What are some honest, unfiltered things about you?
I am long-term mission oriented.
- Mission: My first job was in 1986 working for a market research company maintaining BBC micros supporting market research surveys and running my beloved BBS with pioneer cd-rom changers to supply shareware downloads, even then I had a mission to create, develop and build the best and most available BBS fidonet server.
Long-term problem solving: I didn’t know it but I was a natural problem solver, coming from a working-class area of warehouse workers, writing printer drivers or connecting my model railway to my computer, was pretty much out there in space as far as my environment was concerned. I didn’t realise that I was naturally building unique self taught skills to approach large and complex problems, break them down, and solve them over time. The bigger and more complex the problem the better. I think in terms of long term goals — over 5/10/20/40 years — which is a serious competitive advantage.
- I work constantly to succeed in life and a half day Sunday is reserved for my beloved audio hobby and listening to my vinyl collection, I maintain my retro systems to perfection and enjoy the old tech. I try to be as focused as I can in my vision and work, but have my bouts of procrastination (usually reading tech forums).
- I drive myself through dreaming of being a well thought out and hard working philanthropist. The thesis of my life essentially is this: If your life plan is work really hard, make a bunch of money, and then “retire and be happy”, you are in for a big disappointment. The only real long term path to happiness is to figure out how to make as many people smile and leave them in a better position than when you found them, so earn large and redistribute even larger.
- My definition of happiness is less “invent, dream, create, transact and deliver” and more “Deliver”. I gravitate towards change and I’m OK with stress. I work at managing my own spirituality; my tools are introspecting, coaching, meditation, music, and challenge friends to parachuting and crazy push it to the limits ideas.
- I despise the stagnating and boredom.
- I work 60 hours a week, paid or unpaid, e.g. fewer hours than lawyers and doctors. I try to get 8 hours of sleep. I think the mythical 100 hour work week is BS; I did it for years and unless you’re really passionate about what you do it won’t work.
- I try to get to the gym, not always successfully.
- My wife is my most loyal friend and she teaches me a lot in terms being frugal with my generosity and kindness.
What drives you nuts?
- I despise entitlement in any form. We are all so lucky to have won the ovarian lottery. The world owes us nothing, in fact I believe our good fortune means we owe the world lifelong service; for our fellow humans and future generations.
- Freeloaders, people who pretend to take risk at someone else’s cost.
- Individuals with responsibility and authority who act selfishly (bad leadership).
- Seeing problems that should have been addressed fester (passivity, confrontation avoidance, squishiness).
- Dropping balls, blowing action items, not writing things down, not following up (flakiness).
- Hogging airtime instead of working with others to solve a problem.
- Anyone who promises to call you and they don’t.
- Professionals not taking any responsibility to finish something.
I have learned that I am good at what I do, but still I shy away from self promotion, corporate pat me on the back types will be shredded by me. Professionals who use chewing a dictionary to undermine colleagues gets my back up. It generally leads me to being a lone driver of change.
What are your quirks?
- I have a hard time concentrating when I am interrupted or not given the space to breathe.
- I hate phones in meetings or at dinner.
- If I get passionate in arguing a point I can stop listening and just argue pugnaciously. If you disagree with me and we aren’t getting anywhere, it may help to ask me to “slow down” and listen.
- If I am confused or bored, my concentration wanders and I can become a bad listener. I hate wasting time. I will interrupt you (hopefully politely) to take conversations into areas that I find more useful. If I do this and you think I am missing something important, tell me “It’s important that we discuss ________”. You can help me out by taking care to package information to make it easy for me to consume. I have a very low attention span!
- You know I am really trying hard to understand something when I say “Let me play this back to you” and verbalise what was just conveyed to me.
- Teach me something! I consume information through informative websites or detailed emails.or long form reading. I would LOVE to learn from you anything you know that could help my ideas, designs. The better you can package things for me, the more it will help (good writing, good editing, good presentation, giving the tl;dr upfront, constantly calling me to listen to your ideas or changes instead of putting it into writing grates the crap out of me ).
- correct me if I get anything (even slightly) wrong.
- Oh, and I don’t always eat breakfast.
How can people earn an extra gold star with you? What qualities do you particularly value in people who work with you?
- I love learning. I love people who teach me something. It’s my absolutely favourite part of building new tech.
- I love it when things are really, really well produced; thoughtful product implementation, excellent writing, beautiful designs. I am in love with the craft in any kind of production. I will nerd out on anything a creator takes very, very seriously. I am drawn to quiet, serious intensity in individuals.
- I am hugely impressed when individuals stick their necks out and take responsibility for projects and share openly; getting other people on board and methodically working through obstacles along the way.
- I love feedback. If I am missing something important, I need to know! I’d much rather you tell me, than just assume I know what you are thinking. You can ALWAYS come up to me and ask for 10 minutes of time.
What are some things that people might misunderstand about you that you should clarify?
- Admit when you have messed up and we will fix it, I don’t do kicking when people own it.
- I hope to be judged by my individual self and performance weighted by the velocity of my continual improvement. I am hugely creative and tenacious and stubborn and I always have a huge amount to learn. Expect me to make mistakes, but also expect me to learn from my mistakes and improve myself over time, use it against me and you’re dead.
- I have the mind of an Elephant and never forget people who steal, defraud from me and take advantage of my good nature.
How do you coach people to do their best work and develop their talents?
- leadership is responsibility anyone and everyone can and should take on. You can lead by seeing a problem and solving it, architecting a solution for others, coming up with a new idea and selling it internally, finding someone who can help achieve goals and recruiting them. We are all constantly surrounded by opportunities to lead.
- If you want to progress your career fast (1) Take responsibility to manage your own career as nobody else will do it for you, (2) work very hard to put yourself in the right place at the right moment in time, and (3) seek the help of those who have done it before
- If you are persistent and unfazed by rejection, you can get just about anyone to go out to coffee with you and give you career advice. Do it! You have the most to learn from those who have already done what you want to do.
- “If you aren’t getting rejected on a daily basis, your goals aren’t ambitious enough”. I get rejected and laughed at all the time. It still stings, but whatever.
- Understand that ideas are not a solution they are just an idea and it isn’t close to being IP.
What’s the best way to communicate with you?
- Text me on secure chat, if you don’t know which one then you’re not close enough to me.
What’s the best way to convince you to do something?
- Make a clear, concise, and compelling case. Show me data, or if you don’t have data make a persuasive argument.
- Often times decisions are really about doing difficult prioritisation. It’s not generally “right or wrong”, more “this now, that later”. Help me by explaining your view of timing and prioritisation, not just importance.
How do you like to give feedback?
- I like to give feedback in person. I preface feedback with “I have some feedback:”.
How do you like to get feedback?
- In person is great.
- Email is also great. Writing things down can help make thoughts clear.