Indecipherable note to self from 5 Dec 2019, 9:22pm on my iPad in Amsterdam
“It’s all incremental change.”
- That webinar I mentioned is recorded and up for your pleasure. It’s a great overview of how AirFrance-KLM is modernizing 2,000+ applications. Check it out!
- Somewhat coincidently, an interview I did with one of the webinar presenters is also up now. Here’s the description: “In this episode, Coté talks with AirFrance-KLM’s Fabien Lebrere about starting AirFrance-KLM’s platform group. They discuss how and why the platform team started, how they determined what they needed to do, and how they’re working with developers. Fabien also discusses how to prioritize which services to work on and gives advice for those just starting out.” Netherlands crime blotter: “The police therefor always advises not to participate in traffic if you have used laughing gas.”
How to be a good worker
I don’t know how to read this, but it seems helpful:
Attributes of someone who gets shit done:
[Conscientiousness] refers to individual differences in the tendency to be hard- working, orderly, responsible to others, self-controlled, and rule abiding.
So, what’s the toolbox?
The preceding paragraph suggests that goal setting and prioritization are essential to C expression (21, 22). Occupational goals activate the motivational engagement and behavioral restraint that are required for C’s proficient performance. Goals constrain the scope of possible behaviors by demanding commitment to a specific end, which channels and focuses motivational engagement toward accomplishing that objective. Associated characteristics of perseverance and persistence increase the likelihood that that goal will be achieved. Further, it is note- worthy that C effects are as potent for individual goals as they are for interpersonal responsibility for and collaboration on shared goals. However, that is only one part of it. Goals activate requisite self-regulation to avoid external distractions, hedonistic impulses, and general counterproductivity that can detract from, or even undermine, goal-relevant performance. Finding that C’s counterproductivity avoidance is largely invariant across time and career domains is remarkable. It attests to the importance of C for adherence to behavioral norms and societal rules (9, 23). Finally, motivational engagement and behavioral restraint have strong theoretical links to C’s lower-order aspect traits (22, 26), which represent a promising way to advance future occupational research.
Have goals to focus your efforts, ignore the other things. And then:
Motivational engagement and behavioral restraint stemming from goals contribute to C’s performance effects, but a third consideration is the need for more predictable environments. C behaviors are not context independent, but rather are subject to certain boundary conditions. C shows its most potent effects in orderly and well-structured occupational settings that have clear social expectations. C effects are most profitably aligned to tasks that specify conventional goals and are low to moderate in complexity. Environmental predictability presumably serves to hone C’s persistent, goal-directed motivation, which would otherwise be diluted through diffusion by more ill-structured, ambiguous, or complicated circumstances. For occupational contexts or tasks that do not match these characteristics, C would benefit from the compensatory effects of domain-specific knowledge or skills, cognitive ability (the effect of which in- creases with high occupational complexity) (1, 2), or other noncognitive constructs (e.g., extraversion) (28) that support high-complexity functioning.
Limit the variance at work, in both process and even the facilities. That is, don’t require people to re-discovery what’s going on and how to operate. If things are “ambiguous” and “complicated” you’ll get distracted, spend time figuring them out, and otherwise cut into performance.
Yeah. So: set a goal and focus on it. (I don’t know the research well enough - at all! - to say what type of work this is. Is it programming? Making sandwiches? Being a health care provider? A trucker driver or a hedge fund manager? Am I bringing in some class-bias in by even asking these questions?)
Next, it’d be interesting to read how to do that: set your strategy and then derive the goals you should have. There’s something interesting going on in the OKR world, but I’ve yet to come across anything that helps figure out what the OKR should be, how to map from a strategy to a set of OKRs. (I’m pretty sure its out there, I just need to read a book that isn’t silicon valley myopic).
I also fear that too pure a focus on OKRs creates a short term focus (no doubt, quarterly to match with Wall Street - the true clock of all business and large organizations). Like all metrics, it doesn’t know how to handle multi-year journeys. Being conscientiousness requires focus, and the future is an ambiguous, complex distraction.
I’m not trying to be clever. I think I’d like focus. I just want to control my environment well enough that I don’t get distracted by worrying about what I may not being paying attention to: the long term and its unknown array of goblins.
(On the other hand, maybe “doing nothing”is the highest state of being.)
I think the word you’re looking for is “profitable”
If the company is large enough it will become a “rent-seeker” and look to the government and regulators as their first line of defense against innovative competition. They’ll use government regulation and lawsuits to keep out new entrants with more innovative business models.
The result of monopolist behavior is that innovation in that sector dies — until technology/consumer behavior passes them by. By then the company has lost the ability to compete as an innovator.
From ‘Why Companies Do “Innovation Theater” Instead of Actual Innovation.’
We have annual passes to most museums in The Netherlands in the form of the museumkaart, it’s like a year long tourist pass that gets you into all sorts of places without paying for a ticket. We also are Friends of the Rijksmuseum which means we can go see the Dutch masters, whatever exhibit is on display, an amazing collection of ceramics, a small enclave of very old Asian statues and a China…all the stuff, whenever we want. (They close at 5 or 6 or some ridiculous hour, but I don’t want to tell a country how to live their life.)
We have the same for the zoo.
So, I go to the museums a lot. Sometimes I just go the Rijks to hang out and work. That’s what I’m telling you about here. The way I think about museums has changed since I don’t have to pay each time I go. In truth, I have to pay the annual fee for the cards, but it feels like I’m getting them for free.
Now, I never feel like I’ve wasted time at the museum, like I’ve wasted money on just spending a short thirty minutes in there. My kids might want to stay in the kid’s interactive exhibit for an hour, or leave after just ten minutes. Either way, we can leave, stay, or I can go back at my leisure, see whatever for however long or short.
In this way, the museum is like a park. You can’t eat in there (you can buy food at the little coffee stands in the Rijk) or use flash photography, I guess. But you can just hang out, sit on a bench and write, check email, or even work on a book.
And it’s so much less stressful to take the kids. They actually, delightfully, surprisingly, end up liking plenty of things - old, modern, and contemporary. We can go see a special exhibit, and if they just want to breeze through in five minutes, even looking at those damn video games the whole time. Well. At least there were next to something.
(There’s something to be said, I see here, about how we value “culture” if it’s free [unlimited, easy to access] versus paid for [scarce].)
Here are some books I’m reading and picking at right now:
- I’m reading The Corfu Trilogy to my son. There couldn’t be a more perfect biography of the life he’s trying to and would love to have. (Well, so far - perhaps it gets dark.)
- Dead Astronauts - I’m tryin’ y’all. Tryin’ real hard. Hah hah this comment: “You may not understand Dead Astronauts even if you do read Borne first.”
- Art as Therapy - I’m still finding this book fantastic. It’s therapy itself to be reminded of a list of things you’re supposed to be pursing, feeling, and just sort of being, here, through art.
- The Batman’s Grave - I mean, sure, comics. Sometimes I read comics. Like, well, no - more like “never.” Here we is!
Art as memory
Consider the impulse to take photographs of our families. The urge to pick up a camera stems from an anxious awareness of our cognitive weaknesses about the passage of time: that we will forget the Taj Mahal, the walk in the country, and, most importantly, the precise look of a child as they sat building a Lego house on the living room carpet, aged seven-and-three-quarters.
From Art as Therapy, Alain de Botton and John Armstrong
I work with this guy
Relative to your interests
£9.6bn of “value” a year in health data seems high, esp. if the data is actually available, but whatever - smoke ‘em if you got ‘em. VSCO photo editing app has “75% of its 20 million weekly users are under 25”. Finally! But, sadly, no Evernote support. I haven’t read up on Eclipse in a while: “EdgeOps.”. Report: “The Hole In Oracle’s Cloud Strategy,” Forrester: sounds like developers, mostly. Chick-fil-A getting into quality of life surveys. “killing off links is a strategy”. Cope with imposter’s syndrome by thinking like a 90s action movie star . “Only 33 percent of more than 6,000 CIOs described their digital strategy as maturing, according to a Gartner CIO survey.” Stephen O’Grady’s re:Invent write-up.