In this second part of a two episode interview, I talk with Eric Ries, serial entrepreneur and author of The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses.
The focus of the second part of this interview is Eric’s views of book publishing and what changes he would recommend in applying the lean startup methodologies to the industry. This segment will be of particular interest to publishers looking to apply agile methodologies to their businesses.
Part II of the interview is 49 minutes.
Download Part II of The Interview
P.S. You might also enjoy Eric’s keynote from O’Reilly’s 2012 Tools of Change Conference
In this first part of a two episode interview, I talk with Eric Ries, serial entrepreneur and author of The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses.
The focus of this interview was to discuss the background of Lean Startup methodology and Eric’s path to write the book. My purpose was to focus on what brought him from the world of technology entrepreneurship to the world of book publishing. His blog Startup Lessons Learned was written anonymously when Eric started but within few months his readers wanted to know who he was. Interest from publishers followed, but Eric says that in Silicon Valley writing books is referred to as “putting the ink on the dead trees.” Putting that stigma aside, he decided that codifying the Lean Startup methodology was important and that a book was the best way to do that.
The Part I of the interview last 28 minutes.
Download Part I of The Interview
“Entrepreneurship is the management discipline that deals with situations of high uncertainty,” says Ries at the start of the interview. In the second part to this interview, we talk about how this is precisely the world that authors occupy as they launch their own books and we talk about a variety of concepts from The Lean Startup methodology apply directly to book publishing. I will be posting the second part in early January.
In this interview, I talk with Charles Fishman, the author of The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water.
Fishman, a longtime writer for Fast Company Magazine and the author of The Wal-Mart Effect, takes on the conflicted relationship we have with water and how those conflicts, left unresolved, will only lead to bigger problems as the water we need becomes more scarce. From the opulent water fountains on the Las Vegas Strip to water delivery trucks in India, from a wool processing plant in Australia to a IBM microchip production plant in Vermont, Fishman illuminates the unknown ways water gets used while showing how our attitudes about life-giving liquid must change.
Our relationship to water goes way beyond what we know about it. The facts about water, the science, the chemistry, the geology–those are both fascinating and important. There would be no advanced civilization today without that understanding–we would have long poisoned ourselves.
But our relationship to water is at least as much emotional as it is analytical. That’s why a bottle of Evian tastes so good that we pay a thousand times more for it than for the same amount of water from the kitchen faucet. It’s the reason that water pipes hidden beneath our streets are poorly maintained, it’s why people around the world get so angry when their water bills go up.
We need to understand the science of water goes only so far in explaining how we deal with water every day, both as individuals and as a society. And our feelings about water are often so powerful, so visceral, that we need to be sure they don’t prevent us from seeing water clearly.
The interview lasts 43 minutes.
In this interview, I talked with Mette Norgaard, co-author with Doug Conant of TouchPoints: Creating Powerful Connections in the Smallest of Moments.
Leadership is often mistaken as grandiose visions or rallying battle cries. The authors of TouchPoints make the simple yet powerful case that leadership happens in every interaction you have and that most of us waste those opportunities. The book provides a simple model that start with “How can I help?” and through listening intently, framing the issue, and advancing the agenda leaders have the ability to move their organizations toward the positive results they have always wanted.
Sadly, leaders often see these interactions as distractions that get in the way of their real work: the important work of strategizing, planning, and prioritizing. But in our experience, these TouchPoints are the real work. They are the moments that bring your strategies and priorities to life, the interactions that translate your ideas into new and better behaviors. That is, providing you take these TouchPoints, no matter how brief, and infuse them with greater clarity and genuine commitment.
The interview lasts 24 minutes.
In this interview, I talk with Erik Calonius, author of Ten Steps Ahead: What Separates Successful Business Visionaries from the Rest of Us.
Erik has worked as an reporter and editor for both The Wall Street Journal and Fortune Magazine. In Ten Steps Ahead, he looks at the qualities that separates visionaries from everyone else.
The visionary is a pattern hunter. And as the patterns begin to take shape, the visionary paces the hall anxiously, staring out the window. The cognitive dissonance builds between what is and what will be. The visionary’s sense of discomfort grows.
At some point when the thinker, exhausted, has stopped concentrating on the problem at hand, the brain slips into that single-mind immersion that Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi famously termed the state of “flow.” Whereas we spend most of our lives thinking about the past and the future, the flow puts us into that narrow shaft of time called the present. It’s a place the brain doesn’t take us to very often.
MRIs show that, in the state of flow, the brain is quieting down. The flickering of activity recedes into weak flashes of color. The thinker, at this point, is probably aware of nothing at all. Whether it is intuition, or visualization, or the dawning of an awakening that draws the visionary near, at last the time of inspiration arrives. This is the famous Eureka! moment.
Interview Length: 24 minutes
In this interview, I talk with Bill Taylor, author of Practically Radical: Not So-Crazy Ways to Transform Your Company, Shake Up Your Industry, And Challenge Yourself.
Taylor is always on the lookout for individuals and organizations who are practicing a better form of business. He is searching for leaders who are taking a different path and finding success.Taylor did the same thing when he was at Harvard Business Review and when he founded Fast Company Magazine with Alan Webber. Practically Radical is full of stories about large organization who are finding ways to reinvent themselves, a kind of journalism that is rare and sorely needed.
I am sitting in cavernous ballroom at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. A sense of anticipation fills the air. I am about to witness, along with six thousand other members of the audience, the world premiere if a production by theater icon Robert Brustein, former dean of the Yale Drama School and founding director of the Yale Repertory Theater and the American Repertory Theater. The Playbill offers few details about the story, but the cast is impressive: F. Murray Abraham, who won an Academy Award for his role as Salieri, Mozart's archrival, in Amadeus; Emmy winner Tony Shalhoub, best known for the long running, hit television series Monk; and Brooke Adams, who has appeared in countless stage productions and films such as Gas Food Lodging and TV shows such as Thirtysomething and Lace.
What makes the production so intriguingis that it's not some experimental performance at an arts festival or an out-of-town test of a Brodway show. Rather, it's the keynote presentation at the 20th Annual National Forum of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI)–one of the most impressive professional gatherings I've seen, organized by one of the most unlikely forces for change the medical world has known.
Practically Radical Interview with Bill Taylor
Interview Length: 42 Minutes
Check out my other Idea Arena Podcasts.
In this audio interview, I talk with Michael Burchell, the co-author of The Great Workplace: How to Build It, How To Keep It, and Why It Matters.
[Robert Levering] identified the relationship between employees and their leaders, between employees and their jobs, and between employees and each other as the indicators of a great place to work. Relationships at work matter, and in particular, the centrality of these three relationships influenced by people's loyalty, commitment, and willingness to contribute to organizational priorities. If leaders implement practices and created programs and policies that contributed to these three relationships, employes had a great workplace experience. It mattered less what the programs, policies, and practices were, and more that they were done in a way to strengthen relationships.
The Great Workplace comes from the folks who put together the Best Places To Work list with Fortune Magazine and it would be a mistake to think of this book as something only for human resources. What the book really addresses the environment that managers need to create to have successful organizations.
The interview last 23 minutes.
The Great Workplace Interview with Michael Burchell
In this interview, I talk with Lisa Gansky, author of The Mesh: Why The Future of Business Is Sharing.
Lisa has been involved with the Web for almost as long as the Web has been in existence and her new book talks about how we are moving from using the Internet for sharing bits to sharing atoms.
What characterizes a Mesh business?
- The core offering is something that can be shared, within a community, market, or value chain, including products, services, and raw materials.
- Advanced Web and mobile data networks are used to track good aggregate usage, customer, and product information.
- The focus is on sharable physical goods, including the materials used, which makes local delivery of services or goods–and their recovery–valuable and relevant.
- Offers, news, and recommendations are transmitted largely through word of mouth, augmented by social network services.
The Mesh Interview with Lisa Gansky
In this interview, I talk with Ori Brafman, co-author with his brother Rom of Click: The Magic of Instant Connections.
This is the second book that Ori and Rom have written together and they deliver a very wonderful style that combines great storytelling with scientific research, their approach similar to another sibling duo – Chip Heath and Dan Heath.
In Click, the Brother Brafman make the case that you can make powerful connections with people very quickly and that the quality of those relationships can be superior to life long friendships. The qualities they describe that accelerate clicking are vulnerability, proximity, resonance, similarity, and having a safe place.
We wanted to understand the building blocks of quickset intimacy–what factors are that lead a person to click with someone else or become fully alive in a specific activity, from writing a novel to playing an instrument, from finding oneself in the zone in a pickup basketball game to gazing into your wife's eyes over a romantic dinner and feeling connected in the way you were when you first met. What causes people to be fully engaged with the world around them? The most rewarding part of our research has been hearing the stories of people who have clicked. You can see excitement in their eyes, the change in their voice as they tell you their story. In a way, we have been trying to understand the experience of clicking for much of our adult lives–from Rom's research with magical experiments to Ori's involvment with Touchy-Feely groups at Stanford.
Click Interview with Ori Brafman
In this interview I talk with Clay Shirky, author of Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in A Connected Age.
Shirky has been talking about the Internet on the Internet for over fifteen years and in the last five years he has written two books. His first book, Here Comes Everybody, was a historical narrative of sorts that traced the evolutions of the Internet from a thoughtful sociological point view, something missing from practically all social media books written in the last few years. Cognitive Surplus takes the reader one step forward and starts to prognosticate what might be possible and, as Shirky always does, provides a balanced yet positive view for what is to come:
Just because the norms involved in social production have antecedents in market culture doesn't mean that the two modes can be easily hybridized, though. In fact, switching from paying professionals to create something to having communities do it for the love of the thing may be technically trivial but socially wrenching. Contested ways of organizing an activity potentially produce friction. There is a constant debate around the donation of blood, plasma, and organs as to whether they should be treated as a communal good or a market commodity. Both methods have been tried in various places, and each has its advantages and disadvantages. But the heat of the debate isn't about marginal difference between Red Cross blood drives (which rely on communal logic) and people selling their blood for plasma (organized in a market). The conflict instead it about the morality of the market as a way to get people to offer their blood or organs.
Cognitive Surplus Interview wth Clay Shirky