I appeared on Arizona Horizon on PBS on Wednesday. You can watch the video here.
On June 8th, 2013 I spoke at TEDxLivermore about Hacking the Future of Humanity. The videos were recently published and now you can watch it for yourself.
From the Youtube Video:
Jade Meskill believes we have a choice: we can continue to condemn our children to a life of mediocrity through our apathy….or we can deliver them a future made of magnificence. Delving into the true hacker ethic, Jade poses the question: “How do you hack the system to leave our kids a magnificent future?”
The core principals of hacking: openness, sharing, decentralization of authority and free access to information, are shared from the perspective of someone who began a hackers’ life before becoming a teen. Jade also shares his core belief that the most important aspect of the hacker mentality is world improvement. According to Jade, the original definition of the word ‘hacker,’ (before it meant invasion of privacy or people taking over your computer), bespoke of people who were insanely curious about the new world of technology, of communication, and of computing power. Hackers were pioneers in a new frontier, building the basis of what fuels our modern, tech-driven world.
Jade Meskill works in the highly dynamic area of culture change, team improvement and organizational transformation. In this talk he discusses how his early education through Montessori school was a perfect match for supporting his penchant for creative exploration. He attributes the Montessori explorative learning style as a basis for his success as a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of Gangplank, the best collaborative workspace for creative people and innovative companies in Metro Phoenix. Gangplank is an unusual shared workspace that, instead of charging a fee, demands your energy, your time, and your passion for true co-creation. It is as much a set of values and cultural beliefs as it is a shared work environment, and it is growing, with venues in various cities in the US and Canada.
Learn more about Gangplank at http://whatisgangplank.com/.
TEDxLivermore is organized by people from Livermore California who believe in the power of ideas to change the world. The mutual dependence of education and innovation means schools, industry and the broader community can join together to build an ecosystem where innovation + education can cross-fertilize and thrive.
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)
Would anyone be opposed to … ?
Are you opposed to … ?
Or my personal favorite
As long as no one is opposed …
I hear this question, under many different guises, throughout the day. I cringe every time I hear it, especially when it comes out of my own mouth. The question sets up a challenge: “Do you dare prevent me from … ?” Sometimes people will take you up on the challenge. If you are in a position of authority, many times they will not.
Why is this a bad thing?
The challenge will trigger a fight or flight response, increasing stress levels, dramatically decreasing the ability to create the best idea.
When this challenge is issued, the desired response is silence. Silence is not agreement. Silence can be a seed of bitterness and resentment that will bear fruit later.
By setting up agreement through inaction, you have also accepted the full consequences of this decision. If things go wrong, and the inevitably do, don’t expect any support from “the unopposed.” Just because they weren’t opposed, doesn’t mean they support it.
What to do
Break the cycle of opposition. When I hear the Opposed Question, I pause, and state that it is time to make a decision. Turn the question around to ask “Will you support … ?” and get a response from each individual regarding their support. You should not take action until support is unanimous, and the best ideas have been discovered.
This is going to take forever!
Getting unanimous support for taking action is extremely difficult. Luckily, there is help readily available. I have found the Decider from the Core Protocols to be an extremely helpful way to make unanimous decisions (that are biased toward results) that support the best ideas. Try it with your team!
So as long as no one is opposed, I’m going to publish this now…
I was asked recently to document what’s I use for my toolkit when I’m at a client engagement. I’ve experimented with many different options and materials over the last year and so I’ll share with you what I’m currently using.
Before I show you the list, I want to share my philosophy that your toolkit needs to be simple, yet flexible. You never know what might happen during the course of a meeting you are facilitating, therefore you need to be prepared for anything. I’ve found that having an assortment of simple, yet highly effective basic materials gives me the flexibility I need to pull off almost anything.
Toolbox(es) – I have found using a common toolbox to be a great container for all this stuff. Bonus: it’s tons of fun to carry around and get strange looks from people. A toolbox appears very unusual to creative workers and helps encourage diversity of thought.
I use a 20″ toolbox as my main kit, and a 12.5″ toolbox as my grab-and-go kit.
Let’s begin with the small toolbox.
I use this one to facilitate meetings for up to 8 people, like simple retrospectives, or other meetings where I don’t need the full capabilities I have available to me.
Here are it’s contents:
The Large Toolbox – I use this for more complex meetings, usually involving some highly creative activities. Enough for 20 people.
Make time to go to lunch with the people you are serving.
I’ve learned far more about the organization, the people I’m working with, and the challenges that lie ahead by going to lunch with someone almost every single day I’m on site.
I believe that lunch is one of the least respected and valued times in American culture. It is a critical time of day to step back and release from the focus of our daily work. It is an ideal opportunity to restore sustenance not merely to our bodies, but our minds as well. I’ve forged or solidified many relationships over a simple lunch. The more you can talk, laugh, cry, and share life with those around you, the more human you become, the more influence you will be permitted to have.
Lunch is a powerfully simple tool to leave behind lasting change.
P.S. This is doubly important for those who are in a consultant role. There are many barriers to overcome when you are from the outside, especially with those who do not understand what you are doing here. Lunch is that safe opportunity to share a meal to reveal yourself as the amazing person you are. (without making it inappropriate, formal, or just plain weird, like a dinner with someone unfamiliar can be)
Lately I have been doing a lot of work with organizations on Portfolio Management. I needed to create a fun game to give an introduction to the challenges of an Agile Portfolio without being overwhelming.
In April 2011, I attended the Agile Game Incubator at Agile 2011 and utilized the PLAID technique that Mike and Don taught us. This framework was extremely helpful for focusing me on my objectives and building a solid game. If you haven’t checked out tastycupcakes.org and used some of the amazing games, you must check it out.
My goal was to create something meaningful, yet playful, that had a team building element included. I created some fun personas to the game to let people role play and laugh a lot. I’ve used this game successfully with clients and also with my fellow coaches at the Scrum Coaches Retreat 2011.
Here is an introduction to the game that I created and you can find a link to download the facilitator’s kit at the bottom of this post. If you have any improvements or suggestions, please comment.
The management team of Zebco, Inc. has too many projects, too few resources. This game teaches teams how to prioritize the people and resources they have available and try to maximize their effectiveness.
Some randomness is introduced by the dice roll. This helps simulate reality when unexpected things happen and makes the game more fun.
This game is sized for a team of 3-7 people. For larger groups, split them into smaller teams of 3-7 people and provide them with extra copies of all materials.
- Learn how delicate the balance of projects can be
- Learn how to manage limited resources
- Learn to deal with conflict
I have been reading the book Fierce Conversations. It has helped me to have a much more direct approach to difficult conversations, especially the ones that you really want to put off because they are so uncomfortable.
Recently at Integrum we have been undergoing a lot of deep, radical change, more about that in a later post. This has required me to have some very honest conversations with my entire team, much of it unpleasant. I don’t like confrontation; I don’t like to tell people that they need to move on (as in: time to work somewhere else). I’ve had to do that many times in the last few months. Reading this book has completely changed my approach. I don’t have it down to a science yet, and it’s not my first inclination, but I’m working hard to improve myself and my communication style.
Interestingly enough, today I got a letter in the mail: no return address, unfamiliar handwriting on the front. Anthrax jokes ensued. What was inside was almost as dangerous.
Jade everyone really likes and respects you. No one is denying you have a great business model with Gangplank and Integrum. But lately a day doesn’t go by without hearing something negative you have said about someone else. It seems your ego is getting in the way of your business. It hardly seems that the founder of Gangplank should be bad mouthing people constantly. We know you are smart, but that doesn’t mean everyone else is stupid. The foundation you are seeking to build is exactly the foundation you are destroying.
After the initial shock wore off, I started thinking… Wow, thank you anonymous person (that’s sarcasm by the way, one of my greatest gifts (that’s double sarcasm, Inception sarcasm)). It’s great that you feel that way, but now what? How do I ask questions? How do I get real feedback? Am I really doing this? This kind of Anonymous complaining is not helpful at all. It saddens me that whoever wrote this thought they were being courageous by sending this letter, but in reality, revealed the opposite. Engaging in a direct conversation addressing your issues with someone is one of the bravest things you can ever do.
Derek Neighbors recently wrote a post called You Can’t Handle The Truth, where he talks about dealing with people’s criticism of you. He states you have two choices Ignore the Criticism, or Fix the Problem. The challenge with Anonymous feedback is it’s impossible to know what to do… you can only look inside your own mind. It’s very difficult to be completely honest with yourself. How can you not be influenced by your own perceptions?
No man was ever so much deceived by another as by himself.
– Fulke Greville
So how do I deal with something like this? The honest truth is I don’t let things like this bother me too much. I try every day to be the best person I know how to be. Somedays I am a failure, but the path to being human is about the grace we extend to each other every new day, and challenging each other to rise to new heights. We are losing this skill as a race; too afraid to challenge, too afraid to speak up, too afraid to sign your own name. That’s why I’m publishing this here, radical transparency is scary, I really don’t want everyone to know that someone thinks these kinds of things about me. What will my mother say?
Here’s to pushing myself and to a better tomorrow!
The human race is a race of cowards; and I am not only marching in that procession but carrying a banner.
– Mark Twain
On November 22nd I officially became a Certified ScrumMaster (CSM). I went to my CSM training with Michael Vizdos. I was surprised at what I was able to learn, and the level of conversation was much higher than I had anticipated. To put things in context, we have been using Scrum at Integrum for over 4 years, we have had multiple other CSMs and a CSP on staff, so I figured that I’d heard it all before.
Michael was an excellent teacher, he was engaging, extremely sensitive to the level of knowledge of the other class members and adjusted his content and conversation accordingly. Luckily the other attendees all had some Scrum experience, so we were able to dig into the topics at a little bit deeper level. If you are thinking of taking a CSM class, I would highly encourage you to take one with Vizdos. His experience running and working with large, technical professional service organizations really resonated with me.
So, as the CEO of Integrum, I know that I can never be the ScrumMaster of our team, nor do I want to be. Being a sometime developer on our team is hard enough with the awkward power dynamic of also being “the boss,” being the ScrumMaster would be next to impossible. So why did I spend the money, take two days of my time, and invest so much mental energy into getting certified when I cannot actively take on the role of ScrumMaster?
Part of the answer is, I believe in being well rounded and having a deep understanding of the practices of my company. As I mentioned earlier, we have been using Scrum (and XP) for over 4 years and I feel like I have a good handle on the day to day practice of Scrum. What I wanted to get out of the class was a deeper, more nuanced understanding of why we do the things we do. I’ve read the books, blogs, literature, etc., I’ve talked the talk, and walked the walk, but the one thing I haven’t done is engage in deep conversation about why we practice Scrum, and the role of a ScrumMaster, with someone outside our organization. I want to be sure our practices are mature, and where they are not mature yet, we are taking the right steps and achieving incremental improvements on a path to excellence. We are building a hyper-performance team at Integrum, so we need all the help, training, discipline and experience we can get.
I believe that great leaders, especially when dealing with engineers, also should be practitioners (this is a very nuanced statement, it should not be taken at face value, and perhaps I will address it in depth in another article). I want to feel the pressure, pain, and satisfaction of what I am expecting my employees to do so that I can be a better leader. I also want to be able to apply the principles of Scrum to our entire organization, from sales, to support, strategy to tactics. In order to run the organization under Scrum, I must require of myself an earnest understanding and appreciation of the principles and practices of Scrum.
I am going to be challenging myself to implement more elements of Scrum to how we run the business itself. I can already predict that this is going to be very challenging to the leadership, not because we don’t believe in Scrum, but simply because sticking to the practice of Scrum is difficult. I anticipate we will go through Tuckman’s stages of group development, I imagine some hard conversations being had. We will fail, fast and often. We will talk about why we failed, and how we can do it better next time. We will improve, week after week. Before we know it, we will be more productive, more organized, and more successful than we were a short time before. We will accomplish things we never thought we had the time for.
We will change the world.
Gee thanks Apple for that insightful, descriptive message. Surely with all your advanced binary scanning, static analysis, Application Uploader, etc. all you can give us is a most unhelpful “Invalid Binary”?
If you are suffering from “Invalid Binary” issues, and have done everything short of sacrificing small farm animals, try this trick.
If your Entitlements.plist file was generated with an version of Xcode prior Xcode 3.2.3, remove Entitlements.plist and regenerate it using Xcode 3.2.3. You don’t need to change any of the options generated on your new Entitlements.plist file, just recompile and submit again. Hopefully this helps someone.
It’s actually really easy, here’s how I’ve set it up:
Install the XCode 3.2.3 with iOS4 in /Developer
Install XCode 3.2.2 with iPhone OS 3.2 in /Developer322
Install latest XCode 4.0 developer preview in /DeveloperBeta
This makes it trivially easy to support the older SDKs and toolsets for handling your legacy iPhone applications.