On exceeding capacity

We completed performance evaluations in January, and one of the conversations I’ve been having with my team members is, “what can you do to be a star in 2017?” It’s an important discussion to have, for a couple of reasons. First off, most people haven’t even considered the question. They have the idea that stardom is some […]

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 […]

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, […]

Startup operations priorities

One of the things about being in operations is that it introduces you to a whole host of concerns, features, and disciplines that you’d otherwise take completely for granted. In the same way that you rarely think about the work that goes into maintaining the sidewalk outside your house, or the massive international infrastructure devoted […]