Highlights from The Principles of Product Development Flow

“I believe that the dominant paradigm for managing product development is fundamentally wrong.”

In practice, sensible behavior prevails, despite the presence of a dysfunctional formal procedure.

Third, with a little help from option pricing theory, we will discover that we can actually design development processes such that increases in variability will improve, rather than worsen, our economic performance.

We favor highly granular planning because we don’t understand the statistics of variability.

We value flexibility, and we pay for it. In contrast, most product development organizations exclusively reward specialization.

One of the most interesting examples of decentralizing control without losing alignment is the way the military deals with the uncertainty of warfare.

If you only quantify one thing, quantify the cost of delay.

As this book progresses, you will see that the economics of flow is almost always dominated by the cost of queues. If we cannot quantify the cost of a queue on the critical path, then we cannot quantify the benefit of reducing this queue. If we cannot quantify the benefit, we can’t generate support for major changes.

Reducing risk, which is the primary mission of testing, clearly creates economic value for product developers. In fact, reducing risk is so centrally important to product development that it is indispensable for us to quantify its economic impact.

In product development, our greatest waste is not unproductive engineers, but work products sitting idle in process queues.

In product development, our problem is virtually never motionless engineers. It is almost always motionless work products.

We can create enormous improvements in decision making with surprisingly imperfect answers. Do not let fear of inaccuracy prevent you from creating economic frameworks.

This leads to what we might call the Pareto Paradox: There is usually more actual opportunity in the undermanaged 80 percent than the overmanaged 20 percent.

Some product developers aspire to use the same approach in product development. They prepare a minutely detailed plan at the beginning of the project and measure performance against this plan. When they deviate from this plan, they take corrective action. They aspire to front-load their decisions. While this is a superb strategy in repetitive environments like manufacturing, it is a terrible one in product development.

Not only do these emergent opportunities arrive continuously and randomly, but they are also quite perishable. Opportunities get smaller with time, and obstacles get larger.

It is always useful to look for a way to reshape a bad choice into a better one. Decompose the choice into its pieces and keep the good parts.

The general principle is that we should make each decision at the point where further delay no longer increases the expected economic outcome.

The value of information is its expected economic value.

Low-cost activities that remove a lot of risk should occur before high-cost activities that remove very little risk.

Such aggressive filtering, before acquiring sufficient information to make a good economic choice, would eliminate all uncertain and poorly understood opportunities. However, it is precisely these uncertain opportunities that have large payoff asymmetries, making them the best sources of new drugs. Opening the filter to pass these asymmetric opportunities actually increases economic value.

In my experience, most managers make amazingly fast decisions when they are presented with compelling economic arguments.

Product development inventory is observable through its effects: increased cycle time, delayed feedback, constantly shifting priorities, and status reporting.

The more projects we have in process, the more projects we have to track and report status on.

This is actually a more serious problem than most developers realize because the waste created by following a bad path typically increases exponentially, not linearly, as we progress down the path.

Widespread queues demotivate workers and undermine initiative.

Managing the process upstream of the bottleneck is a valuable tool for improving flow at the bottleneck.

We simply cannot rely on randomness to correct the problems that randomness creates.

Waiting for complete information improves efficiency, but it leads to queueing.

Product development creates economic value by producing the recipes for products, information, not by creating physical products.

Risk-taking is central to value creation in product development.

We frequently encounter strongly asymmetric payoffs in product development. The value of a success can be much higher than the cost of a failure.

Either excessive or insufficient probability of failure reduces the efficiency with which we generate information.

Repeating the same failures is waste, because it generates no new information. Only new failures generate information.

Product developers should clearly distinguish exploratory testing, which should be optimized for information generation, and validation testing, which should be optimized for high success rates.

When our task list becomes very granular, the noise in each estimate is very high compared to the signal. Granular estimates produce good estimates of aggregate scope, but we should never schedule tasks at this level of detail. Instead, it makes more sense to aggregate many small tasks and to schedule them as a group.

The irony of this is that many companies try to reduce the risk of poor forecasts by taking more time to do a careful forecast.

A buffer converts uncertain earliness to certain lateness.

In product development, “left side” outcomes represent bad variability, but “right side” outcomes represent good variability.

Each engineering decision acts as a predecessor for many subsequent decisions. The number of dependent decisions generally grows geometrically with time. Consequently, a single incorrect assumption can force us to change hundreds of later decisions. When we delay feedback, rework becomes exponentially more expensive.

When engineers are experimenting with a new idea, rapid feedback is enormously energizing. Rapid feedback quickly supplies the positive reinforcement of success, and fast positive reinforcement always increases motivation.

It is generally safe to assume that we really don’t know where the optimum point is on the batch size response surface. As a result, we must test the response of the product development process to batch size reduction by reducing batch size and measuring the results.

Sequence activities to create maximum value for minimum cost, and remember that removing risk from a project is a key way to increase the expected value of the project.

Since it takes almost equal effort to ask for a big bag of money as a small one, people prefer to ask for big bags of money.

the practice of working in one phase at a time is so devoid of common sense that engineers seldom follow it, even when it is required by their procedures.

If a simple kanban system was trying to limit the WIP between two processes to 30 items, it might use six pallets that could each hold five parts as physical kanbans. The downstream process would take parts off a pallet and when it was empty, send it back to the upstream process. This empty pallet would signal the upstream process to make more parts. The upstream process is not allowed to make parts unless it has an empty pallet to put them on. This sets an upper limit on the amount of WIP between the two processes.

Toyota further enhances the effectiveness of this WIP constraint by cross-training workers at adjacent work stations.

A smaller batch size approach to WIP purging is to shed requirements during periods of congestion.

It is best to identify in advance which requirements we would consider eliminating or relaxing. We do this for two reasons. First, we can make a more well-reasoned decision before the pressure of a congestion crisis occurs. Second, if we preplan which requirements might be jettisoned, we can structure our product architecture to make it easy to jettison them. We do so by loosely coupling these elements to the rest of the system, so that we can cut them loose quickly.

A simple way to do this is for the development team to pay for variances during manufacturing ramp. Once the product has been in manufacturing for a fixed amount of time, responsibility for these variances can be transferred to manufacturing.

Which project activities are most suited for part-time resources? Those that are most prone to expensive congestion. These are high-variability tasks on the critical path. Activities that are more predictable can be handled with full-time resources, since such activities experience less congestion.

Unfortunately, most organizations love to load these highly productive resources to very high utilization rates. We need to change this mind-set. The big guns are not most valuable as an efficient substitute for small guns, they are most valuable for handling situations that the small guns cannot handle.

Experts allow us to apply tremendous problem-solving power to a bottleneck. Generalists can be easily shifted to any place they are needed. Is there a way to get both these benefits from the same person? Some organizations believe this is possible, and they characterize the people they are trying to create as T-shaped resources.

The ideal resource is a jack-of-all-trades and a master-of-one.

It takes advanced planning to do cross-training and to create T-shaped resources. It takes discipline to load experts to less-than-full utilization. The decision to use part-timers must be made early.

Detailed planning is very perishable, and this perishability increases with the distance to the planning horizon.

When we cram too many projects into the product development pipeline, we create queues. These queues create a frictional drag on throughput as developers spend more time expediting and less time adding value. The added load reduces output instead of increasing it.

Whenever we have any flexible customers, we can use pricing to reduce congestion. Because of the steepness of the queueing curve, even a small shift in demand can make a big difference in flow time.

We monitor the queue and intervene to restore it to the center of its target range, not to simply bring it back within bounds.

Cadence inherently makes activities automatic and routine. This lowers transaction overhead and makes it economical to use smaller batches.

This is an interesting case where the heirs of a brilliantly designed system failed to understand the underlying logic of the system.

When all jobs have the same delay cost, the preferred scheduling strategy is to do the shortest job first (SJF).

Projects should only visit nodes that add economic value. They should visit these nodes in the specific sequence that adds economic value most cost-effectively.

As a general rule, any inexpensive step that eliminates a lot of risk should occur early.

Instead, it is usually better to maintain a trickle flow of work through the alternate route, even when the primary route is under-utilized.

Decisions are made at a synchronous, cadenced meeting where people from adjacent processes can easily interact.

The curtain between adjacent processes does not have to be completely opaque. As work nears completion, we should make its character visible to downstream resources.

They assume that the plan is correct, and a deviation is always bad. Therefore, they try to close the gap between the two by making results closer to the plan. They often discover it is cheaper to prevent deviations than it is to correct them, so they also emphasize preventing deviations.

When goals are dynamic, we need different control systems. If we have stable goals, we try to prevent deviations, often by increasing inertia and avoiding risk. If we have dynamic goals, we try to quickly correct deviations, often by decreasing inertia.

Not all deviations have negative economic consequences.

By accelerating feedback, we can design processes with less WIP, thereby lowering delay times.

Whenever we have a short turning radius and a quick reaction time, we can proceed safely at a higher speed.

This develops a culture of magical decision making, where everybody feels they can make great decisions unencumbered by either analysis or facts.

When people see that their actions cause consequences, it changes their behavior. They feel a sense of control, and this causes them to take even more control of the system.

Under dynamic conditions, we need to pay attention to the timing of the revenue associated with the inventory. When revenue is growing rapidly, we may need more DIP to support this growth.

The Marines believe orders are incomplete without this information. They believe that intent needs to be understood deeply through the organization. They believe that when intent is clear, Marines will be able to select the right course of action.

In product development, we can change direction more quickly when we have a small team of highly skilled people instead of a large team. We can change direction more quickly when we have a product with a streamlined feature set, instead of one that is bloated with minor features. We can change direction more quickly when we have reserve capacity in our resources.

Since the Marines expect plans to change, they focus on simple, modular, and flexible plans. Simplicity leads to fast adaptation. Modularity solves the problem of adaptation because different modules can be configured many different ways. Flexibility is achieved by preplanning “branches” and “sequels.”

There is no substitute for moving to a quick proof-of-concept. There is no substitute for early market feedback.

They believe that one of the biggest mistakes a leader could make is to stifle initiative.

Highlights from Homage to Catalonia

The Spaniards are good at many things, but not at making war. All foreigners alike are appalled by their inefficiency, above all their maddening unpunctuality.

for some reason all the best matadors were Fascists.

When a man refused to obey an order you did not immediately get him punished; you first appealed to him in the name of comradeship. Cynical people with no experience of handling men will say instantly that this would never ‘work’, but as a matter of fact it does ‘work’ in the long run.

It was not till late March that I saw a bomb worth throwing.

I admit I was amazed and scandalized when I first saw it done. The idea of trying to convert your enemy instead of shooting him! I now think that from any point of view it was a legitimate manoeuvre.

Actually churches were pillaged everywhere and as a matter of course, because it was perfectly well understood that the Spanish Church was part of the capitalist racket.

This alliance, known as the Popular Front, is in essential an alliance of enemies, and it seems probable that it must always end by one partner swallowing the other.

The Anarchists were the opposite of the majority of so-called revolutionaries in so much that though their principles were rather vague their hatred of privilege and injustice was perfectly genuine.

The Communist’s emphasis is always on centralism and efficiency, the Anarchist’s on liberty and equality.

When I joined the militia I had promised myself to kill one Fascist–after all, if each of us killed one they would soon be extinct–and I had killed nobody yet, had hardly had the chance to do so.

If there is one thing I hate more than another it is a rat running over me in the darkness.

I have felt exactly the same thing when stalking a wild animal; the same agonized desire to get within range, the same dreamlike certainty that it is impossible.

Many of the normal motives of civilized life–snobbishness, money-grubbing, fear of the boss, etc.–had simply ceased to exist.

And, after all, instead of disillusioning me it deeply attracted me. The effect was to make my desire to see Socialism established much more actual than it had been before. Partly, perhaps, this was due to the good luck of being among Spaniards, who, with their innate decency and their ever-present Anarchist tinge, would make even the opening stages of Socialism tolerable if they had the chance.

A fat man eating quails while children are begging for bread is a disgusting sight, but you are less likely to see it when you are within sound of the guns.

It is a horrible thing to have to enter into the details of inter-party polemics; it is like diving into a cesspool.

There are occasions when it pays better to fight and be beaten than not to fight at all.

Anyone who has served in Spain knows that the one operation of war that Spaniards really perform really well is that of feeding their troops.

Since 1930 the Fascists had won all the victories; it was time they got a beating, it hardly mattered from whom.

My second was a violent resentment at having to leave this world which, when all is said and done, suits me so well.

To be killed in battle– yes, that is what one expects; but to be flung into jail, not even for any imaginary offence, but simply owing to dull blind spite, and then left to die in solitude–that is a different matter.

I have the most evil memories of Spain, but I have very few bad memories of Spaniards. I only twice remember even being seriously angry with a Spaniard, and on each occasion, when I look back, I believe I was in the wrong myself.

Highlights from Rules for Radicals

“The establishment in many ways is as suicidal as some of the far left

If we fail to communicate with them, if we don’t encourage them to form alliances with us, they will move to the right.

We must first see the world as it is and not as we would like it to be.

Political realists see the world as it is: an arena of power politics moved primarily by perceived immediate self-interests, where morality is rhetorical rationale for expedient action and self-interest.

The pursuit of happiness is never-ending; happiness lies in the pursuit.

Concern for our private, material well-being with disregard for the well-being of others is immoral according to the precepts of our Judaeo-Christian civilization, but worse, it is stupidity worthy of the lower animals.

In short, ethics are determined by whether one is losing or winning.

The ninth rule of the ethics of means and ends is that any effective means is automatically judged by the opposition as being unethical.

To oversimplify, what Gandhi did was to say, “Look, you are all sitting there anyway—so instead of sitting there, why don’t you sit over here and while you’re sitting, say Independence Now!'”

The Haves develop their own morality to justify their means of repression and all other means employed to maintain the status quo.

and as we use purifying synonyms, we dissolve the bitterness, the anguish, the hate and love, the agony and the triumph attached to these words, leaving an aseptic imitation of life.

To pander to those who have no stomach for straight language, and insist upon bland, non controversial sauces, is a waste of time.

he knows that worn-out words like “white racist,” “fascist pig,” and “motherfucker” have been so spewed about that using them is now within the negative experience of the local people

They knew not only of my concern about their plight but that I liked them as people. I felt their response in friendship, and we were together. It is in this totality of the situation that I did what, otherwise, would have been offensive.

With very rare exceptions, the right things are done for the wrong reasons. It is futile to demand that men do the right thing for the right reason—this is a fight with a windmill. The organizer should know and accept that the right reason is only introduced as a moral rationalization after the right end has been achieved, although it may have been achieved for the wrong reason—therefore he should search for and use the wrong reasons to achieve the right goals.

Communication on a general basis without being fractured into the specifics of experience becomes rhetoric and it carries a very limited meaning.

Organizations are built on issues that are specific, immediate, and realizable.

It is impossible to maintain constant action on a single issue. A single issue is a fatal strait jacket that will stifle the life of an organization.

We learn, when we respect the dignity of the people, that they cannot be denied the elementary right to participate fully in the solutions to their own problems. Self-respect arises only out of people who play an active role in solving their own crises and who are not helpless, passive, puppet-like recipients of private or public services.

One big problem is a constant shifting of responsibility from one jurisdiction to another—individuals and bureaus one after another disclaim responsibility for particular conditions, attributing the authority for any change to some other force.

You can insult and annoy him, but the one thing that is unforgivable and that is certain to get him to react is to laugh at him. This causes an irrational anger.

They are right; but we must begin from where we are if we are to build power for change, and the power and the people are in the big middle-class majority.

They see the poor going to colleges with the waiving of admission requirements and given special financial aid. In many cases the lower middle class were denied the opportunity of college by these very circumstances.

People must be “reformed”—so they cannot be deformed into dependency and driven through desperation to dictatorship and the death of freedom. The “silent majority,” now, are hurt, bitter, suspicious, feeling rejected and at bay. This sick condition in many ways is as explosive as the current race crisis. Their fears and frustrations at their helplessness are mounting to a point of a political paranoia which can demonize people to turn to the law of survival in the narrowest sense.

The frenetic scene around them is so bewildering as to induce them to either drop out into a private world, the nonexistent past, sick with its own form of social schizophrenia—or to face it and move into action.

The middle classes are numb, bewildered, scared into silence. They don’t know what, if anything, they can do. This is the job for today’s radical—to fan the embers of hopelessness into a flame to fight.

Highlights from the God of Small Things

“Inspector Thomas Mathew seemed to know whom he could pick on and whom he couldn’t. Policemen have that instinct.”

Some days he walked along the banks of the river that smelled of shit and pesticides bought with World Bank loans.

He oiled himself with warm, peppered coconut oil, kneading his old, loose flesh that stretched willingly off his bones like chewing gum.

the Loss of Sophie Mol grew robust and alive. It was always there. Like a fruit in season. Every season. As permanent as a government job.

savoring their teacherly disapproval, touching it with their tongues, sucking it like a sweet

It was as though the window through which their father disappeared had been kept open for anyone to walk in and be welcomed.

not of the wedding itself so much as the fact that she had permitted herself to be so painstakingly decorated before being led to the gallows. It seemed so absurd. So futile. Like polishing firewood.

Ammu said that human beings were creatures of habit, and it was amazing the kind of things they could get used to.

The nodder nodded as Rahel’s ancestral lineage fell into place for him.

When she looked at him now, she couldn’t help thinking that the man he had become bore so little resemblance to the boy he had been. His smile was the only piece of baggage he had carried with him from boyhood into manhood.

Name of the Game

I’m putting this here so I don’t have to keep looking it up.

The name of the game by John Boyd is moral leverage for grand strategy:

Preserve or build up our moral authority while compromising that of our adversaries in order to pump up our resolve, drain away adversaries’ resolve, and attract them as well as others to our cause and way of life.

Highlights from The Truth of Suffering and the Path of Liberation

”Association with those you hate is suffering.”

It is very hard. It turns out to be quite a handful, quite a project, for us to keep everything at the ideal level.

The conclusion is that everybody is neurotic, that neurosis creates discomfort and anxiety, and that basic anxiety is happening all the time.

We can’t just practice passion, aggression, and ignorance on ourselves alone; we do it to somebody else as well, and someone always gets hurt.

We generate their anxiety, and they also generate it themselves; and we end up with what is known as “the vicious circle of samsara.” Everybody is constantly making everybody else feel bad.

We would like to watch the birth of our child and its growth, so that finally we will have a child who is competent and good because of our training.

The torturing process we impose on ourselves is a habitual pattern, or ape instinct.

You don’t want to be born into the next world, but unfortunately, the situation is such that you are born into the next world.

As we get older, we are not getting the entertainment we used to get out of things. We have already experienced practically everything that exists in our world.

We want our own particular habits to keep happening, and we do not want to give anything up, viewing that as a sign of weakness.

Then, quite conveniently, they blame somebody else, if they have a scheming enough style of thinking; and if they don’t, they just freak out with their mouths open.

Nothing will satisfy you. Nothing will be wish-fulfilling at all, absolutely not. Something is not quite working. Whether you are smart or dumb, it doesn’t make much difference: things don’t quite work.

Since you carry your burden of suffering with you all the time, you have grown accustomed to it. You have learned to live with it.

Therefore, with greater clarity, pain is experienced more harshly, more precisely and directly

The original problem began because you lost your awareness. You cannot lay that on someone else.

There doesn’t have to be a second meaning all the time, and you don’t have to philosophize everything. There could be pure motivation.

Basically, both eternalism and nihilism are ways of trying to nourish one’s existence and one’s ego. They are extreme views in the sense that either you couldn’t care less and nothing is a problem, or there is a problem, so you have to be on the right side of it.

Simply perceiving it through your mind and seeing the futility of it, realizing it is just a game, is the saving grace. That seems to be the point of the practice of meditation.

This ignorance is a different sort of ignorance than the initial triggering process. It is not basic bewilderment but rather simply boycotting situations, ignoring things, refusing to see things in an intelligent way.

Taking life, stealing, and sexual misconduct are regulated by social norms. Some forms of these actions are approved by law because they go along with the basic scheme of society; others are not approved by law because they interfere with that scheme.

You hope that if you speak your harsh words loudly and clearly, they will be a kind of weapon or bomb that you can throw into the midst of society, into the midst of your friends, or into the midst of your enemies.

As the creator of harsh, destructive words, you hope that you can destroy society, concepts, ideas, feelings, and theories of all kinds.

Because you feel so rugged and primitive, you are afraid that you might be excluded from that vision, so you stick to your particular logic, your jumbled-up confusion, your poverty mentality.

First we have to interrupt our ignorance, and second we also have to interrupt our passion. By interrupting both our ignorance and our passion, we have nothing happening in terms of the samsaric world. We have already unplugged the refrigerator.

A person experiences a glimpse of cessation as a kind of appetizer. If the appetizer is good, you have a sense of how the main course will be.

The Buddha said that cessation could be experienced. He said that suffering should be known; the origin of suffering should be renounced; the cessation of suffering should be realized; and the path should be regarded as the truth to resolution. That’s almost word for word.

We begin to feel that we could prevent such problems by being highly disciplined and by having a genuine connection with our own mind and thought patterns, which could be good or bad, virtuous or otherwise.

You practice due to your own inspiration. Nobody can make you do it if you don’t want to.

The only possibility is that at one and the same time, the simplicity of the practice can be developed with respect to the tradition and discipline, and your intuition can be developed according to your own basic understanding of life. That is the point of profundity.

Beyond that, you are becoming highly disciplined. You are realistic, proper, and industrious; you have self-discipline and project dignity. Such ordinary decency is recognized as a token of cessation.

You begin to see the value of the intellect, which in this case means sharpened clarity rather than theory. Instead of resorting to Jungian or Freudian styles of psychologizing everything, you are simply experiencing your life and understanding how it works.

“Because everything is impermanent, everything is always painful and subject to suffering.”

On the path of accumulation we are working with ourselves and we are inspired to make sacrifices. We accumulate good merit by developing a good attitude and performing good deeds. We cultivate simplicity and sacrifice.

There is a tremendous sense of humor and relaxation, and a sense of openness, gentleness, and goodness. You are beginning to feel the effect of your practice. It is beginning to work, and you feel positive. It is like coming out of a steam bath: your muscles have relaxed; you feel so healthy.

Highlights from Managing Humans

”You must see the people who work with you.”

The presence of rigid, e-mail-based status reports comes down to control, a lack of imagination, and a lack of trust in the organization.

The courage it takes to stop this meeting five minutes into the scheduled hour because there is no discernible way to make progress.

It’s great that your freak has chosen to freak out. The alternative is that they’re not saying a thing and have decided to leave the company.

A meeting agenda would help, but as most meetings proceed without one, you’re on your own.

It’s a noble act, speaking your mind in front of all your peers. But it’s also a waste of time.

Roles and agendas in these meetings are simple. Talkers are talking and listeners are listening. Get it? There is no problem to be solved other than the transmission of information. The quicker it happens, the sooner everyone is back to work.

Exhibiting your power and knowledge as a manager isn’t always the best method of communicating.

Blindly landing process without considering the culture it needs to support it is a recipe for disaster.

Each additional person levies a communication tax, and unless we figure out how to constantly improve our communication, we’re just going to get slower.

Bright-and-shiny inflection points are full of energy, but unless that energy is carefully channeled back into the building and immediately acted upon, all an off-site represents is a frustrating opportunity to dream, but not to act.

Use the development environment to build the product. This means you must be familiar with your team’s tools, including the build system, version control, and programming language.

Process is the means by which your team communicates.

What I am saying is that any big decision, any big problem, deserves time and consideration.

I know there is no controlling the world, but I will fluidly surf the entropy by constantly changing myself.

The game here isn’t just overcommunication and Grapevine eradication; I’m still worried I missed something in the plan, and the status spamming is another means of vetting both the plan and the progress.

These people, called managers, don’t create product. They create process.

We all get shit work, but it’s the responsibility of the guy or gal in charge to dole this work out fairly and consistently.

Each week that passes where you don’t share the joy, despair, and discovery of software development is a week when you slowly forget what it means to be a software developer.

A strategic hire is someone who is going to push their agenda, their opinion.

A tactical hire is a person who is filling a well-defined need.

Your job interview isn’t over until you’ve changed to become part of a new team.

There are chronically negative nerds out there, but in my experience with nerd management, it’s more often the case that the nerd is bitter because they’ve seen this situation before four times, and it has played out exactly the same way.

Yeah, they’re going to argue, but it’s the argument you want your teams to have. It’s not a fear-based “Should we or shouldn’t we?” it’s “Let’s do this thing, let’s make sure it gets done, and let’s make sure it gets done right.”

As an aside, let me stress how bad of a career move it is to not know who you are going to be working for when you arrive. The 30-minute interview you have with your future manager is a critical piece of information when you decide whether or not to make a move.

My personal favorites are mechanical organics. These folks have all the slick tricks of organic information gathering, but they’ve got the astounding organization skills of the mechanic. They know everything and never forget a bit. I mean it. Organic mechanics are frightening. They have extreme depth of knowledge, but there is no obvious organic thread that ties it all together. Here’s the scary part. There is a thread. There is a purpose. They just aren’t letting you see it. Organic mechanics will keep you on your heels and just when you think you’ve figured them out, they’ll change everything. I hate that. I mean, I love that.

Wait, don’t these holistics have product to ship? No, they have multiple products, but they’ve hired rock-star inwards to get the products built to specification and on time so they can focus on figuring out what to build next and who they’re going to need to build it.

I’m not suggesting that outwards don’t care about the daily professional shenanigans within the company; they do, but they’ve also hired a group of rock-star holistics to run their company. The rub is this: while it’s not their job to run the company on a daily basis, they are accountable for it.

What you need to know about your manager is how much he cares about this growth and, more importantly whether he sees this as his growth opportunity or the team’s.

You are not that person, because once you are rewarded for releasing crap, you begin a blind walk down a path of mediocrity that ends up with you working at Computer Associates on a product no one has heard of and that no one cares about.

Highlights from Unfortunately, It Was Paradise

Here or there, our blood will plant olive trees.

Ours is a country of words: Talk. Talk.

I ask: Is it true, good ladies and gentlemen, that the earth of Man is for all human beings as you say? In that case, where is my little cottage, and where am I?

Can a people be born on a guillotine? We have the right to die any way we wish.

In this hymn we lay a dream, we raise a victory sign, we hold a key to the last door, to lock ourselves in a dream.

I gaze upon trees guarding the night from the night and the sleep of those who would wish me death.

The stars had only one task: they taught me how to read. They taught me I had a language in heaven and another language on earth.

I will come out of these walls a free man, like a ghost when he floats freely out of himself. I will go to Aleppo. Dove, fly with my Byzantine ode to my kinsman, and take him this greeting of dew.

Who am I after your two almond eyes? the male stranger asks. Who am I after your exile in me? the female stranger asks.

Every time she hits a certain note, her jinn casts its spell on us. And we are transported to another time.

Nothing causes us pain— not the final parting of the doves nor the cold in our hands nor the wind around the church.

Do not glance at the twin partridges sleeping on her chest.

I saw three of my friends crying, sewing my burial shroud with golden threads.

I was born in spring to keep the orators from endlessly speaking about this heartbreaking country, about the immortality of fig and olive trees in the face of time and its armies.

Homeland for him, he tells me, is to drink my mother’s coffee, to return at nightfall.

He used to arrive like a sword dipped in wine, and leave like the end of a prayer.

And I died, I died utterly. How tranquil and peaceful is death without your crying? How tranquil and peaceful is death without your hands pounding on my chest to bring me back? Before and after death I loved you, and between I saw nothing but my mother’s face.