Marx reminds me of something that I call “armchair strategising”: felling in love with my own thoughts and starting to believe that my grand theory of the world is somehow an accurate representation of it. Rather than the distorted, myopic interpretation that it really is.
Like Marx, there is a large group of workers who are very susceptible to be caught in this narrative fallacy. I am part of this group: Entrepreneurs, product managers, executives. Knowledge workers in general, people working with abstract concepts and shipping equally abstract outputs: plans, strategies, models etc. Like Marx the theories we put forward are not just a hedonistic compressions that we use to entertain ourselves during otherwise boring cocktail parties. Our beliefs are tools in our daily work. Read More
“Shields up!” Thousands of ironclad legionnaires heed the call, raising their guard in unison. Nobody panics. Calmly, they wait for the coming clash with the barbarian horde like we wait for the ice-cream truck. The Barbarians’ deafening roars reverberate off this wall of iron moments before the horde’s bulky weapons collide with the well-rehearsed, synchronized counter-offensive of the legionnaires.
You can find scenes like this in countless movies. Russell Crowe’s portrayal of General Maximus in Gladiator comes immediately to my mind, but you may have your own fixation. The Roman army represents every manager’s wet dream and is the foundation of corporate structure today. It was, arguably, the greatest army in the history of the world. Legionnaires, after all, exemplify strength and honor, qualities that most companies aspire to emulate:
“If you think of your company as an army, fighting for the hearts and pockets of the consumers, wouldn’t you want to be like the Romans?” Read More
Why isn't Bucharest more like Silicon Valley? It's a loaded question that I get asked under many forms. The reality is I don't have an answer. And I don't think there is a simple one. There are many contributing factors but there is one I that I think Romania (and Europe in general) misses the most: product people. Read More
As I am writing this I feel I am wasting time. I had the same feeling a day ago. I was writing another long email (you could call it a memo but I hate the term) to the whole uberVU team. It was a long, deep and (I hope) clear email about how I look at things and why we are doing something instead of something else.
In that couple of hours I could have spec'ed a new feature, look over some metrics or have a client interview . You know ... the stuff we usually associate with work. But instead I spent all that precious time writing an email.
But looking back it is probably the most important accomplishment of the day. Read More
Most people think entrepreneurs are big visionaries. But Sara Sarasvathy, a professor at University of Virginia, found that in fact entrepreneurs are acting like amateur time-pressed cooks, checking what is in the fridge first and then deciding what they can cook for dinner. They were clearly not 5 star chefs who dreamt the perfect recipe and spent a lot of time hunting for the perfect ingredients. Read More