This is my dumping ground for quotes and other stuff relating to the wonderful world of digital & communications.
Rule 1: “The war room and the meetings are for solving problems. There are plenty of other venues where people devote their creative energies to shifting blame.”
Rule 2: “The ones who should be doing the talking are the people who know the most about an issue, not the ones with the highest rank. If anyone finds themselves sitting passively while managers and executives talk over them with less accurate information, we have gone off the rails, and I would like to know about it.” (Explained Dickerson later: “If you can get the managers out of the way, the engineers will want to solve things.”)
Rule 3: “We need to stay focused on the most urgent issues, like things that will hurt us in the next 24—48 hours.”
The stand-up culture—identify problem, solve problem, try again—was typical of the rescue squad’s ethic.
Companies that build complex physical things naturally plan their products in terms of lifecycles lasting at least 12 to 24 months, and sometimes much longer…
An internet company, like Google, works at a fundamentally different pace. Web software changes continuously. You don’t plan it rigidly; you evolve it day by day in response to the behaviour of customers… (they) don’t think in terms of long-term detailed plans; they think in terms of stimulus and response.
This is a dramatic change in the history of business. In the past, the nimble companies were always the little ones. The larger your company, the more it valued planning and the long-term view. Google is one of the first very large tech companies ever to pride itself on rapid response rather than rigid planning.
On top of this quick-turn bias there’s the cultural training of Google’s senior management. … Google is completely controlled by engineering PhDs. They speak the language of science rather than business…
One key element of the engineering mindset is the use of scientific method: you encourage a Darwinian marketplace of ideas, you test those ideas through controlled experiments, and you make decisions based on experimental data… What makes Google unusual is its combination of an engineer’s love of scientific method with the web’s rapid iterative development. Put those two characteristics together, and Google often behaves like a big bundle of short-term science experiments.
Why does it take agencies months to work out a single campaign, when it seems Silicon Valley can kickstart an entirely new company in the same amount of time? In the same time frame, gaming companies pull together thousands of iterations of Call Of Duty and Farmville. Sitcoms can turn out dozens of scripts. And so forth…. Top-down assembly line processing is a remnant from the rusty industrial age, and no longer works in the fluid, spreadable hoodoo environments of the information era. Most agencies take a waterfall approach — you’ve got strategy then production then design then technology
"More companies die of indigestion than starvation" (Dave Packard)
Apple turns over its inventory once every five days.
That’s part of why a new report from the technology research firm, Gartner, ranked Apple’s supply chain the best in the world. And it’s pretty amazing when you think about it. This is a company that sells hundreds of millions of hardware gadgets all over the world and yet it doesn’t actually need to stockpile its goods.
The only company on Gartner’s list of 25 companies that turns over its product faster is McDonald’s
This is the extraordinary thing about creativity: If just you keep your mind resting against the subject in a friendly but persistent way, sooner or later you will get a reward from your unconscious.
In industries in which products don’t change much—paint, bricks, chemicals—professional CEOs thrive. Companies in these industries don’t rise and fall on innovation—they depend on optimization. (Think Coke, which has been selling the same core product for 126 years.) The tech industry works differently. “The nature of technology,” Marc Andreessen, the Netscape co-founder who is one of Andreesen Horowitz’s chief partners, said at a conference recently, “is that the product is always changing. It’s just so rare that you’ll have the same product in five years.” …
“If you put a sales guy in charge of the company,” Andreessen continued, “they’ll optimize for the next quarter. Finance guys will optimize the financials.” The company’s founder will optimize the products—and will often have the vision necessary to drive the company’s future innovation. As for the nuts-and-bolts skills necessary to lead a company, those can be learned.
One consequence of this data-driven revolution is that the whole attitude toward writing software, or even imagining it, becomes subtly constrained… A number of developers told me that A/B has probably reduced the number of big, dramatic changes to their products. They now think of wholesale revisions as simply too risky—instead, they want to break every idea up into smaller pieces, with each piece tested and then gradually, tentatively phased into the traffic. But this approach, and the mindset that comes with it, has its own dangers. Companies may protect themselves against major gaffes but risk a kind of plodding incrementalism. They may find themselves chasing “local maxima”—places where the A/B tests might create the best possible outcome within narrow constraints—instead of pursuing real breakthroughs… “If you rely too much on the data, you never branch out. You just keep making better buggy whips.”
more than 85 percent of the Fortune 500 now have Yammer networks. This includes 4 of the largest U.S. companies, 3 of the top 10 global companies in the fields of construction, oil and gas, pharmaceutical and beverage, and 2 of the top 5 Internet retailers worldwide
Zuckerberg didn’t just wait. He obsessively learned what being a CEO was about. He surrounded himself by people who had strengths he didn’t and absorbed from them like a sponge. Unlike nearly every other Internet wunderkind who came before him, he didn’t hire the grown-up to run the company. He became the grown-up to run the company.
There are a lot of reasons Larry Page envies Mark Zuckerberg these days. But the pre-IPO Page would most definitely envy his ability to hold onto the reins, experience and age be damned.
Since 2006, I’ve argued that Facebook is not the prototypical Web 2.0 company: It’s an outlier. It’s one of those companies that comes along every decade or so and does more than just create wealth and jobs and a product we can’t live without. It changes the very nature of what it means to be a startup. It innovates not only on whatever product it is taking to market– it innovates the idea of what a startup is.
There’ve been several of these throughout Valley history: Shockley Labs, Fairchild Semiconductor, HP, Intel, Silicon Graphics, Oracle, Netscape, eBay, Cisco, Google are some of the major ones. Each has in its own way changed the game.
Companies need to start strengthening their digital assets:
— Information and analytics about customers, suppliers, employees, and competitors
— Connectivity and feedback loops that lubricate the digital enterprise
— Intellectual property that bestows a competitive digital advantage
— The people, culture, and capabilities needed to execute and deliver
"In the early days of electricity, companies would have had a head of electricity because it was new, scary and might kill you. Now companies have a head of Internet or head of digital because it’s new and scary.
“We’re at a point of inflection from the Internet being a specialised thing to being, like electricity, something you have to do to do your job better”
The security of the 40-year career of the man in the gray-flannel suit may have been overstated, but at least he had a path, a ladder. The new reality is multiple gigs, some of them supershort (see “The Four-Year Career”), with constant pressure to learn new things and adapt to new work situations, and no guarantee that you’ll stay in a single industry. It can be daunting. It can be exhausting. It can also be exhilarating.
To make sure our key decision-makers could work and make decisions in an environment more reminiscent of a start-up, we created a ‘bullpen’ in one of the buildings on our main campus, which was specially designed as a place for members of our executive team to work and talk in an informal setting. These execs now set aside a number of hours per week to be there. It’s amazing how fast things can get done – even in a large company – when you put so many key people together and don’t give them an agenda.