I recently contributed to an article in the awesome Technori about finding technical talent for your startup in Chicago. I’m happy how this turned out and I hope it’s a good resource for business owners.
Step one: play good defense. Step two: don’t turn the ball over. Step three: run the ball effectively. Step four: dictate the tempo on special teams. Rinse, lather, repeat. It’s a simple formula — the Shredded Wheat of football philosophy — yet Virginia Tech is one of only a handful of programs that actually dedicates itself to the simple things, because it’s the simple things that win football games. And win, and win and win, to the tune of seven straight double-digit win seasons, three B.C.S. bowls since 2007 and annual national title contention. If it’s so simple, why can’t others do the same? There’s your big question, and I don’t have an answer. But coaches across the land, at all levels, would be wise to pop in a tape of Virginia Tech at work to see how it’s done. Few, if any, do the little things better.
I think the parallels to Apple here are apparent. Apple, just like Virgina Tech, does something so basic, so fundamental, that it’s a wonder why more companies simply don’t copy it. But therein lies the rub: never confuse simple with easy. Doing the things Apple does isn’t easy. Just like Va Tech’s persona, it requires motivation, dedication and the patience to see things through, despite naysayers. Not things are abundant in today’s society.
Most successful people, companies and teams understand this. That’s why simple, effective strategies are looked upon with some awe & mystery. They’re dismissed with a hand wave and blamed on something else ( luck, a certain person, whatever ) that other people don’t have. A nice excuse for why some people shine and over achieve and others falter.
It’s why the old dismissive of “If it’s so obvious, why doesn’t everyone else do it?” can be answered with “Because it’s hard.” People think radical, successful ideas need to be complex if they don’t understand them or can’t reproduce them. That’s because it’s a nice place to lay the blame on when things do work out.
As we’ve seen time and time again with companies, personal finance and, yes, even sports, dedication to a simple idea can reap incredibly huge rewards. After all, “The harder I work, the luckier I get” has never been more true.
Perhaps nothing embodies the awkwardness of Five Guys’ teenage growth spurt more than its hamburger buns. The family insists on using a special roll that’s sweeter and eggier than a typical bun. In the early days, Janie’s favorite local bakery, Brenner’s in Alexandria, made the bun. When Brenner’s closed, Five Guys hired two of their bakers and started cooking the rolls in-house, barely keeping up with the demand. “I don’t want to say it was a nightmare,” says Chad, “but it was pretty close to one.”
Everyone was constantly juggling. “I spent three or four months driving a bread truck,” recalls Chamberlain. Chad remembers getting a frantic call one morning from the franchise in Blacksburg, Va., who didn’t get his regular bun delivery. Chad raced to the bakery, filled his car with buns, and started driving south. Hours later, he arrived at the store—just as his dad and brother pulled up with a truck full of buns. When stores opened in Florida, they FedEx-ed buns since they didn’t yet have a local bakery. They finally contracted professional bakeries, overseen by Tyler, to produce the buns. Some franchises still have a love-hate relationship with them. “To us, it’s expensive,” says Tom Horton, one of Five Guys’ largest franchisees. “But it’s also a very good product.”
Fascinating, but not surprising.
Fantastic look into a forgotten graph created by the Da Vinci of Data himself, Edward Tufte.
Incredible utility from Apple to simulate various network speeds & connectivity settings via your computer.
Fantastic overview of the Berlin Graffiti Scene by Smashing Magazine.
About that “blessing” of a stadium Mbombela got when South Africa hosted the World Cup:
The cost to construct the stadium that hosted those four games was initially estimated at about $80 million; the final tally was closer to $140 million. Construction was funded by public revenues — by taxes. Two schools were bulldozed to make room for the stadium. Parents and children from the nearby village staged protests; as the New York Times reported last March, police “dispersed them with rubber bullets.” Local politicians in Nelspruit, the provincial capital, began turning up evidence of massive graft surrounding the project. In 2008, Jimmy Mohlala, the head of the local council, came forward with evidence that an official named Jacob Dladla had conspired with the stadium’s contractors to effectively steal public funds. The ANC held a meeting to consider the allegations, the outcome of which was that they left the accused, Dladla, unpunished and demanded Mohlala’s resignation. “The ANC has its reasons for taking its decision, which will be communicated to the public in due time,” the party spokesman said.