Archive for the ‘Management’ Category
You ran out of time in your SXSW session before some of us…were able to hear about what a good DEV dept structure looks like and how it scales from 3 designers to 10 and so forth. Could you elaborate or share thoughts on that in a future post?
…sure, here you go:
This afternoon I read an article called 9 Hidden Qualities of Stellar Bosses, which I’ll list below. Plus, I’ll add my own, to make it 10.
1. They forgive… and they forget. Great bosses are able to step back, set aside a mistake, and think about the whole employee.
2. They transform company goals into the employees’ personal goals. Great bosses inspire their employees to achieve company goals. Remarkable bosses make their employees feel that what they do will benefit them as much as it does the company. After all, whom will you work harder for: A company or yourself?
Chatting with a friend yesterday, the subject came up of a position at his company which has been a revolving door of seemingly “bad hires”. The question driving our discussion was: why?
I worked at drugstore.com for 9 years. When I joined in 1998 there were about 50 people on the team, and we grew to 700 in about 15 months. Then, the dotcom bust happened, and about half those people, unfortunately, lost their jobs. By the time I left, in 2007 there were only two people who had worked there longer than I had, and both of them are still there today.
In my time there, there was continual turnover in the position of VP of Marketing. By my recollection, there were 9 VPs of Marketing in the 9 years that I worked there. As I recall, some lasted for as short as four months, and others for upwards of a year, but few had much success. It was practically like being the drummer in Spinal Tap—a virtual guarantee of an untimely demise!
“The internal post, obtained by GeekWire, makes it clear that the circumstances surrounding Sinofsky’s departure were more complex than they initially seemed. Reading between the lines, the post hints at a fundamental clash between Sinofsky and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer over the best way to run the company…”
“Sinofsky’s prickly personality aside, the memo shows that he wasn’t opposed to collaboration. However, he believed it should be done in a purposeful way, as part of a plan, with an understanding of the complex organizational ‘physics’ involved in making large-scale technology products…And he warned of serious problems if executives became too heavy-handed.”
We have a very flat organizational structure at Cheezburger. Recently, I’ve been considering if we should add some more structure when Thiggy pointed me toward an interview with the Barry Salzberg, the CEO of Deloitte.
A few key quotes on organizational structure and leadership:
Gone is the day of the old command-and-control environment, the climb-the-ladder model, in which the employee kept quiet and didn’t say too much, certainly not much beyond what was asked and tasked…Gone, too, is the densely layered organizational hierarchy [and] dinosaur-like structures that are too slow and lumbering for today’s environment.”
There is a lot of evidence that the entire success or failure of a business is based on the decisions we make. From the little details (which shade of blue?) to the major bets (should we invest in this whole new line of business?)…the results of our business are ultimately the by-product of our decisions.
With that in mind, I recently listened to a lecture on decision making by Michael Roberto (a professor at Bryant University and formerly of Harvard Business School and NYU). Specifically, Roberto talks about how flawed decisions happen and what we can improve our decision making processes.
Roberto outlines five myths of decision making: Read the rest of this entry »
Recently, someone asked me my views on this article which reaches these conclusions based on analysis of StackOverflow reputation data:
- Number of coders drops significantly with age. Top developer numbers, at age 27, drop by half every 6-7 years.
- Developers in their 40′s answer roughly twice as much and ask half the questions compared to colleagues in their 20′s. It seems younger generation learns and older generation teaches.
- Quality of posts, i.e. upvotes earned by post, only slightly increases with age.
- Senior [developers] earn their high reputation by being more active than younger developers.
This post also appeared on my team’s blog at Cheezburger, http://eat.cheezburger.com.
Over the last few months, we have been recruiting developers, and we’ve started to get a sense for the type of developer who is a good fit for our team. These attributes probably apply for developers at most web startups, so I wanted to share them with you.
Before I get into it, the most important thing to know is that technical skill is a threshold requirement. The assumption is that any person who is a fit for our team will have the relevant technical experience to do the job.
Yesterday, I was at a party and met a guy who told me about how he was taking his Jetski out of the water for the winter. He had to personally get into the water in order to extract the Jetski, and the water is so cold at this time of year. Brrrrrr.
Then, I was talking to another guy who was telling me how the mechanic at the BMW dealership was questioning whether or not a part was really under warranty. What a hassle!
“Boy,” I thought to myself, “these guys have rich people problems.”