Computer Guy

Computer Guy
Sunset at DoubleM Systems (, Del Mar, California

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Here's an email from a Protégé, just as I received it, including the typos, errors, etc:

Hi mike - How are you? i hope is well....I have been thinking alot lately of your 10 commandments to entrepreneurship and realized that I have to freaking tattoo it to my forehead in order not to forget things like DONT TAKE TOO MANY PEOPLE BOARD OR THE SHIP WILL SINK amongst others...

i have been going freaking crazy lately. I have come to realization that MOST people are lazy, make excuses and just bottom line to have what it takes to become successful. I hate to say this and hope that life proves me wrong soon....Its just Im tired of working on projects, working my ass off, and because I have to rely on others executing the technology, I end up getting screwed after working my tail off on what I can control....

It seems like the only way to get around this is to learn how to write code myself and do everything alone; which just doesn't seem like a winning strategy either? Or convince an investor to give me money and simply pay people to get things done?

Sorry Mike - I was hoping that you had some advice :)

My reply:

Yeah, people!
The problem with people is that they are human!!
Just like you.

Many of the problems are because we hire too quickly, without proper screening, references, testing, etc. And, we hire for all the wrong reasons...

And then even more problems are because we fire too slowly. We tend to not want to face the difficult job of telling someone they are not doing the job and have to go. So we keep the bad ones, hoping that they will turn around (as if by magic).

And even more problems are because they don't get the proper training in the way things need to be done.

Yes, all these "people" problems can be traced back to hiring, training, and firing, all of which is a management problem (another people problem).

It's simple, but it ain't easy.

What you are going through is what is called an education. It takes time, but you'll catch on...

All the best,


Sound bite to take away: "Hire slow. Fire fast."


Friday, February 12, 2010

Mental Health Days

The Protégé sometimes gets sidetracked, just temporarily, but then gets suddenly swamped by real world random events, and then spins completely out of control.

This is a good time to take a breath.
And another one.

The Protégé breathes, and relaxes a bit, thankful for the break.
The Protégé wants to stop the world. Things are moving too fast.
The Protégé feels behind the power curve.
Disappointed in self.
And the Protégé pushes back.
Against the Mentor!

Move meetings to every other week.
Because there is no time to prepare for a weekly meeting?
The logic escapes me,
but it is all about the Protégé not the mentor.

So I look at this as the Protégé's mental health day.
You gotta honor a mental health day request.

And I'm not as constrained by the real world
as is my Protégé,
so I can move a lot more quickly, and surely.
I can see how a Protégé's mental health day
could work to the benefit of the mentor as well.

But soon the path must be again taken up,
confident that the rest has given strength,
and gratitude, and renewed commitment.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Elevator Story: I (heart) what I do...

These 5 words, delivered with a smile, eye contact, enthusiasm,
and supported by appropriate and choreographed body movements,
seems to be an ideal introduction to an elevator story,
that we are obliged to get in quickly and deliver with confidence, curiously attractive enthusiasm, and with the potential of great benefit to the listener of the story.

The power of these 5 words is because it moves us to consider deeply what we do,
and thereby opening the path to doing more of the stuff we love to do.

Saying a thing ("I love what I do!")
leads to doing a thing (Doing what I love)
but it is not doing.
Saying is only part doing.

If you can say what you truly love about your work,
you have found a key to a happy life
if you just do more of it.

Of course, that doesn't mean success in business,
just a happy life.
Success in business is an entirely different matter.

and buy something nice for yourself, or as a gift.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Secret of getting ahead...

The secret of getting ahead is getting started.

The secret of getting started is

breaking your complex overwhelming tasks

into small manageable tasks,

and then starting on the first one.

Mark Twain