Jonathan Rosenberg: Rules to success

Uploaded by Google on 02.04.2010

>> ROSENBERG: Well, thank you. So I guess we should start with the loving CMC part.
I was talking to people at my table about why they came to CMC. And get a bunch of answers,
right? They want a great, liberal arts education. They want to learn how to learn. Think this
one said it was the best school he got into. So for me, it was all of those reasons. But
when I arrived in CMC in 1979--I know some of you weren't born--it was pretty clear all
of my classmates were very smart and they wanted to learn. So college wasn't really
that easy. And by 1983, I was really excited 'cause, like, now I was gonna go out and join
the real world. And I figured the average business person wouldn't be as smart as my
classmates at CMC, I wouldn't be graded on the same curve, and, you know, life would
be easy. Then just before graduation, one of my professors came and he said to me "Jonathan,
the best way to keep learning after you leave school is surrou--surround yourself with the
smartest people you can find." Well, this was anathema to my plan of taking life easy
and kicking the crap out of the stupid people in the business world. So fortunately for
that one brief moment--and just that one moment in 1983--I decided to actually internalize
some advice and listen to a professor. Jerry, it wasn't you. So after business school, I
went to where I felt the smartest people in the world would be. Where was that? Not Manhattan.
For those of you who've been coming to my talks for the last few years, you know how
much I love to l--I love to bash bankers. Well, it's 2010. Jonathan's banker-bashing
is finally in vogue. I didn't go to Wall Street. I went to Silicon Valley. And how did it work
out? Turned out my professor was somewhat omniscient. I ended up with some really smart
people. In fact, early in my career, I went to see Steve Jobs speak. And what happened?
My reaction was pretty predictable. "Yikes. I'll never be that good. I'm not that smart."
So I thought about my professor's advice and I said, "I should go to work for Apple." And
I did. A few years later, I met a guy by the name of Milo Medin. And he was articulating
that you could take the IEEE802.14 spec and Ethernet and make the internet work really
fast over cable modems. And he sketched it all out on a whiteboard for me. What was my
reaction? "Not that smart. Maybe I should go to work for @Home." So I did. Then I met
Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1998. And Larry said, "Search will be the most monetizable
moment on the internet." And they said a bunch of other clever things like, "In ten years,
we can digitize all of humanity's knowledge." What was my reaction to Larry and Sergey?
"Not that smart. I should go to work for Google." So I did. So there's, fortunately, an important
difference between CMC and the real world. When I was here, I had to compete with the
smart people. In the real world, you don't have to compete with Steve Jobs, and Milo
Medin, and Larry Page, and Sergey Brin. You don't have to beat them. You can join them.
I think that realization alone can guarantee success. Just find the smartest people, hook
in, and hang on. But as a product of a liberal arts education, what's the primary thing we
learn? And what did my professor, Leon Hollerman, hope for me beyond just financial success?
I think he wanted me to keep learning, and observing, and learning from my observations,
which are the tools in the chest of the traditional liberal arts graduate. So while Leon was smart,
even he knew he wasn't so smart that he could predict the future. In fact, the course I
took from him was called The Cultural Underpinnings of the Japanese Economic Miracle. It was the
early 1980s. Japan seemed on the verge of world domination. Didn't happen. But the course
taught me how culture directly affects success in countries and in companies. So even though
the whole premise of the course, it turned out, was completely wrong, on the surface,
the course was invaluable in my career. It taught me that what matters is educating your
mind to make your own observations. And that's the skill that I think that we learn here
at CMC. So here's my career advice for you as future graduates. It's my entire best-selling
business book, which I've not yet published. Find the smartest people you can, join them,
observe them, learn from them, take what you can learn, and help them. And this is something
that you are all uniquely qualified to do. As I've taken that view and these rules, I've
been lucky enough to actually have this front row on the emergence of the Internet and some
of the most interesting companies of our time. The truth is, I never really wanted to emulate
Steve Jobs. Well, maybe I did. Or Milo Medin or Larry Page. I wanted to emulate Alexis
de Tocqueville, right? The 19th Century French historian who came to America to write a paper--uh,
treatise, basically, on the American penal system. And instead, he wrote the definitive
treatise on democracy in America. So what follows today are my observations on what
makes people successful, gleaned from my front row seat to the last 25 years of change in
Silicon Valley. I also hope that what you will see today is why you want to go back
and study hard in every class that you're in. A history class, an English class. Those
are the ingredients that are gonna make you a successful leader. The French guy who wrote
Le Petit Prince. What's his name? Antoine de Saint-Exupery Whatever, you know, the French
guy. Right. Well, the French, they sometimes say something clever. He said, "If you want
to build a ship, don't drum up men to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work,
but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea." As CMCers, if you're
really gonna aspire to be leaders in the making--that's what's in that brochure that you guys produce,
right--you want to leave longing for the endless immensity of the sea and apply the tools in
your liberal arts chest to learn to make the best choices for yourself and for your ship.
So here are this CMC's grad's observations and learnings, which I call Jonathan's Rules
From The Best Seller He Has Yet To Write. Communication. Nine rules. Communication #1.
Overcommunicate in all ways all the time. There is no such thing as too much communication.
When you think you've communicated something too much, you're probably just beginning to
get through. You have to have all-hands meeting, send regular emails, run office hours, run
offsites, update your status on Facebook and Twitter. You can't communicate to people enough.
There's a life corollary to this work rule. Overcommunicating applies to everything we
do, especially with your parents. They want to hear from you more often. My mother's over
there. Communication Rule #2. Openly share everything with your colleagues. This doesn't
mean it's okay to cheat on tests. You again. What it means is that Google, our default
mode is to share all information. We use Google Docs for everything. John's just learning.
And when you create a new doc, the default mode is to share it. This is not an accident.
It was a deliberate decision. And it's a remarkable thing in the business world. Most big companies,
power accrues to those who hoard information. At Google, we strive to make everyone equally
empowered from an information standpoint. In the internet age, power comes from sharing
information, not hoarding it. You also have to trust your people and give them this information.
They appreciate it when you trust them. Trust breeds loyalty. When you trust people, they
repay you in kind. When you don't, they have other options. Communication Rule #3. Repetition
does not spoil the prayer. Repetition does not spoil the prayer. Repetition does not
spoil the prayer. When you say something so many times you are sick of it, that's about
the time they are starting to hear it. I find it is about 20 times. I see a professor who's
nodding. Communication Rule #4. Each word matters. Be crisp and direct and choose each
word wisely. Communication isn't rambling on in long-winded emails or spewing out every
thought that comes into your head. Your words should be thoughtful and precise. Elmore Leonard,
the author, was asked the secret of his success as a writer. He responded, "I leave out the
parts that people skip." See, that's why it's important to take the Humanities courses,
give presentations whenever you can, take classes where you have to write more. When
you update your Facebook page, do it with flair. Understanding how to write well and
effectively communicate the nuances of your thoughts is the most important thing you will
learn in school. Remember Mark Twain's quote, "I would've written a shorter letter if I'd
had the time." Communication Rule #5. Great teachers--great leaders are great teachers.
And great teachers are great storytellers. Narrative is how we learn. How many of you
remember the career story I told at the beginning of this about Steve Jobs, and Milo Medin,
and smart people? Right? You're all nodding. How many of you remember Communication Rule
#2? Openly sharing information. No one. You teach with stories. Your best professors--the
one nodding--understand this intuitively. Think about their lectures. That's how you
should teach. And if you want to be a leader, you will teach. The two are inseparable. Communication
Rule 6A. As leaders, you learn bore--more by listening than by talking. Listening makes
you more humble, more intuitive, and smarter. Talking does none of these things. It just
enamors you with your own eloquence. When you listen, you learn how things work as opposed
to when you talk and state how you think things work. The distinction here is important, so
I'll repeat that. When you listen, you learn how things work as opposed to when you talk
and you state how you think things work. Listening is constant. Sales people actually know you
learn most on the sales call before and after the formal meeting. And often, the most important
things that you--the most important part of communication is to hear what isn't said.
You again. Guys, if you're not hooked up yet, the same advice applies to dating. Communication
6B on talking and listening. If you must talk, ask questions. People learn more from your
questions than your answers. It makes them think and explore the choices with you. But
there's a grand exception to all of this in business. Communication Rule 6C. If you actually
know the answer in a business situation, stop listening by all means and talk! State the
answer and don't ask more questions. But if you go this route, back up your answer
and your position with data. You don't win arguments by saying, "I think." You win by
saying, "Let me show you." If you can show them, show them. And finally, to round out
communication, Communication Rule #9. You're writing all these down, you're gonna get tired.
Strive to respond to email instantly. A Google engineer derisively said to me, "Why, John,
you're nothing but an expensive router." In many ways, he's right. But as a leader, if
you don't respond to email quickly, everything stalls. If you don't think every time you
get information, "Who needs to know this?" you're not doing your job. Send me an email
any time. My email address is You will get a reply sooner than you think.
If in fact I'm just an expensive router, I'm going to be a good one. Company Culture. 16
Rules. Avoid hippos. Who knows what a hippo is? It's the highest paid person's opinion.
Don't look to the hippos in the room. People shouldn't use titles to get what they want.
If their experience is actually of value, they should be able to use their experience
to frame a winning argument. Everybody at every level should have an equal voice towards
the outcome based on the strength of their arguments. Who's my favorite hippo? Jim Barksdale.
Jim Barksdale was the CEO of Netscape. He says, "If we have data, let's look at the
data. If all we have are opinions, let's go with mine." I like to think that what he meant
was, "Let's get data," but I know Jim. I think that what he meant is, "Let's go with mine."
Culture rule #2. You shouldn't be able to figure out the pecking order or org chart
by looking at a product. This is my favorite Eric Schmidt narrative. He went to the docks
at Sun and he pulled one of their servers off of the docks. He opens it up: eight "Read
Me First" documents. Well, there's an entire MBA thesis in this case study. Eight different
"Read Me First" documents. What is this? Eight different hippos. Each of them thought he
had the most important opinion. And the poor product manager at the bottom of the totem
pole, he just threw them all in. Not the right decision for the end user. But easier than
taking on a bloat of hippos. And bloat is, in fact, the correct noun for a group of hippos,
and it's onomatopoetic in describing a company. Bu-le-oh-ah-t. Bloat. Very bad. Run away from
companies like that. A good basic rule: you shouldn't be able to deduce a company's org
chart by looking at their product. You can't see the Apple org chart when you look at the
iPod or the Amazon chart when you look at the Kindle. Culture rule #3. Help the organizations
crush bureaucracy in all forms. Dying organizations foment it. The most important attribute in
organizations--its ability to get out of the way. That's why we don't have general managers
at Google. 'Cause a general manager's job is to put his business interests in his division
ahead of those of the company. Culture #4. When you're trying to accomplish something,
ask for a winning strategy and the tactics needed to win. On their own, strategy and
tactics don't produce winners. You need both. And there are people who are great at strategy
and there are people who are great at tactics. That's why we have teams. Culture rule #5.
People are more productive if they are crowded. I learned this in the boom with @Home.
We got a second building because we knew we were gonna grow. And instead of letting people
take over that building before we had enough people to fill it, we made it a soccer field.
And later, it was customer support. Putting smart people together in close quarters is
a combustible situation. Offices should be designed for energy and for interactions and
not for isolation and status. A serendipitous byproduct of all of this is that social groups
modify the--moderate the bad behavior of individuals. People hate to be judged poorly by their peers,
and proximity builds in social controls. At least it does after college. I don't know
what happens in college. Culture 6. Empower the smallest of teams. A small team can often
do more than a big one. At Goggle we've learned that the size of a small team is about the
size of a small family. In software development, the worst thing you can do is put more people
on the project. Read The Mythical Man-Month. Margaret Mead said, "Never doubt that a small
group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing
that ever has." Well, think about that. Sam Adams, Mahatma Gandhi, Charles Lindbergh,
Jackie Robinson, Rosa Parks, Marie Curie. Small teams of even one are the kind that
make a difference. There was a recent study in the UK. They found that people working
on a small team can tolerate twice as much pain as those who work alone. There is this
chap by the name of Bert Trautmann, professional soccer player in the 1950s, and he broke his
neck in a World Cup match. He kept playing. And he made some crucial saves to win the
game. Why? He didn't want to let his ten closest pals down. What did I just do? I demonstrated
communication rule #5. A narrative. Culture #7. Working from home is a malignant, metastasizing
cancer. Ban it. Some of you will want to argue this point with me. I'll be here afterwards.
Culture rule #8. Engineers and product managers add complexity, marketing adds management
layers, sales adds coordinators. Manage this. This is a statement that offends a lot of
people. Don't be offended. Stop and think about it. It's an offensive line that offends
a lot of parties equally but is a broadly prejudicial generalization. If you think about
it, it's true. And it must be managed. Cultural rule #9. Knights are knights and knaves are
knaves. You remember the childhood riddle about knights and knaves. You get to a fork
in the road and you need to know where to go, and so you can say, "If I were to ask
you which way to go," and if it's a knight, he'll tell you the truth and if it's a knave,
he'll lie. So he'll still tell you the truth, and you figure out how to get there. That's
like life. That's the workplace. There's knights and there's knaves. But in the real world,
the knights always tell the truth and the knaves sometimes lie. Maybe not all the time.
But once someone reveals himself to be a liar, he is a liar. Once a liar, always a liar.
And to give a bit of credit to the management literature, which I generally abhor, Tom Peters
said, correctly, "There is no such thing as a minor lapse of integrity." Culture rule
#11. Doveryai no proveryai. Russian proverb meaning...where were they in the '80s? Trust
but verify, right? It's not just a phrase Reagan liked to say to Gorbachev, though he
apparently did it a few times. Organizations will elide important details. So you must
verify every assertion made. This is Andy Grove's principle, the former chairman and
CEO of Intel. Why is it important? Because the primary job of a leader is judgment and
communication. But judgment and communication are only as good as the data or truth on which
it's based. Anyone know who said that? I did. Culture rule #12. Focus on value rather than
costs. In business, more revenue generally solves all problems. It's very simple. Spend
80% of your time on 80% of your revenue. It seems obvious. It is obvious. But it's actually
hard to do, because that other 20% of your revenue will end up taking on an inordinate
amount of your time. Culture rule #13. Never, never suggest copying the competitor. Their
products generally suck, and you should be able to do better. Culture rule #14. Hope
is not a plan. Sadly, President Obama is learning that right now, and I am a Democrat who proudly
voted for him. Culture rule #15. Success breeds the green-eyed monster. Remember your Shakespeare,
right, Iago speaking to Othello. "O, beware, my lord, of jealousy. It is the green-eyed
monster that doth mock the meat it feeds on." Where there is success, there is envy. And
jealousy is a green-eyed monster that you cannot slay. But you can take away the monster's
greatest weapon, which is surprise, and you can fight it with envy's kryptonite, which
is humility. Culture rule #16. Do all reorganizations in a day. 24 hours. This is my corollary to
the Ben Franklin wisdom that three can keep a secret if two of them are dead. Hiring and
Development. 14 rules. #1. Know how to interview well. Hiring is the heart and soul of the
company. Great people make a great company which, in turn, attracts more great people.
You guys think it's the gourmet lunches, the massages, the espresso drinks, the gins and
all of that stuff that bring people to Google. The main reason people want to come to Google
is to work with great people. The same is true for schools. That's why the admissions
department is so important. You want great students 'cause they bring great teachers.
You want great teachers 'cause they bring students. You want great students with great
teachers so they're successful in business and donate money so that the president can
go get more great teachers and get more great students, right? It's pretty simple. Hiring
and Development #3. Managers don't hire people. Hiring committees hire people. Most companies
have hiring managers who hire for a specific applicant to a specific job opening. We don't
do that at Google. The gate is a committee. I initially hated these rules. But you learn
a lot about a person if they resist that rule. And similarly, promotions should be a peer
review process. We've copied a lot of wisdom from academia. You shouldn't lose it when
you leave school and go to to business. Hiring and Development #4. Instead of laying off...instead
of laying off the bottom 10%, don't hire them. It's way harder to fire people than it is
to hire them. You want to remember that. Let's all say it again. It's way harder to fire
people than it is to hire them. Hiring and Development #5. Don't hire specialists. Especially
in high tech. Corollary? Don't grow up to be a specialist. Not only will the job change,
the underlying pace of technological change will rewrite and transform the landscape so
quickly that the specialist's job will be gone. Change is the only thing in tech that
is permanent. Who said, "I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious"? Einstein.
He understood this rule. And brings me to the next one. Passion. Hiring and Development
rule #6. You cannot teach passion. How can you expect people to be passionate at work
if they're never passionate about anything? Right? The guys who invented Google Sky are
software engineers. They're no astronomists. They're astronomy enthusiasts. They didn't
build the super-cool product 'cause they're great engineers. They did it 'cause they love
astronomy. Astronomy wasn't part of their job description. Ralph Waldo Emerson said,
"Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm." And if there's-- when enthusiasm is real,
it's palpable. If you can't taste it in the room, it's not there. Jonathan Rosenberg again.
By the way, if you haven't tried Sky or Android on your phone, it's very cool. Hiring and
Development rule #7. Urgency of the role isn't sufficiently important to compromise quality
in hiring. What happens when I see a resume for my team and it says, "We need this person
because we're shorthanded"? I ignore it. Hiring and Development rule #8. Identify and purge
the bad eggs. Let me tell you my bad egg theory. You go to a party. There's six pieces of sushi
left. Your friend goes ahead of you. He takes five pieces of sushi. Bad egg. You see someone
in the dining hall. They spill something and they give it sort of a perfunctory wipe. Bad
egg. Get rid of bad eggs. Rule 10. Diversity is your best defense against myopia. Work
with people of all backgrounds. Why? Because people with different backgrounds see the
world a little differently. That's invaluable. You can't teach that kind of insight. Women,
Jews, Muslims, Blacks, Asians, South Americans, gays, straights, people in wheelchairs, people
who can't see or hear. We hire them not to check off a box against the census and the
politically correct label. You hire them because diversity is good for your company and your
shareholders. That's also why we have 50 different engineering offices all over the world, 'cause
there's great talent everywhere. Don't just say that. Learn to actually believe it. Hiring
and Development rule 11. You can't pump the management training program. The list I'm
giving you today--I didn't get it from a book. It's the notes I've been keeping on management
to give to people who work for me over the years. Hiring and Development rule #12. Life
is not fair. Disproportionately reward risk- takers and performance. Alex Rodriguez. You
guys know who he is, right? He makes $33 million a year. The average Major League Baseball
player makes $3 million a year. I wanted to play Major League Baseball. I wasn't good
enough. I'd pay $3 million just to walk out to center field in a Giants uniform at AT&T
Park. It's not gonna happen, because life is not fair. As managers, you shouldn't tell
people they're doing a great job when they didn't, or strive to make the world fair.
You're not coaching Little League. Remember, in Little League, parents are told, "Give
five pieces of positive feedback for every negative one." Everyone gets a trophy, even
the kid who picks daisies in right field and doesn't come to half the practices. I agree
with the Founding Fathers. All men and women are created equal in the sense that we're
endowed with certain unalienable rights. That said, we are decidedly not all equally good
at what we do. And real life is a meritocracy. Some perform better than others. So if you
want better performance from the best, celebrate and reward what you want to see more of. Hiring
and Development rule #13. If you're gonna pay Alex Rodriguez $33 million a year, keep
feeding him the ball. Build around the people who have the most impact and purge the bad
eggs. The way to get rid of the bad eggs, to keep the people who have the most impact
the happiest, is penguin pecking. You get all the people who don't like somebody to
start pecking, and they go like this. Go on, go like this. You see, you don't really like
it. Eventually, you'll go, right? See? Yeah, yeah, yeah, it works. Decision-making, six
rules. The role of a manager at most companies is to get his team to agree, or if that's
taking too long, you make the decision for them. That's not how we do things at Google.
Decision-making #1. Decision-making is about consensus, not unanimity. So as a group, let's
do an exercise and come to an agreement on the definition of consensus. You'll do that
touchy-feely off-site when you get older. I have the mike. I'll just tell you what consensus
is. Teams are not juries locked in a room until they reach a unanimous verdict. Don't
spend hours in endless meetings striving for unanimity. Consensus is not unanimity. Guide
the team to declare when "good enough" is better. Else, as Voltaire said, "The perfect
is the enemy of the good, from which there is no progress." Decision-making #2. There's
no consensus without dissent. To get there, you need to understand people won't truly
buy in until all the choices are openly debated. "If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody
isn't thinking." George Patton. If two people always agree, isn't one of them redundant?
Decision-making rule 3. If there's doubt about what to do, consider your customer's perspective.
That's what we do at Google. Decision-making 4. Choose your goals wisely. Goaling drives
behavior and conflict. Make sure you have the goals right, and if the goals are creating
conflict, change them. Decision-making 5. None of us is as smart as all of us. If I
were on a board, and everything got to the point where it all depended on one man or
woman as the CEO, I'd fire him for getting us to that point. Remember that when you're
a hippo in a meeting one day. Decision-making 6. Where there is harmony, there is no innovation.
Consider Jewish yeshiva students for a moment. They're in an institution for studying the
traditional Jewish texts. They're not there to memorize the texts. They're there to discuss
and argue about them. So even though they're reading texts that are thousands of years
old, they argue about the meaning of the texts. And in doing so, they uncover new ideas, they
reach new conses--new consensus based on the same words the Jewish people have been reading
for centuries. Innovation comes from disagreement, not from harmony. Fostering innovation, five
rules. So how do we foster this innovation? Most companies manage creativity in order
to manage risk. That, like, just doesn't work. Do we have any artists here today? Oh, good,
I like you. Go do your art from 10:00 to 12:00 and be very creative. 12:00 to 4:00 is a management
meeting. Doesn't work. Innovation comes from creativity. Creativity cannot be managed.
It can be allocated, it can be budgeted, it can be measured, it can be tracked and encouraged,
but it can't be dictated. Innovation rule 2. Create a culture of "yes" based on optimism
and big thinking. Organizations develop antibodies to change. That's why big companies stop innovating.
If you're the innovator, you're like a virus. The antibodies want to kill you. Many people
think it's their function to do nothing but say, "Thou shall not." Leaders protect people
from antibodies. Your focus should be, "Thou shall." Create a spirit of optimism. Pessimists
don't change the world. Innovation rule 3. Never stop someone from moving forward with
their good idea because you have a better one. There's a bull market for innovation.
In a Darwinian process for weeding out the bad ideas, you will do best by simply encouraging
all of them. The best will win and the others will fail. Thomas Edison said, "To have a
great idea, have a lot of them." Innovation rule 4. A leader's job is not to prevent risk,
but to build the capability to recover when failures occur. There is no such thing as
a good failure and a bad failure. Or there is such a thing as a good failure and a bad
failure. A good one happens quickly, and it provides plenty of lessons. Sometimes you
have to look at these lessons in the data. A bad failure takes a long time and you don't
learn anything. Leaders don't prevent failures. They prevent bad failures. Innovation 5. A
good crisis is a terrible thing to waste. "Whenever the public endures a crisis, ordinary
citizens start to wonder how and whether our institutions really work. We no longer take
things for granted. It is only then real change becomes possible." Bob Shiller, the economist.
Many management challenges are, in fact, teaching moments. The crisis is the built-in narrative,
so use it. Humility, ten rules. Humility 1. Learn something new so that you can remember
how hard it is to learn. You guys are all in college, so you're learning all the time.
Maybe it's a message for your professors. Corollary. Teach something so you can learn.
For example, in preparing my talk, I had to go through and review my notes on all of my
management rules to codify them for you. Humility rule #2. Never stop learning. School is never
out. There are always more classes you can take. Learn to program a computer, build a
website, study architecture. Humility 3. Humility is correlated with age. Arrogance is inversely
correlated with age. Why? Because as you get older, you realize how hard it is to get things
done. This means that you are arrogant, and I am humble. For every rule, there is an exception.
I'm so humble, I'll let you decide in this case if it's you or me. Humility rule 4. You
get personal leverage through empowerment, delegation, and inspection. Why? Because as
a smart leader, you surrounded yourself with great people. Your people understand what
they're doing better than you do. Humility rule 5. Judgment comes from experience, and
experience comes with errors. Don't be ashamed or defensive about your errors. They are what
make you smarter. You learn more from your mistakes than from your successes if you take
the time to study them. "Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that come from
bad judgment." Will Rogers. On my team, I've asked everyone who screws up a launch to write
a postmortem and publish it to the entire team. You would think it would be a shameful
experience. We keep an archive of all of these things on our site. Show me a team that never
makes a mistake, and I'll show you a team that has never done anything innovative. Humility
rule 6. Smart people can smell hypocrisy, so think before you act or speak. You have
to commit to your team's goal and vision. They can tell when you don't really mean it.
Make sure you spend your time on the things you tell your team are important, because
they're watching. Why does this matter? 'Cause culture is set from the top, and once set,
it cannot be changed. "Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others.
It is the only means." Einstein again. Humility 7. Don't burn bridges. Many of the people
you'll work with, you'll run into again. Our industry and the connected online world are
not that big anymore. Observe people when they leave. You learn a great deal about a
person and your ability to judge them in the moment they resign and in the manner they
walk out the door. Humility rule 8. Would you work for yourself? If you would not work
for yourself, why do your people? Humility 9. Write a self-review and be critical of
yourself. Do this every year. It's the only way to learn. I'll start mine with, "Would
I work for myself?" Hmm. This is hard to do. Humility 10. Communicate, confess, comply,
when you make a mistake. No one is perfect, not even you. My final observation is that
in addition to knowing all of these rules to lead, you need to develop your own style.
If you took any history here at CMC, you'll see examples of different styles. I took a
course in the history of the Americas here. I learned about Hernan Cortes. He was a Spanish
Conquistador. In 1519, he sailed from Cuba. He had 11 ships and 500 men, and his plan
was to conquer Mexico, right? The superiors back in Spain sent word to Cortes to cancel
the expedition, so what did he do? He ignored their order. Then he arrives on the Yucatan
Peninsula, claims it for Spain, and starts encountering strong resistance from the natives
as he heads inland. Like, major bummer. The natives were not all so keen on being conquered.
Some of Cortes' men questioned his judgment, didn't want to proceed. So what did he do?
He scuttled his own ships. His management mantra basically became, "Conquer Mexico,
you poor bastards, or die trying." The third option, flee back to Cuba, was eliminated.
So what happened? He and his men conquered Mexico. I liked him. I learned that history
lesson and decided that Cortes had a pretty cool style. So I tried adopting it myself.
But it turns out that the software engineers in Silicon Valley, like, they don't really
react well to having their ships being burned. They're pretty smart. They build new ships.
They figure out how to strand the captain. Fortunately, I then took a family trip to
Israel. Through some friends, we got to meet some Israeli tank commanders. I learned something
very important from them. Israeli tank commanders don't yell "Charge." They yell "Aharai", which
translates from Hebrew as "Follow me." Cortes burned the ships so his men had no choice.
Then he sat back and yelled "Charge" as he sent the poor guys into bloody battle. I've
learned that a better style is to emulate the Israeli tank commander. With that, I hope
you enjoyed my rules. I do try to live by them. And in the words of every Israeli tank
commander, Aharai. Thank you.