A common question I get asked by managers is how to best guide and give input to team members depending on their level of experience or expertise. More specifically, this consists of things like “what’s an appropriate level of guidance required for A players”? Is there a “one size fits all”? Do I need a different strategy for every person?

Below is a framework to match guidance to an individual based on their expertise and the WHY, WHAT and HOW of a solution.

Categorizing your team based on experience / expertise

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I can recall many examples when I’ve had a conversation, meeting or discussion with someone (who I generally agree with) turn into a fully fledged debate. We often describe these conversations as ‘going sideways’ as that’s how it feels to both parties. It’s a feeling that you’re marching alongside each other and then suddenly, someone takes a hard right turn. Both parties usually walk away from those conversations with the sense ”I thought we were pretty aligned — turns out we’re not”. Sometimes this is true - there’s a fundamental disagreement that just surfaced. …


Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking has been on my reading list for years. I finally got around to reading it and it was worth the wait. There was a period a while back when it felt as if everyone was talking about this book (heh, the irony), Today “quiet” has an amazing 5,110 reviews on Amazon. This means there are more people who have shared an opinion on this book (at least on Amazon) than Outliers, The Catcher in the Rye, Guns Germs and Steel and Animal Farm.

This also means is that…


Last month I introduced a fintech project I’ve been working on (codename Rivolv). This is a momentum based model I use to determine when I should be in vs out of the market. I run this after the last day of trading every month and here’s where things stand after May.

Signal: SPY (long)

Last Generated: 31st May 2017

Good for: June

As a quick reminder, the only signal Rivolv will produce is whether to be long the S&P 500 (via the ETF SPY) or out of the market and in cash. …


The final part 4 of a series (Part 3, Sumo can be found here).

Last time I was in Japan, I wrote a post about the gates which mark the entrance to all Shinto shrines. Torii, as they are called, have an important symbolic meaning which has stuck with me ever since:

A torii (鳥居, literally bird abode, /ˈtɔəri.iː/) is a traditional Japanese gate most commonly found at the entrance of or within a Shinto shrine, where it symbolically marks the transition from the profane to the sacred.

From the profane to the sacred. It’s such a powerful phrase —…


I’ve worked my way through a lot of recent books which emphasize the importance of geography and the role it plays in the rise & fall of empires. In contrast, “Why Nations Fail” brings a different perspective, suggesting a country’s approach to politics as the most important element. The authors assert that long term national success is largely determined by whether a country has an “extractive” (benefit the few) or “inclusive” (benefit the many) approach to governance. …


Part 3 in a series (Part 2, People can be found here).

One a previous trip to Japan we stayed overnight in Tokyo to see the early morning sumo training (“asa geiko”, pictured below). While it was a great experience, I’d never attended an official sumo match. Timing had never worked and also tickets can be hard to come by. However, things fell into place this time and thanks to a generous gift from my father-in-law, we were fortunate enough to attend the May Sumo Grand Championships in Ryōgoku, Tokyo.

Sumo wrestlers, during asa geiko (morning practice) near Ryōgoku, 2010


Part 2 in a series (Part 1, Nature can be found here).

Here are a few portraits or street photos I took during our vacation. I love street photography but it’s harder for me — taking much more effort and focus than say landscape photography, which comes more naturally. I didn’t feel the pull or energy as much this time, but still managed to capture a few shots that were meaningful to me. Looking back, all seem to have a familiar theme — people during moments of relaxation, worship or silence. It’s bene said that every portrait is really a photo of the photographer, so perhaps this is a reflection of what I was seeking and craving at the time.

Akuri, at the Yufuin Ryokan where we stayed


I’m back from my annual pilgrimage to Japan — this time a two week trip visiting family, road tripping through southern Japan, learning about Shogi and Sumo, and eating too much. This is part 1 of 4 of a photo series.

Last time we traveled there, we realized the value of hiring a car to get to further afield destinations and we took the same approach time time. Shortly after arriving, we were on an internal flight out of Haneda to Fukuoka. This is a beautiful seaside city is part of Kysushu, one of the four main islands (and most…


WHAT MAKES A GREAT PRODUCT MANAGER

Intro

When reading Ben Horowitz’s “The Hard Thing about Hard Things”, he refers to his document on what makes a good product manager. Even though he originally authored this several years ago, it’s still highly relevant and filled with great advice.

As I was reading it, I found myself mentally checking off the things I’ve observed amongst the best product managers I’ve known. I’ve managed a couple of hundred product / program managers over the years and worked with countless others. I count many of them among the very best in the industry and…

Lawrence Ripsher

I write about product management, photography, travel and startups

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