Track Day: Grobnik 2019/9

When the season started I was hoping I’ll be able to get in a few more sessions than last year. But as luck would have it, I’ve missed two over the summer, and this one was the first one after early August. Car track days are definitely secondary for the organizers, as it seems they had almost daily track days for motorbikes over the summer. Which is really a shame since car track days are always full, even when they give us a weird time. As it happened this time – Thursday later afternoon, from 17 to 20.

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Track Day: Grobnik 2019/5

Unfortunately, the weather was not on our side for this session. We’ve had some dry minutes, but also pouring rain which meant that the track was wet the whole time.

The new tires I fitted for this season, the Cup 2, definitely do not feel at home on the wet. I’ve had to catch the car at least three times and had no chance of keeping up with FWD Type-R Civics which are usually clocking around the same time.

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Book: The Manager’s Path, Camille Fournier

Review

Without a doubt one of the best books on management. A must-read if you’re in technology, even if you don’t come from a technical background (like I don’t). The tl;dr doesn’t do it justice, it’s a guidebook that should be regularly revisited. Highly recommended.

tl;dr

Have 1-on-1 meetings. Trust your team. Mentor new hires. Create a safe environment for disagreement. Managers need to make your life easier. Don’t compromise on culture fit, especially with managers. Senior leaders are dedicated first and foremost to the business and its success, and secondly to the success of their departments as a whole. Disagreements that happen in the context of the leadership team don’t exist to the wider team.

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Book: The Lean Startup, Eric Ries

Review

This is a legendary startup book that somehow evaded me for a long time. I was still aware of the general ideas, however, reading it sooner would probably help me avoid a basic mistake we made in one of our latests projects. I love the concept of Validated Learning and are already working on implementing it into our processes.

Highly recommended.

tl;dr

Run experiments to learn if something is working. Build-Measure-Learn feedback loop. Build the MVP (either a product or a single feature), Measure the effect on customers, Learn if it’s value-creating or wasteful. Use cohort analysis for measurements. Always work in small batches.

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Book: Work Rules!, Laszlo Bock

Review

A great book on Google’s completely different style of management. Unfortunately, I’ve heard and read enough about Google of late that I know this doesn’t apply anymore. That said, if we take author’s word for it, there was a time where these things were working well and there are lessons we can learn from it.

tl;dr

Take power and authority over employees away from managers. Decisions by peer groups, committees, or teams. Every human being wants to find meaning in his or her work. Transparency is one of the cornerstones of Google’s culture. Restricting information should be a conscious effort, and you’d better have a good reason for doing so.

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

Work Rules!

Voice means giving employees a real say in how the company is run. Two things that should be completely separate: performance evaluation and people development.

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Book: The Permanent Portfolio, Craig Rowland

Review

This is a modern interpretation of the book Fail-Safe Investing by Harry Browne. It’s the same concept but with modern examples. This is a fantastic book and an investment strategy I use myself. Highly recommended.

tl;dr

25 percent each: stocks, bonds, gold, cash (short-term bonds)

The Permanent Portfolio

The Permanent Portfolio is a strategy to embrace uncertainty in the markets. The main goal is to prevent major losses. Surprisingly, backtests also show that over the long-term PP also beats highly volatile stock-only portfolios. Rebalance once a year or when an asset reaches 15% or 35%. Keep some assets outside the country in which you live.

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Book: The Checklist Manifesto, Atul Gawande

Review

Checklists are great. We use them in all parts of the company process and a lot of documentation is made obsolete just by changing it to a checklist that anyone can follow. This is a great read.

tl;dr

Jobs are becoming too complex to be done from memory alone. Checklists remind us of the minimum necessary steps. Reminders of most critical and important steps. Practical. Between five and nine items. Let it evolve.

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Book: Ogilvy on Advertising, David Ogilvy

Review

A classic from 1963 and still very relevant, even when writing for the web.

tl;dr

Do the market research. Make the product the hero. The headline should sell the product and promise a benefit. Put identifying words in the headline when selling to a small group. Pretend you are writing a letter. “The more facts you tell, the more you sell”. Long copy better than short. Write copy in the form of a story. Pretend to be a magazine editor and you will get better results.

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