The Messy middle — Book Review

Nauman M
Nauman M
Feb 23 · 14 min read

Never Came Across a Book which envolves this honest
story portrayal. Well such is this book

The behance co-founder/ Author
. Does his best on what he is good at — story telling that too in
such a creative way. I got awed by the notes i could take on this chapter.

Well i remember back than
creating a behance account(because squarespace was expensice and behance was
free). To show off my profile, and looking at others and wondering how creative
those other guys are. Well this story is about those other guys. Who were as
clueless as i was, and then figured out their way through out.

  1. This
    is what exactly i felt posting my every blog from draft to making it happen –
    where you think you could contribute
    more but its done,When i Published it.
    When Behance was acquired by adobe for $150 Million. This was the worth of the
    company at that point However, there are
    inflections in every project where everything changes: You debut your creation
    to the world, you sell your company, or you publish your book. Even though the
    race continues, it feels like a finish because you’re no longer racing against
    the clock

“And as legendary venture
capitalist (VC) Fred Wilson paraphrased at the 99U conference: “The two
greatest addictions in life are heroin and a weekly salary.”

planning to adopt this in my life, by tracking my progress — by my
weekly no zero day blog

the key goal is to track progress, and pay effective rewards when you
achieve your goals

“As you craft your team’s
culture, lower the bar for how you define a “win.” Celebrate anything you can,
from gaining a new customer to solving a particularly vexing problem. The
problem with traditional rewards like money, which can be counted and accumulated,
is that they require the least imagination. Make the most of the period in your
journey when you must create your own rewards out of necessity. By doing so,
you are engaging your team more dynamically than a raise or bonus ever will.
Milestones that are directly correlated with progress are more effective
motivators than anything else.”

When Behance was going through
the worst pace. All they could do was
showing a fake PR But they Didnt do that. Instead they kept quite. This is what
happens when we show fake accomplishment
rather than the actual progress. You don’t become true to yourself. And that
reward don’t last

“As Ben Horowitz, founder and
general partner of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, once explained in
a blog on the topic, “Thetruth about telling the truth is that it does not come
easy for anyone. It’s not natural or organic. The natural thing to do is tell
people what they want to hear. That’s what makes everybody feel
good . . . at least for the moment. Telling the truth, on the
other hand, is hard work and requires skill.” He goes on to cite the kinds of
messages that are painful to deliver, like executives quitting, a plan for
massive layoffs, sales declining, and other perilous situations. “You must tell
the truth without destroying the company. To do this, you must accept that you
cannot change the truth. You cannot change it, but you can assign meaning to
it.” Ben

methods for assigning meaning to hard truths:

  • only applaud the progress and actions you want
    your team to repeat. It’s dangerous to celebrate accolades or circumstances
    that are not linked with productivity, like getting “press” that you paid for
    or winning awards that are not representative of your impact. After all, the
    most exciting pursuits don’t yet fit in a reporter’s beat or an award category!
    Another example of a dangerous fake win is raising capital. Funding shouldn’t
    be celebrated. If anything, raising money should make you nervous: It means you
    have more to lose and more people you are responsible to. For strong companies,
    financing is a tactic. For weak companies, financing is a goal.”

“Fake wins are the reward equivalent of cocaine: They will artificially
inflate morale but then take you down, perhaps lower than where you started.”

on working together contributes more power. as 2 different idea
contribute much more accomplishments —
as this may not work well. If you have difference of opinion. On relatability

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO and
whose personal experience of her husband Dave Goldberg dying suddenly was the
inspiration for Option B, she recalls, “she never would have gotten through
this without Mark [Zuckerberg]. Mark was at my house the day I came home from
Mexico and told my children. Mark literally planned Dave’s funeral. And Mark
was with her every step of the way. When she came back to work and felt like
she was a ghost and no one would talk to me, she took refuge in his conference
room. . . .

We think about providing that kind of
emotional support to our friends. . . . But we can also do it at
work. And it makes us closer to the people we work with. And she it builds a much stronger organization.”

This is what happend with steve jobs back in 90’s while forming team
with schiller — johny ive- tim cook

“People who worked with Apple
founder Steve Jobs over the years often talked about how his
“reality-distortion field” could alter his team’s perspective, assumptions, and
limits to allow for new ideas. Perhaps Jobs believed in his vision so much so
that the reality around him was distorted by the power of his conviction? When
you’re articulating a vision and set of assumptions with such passion and
confidence, reality starts to bend your way. You’re not lying or manufacturing
perspective — you’re merchandising your perspective. You’re not creating a story
that you think others will believe — you’re retelling the same story you tell

while summarising my tough time right now, the only way to move forward
is to celebrate the strength, even you don’t have anything to cerebrate. Just move on

“For example, you may see these
tough days you’re currently enduring as character building for your team and as
a source of defensibility for your product — even though it currently feels
anything but. Are you lamenting a lack of progress or celebrating your survival
and newfound strength? Are you merchandising hard work as tiring or as
achieving defensibility in your market? As you summarize your team’s exhaustive
work and struggles over the months or years that have passed, conjure up the
perspective that excites you the most, and then share it. Storytellers make the
past relevant to the future, even when it is dry and irrelevant.”

remember what happend- becoming steve jobs — the rivalry between apple
and adobe? well this is how it ended

just a year or so later, in 2015,
a special moment happened when a senior designer on the team, Eric Snowden, was
onstage demoing our new products in Apple’s keynote for the launch of the first
iPad Pro. Another member of Behance team, Govind Balakrishnan, who ran all of
engineering for our group, walked over to me and commented that he still
couldn’t believe it had all come together. We recalled some of our most trying
moments and how daunted we felt at the beginning when all of this was a sketch
on a whiteboard. Sure, there were fights for head count and debates about
reporting lines and priorities across different teams, but we had aligned
enough people to use the organization’s weight in our favor. Now, with a whole
new suite of applications and a clear strategy, our team was part of Apple’s
keynote — which carried extra significance, given Apple and Adobe’s long-standing
feud over Flash, which was now, finally, water under the bridge.”

Instead of playing the blame game — consider this before making a
judgement — You need to do your fucking job.

This is what I would tell myself
before going into a tough meeting, nail-biting negotiation, or making the
decision to fire an employee. Whenever I needed to force myself to take action
that would be painful in the short term but was for the greater good, I would
whisper to myself, “Scott, do your fucking job”

“DYFJ, and he nodded. Perhaps all
he needed was a reminder that some critical tasks — often the most difficult
ones — will not be taken until the leader summons the courage to stop considering
it and just does it.”

Valuable Leson- When People Say Shit I Need To Move On — Never Listened
to bad criticism — if you don’t agree

During the most trying times, you
may also struggle to remain composed and continue carrying the torch. While
members of your team will express doubt and air their hopeless moments, you
will need to keep the pace by keeping the faith.”

“It’s amazing what you can
achieve if you refuse to be discouraged, refuse to let down your team, and you
check your ego at the door,”. Indeed, the possibilities are endless if you just
keep going and, at your most difficult and trying moments, push yourself to do
your fucking job.”- Kegan added

“Don’t succumb to society’s gravitational force toward what is common
and familiar. One of the worst tendencies of the messy middle is pulling wildly
fresh insights back toward the mean of normalcy. Don’t let this happen to you.
While society wants you to conform, it needs you to break the mold to help us
see differently and make life better for the rest of us. And as American artist
Sol LeWitt once advised, “Learn to say ‘fuck you’ to the world once in a
while.” Do your thing.”

This is waht i say to myself –
in most difficult times- when i stuck in a rut- and clueless of where to head

“You don’t know what you’re
capable of. Whether it is navigating your career, starting a new business, or
overcoming an illness, giving yourself a placebo of sorts that suspends your
doubt is one of the greatest factors in making progress.”

A small Idea May Have Huge
Potential — this is the one way look
into it

“A friend who worked for Google
cofounder and CEO Larry Page told me that when teams presented product and
business goals to Larry, he would often reply, “What would it take to achieve
100x of what you’re proposing?” This was totally unrealistic, of course. Such questions
would throw teams off their tracks, but the notion of aspiring for an entirely
different magnitude of impact had some important side effects. First, whatever
doubts teams came in with suddenly paled in comparison to the new concern.
Second, teams were forced to question their core assumptions and untether
themselves from reality’s gravity. In some ways, Larry was administering a dose
of OBECALP to suspend his team’s disbelief and recalibrate their ambitions.”

What grit, passion and perseverance can do

“In her late twenties, Angela
Duckworth quit her job as a management consultant to teach middle school math
in New York City. She observed that students’ success was determined by their
effort more than anything else. Intrigued, she began studying why some people
work much harder than others, and she enrolled in the University of
Pennsylvania’s psychology PhD program. In 2016, she wrote Grit: The Power of
Passion and Perseverance about her findings. Duckworth explains that what
determines whether you succeed or fail is grit, a special blend of passion and
perseverance directed at accomplishing long-term goals.

“Grit is having stamina. Grit is
sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for
the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality.
Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint,” Duckworth said in her
2013 TED talk.”

“I’ve never been fond of the
“winners never quit” mantra because it goes against what I’ve learned from many
successful start-ups that pivoted from their original idea with great success.
Twitter, Pinterest, Airbnb, and many other companies started with either a
different approach or a vastly different product before they got it right. If
you’ve lost conviction but refuse to change course because of what you’ve
already invested or achieved, then you’re officially doing things for the wrong

Be Open To change — This is what More Of steve’s accomplishements
come from

“As you contemplate new
approaches to a problem rather than quitting altogether, it’s important to let
go of past conclusions proven wrong. One of my friends who worked at Apple for
a number of years recalled Steve Jobs’s ability to change his mind on the turn
of a dime when a better solution was presented — he didn’t get stuck with an
operating mode just because it had been one that was working. He had famously
strong opinions, but he was also able to detach from them. In this way, Steve
was the embodiment of the famous advice to have “strong opinions, weakly held.”
Only by letting go are you able to truly attempt a new perspective of your
venture before you quit.”

Instead of frequently worrying
about your success — all i could do is just move ahead and focus better things

“Over the years, I have come to
recognize the amount of time I spend checking things: Daily sales data, website
traffic trends, what people are saying on Twitter, analytics for our customers,
team progress on projects, the list goes on. For you, it might be diving into a
spreadsheet to manipulate budget numbers or scanning through your unanswered
emails again and again. When you’re anxious about your business, there is no
easier quick-relief antidote than checking things. The problem is that you
could spend all day checking things and fail to do anything to change things.

I call it insecurity work — stuff
that you do that has”on social media obsession- you can either check likes for
your post or keep creating contents

Amazon Honest Approach Towards
share holders

“Another story about Bezos
addressing his team in the early Amazon days, following an incredible quarter
of performance, sticks with me. Bezos congratulated his team but then reminded
them, “If we have a good quarter, it is because of the work we did three, four,
five years ago, not the work we did this quarter.” There is a huge lag between
great innovations and results. A new program takes a ton of refinement and
optimization, as well as the natural passage of tim”

“When something fails, like
Amazon’s phone that barely lasted a year, Bezos makes it clear that he
anticipates even more — and greater — failures ahead if the company is innovating
enough. And when a new technology emerges, like Alexa, the company’s
voice-driven user interface, it is allowed to evolve without being immediately
subjected to measures of profit or utilization”

Long Term Focus and be consistant
— this is what messy middle is all about —
and this is what startup world about and more importantly this is how it
should be

“Aaron Levie, founder and CEO of enterprise cloud-storage provider Box,
said it best on Twitter: “Startups win by being impatient over a long period of

“For many years, Netflix was
questioned and even mocked by industry analysts. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings even
approached Blockbuster CEO John Antioco in 2000, when the company was still
focused on DVDs by mail, and reportedly offered to sell him the company for $50
million. According to Variety, Antioco thought Netflix was “a very small niche
business” and declined the opportunity. Blockbuster went bankrupt in 2010 and,
as I write this, Netflix is now a $150 billion market-cap company. It took
nearly two decades for Netflix’s strategy to play out and the tide to turn.”

“Companies like Airbnb, Uber, and
others have done just this. Their founders were outsiders but had a strong
opinion or vision about what should change. They then stayed alive long enough
to become experts and compete with better technology, a superior path to
market, and a lower cost structure.”

The Messy middle“Big companies typically spend their time solving problems and sustaining — rather than improving — whatever it is that made them big.”On Speaking Multi — Lingual Languageswow i didnt know i had this power — that amulti lingual had so much of advantage in creative space- i can converse in 7 different language — so i guess that has some added advantage now“Gabrielle Hogan-Brun is a research fellow in language studies at the University of Bristol and the author of Linguanomics: What Is the Market Potential of Multilingualism? Her main research focus is on multilingualism’s effect on the brain, and a multilingual person’s subsequent effect on teams. She points out how multiple studies have shown that monolingual brains are structured differently to bilingual brains. For example, bilingual brains have a denser left inferior parietal cortex, which is the part of the brain used in abstract thinking, and they also have more gray matter. Having a different lexicon to draw from can also allow your employees to approach problems in slightly different ways. In Quartz, Hogan-Brun provides this example:In the German mind, the English word “put” conjures up different images: “legen” means to lie horizontally, “setzen” to make something sit, and “stellen” to stand something vertically. Each of these meanings automatically gives the German speaker access to new ways of approaching a practical problem. In this way, using different languages in collaboration may lead to new connections being made, especially when dealing with complex tasks.And it’s not all just physiological and teamwork benefits — there are obvious business benefits, too. Hogan-Brun quotes economist Larry Summers in her article in The Conversation, “Why Multilingualism Is Good for Economic Growth”: “If your strategy is to trade only with people that speak English that’s going to be a poor strategy.” Hiring multilingual people also instantly opens up the potential practical reach of your organization twofold. According to research by Bern University, the economic value of Switzerland’s multilingual advantage generates one-tenth of their GDP. Likewise, in another article, Hogan-Brun cites a survey by the Economist that surveyed 572 international company executives, two-thirds of whom said their teams’ potential for innovation was increased by their multiculturalism.Learning a second language is generally always good for your brain, but there are also different types of bilingualism. For example, growing up in a household that speaks a language different from the one you speak at school is very different from learning a second language at that same school; likewise, speaking two languages fluently from birth has a different effect on the brain than moving to a foreign country and becoming fluent in a second language later in.While working with Steve, I learned about the 70/20/10 model for leadership development. The model suggests that when it comes to training leaders, only 10 percent happens in a classroom through formal instruction, 20 percent is all about feedback exchange and coaching, and a whopping 70 percent is experiential. Following this premise, some companies create “stretch assignments” for employees — bold projects that purposely expose you to leaders in the field, push comfort zones, and maximize exposure to lessons learned the hard way. Experiential on-the-job learning is the most natural conduit for developing such an expertise.”

In short every company has its
own shortcomings all the big company which has accomplished and yet to be big shots.
But they don’t share this story’s because all peoplewant to hear is how big it
is now? How big it is going to

The biggest part of survival is
how you survive the messy middle. That
is the more crucial part. You think this is it. And you quit but thats not the
end the author talks about.

Some try to change its entire
root of its startup and pivot it to a complete different company infact thats what
twitter did, thats what instagram did, thats what pintrest did and thats what most
company did infact

Get This Book Now

Originally published at Mediabloger.

    Nauman M

    Written by

    Nauman M

    Tech And Markeing Nerd. love for Media. Write Here On Books Blogs,articles, Thoughts and Life Hacks .

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