Friday, October 7, 2011

My Way or the Highway

Self madeImage via Wikipedia
There's been a lot written about Steve Jobs in the last few days. He was a remarkable man.

David Pogue's piece in the New York Times, among others, does a great job describing Steve Jobs' strengths, his creativity, his genius, his focus. We've also heard the stories that he was, at times, hard to work with.

I think the "hard to work with" sentiment is a direct symptom of working with someone that has a clear and confident vision and controls, if not demands, having the final say. There's an expression, "My way or the highway" - In other words, "We're going to do this my way, otherwise you can drive off into the sunset".

That doesn't make everyone happy. But running a business isn't about making everyone on the team happy or coming to some sort of compromise. After all, isn't "compromise" often a euphemism to describe a less-than-ideal outcome?

Too many boards, product, and management teams at start-ups are paralyzed because everyone's opted into management-by-committee. Five people; five different opinions.

I'm not sure who said it first, but I heard it first from my pal Scott Rafer: "Start-ups are not democracies."
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Saturday, October 1, 2011

If Everything is Shared Automatically, Nothing has Significance

SHAREImage by SHAREconference via Flickr
I often struggle with how much to share on this blog, on LinkedIn, on Twitter, on Facebook, and on other social media platforms that I participate on. There are so many factors that come into play, such as the audience on each platform (some are more business focused; others more personal), the "who cares" factor, TMI (too much information), and other influences. In the end, "over-sharing" has become one of the problems with social media. It's no longer social or helpful if it's overwhelming.

I've felt this way for a while now, but couldn't really articulate it well until I read a great piece by Jeff Sonderman of the Poynter Institute. In his post regarding "frictionless sharing", he brings it all home with this:

The fact that people choose to keep most things private places significance on what they choose to share. If everything is shared automatically, nothing has significance.
“Sharing without intention is not social, it’s overwhelming, it’s noise,” social media consultant Jeff Gibbard observes on his blog. “Not everything I read, I endorse. Not everything I watch, I like. Not everything I listen to, I want to share. Without intention it’s simply surveillance.”
Their target here are services that automatically broadcast what you read or the music you listen to. I believe my settings in the music service Spotify are set to broadcast every song I listen to into my Facebook stream. So far, none of my friends have complained about that - but I suspect it's overkill.

Sonderman brings up a great point that news publications have to be careful how they deploy these broadcast tools. They could end up alienating their readers if their readers' friends feel overwhelmed.

Let me know in the comments what you think and how you balance sharing versus over-sharing.
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