Posts Tagged ‘management’

Buffett or Jobs?

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

It took me more than 6-months each to read The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life few years ago, followed by Steve Jobs biography last year. Though, I reached the end of Steve Jobs’s bio, 50% of the book is still unread.

Then last week, I read two great articles, one in Wired magazine critiquing Steve Jobs’s ‘social-etiquettes-are-for-the-weak‘ style, titled, The Story of Steve Jobs: An Inspiration or a Cautionary Tale? followed by Fortune magazine’s feature on See’s candies (the iPad version has audio/video of Buffett) which alluded to Warren Buffett’s ‘always-looking-for-a-situation-to-crack-a-joke‘ management style.

Here are two great leaders whose works are impregnated into the minds of the entrepreneurs and are tested during trying times, and then with opposing styles.

I personally get conflicted of which approach is better. Some of the thoughts I keep pondering:

  • Do you hire a missionary or mercenary?
  • Empathy with people or metric-driven connectedness?
  • Products over dead bodies?
  • Micro-management vs. trusting your team?
  • Honest with your opinion or diplomatic?
  • Arrogance vs humility when dealing with employees vs customers?

Over the years, I have learnt that no single approach wins, and more than that it’s a matter of personal style, your own temperament, etc. However, we always look for case-studies in testing times. We learn from others and their mistakes. The challenge is which one to adopt and how do I know a specific behaviour is suited for a personal style.

Time will tell, but the torrent of conflict continues and the quest for wisdom is hungrier than never before.

Off-topic: I seriously feel that Walter Isaacson should do a bio on Buffett.

Always Be Caring. The other ABC.

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

Always Be Closing is a popular term in startup and business to keep a CEO/entrepreneur’s laser-sharp on two things viz. 1) relentless focus on sales and 2) fund-raising. It’s the top advice mentors give to startups.

However, there is another ABC, Always Be Caring, where it drives a CEO/entrepreneur to continuously reflect on what others may think about the product or company. Caring about the feeling of others, caring about what customers think about the product, caring whether people are getting value from the deliverables.

Here’s some of the things to care about:

  • What are your customers telling you. Are you listening what they are not telling you? If you care about the customers, you may be able to listen what they are not telling you
  • What is your team not telling you. Team members will seldom tell you what’s wrong, unless they feel that you care about them and their feedback
  • The smooth edges of your website. Website is your store-front. Doesn’t matter whether you are consumer or enterprise business. A smooth design tells people that you care about the visitors, whereas a sloppy conveys many things otherwise.
  • Design, usability of your product. Ditto.
  • What’s in the refrigerator / pantry. This is also depends on where you are and how much money you have and cultural sensitivities.
  • Quality of the product. Slightly different from design, usability. A usable product may be delivering zilch value or may have incomplete features. However, a product with every feature working and delivering utmost value conveys positiveness and that you care about your customer’s time and attention.

Closing is good. However, if you care then you can start and also go back for more. If you care, people will buy, instead of you selling to them.