01 September 2023
Mr. and Mrs. Psmith have a great review of a recent management book which you should read – the review, not the book. They systematically destroy the idea of professional management as a discipline, and management education as well. And they suggest that the entire notion of professional management as a distinct discipline is just another way to gatekeep. I loved this entire article.
It meshes very well with my own experience in business school and in business. There were some technical topics I learned in b-school that were of value — how to read accounting statements, basic financial theory, some macro and micro economics — but a lot of the softer topics were just filler. I didn’t really learn how to lead and manage until I did it.
I was also lucky to work at Microsoft at a time when nearly the entire senior leadership team were PC enthusiasts. They used PCs, they loved PCs, they loved software, everyone was a programmer in some way whether doing system development in ASM/C/C++ or doing application programming in higher level languages or macros. Handwaving MBA bullshit was not tolerated. To this day, Microsoft still seems to have a pretty strong enthusiast management team, which has served the company well.
I went to my first NVIDIA developer conference almost 10 years ago. I was amazed by the passion of the audience and the quality of the audience. The sessions were all massively oversubscribed. I came away a big believer in the opportunity for the company and immediately bought a bunch of NVIDIA stock.
Which was a fortunate move as the company has been on a multyear tear and doesn’t seem to be slowing down. I continue to be impressed with the company’s execution.
I do wonder about the depth of the management team. I’ve spoken with people who describe the company as a 1-man show, who think there is no depth. I doubt the company would be executing this well with just a single leader, NVIDIA must have a whole stable of great people. But who are they, why are they kept under wraps? And how dependent is the company on one guy?
We purchased a home to use for vacations in the San Juan Islands about 20 years ago. Since then we have rebuilt the house, drilled a new well, changed the septic system, repaired everything 9 times, etc. Our adult children use the house a lot and we can see the day some day when we may want to pass over management to the house to them. I’d like to get all my documents in order so it is easy for someone else to get up to speed on the house.
I looked at Homer.co which seemed like a nice solution. And I started dutifully populating it with my documents. About an hour in I came to a crashing halt. I have 20 years of emails with attachments, I have generations of design documents, I have digitized receipts, I have contacts, etc etc etc. It would take me years to get this all sorted and organized, and along the way I would fight with myself about the right way to tag and folder everything. Barf.
New plan — I’m going to try to use LlamaIndex and just have it ingest all the docs. LLamaIndex has great readers for mail content, for pdfs, for word documents, for images. After some fits and starts, I ended up downloading my 1.2G gmail folder, filtering out some crud, and then reading it all into LLamaIndex using a little python app. It is limping and is able to answer questions like “Who has worked on our septic system” and “where is the generator and how do i use it”. There is a lot of fine tuning to do. But promising.
I love the title and premise of this upcoming book — Right Kind of Wrong.