When I was a V.C. at first, I would just ask my questions and kind of poke, poke, poke, poke. And now I’ll say: “Look, I’m going to ask some things, and this might be kind of awkward, but I’m just going to say it, and let’s work our way through it. And it doesn’t mean I don’t believe in you and your company. I just want to understand where you are and what you think. I’m going to ask some things and they might be wrong, but let’s figure some things out together.”
I've noticed that people have different assumptions about what it means to ask questions. Some folks (like the interviewee here) just ask away, because they want information -- their questions have no malicious intent behind them.
But on the receiving side, this can cause problems. Some people, when asked probing questions (or any questions at all), will get defensive. Just the fact that someone is asking must mean they think something is wrong. Questions like "Why did you choose Node.js instead of Java?" can be (and I think often are) interpreted as "The questioner thinks I made the wrong choice, so I have to defend my choice now."
People in the tech community seem particularly affected by this assumption. Interesting that this VC ran into that problem too.
(pardon my lack of grep/git command line knowledge!)
"For what reason .." is a great starting point I think -- thanks a lot!
It really shifts the perspective to objectively look at the "thing", without having too much ego on the line
I will use it for my conversation with my teenage son. I think many times before asking the "why" questions. Many times I simply don't know how to ask. Your suggestion is excellent.
Not just people in the tech community!
"Why did you like that movie" almost seems like an accusation and will put people on the defensive.
"What did you like about that movie" is much better.
There is that implication if the questioner mentions a specific alternative. Compare the simple: "Why did you choose Node.js?"
seems a reasonable person can answer any question properly; calmly deriving and ignoring the intent and just simply answering the question as truthfully as possible.
One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from a salesperson at my dad's office space. He said something like: "We're smart people here. And the clients we work for-- even when they're not objectively dumb, they still don't have as much experience as we do in the area we work in. It would be easy to throw up our hands and say 'phe! I can't worth with these idiots! They need to educate themselves and then get back to me.' But that's the thing. If you're the smarter one, you ought to be able to teach them and do a deal with them, despite their flaws."
So let's say that you have mastered being objective, but you still have to work with people who are stuck with their emotions. Why not prime their thoughts so that they can think more objectively? That's all John Lilly is doing-- he's recognizing the situation and helping them along.
While I agree with the premises, this is mostly not true in corporate environment. Most of the advice is ignored in favour of unrealistic goals which obviously are not met. But none the less it allows them to keep their jobs a little bit longer and when shit hits the fan, consultants gets blamed.
Toxicity of corporate environment is so unbelievably high.
If someone is defensive at what you think are innocent questions, it's probably because they're used to communicating with people who only ask questions like that when they think something is wrong. In that context, trying to work out what the other person thinks is wrong and respond to it is potentially a more effective way to communicate than simply answering the question as posed.
So if you encounter such a person, you can sneer and blame their inexperience if you like (and you're probably correct), but it's probably more effective to try and adapt your own communication.
Q: Early leadership lessons for you?
A: I didn’t understand the role of simplicity and messaging early on. One of the things that happened at one of my start-ups was that I would get bored saying the same thing every day. So I decided to change it up a little bit. But then everybody had a different idea of what I thought because I was mixing it up.
So my big lesson was the importance of a simple message, and saying it the same way over and over. If you’re going to change it, change it in a big way, and make sure everyone knows it’s a change. Otherwise keep it static.
At my last company, we didn't use it and had pieces of a strategy, message, and an awful name. Then we sat down and spent ~2 hours and worked through it block by block. It was painful but on the other side, we had a better name, a clearer Vision, a simple way to describe that Vision, and lots of sound bites to use in conversations, blog posts, etc.
My only complaint is that we didn't do it a few months earlier.
Here's a video of the creators walking through it: https://vimeo.com/112098978
Various links that I have found through google all point to what seems to be an old half used domain...
My interpretation of the advice is that it is important to stick to a focused message, but would be okay to continually refine how the message is communicated. For example, I've been promoting the message "open source will help us to be more competitive" but have had to tailor how I communicate that message depending on who I'm communicating with. Same message, tailored messaging.
Whenever I hear someone repeat something, it does give me a sense of confidence in that person's belief,and the more I hear it, the more I think that they may be right.
Carthago delenda est.
By the way, "Turn the Ship Around" is a great book, and pretty easy to read.
Wow, interesting words from someone who works in finance.
What an awesome parent.
The NYT has lost its position as the paper of record and has lost so much credibility. I used to be close to re-subscribing, but the horrible coverage of the 2016 election has helped me vow never to subscribe again. The NYT is America's Pravda and it continues to disgrace itself by trying to create a narrative to supports its political interests (Judith Miller, etc.)
Posting paywalled stories is an attempt to help the organization generate revenue, much like posting a link that adds an item to cart and funnels the user right to the checkout page.
- Is paying for news categorically bad, or is it OK?
- If it is bad, why do you think volunteers will magically produce better results than paid journalists/editors/etc.?
- If it is OK that news gets paid for, why do you object to posting paid news sources on HN?
- If you do not object to paid sources, but only to some sources, and the sources are indicated when the link is posted, why do you think they should the system should prevent the links from being clicked rather than let users choose which sources to visit?
Imagine if many HN posts were links to academic journals with subscriptions costing $250 per year. There's nothing wrong with it, but it's not fun to continually click on links and be greeted by a paywall.
> If it is bad, why do you think volunteers will magically produce better results than paid journalists/editors/etc.?
It has nothing to do with how the writers are paid, it has to do with how the publication generates revenue.
> If it is OK that news gets paid for, why do you object to posting paid news sources on HN?
I simply don't like clicking on a link and finding myself at a paywall. I'd prefer to be able to filter out all such links and avoid ever knowing they're there. They amount to teaser clickbait headlines for content that is not free to read.
> If you do not object to paid sources, but only to some sources, and the sources are indicated when the link is posted, why do you think they should the system should prevent the links from being clicked rather than let users choose which sources to visit?
The source is low contrast and I rarely notice it when skimming the home page. My suggestion of converting the link to a google search to allow the content to be freely accessed would solve the problem.
Every media source has bias - is the NYT really any worse than others?
> Every media source has bias - is the NYT really any worse than others?
The NYT is far worse, simply because great measures are taken to make the content seem like actual unbiased news. Nobody minds editorial content on the editorial page, but the NYT has grown increasingly bold with its "narrative" where stories serve to reinforce a predefined worldview, which is essentially a form of propaganda.
The paper runs a small number of actual unbiased articles, and a small number of quality stores about progressive causes, but those serve to help disguise its true nature.
Ever since the Judith Miller fiasco the paper has gone down hill. What was previously simply omission of newsworthy content has become outright promotion of ideas.
I suppose one explanation is that the NYT has "fans" of a worldview who simply want to pay for a specific narrative. That's fine, I guess, but it's not actually news.
The way we discuss politics likely needs an adjustment in order to move away from win-lose thinking and debate to win-win thinking and collaboration.
Edit: I do agree that it is makes HN less enjoyable when off-topic discussion overwhelms article-focused discussion, so generally favor on-topic posts. Often, the policy and governance issues relevant to posts are both value-added and on-topic.
This is the crux of it, I think. I've been thinking about this topic a lot, and watching how discourse develops here at HN (nothing scientific, mind you). I've seen plenty of others make similar comments.
Something I've amused myself with is how often I come across a comment that I agree with, and then find it's made by someone who I disagree strongly with on some other issue. Which isn't all that surprising really, given how evenly split the election was. Humans aren't binary: there's got to be a lot of overlap there. A lot of common ground to build on.
Anyway, this is far off-topic now. I appreciate your thoughtful comment!
Help be part of the solution. Flag politically charged articles. Call out in a civil, non-partisan way comments that are injecting politics needlessly into the conversation. Submit and upvote tech articles you find interesting.
I can't flag yet, but I'll do all the rest.
From the guidelines:
Off-Topic: Most stories about politics, or crime, or sports, unless they're evidence of some interesting new phenomenon
Please avoid introducing classic flamewar topics unless you have something genuinely new to say about them.
I think flagging politically charged submissions—particularly those that have shown themselves to lead to largely repetitive non-constructive flame wars—is consistent with the guidelines. That second quote is from the comment guidelines, but I think it's fair to apply the same standard to submissions as well.
Edit to add: Are there recent topics on HN that you think have been unnecessarily flagged? Some that you've found particularly useful?
The Trump phenomena is a new, interesting phenomena, though. People still have no idea how he won, I sure as hell don't.
"Make America Great Again!"
"Make America Great Again!"
"Make America Great Again!"
Ok. Got it.
>The importance of a consistent message is all the more important given the candidate Clinton is on a collision course to face in November: master promoter Donald Trump. --Boston Globe, May 2016