Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

@dayleyagile #sgcal Leadership and Empowerment

April 12, 2017

I attended this session at the San Diego Scrum Gathering because of my interest in leadership. If you have a team, a co-equal group of people with equal say, what can happen? How do leaders function in general. Do we need leaders or can we get things done behaving like a murmur of starlings?

These are super raw notes:

Experience drives beliefs drives behaviors drives results. Leaders do first two; managers second.

Supervisors command laborers.

Coordinators delegate to agents.

Steward empowers professionals.

Catalyst inspires co-leaders.

Steward and Catalyst Actions: How to do it?

  • Create space ( for team to work, etc.)
  • Protect Boundaries ( let product owners make choices, self-organize)
  • Connect (elbow coaching — create connections)
  • Invite ( instead of tell people to do something)
  • Initiate ( when invitations don’t work) ( even sometimes set up meeting, give problem, leave)
  • Co-participate ( you can help your manager to transform)

Every one of us has power. We need to stop our organizations from blocking that.

Live Raw Notes on Bruce Sterling’s capnote – #sxsw2016 .@bruces

March 15, 2016

Later, post-talk: Awesome Bruce Sterling talk.

The old days of SXSW.

Talked about Italy.

SXSW is looking kind of mature. What would SXSW be if she was a human being. Thirty years old, from Texas, a little over-educated. Dr. Amanda Southby.

What would I tell her when I met her. “Well I knew you when you were born” would not be appropriate. She has a child now.

What do you like? VR Goggles.

Can I get the drink with the paper umbrella? I need a little value-add design.

The explainer class can’t explain anything that’s actually going on.

I’m actually happy that things are far from explainability.

Data-driven society – what about the data on the thermometer?

Clay Shirky Explanation.

Social media breaks the Overton window (the ability of elites to set the agenda). (

Voting for Trump is actually a proper choice because the competition is actually far worse.

The Overton Window works best with Broadcast TV because the TV is just one class window in the house. Mobiles are worst than both. Crowdfunding is worse. Twitter really breaks the window. You get good mobilization? You don’t even need a political party.

150 Million voters is a huge audience, but it is less than the audience on Facebook.

The parties no longer control the essential resources they used to control. They’ve lost control of the way, means, opportunities.

Trump and Sanders can blow up party because they get how media works.

The trolls can insult their way, like the YouTube comments section.

Bruce is Skeptical

For example, Britain is trying to succeed from itself and they are usually the adults in the room.

What’s going on?

Shoshanna Zuboff, Harvard Biz School,

Master or Slave?: The Fight for the Soul of Our Information Civilization

. The new Surveillance Capitalism. Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon are the four horsemen. (She ignores Microsoft, and they should be upset.)

Invasive power of the internet around us, their former users will become clients, that they will lead around like peons.

Germany: NSA land so an ideal place to land this mind-bomb.

They don’t spread prosperity, suck money out of the system and impoverish the people they are spying on.

Corollary: This justifies people’s anxieties about government versus Apple iPhone.

Surveillance marketing versus surveillance government.

About who has the ultimate surveillance keys.

Two enterprises tear each other down severely. If the feds weaken the stacks. If Apple manages to ignore the justice department it is actually destabilizing and cause them to do more and more weird stuff. They’re looking at financial crises.

Four wolves are at the door and they’re not paying attention.

Worried that people think math will solve all problems. In cyphering stuff and holding it for ransom is an aggressive use of cryptography. The idea that someone can put the whole of Silk Road in his pocket and get away with it is not going to work. It has been tried–look at BitCoin.

They begin to argue that BlockChain is bullet-proof. You have no organization around you.

The BitCoin community is sinister. They are like 4Chan with extra greed and organized crime. They make Goldman Sachs look like Goldie Locks.

BitCoiners will be turned in by their moms.

They’ll surround you with informants. You’re not going to get away from the human element. You’ll keep trying. BitCoin isn’t going to get better.

More people have mobiles than toilets and so forth, but not going to succeed.

Do Apple users have the power to be their best.

Does Microsoft send you where you want to go today?

Does everybody trust Google? Do they never do evil?

Does Facebook unite people with their most intimate dearest friends?

Dr. Amanda Southby can do with another fruity margarita. And consider what kind of world am I being my tot into?

It’s not like the tech companies prey on the blue collar. TEch companies prey on tech companies. IBM, AT&T, HP, and Cisco. Your uncle’s computational companies. They’ll get ripped to pieces because they’re closer to the cheese.

It’s like Finland losing Nokia. The blow to society was falling on the shoulders of engineers, coders, Dr. Amanda.

One of the big 5 will fade too. Who will be the first to go? I’m guessing it is the one people don’t mention as much. When their start-up chime is gone, we’ll miss them.

Maybe the issue is something deeper like neo-liberal capitalism. Neo-nationalism (and turning a hostile face to refugees).

Nowhere in the world is saying “send them to us, we’re trying to globalize.”

Venezuela, Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iran, ISIS, Britain (Scotland wants to succeed), EU failing, everyone hates Brussels, Germany will exit from its own self it has to. What’s that got to do with a bunch of American Tech companies? Maybe nothing?

The world is a failed state, technically speaking.

Erosion of legitimate authority to make collective decisions (like Congress.)

Huge operating systems. Facebook is not a church, not a state, people don’t know what to call it–an emanation of the Zuckerberg family.

No one can get nominated to Supreme Court. The Congress is frozen. All we have to do is blow out the executive and there’s no there, there.

We’re trying to move from one man/one vote to one dollar/one vote. Have the donor class run things more or less directly.

It’s the Putin Model. Let’s pretend to have elections, and me and my pals will tell you what to do. If you have oil money you can bribe the population. If you don’t, you’re just a dwindling autocracy.

The donor class ought to be running the world, but they can’t because they don’t have

A superpower whose worst enemy are ardent, internal patriots.

In Italy they say: “OK you got a Berlusconi. You got a bunch of rubes who fall for it like we do.”

I pretend to govern, and you pretend to pay taxes and it’s kind of okay.

Berlusconi is The Donald’s best case scenario.

[Describes Berlusconi’s deviant behavior.]

“Could be us…”

If we could get a functional government we’d be a unipolar super-power.

It isn’t MadMax, groceries have all kinds of delicacies in them.

The People are too busy with their screens to riot. If Amazon went down there’d probably be mile-high flames.

I think surveillance is overblown–it’s not as powerful as its fans believe it is.

They’re not paying attention to the population at all, they continue to be surprised by their behavior. The most surveilled people, Iraqis, don’t behave, we have no idea what they’re going to do.

Anyone with a drone over their head is actually doing what the guy with drones want. It’s just not working out.

Great Britain, the formerly “great” Britain, now infested with little video cameras. GCHQ sucked the life out of their military. They used to be able to go kick the ass of everyone. Now they’re like (…).

The decay of their democratic institutions is based on push-button hardware.

The only good idea is to rent out downtown London to billionaires.

2016 could have been the dynastic war between Bush and Clinton. But it’s not.

This is the Hillary that’s been batted around like a badmitten birdie.

Bushes are just classic Texas pols. I’m sure they’re very ashamed and feel bitterly disenfranchised. But they’ll await the next generation. They’ll be back.

No one expected it to happen. At least we’re not numbly repeating the same mistakes over and over.

People seem mildly interested. Political news is everywhere.

What’s the upside? The concluding moral? OK, well you know, “This too shall pass.”

This talk is very current-event focus, so will date quickly.

The president has met Dr. Amanda Southby means you are all grown up. You have captured the top of the pundit foodchain. You get the pope, that’s about–there’s no one else. Every day is a gift. Calamitous surprises can be good.

There is some daylight any kind of loss of credibility of the establishment.

The 30-year-old Amanda Southbys have his symptahy. She’s been through two major depressions. They are at a historic disadvantage.

The fact that conventional wisdom demolished actually gives some daylight to this generation. The Overton Window is opening, it has become possible to think outside of the rigid orthodoxies of right and left.

The more they chew on their own bare feet, there is some chance to return to the center.

Despair is an act of intellectual arrogance, because you falsely think you have everything figured out. Much of the joy will come from pleasant surprises. Rather than things rumbling along in their own inevitable dark fashion.

The only wisdom we’ll find will be uncommon wisdom.

Staff Structure for the New Millenium: Spotify

November 20, 2012

We’ve been holding the NYC Scrum User Group at my company and I’ve had the great fortune of being a co-organizer.  Last week Spotify came to visit and did something I thought was truly amazing.  They completely opened their entire working process to the group.  Transparently.  With no reservations.

And?  They wanted feedback.  Not on how they were structured (and, trust me, everyone in the room was thinking “I want to work there!!  That’s so cool!”), but rather on how they onboard employees.  This is why this is such an innovative company.  No fear of criticism. Get it (whatever “it” is) out there and learn from what happens.

I could go into detail about what they described, but next time we get a chance to hear from them, I think you should not pass up the chance.  To really essentialize, they are basically structured into a series of teams, yes, but then the individuals of those teams are members of 3 different groupings according to skillset, interest, and product area.  Very, very cool because it creates the environment for knowledge to spread and innovation to blossom.

Leave those of you who are fellow anti-Taylorists with this:  They’ve basically ditched a “human resources department” for “People Operations” or  “P-Ops” as they like to call it.  They’re hiring so look ’em up on Twitter.

Privacy and Voyeurism: @SleepNoMoreNYC – (A Sort of Review of the Play)

December 18, 2011
Venetian Mask

Gazing through my mask

Last night I went with @totheralistair and @ghennipher to see Sleep No More.  Interestingly, in an odd synchronization with my piece on privacy just published yesterday, Sleep No More plays with voyeurism, privacy, audience/observer, exploration and curiosity.  When you arrive you are given a Venetian mask and told “You will find yourself experiencing the hotel alone,” “Curiosity is rewarded,” “Please do not speak,” and “Please do not take off your mask; this is for us.” You soon find yourself playing the ghost, the ultimate “Other” of Jean-Paul Sartre, rifling through files and drawers, the extended beak on the mask emphasizing your nosy-ness, a wordless observer of wordless dance and action, chasing other ghosts, ghosts of the thirties, through the three warehouses dressed as part-hotel, part insane asylum, part small town. Part village.


It may be better for someone to go into the Sleep No More experience without pre-conceived notions.  If you think you might have the opportunity to go to Sleep No More, maybe don’t read this post.