June 2017

28 June 2017

Something about publishing directly to the open web, knowing that someone out there is instantly able to read what you've written, is incredibly motivating.

What management is
  • Apply simple (but not easy) principles consistently
  • Learn about your staff as people
  • Work with other managers as a team
  • Develop shared goals
  • Explain the goals
  • Define what success means
  • Tackle the highest priority work
  • Help people work together effectively
  • Create an environment of trust

from

Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management
by Johanna Rothman and Esther Derby

26 June 2017

How does an organisation scale out?
Like a city.

How does a city scale out?
Good question.

How does one run an organisation like a city?

The market is a defining trait of a bustling city.
Exchanges, transactions.

Why go to a city?
To trade. To exchange goods and services with others.

The city is where buyers and sellers gather.
The market is a concentration of buyers and sellers.

So, run an organisation like a market?

Not just a market, but a sufficiently large organisation will need some form of market structure to sustain growth. Otherwise, some other sub-optimal structure will form anyway.

What defines a market?
Prices.
Transactions.
Trust.
Safety.

Enterpreneurship is the business of finding new patterns of specialisation and trade.

Firms are formed to lower the cost of transaction. A firm derives a portion of profit simply by being able to transact more cheaply internally than on the open market.

When intra-firm transaction becomes less efficient than transacting on the open market, the structure of a firm becomes a liability.

19 June 2017

I watched Sustainable: A Documentary last night. The concept of "industrialised agriculture" was brought to light.

It made me wonder this morning if some segment of the software industry has begun to travel down a similar path of "industrialised software development".

(Work in progress)

Some of the symptoms of "industrialisation" observed in agriculture:

  • Large, monolithic farming operations
  • Uniformity; lack of diversity in crops, produce.
  • Low yield, fragile production
  • Vendor lock-in, reliance on centralised incumbents.
  • Emphasis on focused intervention vs systemic rebalancing.

On Diversity/Uniformity

There was a story that one of the presenters was sharing about landrace crops that really struck me.

Imagine you were a robber, and you wanted to break into a house. In order to do that, you would need to somehow get the key to unlock the front door. For every house you wante to break into, you would need a slightly different key because each lock is different.

This is what diversity gives us - a different lock for every door.

Now imagine if all the locks of the front doors of all the houses in the neighbourhood used the exact same key - a robber would only need to acquire one key to rob the entire neighbourhood.

This is the inherant danger of uniformity.

14 June 2017

The great tech rout that sparked late last week was a striking real-life lesson in the importance of diversification.

I was stung hard being substantially exposure to a handful of tech stocks, but having the bulk of the portfolio in a broad index ETF allowed for unmistakable contrast and experiential learnings.

It helped/didn't help that this sequence of events coincides with me getting back into trading options after many years.

13 June 2017

This ear infection I've got (don't worry, not infectious) has meant that I've been living the last 5 days as if I've had an earplug permanently attached to my left ear. That, coupled with many hours lying on a bed just trying to rest this sickness away has (I think) made me very introspective and thoughtful.

I think this is why I'm wanting to start writing again.