On not knowing

Some people are hard to read. Some situations are complicated, with pieces moving behind the scenes in a Rube Goldberg mess of not-quite interlocking puzzle pieces. Sometimes people intentionally withhold information – maybe they were told in confidence, or perhaps there’s an HR reason for keeping a secret. Sometimes it’s none of your business. Or it is, […]

Ownership

Interviews are weird. Of course there are the nuts and bolts – getting there early enough but not too early, dressing nicely but not too nicely, the technical and behavioral questions, and so on – but more interestingly, every so often someone asks you a question that really forces you to reflect seriously on your experience or worldview. […]

The Tyranny of the P1

There’s this local restaurant I go to a lot – it isn’t much to look at from the outside, and truth be told, the inside is kind of dingy. The menu is a mess of misspellings and grammatical mistakes inside a cracked, yellowing plastic sleeve, orders sometimes get lost, and one of the waiters is actively […]

Doing the dishes

I love to cook. I love wandering through a grocery store looking for interesting ingredients, paging through cookbooks, chopping vegetables, measuring, mixing, sautéing, baking. As a programmer / manager, I don’t have that many opportunities to make something physical, but cooking is an intensely pleasurable experience, especially when the results match the intentions. Unsurprisingly, I don’t like […]

Balancing your party

It’s been a couple of months since I left TripAdvisor, and as I’ve been coming up for air, I’ve been going through the necessary process of re-evaluating the conventional wisdom I’d come to accept over the past six and a half years. Some of it was great – generally applicable best practices that I’ll use for years to come. […]

The Technologist’s Dilemma

In 1997, Clay Christensen published the landmark book The Innovator’s Dilemma. In this book he went through a variety of industries (hard drives, backhoes, steel mills) and demonstrated the frustratingly similar pattern of how companies innovated, then stagnated – for entirely rational reasons. The key graph looks like this: The idea is that for any product, […]