My next Huffington Post piece is up. This one is on Soft Skills. The original was about twice as long, so eventually I’ll post the rest here. But for now, hope you enjoy.
I often hear entrepreneurs say that they hire based on soft skills, because they can’t be taught. I’ve been hiring and guiding people for 20 years, and I vehemently disagree. In some cases, people don’t want the social graces. In others, people (especially really smart people) rarely have the patience. But, provided you are willing, you can train yourself how to work well with others. Just ask Zig Ziglar, one of the best sales people and a famous motivational speaker. He made a career out of training people how to develop soft skills.
krypted March 10th, 2016
Posted In: Business
I started playing Dungeons and Dragons in about the 5th or 6th grade. I didn’t get good at it for awhile. And once I got good at it, I didn’t play much longer (insert reference to “The Best Days of My Life” here). Along the way, I learned a few lessons that until I got older, I didn’t realize were great life lessons. I also learned a lot that helped me later in life in the business world. Here’s a few you may or may not agree with (and yes, the image is of a box sitting on my table at home:).
krypted January 26th, 2016
Posted In: Business
I started working at JAMF a little over a year and a half ago. And one of my favorite things about the on boarding process here is the emphasis on continuing education that was handed down to me. I was given two books to read on my first day. Then, during my get-the-cool-aid on boarding (aka Zero Month), I had a couple of pretty rad JAMFs go through a list of books they felt were essential and review the books from my first day. Theeeen, I had meetings with Co-Founder and CEO at the time Chip Pearson, where he would stop meetings and order me books. It was a book nerd’s heaven I tell ya’.
And like other heavenly nerd things, I thought I’d share it with you here. So here’s 25 good business books that I either read or re-read since I’ve been here (in no specific order):
The Blue Ocean Strategy. This book outlines a specific market condition they call a “red ocean”, which is when a market is so saturated that the players in that market start to drop prices and engage in cut-throat tactics. The premise is that rather than entering a market with the same product that everyone else has, you might as well look for a different market. I’ll expand this and say a different market segment as well. It’s a delightful and quick read. Very interesting little book, and much more business than you’d think given the tone (which makes the prose easy to get through).
The Idea Factory: When I was in college, I wanted to lead R&D at Bell Labs. Or Xerox. This is the story of Bell and all the breakthroughs and ideas they came up with. It’s a fantastic little book. And a must-read for those who want to play the innovation game.
Startup CEO: There are so many things that a lot of books on how to start a business, or write a business plan, or go get VC don’t cover. This is really a tacticians look at starting a company or business unit. It’s concise and easy to read, with real life examples and tons of things that I’ve seen first hand. I’m not sure you can truly appreciate it until you’ve been there a couple of times, but if you have it’s great to know you’re not the only one!
Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance: Before IBM was a juggernaut, it was a juggernaut. But between those two stages, IBM was in serious peril. Then Louis Gerstner came and changed what IBM was, how IBM operated, and helped to turn them into a new kind of awesome. When he retired, he wrote this book. While it’s part euphoric recall, anyone who wonders WTF in big companies should read this book. I think it helped me better understand why some of the things that used to frustrate me happen, and understand more about what it takes to run a truly global organization.
Getting Naked: This was a pretty weird business book. Because it was written like a piece of fiction. I appreciated the change-up after a year of reading so many books on business. The thesis is really that you should be in touch with yourself and your clients in a very Jerry Maguire way. It’s simple, but an easy read with a few really good points to take away (such as not to scoff at the competition when they do seemingly hippy things).
Guerilla Marketing Weapons: 100 tips on getting more out of marketing. ‘Cause who doesn’t want that? If you read this, keep a notepad handy. It’s got a lot of basic, easy things. But it’s got a lot of ideas that you’ll want to capture while they’re fresh as well.
Notes to a Software Team Leader: This book is about self organizing teams. ‘Cause developers don’t need managers as much as we seem to think. But they do need structure, like all teams.
Trust Me, I’m Lying: PR gone wrong. There’s a lot of great tips in this book from a “don’t do this” standpoint. Euphoric recall as a teaching mechanism. The dark side of PR.
Crossing the Chasm: This book is about how some tech companies go mainstream (and uber-profitable) and how some just don’t. There is a chasm between early adoption and mainstream. Why? How do you keep from getting caught in it? Great items this book does a great job covering. If you’re in the startup/innovation/tech scene, you simply have to read this book; it’s a classic.
The Art of the Start: Another classic (one I wish I’d of read years earlier), Guy Kawasaki takes aim at startups, looking to secure VC or bootstrap. Lots of great tips. Lots of good stories. From a veteran of the startup community, just without the grizzled aspects many of the veterans can get.
Enchantment: I’m just gonna’ throw in another book. This one tells the story of how Kawasaki got his start at Apple and has some parallels drawn between his time in the jewelry industry and marketing. It’s a good book. If you only have time for one of his books, read Art of the Start. If you have time for two, get Enchantment.
Ideas Are Free: This book caused me to setup meetings with people who would never think of tag lines and other creative items. I had mixed results, but it was abso-frickin’-lutely worth it. Not only do non-creatives have lots of good ideas, they also have lots of great responses to being included.
Delivering Happiness: How does Zappos end up with such a fanatical fan base? Support. If you’ve ever returned something to Zappos, you know what I mean. Everything about shopping there is a great experience. Not everyone can expend the resources they do, as support isn’t as integral a part of their strategy as it is at Zappos. But there are lots of
The Innovator’s Dilemma: The thesis: there are waves of innovation and you have to keep releasing disruptive tech to stay on those waves. If you listen to customers too much, you might miss out. If you don’t go downmarket eventually someone else will. If you don’t read this book, you won’t get all these fantastic tips.
The Lean Startup: Fail fast. It’s a good thesis to a book. Don’t fail too fast. I think they forgot to tell you when the breaking point is. But there are lots of stories and tips in this book that can help any fledgling product or business. And it’s well worth the time and money. Probably my second favorite book on the list.
Rework: Why schedule a 60 minute meeting when a 15 minute meeting (er, spike) will do? Lots of great little tips in this book from the people behind 37 Signals and Ruby.
Rookie Smarts: Liz Wiseman loves putting newbies into roles and seeing how they do. And she’s had success at it. In this book, there’s a bit of a simplistic approach to that (not everyone can sit in every chair in a growing company). But the most important aspect of this book is that she defined a few types of people or places in life that “rookies” are and how you can engage those specific groups best. this was probably my favorite part of the whole book.
Keeping Up with the Quants: Stats for marketing professionals. Unlike many of the books where there’s a thesis and then a lot of proving the thesis, this one is more of a longer collection of definitions, simple statistical formulas, etc.
Marketing In The Age Of Google: The general thesis of this thing is that content is king. Write a lot of good stuff that people want to link to and your product will get natural listings that are hard to displace. There’s other good little tips here and there, but that’s the key message. There, saved ya’ some time. 🙂
Growth Hacker Marketing: This is my favorite book on the list (like I said, no particular order). A fresh, interesting, cool, personal approach to getting your product branding in front of people. Some ideas cost a little. Some cost a lot. It’s great stuff. A must read in my humble opinion.
Traction: A bit of a slow paced book, but (pun intended) it gains traction as it goes. The Entrepreneurial Operating System is a bit much for me. But when explaining it, there are a lot of really amazing lessons that you have to learn. Some you learn the hard way, some you learn in this book.
Permission Marketing: Another Seth Godin book, this one focusing on using surveys, samples, contests, sales, and other marketing techniques to get in front of customers. The Purple Cow isn’t on this list, as I read it a long time ago. If you haven’t read it, check it out. If you have, check this out.
The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Things to do and not to do when marketing. Don’t send too many emails. Don’t send things that people don’t care about. But the most important part of this book, and pretty much the central thesis is to match with forces in the market. If you don’t do that, you won’t be able to get in sync with what customers want and how to grab their attention.
Managing Humans: We were excited when Michael Lopp, who wrote this book, joined the board of JAMF Software. In part, it was because Zach (co-founder of JAMF) and I both hero worshipped his writing. This is a great book, and his blog is great as well!
krypted December 29th, 2015
But Apple says… But Microsoft says… But Google says… I hear this all the time. And the very first thing I often ask is Who at Apple, Microsoft, Google, or whatever vendor says that?
The reason I ask “who” is often because you can get conflicting responses from a vendor for a given question. Why’s that? When an organization gets bigger than 1, there are suddenly more perspectives than just one. When an organization gets bigger than 3, communication starts to get more challenging and it becomes harder and harder to have everyone on the same page. When an organization gets bigger and bigger (500, 10,000, 100,000), not everyone is actually privy to all the pertinent information. Or people don’t know what they can say externally.
Who? Developers. Sales. Systems Engineers. Professional Services. Subject Matter Experts. Managers. Executives. Resellers. Marketing. Professional Services Providers. Office Managers. Channel Managers. Product Managers. Each of these might tell you something different when presented with the same question. A developer might only see a small portion of a larger overall project, as they’re buried in the code of a specific binary, feature, or option. Someone in sales might be representing a feature or function as it’s communicated to them, not being overly technical. Someone in Systems Engineering might communicate the feature as they use it, but not how you plan to use it. Someone in Professional Services would often have exposure in the environments they’ve implemented a feature, but a feature might mean more to them.
And it goes on through the rest of the functions . Who can you trust? No one. Everyone. Yourself. I’ve always maintained that until I see a feature, I don’t trust it. And when it comes to how I plan to implement a feature, I love hearing from an organization how they’d like me to use it. Unless I get a consistent response about what something from a vendor means to me (and even if I do to some extent), I reserve the responsibility of planning what it means to me for the person responsible for the repercussions: me.
I keep saying feature. But I also mean strategy. Strategy can be equally, if not more complicated. Different people at different levels of organizations will have their own perspectives on strategy. And strategy of how you work with a vendor is more important than the tactics of how you implement a given feature. The direction you should be going is yours. Unless you hear otherwise. And then confirm that.
Anyway, what am I getting at with this article? Next time someone tells me “But Google says…” don’t be surprised when I say “who?” And you should say that as well, and judge the messaged based on the who.
krypted December 23rd, 2015
Posted In: Business
My latest Huffington Post piece is up.
Apple has long been known for providing an exceptional user experience. But many might not realize that over the past few years, they’ve been pushing the infosec envelope, by making advanced security options accessible to everyday users. While not all of these features are new in El Capitan, here are 16 features that Apple has built into OS X that every user has simple access to:
Read more on Apple’s Security Tech at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/charles-edge/16-apple-security-advances-to-take-note-of-in-2016_b_8789456.html
And if you’d like to know more in depth information about Apple security, check out my latest book on Apple Security in the Enterprise on Amazon!
krypted December 16th, 2015
This is my 3,000th post on Krypted.com. The past 3,000 posts have primarily been about OS X Server, Mac automation, Mac deployment, scripting, iOS deployments, troubleshooting, Xsan, Windows Servers, Exchange Server, Powershell, security, and other technical things that I have done in my career. I started the site in response to a request from my first publisher. But it took on a mind of its own. And I’m happy with the way it’s turned out.
My life has changed a lot over these past 11 years. I got married and then I got divorced. I now have a wonderful daughter. I became a partner and the Chief Technology Officer of 318 and helped to shape it into what was the largest provider of Apple services, I left Los Angeles and moved to Minnesota, left 318 to help start up a new MDM for small businesses at JAMF Software called Bushel, and now I have become the Consulting Engineering Manager at JAMF. In these 11 years, I have made a lot of friends along the way. Friends who helped me so much. I have written 14 more books, spoken at over a hundred conferences, watched the Apple community flourish, and watched the emergence of the Post-PC era.
In these 11 years, a lot has happened. Twitter and Facebook have emerged. Microsoft has hit hard times. Apple has risen like a phoenix from those dark ashes. Unix has proved a constant. Open Source has come into the Mac world. The Linux gurus are still waiting for Linux on the desktop to take over the world. Apps. iOS. iPad. Mobility. Android. Wearables. Less certifications. More admins. And you can see these trends in the traffic for the site. For example, the top post I’ve ever written is now a list of Fitbit badges. The second top post is a list of crosh commands. My list of my favorite hacking movies is the third top post. None of these have to do with scripting, Apple, or any of the articles that I’ve spent the most time writing.
That’s the first 3,000 posts. What’s next? 3,000 more posts? Documenting the unfolding of the Post-PC era? Documenting the rise and fall of more technologies? I will keep writing, that’s for sure. I will continue doing everything I can to help build out the Apple community. And I will enjoy it. I’ve learned a lot about writing along this path. But I have a lot more to learn.
The past 3,000 posts have mostly been technical in nature. I’ve shown few of my opinions, choosing to keep things how-to oriented and very technical. Sure, there’s the occasional movie trailer when I have a “squee” moment. But pretty technical, overall. I’ve been lucky to have been honored to speak at many conferences around the world. One thing I’ve noticed over the past few years is that when people ask me to speak at conferences, they ask me to speak about broader topics. They don’t want me doing a technical deep dive. People use the term thought leader. And while I don’t necessarily agree, maybe it’s time I step up and write more of those kinds of articles here and there.
I’ve learned so much from you these 11 years. But I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface. I look forward to learning together over the course of the next 3,000 posts! Thank you for your support. Without it, I’d have probably stopped at 10 articles!
krypted November 16th, 2015
In a Tango class recently, I had to follow. I’m much more used to leading, and I kept bumping into people. Not my best moment. But then my instructor said something that turned out to be very wise advice: “close your eyes.” All of a sudden, everything just kicked into place and I was on the other side of a Tango dance, easily imagining how legs can get kicked out and intertwined and how the whole thing just works. It also helped me lead better. I finally understood that you have to be forcefully charging ahead, or you mess up the rhythm of the follower.
The same can be true in business. I used to find that new employees at my old company always had 20 things to tell us that we should be doing better. Most of these things had been tried, or deprecated over time. Many employees came from smaller companies who didn’t need checks, balances, and documentation like we did. Many came from larger companies, who needed a lot of those same checks, balances, and documentation that we did not. Building business processes can be a fine line between not having enough process, and having so much that people can’t get anything done any more, because there aren’t dedicated people (or time for) managing those processes.
The recommendations were sometimes good. But most of the time, after a month or three on staff, the reasons we did things started to make sense and the number of recommendations went down. But those first couple of months could be a challenge, and so when I saw this trend with a new employee I’d always just say “write everything down, and we’ll review it in a couple months – just try it our way for now.”
Once I got into the rhythm of following, I was able to open my eyes. Then, I could show off. Similarly, once my employees got into the rhythm of things, then we could look at their recommendations and see what would make sense for their new job. Some of these recommendations helped to shape the way we did business moving forward, and we were so very glad to have them. But what was gone was all the time spent trying to explain why we chose to do things a certain way. Much simpler for all parties when you can close your eyes and follow, if only for a little while.
krypted November 16th, 2015
Posted In: Business
As you’ve likely heard, if you live in the United States (and possibly elsewhere), same sex marriage has now been legalized. And it’s legal in Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina, Denmark, France, Brazil, Uruguay, New Zealand, Britain, Luxembourg, Finland and Ireland already. The trend to legalize same sex marriage started in 2001. And it’s been gaining popularity. At some point, it’s likely that same sex marriage will be universally legal. But when?
Let’s ask Excel, using polynomial trendlines. To get started, let’s look at how many countries have legalized same sex marriage. The below spreadsheet lays out how many countries have legalized same sex marriage to date, and when.
To then see a trend line, we’ll add a chart element, selecting Add Chart Element and then select More Trendline Options…
At the Format Trendline pane, click Polynomial and check the box for “Display equation on chart”
Then copy the equation into your clipboard and pasties into the formula bar. Next, we’ll remove the y and convert the symbols into formula elements.
This results in wrong numbers because we’ve got years instead of ascending numbers and we’ve got missing years when same sex marriage wasn’t legalized in any countries. So, we’ll convert the years into a number starting with 1 and going up (where 1 is 2001, etc).
Keep adding rows and copying the formula into each new row and you’ll find that same sex marriage will be universally accepted in 2035, by summing up the numbers and looking for 206 countries.
krypted July 3rd, 2015
Recently I’ve read a lot of things about the attacks against Sony. I’ve read that they’re nothing more than extortion attempts by hackers that probably live in their parents basements (based on the fact that the initial demands didn’t mention North Korea at all). I’ve read they were orchestrated by China by people who felt North Korea was being picked on and couldn’t stand up for themselves. I’ve read highly unconvincing reports from the FBI that they were orchestrated by North Korea. No one really knows. I can send traffic to servers from anywhere in the world. Anyone can anonymize their web traffic as easily as using a ToR plug-in with Firefox. I’ve also spoken to friends at Sony that told me that they’re concerned about the future viability of Sony due to the business impacts of these attacks. I’ve also spoken with people at other studios freaking out about not wanting to “be the next Sony.”
But in all of it, there’s something kicking in the back of my head. You see, if someone tried to blackmail me, I’d go to the press (or government) and allow the public to judge me for whatever it is, not cave to demands that are only likely to recur. Not giving into extortion demands is the right thing to do. If someone threatened the safety of people to go to a movie, I’d pull it as well, so that’s the right thing to do as well. There have been enough shootings in theaters and while financially potentially devastating it’s not worth the loss of a single human life to show The Interview in theaters. Of course, now that the attackers have backed off their stance, The Interview will be shown in hundreds of theaters. And it will likely be viewed online by millions of people over the next few days. And if this was carried out by North Korea, they couldn’t visit all of our homes to pull it (although the awful remake of Red Dawn by MGM might indicate differently).
I believe that the good, American thing to do is show our support to Sony for all the brain candy they’ve given us in the past. More than that, our support for doing what’s right. And what’s more capitalistic of us than spending $6 on a movie (other than spending more)? What’s better for Sony than to make a little money? In America, we tend to root for underdogs. We love Rocky (which btw cost less than a million to make and brought in a breathtaking $225M – 1:225 ROI there). We wanted Rudy to score a touchdown for the Irish (TriStar – part of Sony). We practiced our kicks like the Karate Kid (Columbia Pictures – part of Sony). We watched Jerry Maguire (TriStar – part of Sony again) even though we couldn’t stand Tom Cruise and rooted for the guy who risked it all to do the right thing (Money, baby). We threw up in our mouth a little when we watched Dodgeball (Fox but a fun movie anyways). We adore Gandhi (Columbia – again part of Sony) because it won an Oscar and taught us the story of one of the greatest men of all time. We loved Charlie Sheen when he was Winning in Major League (Mirage). And we loved Kick-Ass (Lions Gate), one of the unlikeliest heros of all.
Sony made Bond great again. Sony brought us Spiderman to the big screen. Sony told us about The Social Network (and were still allowed to have Facebook accounts. Sony gave us Eat Pray Love. Sony killed zombies awesome sauce in Zombieland. Sony gave us Superbad. Sony taught us a history lesson with The King’s Speech. Sony brought The Da Vinci Code to the big screen. Sony made a great movie in the Lords of Dogtown. Sony brought us Hell Boy, Adaptation (as a writer, a movie I love), Ali, Black Hawk Down and countless other movies. Some great, some not. That’s the game.
Now, we have a chance to do a very small part by helping Sony escape financial ruin. And yes, they make more movies that suck than are awesome. Because that’s what all studios do. And yes, the film industry seems like a bunch of rich people being silly sometimes. But there are real people that work there. Normal people. With boys and girls and installations at burning man. Some of the best people I know. And they do great work. And sometimes the studio makes brilliant movies. And whether this was spearheaded (yes, bad pun on spear phishing) by a dictator with a bad fade, the remaining communist hardliners in China, another studio or something else, it’s up to the market to dictate the outcome. That’s capitalism. ‘Merica
PS – It’s hilarious.
krypted December 26th, 2014
I was supposed to give a presentation at MinneBar a few weeks ago, but I ended up having to be out of town. I was pretty bummed as I really wanted to see a few of the presentations. But, lucky me, MinneBar has actually started posting presentations to YouTube. Woohoo, they’re available at http://www.youtube.com/user/MinneStarMedia.
The one I think I was most interested in seeing is available right here, and I can embed it into my own site and watch it from here.
I will try and make the next one to do the presentation I’d planned on giving. This is a community I am very supportive of and love contributing to (although the next time someone uses “serial entrepreneur” as their job title I might not be able to suppress the eye roll + flutter combination – sry).
krypted May 16th, 2013