Level 5 leaders channel their ego needs away from themselves and into the larger goal of building a great company. It's not that Level 5 leaders have no ego or self-interest. Indeed, they are incredibly ambitious -- but their ambition is first and foremost for the institution, not themselves.

Sep 16, 2005

Got Met Thinking, Part 3: See What I Mean?

A perfect example of resource-based problem solving!

A programmer from Italy reportedly stumbled across previously unknown ancient Roman ruins near his home when he was simply messing around with Google Earth.

posted at 07:51 PM by Chris Chew in Education, Leadership, Science, Technology | Comments (0)

Got Me Thinking Continued: Resource-based Problem Solvers

Continuing with my thoughts that sprung from Microsoft's Hiring Practices...

How many kinds of problem solvers are there?  Some that I have thought of are:

"Leave me alone, I can find it on my own" - The ultra self-motivated type of person

"Give me a few books (or an Internet connection) and I'll figure it out" - The resourceful type of person

"I'm going to look very cute until you tell me" - The sociologically-resourceful type of person.  Some ex-girlfriends come to mind here.

"I won't ever figure it out" - The non-problem solver.

...and I'm sure that technical names for these categories have been coined by people who do much more thinking about problem solving than I do.  Maybe we can even map them to this chart of the 16 personality types.  But the names do not concern me for now.

What does concern me, however, is how successful these types of people are going to be in different circumstances throughout life.

The Non-Problem-Solver will probably stay in their hometown and perform the same tasks that their most visible example (a parent?) performs. They will probably be happy, if only internally, and that is good.

The Sociologically-Resourceful type, my ex-girlfriends, will be successful so long as they can surround themselves with people who are eager to share (for whatever reason).

I expect only partial success for the Ultra-Self-Motivated type.  People simply cannot do everything on their own anymore.  In fact, we can do less and less all the time while things become more and more complex:  Who can repair their own car?  Can they do their own taxes?  Architect a financially-secure network?  Can they re-wire their house?  Can they raise their children?  Can they repair a levy?  Can they manage the task of rebuilding a disaster site?  Can they decorate their house?  Can they listen to your concerns without turning the conversation towards themselves?

As civilization progresses (or re-progresses if you talk to Graham Hancock), it becomes increasingly unreasonable to enjoy success as an introverted, self-reliant person.  Instead, success will come to people who can immediately convert anything into a resource -- books, people, web-pages, inanimate objects, or their own intellect -- and use any type of resource equally well.

This is what Twenty-Something's son B is doing when playing Legend of Zelda.  He is managing resources of various types to accomplish a daunting task:  beating the game.  The Legend of Zelda is an enormous and enormously impressive game; anybody who can complete it deserves some respect.

I played the original mid-1980's edition of The Legend of Zelda.  Even back then the game was huge.  At one point, I must have been 8 or 9 years old, I learned basic mapping skills because I could no longer keep track of the game's world and was forced to write it down in order to navigate directly to where I wanted to go.  In the 80's, there were no external resources for video gamers.  Today there are countless resources in the form of web-page walk-throughs, hints books and even older generations of video gamers.

Lots of employees with this skill of being able to use any type of resource to help accomplish any kind of goal is what progressive organizations need in order to progress.  These people are their most valuable assets.

From the stories that come back from interviewees, it seems that Microsoft understands the need to have resourceful employees.  Their hiring practices appear to be designed to determine what kind of problem solver a candidate is.  Based on the handful of people whom I know personally to have gone to work for Microsoft, they seem to be hiring the resourceful types.

I dislike Microsoft and loathe its success.  But I certainly cannot deny that it is a successful organization.

As an aside, I wouldn't be surprised if they saw the need for resourceful marketers before they saw the need for resourceful developers.  This might help explain its impressive sales numbers despite the terrible security and stability issues with Windows 95, 98 and Me, and Office 97-2003.

posted at 12:57 PM by Chris Chew in Education, Leadership, Technology | Comments (0)

Jul 21, 2005

Got Me Thinking...Microsoft's Interviewing Practices

I just wanted to give you a heads-up that I'm pregnant with a new post.  I'll briefly describe the idea here until it's ready for a full blog post...

ASP.NET bloggers have been arguing recently about Microsoft's interviewing practices.  In particular, they are wondering whether it is good that Microsoft asks preposterous questions simply to observe how an interviewee approaches problem solving.

TwentySomethingMom has been watching her 6 year old son read adult-level hint books while playing the Legend Of Zelda video game for hours upon hours.

(Correction:  He's 7 years old...)

And we can't forget our Level 5 rule to leadership:  Get the right people on the bus, decide where they should sit, and then decide which direction the bus is headed.

There are correlations here that should help identify what characteristics define "the right person".  I have a feeling that we'll discover that TwentySomethingMom's son B will be the right kind of person for any bus.

See you soon!

posted at 02:24 PM by Chris Chew in Education, Leadership, Technology | Comments (0)

Feb 27, 2005


A LINK IS FLOATING AROUND to some color pictures taken during the First World War.  It feels very strange to look at them.

I had the same thoughts as the VodkaPundit regarding the color-ness of the photos, namely the realization that WWI was not very long ago and its wounds are not completely healed.

Yet since that time, Europe has added child-labor laws, space flight, a failed Nazi invasion, horribly failing communism experiments, countless human rights laws and an arguably viable shot at a united economic system.  It seems kind of like trying to re-varnish a table top without sanding and cleaning the original surface.  It's just not going to hold up.  And consequently, we still have the problem of European Islamists trying to conquer Europe.

posted at 01:29 PM by Chris Chew in Politics, Technology | Comments (0)

Feb 22, 2005

A French Librarian Hates Google?

THE NATIONAL LIBRARY OF FRANCE is claiming that Google, as an American company, is guilty of "the American crushing domination of ideas as presented to future generations worldwide."  Read the BetaNews article about it here (via Slashdot), and the original editorial by Library President Jean-Noel Jeanneney here.  The editorial is written in French, but with a great twist of irony, you can use the Google translator to read it in English.

From BetaNews:

...Google said it was surprised by Jeanneney's remarks. "For our perspective he (Jeanneney) had concern about Google Print because we partnered with Anglo Saxons. This is a first step for us; we can't do everything at once," a Google spokesperson told BetaNews.

I was surprised also.  I expect a person responsible for maintaining the integrity of the World's written Word to be very excited at the nigh prospect of indexing and searching millions of texts using a proven Internet search technology.  I can only assume this expectation stems from a deeper expectation that the President of a National Library would be a Level 5 leader.  Apparently, Jean-Noel Jeanneney is not Level 5, otherwise he would be opening talks with Google offering everything at his disposal to accelerate development of the French version of the technology.

P.S. With statements like Jeanneney's it is difficult for me to not have a sardonic perspective towards a completely similar, analogous American effort:  A democratic Iraq.  Europe complained for 3 years about American imperialism, and this week suddenly decides to cooperate.  Let all Americans be reminded of the words of Walt Whitman, as excerpted for us by Instapundit.

UPDATE: Austin Bay thinks we shouldn't be so cynical about the winds of change in Europe.  Sounds good to me.

posted at 09:18 PM by Chris Chew in Politics, Technology