There is a new animal in Silicon Valley. And it is nothing like the unicorns you have read about in the past. This new beast is not quite as flashy. It moves a little slower than its spiral-horned counterpart — the one who galloped to ridiculous valuations at breakneck speed. And you probably will not see this new creature in the news. Why?
I bet you can think of at least a few customers who absolutely love your product. They are vocal, share positive feedback, say that you “get” them, and advocate for your company. But let’s face it — you can probably also think of a few customers who merely like your product. And then there are many others who simply tolerate what you do. It takes work to get these customers over the line and into love.
My career will be defined by the prevalence of the internet. Yours likely will be too. And we are still experiencing an incredible acceleration of the use of technology. But one thing remains the same — we are human. We still crave personal connection, even when so many of our interactions are now made possible by technology.
I once worked for a CEO who thought he was the next Larry Ellison. He was an early Oracle employee but did not go so far as owning a yacht or racing team. What he did do was adopt Ellison’s intense leadership style — ultimately creating a workplace of unhappiness and fear. He owned the company so he could do what he wanted. But he pushed out almost everyone who ever worked there.
A friend approached me last year about starting a software company that would be an add-on in the Salesforce AppExchange. He was in the beginning stages and needed some advice. He had heard that he should have everyone he talks with about the business sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) to protect his idea. My reply? “No — but not for the reasons you might think.”
Recognize this scenario? You join the leadership team at the annual offsite to work on next year’s strategy. The location is somewhere expensive and beautiful. Unfortunately, you hardly ever leave the conference room.
Take a moment and think about your colleagues. Which ones are the naysayers? You know — the people who you think of as “The Mallet” for their ability to smash promising ideas like a game of Whac-A-Mole.
I wish we could just “peel back the onion” … but unfortunately business buzzwords are here to stay. The buzzword is a life raft for a disillusioned and disengaged worker. It is an easy escape route from a tough conversation that might actually require deep thought and carefully selected words.
Children never worry that their latest creation is not creative enough. A child building a sandcastle does not second-guess their work — their main concern is the rising tide. Only adults allow self-doubt to creep in and drown the creative process.
You hear new ideas all day long. And most of them stink. But every so often you hear one that is so rich that you just cannot get it out of your head. Not only do you wish you had thought of it yourself, you are inclined to run with the idea as your own — just to make sure it does not get lost in the shuffle. And maybe you want to look good too.
Depending on who you ask, the <table> is a quintessential cornerstone of web development old and new; an outmoded curiosity from a time where CSS lacked floating elements; or somewhere in between. But even the biggest critics of the <table> must admit that it is excellent at one task: laying out and automatically resizing to accommodate data of varying width and height.
I love this team. I love the product and engineering team at Aha! because we believe in objectively prioritizing work. To truly build what matters, you must identify which feature requests will help you achieve your goal and which ones will waste your time. Most ideas sound great but actually matter little.
I have been fascinated by rockets since I was young. As I get older, my appreciation has only grown for the amazing amount of engineering that goes into those majestic machines.
The Alpha Engineer rules Silicon Valley and all great technology ecosystems. He is tough to find, a genius in thought and a workhorse in productivity. He is worth 100 or more mediocre or lower-skilled engineers. Product managers are lucky to work with just one in their career.