I start this book just after I finished《HOW GOOGLE WORKS》. But it takes me long time to complete the task. It maybe is because this is a hard book (smile). The book could be separated to two parts. First part is about the story of three successful companies that the writer found (Netscape/Loudcloud/Opsware). The second part is the experience and advice from the writer to the readers after he summarized his CEO career which I think is much useful. But it is still have some interesting things and ideas in first part.
On Page 12, it said that Microsoft announced that it would bundling its browser, Internet Explorer for free. This really shook the writer and his Netscape as their main business is their browser. Their strategy to this situation is that they will transfer their business to Web servers. There are two ideas come to my head when I read this.
1. Users or you can call ibase is always the No.1 priority sometimes you should consider, then later the revenue.
2. The way to fight the big monsters directly is to find somewhere they are not comfortable to stay.
Page 36, "The philosophy for business is: I believe in artificial deadlines. I believe in playing one against the other. I believe in doing everything and anything short of illegal or immoral to get the damned deal done."
Page 37, "If we hadn't treated the people who were leaving fairly, the people who stayed would never have trusted me again." This is a good lesson for the management I think. Maybe I will change my mind in the future.
Page 43, "Whenever a large organization attempts to do anything, it always comes down to a single person who can delay the entire project. An engineer might get stuck waiting for a decision or a manager may think she doesn't have authority to make a critical purchase. These small, seemingly minor hesitations can cause fatal delays." So sometime you need to make a meeting to involve all related persons and follow the issue by yourself to get all the possible stick point out of your way.
Page 57, "There are several different frameworks one could use to get a handle on the indeterminate vs. determinate question. The math version is calculus vs. statistics. In a determinate world, calculus dominates. You can calculate specific things precisely and deterministically. When you send a rocket to the moon, you have to calculate precisely where it is at all times. It's not like some iterative startup where you launch the rocket and figure things out step by step. Do you make it to the moon? To Jupiter? Do you just get lost in space? There were lots of companies in the '90s that had launch parties but no landing parties."
"But the indeterminate future is somehow one in which probability and statistics are the dominant modality for making sense of the world. Bell curves and random walks define what the future is going to look like. The standard pedagogical argument is that high schools should get rid of calculus and replace it with statistics, which is really important and actually useful. There has been a powerful shift toward the idea that statistical ways of thinking are going to drive the future." So I think all the business are indeterminate, we should learn how to survival in this world. It sounds like Taleb's 《Black Swan》. I plan to learn the statistics with the text book by myself and wish me good luck.
Page 83, "Make clear with your language that you've decide. Use phrases like "I have decided" rather than "I think" of "I'd like."
Page 87, "If a CEO hears that engagement for her application increased an incremental 25 percent beyond the normal growth rate one month, she will be off to the races hiring more engineers to keep up with the impending tidal wave of demand. On the other hand, if engagement decreases 25 percent, she will be equally intense and urgent in explaining it away: 'The side was slow that month, there were four holidays, and we made a UI change that caused all the problems. For gosh sakes, let's not panic!' Both leading indicators may have been wrong, or both may have been right, but our hypothetical CEO—like almost every other CEO—only took action on the positive indicator and only looked for alternative explanations on the negative leading indicator. If this advice sounds too familiar and you find yourself wondering why your honest employees are lying to you, the answer is they are not. They are lying to themselves. And if you believe them, you are lying to yourself." This is quite like my current company's situation. So it is difficult to be a high-level manager or CEO.
Page 98, "We take care of the people, the products, and the profits—in that order." "As organizations grow large, important work can go unnoticed, the hardest workers can get passed over by the best politicians, and bureaucratic processes can choke out the creativity and remove all the joy." Does it mean that to be hardest is not enough in some big company, meanwhile you need some political skills?
Page 102, "When things go well, the reasons to stay at a company are many:
Your career path is wide open because as the company grows lots of interesting jobs naturally open up.
Your friends and family think you are a genius for choosing to work at the 'it' company before anyone else knew it was 'it'
Your resume gets stronger by working at a blue-chip company in its heyday.
On, and you are getting rich.
When things go poorly, all those reasons become reasons to leave." Maybe this is why it is such difficult to find the exact person to join my current company.
Page 150, It said the right ambition is that the ambition for the company's success, not the personal success. But I think it is so different in China. All ambitioned guys I met during my career are care about their own success much more than the company. So I think the advice and techniques in this chapter is useless for managing a Chinese company.
Page 160, "Peter Principle coined by Dr. Laurence J.Peter and Raymond Hull in their 1969 book of that name, the Peter Principle holds that in a hierarchy, members are promoted so long as they work competently. Sooner or later they are promoted to a position at which they are no longer competent (their 'level of incompetence'), and there they remain being unable to earn further promotions." "The Law of Crappy People states: For any title level in a large organization, the talent on that level will eventually converge to the crappiest person with the title. The rationale behind the law is that other employees in the company with lower titles will naturally benchmark themselves against the crappiest person at the next level. For example, if Jasper is the worst vice president in the company, then all of the directors will benchmark themselves against Jasper and demand promotions as soon as they reach his low level of competency." This quite like the E1 case in the company.
Page 166, "Often, it's very difficult to turn these kinds of cases around. Once an employee takes a public stance, the social pressure for him to be consistent is enormous. If he tells fifty of his closet friends that the CEO is the stupidest person on the planet, then reversing that position will cost him a great amount of credibility the next time he complains. Most people are not willing to take the hit to their credibility." So not to complain or reduce it when you are together with your friends and family.
Page 177, "How do you point out that a colleague you do not know how to work with is bloking your progress without throwing her under the bus? How do you get help when you love your job but your personal life is melting down? Through a status report? On email? Yammer? Ansna? Really? For these and other important areas of discussions, one-on-ones can be essential. If you like structured agendas, then the employee should set the agenda. A good practice is to have the employee send you the agenda in advance. This will give her a chance to cancel the meeting if nothing is pressing. It also makes clear that it is her meeting and will take as much or as little time as she needs. During the meeting, since it's the employee's meeting, the manager should do 10 percent of the talking and 90 percent of the listening. Note that this is the opposite of most one-on-ones." Here are some questions the writer has found to be very effective in one-on-ones
If we could improve in any way, how would we do it?
What's the number-one problem with our organization? Why?
What's not fun about working here?
Who is really kicking ass in the company? Whom do you admire?
If you were me, what changes would you make?
What don't you like about the product?
What's the biggest opportunity that we're missing out on?
What are we not doing that we should be doing?
Are you happy working here?
"In the end, the most important thing is that the best ideas, the biggest problems, and the most intense employee life issues make their way to the people who can deal with them."
Page 188, "If you want people to communicate, the best way to accomplish that is to make them report to the same manager." "The organizational design is also architecture for how the company communicates with outside world. For example, you might want to organize your sales force by product to maximize communication with the relevant product groups and maximize the product competency of the sales force. If you do that, then you will do so at the expense of simplicity for customers who buy multiple products and will now have to deal with multiple salespeople." I think it's the MT current style.
Page 194, "There is only a great executive for a specific company at a specific point in time. Mark Zuckerberg is a phenomenal CEO for Facebook. He would not be a good CEO for Oracle." So each style of CEW has his perfect position in suitable company. Mr.P has been the CEO for serval years with poor revenue performance. I am so curious about the reason behind but not sure if I will have the opportunity to find it out. This reason will help me in my future career a lot, I guess.
Page 230, Be careful about "THE SHIT SANDWICH"
Page 233, "You want to apply tremendous pressure to get the highest-quality thinking yet be open enough to find out when you are wrong." HIGH-FREQUENCY FEEDBACK
Feedback won't be personal in your company. If the CEO constantly gives feedback, then everyone she interacts with will just get used to it. Nobody will think, "Gee, what did she really mean by that comment? Does she not like me?" Everybody will naturally focus on the issues, not an implicit random performance evaluation.
People will become comfortable discussing bad news. If people get comfortable talking about what each other are doing wrong, then it will be very easy to talk about what the company is doing wrong. High-quality company cultures get their cue from data networking routing protocols: Bad news travels fast and good news travels slowly. Low-quality company cultures take on the personality of the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wiz: "Don't nobody bring me no bad news."
Page 241, The story about the IPO for the Baidu which I don't believe.
QUESTIONS FOR HEAD OF ENTERPRISE SALES FORCE
Is she smart enough?
Can she effectively pitch you on her current company?
How articulate is she on the company and market opportunity that you are presenting to he now?
Will she be able to contribute to the strategic direction of your company in a meaningful way?
Does she know how to hire salespeople?
What is her profile?
Ask her to describe a recent bad hire.
How does she find top talent?
What percentage of her time is spent recruiting?
How does she test for the characteristics she wants with her interview process?
How many of her current people want to sign up? Can you reference them and validate that?
Could you pass her sales interview test? Should you be able to pass?
Does she know how to hire sales managers?
Can she define the job?
Can she test for the skills?
Is she systematic and comprehensive on how she thinks about the sales process?
Does she understand the business and the technical sales processes?
Does she understand benchmarking, lockout documents, proof of concepts, demos?
Does she know how to train people to become competent in the process?
Can she enforce the process?
What is her expectation of her team's use of the CRM tools?
Did she run the process at her last company or did she write the process?
There is a big difference between people who can write a game plan and people who can follow a game plan.
How good is her sales training program?
How much process training versus product training? Can she describe it in detail?
Does she have materials?
How effective is her sales rep evaluation model?
Can she get beyond basic performance?
Can she describe the difference between a transactional rep and an enterprise rep in a way that teaches you something?
Does she understand the ins and outs of setting up a comp plan?
Accelerators, spiffs, etc.
Does she know how to do big deals?
Has she made existing deals much larger? Will her people be able to describe that? Has she accelerated the close of a large deal?
Does she have customers who will reference this?
Does she understand marketing?
Can she articulate the differences between brand marketing, lead generation, and sales force enablement without prompting?
Does she understand channels?
Does she really understand channel conflict and incentives?
Is she intense enough?
Will the rep in Wisconsin wake up at 5 a.m. and hit the phones or will they wake up at noon and have lunch?
Can she run international?
Is she totally plugged into the industry?
How quickly can she diagnose?
Does she know your competition?
Does she know what deals you are in right now?
Has she mapped your organization?
OPERATION EXCELLENCE QUESTIONS
Managing Direct Reports
What do you look for in the people working for you?
How do you figure that out in the interview process?
How do you train them for success?
What is your process for evaluating them?
What methods do you use to get the information that you need in order to make decisions?
How do you make decisions (what is the process)?
How do you run your staff meeting? What is the agenda?
How do you mange actions and promises?
How do you systematically get your knowledge?
Of the organization
Of the customers
Of the market
Core management processes-please describe how you've designed these and why.
Describe the key leading and lagging indicators for your organization
Are they appropriately paired? For example, do you value time, but not quality?
Are there potentially negative side effects?
What was the process that you used to design them?
Describe your current organizational design.
What are the strengths and weaknesses?
Why did you opt of those strengths and weaknesses (why were the strengths more important)?
What are the conflicts? How do they get resolved?
If your best executive asks you for more territory, how do you handle it?
Describe your process for both promotion and firing.
How do you deal with chronic bad behavior from a top performer?
Does she think systematically or one-off?
Would I want to work for her?
Is she totally honest or is she bullshitty?
Does she ask me spontaneous incisive questions or only pre-prepared ones?
Can she handle diverse communication styles?
Is she incredibly articulate?
Has she done her homework on the company?
GOOD PRODUCT MANAGER/BAD PRODUCT MANAGER
Good product managers know the market, the product, the product line, and the competition extremely well and operate from a strong basis of knowledge and confidence. A good product manager is the CEO of the product. Good product managers take full responsibility and measure themselves in terms of the success of the product.
They are responsible for right product/right time and all that entails. A good product manager knows the context going in (the company, our revenue funding, competition, etc.), and they take responsibility for devising and executing a winning plan (no excuses).
Bad product managers have lots of excuses. Not enough funding, the engineering manager is an idiot, Microsoft has ten times as many engineers working on it, I'm overworked, I don't get enough direction. Our CEO doesn't make these kinds of excuses and neither should the CEO of a product.
Good product manager don't get all of their time sucked up by the various organizations that must work together to deliver the right product at the right time. They don't take all the product team minutes; they don't project manage the various functions; they are not gofers for engineering. They are not part of the product team; they manage the product team. Engineering teams don't consider good product managers a "marketing resource." Good product managers are the marketing counterparts to the engineering manager.
Good product managers crisply define the target, the "what" (as opposed to the "how"), and manage the delivery of the "what." Bad product managers feel best about themselves when they figure out "how." Good product managers communicate crisply to engineering in writing as well as verbally. Good product managers don't give direction informally. Good product managers gather information informally.
Good product managers create collateral, FAQs, presentations, and white papers that can be leveraged by salespeople, marketing people, and executives. Bad product managers complain that they spend all day answering questions for the sales force and are swamped. Good product managers anticipate the serious product flaws and build real solutions. Bad product managers put out fires all day.
Good product managers take written positons on important issues (competitive silver bullets, tough architectural choices, tough product decisions, and markets to attack or yield). Bad product managers voice their opinions verbally and lament that the "powers that be" won't let it happen. Once bad product managers fail, they point out that they predicted they would fail.
Good product managers focus the team on revenue and customers. Bad product managers focus the team on how many features competitors are building. Good product managers define good products that can be executed with a strong effort. Bad product managers define good products that can't be executed or let engineering build whatever they want (that is, solve the hardest problem).
Good product managers think in terms of delivering superior value to the marketplace during product planning and achieving market share and revenue goals during the go-to-market phase. Bad product managers get very confused about the differences among delivering value, matching competitive features, pricing, and ubiquity. Good product managers decompose problems. Bad product managers combine all problems into one.
Good product managers think about the story they want written by the press. Bad product managers think about covering every feature and being absolutely technically accurate with the press. Good product managers ask the press questions. Bad product managers answer any press question. Good product managers assume members of the press and the analyst community are really smart. Bad product managers assume that journalists and analysts are dumb because they don't understand the subtle nuances of their particular technology.
Good product managers err on the side of clarity. Bad product managers never even explain the obvious. Good product managers define their job and their success. Bad product managers constantly want to be told what to do.
Good product managers send their status reports in on time every week, because they are disciplined. Bad product managers forget to send in their status reports on time, because they don't value discipline.
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