Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

“Outcome is a function of process”

Sunday, October 30th, 2016

I was just catching up on Tim Kong's excellent blog, when I read this great quote from Dan Carter: "One thing we talk about over and over with this current All Blacks side is about never focusing on the outcome. We view the outcome as a function of following our processes. ...

Startups and failure

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

(Wynyard Group, an NZ tech high-growth company [or, perhaps, not-so-high growth] just entered voluntary administration. On Twitter, a friend was adamant bad luck had nothing to do with it. Instead of a tweetstorm, here's my response in a vintage retro format known as "a blog post") You can always look back at every ...

Lesson: Moats and Flywheels

Saturday, April 30th, 2016

It's bloody hard to build something new into the world.  Don't let anyone tell you it's easy: there's a lot of unfunded and unrecognised work that you have to do before you can get to the point where fame and/or fortune arrive.  And once you've finished the painful birth of ...

On Villains

Sunday, April 10th, 2016

[I posted this on a Slack recently, and would like to give it a longer life than Slack's 10,000 line scrollback. --Nat] Socially constructed roles like “douche-bro” and “rock star teacher” are generally strongly viewpoint dependent. The rhetoric of continuous improvement is part of self-help, get rich quick, professional development, factory ...

Lesson: Presume Good Intentions

Monday, January 18th, 2016

Teamwork shares a lot of good practices with parenting.  This lesson was no exception ....  I realised fairly early on in my time as a parent that I had a tendency to fail, bigtime, by blasting my kids for something they hadn't done.  The pattern became evident: I see something, ...

Lesson: Track What You Learn

Saturday, January 9th, 2016

When I was recruiting the fabulous Chris McDowall for a job, he asked me "why do YOU work here?"  I replied that I was learning lots.  He then said the most important thing anyone has said to me this decade: "what are you learning?" I goldfished for a few seconds and ...

Kiwi Startups in Silicon Valley

Monday, January 4th, 2016

I was asked for comment by Bill Bennet from the NZ Herald, for a piece on Kiwi startups moving to Silicon Valley.  He built a nice little article, in which "Torkington says" features heavily.  My policy is that if I email journalists, I'll blog my side of the conversation for transparency's sake. I ...

Some Things Don’t Change

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

In this internal 1972 DEC memo (PDF) about the PDP-16 re-release, modern tech companies should find plenty of familiar territory: While the PDP-16 has been marginally successful to date, some problems have been noted. 1. Since the product, in its present form, is relatively complex, it is difficult to train salesmen. 2. Since the ...

“Work” continued

Friday, July 10th, 2015

I moderated a panel today at Gather on the topic of "Work".  We had representatives from different types of work: self-employed, salaried employee, startup, and investor. As moderator, my role wasn't to share my opinions. Fortunately, on the Internet I'm also blogger, and my role as a blogger is to share ...

Lighting a Spark Under Telecom

Friday, February 21st, 2014

Telecom New Zealand is changing its name to Spark. Most commentators regard it as a backward move, most recently Lance Wiggs who diagnoses marketing capture, distraction from executive and board, and the death of a valuable brand. I'd like to respectfully disagree. I might be a contrarian, but I think it's ...