Book Review : What the CEO wants you to know, by Ram Charan

Cover book
The book, from Amazon

The book explains the universal laws of business, the set of fundamentals that business people successful apply everyday in every business situation.

The CEO and the street vendor

The assumption from Ram Charam is that a CEO shares the same business language and thinking with a street vendor: they need to figure out what to buy based on what they think they can sell, what prices to charge and be able to adjust the prices as needed.

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Book Review: Peopleware by DeMarco and Lister – Part 3: the right people

This is the third in a series of articles providing a chapter-by-chapter in-depth “book club” reading of Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister’s book “Peopleware”, 2nd edition.

Part 3 is dedicated to find and nurture the right people.

Common mistakes

One common mistake is to hire people who can uniform with the team or the company (I experienced this in several interviews) but the person who matters most is the one who doesn’t think like all the rest.

“The need for uniformity is a sign of insecurity on the part of management “.

Another common mistake is to require standards of dress, therefore removing considerable discretion from the individual. The message is clear: people are not appreciated for their real worth and their contribution is not as important as their haircut and neckties. Continue reading “Book Review: Peopleware by DeMarco and Lister – Part 3: the right people”

Steve Jobs speaks out

A couple of interesting declarations from Steve Jobs in a slightly old (march 2008) interview with Fortune:

On what drives Apple employees

“We don’t get a chance to do that many things, and every one should be really excellent. Because this is our life. Life is brief, and then you die, you know? So this is what we’ve chosen to do with our life. We could be sitting in a monastery somewhere in Japan. We could be out sailing. Some of the [executive team] could be playing golf. They could be running other companies. And we’ve all chosen to do this with our lives. So it better be damn good. It better be worth it. And we think it is.”

On why people want to work at Apple

“The reason is, is because you can’t do what you can do at Apple anywhere else. The engineering is long gone in most PC companies. In the consumer electronics companies, they don’t understand the software parts of it. And so you really can’t make the products that you can make at Apple anywhere else right now. Apple’s the only company that has everything under one roof.”

On finding talent

“When I hire somebody really senior, competence is the ante. They have to be really smart. But the real issue for me is, Are they going to fall in love with Apple? Because if they fall in love with Apple, everything else will take care of itself. They’ll want to do what’s best for Apple, not what’s best for them, what’s best for Steve, or anybody else.

Recruiting is hard. It’s just finding the needles in the haystack. We do it ourselves and we spend a lot of time at it. I’ve participated in the hiring of maybe 5,000-plus people in my life. So I take it very seriously. You can’t know enough in a one-hour interview. So, in the end, it’s ultimately based on your gut. How do I feel about this person? What are they like when they’re challenged? Why are they here? I ask everybody that: ‘Why are you here?’ The answers themselves are not what you’re looking for. It’s the meta-data.”

Book Review: Peopleware by DeMarco and Lister – Part 2 : work environment

This is the second in a series of articles providing a chapter-by-chapter in-depth “book club” reading of Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister’s book “Peopleware”, 2nd edition.

The second part concerns the work environment.

The authors demonstrate how there is a direct relation between job performance and the office space. A worse environment means less work done.

How do you recognize a bad space?

When people stay late or arrive early to be able to work in peace.

What is a good space?

The top performers’ space is quieter, more private, better protected from interruption and there is more of it.

Continue reading “Book Review: Peopleware by DeMarco and Lister – Part 2 : work environment”