Math Formula

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

13 Top Habits of How NOT to Manage

There is always plenty of advise about how to do things. How to bind a tie, how to lose weight, well even how to get pregnant. Also I described a few ideas recently, for example, how to improve your communication, how to motivate children, and how to fail.

Well, sometimes it's more helpful to see how NOT to do things (as described by Scott Berkun in has essay Creative Thinking Hacks, section "Inversion"), in order to come up with a clearer picture how to address things properly.

For instance, you might think about how not to do business. Part of doing business is also managing a business. Perfect examples of how NOT to manage can be seen in the great TV series The Office (UK), and it's US and German adoptions.

"I'm similar to God. He's not that visible all the time either, yet has a good image". Source: (translation mine)

Thus, I kept an open eye about what annoys me about bosses, what I hear others complain about, what I hear leaders and managers consider wrong (or they consider good, and I added it to this list nevertheless) ... I think in pretty much everybody's daily routine there are plenty of opportunities to witness something similar.

So, my Top 13 Habits of How NOT to Manage list is as follows (not in order):

  1. Leave your subordinates in permanent uncertainty, about future projects, their position, their task
  2. Threat them as resources, and ignore their personality and feelings
  3. Just talk about yourself in a showing-off way all the time
  4. Only contact them when something is wrong, but never praise them
  5. Disturb them all the time when you have nothing else to do (preferably in order to talk about yourself in a showing-off way)
  6. Strictly follow a Theory X approach of motivation 
  7. Don't respond to their requests on time
  8. If you do, by all means avoid a clear message, but rather use some cloudy (also relates to the "uncertainty" mentioned above)
  9. Express yourself in a super arrogant, self-praising means in general
  10. In case of immediate threat of one of your dear fellows leaving your company, simply suggest a raise in payment instead of asking for the underlying reasons for her dissatisfaction
  11. Break your promises
  12. Closely observe whatever they are doing, on a very frequent basis (that is, micro manage them)
  13. Give unclear instructions
If you are in a managing or coordinating position yourself, do your colleagues the favor and think for a minute or two whether you might be guilty for some of the aforementioned. It does not mind that doing the opposite makes you a good manager right away, but it will definitely contribute to some improvement.

I'm sure I forget something, and there are several others absolute don'ts for managers ... so please let me know, which ones are you aware of? What annoys you most about your bosses or colleagues?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Just a Tiny Little Piece of that Tempting Cake

Every now and then, when I hear about some major invention, two things happen: First, I refuse using it altogether - I don't need this, nobody will use it, and so on (pretty much a non-early adopter as possible). Second, I finally yield, and then I cannot stop wondering myself why to hell that invention didn't come to my mind earlier. After all, it's that obvious that exactly this is needed by millions!

I remember that was the case when Google became big 'all of a sudden' (which I initially rejected in favor of that vintage thing called, it was the same with Facebook (which I was very convinced I would never need), and it was the same with Twitter (which I'm still proud of not using!). All of them build on a fairly simple technical foundation, yet their usage and impact was straight amazing. I promised myself not to let it happen again.

When I was in Prague for New Years Eve, I was surrounded by my friend's smartphones all the time. Over a sample size of 14 heads and shoulders, smartphone penetration reached about two thirds. And the applications, holy crap! For example, you can make a panorama picture of your friends, whose heads are then automatically detected and used as moving targets for shooting (well, you can argue about the usefulness of that). And of course, games like Cut the Rope, Angry Birds or my colleagues' successful poker. Not to mention the actually useful applications. GPS sensor, camera, ... millions of possibilities.

And millions of users, too. Namely, over 200 million on iOS, and most likely by the time well over 200 million on Android, too. A few more impressive numbers from

  • 15 billion apps downloaded from the App Store
  • 200+ million users of iDevices worldwide
  • $2.5 billion has been paid to developers
So there we go ... in total, some 400 million mobile users ... or should I rather say, potential clients? As you might have anticipated by how surprised I am about the various possibilities and these amazing figures, I am totally new to the smartphone world. I am about adopting very late once again ... but I hope it will not be too late. The pot is simply too big and too tempting. Ladies and Gentlemen, let me hereby announce that I claim my appropriate share of the mobile development cake!

As a starting point, I already purchased a tablet, an Acer A500, for what a developer do I make without any equipment (ha, finally found some proper excuse for myself to buy a tablet!).

I am totally aware of the fact that the aforementioned claim is totally naive and without any serious thinking. It sounds like a child having big plans to become a music star or actor once she's grown up. Well, I don't care. I simply feel that now is the right time to give it a shot, against all odds, so that's what I'll do.

I'm inclined to make some simple calculation:

400 million users. If, by any chance, I hit the jackpot and one of my apps turns out to be a super-super hit, and I reach only 0.1 % of the users, and if each of them only pays 1$ ... that's still some 400k!

Well, I already found it's not quite that easy. Furthermore, from a technical point, I'm starting at essentially zero. I do have some knowledge in Java and programming in general, though, so I expect this to be the smallest problem (I decided to start with Android first. For Apple development the initial investment would have been an additional development machine).

The major challenges I'm prepared for are as follows:
  • Design, User Interface, Graphics ... I know that this is one of my weak points. Think I'll see how it goes, ask for advice here and there, and maybe look for a helping hand in case this turns out to be necessary
  • PR, Marketing, and more specifically, buzz marketing. Literally, zero experience there. Contacts to magazines, blogs, online stores, Web 2.0 measures, psychology of the masses (animal spirits) and so on ... well, if I reach that point, I'll know I have reached a lot already, but then the real challenges begin.
  • Though competition. Naturally, a huge pot attracts many others either. Roughly half a million apps on App Store speak a clear language.
  • Ideas. I strongly feel that's the key point. There are several idea-provoking approaches, and I had a few ones already. For learning purposes, I decided to start with a simple currency converter. There are tons out there already, but as far as I could see up to know, none of them has that particular feature ... so stay tuned here if you're interested ;-)
  • .. plus of course all the other unknown unknowns
So, TL;DR, why am I writing this at all? First, I wanted to let you all know about my new tablet ;-). Second, that's some form of PR either, right (even though I don't doubt any real PR guy couldn't stop shaking his head over what I'm writing here)?

Third and most of all, it is self-commitment! Ever since I stumbled upon Leo Babauta's 7 steps to turn your self improvement desires into reality (3. Commit thyself, big time), I found that it really helps me to stay focused onto something once I told others about it, which is what I'm doing now.

And staying focused and committed I want ... in order to get at least a tiny little piece of that tempting cake. If nothing else, I'm looking forward to facing all those challenges, and you are invited to join me on that journey.

P.S.: What do you miss most on your smartphone? In which regard do existing apps and games suck, where do you see some potential improvement? Got any other funny or useful idea? Just let me know!

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