Business

Does WikiLeaks damage the brand image of wikis?

Over the past few weeks, the world has been consuming the newest set of revelations via WikiLeaks. The uproar caused by the release of the first set of diplomatic cables from a batch of 251,000 in WikiLeaks' possession is enough to take your breath away.

A disclaimer: in this post it is not my intention to analyze the positive or negative consequences of the actions of the WikiLeaks organization—there is plenty of that coverage, just check your favorite news reader every five minutes or so to see the latest. » Read more

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How Red Hat democratized our corporate citizenship program

Community contribution has long been an important topic at Red Hat. After all, our company was built on the open source software development model and much of the code our software developers write is contributed back to the open source community. For many years, Red Hat also funded a modest US charitable giving fund--appropriate for our size, while allowing us meet our commitments to our stakeholders.

Then in 2008, a contrasting set of events changed our entire approach to charitable giving. Namely, the economic recession and the good fortune of Red Hat.
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Creating a context for creativity

My experience as a manager – and in particular, as the leader of a company – has been shaped by two quotes that have helped frame my thinking about that role. One is from Harold Geneen, who oversaw the growth of ITT into the first modern conglomerate:

"The skill of management is achieving your objectives through the efforts of others."

This view of management suggests the classic manager, somebody who figures out » Read more

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De-bucketizing the org chart

Over the years, I’ve picked up an unhealthy understanding of the language of business. Years of sitting in big corporate meetings will do that to you, unfortunately.

Here at New Kind, my business partners will still call me out for talking about “action items,” saying something is in our “wheelhouse,” or jumping straight to the “net-net.” » Read more

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Poll: Bob Sutton's dirty dozen - the productivity destroyer

Register now to join us Thursday, Dec. 9 at 11 a.m. ET for "Building a Better Boss," an Open Your World webcast with Bob Sutton and Polly LaBarre and learn how to survive in a hostile work environment.

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Results vs. recommendations: How an organization's expectations reveal its culture

Years back I worked as an editor for the now-defunct Red Hat Magazine. While our circulation numbers were respectable, the department head wanted to see a sizable increase. In most companies, I would have been asked to do some research and present a publishing plan or a report on how to improve the numbers. Perhaps a consultant would have assisted. The resultant ideas would have been discussed, vetted, approved, shot down, and at some point (in some form) (probably) implemented.

But at an open source company, things roll a bit differently. My team was given a simple task: Increase the number of readers. We were expected to come up with strategies to make that happen while remaining true to the editorial vision of the magazine, but the department head wasn't particularly interested in hearing about our plans. He just wanted to see the numbers. Every month.

Talk about pressure. We quickly realized that ideas and plans and reports are simple to generate; results are not. » Read more

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Webcast: Building a Better Boss, with Bob Sutton and Polly LaBarre

Register now to join us Thursday, Dec. 9 at 11 a.m. ET for “Building a Better Boss,” an Open Your World webcast with Bob Sutton and Polly LaBarre.

Bob Sutton, renowned thinker and Stanford professor, will join MIX editorial director Polly LaBarre in a bracing conversation about what it means to be a truly great boss and how to cultivate a work culture that unleashes the best in everyone. » Read more

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Can rapid prototying work for your creative project?

The open source community has a phrase for the principle of rapid prototyping: “Release early, release often.” The theory is sound: Don’t wait until a project is perfect to share it. Instead, keep producing work so more people can experience it, react to it, find bugs, and improve it.

But does the principle also work in a creative environment? Ideas are fragile. Their merit is judged not just on the idea, but the quality of the execution. Often they need to be protected just to get that far. All it takes is one naysayer to sweep the legs out from under your idea.
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Imperious Institutions, Impotent Individuals

I live a half mile from the San Andreas fault—a fact that bubbles up into my consciousness every time some other part of the world experiences an earthquake. I sometimes wonder whether this subterranean sense of impending disaster is at least partly responsible for Silicon Valley’s feverish, get-it-done-yesterday work norms. Build your company quick ’cause tomorrow we might get flattened.

Like many sorts of change, major tectonic events happen very slowly and then all of a sudden. The earth’s wandering plates are held in check by friction for decades or centuries, and then one day the forces of change finally break through to the surface and the planet erupts. » Read more

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We work in public

My conversation with our newest MIX Maverick Andrew McAfee yielded all kinds of bracing insight when it comes to how we set strategy, structure work, unleash talent, and measure success. But I haven’t been able to shake one idea in particular he threw out at the end of our conversation as a provocation.

First, we spent a lot of time on how the job of a leader changes in a world that is increasingly open, powered by social technologies, and morphing at warp speed. Andrew calls this world Enterprise 2.0. In this world, says Andrew, “If you want good things to happen, get out of the way. Let people interact and collaborate and communicate in the ways that are most natural to them. Then your job as the leader of the organization is to simply put in place the environment that lets them do that, encourage them to do that, and then harvest the good stuff that comes from all of their interactions.” » Read more

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