Planning for the unplanned

There’s an expression in Hebrew: “Baltam”. It’s a shorthand form for something unplanned, or more precisely, it strongly implies: [something that is] impossible to plan. I think it has its roots in the military. In the battle field, you always have to account for some surprises. You cannot possibly have everything planned. Israelis are also (in)famous for improvising. Not so famous for planning ahead.

As an (ex?) Israeli, I recently felt awkward, essentially being accused of being overly bureaucratic. And by a German colleague, of all people. Can you imagine it?? :)

Some things take you by surprise

Ok, and just to clarify one thing, this post isn’t about cultural stereotypes, but rather trying to figure out a practical approach to a real problem that my team is facing with new ideas and features:

How do you deal with new tasks or ideas, especially small ones?

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Innovation, Promises, Lies and Toupées

I recently finished reading “Bad Blood – Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup”, by John Carreyrou. It’s a remarkable piece of investigative journalism and an amazingly grabbing read. I just couldn’t let it off my hands.

I think it particularly stood out, because the amazingly stark contrast with another book I just recently wrote about: “It doesn’t have to be crazy at work”, by the co-founders of Basecamp.

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Is it zen at work?

I really enjoyed reading It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work recently. It’s another bestseller from Basecamp. After reading Rework before, a lot of things felt a bit familiar. Too familiar, perhaps. But their new book still has a few new ideas and covers things from a different angle. Well worth a read.

Working remotely, and at a company with very similar culture and values to Basecamp, a lot of what they write about resonated. Much of the way we structure things at work was inspired or wholesale copied from Basecamp to be completely honest. Why reinvent the wheel when someone hands you an instruction manual for building a perfect one?

But some things caught me by surprise. It felt a little too zen, or even contradictory in some cases? But it definitely gave me pause. Maybe we’re doing some things wrong, and can improve even further? I’m still unsure, but hope we can experiment with some ideas. Let me jump into a few examples…

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