Making Good Choices

One of the areas of parenting that you often get into is making sure that you talk to your kids about the choices they make. It isn’t that they are bad,it is that they sometimes make bad choices.

When looking back on my post on People, Measurement, and Improvement I realized that the meta issue is making good choices.

If I can strive to make good choices every day then the rest can pretty much fall out of that. One of the important “good choices” is around hiring great people and keeping them well fed. Another is choosing which battles to fight (and which ones not too). There are choices being made all day long, in every aspect of your life (e.g. eating that piece of candy).

How do you know if you have made good choices? You have to measure and reflect. How else can you learn so when the next choice comes along… you use intuition and data and run from there.

Who knew that the constant “Sam,great choice on playing nice with your brother!” applies through-out your life.

Success Pyramid: People, Measurement, Improvement

People over process. I have heard that often, but then have seen so much focus on the process.

Agile. Son of Agile. The process keeps coming even in the era of lean and minimal process.

I remember learning about how Jesus the historical figure was fighting against organized religion and the large systems that man put together…. and then we see the Catholic church appear and recreating hierarchy and structure (and even infallibility).

I feel the same way when I see groups dismiss the heavy process, “go Agile”, and then build up a ton of hierarchy yet again.

I myself have spent so much time playing with process and tools, and haven’t realized that there are core truths that cross cut any of these creations:


If you have great people you have half the battle. The leverage that you get from a team of smart talented folk who enjoy working together is huge. They will fight through any barriers, and if you can wedge an opening for them they can do the rest.

Spending time hiring the best, and caring for the rest is key.


The leaders need to set direction. What is the next hill that we are trying to take on? The teams can then take on the challenge in an autonomous fashion. If they don’t have a mission they will stagnate, bore, or potentially take the wrong hill.

If you don’t take measurement, and acknowledge what you are measuring, then you are flying blind. Measuring the wrong things can be even worse than not having measurements.


Setting aside time to reflect and iterate is also key. This is where the people and the measures come together to change course and grow. If you can improvement over time the flywheel effect kicks in and you will soon start to fly.

Process can help with a lot of this. Bad process can hold back performance, but it is a multiple of the people involved.

I am trying to focus on the issues above these days. It isn’t always easy, but it is the right thing to do.

Karma, and changing the social contract of gifting

I am very excited about new gifting experiences such as Karma, and how it will change how we gift.

Do you enjoy getting gifts for people for set occasions? (e.g. your nieces birthday) If I have a great gift idea I am kiddy with joy. If I don’t have one though I am glum.

I have noticed a change in my behavior as of late. If I think of, or come across a great gift idea I buy it on the spot and pass it on. Why wait?

What I am more excited about though is changing the social dynamic. Say I come across a movie that I think my Dad would love. I um and ah about whether he has it or not. I don’t want to buy a dupe! Or, what if he doesn’t like it. We have enough clutter in our lives, I only want people to accept gifts that they will actually like a use. With a system such as Karma not only can I easily send something to someone via name (vs. knowing their address), I can let them decide if they want it or not, potentially customize it, and setup how they want to get it.

I want people to feel like they can easily say “no thanks”. This isn’t rude at all, but I know that human nature is currently set to say “thanks!”

Will Karma change this?

Oh, and for my birthday, if anything is wondering, I would like you to come over to my house and TAKE something away.