‘An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered’

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Photo by Spikeball on Unsplash

Straining your muscles, heart, and lungs through exercise will make you healthier and stronger. It is painful, but you know the benefits and so you do it despite the pain. Conversely, a lack of exercise will lead to atrophy.

We need food to survive, but according to some medical studies, starving ourselves slightly will lead to healthier and perhaps even longer lives. Conversely, getting too much nutrition will lead to a variety of health problems. A little exposure to disease vaccinates us against it. Populations that have had no previous exposure to a disease are extremely susceptible to it. …


Execution needs initiative + follow-through

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Photo by RUN 4 FFWPU from Pexels

In an earlier post, I say we need both Vision + Execution to succeed. I’d like to add to that to say that Execution can be further broken down into two things: to start and to finish. Sounds obvious, doesn’t it?

But the truth is they can be very different things, and they come with their own challenges. I find that if you have a really compelling Vision, then getting started on the Execution is usually pretty easy. People are excited, they see the whole thing in their heads, and they dive in with a lot of energy. But there…


People can’t work effectively if they are uncomfortable with each other

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Image by Joseph Mucira from Pixabay

As I said in my post on Combining Functions, a team gets far more done than a group of individuals does, if you can develop a culture and a way of working where the challenging/inspiring interactions between the teammates’ brains gives you more than simply the sum of the brains involved, where you get a kind of multiplicative effect between the members of the team.

So how do you build a culture that achieves that kind of effect? By fostering a hunger for the truth, striving for excellence, feeling confidence in your quest and in your interactions, and by making…


A software product’s quality exists only in its code

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Photo by Pankaj Patel on Unsplash

‘Quality is caring’ is the central message of the classic Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, a book I love for many reasons, not least being that the story is arranged around a pilgrimage to my homeland in Montana and that Pirsig taught at Montana State University where my father taught Philosophy for 30-some years.

Pirsig’s idea is that quality can only be produced by truly caring about what you are doing, and that the relationship is so fundamental that the concepts are in fact the same. I agree with this view. …


They can be effective, when they lead to lasting change

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Image by Shelly Torok from Pixabay

We’ve all been through fire-drills. And I’m not talking only about the Fire Safety Director exercising the alarm system and explaining to us how to evacuate the building. I’m talking about those times when we need to get something extraordinary done, fast, so we drop everything and rally around to get that thing done. In my experience, both Bloomberg and Google thrive on fire-drills. Because those fire-drills demonstrate agility, the capability that the companies have to turn on a dime and focus broad resources on a singular goal. It is a powerful feeling of getting things done.

I believe that…


Something to look out for and avoid

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Image by Hash Milhan via Wikimedia Commons

I’m sure many of you are familiar with the concept of Read-Only Memory (ROM), where data is stored once and then accessed (read) many times but never changed.

The converse of ROM is WOM, Write-Only Memory. This is when you spend time gathering data and storing it somewhere, only to ignore it, fail to look at it again, or take any action on it. This is pernicious and happens far too often. “Management reports” are a good example of something that people can spend a lot of time and effort on with no ROI.

In my first start-up we coined…


Nothing sharpens the mind better

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Photo by Canva Studio from Pexels

I find that nothing sharpens the mind and your sense of urgency better than preparing to demo your work to others. Feeling the heat of wanting to make a good impression on your audience really leads you to button up your presentation and think through the details.

When you are in an intense development period, you need to keep a super- tight process. And a key ingredient in keeping things tight is to demo your working software often. Getting the honest feedback that a demo invites is a critical part of a tight process. …


“Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion.”

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Photo by Max Kukurudziak on Unsplash

Without passion man is a mere latent force and possibility, like the flint which awaits the shock of the iron before it can give forth its spark . — Henri-Frédéric Amiel

We may affirm absolutely that nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion.
— Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Passion is what drives us to get up in the morning every day. It gives us the strength to go above and beyond. It gets us fired up to take on any challenge and accomplish the impossible. Passion comes from a deep belief in the value of what we…


A poem of metaphysics

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Photo by Mike Blank on Unsplash

The optimist in me believes
That Yes strides confidently
Into the sunshine
While No lurks behind hanging vines,
Waiting in the shadows
To trip us up
When it gets the chance.

The pragmatist in me believes
The Scientific Method
Lays bare reality.
A cold lens revealing a hard truth.
Proof lies in failing to fail.
No tripping allowed
Even one damn time.

Like Zeno, we inch up to the truth, never quite reaching it, never
Eliminating all doubt.
Yes is tentative, in need of tending.

But if a theory fails even a single test, it is false, instantly, Beyond any…

Philip Brittan

Philip is an entrepreneur, technologist, business leader, writer, and innovator. https://www.linkedin.com/in/pbrittan/ Blog: https://medium.com/scaling-peaks

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