There’s some good advice in this profile of Jim Buckmaster, CEO of Craigslist. Here’s a summary of his management philosophy:
- Listen to what users want. Try to make the site faster and better.
- Hire good people. “We work hard trying to get the right kind of folks.” It pays off: they hardly ever leave.
- No meetings, ever. “I find them stupefying and useless.”
- No management programmes and no MBAs. “I’ve always thought that sort of thing was baloney.”
- Forget the figures. “We are consistently in the black, so if we do better or worse in any given quarter it is absolutely irrelevant.”
- Occasionally, give people “a very gentle nudge”. This can be done over lunch or on the instant messaging boards.
- He doesn’t reply to any of his 100 daily messages, most of which beg Craigslist to do a deal. “I’m not real chatty on e-mail.”
- Put speed over perfection: “Get something out there. Do it, even if it isn’t perfect.”
- “Don’t screw it up by doing things that make people feel worse about their work.”
Kudos to Jeff Bezos for giving a real apology about removing purchased books like 1984 from user’s Kindles. He said:
This is an apology for the way we previously handled illegally sold copies of 1984 and other novels on Kindle. Our “solution” to the problem was stupid, thoughtless, and painfully out of line with our principles. It is wholly self-inflicted, and we deserve the criticism we’ve received. We will use the scar tissue from this painful mistake to help make better decisions going forward, ones that match our mission.
Short, simple, and humble. I admire that.
We live in a culture of pervasive criticism and snark. We dismiss less-successful-seeming people as losers. We fall into the trap of office politics, aligning with one group or the other, hoping it’s got the inside track. How pointless.
Most people you meet at work—regardless of rank or title—know something you don’t. Many people, again despite where they sit in the hierarchy, can be a mentor to you about something. So try to shed your cynicism and listen to every voice. It will make you smarter and more humble. And if smartness and humility end up being the two main traits people see in you, you’re going to be a winner, no matter what the GDP.
—Jack & Suzy Welch, “Dear Graduate (Crisis Version)“
If you are a one-person company, you must spend at least 60 percent of your time getting and keeping customers. Companies do what the boss does. So, if you are the CEO of a 10-person company or a 100-person company you must spend 60 percent of your time getting and keeping customers. You must do this so everyone else will do it. You must do this continuously, regularly, vigorously.
—Jeffrey Fox, How to Make Big Money In Your Own Small Business (2004), p. 27.
Audible.com has the audiobook of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey available for free for a limited time. I found the book helpful, even though it’s a little dense in parts.
If you’re into audiobooks, you should definitely get it for free while you can.
Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth.
—Niccolo Machiavelli, as quoted in Timothy Ferriss, The 4-Hour Workweek (2007), p. 220.
Effective management without effective leadership is, as one individual has phrased it, “like straightening deck chairs on the Titanic.” No management success can compensate for failure in leadership.
—Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, p. 102.