leadership timeout

If you truly want people to be creative and innovative, take them off the clock

That doesn’t mean no deadlines, but no timesheets – don’t justify every 15 minutes with a project, because the next ideas aren’t about 1 thing, they’re about connecting multiple things.

They’re about taking time to pause and thinking about the bigger picture: what problems are you seeing in multiple places? Where else would that new thing you’ve built be useful? What are multiple clients asking for?

development programming timeout

Innovation vs Quicksand

Anyone following me on Google+, Facebook or Twitter may have seen me posting quite a lot about the many Intellectual Property cases currently strangling the mobile computing market. A lot of them involve Apple, but it’s not an attack on them. They just happen to be in the dominant mobile position now that Microsoft was in 10 years ago on the desktop, and so they’ve got the most to lose.

Last decade, the stories were of Microsoft using Windows to cripple competing office suites and promote its own, and the big move to unify the desktop, server and mobile Windows experience with XP and .net, and giving us IE6 and anti-trust cases. Now, we have Apple unifying desktop and mobile, and pushing others away with policies on in-app purchases and legal battles blocking competition in the marketplace.

I like competition. Competition makes phones faster, batteries last longer, and keeps everyone on their toes. Without it, innovation stagnates.

I am not a lawyer, so I don’t understand why a sketch that looks like a sat nav can be used by Apple to stop tablets from competitors being sold. It’s not like the Chinese rip-off that fooled even the employees at the fake Apple stores.

There is something rotten in the world of technology. It’s about patents, copyright and other protection, but whereas it works for Dyson, to protect his cyclone, whilst allowing competition from other bagless systems, the same protections are smothering the computing and smartphone market, distracting all companies into defending themselves against others, instead of differentiation through innovation. I don’t to work in an industry that’s moving through quicksand, dragging platforms, tools and devices back. We’re already held back enough trying to build for incompatible browsers without having to rewrite for new platforms just because the ui of one has protected interactions (think touch screen versions of Amazon’s pervasive One-Click patent). Higher costs for developers, higher costs and frustration for end users and the vendors fighting amongst themselves won’t benefit, ripping chunks out of each other and alienating the rest of us.

Samson needs to come and cut some crown jewels in half.

lifehacks programming quickfix thedailywtf timeout wtf

take a good, hard look at your first revision and just say to yourself, "gloves."

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve stumbled upon the coffee-room solution to a big problem. I’m sure most people recognise the feeling. You’re sitting at the computer with a big problem staring you in the face, and you’ve been battling it for a couple of hours trying to find a solution. Then you decide to pack it in and go get a coffee, and after 2 minutes away from the computer, before the coffee’s even poured, you’ve figured out a one-line solution that means you can throw away all the baggage from the last two hours and get on with the next task.

This link is to a story for people who don’t have their coffee-room solution.

So remember, next time you’ve been staring at a problem for a couple of hours, go grab yourself a coffee and see if there’s any gloves.


The Complicator’s Gloves – The Daily WTF (-)

take a good, hard look at your first revision and just say to yourself, “gloves.”

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