Seth Godin on “Leaders vs Managers”

I have always been a great fan of Seth Godin. Awesome ideas. Straight forward. Talks from the gut. Passionate.In this short pitch, he talks about how different management and leadership is.

seth

Watch the video by clicking on the below link. (Embed permissions are restricted by the owners).

Exclusive interview with Seth Godin from Leadercast on Vimeo.

(via MichaelHyatt.com)

(image courtesy: screen grab from above interview)

10 things you should never put in your resume

Disclaimer: This list applies only to resumes that you send to technology companies.

  1. No Superlative adjectives about your capabilities. No “superior knowledge of OOD”, or “exemplary customer orientation”. This sets a very high expectation, and even a very small flaw in your interview or phone screen, can make your resume look inaccurate.
  2. Do not convert educational grading systems. If you are in India, and your university marks were in %, put it that way. No need to convert to 4.0 system. If you were in IIT, there is no need to convert to a percentile system. You are just confusing the reader.
  3. Do not put in qualities that you are expected to have as part of any job. Example – “Been an integral part of every team I have been in.” This is understood.
  4. No jargon and defenitely no abbreviations. I do not know what SCCM protocol is, if I am not in the same industry.
  5. Defenitely no fluff. Put in only things that you know. If you have have cursory knowledge say so. I actually appreciate that more. I like resumes which say “Expert knowledge in foo; working knowledge of foo2; and cursory knowledge of foo3.” This makes me believe in you.
  6. Do not make me search for vital information. The first page should have everything that I need to know. If I am interested, I would need to flip the page.
  7. Please dont end the resume with Date of birth, Marital Status, Mother Tongue, and finally a statement stating all of the above is true to the best of your knowledge. This may be required for a Govt job, but not in an IT company.
  8. No photos. No clipart. No images.
  9. Do not put in too many fancy fonts. I like an uniform font through the resume. And no fancy fonts. Plain Arial, Times New Roman, Calibri/Cambria. Font size atleast 10 point.
  10. No references to internal technology and algorithms. This makes me wary of how well you respect your Intellectual Property of your current company. If you are loose there, so will you be in my company if I hire you.

Disclaimer2: The opinions in this blog post are strictly mine and have no relation to that of my employer.

Delegating vs MicroManaging

Just read a great post by Steven Sinovsky in his “Learning by Shipping” blog, which he started, just after he left MS. This is one of his few rare concise posts. He has a ton of experience and fantastic in-depth into software management, but some of his posts just run too long. I liked this one.

The problem is clearly stated in the words of a first year MBA student:

High-performing people generally want autonomy to get things done without anyone micromanaging them.  At the same time, as a midlevel manager, I’ve often had someone above me who’s holding me accountable for whatever my direct reports are working on.

I’m struggling to find the right balance between giving people their autonomy while also asking sufficient questions to get the detail I need in order to feel comfortable with how things are going. 

And Steve provides 5 tips to find the right balance between delegating vs micro-managing.

  1. Delegate the problem, don’t solve it.
  2. Share experiences, don’t instruct.
  3. Listen to progress, don’t review it.
  4. Provide feedback, don’t course correct.
  5. Communicate serendipitously, don’t impede progress.

I mostly agree with all of them. My favourites (which I try and practice as much as possible) are (2) and (5). I am a big believer in Management by Walking Around (for middle managers atleast). It is so much more productive for the manager and the team.

Maybe sometime later, I will write up something myself on what I feel one can do to find the middle ground. But for now, you can read the full article here.

Cadillac’s Comeback

cadillac

We did this as a case-study when I did an Engineering Management class at University. This Co.Design article captures beautifully the rise to the top of Cadillac, and how it fell during bad times, and how since 2000 they have slowly crawled back. If you have driven sedans in the US, and if you have ever driven a Cadillac, you would know the difference in driving a Caddy and the rest. The luxury is very evident.

Read the Co.Design article here.

(pic courtesy the same Co.Design article above)

Huawei ‘considering’ Nokia acquisition

This should be interesting. Huawei is number 3 in the Chinese volume handset market. The news article says that Nokia is still mum on the subject. Stefen Elof (CEO of Nokia) is still sticking to his Windows Phone Bet (quite obviously – he was a VP in MS before he became CEO of Nokia).

Read the ZDNET article here.

Right after the acquisition …

I was reading this great article from an ex-Flickr employee on how Tumblr (and its employees) should ride the acquisition wave. In specific, I think some of these points are awesome, immaterial of the current scenario (Tumblr + Y!). These are applicable in almost all big company buys smaller company scenarios. I am reproducing the four points below with some of my observations that I went through during the one acquisition I went through and a few which I have closely seen happen.

Don’t pretend it’s not happening or that it doesn’t matter.

Totally nailed it. It matters. You need to soak it in. You need to absorb in some of the acquiring company’s culture. Make new friends. Get some folks with whom you can gut-check processes. Most importantly, make friends with the non-tech crowd at the bigger company – HR, Finance, Facilities. You will soon realize you would need their help. And help is so much easier to get if you are on their side.

Don’t forget you’re awesome.

You got acquired because the parent company felt that either your technology is awesome, or your talent is awesome. Either ways, you are important to them. Acknowledge that. Dont succumb to giving up everything. A good merger/acquisition is a layer-by-layer mixing of what is best for the joined entity. Do not give up silly little traditions when you were smaller. At the same time, embrace larger cultural practices from the bigger company.

Plan for the Bear Hug.

I think the original article nails this one beautifully. In the initial stages, everyone will jump in and give you ideas. Embrace this togetherness, but have a point-contact for traiging these requests. Else you will get in to a rat hole.

Think bigger.

Now you can. You can think beyond the local market. You can think beyond the handful of customers you have now. You can think beyond restraining marketing budgets. You can ask for help in designing UI. You can ask for data. You can do so much more if you start thinking bigger.

Know how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Now this is one thing, that I have seen happening right in front. After the acquisition happens, there are a certain set of things that happen either due to standardization (example in the article is moving to a common data center, which happens everywhere now), or something that resulted from you thinking bigger. Some things might seem easier when doing it on a larger scale, but along with, comes a ton of headache. Localization, internationalization, local laws, patent disclosures. And I fully agree with the advise in the article about – “Dont be afraid to get a gut-check from someone in the parent company.” These headaches have a thing for magically appearing only  mid way through the project.

Read the original article here.

Reid Hoffman’s 3 Secrets of Highly Successful Grads

Some great advise here. I love some of the quotes though:
  • If you are not moving forward, you are moving backward.
  • If you are not growing, you are actually contracting.
  • in the world of work, every day is exam day.
  • Congratulations on all the great work, that you’ve put into your education so far, but your learning has just begun.
  • Ironically, in a changing world, playing safe is one of the riskiest thing to do.