Category Archives: Clarity of Thought

Have a Plan

Yesterday someone asked me to share my thoughts on the secret to building excellent things. I summarized what I know as: “Put the customer first, have a plan, create a shared mission, get early victories, remove process, and make it fun.” – me, yesterday.   This was the formula my cohorts that built the Windows Phone app platform used. It worked. This is what the small team that created www.milelogr.com did. “No battle was ever …Continue reading

Don’t Make Your Team Say No To You

Leaders are often visionary “idea people”. The difference between success and failure is how good these leaders are at training their teams to say No. Idea People often forget they are disrupting their own teams by voicing their ideas. If leaders don’t learn and practice skills for controlling the flow of ideas, their teams will fail. When I was building home networking for Windows at Microsoft, I learned getting a team to a focused plan, …Continue reading

Be as Excellent at Saying No as Saying Yes

While in Amman Jordan last month, I had the opportunity to speak at Amman Tech Tuesdays, a local startup event held every month there. I was asked to talk about what I’ve learned in my career to an audience of about 500 geeks and entrepreneurs. I decided to talk about focus, a topic dear to my heart. The title of the talk is “Be as Excellent at Saying No as Saying Yes”. Below the video …Continue reading

The Job Decision Matrix

Thinking clearly about what is important to you can be hard, but without clarity on what is important to you making a job, the decision is fraught with danger. As I have traveled along my personal career trajectory I created a tool that has helped me with this. I call it the Job Decision Matrix. The Job Decision Matrix will help identify what is actually important to you at this point in your career. Gaining …Continue reading

You are Thinking of Your Career Trajectory Wrong

Most people think about their career trajectory as being like a bell-curve or that of a cannon ball fired from a cannon. Something like this: For 99% of all successful people, this is completely the wrong way to think about it. For that other 1% (the Bill Gates & Mark Zuckerbergs of the world) it might work. For the rest of us, there’s a mental model that will help keep you sane, help you appreciate …Continue reading

90% of the Decisions You Make Don’t Matter

In my post The 5 Ps: Achieving Focus in Any Endeavor, I noted that “90% of the decisions you make don’t matter; real success comes in being able to identify the 10% that do and focus on those.” The best, most effective leaders can free their teams up to get stuff done by making lots of decisions quickly and enabling those decisions to stick. We all regularly hear criticisms of ineffective leadership voiced as “Decisions …Continue reading

The 5 Ps: Achieving Focus in Any Endeavor

This post is about how to achieve focus in any endeavor you embark on by simply writing down the Purpose, Principles, Priorities, People, and Plan (the 5Ps). An endeavor could be a software development project, a job search, or a phase in your life. I have personally found the 5Ps a useful tool for small projects (e.g. prepping for a VC demo/presentation) as well as large scale projects that include 1,000s of people. (Update: April …Continue reading