Archive for the ‘Opinions’ Category

Brilliant. Why don’t you just ask for a polar bear who won’t EAT YOUR FACE when you try to pet it?

Or ask your cat to stop bringing you tasty treats in the form of dead birds from the garden?

There’s no point looking for driven, ambitious, excited and entrepreneurial types when you aren’t ready to let go of the reins, and support them in their decisions within your organisation.

If you just want people to execute your orders and do as they’re told then be clear about this when you start advertising vacancies and interviewing.

“Oh but that’s not what I want” I hear you thinking in mild annoyance.  “I want someone who will take the initiative, muck in, get involved, help move my startup forward. A total f**kin’ rockstar employee.” (more…)

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Are you going to take a guess?

The reason is not usually because of technology.

The reason is usually connected to the project sociology.

What does this mean?  It means people.  We are a complex conglomerate of cells and when evaluating the success of IT projects most of us need to stop thinking that we are in the high-tech business and realise that we are actually in the human communication business.

This is what I’m getting out of the first chapter of Peopleware which is about productive projects and teams in the software development industry.  The book reminds us that though we develop our products or organise our affairs using technology components, we do so via teams and projects.

The authors studied 500 project histories from real world development efforts and found:

  • 15% of all projects were cancelled, postponed or the products were never used
  • 25% of projects that lasted 25yrs or more failed to complete.
  • For a huge majority there was not a single technological issue to explain the failure.


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I remember when people who wanted to start businesses were told the best thing they could do is to get rid of their TV. TV was time consuming – it was claimed – and could zap away hours of your time through mindless entertainment that apparently added little to your life.

TV has changed significantly since then, of course, with the creation of on-demand (iPlayer) and hard drive recording (Sky+). Both of these models have turned the entertainment paradigm on its head: shifting from a pull rather than push medium. I can watch exactly what I want, when and where I want. No longer do I have to sit around waiting for the 8pm show before watching the 9pm show. As an aspiring productivity ninja, I’ve found that TV does not feature high on my sources of procrastination anymore. In fact, when I do watch TV, I really do want to watch it. (more…)

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Party Pooper

Permjot ValiaBusiness angel Permjot Valia (@permjotvalia) blogs on the reality of the royal succession and how it’s out of place in this day and age. Permjot blogs on Business Angel Blog.

Angel investing is like marriage; it is the celebration of hope over statistical reality. So the world is celebrating the marriage of Prince William to Kate Middleton tomorrow and on a personal note of course it is something worth celebrating. But I have to admit that I am a complete party pooper and as a proud Republican I find the national celebration of a royal wedding depressing. (more…)

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The excellent fountain of knowledge, Ben Werdmuller, posted a really interesting article which he highlights three things to consider if you’re deciding to be a tech entrepreneur (here are my favourite snippets):

1. Leaders vs Developers – “… being a great leader is not always the same skillset as being a great developer. And neither is necessarily the same as being a great businessperson … The details-orientated, engineering mindset that development demands is also well suited to building a company, as long as this is accompanied by those empathic people skills and a willingness to learn. And in fact, the best developers areinformed, decisive, empathic, persuasive, selfless and great communicators.” (more…)

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A few weeks ago I went to see Richard Reed give a talk at the London Metropolitan University where he kindly shared some of his experience with us in the form of five lessons. Lessons one and two were posted a couple weeks ago, and the rest are here.

Lesson 3: It’s all about the people

If after a while you find that someone is just not pulling their weight after you’ve given them opportunity after opportunity to shape up – then you’ve got to let them go.  What if you can’t find someone to replace them?  “I’d rather have a hole than an assh*le” is the (more…)

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Richard Reed shared some lessons last week that I thought I’d share with y’all who couldn’t make it to the event at London Metropolitan University.  I posted lesson one here: Have a mission that works. So, what’s the second lesson?

Lesson 2: Things that start small can get big; (and then small again) The founders of Innocent Drinks set a target of £6million turnover.  They reached this within the first couple years and went on to grow amazingly year after year until….2008.  Duh – duh – daaaaah….! (more…)

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Last week I went to see Richard Reed, founder and CEO of Innocent Drinks give a talk at the London Metropolitan University.  If you ever get the opportunity to see him then I’d recommend it.  He’s a fairly entertaining presenter and I enjoyed myself immensely.

Lesson 1: Have a mission that works

Reed himself makes a hobby out of collecting / identifying missions.  He says that to be successful you need to serve a simple, unifying mission.  It’s important to be clear on why you are here.

I wonder, does this sound like something you’ve heard before?  Why do people say the same thing over and over again at these events? Maybe because this lesson is TRUE and though it’s simple, it’s one that most of us find difficult to achieve!  Reed provides this as an example of a company (called Longaberger) that truly understands the reason for its existence: (more…)

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Who said “it is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link of the chain of destiny can be handled at a time”? Hmm?

How far ahead should an entrepreneur look? Nobody would advocate lack of planning but trying to cater for every future event or circumstance that is possible but cannot be predicted with certainty is exhausting.  What is the impact on productivity of such an enemy of action? (more…)

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