Summer Readings

by Sebastien Mirolo on Wed, 1 Sep 2010

September is here again. The summer is almost over and as usual the cold and foggy days have given ways to the warm season here in San Francisco. It is a good time to compile a list of the articles and books I have read through the last months that have held my thoughts.

First, "The referral engine", by John Jantsch, is just perfect: easy to read and full of direct and useful example on the art of generating and managing referrals. Small and starting businesses do not have the luxury to rely on a recognized brand as major corporates do. They need to build their network one client at a time and providing the best possible experience to each of them. This book provides concrete ideas, tools and processes to ensure you nurture every relationship. I would say it is a good read for every business person and definitely a must for small business owners.

Published in 2007, "The myths of innovation", by Scott Berkun is plain real. Glamor and genius are stickers put onto innovators after that fact. The reality of these people, most of us in technology, is full of sweat, tears and sacrifices. This book is like looking at the backstage of a theater and starting to understand where the magic comes from. Dreams and stories are what you need to succeed in the outside world but make sure all your contributors keep a copy of this book on their desk.

Then there are two interesting articles in the Harvard Business Review of May 2001. "The leaders we need now", by Tamara J. Erickson, describes the complex inter-generational relationships in the workplace and how it affects leadership and management. In the same issue of May 2010, I picked up "Bringing out the best in your people" by Liz Wiseman and Greg McKeown. It is a concise clear article on leadership styles and how it affects teams. In a few pages, it can lead you to a thorough introspection on how you lead and relate to people around. It is always a good to idea to stop and think and that is what this article will most likely do for you. The last article I would like to recommend is "What's so Special about Special Ops?" by Andrew Sobel in the strategy+business issue 57 for Winter 2009. Total training, clear objectives and commitment to the team are funding values of fortylines. That article thus resonated very well with me and how we envision each project here at fortylines.

From a technical perspective, I found the following blog entry by Neil McAllister, Are tribal monocultures the future of software development?, very insightful. Otherwise, Best Open CMS: WordPress vs Joomla vs Dupral and C++ Unit Testing Frameworks are the sort of concrete side-by-side comparison you are looking for when reading on technologies and products you want to understand better.

There is finally a quote I stumbled upon recently on engaging leadership. I liked it enough to translate it here in English. It is the story of three teams, doing the same task, building a cathedral in the middle ages. To the question: "What are you doing?", the first team replies: "We are cutting stones". The second team replies: "We are making a wall". Finally, the third team replies: "We are building the most beautiful cathedral in the World!".

by Sebastien Mirolo on Wed, 1 Sep 2010