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Feedback Lesson

June 4, 2010 Leave a comment

For someone that works on a product centered around feedback, I still have a lot to learn. My girlfriend wanted to share one of her work projects with me. It’s her first week, so she’s still in training. Lets face it, the project is pretty dumb and really is more of a homework assignment. When she shared the assignment, I focused on the merits of what the company wanted and questioned why they would want her to work on something that has no intrinsic value. Why not have her work a real world example that they could reuse within the organization? It wasn’t the feedback she was looking for. She wanted me to acknowledge that the
work she did within the confines of a dumb project was good. Which it was, very good. But being a startup guy I couldn’t reconcile the wasted effort.

Take away. When someone is asking you for feedback, take into account the constraints under which they want that feedback presented. Most importantly, be aware of how critical you’re being. I learned that the hard way. Even if you’re feedback is fundamentally correct, the way in which it is delivered may hinder your ability to get it across. If you can’t get the feedback across, it’s not good feedback. And sometimes acknowledging hard work is all you need to do.

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Week 1 at Rypple

June 1, 2010 1 comment

Last Tuesday was my first day at Rypple after nearly 5 years at Mozilla. Some first impressions:

Toronto is a great city.
We have excellent leadership.
The team is sharp, communicative and amazingly hospitable.
Everyone is in the office by 9am and they work late – love it.
Agile is very different than shipping major software releases.
It’s great to be able to touch and see everything, but staying focused is important.
People get our vision.
Users like the product.
Feedback and kudos make people happy.
Most importantly, I’m happy to be at a startup again.

I’m excited about the small team and notable customers I’m working with to build something remarkable. We’re at an incredibly interesting stage where we’re deciding what to do and more importantly what not to do. With limited resources you really have to focus on the set of actions that result in the highest yield. You have to know what to let burn.

At this stage we have to decide what type of company we want to be. Are we driven by sales and marketing? Should we lead with product? I completely agree with Phil Libin that the idea that “the best product doesn’t always win” is “complete and utter bullshit.” Check out his presentation.

I’ve been very impressed with the team at Rypple and their dedication to helping promote great work behaviors and making software that people love. I think we have an amazing opportunity to really change the world and help teams gather better insight, direction and deliver spectacular results. I’m pumped that I get to work with a group of talented people at creating a product that people not only love but couldn’t imagine working without.

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