Too much noise

There should be an app that tracks;

  • appointment reminders
  • calendar invites
  • emails
  • texts
  • tweets
  • pokes
  • tags
  • pings
  • pongs

The last one isn’t real – but you get the idea (or maybe it is).

How high would that number be?  Would it surprise you?

All of that is what surrounds us on a daily basis, we live it, breathe it and it gets in the way of getting all that we want to get it done.  It’s the outside noise that surrounds us now, that envelops and surrounds us, from morning to night.  We could turn it off, but then we might be worried about missing something OR actually miss something.

But when it’s all off and there isn’t even the slightest of hum, all of a sudden what you do during the day becomes plentiful.

If you’ve never played with the Do Not Disturb settings on your iPhone, you can now schedule your phone to sleep at a certain time and if needs be, allow for those emergency calls to come through from your favourites.

Go ahead, live it with for a week and see if you can survive without the noise.


Team Leadership for the Kids

I was trying to describe to someone a few weeks ago what it means when you are leading a team while at the same time fielding questions on how you deal with scenarios that might arise.  In it’s most simplest forms you need to think of your team as your kids and if you’re the leader of that team, congratulations you are now a single parent.

How does that translate into what you’re trying to do?

  1. Your kid is having trouble with their homework?  Are you going to fire them from 3rd grade?  Probably not, you’re going to put in the time to work with them and help them overcome this hurdle.
  2. Your kid disturbing other kids?  Are you going to kick this kid out of the park because of a couple of run-ins?  Probably not, you’re going to sit them down, figure out what’s really going on and tell them to stop throwing sand.
  3. Your kid isn’t doing their chores?  Are you going to start giving them less chores to do or better yet promote them to watching TV more?  Probably not, you’re going to ask them to do it again and again until it clicks.

I could write another 50+ examples without breaking a sweat – but at the end of the day – you’ll have faith in your family to keep helping where help is needed.  This isn’t about treating your team as kids, but rather reaching out to them in the say you would your own kids.

And that is the mindset you need to bring to leading a team;

  • It’s not easy.
  • You’re going to screw up.
  • What you hope is going to work for all, will probably only work for some and you are going to need to retool your message.
  • There will be last minute projects that will blow-up your own plans that you’ll need to step in and help out on.
  • How do you turn the frowns upside down?
  • When someone is stuck, don’t fire them, ignite them.
  • Did I say you’re going to screw it up?
  • What works for the many might now work for the few?
  • Are you going to be their biggest critic or their biggest cheerleader?

It might not work all the time, but twist the model next time something bad comes up and ask yourself whether what else you would do if it was your own kid, then give it a try and light it up.



The Messages We Send

Recently I had to go get some work done on my vehicle.  When I entered the facility (for my scheduled appointment) I was told very matter of factly…

This might not fix the issue, it could, but it won’t be perfect.

My first thoughts immediately going to – “but you’re the guys who fix these things, with all the commercials that you’re the best, with all the ads all over the country, with all amazing customer service… I went through the wizard and checked my vehicle, you said it’d be perfect.”

But this guy didn’t get the memo…

Was he rude? No.

Was he disingenuous?  No.

Did he mislead me? No.

But he was off message and that is a huge problem whether your team is 2, 10, 100 or 10,000.  If one person is off message it doesn’t matter because now the message has become a confusing mess of last night’s nachos.  Imagine 4 coaches on the soccer field all yelling different things to do, all directed towards the same player – what do they do?

Now to this guy’s credit, he was 100% honest and he gave me the option of backing out.  In essence he was saying – “I know that is the message we push out, but it’s not the one we need to send, the issue is more complex”.

I still had my vehicle fixed, knowing what I was going in to get done so that was all good.  And if the goal is to be fixing something on the first call and never go back, then the muddled message doesn’t matter but in this case.  But, it could happen again and the question now becomes, with one hand saying one thing and another saying something very different will it spurn me to go look somewhere else next time?


And in the end that was the message that was sent – “We’re not on the same page, go look somewhere else”.




It takes time…

Did you know that Macklemore’s hit – Can’t Hold Us – was released before it became a big hit?

I originally found it on someone’s facebook feed, but this was the initial link off of a recording from KEXP.

Who knew?

Not many, but now we all do.

It wasn’t until a later hit came out later that year (Thrift Shop) that people found Can’t Hold Us and it became almost as big (some might say even bigger).

Who knew?

You might be going crazy trying to figure out why something isn’t working, why no one gets it, why you are misunderstood, why the market isn’t going in your favour, why economics are bringing you down or maybe you just aren’t there yet.

Maybe it just takes a little time, give up now and people might miss some of the best work you have to offer.

How to Be A Great Software Developer

If you’ve read this blog for awhile then you know (I hope) that the general gist is around how you can become a Great Software Developer.  It’s not easy, it doesn’t happen overnight and there are a lot of steps you need to take to getting in there.

In addition, part of this blog is a way for me to get better at writing and sharing these ideas out (bad grammar and all).

To this end, I recently wrote a post, combining both worlds on this blog on the topic of – “How to be a Great Software Developer”.

Thanks for reading.