Commentary by Michael Wade on Leadership, Ethics, Management, and Life
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
No one likes schleps, but hackers especially dislike them. Most hackers who start startups wish they could do it by just writing some clever software, putting it on a server somewhere, and watching the money roll in—without ever having to talk to users, or negotiate with other companies, or deal with other people's broken code. Maybe that's possible, but I haven't seen it.
Sign Me Up
At Cultural Offering:
Fender on Time Management
Freddy Fender: "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights."
Some Time with The Doc
A child wants to see. It always begins like this, and it began like this then. A child wanted to see.
Making the Rounds
Wally Bock discusses a crucial task for bosses:
Reflecting the Times
Oh, Yeah. He Also Said Something About Drugs.
From an article in The Telegraph in which Carlos Fuentes discusses literature:
Fuentes was later asked if the novel has a future.
He said: “Many people say that the novel is dead, that technology has killed the novel. But it continues to survive. Why? Because novels tell us something that cannot be told otherwise.
Recently saw an action film on DVD in which a man is trapped in a maze of lies, murder, and conspiracy during a visit to Berlin. One of the characters is a former officer of the East German secret police who is proud of his service. Another is an employee of some American corporations.
Monday, January 30, 2012
Something in the Air Tonight
Humor Break: On Hold
A Gahan Wilson cartoon on customer service.
Godin on the Pricing Formula
People do not give it credence that a fourteen-year-old girl could leave home and go off in the wintertime to avenge her father's blood but it did not seem so strange then, although I will say it did not happen every day. I was just fourteen years of age when a coward going by the name of Tom Chaney shot my father down in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and robbed him of his life and his horse and $150 in cash money plus two California gold pieces that he carried in his trouser band.
De Bono: Thinking as a Skill
"Are you employed, Mr. Lebowski?"
Quote of the Day
I agree that there is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of this are virtue and talents.
Sunday, January 29, 2012
The General Strangeness of Youth
The Game's Afoot
Sharpen your wits. Here's the trailer for "Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia."
Contemplation on the Elements of "How To"
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Rough Road Ahead
For a Good Cause
From "Portlandia": Flyer wars.
In the second year of the war, Mrs. Ephephtha Bumpass saw her husband Usaph unexpectedly one cold March night. This happened way over in the great Valley of Virginia on a night of bitter frost. Usaph had come knocking on the door of the Bumpass family farm near the fine town of Strasburg and, when the door opened, he was the last person she expected to see.
Jack sends an e-mail message of questionable taste to Clyde, who likes its content so much that he forwards the message to seven other people.
We Like To Pretend
- Rules are suggestions
- Plans harm creativity
- Underdogs are always deserving
- Institutions are loyal
- Experience is a minor part of competence
- Intuition is irrational
- We can frequently beat the odds
- Appearance doesn't matter
- Being true to our inner self means we'll be better
- Other people have fewer problems
Quote of the Day
It's hard to teach anything that can't be broken down into repeatable and unchanging elements. Driving a car, flying an airplane - you can reduce those things to a series of maneuvers that are always executed in the same way. But with something like leadership, just as with art, you reinvent the wheel every single time you apply the principle.
Friday, January 27, 2012
Murray: Fishtown versus Belmont
Writing in City Journal, Kay S. Hymowitz reviews the new book by Charles Murray. An excerpt:
Back to Nature
The trailer for "The Grey."
Candles for Mozart
- A brief history of the group
- The names of the group's leaders, both formal and informal
- Whether any one person can really speak for the group
- Whether the executive has ever met any of those leaders
- How the group perceives the executive's organization
- What the group says it wants
- What the group really wants
- Whether the group has any hot buttons
- What the group definitely does not want
- What it expects from the meeting
- Any time-sensitive matters
- Some reasonable strategies for dealing with the group
- What the executive's side can gain from the meeting
- How the meeting is likely to proceed, and
- What the next step may be.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
The trailer for "Me and Orson Welles."
Great Public Speaking: Three Simple Words
Michael P. Maslanka examines a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:
Louis the Sixth of France, Louis the Fat, lay sick in his hunting lodge at Bethizy, whither his bearers had brought him from the unprecedented heat and the fetid odors of the summer in Paris. He was not old - verging on sixty - but he was failing perceptively. The chalky pallor, the bleared vision, the occasional palsy that had long marked him, were attributed to an abortive attempt of his stepmother, Queen Bertrade, to dispose of him by poison in his early years. Latterly he had grown so ponderous that he could no longer mount a horse or stoop to lace a shoe. About him in the sultry room were gathered some of his prelates and barons palatine, chief among them his lifelong friend and counselor, Abbe Suger. A confessor stood by prepared to administer the sacrament in extremis.
Scribble. Scribble. Think. Think.
The Easy One
He assured me that the item would fly through the committee meeting without any opposition and that it would barely take any time from the other work.
Quote of the Day
The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit. The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Another Art Blog to Appreciate
Once a Month for 30 Minutes
Elizabeth Scalia on the decline of great oratory. An excerpt:
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
The woman on the ledge was wearing a nightgown. It was only 3:30 in the afternoon, but she was dressed for sleep, and the brisk spring breezes flattened the sheer nylon fabric against her body so that she looked like a legendary Greek figure sculptured in stone, immobile, on the ledge twelve stories above the city street.
The Power of Phrasing
At Sensory Dispensary:
Art Break: The Fini Image
The Academy Awards nominations are out.
Vora on Team Autonomy
The Wyeth Tradition
Anderson Layman's Blog features several of the great paintings of Jamie Wyeth.
In The Stacks
This post by Cultural Offering brought back many happy memories of hours spent in the library at the University of Arizona:
Quote of the Day
We're all born under the same sky, but we don't all have the same horizon.
Monday, January 23, 2012
Business meetings are more or less the same all over the world, and have been since the beginning of time. There is the man in charge; the man supposedly in charge; the man wanting to be in charge; their minions, their enemies and those waverers who float gently downstream, hoping things won't get too choppy. And there is always a dispute, which serves the purpose of making half-felt antagonisms real. Sometimes these are of importance and justify the energy expended on them. But not often.
The Flag Test
At Cultural Offering: How those rating decisions are made.
Quote of the Day
Two things seemed pretty apparent to me. One was, that in order to be a [Mississippi River] pilot a man had got to learn more than any one man ought to be allowed to know; and the other was, that he must learn it all over again in a different way every 24 hours.
Sunday, January 22, 2012
All is Balance
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Costa Concordian Values
Mark Steyn on the sinking of the West. An excerpt:
We’re most of us liars, we’re ’arf of us thieves, an’ the rest of us rank as can be, But once in a while we can finish in style (which I ’ope it won’t ’appen to me).
The thirty-five-ton Titan truck hissed and rocked on its suspension as it came to a halt. Shoulders hunched, it gave a dead-eyed stare over the line of scrimmage which was the chain across the opening of the port gates. On the wood paneling behind the cab were two hand-painted film posters of big men holding guns - Chuck Norris, Sly Stallone - the bandana boys. He handed down his papers to the customs officer who took them into the gatehouse and checked them off. Excitement rippled through the rollicking crowd of whippet-thin men and boys who'd gathered outside the gates in the afternoon's trampling heat, which stank of the sea and diesel and rank sweat.
On the computer today, tweaking some workshop materials. Took breaks by cursing Word for its obtuse instructions. Have some neat examples that are being tucked in - items about managing rock groups and hostage rescues - which are a tad unconventional while being memorable and illustrating important points.
Instapundit gives a peek at the new book by Charles Murray.
Tales To Be Read With Both Eyes Wide Open
Quote of the Day
Congress shall also create a tax code weighing more than the combined poundage of the largest member of the House and the largest member of the Senate, plus a standard musk ox.
Friday, January 20, 2012
Mr. Nice Guy
Writing in City Journal, Fred Siegel reviews a new book on Nietzsche:
This article from The Telegraph has got to be a joke. An excerpt:
Other curious potential attractions include a ski run through a battlefield "surrounded by the frozen bodies of soldiers and horses" and a recreation of Louis XVI being guillotined during the revolution – the precursor to Napoleon’s rise to power.
"It's going to be fun for the family,” he Mr Jégo told the Times.
[HT: Drudge Report]
At Unhappy Hipsters:
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Fashion Update: High School Yearbook Photos
"You Bring Your Own Weather To The Picnic"
Not really. In the end, we know what makes us happy. We also know what makes us unhappy. That’s the irony. We know and yet we still mess it up. That’s part of the human condition, no, and why we need to work on it.
Making Law a B.A.
An idea that we'll probably hear much more about: An undergraduate major in law.
Books Every Manager Should Read - Part Two
I should note that the entire list is not in any particular order. Some of the best books will be listed in the last stages. Here's the next 10-book increment:
- That's Not What I Meant! by Deborah Tannen
- How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope
- The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
- The 80/20 Rule by Richard Koch
- Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
- The E-Myth by Michael Gerber
- Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
- The Best and the Brightest by David Halberstam
- The Culture Code by Clotaire Rapaille
Civilization is Fragile
Such accounts may be exaggerations, but they should warn us that yearly progress is never assured. Instead, history offers plenty of examples of life becoming far worse than it had been centuries earlier. The biographer Plutarch, writing 500 years after the glories of classical Greece, lamented that in his time weeds grew amid the empty colonnades of the once-impressive Greek city-states. In America, most would prefer to live in the Detroit of 1941 than the Detroit of 2011. The quality of today’s air travel has regressed to the climate of yesterday’s bus service.
The original manuscript of this book was left outside the door of my hotel room in Montefalcone, in Italy, in May 1962. It arrived in the manner of the classic foundling. Wrapped in coarse brown paper and held together by cheap twine, the bundle literally fell into my life when I opened the door one morning. A note pinned to it read: "In the name of God, do something with this."
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Cruise Ship Disaster
Art Break: Kees van Dongen
Finding Wisdom in the Unrelated
I felt like a spy. It was the first time I had ever ridden a cab in my own hometown. When I had left it I was definitely not a cab rider. Now taking cabs was as natural as breathing or putting on shoes. I could see the cab driver giving me the eye in his rear-view mirror. He was wearing the standard Midwestern work uniform of lumberjacket, corduroy cap, and a red face.
Books Every Manager Should Read - Part One
- The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker
- Leaders by Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus
- Thinking About Management by Theodore Levitt
- Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
- Wooden On Leadership by John Wooden and Steve Jameson
- Management of the Absurd by Richard Farson
- Parkinson's Law by C. Northcote Parkinson
- Instant MBA by Nicholas Bate
- Commander in Chief by Eric Larrabee
- In Search of Excellence by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
For all of the "Sherlock" fans out there, a rental property in London.
Circling the Project
Why Reading Matters
Style Tips from a Master
I was awake long before the dawn this morning and by the time there was a greyness in the sky I had finally made up my mind to go. By eight o'clock I was in the Metro heading for the Old Fort at Vincennes - the recruitment centre of the Foreign Legion. There were few people about and those who were had grim Monday-morning faces, probably reflecting my own.
Quote of the Day
I surveyed the top 400 leaders of a 120,000-person company and found that close to 95 percent of them - that's 380 out of 400 - pointed to three things that wasted their time the most: unnecessary meetings, unimportant emails, and protracted PowerPoints.
Monday, January 16, 2012
Back by popular demand: Where many of us were first exposed to classical music.
Instant Typewriter Nostalgia
How to Be Interesting
Kemske, Vampires, and Virtual Bosses
In a just world, the HR-related novels of Floyd Kemske would receive far more attention in Human Resources circles.
The Learned Warrior
Impressive and interesting: The reading list for the United States Commander in South Korea.
Nearly seven hundred Negro communicants, some wearing white robes, marched together in the exodus of 1867. They followed the white preacher out of the First Baptist Church and north through town to Columbus Street, then east up the muddy hill to Ripley Street. There on that empty site, the congregation declared itself the First Baptist Church (Colored) with appropriate prayers and ceremonies, and a former slave named Nathan Ashby became the first minister of an independent Negro Baptist church in Montgomery, Alabama.
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Bate: 50 Ways
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Miscellaneous and Fast
Check out this post at Political Calculations.
On June 22, 1977, the sixty-seventh attorney general of the United States, John Newton Mitchell, strode onto the grounds of the Federal Prison Camp at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama, and began serving his sentence for convictions on conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and perjury charges in the Watergate cover-up. "It's nice to be back in Alabama," Mitchell told reporters with defiant jocularity.
The Horror! The Horror!
At Unhappy Hipsters: Alone in the hallway, she cursed the inhumanity of a God who would have her endure another tofu scramble breakfast.
The A Body
Samsung's Transparent Smart Window
FutureLawyer, who is always far ahead on all things techie, has a video on the Samsung transparent Smart Window recently featured at a trade show in Las Vegas.
Friday, January 13, 2012
The Promise of Life
Thought Leaders on Trust
Trust Across America lists the Top 100 Thought Leaders on Trustworthy Business Behavior.
Style: Caine on Grant
Michael Caine's tribute to Cary Grant.
Smoking Deal: Today Only
Anderson Layman's Blog has a brief and amazing video. Well worth your time.
Learning from Examples
If you work in a fairly large organization, you are surrounded by individuals who, while serving as good or bad examples, can teach a great deal. I can recall a few from my career:
Quote of the Day
There is a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Best Book or Film Title?
Roberts on WWII
Peter Robinson talks with historian Andrew Roberts about "The Storm of War."
Great Moments in the Law
At Overlawyered: French fans sue Michael Jackson's doctor over emotional damage.
I went to a PowerPoint presentation one day and a speaker showed up. Don't know how it happened. There were plenty of slides. The people in the back row were comatose after the first three clicks. Within 10 minutes a mind reader would have found that 90 percent of the audience was traveling to Tahiti or making grocery lists.
Quote of the Day
I read Shakespeare and the Bible, and I can shoot dice. That's what I call a liberal education.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
The trailer for "After The Thin Man."
In Poland's deepest autumn, a tall young man in an expensive overcoat, double-breasted dinner jacket beneath it and - in the lapel of the dinner jacket - a large ornamental gold-on-black Hakenkreutz (swastika) emerged from a fashionable apartment building in Straszewskiego Street, on the edge of the ancient center of Cracow, and saw his chauffeur waiting with fuming breath by the open door of an enormous and, even in this blackened world, lustrous Adler limousine.
Haiku about Writing and Editing
The Joy of Books
At Unbridled Books, a short and unusual video on the joy of books.
Downsides and Upsides
Quote of the Day
Illegitimati non carborundum - Don't let the bastards grind you down.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
What, Never? No, Never.
I just finished a bunch of paperwork so it's back to Gilbert & Sullivan and the Captain of the Pinafore.
Go HR for Startups
Joyce Akiko has started a new HR blog. Check it out.
So We Can Say
You've seen the dance.
Crank it up: Don Williams is "Living on Tulsa Time."
Return of the Dart
This post at Cultural Offering about the return of the Dodge Dart caused a smile until I saw the new version.
Early Morning Advantage
- Charting the day's activities
- Writing personal notes
- Checking e-mail
- Making phone calls
- Reviewing the previous day
Screwing Up By The Numbers
- Don't listen.
- Only consider your perspective.
- Be discourteous.
- Avoid setting goals or, if you set some, make them wildly unrealistic.
- Go for immediate gratification.
- Act as if the rules don't apply to you.
- Stop learning and squelch your curiosity.
- Never be grateful.
- Regard yourself as very clever.
- Be neither trustworthy nor reliable.
- Care for no one and nothing other than yourself.
- Squander time.
- Rely on miracles.
- Expect the world to accommodate you.