I’m a highly technical person and science plays a big role in my life and work, and it’s perhaps surprizing that I mention faith – but it’s true, faith has a place in my definition of personal corporate culture.
You have to do the best you can. You have to be on top of your game, at all times (and especially at crunch time or competition time). And remember the split-second rule: you only have a splitsecond to make a decision, and every mistake can make or break a task.
But what we are doing is developing ourselves, so that we are great. And from that, the success comes almost automatically. So we are not pursuing success as much as we pursue self-actualization, and success is a by-product of being on top of your game. That’s where faith and belief comes in. I’m a highly technical person and science plays a big role in my life and work, and it’s perhaps surprizing that I mention faith – but it’s true, faith has a place in my definition of personal corporate culture. You have to believe that success will come. You have to believe that small actions that you take and don’t seem to receive a rewad – eventually, the totality of your “correct” actions brings about success. It’s a bit of a leap because it’s entirely possible that a sequence of all the correct actions, still doesn’t bring success. You can make no mistakes, and still fail ([insert quite, image]), that’s the nature of the open market. The leap then is the leap of faith: the belief that eventually, the totality of correct actions brings about success. Whatever your definition of success might be.
I thought this topic is clear, but I’ve run into this again very recently. Since so much conflicting information is going around, let’s iterate once again on what the priority codes should mean. I’m drawing this originally from Jira definitions – I think that’s where i saw it first, and it is the most sensible.
- P0 – the work stops, site is down
- P1 – unblock someone else, required to be done before other things
- P2 – ordinary flow of work
- P3 – nice to have, but not required
- P4 – informational only
I recently saw another definition coming from a more “senior” individual, and it almost made sense, until it didn’t. At which time I stopped and re-evaluated the definitions for myself, once again. The faulty definition was:
- (DO NOT USE)
- P0 – the work stops
- P1 – the task affects customers
- P2 – the task affects customers, but there is a non-technical workaround solution
- P3 – the task doesn’t affect customers
- P4 – informational / never used
- (DO NOT USE)
The problem with the faulty definition is that everything is P1, and nothing can really be escalated to P0. P4 is completely useless, and junior PM’s and developers would usually create P3’s (the default in Jira), positioning themselves for a need to clarify or shift priorities, etc.
Another thing to note. The priority definitions are technical. They aren’t written with customers in mind – there are multiple layers between devs and customers, and the priority codes are for developers more than anyone else.
The default code is P2. If the work doesn’t need to be done, save the resources and time and don’t do it; change the priority to P3. If there is a change that a task needs to be done sooner rather than later, bump it to P1. And the P4 is effectively never used, because informational stuff resides in wikis and other communication channels..
Everything changes. And change works – life itself has proven that.
In technology, you would think that since computers are very good at repeating something very exactly over and over again, things in the digital world sometimes wouldn’t change… But they do. They have to. There is somethign called digital rot – everything rots if it doesn’t change. Relationships rot (try not talking to a close friend for a week), tools rot (who uses myspace anymore?), and if a digital offering doesn’t undergo continuous change, it gets left behind and dies off. So you have to change, and your products and services have to evolve, or be left to “die.”
What twitch.tv teaches us also is that a good media service has to be updated very regularly. Preferably every day. If something is not happening in a channel for a day, it’ll start losing popularity. So you have to continue innovating, continue generating content, and be more varied and precisely match what current trends are set by the market. It’s a hard job, but it’s the only way to survive (and prosper).
The good news is that if you are very new, if you’re just starting out, the continuous change aspect of things doesn’t disadvantage you, on the contrary! As something new on the field, your product/service has room to grow, you haven’t figured everything out so there is very much room for change, and change is often good. So it’s a natural way to level the playing field: the newcomers have this edge over the old-timers, in that the newcomers will necessarily change.
This way you can be good at it, and once you’re good, you can work on being great (which is again 8 hours a day). If you can do it for more than 8 hours – awesome, but that’s not a requirement.
8 hours a day. The path to greatness, quite simply, is doing something for 8 hours a day. This way you can be good at it, and once you’re good, you can work on being great (which is again 8 hours a day). If you can do it for more than 8 hours – awesome, but that’s not a requirement.
Do you have to have a natural disposition, a talent for it, in order to be great? No. Certainly you don’t need it to be good. Talent helps, but there are many people with unrealized talents walking past you on the streets every day. It’s the perseverance and time commitment that counts – not actual talent.
Note that this implies that you can’t give up. If you fail to succeed… try again. Failing to succeed at something for a month does not give you the right to give up. Use balief (see “belief”, the definition of the tool) to determine the goal that you’re pursuing, and then pursue it consistently until you’ve gotten it.
In the course of this you may discover that you don’t want to be good at it anymore. Up close the goal didn’t look the same as from the distance. Again, use belief to continue working on it (getting from good to great). It is helpful to determine at the very beginning, and promise yourself – what is it that once you achieve it you won’t back out of? Make that decision at the beginning, and when you want to back out, remember that decision being made in the beginning. Because if you back out of your own success you will be lost.
Here we emphasize that doing physical training has a number of positive effects, not achievable elsewhere.
Being healthy lets you live longer. That’s a good thing; live is generally a pleasant thing, and much better than the alternative.
Being healthy is also cheaper. Having medical issues may turn out to be very expensive – especially as one gets older and puts a lot of mileage on the body.
Physical training helps compete in cognitive tasks. Being physically agile makes you mentally agile. Increased metabolism improves blood circulation to the brain, enabling better work.
Overall, it’s a time saving, rather than time cost, to work out or participate in sports. My favourite one is jiu jitsu – it’s very intellectually stimulating, and it doubles as a self-defense mechanism. But you can do anything else, from soccer to basketball to running.
A Book Recommendation. This book by William Powers offers a complete basic theory of psychology – and a very interesting one at that.
‘Perceptual Control Theory (PCT) is both the name of the theory and the name of a book by William Powers. I have found it immensely interesting and intuitive, a good way of explaining why people take actions that they do. This book definitely takes a spot on my shelf of recommended reading. Buy in on Amazon.
An example, from Wikipedia: A simple negative feedback control system is a cruise control system for a car. A cruise control system has a sensor which “perceives” speed as the rate of spin of the drive shaft directly connected to the wheels. It also has a driver-adjustable ‘goal’ specifying a particular speed. The sensed speed is continuously compared against the specified speed by a device (called a “comparator”) which subtracts the currently sensed input value from the stored goal value. The difference (the error signal) determines the throttle setting (the accelerator depression), so that the engine output is continuously varied to prevent the speed of the car from increasing or decreasing from that desired speed as environmental conditions change. This type of classical negative feedback control was worked out by engineers in the 1930s and 1940s.
Another example is inverse kinematics, used in 3D animation as well as robot control. You have the goal: for example, a “wrist” movement, and the system that senses and affects things to reach that goal.
Overall, I think the concepts of this theory are super useful both for personal development as a human, and for building digital systems.
The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman is a great book all around, and is likely to help you with personal efficiency, self-actualization and achieving personal goals.
MBA as taught in schools has several areas of study: finance & accounting, leadership & management, marketing & strategy, technology & operations. Kaufman in this book gives accurate insights into what goes into MBA education, as well as what goes into the practical applications of such.
The book’s website is https://personalmba.com/ and of course you can buy it on Amazon.
The importance of feedback loops in agile management and development
I deal in technology a lot, so my monologue on the topic is technology-centric.
There are several feedback loops that are worth looking over. (1) The feedback from developer to manager; (2) the feedback from user to developer.
It’s worth noting that the closer/tighter the feedback loop is, the more value it brings. Being able to expose errors and omissions, from user back to the developer who actually fixes the problem – the faster it happens, the less time is wasted, the faster overall development takes place.
Does it make sense to spend a decade of focus on something? When you don’t have success, how long do you try until pivoting?
Faith is a tool here. You use faith to achieve. The first success has to be bootstrapped, you kind of pull yourself out of nowhere into the success zone, and the belief that you’re actually able to do so plays a large part in that. You have to see other people’s successes and assume/believe that your own success is possible. This is the way I use faith.
Focus, effort, discipline, attention span – these are synonyms for me. I measure attention span in time segments, and I measure focus and effort in time as well. I can say, achieving such and such goal would take a two-year discipline stretch. College, for example, is a 4-year effort.
Some tasks are achievable in an hour. Some take several days. There are tasks that take months; and there are tasks that span entire careers and decades of time. What are the goals that you are looking to achieve in the next 100 years?
How important is outward appearance? What constitutes outward appearance?
Appearance is extremely important when your goal is to make an impression. Without good appearance, you cannot make a good impression on anyone. Physical appearance is not the only element needed to make a good impression, but it is absolutely critical. People judge each other (and themselves) a lot, based on how they look. We’ll get into the acting later.
it’s amazing how much a person’s attitude towards another person changes based on just what they are wearing. Wearing nice clothes allows you to gain a higher place in the social foodchain. Girls seem to get this point better than guys.
Dress well at all times! Have a clean shaved/trimmed beard; get regular haircuts that look nice; take care of your shoes; wear a nice watch, and learn to be in your clothes. Develop a style, grow into it so that you’re comfortable, and that will hopefully move you up the social foodchain a little. 🙂