learn about what economists call “sunk costs.” If I give someone $100 on Monday, and he spends $50 on candy, he’ll probably regret that purchase on Tuesday. In a way, he’ll still think of himself as a guy with $100—half of which is wasted.
What he really is is a guy with $50, just as he would be if I’d handed him a fifty-dollar bill. A sunk cost from yesterday should not be part of today’s equation. What he should be thinking is this: “What should I do with my $50?”
What you are isn’t a person who has wasted 27 years. You are a person who has X number of years ahead of you. What are you going to do with them?
My favorite quote from How to Become CEO is: “Be a credit maker, not a credit taker.”
The focus should be less on taking credit and more on reporting what you did. Use monthly reports and other means to show outcomes. Become an expert. Carve out a niche. The best way to be perceived as an expert is to teach your area of expertise.
People will respect you based on what you do. If you tell someone you’ll be there, and you’re late, you lose value with that person.
Find out how the company makes money, and then do the things that make the company money. Focus your efforts there. Most people don’t understand the company strategy – the “real strategy.” Know what your company’s doing and how it’s thinking about its profits.
If you really want to be appreciated for your work, start doing what others won’t do, can’t do or don’t do. Be the one who visits that long-lost customer. Get your hands dirty. Talk to prospects, report back on the results, call your own customer service number and see how they treat customers.
Sometimes you get a bad boss, sometimes you get a good boss. Remember that both are great teachers. Having a bad boss is a rich opportunity to note all the things you wouldn’t want to do to your team or colleagues.
When I think of my worst boss ever, I remember that he took all the credit for other people’s work.
"The modern concept of work-life balance is focused on offering employees the flexibility to work anywhere, anytime — leaving fewer fixed working hours and more project-driven or service-level deadlines and opportunities for ongoing streams of innovation and communication between team members," Kaul says.
"Working 60 hours per week or more is going to screw up your life," Kjerulf says. "One of the ways to avoid this is to consciously disconnect and make time spent not working meaningful – do more than just binge-watch "Orange is the New Black" on Netflix, for example," he says. "Spend time with close friends, take a class, try a new hobby, volunteer or contribute time to a charitable cause," he says.
Executives and managers must remember that a business’s success in the workplace isn’t dependent on how many hours people work, but is about the results, Kjerulf says.
"Executives and managers must realize once and for all that it’s not about how many hours people are logged in, it’s about the results they create," he says. "You must shift your thinking and as hard as it can be, give people much more autonomy in deciding when and where they work," he says.
The ultimate goal, says Kjerulf, is to avoid separating work and life into separate spheres, and find the sweet spot that allows you to do both without neglecting either.
"Looking at my own life, I certainly don’t see a ‘work life’ and a ‘private life.’ I just see one life, mine, being expressed in different aspects. And these aspects are so mixed and so mutually dependent, that it makes no sense to attempt to separate them," says Kjerulf.
"They are already as integrated as they can be, and there seems to be no time where I am 100 percent at work or 100 percent off work — I’m always just me, living my life. To me, it’s not really about balance, it’s about being happy and living a full life in its many different aspects."
“Take the Sunday night test. If you’re like 99 percent of the population, you’ve experienced “Sunday night dread.” This ailment begins creeping up your spine around 4:30 on Sunday night and reaches a crescendo around 11PM, as you realize you’re going to have to go to work the following day. (My own research has shown that Sunday night dread begins forming around third grade and eventually dissipates around age 70.)… So this Sunday night, when you go to sleep, ask yourself: “Am I suffering from Sunday night dread?” If so, you might be doing something wrong. But if you’re not getting it – if you’re lying there in bed thinking, “You know, I sorta like this. I’m not dreading tomorrow. I’m actually looking forward to it” – then you’re probably on the right path.”—Work Smarter Not Harder: 17 Great Tips
The first product manager (PM) is a crucial unicorn hire that no startup should compromise on. The reason is simple – your PM is responsible for managing your team’s most precious resource: time.
Let’s break down what my team (and most startups) are looking for when we hire PMs. We want people who can:
1. Innovate through minimalism
The best product thinkers know how to carve down the scope of the product until it makes even more sense, as opposed to adding more and more superfluous features. You can slash to the core of what a product really needs to do for the customer, and you’re relentless at staving off feature bloat.
2. Prioritize ruthlessly
PMs help prioritize the development calendar for engineering, and to do that you need to have excellent organization skills and the ability to make difficult trade-off’s quickly.
4. Communicate with presence
So much of being a great PM is convincing others to follow your vision and track. Think Steve Jobs.
When it comes to your customers, the most important communications skill is knowing how to say “No” to most of their feature requests while keeping them happy. Remember that most customers are not great product people – it’s important to read between the lines since what they’re explicitly asking for is not necessarily what they really want or need.
most people can’t recognize the difference between someone who is in the 95% margin of skill in a field from a person who is in the 80% margin of skill in that field, unless they also happen to be an expert themselves in that field. Unless you are a doctor, or dentist or auto mechanic, you probably don’t have a way of really evaluating how good a doctor or dentist or auto mechanic is—although you can probably quickly spot a phony.
If you are at a decent level of skill, you will see much bigger benefits in building a name for yourself than you will in increasing your skill further.
Small actions compound: Reputation, career trajectory, and how others perceive you in the workplace can come down down to a handful of things/moments that seem inconsequential/small at the time but compound.
Fact: You don’t become CEO of a multi-billion dollar public company in your 30s based purely on ability/talent. Your career is a boat and it is at the mercy of tides.
Sheryl Sandberg Quote: When companies are growing quickly and they are having a lot of impact, careers take care of themselves. And when companies aren’t growing quickly or their missions don’t matter as much, that’s when stagnation and politics come in. If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat. Just get on.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Working 80-hour weeks will catch up with you.
Come to terms with the fact that if you want to achieve, you can never stop trying. If you’re not learning something every day, you’re stagnating or regressing. The best companies in the world need to improve every day or be taken over by competitors, and I think there is something analogous in the human sense.
eat RIGHT and EXERCISE. Like I said, energy is a competitive advantage. Starting from that premise and the premise that time is limited for everyone, you are able to accomplish more and be more productive with more energy. Exercise creates energy in the long run, not depletes it. This is not to say that you are trying to maximize ‘achievement’. Energy goes hand in hand with other crucial things, like happiness.
Everything is about execution. Dreams and visions are free. Implementation takes place in the real world where friction and inefficiencies exist.
Learn how to communicate. You’d be surprised at how many things can be solved by a good chart, report, or presentation. After working for a few years, you’ll discover that the whole world is built on an infrastructure full of misdirection, inefficiency, and incompetence. Cut through that and you’ll succeed. By succeed I mean become known, become in demand, become indispensible, become valuable.
Take all advice given to you, even ones from Quora, with a grain of salt. Usually it reveals more about the advice-giver than it is a ready-made piece of advice to you.
Focus on high-leverage activities. Leverage is defined as the amount of output or impact produced per unit of time spent.
This lesson applies regardless of whether you love to spend many waking hours working or whether you’re a subscriber of Tim Ferris’s 4-Hour Work Week philosophy . At some point, you’ll realize that there’s more work to be done than you have time available, and you’ll need to prioritize what to get done. Leverage should be the central, guiding metric that helps you determine where to focus your time.
By definition, your leverage, and hence productivity, can be increased in three ways :
By reducing the time it takes to complete a certain activity.
By increasing the impact of a particular activity.
By shifting to higher leverage activities.
Because sometimes your fears of opportunity are the only actual thing preventing you from getting your dream job, that business loan or a new home. Sometimes you sit and look at the jobs website a dozen times thinking that you don’t want to face the fear of rejection and you never do it. Sometimes you think to yourself that if they were to hire you, you would surely fail. Sometimes you think about the change in your life and what it might mean. Sometimes you might turn out to be more scared of the change than you are with the situation you want so badly to change. This is why you are still there asking what is good advice for your career.
Sometimes the best things in life are huge and terrifying, different and drenched with change, but they require you to take that step in the middle of one night. You click that button, fill out that form, make the call, send the email. Take the chance, take the risk and fail. Fail until you finally get the call back, which never comes to the very scared person who never filled out the application.
“But that’s how life is. You never know how it’s going to turn out, and you can’t plan for everything. You just have to do your best dealing with things as they come and hope people forgive you when you make a mistake.”—Janette Rallison (via creatingaquietmind)
All programming teams are constructed by and of crazy people
The first few weeks of any job are just figuring out how a program works even if you’re familiar with every single language, framework, and standard that’s involved, because standards are unicorns.
Right now someone who works for Facebook is getting tens of thousands of error messages and frantically trying to find the problem before the whole charade collapses. There’s a team at a Google office that hasn’t slept in three days. Somewhere there’s a database programmer surrounded by empty Mountain Dew bottles whose husband thinks she’s dead. And if these people stop, the world burns.
So no, I’m not required to be able to lift objects weighing up to fifty pounds. I traded that for the opportunity to trim Satan’s pubic hair while he dines out of my open skull so a few bits of the internet will continue to work for a few more days.
Have you ever worked hard on a task or project only to leave it almost done? You had the best intentions when you started, but you just didn’t finish. Maybe you ran out of gas. Maybe you were nervous of finishing. However, all of your hard work is lost… if you never actually deliver.
Make Decisions - Don’t put off shipping due to indecision. Make a choice one way or the other. If you don’t make the choice, life will make it for you.
In my opinion, the most effective management style is summed up in the words of Shunryu Suzuki, a Zen Buddhist expert and author of Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind. In his book, Suzuki suggests that the best way to control people is to give them a great deal of space, allow them to mess around, and then to just watch them. “To ignore them is not good; that is the worst policy. The second worst is trying to control them. The best one is to watch them; just to watch them, without trying to control them.”
Create a system to share “crucial results” across the company. Employees and managers must be able to share their daily and weekly goals. First, create a way for your employees (managers, too) to share the most important action items they have for the week and have them list, daily, what they are going to accomplish in order to achieve those weekly goals.
I began seeing the biggest lessons and defining moments in my 20’s all revolve around quitting.
My pivotal moments were marked by quitting something which became just as important as persevering. Every time I quit a job, a relationship, a city, a person, I found solace, freedom, increased self-worth, new opportunities, and subsequently, fulfillment. No one told me that quitting was good. This was the biggest secret of them all.
The truth: persisting is useless if you’re on the wrong path. Giving up on something that makes you unhappy is different from persisting to stay on course just so you don’t quit.
At school, teachers don’t tell you to pause, think for yourself, and realize if you’re going in the wrong direction then you should probably stop to course correct.
Contrary to popular opinion, quitters are not lazy. They are brave. Quitting is cutting your losses and moving on.
“Individuals who do not feel like their careers are being nurtured are more prone to leave the organization than those who feel like they are growing in the job. There is a significant cost when people leave.”—HOW DO I AVOID BEING A MICROMANAGER?
Then check out this little gem of an investment opportunity.
It’s a simple investment. You only have to invest almost all of your money. On the upside, after a year you might earn 3 percent more. The downside? Any day you could lose it all, for reasons usually outside your control and that you will almost never see coming.
Would you make that investment?
Of course not. Yet millions of people do—every day they go to work for someone else.
Your code has two functions: the first is its immediate job. The second is to get out of the way of everyone who comes after you and it should therefore always be optimised for readability and resilience.
Einstein once said that “there is no force so powerful in the universe as compound interest”. Equally there is no force more destructive in a large software project as compounding technical debt. Most of us have seen (or built) these projects. Codebases where even the smallest change takes months of time. Codebases where people have lost the will to write good code and hope only to get in and get back out without bringing the site down.
Technical debt is an awful burden on a project.
Except when it’s not.
Not only that but technical debt is the best type of debt in the world because you don’t always have to pay it back. When you build out a feature that turns out to be wrong, when you build out a product which turns out not to work, you will drop it and move on. You will also drop every optimisation, every test and every refactoring you ever you wrote for that feature. So if you don’t absolutely need them; don’t write them.
For all the talk about self optimisation, focus and life hacking that goes on amongst developers, the simple truth is that you don’t need to do that much work to be effective. What really matters is that you do it consistently. Do proper work for at least four solid hours each day, every day and you will be one the best contributing members of your team.
Believe you me, eight hours of solid work is almost impossible. Four hours a day on average also means you should be aiming for five or six in order to prep for the day when you only get two.
There is one, humbly brilliant line in Batman Begins which has always stayed with me. At some point in the film where he’s fooling around and acting up as a billionaire playboy, Christian Bale implores Katie Holmes to believe that he’s still a great guy on the inside. She answers simply: “it’s not who you are underneath, it’s what you do that defines you”.
“Most of our adult lives are spent clocking in and out of an office. The majority of us toil along city streets paved with an intangible quest for success, never truly stopping along the way to smell the roses—settling instead for a brief pause to temporarily escape on a weekend, to simply recharge, or if lucky, to enjoy a rare vacation.”—What is the greatest waste of human potential?