My daily readings 02/09/2010

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    • I was not a detail-oriented person. Currently I project manage and engineer for a living. Details have become important and I have learned to cope.

      I have not read Getting Things Done as suggested above (but will soon!), however I can attest to the power of writing things down. Create a to-do list. When my ADD kicks in and random important thoughts (details!) fly by, I quickly jot them down for later use. I have to-do lists at work and home.

      One other important item- I use a checklist for reviewing the work that leaves my desk. Like you I am concerned with ‘big picture.’ A thoughtfully created checklist is 1. A living, changing document, and 2. Necessary for anything leaving my desk. I ALWAYS forget some mundane, yet important detail.

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    • So how can you make money? It’s a very competitive market, and the cost of entry is tiny, the user loyalty is almost non-existent, and the traffic can be huge requiring good service architecture. My point from the above is that you will be able to make money as there are ways to create value for your users you can charge for, but expect to get a few bruises on the way.

      Finally, a personal note: It’s a great market to learn business skills in because it’s so competitive and the popular services are run by some really smart people. Can you really value the lessons you learn from competing in this market? It beats any MBA you care to point to.

      And yes, you should use Cligs as it’s the best around: 🙂

  • tags: startup, entrepreneur

    • 8. Detail Orientation / Hands On – One of the easiest ways to rule out people who are pitching to me is when they don’t know the details of their business.  There are easy tell-tale signs.  I’ll start with an obvious one – I talk with the entrepreneur about competitors.  You can always tell during this discussion whether the entrepreneur has logged into their products, talked to their customers, read all the news stories and gotten all of the back channel info on the competition.  You can tell if they have a deep-seated competitive spirit.  Can’t go a mile deep on competition?  Buh-bye.
    • Along with detail orientation I have a strong bias for “doers.”  When I ask for a quick demo and the CEO tells me that he’ll schedule a follow-on meeting with his sales rep because, “I’m not a demo guy.  The sales team doesn’t like me to give demos,” I usually think to myself, “a follow up meeting probably isn’t necessary.”  Similarly if you need your CFO to walk me through your financial model you’re probably not the right investment for me.  Ask any of the previous CFO’s when I was the CEO – they did the hard work but I edited the spreadsheets cell-by-cell.  In fact, I usually built the first 3 versions of the financial model (but then my ADD took over and I needed a great closer to make the model complete.  Luckily I had CFO extraordinaire, David Lapter, who’s now the CFO at KickApps.  One of his investors called him, “the best CFO in our entire portfolio.”)
  • tags: Detail, decision

    • Moreover, I don’t think it’s enough to be detail oriented. Sure it’s important to take the time to learn which details to look for, thus “orienting” yourself toward “detail” in the abstract, but I think the higher skill is the ability to make solid decisions from the details you see.
      • I propose it’s useful to develop a heuristic framework for dealing detail decisions. I usually run through a series of questions in my head when I’m making these detail choices:

        1. Is this detail important? Should I spend the time debating whether this color bar should be green or blue, or is it best to trust my designer make that call?
        2. How does this decision affect other details? No decision is made in a vacuum. For example, should your email angle be different if you choose to send it on Monday than if you choose to send it on Thursday?
        3. What historical data do I have to back up my decision? There are a few in the world people like Steve Jobs or Anna Wintour who have the power to see and create new trends. Statistically speaking, if you’re reading this, you’re most likely not one of these people. But that doesn’t mean you’re hopeless. It means that you need to rely on historical data to help you process your decisions. For example, if you get great open rates on Thursday and horrible open rates on Monday, then you have a pretty good case for when to send your email.
        4. Am I enslaving myself to data? Sometimes when I’m processing data, I tend to limit myself to what’s already been done. Making detail decisions is sometimes about taking calculated risks.
        5. How am I going to test the results of my decision? It’s tempting to look only at big picture campaign results and miss the sum of your details. In the email example, you could test dates, times, subject lines, and offers for open rates, click-through and conversion. Some things are easier to asses, but in any case, it’s necessary to develop a plan for assessment.
    • Re: drowning: I’m very much against letting detail overwhelm (and creating red tape to deal with it). Which is why, after one has learned to recognize detail, I think the very first detail decision skill is deciding what’s important and what’s not. I think trust also plays a big role here: who do I trust with these details?

      So sure, having people who are “detail oriented” is important to making your books balance. I totally agree that having people who can translate details and avoid mistakes are essential to success. However, I do see the phrase “detail oriented” as semantically worn, hence the post title.

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    • Having handled both the Android Maps app (sans pinch) and the iPhone Maps app… yes, yes it is. Hitting the “plus” and “minus” buttons work, but so does clicking on the arrows at the end of your scroll bars. To me it qualifies as barely functional, not the right solution at all.
    • Not as far as I’m concerned. Thankfully it’s not the only way to zoom on the nexus, because it pretty much requires two hands to use, one to hold the phone and the other to pinch. I don’t think any other function requires two hands on the nexus, although it is sometimes faster to type with two hands. (This messages was typed on my nexus).
    • It is to me. I’ve gotten so used to all the iphone gestures that when I have to go back to pushing buttons I get really frustrated. I can’t even use a Kindle now.
  • tags: LBS

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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