Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Virtual Team notes

source: Mike Bennet of

"Growing a Tribal Software Company with Integrity"

We are a Network, not a Hierarchy: People’s job really was Their Job. I needed to know what was going on and we’d have some meetings – but the initiatives were mostly theirs. This was helped by everyone working from homes all over the UK linked by phone and email.
To encourage unconventional thinking, flexible and continuously changing structures, self-organisation, empowerment
and generally behaving like proper human beings: This helped to provoke people into doing new things. One response to plans I found useful was “It’s a bit boring”. Not telling them what to do – but pushing them to go farther.
To speak the Truth - even if apparently to our disadvantage: Radical!
To take the largest possible view of any situation - including the customer, the patient, society, the environment, the
Universe and ourselves: If you design a business model and software that meets the needs of everyone in the best way, it puts you way ahead.
To understand everything from first principles: It’s often things that we take for granted that obstruct great ideas.
To produce outstanding software that makes customers say “WOW!”: (Thanks, Tom Peters.)
People responded amazingly to all of this. For example, the 5 person self-organising support team were on a demanding 24 / 7 schedule with a guaranteed 30 minute response – and took pride that they were achieving under 5 minute response times. And we could change direction as a company very fast – far faster than our competitors (who were all huge)!

You do need to recruit the right people – they need to be happy working without close supervision and to relish freedom – not be afraid of it. For the right people it was a great environment, and they gave far more to the company than they would have to a normal company. They were committed! Totally.

I found that the role of the MD / tribal leader is coach more than CEO, people development not “The Decider”, values not orders. The Visionary and also the person who keeps it all together by ensuring we’re mostly going in the same direction. You only actually need one person to set it up – provided that they are in charge and don’t have to negotiate with others who are more concerned about the money or have other values (like wanting power for instance).

Part of the background that I brought to this was lots of time in various spiritual groups – and I wanted to use that experience in designing and running the company. What would the company have to look like to attract people trying to live at the highest level of spiritual integrity? Well, we didn’t in fact recruit anyone like that – but it still set a standard of behaviour within the company."

Monday, October 27, 2008

looking into the facade that reflects the illusion

Anthony @ Bonbeach

What does the things we wear and the way we wear it say about us?
How much of it is an accurate reflection of who we or or what we want others to perceive of us?
What is it that we seek to control?
Just thinking upon these questions, makes me wonder if we use clothing, objects and artifacts to create an extra layer or filter of identity to the world.
Akin to a facade, by wearing a luxury brand may signify to the world you are wealthy, you have taste, maybe quality or bring a set of behaviours that may be associated with that brand.
It also gives your peers a shortcut into the set of prescribed rules/behaviours into how they relate to you.
If clothing helps determine what "tribe" you belong to, then what happens when that extra layer of material identity gets stripped away, and we are left but to look at the bare body or our focus may be the eyes of another human being.
What about with the knowledge that everyone else is also looking at you -- how self conscious of the state of your body would you be? or the filters that normally get applied to others, in turn comes realised to the one looking back the mirror? How confronted will you be?
That unconscious desire for physical perfection, to be godlike perpetrated by advertising that floods our visual senses daily. This dream of an impossible beauty by consuming whatever is being sold.
If this is the norm than what is the alternative? to barricade oneself from media or cityscapes and hang out in the mountains?

How can one manage this, or at the very least bring the unconscious conscious? What about children growing up in such a media soaked environment, the advent of a "poser" generation is more likely with access to cheap digital recording tools.

Some of my ideas:
Turn off TV, pack your bags and get out of the city for a bit and find other beauty that nature offers, read a book rather than your gossip magazine, practise conversation rather than wait passively for entertainment to engage your thoughts or just stop thinking so much and be aware of or curious about everything around you

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The circle of credit and "culture of contentment"

Jasmin @Bonbeach, Mornington Pennisula, Melbourne, Australia.

Quick simple summery for myself about the credit crisis

notes from: Fiona Allen ""

1. Deregulation of the mortgage lending market intended to allow more people to have the opportunity to own their own homes

" The subprime mortgage market — lending to people whose income is too low, insecure or risky to qualify for an ordinary mortgage. "

"Selling the most sophisticated of financial products to the most vulnerable households came at the end of two decades of financial deregulation, which was also a period of rapidly rising housing expenditure. Between the 1950s and 1970s in the English-speaking countries, housing overtook food as the largest single expenditure for the average household."

2. Results in people having "The maximum amount a ‘typical couple’ could afford to borrow under standard lending rules jumped from $135 000 in 1992 to $305 000 in 2006."

3. Rising house prices soon overtook rising incomes, borrowing capacity and purchasing power.

Conclusion - Allowing people who cannot really afford to borrow money encourages them to spend that extra cash, inducing a overvaluation of property prices, thus putting them more into a debt that they really can't afford long term and eating into their ability to save and spend.

All this income going into house debt repayments makes Jan unhappy as she doesn't get to spend money as a consumer, which inturn affects retail which affects wholesalers and manufacturers.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Three birthdays in one

celebrating our birthdays (me, Trung and Phong) with my family with a Peking Duck dinner - all ducked out for this month

Monday, October 06, 2008

image unconscious

As she left my side,
a magnificent beauty etched forever into the memories of yesterday,
leaving ripples of loss in her wake,
saddened and breathless,
I am left frail always dreaming of the encounter.