Friday, September 07, 2012

Scarce Peculiar and Valuable

Software is about writing.  No matter where you sit or what part of the business you're in.

I've had conversations with sales professionals (specific individuals that I really respect, btw) who tell me that they really don't / can't write things down.  Seriously???

But not just sales.

I hear this from developers.
I hear this from product managers.
I hear this from marketing teams.
I hear this from executives.
I hear this from a lot of people who I really shouldn't hear this from.

Rarely (too rarely) I encounter a razor sharp individual who won't hesitate to TYPE OUT a detailed idea.    Literally open a Word doc and articulate their thoughts in an accurate, brief and concise way.

In my opinion it is a hallmark of outsized smarts and it holds up over time.  I hire these people.  I work for these people.  They are scarce, peculiar and insanely valuable.

UPDATE - June 2014:

Great article re: Jeff Bezos' approach.

Some highlights:

The company also forgoes PowerPoint, Bezos says, which is “easy for the presenter, but difficult for the audience.” Bezos noted that slides generally communicate very little real information—primarily bullet points and numeric data—but the necessity to communicate thoughts in full sentences and paragraphs requires presenters to think more deeply and “forces a deeper clarity,” he maintains.

The company structures its meetings around a six-page memo. Whereas executives tend to interrupt a PowerPoint presentation, the memos are thoroughly read. In many cases, they don’t need to ask questions because the answers are plain to see in the memos.
Another benefit of the memos, Bezos says, is that they force presenters to go beyond the numeric facts of an issue or statement to include the story around it.