November 16, 2015
“Thank You” Jeffrey Pfeffer.
I love Leadership BS! I’ve already gifted a few copies. It’s that good.
Yes, it is sad, sobering, and Machiavellian as most of the reviews I’ve read say.
So What! It’s one of the few books that gives advice based on “Reality”. It’s important to note that leaders are not perfect and that bad behavior is more common than we’d like to admit. Pay attention and take care of yourself.
So Many Gems
My favorite is on page 173
“… relying on the good behavior and positive sentiments of work organizations for your career well being is singularly foolish”
Getting A Raise
In Chapter 7 “Take Care of Yourself” Pfeffer gives great advice on asking for a raise. Think “What can you do for the organization in the future?” — the organization does not care what you’ve done in the past. Yes it’s harsh advice. But is true and choosing to ignore this reality is a bad plan. Make sure you firmly put yourself in the organizations future plans, then you are “needed”. Talk about what you’re going to do. Use your past successes to support your story for your future.
Books For Experiential Learning
I’ve found that in teaching experiential workshops, like e@UBC’s Lean LaunchPads, our students are more exposed to “Reality”. Thus we need more books to support what they find in their research. We need more leadership books that have their roots in what people actually do versus what we want them to do. For example, there is a section where Mentorship goes sideways in this book. Priceless.
November 15, 2015
I’ve had some very interesting reads which were inspired by this summers spiritual workshops at the SCRH.
Interconnectedness of All Things
The first is a reminder of a great kids book on the inter-connected-ness of all things titled You Are Stardust.
* The water in your sink once quenched the thirst of dinosaurs;
* with every sneeze, wind blasts out of your nose faster than a cheetah’s sprint;
* the electricity that powers every thought in your brain is stronger than lightning.
It’s at my local library. Guessing it’s at yours too.
That is — they’re much younger than the Dalai Lama. «smile»
The “young” Tibetan Monks Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche (YMR) and Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche (DJKR) have both written “Introductory Buddhist” books.
The new thing they bring to these topics is that they’ve travelled in the “West” for a long time and know us, the English language, and Western Science better than their elders. Their choices of words and examples are very good. These books are “readable”.
If you’re wanting to get a better view of Tibetan Buddhism then I highly recommend the following introductory books.
- DJKR’s “What Makes You Not a Buddhist”
- YMR’s “The Joy of Living” & “Joyful Wisdom”
If you’re looking for a practical book about dealing with your anxiety then “YMR’s — Joyful Wisdom” is the one for you.
For The Curious – “What Makes You a Buddhist?”
Here is the answer via an excerpt from DJKR’s “What Makes You Not a Buddhist”
October 30, 2015
Here is a visual view of my favorite “Entrepreneurship” books.
My 6 super-favorites have bold blue borders.
- The Startup Owners Manual, by Steve Blank
- Value Proposition Design, by Alex Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur
- The Design of Business, by Roger Martin
- Humble Inquiry, by Edgar Schein
- Linchpin, by Seth Godin
- Leadership BS, by Jeffrey Pfeffer
More — The Big List of Entrepreneurship Reading
If you’re looking for the monster reading list. Steve Blank has the best one here
October 3, 2015
I’ve updated the “Entrepreneurship” slides that I present to UBC Engineering students each fall. /enjoy.
1. Introduction to Technology Entrepreneurship (2015 version)
I first ask the question. “What is Entrepreneurship?”
I follow-up with my favorite definition of a business from Peter Drucker.
Then I address the questions:
- What is the journey like?
- What is the process?
- How do I learn about customers?
- How do I keep score?
I focus my answers on 5 Points — Purpose, You, Process, Customers, and Scorecard.
- Purpose » Drucker’s Purpose of Business,
- You » Martin’s Knowledge Funnel + Soft-Skills,
- Process » Blank’s Customer Development,
- Customers » Moore’s Crossing the Chasm + Product/Service Journey Sketch,
- Scorecard » Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas.
2. Entrepreneurship Skills – Dating Skills For Engineers (2015 version)
I begin with “What Does A Project Look and Feel LIke?” (YC’s “Startup Curve” and Austin Kleon’s “Life of a Project”)
Then I focus on four fundamental personal skills –
- Communicating (Heath Brothers),
- Listening (Marshal Goldsmith),
- Helping (Edgar Schein), and
- Don’t Be An Asshole (Robert Sutton).
- I also add in the Growth Mindset (Carol Dweck) as part of Don’t Be An Asshole.
I used to call this talk “Entrepreneurship Fundamental Skills” and the nickname that emerged was “Dating Skills For Engineers”.
April 21, 2015
It’s tax season and I like to backup my tax files to Dropbox. That way I’ve got offsite storage. To mitigate the fear of putting sensitive information on the cloud I encrypt it using the OpenSSL software available on all OS X Macs via Terminal.
Archive All The Files
I’m old school and use tar to create an archive of all my files.
> tar -cvf taxes-2014.tar taxes-2014-dir/.
this creates a file named taxes-2014.tar that contains all files in the directory taxes-2014-dir
Use OpenSSL to Encrypt and Decrypt
> openssl des3 -salt -in taxes-2014.tar -out taxes-2014.tar.des3.pwh
> openssl des3 -d -salt -in taxes-2014.tar.des3.pwh -out taxes-2014.tar
I like to append a Password Hint (pwh) to these filenames. They only get accessed once a year so I add a 1 to 2 character suffix as a memory jogger.
OSX daily has a brief discussion of OpenSSL file encryption/decryption.
February 15, 2015
I loved the “The Accidental Universe” by Alan Lightman. I found it in a list of The Best Science Books of 2014 by Brain Pickings and it is available at my local library.
My favorite essay is “The Spiritual Universe — Does God Exist?”. For some reason this essay made me feel very happy. You can read the first half of this essay here.
In the last essay “The Disembodied Universe” he talks about how science has helped us dig deeper into nature and then talks about how we have become dependent on machines for our experience of nature. Very interesting. It’s not all bad, and it’s not all good. Here are some excerpts from this essay
page 128 Since Foucault, more and more, of what we know about the universe is undetected and undetectable by our bodies. What we see with our eyes, what we hear with our ears, what we feel with our fingertips, is only a sliver of reality. Little by little, using artificial devices, we have uncovered a hidden reality. It is often a reality that violates common sense. Is is often a reality strange to our bodies. It is a reality that forces us to re-examine our most basic concepts of how the world works. And it is a reality that discounts the present moment and our immediate experience of the world.
page 136 It is an irony to me that the same science and technology that have brought us closer to nature by revealing these invisible worlds have also separated us from nature and ourselves. Much of our contact with the world today is not an immediate, direct experience, but is instead mediated by various artificial devices such as televisions, cell phones, iPads, chat rooms, and mind-altering drugs.
page 137 But the psychological change accompanying these technologies is more subtle, and perhaps more important. Consciously and unconsciously, we ahve gradually grown accustomed to experiencing the world through disembodied machines and instruments.
More – Links
There is a lot written about this great book. Here are a few places to explore. /enjoy
February 10, 2015
I really enjoyed Peter Thiel’s Zero to One.
Right from the beginning he focusses on a startups job being creating new things instead of copying things that work. I was hooked right there. I also like he that recommends hiring people you actually want to work with.
I was not expecting it to be a manifesto on technology sales. It provides good context for techniques discussed in Dan Pinks To Sell Is Human.
I was going to pass on this book, but then it showed up in Andrew Schmitt’s Books in 2014 list. Thanks Andrew.
- page 120 We set out to hire people who would actually enjoy working together.
- page 131 “The Sales Dead Zone = Small Business”
- page 139 “EVERYBODY SELLS”
- page 160 The best sales is hidden. There’s nothing wrong with a CEO who can sell, but if he actually looks like a salesman, he’s probably bad at sales and worse at tech.
Blake Masters CS183 Essays
What’s Happening with Peter Thiel’s Dropout Club