A tale of the tape. Rules of the road. Other observations and missives. Some of the topics we find pertinent and meaningful to share with our clients.


As part of my formal education, root cause analysis was not only taught but also stressed throughout the technical phase of my career. When I began grappling with organizational issues I discovered that the root causes of issues were not necessarily the focal point of decision making. Why does management often forgo root cause analysis? What are the consequences?


Old People Suck at Startups

During a recent interview over at Tech Crunch, Michael Arrington exclaimed, “Old People Suck at Startups”. The backdrop – a conversation on startup myths – had interesting data on the age and entrepreneur experience which drew from startups at $25M+ and $500M+ actual or potential exit values. The breakpoint for “old” was age 30. If you’re over 30 (or 40 or 50 … or …) you might take offense to being painted into a decrepit category!

Moving beyond the data, the interesting questions may be what drives the circumstances of entrepreneurs and what do they do as they become … ahem … “old”?


Today many companies focus on cost containment, risk management, productivity and outsourcing as their “best practices” approach to their IT software portfolio. These approaches diminish the essence of the software craft – they achieve goals in the short term: cost containment focused on spend reduction instead of value opportunity, “productivity” on a false panacea of measurement metrics, and the ultimate savings through outsourcing – a complete denial that software is a craft deeply steeped in knowledge work and the essence of any modern organization.


Oracle & Sun – The Open Source Lesson

As many of us know, last week Oracle filed suit against Google regarding what it believes to be a series of patent infringements by the search and mobile phone giant. While many are angry at Oracle, sensing an attack of the open source community, I’d like to take a different look at what has gone on. A bit of history and what the lesson could be for open source and our computing ecosystem at large.


The Art of Hiring to Build a Team

Hiring the right people is one of the most challenging parts of the work environment. I was fortunate enough to be part of an agile team in 1988, at the age of 22, which hired by consensus. Since then and for the last 20+ years I’ve been heavily involved in finding and hiring people. I hazard to guess that I’ve read 3,000+ resumes and probably interviewed 500 people.

My roles have included vetting out executive leaders, hiring peers on a team, team members for groups I managed, found countless people for others and even hired my own boss twice. Thankfully, many of these hires have turned out to be great contributors and, selfishly speaking, I’ve both learned a lot working with them and have come to count many of them as friends.

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