The dirty little secret of the ongoing “data science” boom is that most of what people talk about as being data science isn’t what businesses actually need. Businesses need accurate and actionable information to help them make decisions about how they spend their time and resources. There is a very small subset of business problems that are best solved by machine learning; most of them just need good data and an understanding of what it means that is best gained using simple methods.
Your job as a manager should be to help people be efficient– to protect people’s time and attention. Those are the only resources people have to use at work is their own time and attention. And if you’re stealing it or chunking it into smaller and smaller bits. And you’re surprised that people are saying, I don’t have time to do my work. And so you’re saying, well, you need to spend more time at work. I just don’t feel like you’re being a good manager to be honest, or a good owner or whatever.
… to do things. I think that you’re better off setting up very small autonomous, independent groups. There are very few things in our company that involve more than three people working on them. Every feature we build for Basecamp, every initiative we take, three or fewer.
day a month…or example, let’s say, you wanted to start to allow people to work remotely or something like that. The best way to do that is, again, pick one day a month and say, you know, the first Wednesday of every month everyone can work from home.
…o push back on the fact that the meeting is the first resort. I think it should be the last resort. Only when people really truly need to come together because they’re unable to communicate in another way and another schedule do they actually need to get together in a room.
e absorb tha…gs are typically a major waste of time. It depends on the kind. So let’s qualify this a little bit. I think things like status meetings, where people go around a room and update the rest of the people in the room about what’s going on, are enormous wastes of time. That stuff is better served up by writing it up and distributing it and letting people absorb that on their own time.
Part of it, too, is that people sometimes think that being busy is actually doing work. And so context shifting and popping between this and that and bouncing between this and that feels like a lot of work. But it’s actually not the work that needs to get done.