The Good Stuff

To all those graduating…..

To all those graduating…..

User Interface—The next battlefield--Part 1

gregmelander:

User Interface is the next battlefield in consumer electronics and, as products mature, the race to differentiate based on the UI will accelerate. Rather than compare minor differences in features sets, consumers will increasingly make purchases based on ease of use and access of features. Specifically, when innovation in the core functionality of an end product approaches maturity, consumers increasingly turn to the industrial design and user interface of the product to guide purchasing decisions. Further, the UI is now defining the personality of a device and becoming an integral part of the branding…

Are You Learning as Fast as the World Is Changing? - Bill Taylor - Harvard Business Review

If you are interested in business and don’t read Harvard Business Review you are missing a real treat. This is yet another post that’s easy to read, informative and spot on. 


Today, the challenge for leaders at every level is no longer just to out-hustle, out-muscle, and out-maneuver the competition. It is to out-think the competition in ways big and small, to develop a unique point of view about the future and help your organization get there before anyone else does. Which is why a defining challenge of leadership is whether you can answer a question that is as simple as it is powerful: Are you learning as fast as the world is changing?

Wow…wow…wow. 
courtenaybird:

Pinterest is now driving more referral traffic on the web than Google, YouTube, Reddit, and LinkedIn — combined.

Wow…wow…wow. 

courtenaybird:

Pinterest is now driving more referral traffic on the web than Google, YouTube, Reddit, and LinkedIn — combined.

Ben Horowitz - Andreessen Horowitz game changers

If you follow tech, venture capital, business, leadership or just plain great thinking you need to subscribe to Ben Horowitz’s blog. Ben is the co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz, the co-founder of Loudcloud and one of he great, great thinkers in terms of leadership, start-ups and business. This post shows why. The world is a better place because of thinking like this. 

http://bhorowitz.com/

"After raising our first round of funding for Loudcloud in 1999, we went to visit our new venture capital firm and meet their full team. As founding CEO, I remember being quite excited to meet our financial backers and talk about how we could partner to build a great company. That excitement took a sharp downhill turn when one of the top partners said to me, in front of my co-founders, “When are you going to get a real CEO?”

I was completely stunned—the comment knocked the wind out of me. Our largest investor had basically called me a fake CEO in front of my team. I said, “What do you mean?”—hoping he would revise his statement and enable me to save face. Instead he pressed on: “Someone who has designed a large organization, someone who knows great senior executives and brings prebuilt customer relationships, someone who knows what they are doing.”

I could hardly breathe. It was bad enough that he undermined my standing as CEO, but to make matters worse, I knew that at some level he was right. I didn’t have those skills.  I had never done those things. And I did not know those people. I was the founding CEO, not a professional CEO. I could almost hear the clock ticking in the background as my time running the company quickly ran out.

Could I learn the job and build my network fast enough or would I lose the company? That question tortured me for months.

In the years that followed, I remained CEO, for better or worse. I worked incredibly hard to close the gap between what the partner had described and where I was at the start. Thanks to a lot of effort and help from friends and mentors, especially Bill Campbell, the company survived and ultimately became quite successful and valuable.

However, not a day went by when I didn’t think about that interaction. I always wondered how long I had to grow up and how I could find help to build my skills and make the necessary connections along the way.

Marc and I discussed this often. We wondered aloud why as founders we had to prove to our investors beyond a shadow of a doubt that we could run the company, rather than our investors assuming that we would run the company we’d created. This conversation ultimately became the inspiration for Andreessen Horowitz.

Culture Eats Strategy For Lunch | Fast Company

One of my favorite ideas from the book “Jobs” among other places. And it’s true. How many companies are successful and stay successful if the culture totally sucks? 

futuramb:

Culture, like brand, is misunderstood and often discounted as a touchy-feely component of business that belongs to HR. It’s not intangible or fluffy, it’s not a vibe or the office décor. It’s one of the most important drivers that has to be set or adjusted to push long-term, sustainable success. It’s not good enough just to have an amazing product and a healthy bank balance. Long-term success is dependent on a culture that is nurtured and alive. Culture is the environment in which your strategy and your brand thrives or dies a slow death.

I would say this even stronger: culture is what is implemented in the organization and in the head of the employees while strategies, plans and organization charts are incomplete and one dimensional sketches of what we want the organization to be. The problem is that we think that we can bypass the concept of culture to get directly from these sketchy plans to changed organizational behavior, when in fact the changed culture is what we really want to achieve.

(via emergentfutures)

Risk, flux and other stuff

Great post from 99%. If you don’t read it - do. This has a lot of good info but my favorite is:

Old: Risk is Bad, Minimize Risk 

New: Risk is Unavoidable; Proactively Take Intelligent Risk

Risk wasn’t a relevant concept in the days of the career escalator. The idea was to avoid risk, and avoid “high risk” career moves like freelancing. This is exactly opposite of how winners think today. Every opportunity contains downside risk. To effectively exploit opportunities, you have to be take on the right kind of risk, and manage it prudently. In so doing, you build resilience to the seismic industry and competitive changes that destroy professionals on a more brittle “low risk” path. There is an entrepreneurial approach to intelligent risk taking, and you may be surprised at how different it is from the stereotyped bet-the-farm, throw caution to the wind approach that people tend to think of when they think of entrepreneurs.

Read the whole post. 

http://the99percent.com/articles/7130/Need-To-Know-Generation-Flux-Start-Up-of-You-Technology-Heartbreak?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+The99Percent+%28The+99+Percent%29&utm_content=Google+Reader