June 23, 2006

Deep Thoughts, by Sree Kotay

From my wit and witicisms collection, a few personal reflections from life at a big company:

[remember to read these with a Deep Thoughts, by Jack Handy voiceover in your head... though mine aren't quite nearly as funny, except in that horrific Dilbert-esque that's-only-funny-because-its-my-life kind of way :)]

- There's a big difference between "on time and on budget" and "good software as quickly as possible"
- Rewarding ability, attitude, and commitment leads to consistently better results than rewarding results
- If you're doing great work, then its a great place to work - everything else is noise
- Accountability and predictability are orthogonal - one does not presume the other; optimizing for predictability sacrifices innovation, creativity, and (ironically often) predictability
- Culture flows top down; Credit flows to whoever claims it

- Span of control is depressingly valuable
- Necessity is the mother of good software
- It takes commitment to succeed - its not a sprint, its not a marathon, its a relay race [marathon]; faint heart never won fair maiden

- Innovation does not mean "successfully copy", but with a lemon twist; you can't lead by following

And one from the real Jack Handy (which about sums it up):
- I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it.

Some of these apply equally well to small companies, but not all of them. Some of my small(er) company observations I found to be surprisingly stronger in the context of a larger organization.


Anonymous said...

Reading this and your previous 'wit and wisdom' I couldn't help but be reminded of hearing you say "We eat human flesh." Admittedly I've only heard you say it once, but it seemed oddly fitting at the time.

deepsat said...

nice words!!
- "Don't make anything perfect. Working on something imperfect is a lot easier than creating a perfect world and making everyone jobless!!" :-))

Sree Kotay said...

lol - yep, perfect is the enemy of the good.

And mgentry - I forgot you were at that meeting. Good times, good times.... :D

Well, at least you were on the flesh EATING side of the conference table :)

Funny, that was a looooong time ago, before I started at AOL, but I recall those comments were directed at Justin Uberti, on the AIM team.

0 said...

"If you're doing great work, then its a great place to work - everything else is noise"

I love this one - it's so true. More often than not the work is anything but great and then the general morale is low

Anonymous said...

nice to see you decided to stay with us in AOL. Your comeback means AOL still has a chance. I can assure you that many programmers want you around..not only for your vision and leadership but to just be in the shadows of a fellow supercoder who happens to be a sr.vice-president.

programmer at AOL

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