Showing posts from May, 2017

Filters, slices and context color everything. Or how I got to "omg. wtf. I guess Steve Ballmer is pretty cool"

I ended up listening to two long interviews of Steve Ballmer over the last couple of weeks. The first was on Bill Simmons' podcast where the conversation was primarily around basketball and the second was on the Freakonomics podcast where they talked about a bunch of things - his USAFacts site, philanthropy, tech etc.

From each of these, I came away thinking - "Wow. This is a pretty smart, passionate and likable dude". Why is this surprising?

Well my quick impression of him before listening to both of these "Man, how was this guy CEO of Microsoft for so long" and well, a lot worse to be honest.

And then I thought about why I thought this.

I hadn't really heard him speak (in-person or watched a video) for any length of timeobjectively, even with all the missteps in his later years at the helm it's hard not to evaluate him as a pretty successful executive and CEO A few years ago, I was talking to two people who'd worked at Microsoft and seen him in ac…

Originals may have been the most dangerous thing I read this year

I've been trying to get back into the reading habit. I finished the Originals (rather quickly) in March and I think it may be the most dangerous think I read this year.

There's a number of ideas in the book, but the one that really resonated with me is Adam Grant's endorsement of procrastination (his NY Times write-up here).

My quick summary is that he finds that often waiting till the last minute to finish any work results in the best output. You still need to start early, but waiting to finish means you've been mulling the project for a while and iterating on it mentally. I've found this to be so true for things that I work on - in particular presentations and talks.

Starting early means, you have a framework in mind and start the wheels turning how what you want to say, but by holding off on finishing the thoughts you don't commit to your initial ideas and are more open to exploring other avenues. I find by the time I'm putting together the final talk (…

May I need more silence and lesser stimulation...

Even by my low standards, this was a long blogging break. Last month though, I got introduced as a "blogger" to an audience I was speaking to which was a reminder that I really miss this. :-)

I've always known how important it is to avoid interruptions and seek silence while working, and how seldom I ever actually do this - I generally am juggling multiple things and projects at a time, and when I'm at my desk generally have headphones on with either loud music or a TV show playing in the background. While driving, I always have a podcast on or start a phone call.

But this Friday, I was in a situation where I was without a phone or a laptop for nearly half the day. I carry 2 phones generally - one had just died and the other ran out of charge by 11am. The end result: I found myself a lot more connected in the conversations I was having with friends and thinking more deeply even in the little moments - in the car, walking, even waiting in line. I frankly enjoyed my o…