Oddly enough despite being a passionate NFL fan, I probably won’t watch the game either. My problem is that I start to care about the NFL draft on Monday and I go strong all through the off-season and keep it up until about week 15 of the NFL season before I burn out. By the time the Super Bowl week hits, I can’t handle anymore football which means I only pay a passing interest in the game itself unless Denver is in it. In other words, I’ll be back caring about football on Monday.
Caterina Fake has a great post on the role of Abraham in a company.
I call the founder, founders or founding team of a company “The Abraham”. The Abraham influences all that follows, sets the vision and direction for the company, and the Abraham’s mores, habits, preferences, flaws and prejudices are often built, consciously or unconsciously, into the fabric of the company. This influences the products and services, first and foremost. But the Abraham also influences everything from company HR policies, the kinds of employees that work there, its investors, its customer service and even its logo and office decor. You can often tell what the founder cared about, and didn’t care about. You go to Google and it’s like a playground for adults– curious, smart adults — massive dinosaur in the courtyard, lego tables, beanbag chairs, primary colors — and then you read interviews with Larry and Sergey where they credit their success to having attended Montessori schools, and you see where it came from.
Often the Abraham is CEO, but doesn’t stay CEO. Google’s Abrahams are Larry and Sergey, and they had a strong influence on the company even during the 10 years that Eric Schmidt was CEO. Oracle is very Larry Ellison. Martha Stewart is very Martha Stewart. Zynga is very Mark Pincus. Groupon is very Andrew Mason. And isn’t Apple so very much Steve Jobs, so much so that when he left, and his successors tried to kill the Abraham, the company nearly died? It’s hard to kill the Abraham. Not only that, if you succeed, it may not be possible for the new leader to assume the mantle. Best for the Abraham to stick around, and work closely with the new leaders to make sure the spirit of the company survives. This has been, in my experience and observation, the best method for retaining the magical juju. This is why the role of incoming, non-native CEO at a startup is a notoriously difficult job. They don’t fit in with the company culture. Most of them don’t last a year.
Leaders are not what many people think–people with huge crowds following them. Leaders are people who go their own way without caring, or even looking to see whether anyone is following them. “Leadership qualities” are not the qualities that enable people to attract followers, but those that enable them to do without them. The include, at the very least, courage, endurance, patience, humor, flexibility, resourcefulness, determination, a keen sense of reality, and the ability to keep a cool and clear head even when things are going badly. This is the opposite of the “charisma” that we hear so much about.
Ten years ago today I published my first post on this site. I wasn’t sure if this blogging thing was going to last but since then I have posted more then 11,000 times to the site and the traffic has grown quite a bit. There hasn’t been many changes to the site. It was first powered by Blogger, then Blogger Pro, and then back to plain Blogger again after Google purchased it. After 8000 posts, I moved the site to WordPress.
I started to post here because Andrew Careaga wrote a book called e-vangelism back in the early days of the interweb and he published a newsletter that talked about technology and faith. I never read the book (sorry Andrew) but I did read the newsletter. In it he talked about Blogger and how you could use it to keep a church website updated. That is how I discovered Blogger and the rest has been history. When I started blogging, there was Andrew Jones, Rudy Carrasco and myself blogging about the church and theological issues. Other than them I learned a lot from Doc Searls, AKMA, Jason Kottke, Caterina Fake, Jeneanne Sessum, and Rebecca Blood.
I am not really sure why I keep posting here. There never was a plan behind it. I had no ambitions to be a thought leader, create a movement, make money, or achieve fame. What I wanted was a place to explore ideas, keep track of interesting things and later on, share things with friends. Hopefully I have done that.
I have also made some enemies. One city councillor continues to block me on Twitter and called me an “first class asshole” over some comments I made last summer, one prominent Christian leader threatened to sue over comments, I think it’s a contributing factor for why my dad and I haven’t talked in eight years and more than one former colleague has questioned my Christianity over my more liberal views. Still the site has brought more joy than angst so it’s all good.
There has been a lot of friends made as well. Too many to list but thanks for the emails, comments, tweets, and time spent together over the last decade. Hopefully there is an interesting link or two in the future. Of course with entire companies moving from the open web to closed Facebook, I am now quite a bit behind the times but that’s the story of my life.
Not sure what the future brings. I am writing a weekly column now at The StarPhoenix so some of my longer (and better written pieces) will be posted there. I’ll still be posting links, sports (including my scheme to purchase the L.A. Dodgers) and some photos as well.
Thanks to everyone who reads this rather odd collection of links, rants, and articles. You have been the ones that have made this so much fun.