February 2019 reading digest

Programming, technologies, computer science

Management, Startups, Marketing

  • During research of different approaches to generate and consider new
    ideas I found the great article: How Jeff Bezos Turned Narrative into Amazon’s Competitive Advantage. For those who don’t want to read it (despite the fact that it definitely worth to read) below are a few highlights from me:
    • The ability to write is clear, logical and memorable essay allows to solve a number of management tasks and for Amazon became a competitive advantage
    • Powerpoint was banned in Amazon for presenting any ideas in 2004, instead, employees have to provide a structured and detailed plan with the narrative text. Such an approach takes more efforts for a person who offers idea but fewer efforts for those who try to understand it, minimize misunderstandings.
    • Based on research results: individuals generate ideas better, groups better prioritize and discuss implementation details
    • In large companies, management has to repeat the same thing thousands of times, good text can reduce the number of repetitions
    • Jeff Bezos communicates with the owners and employees of the company through yearly letters that describe the company’s strategy and goals for the year. It helps everyone to tune in to one wave.
  • Writing Docs at Amazon is a great checklist for meaningful mail that present some idea to group for discussion.

Books

The Secrets of Facilitation: The S.M.A.R.T. Guide to Getting Results With GroupsBook by Michael Wilkinson.

It’s a very practical book. Unfortunately, I realized that facilitation is crucial skill too late. Just analyzing time I am spending at work I realized how critical is manage constructive and productive meetings. It’s kind of art, like sex for teenagers: everybody speaks about it but nobody knows what it really is. The same with meetings: speaking, discussion something is very natural to us but at the same moment we often waste time in a loop of the same conversations and the same ideas.

For me, it’s not a simple book for reading. Especially apply those principles to my meetings. It took me a lot of concentration, focusing on the conversation, tracking flow of discussion and trying drive it in right direction.

Definitely worth to read if you are spending more than an hour on meetings daily and would like improve the way you are doing it.

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