Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Guardiola way

Y'all remember the del Bosque way?

Barcelona just won the football == soccer UEFA Champions League in the final against Manchester United.  It seems that everyone agrees that Barcelona is the best team in Europe, perhaps in a generation.

Barcelona's manager is Pep Guardiola, he's 40 years old, the youngest manager ever to win this title.

What is his management style?  In the interest of deliberate practice, we take a short pause to guess.  Then (Guardian article):  "impeccable, almost exaggerated politeness", "skills and simplicity", "intelligent", "flexible and resourceful", "he keeps going until he gets it right, no matter what he's doing".

Switch then to Barcelona, the club:
Eight of the team’s leading players are products of its football school, La Masia. That includes Mr Messi, an Argentine who moved to Barcelona as a boy, and the team’s coach, Josep (“Pep”) Guardiola. La Masia is unique among football schools. It is a boarding school that puts as much emphasis on character-training as on footballing skills. The students are relentlessly instructed in the importance of team spirit, self-sacrifice and perseverance. They are also taught that Barça is “more than a club”: it is the embodiment of Catalan pride that kept the region’s spirit alive during the years when Spain groaned under the fascist Franco regime. Fans regularly sport banners proclaiming that “Catalonia is not Spain”
Very simple lessons return from out of the noise; have a simple idea, be disciplined, build a team.  Beyond that, here and in other places, the organization and the leader are explicit about their purpose and their philosophy of work.

Friday, May 27, 2011

How to design and how to discuss

I really like this post by Linus Torvalds on the discussion about git and the default behavior of the git commit command:

I see these rich themes:
  1. Get the concepts right, and understand them.  Proceed from the concepts and the rest of the design will fall out right. Then the argument for the default behavior of git commit is that the "[git commit] behaviour is absolutely REQUIRED once you get the whole "git tracks content" logic".
  2. An argument that boils down to "I cannot imagine anyone doing that" is weak.  Linus calls this the "argument from incredulity".  Of course it disappears like mist in sunlight in the face of the counter-argument "The fact that you cannot see it doesn't change the fact that I use it all the time".
In a follow-up post, a classic:
I don't think people generally are all that stupid, and I think it's
actually counter-productive to try to basically lie about how things work.
It will just make it harder for people later.

    Friday, May 20, 2011

    Not a stinky product

    From the very beginning, we have been inspired by the thinking of Corky St Clair, in "Waiting for Guffman":

    Mr Guffman brings with him a reputation, something bigger than anyone in this town has ever known, and if I am to get back to New York City on my terms, I cannot deliver him a stinky product.