R. Brennan Knotts
Teaching All Employees to Keep Score

From an interview with Adam Nash, Wealthfront CEO

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/06/13/business/adam-nash-ceo-of-wealthfront-on-the-value-of-metrics.html

"In the software industry, you’re used to dealing with very smart people. What they really need out of leadership is very simple. They need to know the game we’re playing and how to keep score."

"So if you have a company where everyone has their own ways of keeping score, you’ll get incessant fighting and arguments, and they’re not even arguing about what to do. They’re arguing about how to keep score. They’re arguing about what game we’re really playing. That’s all counterproductive."

Work Satisfaction Measured Differently than Dissatisfaction

What we can learn from his research is that mitigating factors that lead to job dissatisfaction won’t necessarily lead us to job satisfaction. -3 Psychological Theories To Help You Communicate Better With Anyone

This is called Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory

Motivation Factors

  • achievement
  • recognition
  • the work itself
  • responsibility
  • advancement
  • growth

Hygiene Factors

  • company’s policies and administration
  • supervision
  • working conditions
  • salary interpersonal
  • relations
  • status
  • job security
Hanlon’s Razor

I quote this all the time. It’s one of the most effective techniques I know in diffusing a situation where one person is complaining about another person wronging them. I call those people “social conspiracy theorists.”

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

I like to substitute “ignorance” for stupidity when you don’t want to insult the other person too much.

I also like this quote:

If I can’t think of at least three different interpretations of what I received, I haven’t thought enough about what it might mean.— Jerry Weinberg

What Motivation Feels Like

I don’t know this guy or like the rest of his post, but I like this story.

There once was a young man who wanted to make a lot of money. So he goes to a GURU to seek out his advice.

He goes to him and says” I wanna be on the same level as you’re on.”

The GURU says”If you wanna be on the same level as I’m on,I’ll meet you tomorrow at the beach at 4 am”.

The young man says,”The Beach? I said I wanna make money,I don’t wanna swim.”

The GURU says,”If you wanna make money,I’ll meet you tomorrow. 4am.”

The young man got there at 4am.He was all ready to rock’n roll.He had put on a suit(should’ve worn shorts).

The GURU grabs his hands and asks,”How bad do you wanna be successful?”

The young man says” Real bad.”

The GURU says,”Walk out into the water.”

So the young man walks out into the water. As he walks further he is waist deep into the water.He thinks,”What’s he got me doing?I didn’t come here to swim.I don’t wanna be a lifeguard.I wanna make money.”

The GURU says,”Don’t stop,walk a little further.”

The young man walks a little further and now he is neck deep into the water.He thinks,”Is this man crazy? He may be rich and successful be he sure is crazy.”

The GURU says,”Walk out a little further”.

The young man walks out a little further and now his nose is barely above the water level.He thinks,”Think guy is out of his mind”.

He is about to go back when the GURU says,”I thought you wanted to be successful”.

The young man says,”I do.”

The GURU walks upto him and says,”Then walk out a little further.”

As the young man begins to walk further into the water the GURU grabs his head and puts him under water.The young man can’t breathe now.He starts throwing his hands here and there in desperate attempt to get out of the water.Just before the young man was about to pass out,the GURU pulls him out and says,”I’ve got a question for you.”

Try to answer this question yourself,

He asks,”When you were underwater,what did you wanted to do?”

The young man replies,”Breathe”.(What did you answer?)

He told the guy,”When you will want to succeed as bad as you wanted to breathe,then you’ll be successful.

My age +/- 2 years:

  • Age 27 Ben Silberman co-founded Pinterest
  • Age 28 Andrew Mason co-founded Groupon
  • Age 29 Bryan Johnston co-founded Braintree
  • Age 30 Jeff Bezos founded Amazon
  • Age 31 Perry Chen co-founded Kickstarter
  • When it’s unclear who’s got the ball and what should be happening, everyone trusts that the DRI is driving. When you trust your DRI, you don’t have to worry when you don’t see any recent activity about that issue.
  • When everyone knows that something is important, but no one feels like it’s their responsibility to see it all the way through. In a fast-growing company with tons of activity, important things get left on the table not because people are irresponsible but just because they’re really busy.
  • Having a DRI is also efficient for the team because you don’t have 15 people all worrying about the same things. Instead, an engineer can feel comfortable knowing that sometimes they simply show up and other people will tell them what to do, freeing them to focus on the challenge at hand.

These are all important principles in management as well. I bolded the ones I think need most repeating:

  1. Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.
  2. Do not think it worth while to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.
  3. Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed.
  4. When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your husband or your children, endeavor to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.
  5. Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.
  6. Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.
  7. Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
  8. Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent than in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.
  9. Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.
  10. Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool’s paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness.
My only plan is to keep coming to work. … I like to steer the boat each day rather than plan ahead way into the future.
Unorthodox Principles at PayPal
  1. Extreme Focus: “Peter required that everyone be tasked with exactly one priority.  He would refuse to discuss virtually anything else with you except what was currently assigned as your #1 initiative.”
  2. Dedication to individual accomplishment: “Most great innovations at PayPal were driven by one person who then conscripted others to support, adopt, implement the new idea.”
  3. Refusal to accept constraints, external or internal: ”We were expected to pursue our #1 priority with extreme dispatch (NOW) and vigor.  To borrow an apt phrase, employees were expected to “come to work every day willing to be fired, to circumvent any order aimed at stopping your dream.”“
  4. Radical transparency on metrics: “All employees were expected to be facile with the metrics driving the business.  Otherwise, how could one expect each employee to make rational calculations and decisions on their own every day?”
  5. Vigorous debate: often via email.  Almost every important issue had champions and critics.  These were normally resolved not by official edict but by a vigorous debate that could be very intense.

Full article at: http://www.quora.com/PayPal/What-strong-beliefs-on-culture-for-entrepreneurialism-did-Peter-Max-David-have-at-PayPal/answer/Keith-Rabois 

There’s a whole book (linked to in the article) with the basic premise that there are 2 types of motivations:

"If you are promotion-focused, you want to advance and avoid missed opportunities. If you are prevention-focused, you want to minimize losses and keep things working."

"For a promotion-focused person, what’s really “bad” is a non-gain: a chance not taken, a reward unearned, a failure to advance. They would rather say Yes! and have it blow up in their faces than feel like they let Opportunity’s knock go unanswered."

"But for the prevention-focused, the ultimate “bad” is a loss you failed to stop: a mistake made, a punishment received, a danger you failed to avoid. They would much prefer to say No! to an opportunity, rather than end up in hot water."

Some useful metrics worth tracking in business, whether you’re trying to raise money or not.

Select quotes:

  • "Take as much time as you need to get product one right, and to prove it—because if you don’t, no one is going to be waiting on pins and needles for product two."
  • "You know where I’m going: Ralph Lauren and a tie, Diane Von Furstenberg and a wrap dress, Potbelly and a heated sandwich, Theory and a women’s pant, Tory Burch and a ballet flat, Kate Spade and a handbag, Google and an “I’m feeling lucky” button, Warby Parker and a pair of glasses…"
  • "Usually this initial group of users is small, for the simple reason that if there were something that large numbers of people urgently needed and that could be built with the amount of effort a startup usually puts into a version one, it would probably already exist. Which means you have to compromise on one dimension: you can either build something a large number of people want a small amount, or something a small number of people want a large amount. Choose the latter. Not all ideas of that type are good startup ideas, but nearly all good startup ideas are of that type." -Paul Graham
  • "So how do you build a brand in the digital age? My belief is you do it with a narrow and deep story about what you are doing, and that what you are doing requires a high net promoter score—a high-level of customer-to-customer recommendation."