Creative Amidst Bureaucracy

September 5, 2007 - One Response

 

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I recently read this post on Behance and thought that it was definitely worth sharing with all of you.

Contrary to popular belief, creativity can exist in bureaucratic environments. You can see it in the form of brainstorms and “exciting days” in offices across the corporate world. A new idea flourishes, but then it enters a bureaucratic mess that substantially reduces the likelihood of execution.

“Don” (real name protected) had an internship this summer at a social networking startup that shall go nameless. As he explains, “ideas for changes and small improvements would originate in a brainstorm, and then be preserved for a meeting with our design agency. A week later, a meeting with designers would end with a series of questions for the programmers. The programmers (some work on the opposite coast and some work in India), would have to agree on a meeting time with the designers and with the executives. By the time that meeting happened, everyone would need a refresher on the topic, weeks would have passed, and money evaporated.” Painful.

To make ideas happen, creative professionals must work in a system that values a bias-to-action and boundaryless collaboration. Read the rest of this entry »

Snapshots of a Startup: Hedging Your Bets

August 29, 2007 - One Response

Mistakes…immediately after the fact, they suck…but in hindsight…they’re some of the best teachers of all time.  To be brutally honest, this post is going to be in direct reference to a mistake that I’ve made in the management of my startup venture.  So without further adieu…lets just cut to the chase.

Several months back, our team and project was thriving, yet there remained one critical piece to the puzzle that needed to be filled.  Actually, there was one more person that we needed to find to work with on the project.  My thinking was to do a ton of research, talk to a ton of people and then see who I would come across.  Upon doing so, I spent time talking to several different individuals and worked hard on filtering down the list to a handful of candidates.  And then I made a major blunder… Read the rest of this entry »

When 3 < 1

August 16, 2007 - 4 Responses

 

Black versus White

Could it be? Is there really a time when more can be less? Yes…at least when it comes to results, performance and productivity that is. Bear with me here.

A very talented and experienced software engineer once gave me some advice on the topic of partnering with the right people. In a very simple and to-the-point kind of manner, he told me that one great programmer could do the same amount of work, if not more, than that of three good programmers. So with this example, throwing more people (resources) at a project doesn’t necessarily mean better/faster development (results).

Ever known somebody like that? A person that you knew could handle anything, do it without a team of assistants and still manage to get in done in less time than needed. Moral of the story…while the RIGHT person may require more resources and be more difficult to get on board…in the end, they’ll end up accomplishing more than three other good individuals combined. LESS is MORE…think GREAT, not GOOD.

And this post is not just about people…but about many other areas as well.  MORE money, MORE hardware, MORE marketing…instead, think of the RIGHT solution to your problem, the RIGHT strategy for your target market, the RIGHT approach to your social work.  Case in point, quality > quantity.

Dreamers and Visionaries

July 25, 2007 - Leave a Response

Let me preface this post by saying that I’m a HUGE advocate of dreams. Everything about ‘em…from the dreaming process to the creativity involved to the aspiration of more than “the familiar”…it’s all good…BUT, I’ve recently noticed the shortcomings which often plague those that dare to dream. In essence, it’s *the next step* that stifles the dreamers, and this next step is where dreamers develop into visionaries. Initiative, Passion, Thinking…yes, yes and yes…they’re all very vital, but I’d like to just mock up a quick comparison of the two for the time being:

By Micah Davis

…be there.

July 20, 2007 - 2 Responses

 

“Wherever you are…be there.” – Dr. Nasir Siddiki

This post is in direct response to the quote above. The culture of our society today seems to 100% embrace the notion of an “it’s okay…I have A.D.D.” type of mentality. Combine that with the ever-present *multi-task mindset* of the work-a-holic community and there’s no wonder why people have such a hard time staying on track, reaching their goals and fulfilling their dreams.

Ever been somewhere but not really “been there?” You know, your body is there but you’re checked out mentally. Daydreams, sleepiness, fatigue, ideas…whatever the reason may be, it’s easy to go through the motions without being tuned into the environment and/or task at hand. Read the rest of this entry »

Snapshots of a Startup: The Lowest Common Denominator

July 10, 2007 - Leave a Response

 

In the continuation of the Snapshots of a Startup series, I’ve making an effort to simply share some of the lessons/principles/concepts that I’m learning throughout the course of working on my first major startup. Well…it’s been a while now…and I’ve had this idea brewing in my head for quite some time. I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to both meet and become friends with many successful entrepreneurs, businessmen and social influencers. Each person has had some great nuggets of insight to share…yet in the experiences of each lies one thread, one reoccurring theme, one common denominator. Read the rest of this entry »

The Little Birdie…

June 25, 2007 - One Response

 

The story below is an excerpt from Chazown, a book by Craig Groeschel. It’s short and simple…but raises some good points!

One day the bird was flying South for the winter and got caught in a snowstorm. As snow landed on his tiny wings, it melted slightly, then quickly froze, causing the bird to fall to the ground. As he sat helpless and shivering, encased in ice, the bird thought to himself, this is the end.

To make matters worse, a cow wandered toward the freezing bird and – wouldn’t you know it? - deposited a stinking pile of manure on top of the bird. The bird panicked, horrified at the thought that he was going to freeze to death, covered in manure. But slowly, the warmth of the manure caused the bird to thaw out. He fluttered his newly freed wings and began to chirp with joy! Chirp! Chirp!

That’s when a cat, drawn by the chirping, ran over, dug out the bird…and ate him! This story of courage and calamity teaches three important lessons:

1. Not everyone that drops manure on you is your enemy
2. Not everyone who digs you out of manure is your friend
3. When you are in manure, keep your mouth shut

By Micah Davis

A Simple Analogy

June 21, 2007 - 2 Responses

Hamilton Wright Mable said, “Don’t worry about opposition. Remember, a kite rises against the wind, not with the wind.” We need to approach challenges with this same mindset. At first, it may seem like a hindrance, but in the end, the wind is what allows the kite to soar and dip gracefully across the sky. Without the wind, the beauty within the kite is not revealed. Face the challenge head-on, with passion, and allow it to help you soar. Remember, no one rises to meet low expectations.

The above is a passage from the Habitudes by Dr. Tim Elmore. What struck me the most about it though was the last sentence that reads, “Remember, no one rises to meet low expectations.” The kite analogy is a simple illustration of how going “against the grain” is what reveals the beauty of the kite. I recently sat down with a fellow entrepreneur and MBA student at Cal-Berkley. In our conversation, he mentioned an idea of his that had a couple of hurdles to overcome. While these barriers to entry may be difficult to overcome initially, upon reaching the other side…the very same obstacles that once hindered his path to success could eventually become the pillars of his competitive advantage.

So to sum it all up…if what you set out to do was *easy*, then somebody would already have done it or there wouldn’t be any great reward in constructing it. The Key to Growth is Resistance…if we could only keep that in perspective.

By Micah Davis

Entrepreneurial Wisdom

June 18, 2007 - 6 Responses

 

Learning from the mistakes of others can be one of the single biggest *shortcuts* on the path to success. Here are some recent remarks from some entrepreneurs who have “been there and done that.”

Build a Strong Team of Generalists Who Can Specialize – Avichal Garg

Find team members who complement each other but who can jump in to do anything. For example, if you are building a team of engineers, find great engineers, some of whom think about the front-end, some about the back-end, some about speed, but all of whom can jump in wherever and whenever needed to build a part of the product.

Do the Simplest Thing Possible – David Weekly

You’re probably pretty smart so you’ve probably built out a very elaborate scheme / architecture / process for achieving world peace while becoming fabulously wealthy. Drop it. This big-picture kind of stuff is pure intellectual masturbation. Instead, ask yourself, almost as a joke, what the absolute simplest possible version of the idea would be – challenge yourself to something you can do in a day. You may be surprised (positively or negatively!) by the results.

 

Bigger than You – Sumaya Kazi

Surround yourself with people smarter than yourself. It can only breed success.

Read the rest of this entry »

Creativity with Constraints

June 14, 2007 - 2 Responses

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First off, I’d like to mention that one of my best friends and co-founder, Chris Capehart, has recently launched his new blog appropriately titled “The Different Ink.” Chris is one of the most passionate people that I know with a genuine care for relationships and appetite for success. I highly recommend that you check out his blog…I know that I’m looking forward to some more posts (Chris…*hint, hint*). And now we’ll be moving along to what’s been on my mind…

Stuck…ever been there? Ever felt it? Well if you’re human like the rest of us, then the chances are that you have been. But breaking through mental barriers and life’s challenges can be accomplished easier with some tools at hand. So when it comes to being creative, I generally like to try 2 different approaches. The 1st of which is to ask the BIG question of…”What if?” Simple…you bet, but powerful when uttered with intent. I’m actually not going to dive into this direction as Chris has actually just written about the subject here.

Now this next approach seems to be neglected and underutilized a little more often than not. Read the rest of this entry »

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