French-German misunderstanding

he was looking for total unification with his beloved, she was after a few aphorisms from the master

Though it does read like the Sarkozy-Merkel marriage of convenience of current EU negotiations, it’s actually about older French writer Cioran and his younger German mistress.

A Romanian immigrant who chose to write in French, Cioran is never an easy read (plenty of darkness and pessimism) but I enjoy his precise prose and his unusual perspective.

Dear user: No, we don’t do that

via Scripting News:

Sometimes you just have to say no to users. No, we don’t do that. If you want that feature feel free to get X, where X is the name of an app that promises to provide the annoying functionality. Especially when there’s such a simple solution to the problem that requires the user basically giving up nothing.

Similarly, sometimes you just have to fire your customer.

Any management equivalent to Truffaut and Godard?

A review of Two in the wave, a documentary on the friendship, collaboration and falling away of these two French filmmakers of the Nouvelle Vague makes me miss and look forward to more research on how managers who are successful (on their own and in their respective fields or industries) help and support each other.

As critics for the iconoclastic film magazine Cahiers du Cinéma in the early 1950s, Godard and Truffaut had shared a similar aesthetic. Their masters were Alfred Hitchcock, Jean Renoir, Roberto Rossellini and Fritz Lang, whose films were underestimated at the time and whom they defended with the pugnacity of young prizefighters. (FT.com)

I wonder who the captains of industry, today’s masters of the universe, look to as their “masters”: Mentors? Fellow executives in the same industry or in other industries? Professional coaches? Consultants? Management gurus? Whatever book they bump into at the airport bookstore?

It also makes me  look forward to a documentary on the collaboration of three Mexican film directors and producers who are doing excellent work together: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Alfonso Cuarón, and Guillermo del Toro. No rush though… not with the quality and original work they are producing these days.

 

New York by Gehry

New York by Gehry: two bigger-than-life characters, one unique building.

Get rid of the performance review

Samuel Colbert says it is

a one-side-accountable, boss-administered review is little more than a dysfunctional pretense. It’s a negative to corporate performance, an obstacle to straight-talk relationships, and a prime cause of low morale at work. Even the mere knowledge that such an event will take place damages daily communications and teamwork.

His solution? Performance previews:

reciprocally accountable discussions about how boss and employee are going to work together even more effectively than they did in the past. Previews weld fates together. The boss’s skin is now in the game.

In my experience,  the workplace is not that dialogical. I side with Lucy Kellaway at the FT: few managers talk or think like that. Among other things because they have to take part in the same process themselves.

The business card

As a communications form, it is characterized by severe physical limitations and adamantly observed conventions. Its canvas measures a mere 2 inches by 3.5 inches. There is basic information — name, job title, contact info — you’re expected to include, and if you do include it, that can be enough.

(…)

Facebook profiles get revised (…). Tweets fade into the ether and avatars are put out to pasture, but real paper business cards,

these sturdy facsimiles of ourselves on custom-duplexed cardstock with metallic ink and die-cut rounded corners, are going to last forever,

tacked onto bulletin boards, tucked away in wallets, stuffed into filing cabinets, dumped into landfills and yet taking up space in the world, stunning evidence of our superior discernment and professionalism that generations yet unborn will marvel at.

via The Smart Set.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Best way to plan is to look backward

Invert, always invert.” Turn a situation or problem upside down. Look at it backward. What’s in it for the other guy? What happens if all our plans go wrong?

Where don’t we want to go, and how do you get there? Instead of looking for success, make a list of how to fail instead — through sloth, envy, resentment, self-pity, entitlement, and the mental habits of self-defeat. Avoid these qualities and you will success.

Tell me where I’m going to die, that is, so I don’t go there.

Charlie Munger quoted in Warren Buffett, The snowball, p. 770.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]