

As I’m getting fan opinions on title ideas for my next book, I’m reminded of the thrills and pains of picking book titles. #1: Advice is cheap, titles are hard Everyone is very happy to tell you how to pick a title, and in particular, that you are doing it wrong. A special joy comes […]

Read More »

Open letter to college graduates

in open letter, Philosophy, rant

Dear college graduates: I will share what no one told me when I graduated: live for yourself. Do not make life choices based on what parents, girlfriends, boyfriends or buddies will judge you for doing or not doing. Be wary of people who tell you about regrets – they are projecting theirs onto you. Eventually […]

Read More »

Experience is overrated

in Management, rant

Experience is only a chance to learn. It does not guarantee any lessons or skills. You can have many experiences where you learn nothing, or the wrong things. A resume for someone who worked at a company for ten years, even a fancy one, ensures only that they learned how not to get fired. Maybe […]

Read More »

Why you fail at writing

in rant, Writing Well

One reason people fail at writing is simply they don’t know how to read well. When you write a page, you end up having to reread it many times. If you can’t read well, you probably can’t write well either. It seems counter-intuitive, but a way to be a better writer is to become a […]

Read More »

In defense of PowerPoint

in Public Speaking, rant

Every few months there’s another article on how evil PowerPoint is. I think, for common tasks, it’s a weak mind that blames tools. If you can’t think of a decent sentence to write, would you blame your pen? If you seem to habitually crash cars, would you blame the shape of the steering wheel? Regardless […]

Read More »

An open letter to micromanagers

in Management, open letter, rant

Dear Micromanager: Owners of thoroughbreds never stop their horses mid-race, every ten seconds, to remind the horse and jockey how to run, where the finish line is, or that it’d be good to finish first. Why? It would slow them down. Only an idiot would do this. If you’re a manager, you must assume you […]

Read More »

Calling bullshit on social media

in Innovation, politics, rant, Web 2.0 / social software

While I like and use Facebook and Twitter, there’s enough hype and abuse of words like innovation, transformation and revolution around all things social media that a critique is warranted. I hope this post is used whenever someone feels they’re being sold something phony or that makes little sense and wants a skeptical opinion to […]

Read More »

A lesson in customer service (why my site was down today)

in rant, this site

I was out and about today, and got home to find email from a friend telling me my site was down (Thx Livia). Hmmm. Ok. Checked it out, and they’re right. So I check the dreamhost status site, and there’s nothing for today. Ok, so I contact dreamhost directly. I hear back quickly. I’m told […]

Read More »

The lost cult of Microsoft program managers

in Management, Microsoft, rant

Some of you know I worked at Microsoft years ago (’94-’03) as what they call a program manager. In any other company the job would be known as team lead or project manager, and it was an awesome job. When I was hired 1994 there was a cult around the role. Program Managers had a […]

Read More »

Do we suck at the basics?

in Management, rant

The longer I’m on this planet, the more I think the problem with everything is someone’s failure to get the basics right. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been invited to companies or to talk about projects going on here or there, only to hear some basic, fundamental principle being violated without anyone […]

Read More »

The pleasure of turning things off

in Innovation, personal, rant

The irony of my writings about innovation is how little interest I have in the latest trends. Sure, I keep up enough to have meaningful commentary: it’s my job. But at the same time everyone I meet in the context of “innovation expert” is surprised I don’t own an i-phone, mostly use a 2003 model […]

Read More »

Why project managers get no respect

in Management, rant

There is not a child alive who dreams of being a project manager. Maybe a firefighter, a rock star or an astronaut, but not a PM. There is something inherently dull about the words “project” and “manager” – even the flames of a bright imagination would consider smothering itself to death in their presence. And […]

Read More »

The problem(s) with consultants

in rant, Teaching/Training

Over the last month I’ve spent more time than usual with consultants and it is making me miserable. Is there a support group I can join? A ten step program? A nearby happy-hour? There are some great consultants out there, but damn, I wish there were more of them. My passion for trying to get […]

Read More »

The trashing of zen: a rant

in Philosophy, rant

George Orwell wrote about what happens when we misuse words. A core theme in the novel 1984 is how abuse of language enables other evils. Well the time has come: I’m stepping up to defend the word Zen. Zen is in a sorry state of abuse in 2008. Much like innovation, the word Zen is […]

Read More »