Category Archives: Business

Workplace Serendipity

Centralization and transparency enable a kind of serendipity that can lead to breakthrough results. 

For example, your lead programmer may come up with an innovative solution to the problem that’s been blocking the marketing people. But he can only do this if the marketing team has their discussions out in the open, not siloed inside their little marketing kingdom.

And transparency is hard. But there’s something even harder: making people care.

Even if the discussion is public, the developer has to care enough to look.

It’s not enough to make your company’s processes transparent; you need employees who care.

That’s what culture is for.

Painting: “Mercury and Argus” by Peter Paul Rubens

Yes By Default

When someone asks me to participate in a project, the answer is almost always “yes.” With a caveat: whoever asked me has to kickstart the enterprise – to go first. I’ll come in behind, as support.

Most projects are never going anywhere. Everyone has an idea for a book, a podcast, a movie, a business. But almost nobody has the ability to start, to generate enough force to overcome entropy and take the first steps.

In that situation, I was the guy who said “yes.” A word that cost me no more than a few cubic centimeters of air, created a trusting connection between me and another person, helped build a reputation for generosity. It was a zero effort win.

And what if the person can kickstart their idea? What if the project goes forward?

Now I’m working with a person who knows how to get things started.

Not a bad position.

Showing Work

Being humble is not the same as living in the shadows.

It’s tragic when someone hides their good work. The eyes of the world are not upon us. Everyone is looking at their belly button. If we do not shout after their attention, they won’t look at what we have done. The boss does not have the time to see what is working, that which goes well – it’s the things that go wrong that sink the business.

You don’t have to be arrogant. No need to be conceited. It’s not necessary to seek protagonism.

You have to show work. The value – or lack thereof – that others attribute to it is up to them. But you have to show it.