Tag Archives: ” Google

Radical Candor Smashes into WSJ Best-Seller List

Kim Scott‘s new book, Radical Candor:  Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity (New York:  St. Martin’s Press, 2017) entered the Wall Street Journal business best-seller list at # 7 in the list published today (April 1-2, p. C10).

The book is # 1 on two Amazon.com sub-categories, and has also appeared on theRadicalCandorCover prestigious New York Times best-seller list.  As you are aware, we rely heavily on that list as the source for our selections to present at the First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas.

Here is how the book is described on Amazon.com:

“Radical Candor is a simple idea: to be a good boss, you have to Care Personally at the same time that you Challenge Directly. When you challenge without caring it’s obnoxious aggression; when you care without challenging it’s ruinous empathy. When you do neither it’s manipulative insincerity.

“This simple framework can help you build better relationships at work, and fulfill your three key responsibilities as a leader: creating a culture of feedback (praise and criticism), building a cohesive team, and achieving results you’re all proud of.

Radical Candor offers a guide to those bewildered or exhausted by management, written for bosses and those who manage bosses. Taken from years of the author’s experience, and distilled clearly giving actionable lessons to the reader; it shows managers how to be successful while retaining their humanity, finding meaning in their job, and creating an environment where people both love their work and their colleagues.”

KimScottPhotoYou may not be familiar with Kim Scott.  She was an executive at Google and then at Apple.  Kim is also the co-founder and CEO of Candor, Inc., which builds tools to make it easier to follow the advice she offers in the book. She is also the author of three novels.  Prior to founding Candor, Inc., Kim was a CEO coach at Dropbox, Qualtrics, Twitter, and several other Silicon Valley companies. She was a member of the faculty at Apple University, developing the course “Managing at Apple,” and before that led AdSense, YouTube, and Doubleclick Online Sales and Operations at Google.  Previously, Kim was the co-founder and CEO of Juice Software, a collaboration start-up, and led business development at two other start-ups, Delta Three and Capital Thinking.  Earlier in her career, she worked as a senior policy advisor at the FCC, managed a pediatric clinic in Kosovo, started a diamond cutting factory in Moscow, and was an analyst on the Soviet Companies Fund. Kim received her MBA from Harvard Business School and her BA from Princeton University. Kim and her husband Andy Scott are parents of twins and live in the San Francisco Bay Area.  (Adapted from her website:  http://www.kimmalonescott.com/biography/).

We have determined that we will feature this book for the May, 2017 book synopsis in Dallas.  Continue to monitor our website for information. 

5 Days to New Ideas: Key Image


On Friday, June 3, I present the best-selling book, Sprint: Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days (New York:  Simon and Schuster, 2016) at the First Friday Book Synopsis at the Park City Club in Dallas.

The authors are Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, and Braden Kowitz.  All are associated with Google Ventures.

For more information or to register for the book synopsis, click HERE.

This image represents the activity the authors discuss for each of the five days:



It is the cornerstone of the book, with sections that detail activities for each day.


SPRINT Authors Have Diverse Backgrounds

On Friday, June 3, I present the best-selling book, Sprint: Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days (New York:  Simon and Schuster, 2016) at the First Friday Book Synopsis at the Park City Club in Dallas.

To obtain information and register, click HERE.

Here is a brief biography of each of the three authors, as presented from the book’s website.  I am sure you will agree that their backgrounds are quite diverse.

Jake Knapp created the Google Ventures sprint process and has run more than a hundred Knapp Picturesprints with startups such as 23andme, Slack, Nest, and Foundation Medicine. Previously, Jake worked at Google, leading sprints for everything from Gmail to Google X. He is currently among the world’s tallest designers.

Zeratsky PictureJohn Zeratsky has designed mobile apps, medical reports, and a daily newspaper (among other things). Before joining Google Ventures, he was a design lead at YouTube and an early employee of FeedBurner, which Google acquired in 2007. John writes about design and productivity for Wall Street JournalFast Company, and Wired. He studied journalism at the University of Wisconsin.

Braden Kowitz founded the Google Ventures design team in 2009 and pioneered the role Kowitzof “design partner” at a venture capital firm. He has advised close to two hundred startups on product design, hiring, and team culture. Before joining Google Ventures, Braden led design for several Google products, including Gmail, Google Apps for Business, Google Spreadsheets, and Google Trends.


Google Discovers (Rediscovers) Soft Skills – These Simply Cannot Be Ignored

(Thanks to Tom Pearce, from iLead, for putting me on to this.   The article actually came out back in Spring, 2011.  But, I suspect, we all have things to learn, to change, and then do).


Here’s the big mistake.  Companies have bought too fully into the “leave them alone” approach.  But, leaving people alone does not actually bring out the best in people.  People do not do really well without help and encouragement.  Google has now set this “discovery” into policy.

Call this the old “soft skills vs. hard skills” spectrum.  And, I think this approach at Google sort of views it this way – hard skills are assumed, but soft skills have to be constantly attended to…

In Adam Bryant’s Google’s Quest to Build a Better Boss (New York Times – a really good article!), we read this:

For much of its 13-year history, particularly the early years, Google has taken a pretty simple approach to management: Leave people alone. Let the engineers do their stuff. If they become stuck, they’ll ask their bosses, whose deep technical expertise propelled them into management in the first place.
But Mr. Bock’s group found that technical expertise — the ability, say, to write computer code in your sleep — ranked dead last among Google’s big eight. What employees valued most were even-keeled bosses who made time for one-on-one meetings, who helped people puzzle through problems by asking questions, not dictating answers, and who took an interest in employees’ lives and careers.

“Took an interest.”  That’s really it – take an interest.

Consider the Olympics.  Watch the interaction between athletes and coaches.  Do you think these coaches interact, have input, take an interest?  You bet.

What Google did was boil this approach down to eight good “behaviors.”  These are behaviors – things leaders/supervisors/managers actually do!  The New York Times has it in a great graphic, with brief description/elaboration (click here), but here are the eight:

The Eight Good Behaviors

#1 – Be a good coach
#2 – Empower your team and don’t micromanage
#3 – Express interest in team members’ success and personal well-being
#4 – Don’t be a sissy:  Be productive and results-oriented
#5 – Be a good communicator and listen to your team
#6 – Help your employees with career development
#7 – Have a clear vision and strategy for the team
#8 – Have key technical skills so you can help advise the team

AndThree Pitfalls of Managers

#1 – Have trouble making a transition to the team
#2 – Lack a consistent approach to performance and career development
#3 – Spend too little time managing and communication

So, here’s the takeaway to me.  Managers have to view their team members as people.  Real people.  With human needs, who want to be noticed and treated as human beings.   It reminds me of the great quote from Paul Hawken, quoted in Encouraging the Heart by Kouzes and Posner:

“We lead by being human. We do not lead by being corporate, professional, or institutional.”  (Paul G. Hawken, founder, Smith and Hawken).

The Technology We Will Read About Soon – The Online Buzz Last Week

We have provided synopses for many books on technology over the now completed 14 years of the First Friday Book Synopsis.  Clearly, there are many avid readers who embrace technology and can’t wait to see what’s new.

Here’s the next one that we will likely see covered in a book soon.  It is called Project Glass, and it is a pair of Internet-connected glasses under development by Google.

In essence, you wil be able to be online and view sites through a small glass window that rests in the upper right or left corner of your lens.

The Wall Street Journal provided these statistics in an article on April 7-8, 2012, p. C4.  Out of 2,482 social media posts on Facebook and Twitter between April 4-6:

  • 77% were excited
  •   9% were skeptical
  • 12% thought it was too much
  • 2%  cracked jokes

Click here to read the full article and see some of the quotes taken from the respondents.

And, remember – don’t ever say, “what will they think of next?”  As soon as you do, you will be behind the curve.

What do you think?  Let’s talk about it really soon.


Second Life, Google+ and the Very Rough Road to Successful New (or Sort-Of-New) Endeavors

On Slate.com today, there is a post mortem on Second Life, and a pre-mortem on the “doomed” Google+.  The authors are the Heath Brothers (the Second Life piece: Why Second Life Failed), and Farhad Manjoo (the Google+ take down: Google+ Is Dead).  So, what do we learn?  (By the way, I am a big fan of both the Heath brothers and Farhad Manjoo).

Regarding Second Life, the Heath Brothers say that it is simply a product with no actual job to do.  And for a product to succeed, you need an actual job to do.

What job is it (Second Life) designed to do? Most successful innovations perform a clear duty. When we craved on-the-go access to our music collections, we hired the iPod. When we needed quick and effective searches, we hired Google. And looking ahead, it’s easy to see the job that Square will perform: giving people an easy, inexpensive way to collect money in the offline world.
But what “job” did Second Life perform? It was like a job candidate with a fascinating résumé—fluent in Finnish, with stints in spelunking and trapeze—but no actual labor skills.  

Regarding Google+, Manjoo says that it simply was not, and still is not, “cool” enough (my word).

by failing to offer people a reason to keep coming back to the site every day, Google+ made a bad first impression. And in the social-networking business, a bad first impression spells death.
…a social network needs a critical mass of people to be successful—the more people it attracts, the more people it attracts.
…Google+, by contrast, never managed to translate its initial surge into lasting enthusiasm. And for that reason, it’s surely doomed.

I don’t know a lot about the people behind Second Life, but, regarding Google+, it is safe to say that Google is a true behemoth.  But even Google can not guarantee success against another behemoth, one that people are happy with already (Facebook).

So, what are the lessons?  Here are a few:  a “cool” idea must still serve a purpose by doing a job that people want/need to be able to do.  And, it’s good to remember that to succeed with a new idea is always a tough assignment.  And, if you are truly one-of-a-kind, a less-than-stellar first impression might be survivable, but when you are competing against an established giant, a bad first impression is probably insurmountable.

These two examples fit in the overall history of innovation and “new, new things.”  Netscape gave us our first browser, but did not endure.  MySpace gave us our first “Facebook,” but has disappeared in the rear-view mirror.  Palm Pilot was a wonder, but my iPhone does everything my Palm Pilot did, only better, and without a stylus.  (No stylus! – Steve Jobs insisted).

{By the way, I still have my Palm Pilot.  Do you know what I do with it?  When I am utterly exhausted, too tired to read, but not quite ready to fall asleep, I pull it out and play Solitaire.   I connect with my iPhone, I play Solitaire on my Palm Pilot.  That pretty much says it all…}

The world would be worse off if the Google+ and the Second Life efforts had not been attempted.  We need a lot of new ideas, a lot of new products, a lot of “copycats,” to help us choose the best and lasting products that fill our lives.  Remember, when the automobile was ramping up, there were a lot of car company hopefuls.  Only the best survived.

But, once you “make it,” you’d better keep tweaking and making it even better.  Because, in a garage somewhere, someone is hard at work to put you out of business.