5 Share Friday 5 April 2019

Quote I’m pondering – ” It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.” – Hugh Laurie

Article that’s changed my behaviourAdam Grant’s NYTimes article on productivity is a worthy read. He shows how attention management not time management is the solution for increased productivity. I particularly liked the mention of Paul Graham’s blog where he describes dividing the week into “maker days” and “manager days”, I’m trying it!

Favourite purchaseCube Cross Pro bicycle. Being carless isn’t as easy as I thought in Denmark. When you bike everywhere, you need a really good bike. So I ditched all the prior advice on city bikes and bicycle living, focusing on my own needs. I found the Cube Cross Pro light enough and high spec enough for almost all cycling (with and without kids). I no longer get tired from trying to keep up with my wife on our family bike (she has battery power!).  If you’re looking for a bicycle to get you around town, take you into the country, carry or tow your kids, you won’t get better than this one for the price.

On employee experience – I saw another fantastic article this week. Part of it details how most of us are now in a stage where we have too much technology, and not enough time at work. The author goes on to describe how a major part of building an employee experience is simplifying the technology experience, and designing programs that happen “in the flow of work.”

Even in a relatively new company I’m finding systems I’m required to use (benefits, expense, IT infrastructure inc email servers and permissions to online systems etc.) appear to have been created in silo’s. They stop my flow at times, blocking my most important work. Imagine working for a company where systems thinking, resulting in departments collaborating on a ‘whole’ employee experience make everything flow, I want that.

Book I’m reading – I found my old John Titor book the other day. John Titor sparked great debate amongst friends and work colleagues years ago. This book is  a fascinating look at one of histories recorded time travellers, reprinting all of his posts online. I’m not saying I believe he was a time traveler, though I like to think he might have been. It’s an amazing read (Here’s a good online summary for those not aware of John).

Thankfully many of his predictions did not come true, though could it simply be that in our timeline they’re still in our future? 🙂

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I hope you have a great weekend doing what you love.

Missed last weeks 5 Share? Find it here. If you like this 5 share, please share with others. You can also get notified by email every Friday, simply sign up using the sign up box on this page.

See my other blog posts and interesting topics here: https://www.marcuspurvis.com/category/posts/

5 Share Friday 29 March 2019

Quote I’m pondering “Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do.”- Oprah Winfrey

How to pick a career – After listening to Adam Grant’s latest WorkLife podcast, I went back to Tim Urban’s blog Waitbutwhy. The thinking and advice on picking a career is gold. Even if you have the career you think you want, you need to read this (it’s a long thought provoking read).

#Thefutureofwork – In the US there are fewer unemployed than there are jobs available.. “The skills gap is like climate change. Most people know there’s a problem, but few are doing anything meaningful about it.” This great piece in Forbes dives into the future of work and how important it is for all organisations to foster learning as part of the job.

TV show I’ve been watching – We’ve recently finished watching Ricky Gervais‘ new Netflix series After Life. The first 4 episodes are funny yet dark, then in episode 5 it all comes together. It’s worth watching (unless you’re easily offended by swearing). Amazing moment – the below from a conversation the main character has with a person he meets by his wife’s gravestone:

“Happiness is amazing,”

“It’s so amazing it doesn’t matter if it’s yours or not.

“Good people do things for other people. That’s it – the end.”

Disaster Capitalism? – March 29th was originally Brexit day for the UK. If you’ve read The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Kline or seen the documentary, you might be wondering if post Brexit is the time when the UK government will pass it’s most controversial policies (you’re probably right). Disaster Capitalism is alive more than ever. The more aware we are of this, perhaps the less chance it will succeed in the end?

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I hope you have a great weekend doing what you love.

Missed last weeks 5 Share? Find it here. If you like this 5 share, please share with others. You can also get notified by email every Friday, simply sign up using the sign up box on this page.

See my other blog posts and interesting topics here: https://www.marcuspurvis.com/category/posts/

 

If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself

At the age of 15, I found myself having to do course work and exams to leave school and take the next life step (mandatory education stopped at 16 back then, and I was a summer born so one of the youngest in my year).

I didn’t put much effort into revision for exams, I preferred to focus on coursework as it satisfied my love for reading, research and creation. For my computer studies coursework I chose to create a math test to help pupils prep for up coming maths exams. One of the rules we had for coursework projects (that I wasn’t keen on) was we were to do them alone.

BASIC (Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) was the language of choice for me. I’d been writing on my Commodore for a while (mainly text based adventures) and it was the primary language taught at my school. My challenge was I was still learning so would benefit from guidance and help. With this, rather than do the project alone, handing it in to learn from the results, I decided to seek a partner and learn on the go.

The computer that started it all for me (I still have it)

One of my best friends was more proficient at programming than I was, he also understood the advantages of collaboration. Collaboration such as code reviews, fresh eyes for testing, and pair programming (even though that wasn’t a recognised approach back then). So that’s what we did, we paired up on my project, where he helped me learn more than I could have if I’d gone it alone.

The project wasn’t perfect and the teacher made plenty of comments on our code. My friend didn’t receive any credit for the work he put in (we couldn’t risk it), though he did learn a bunch of things himself and we both benefited from spending more time together playing R-Type.

R-Type on the spectrum, a classic from my childhood

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

Years later that same friend let me stay at his house after I’d returned from one of my trips travelling abroad. He was working at Electronic Arts and I’d decided I should stick around in the UK, I needed to start some sort of job path. He saw how I’d kept up to date and relevant in the world of IT and video games. With this confidence, he put me forward for a role supervising a small team. A team testing compatibility and security at EA’s UK headquarters.

I landed the job and that’s when my thirst for collaboration really began to take hold. Myself and the team began to get great results based on partnerships and collaboration, not strict process and authority.

I’ve worked this way ever since, a way that gets results for all, results based on real collaboration for the best solutions, not disingenuous relationships or mandatory process. It hasn’t worked for me all the time, as in actually hurting my career at different stages. In tech and video games it’s been more usual for rewards to focus on the superhero individual, not the team. I remember suffering poor performance reviews at Microsoft under the Steve Balmer era, an era of internal competing, rather than leveraging with and contributing to others.

What I learned early on, at the time I did my BASIC project, was that I didn’t want to change. I was lucky to have made some strong friendships at EA, some of who joined Microsoft too. With them we kept to our values, values of collaboration and giving rather than taking.

Right now I’m at Unity where one of the values is “In it together”. A value that, if truly part of the culture will result in success for employees, customers and the business. It’s a tough one to establish, as more conventional metrics driven teams compete and backstab due to the very nature of individual metrics. I haven’t seen it here yet, especially in the engineering organisation where we strive not to have the super hero model.

How do you approach activities for achieving results? If you’re not leveraging or contributing to others then you’re only getting half of what can be achieved. I find this goes for my marriage and friendships too.

“Synergy is the highest activity of life; it creates new untapped alternatives; it values and exploits the mental, emotional, and psychological differences between people.” – Stephen Covey

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5 Share Friday 22 March 2019

Quote I’m pondering“People who live far below their means enjoy a freedom that people busy upgrading their lifestyles can’t fathom.”Naval Ravikant

Life lessons I wish I’d had sooner – Staying with @Naval, these lessons he re-shared on Twitter (you don’t need an account to view) have resulted in me pivoting more than one area of my life recently. I’ve copied them to my personal cloud, in order to keep them forever and share with my children. You’ll definitely be interested in them.

Books I’m reading: I read multiple books at once. There are many out there to learn from and be enjoyed. If you don’t know where to start looking for inspiration, try Bill Gates and Tim Ferriss. My current reading – Sapiens (this one is big), Man’s search for meaning (I read this every year, it’s the most important book in my life), Measure what Matters, Who’s Pulling Your Strings?, Turning the Flywheel.

Here are more from my reading list:

Photo courtesy of Unsplash, not mine (they are all on my reading list)

Work I’m pondering – I’m in technology, where often people try to persuade others that data is king for decision making. Data is crucial, though by itself it doesn’t trump our thinking. In fact data can be as biased as human intuition, this is an interesting read from Bruce Kasanoff that’s helping me act and plan more effectively using data.

LinkedIn profiles – I’m planning changes to my LinkedIn profile and devouring the best advice I can find. This one from Andy Foote on effective LinkedIn summaries has some great examples, I’m taking inspiration and banking it. Take a look, I think you’ll be inspired too.

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Here’s wishing you have a terrific weekend full of doing what you love.

Missed last weeks 5 Share? Find it here. If you like this 5 share, please share with others. You can also get notified by email every Friday, simply sign up using the sign up box on this page.

See my other blog posts and interesting topics here: https://www.marcuspurvis.com/category/posts/