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Megyn Kelly: Settle For More

A celebrity memoir has to do three things.  1) Cover the well-known aspects of their professional career from an insider's perspective.  That's the real reason I read these books.  2) Inject some unexpected stuff that I didn't even know I wanted to hear about.  3) Fit in the personal details without boring the hell out of me.

 

This audiobook did exactly that.  She covers the 1st Republican debate where she cut into Trump and he cut back for the next YEAR.  It is really interesting to hear her years of interactions with Trump prior to him being elected.  

 

She reveals tons of Fox News insider information.  Her relationship with Jon Stewart.  Bill O'Reilly.  Katie Couric.  Brit Hume.  How she loves Oprah.  This book was written pre-NBC and her firing.  And it is really interesting to hear her journalistic philosophy, views of feminism, outrage culture, her personal life, and personal ambition given her firing a few years later.  Knowing her future, this book works really well.  Plus she is a great speaker and this is an audiobook.

 

I enjoy listening to these types of books about people that so many people hate.  Megyn Kelly holds a special place in my heart because she's hated by both liberals and conservatives.  That, in my view, is a positive indicator that she's not some tribal asshole.  After listening to her book, I'd say that's right.

 

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  • 1 year later...

This thread's been dead for too long. 

 

No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention by Reed Hastings + Erin Meyer. I'm only about a third in and it's been a damned challenging book for me as a manager. The feedback structure? I can learn from that. Laying off anyone average + hiring guidelines? We already have a 'no jerks' rule that's critical for us in hiring. But the other part is tougher to digest. 

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7 hours ago, dogbert said:

This thread's been dead for too long. 

 

No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention by Reed Hastings + Erin Meyer. I'm only about a third in and it's been a damned challenging book for me as a manager. The feedback structure? I can learn from that. Laying off anyone average + hiring guidelines? We already have a 'no jerks' rule that's critical for us in hiring. But the other part is tougher to digest. 

Which part, laying off anyone average? I challenge my leaders everyday to ask themselves who is the lowest performer on my team and how can I change that. If you go multiple weeks and the same name comes up over and over either you are not a good leader or they need to go. It’s not easy to do. Laying off people sucks. This week I had to take people management responsibility off someone, didn’t touch their pay, because they are a much better engineer than a people leader. They fell into what I call buddy manager role. That’s a fine role to be in if the team performs consistently, but this one didn’t. 

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Yeah the laying off anyone deemed "average" is the part that's tough to digest + imagine implementing. Of course we push people to grow + improve, but that's not the same as actually laying people off. 

 

Here's the "bullet point" summary about this, for people that don't know the policy: 

1X7TRfM.png

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I'm readying the same book! It's actually made me curious enough to investigate work opportunities there, if anything more of a "how long would I last there?" but also the pay (which I've have confirmed with friends inside). Facebook does something similar, you end up in a pool of "needs an assignment" and if you don't get picked in a certain time window you are also laid off.

 

The negative part I can see is the incentive to always "let go off someone" even if you have achieved a high bar as a group already, with social dynamics playing into the "I won't be seen as doing my manager job properly" - however, it looks like their turnover rates are not much different than other tech companies so the balance must be kinda working. The part about paying "top of the market rate" I think also a big incentive that goes hand in hand with this - again part of balancing the equation here.

 

It's the kinda thing however that I think helps knowing upfront - it seems it goes together with the open feedback at all times concept and having the expectation that you can be let go up front. I imagine this is terribly difficult to achieve (if not impossible) on an individual group/team basis - this would need to be company wide with a hard cutoff transition line where top levels say "After this date, this are the new expectations, company wide". However without the top market pay rate incentive - I just see employee turnover rate spiking.

 

 

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I've been reading Ken Williams' new book about Sierra, Not all Fairytales have Happy Endings (https://www.lulu.com/en/us/shop/ken-williams/not-all-fairy-tales-have-happy-endings/ebook/product-ejqnz7.html?page=1&pageSize=4). It's part history of Sierra On-line, part autobiography (although not much), and part a look into how the business was run, but it's an interesting look at a company that made a huge impact in gaming.  There are definitely a lot of "what if" moments that you can look at and wonder what might have happened had something changed, particularly around the mid-late 90s collapse of the company.  It's also got some good material on TSN/INN (their networking service from the early 90s), which had some pretty groundbreaking ideas. 

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On 11/7/2020 at 11:07 PM, dogbert said:

Cleaned up my post + this page. 

 

I hear ya, Albert, that knowing "that's how it works" up front would help... I'm seeing it more from the manager side. 

 

Super interesting conversation. For the first time in more than a decade of management / hiring / firing, I've moved to an "IC" (individual contributor) role at a tech company with a comprehensive, borderline obsessive feedback and review culture. I did this on purpose: While I was a good manager and loved to hire amazing people who were smarter than me, and I even found meaning in the firing part (I can't say I enjoyed it), I do not miss management. Where I work now we don't even say that managers "manage" people - they "support" people. It's a subtle difference, but it highlights a major and important nuance.  In fact, people move from management to IC positions (and back) all the time. I like it.

 

I now thoroughly believe that "managers" should be forced to cycle out of that role every so often. Too long in management and you lose sight of who's a good performer and who isn't. Rather, you focus only on feedback from those you have come to build communication systems with over time. The Netflix / Hastings style of "fire low performers" places way too much power on those who hold the keys, in my opinion, and it enables power games and borderline personality disorders. I know a few people who have worked at Netflix over the years, and it sounds like a terrifying place, at least for those who can't / won't play the game. I'd be concerned about anyone taking their management cues from there, imho.

 

One last note that I just realized and am curious about: Most of the companies that employ the more brutalistic Hastings model seem to be in the Southern California area: Netflix does it, I know Riot Games does it as well ... and the one LA company I worked at had crazy top-down power culture that kept a lot of people working in fear. I wonder if it's a Hollywood thing?

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1 hour ago, Josh said:

 

Super interesting conversation. For the first time in more than a decade of management / hiring / firing, I've moved to an "IC" (individual contributor) role at a tech company with a comprehensive, borderline obsessive feedback and review culture. I did this on purpose: While I was a good manager and loved to hire amazing people who were smarter than me, and I even found meaning in the firing part (I can't say I enjoyed it), I do not miss management. Where I work now we don't even say that managers "manage" people - they "support" people. It's a subtle difference, but it highlights a major and important nuance.  In fact, people move from management to IC positions (and back) all the time. I like it.

 

I now thoroughly believe that "managers" should be forced to cycle out of that role every so often. Too long in management and you lose sight of who's a good performer and who isn't. Rather, you focus only on feedback from those you have come to build communication systems with over time. The Netflix / Hastings style of "fire low performers" places way too much power on those who hold the keys, in my opinion, and it enables power games and borderline personality disorders. I know a few people who have worked at Netflix over the years, and it sounds like a terrifying place, at least for those who can't / won't play the game. I'd be concerned about anyone taking their management cues from there, imho.

 

One last note that I just realized and am curious about: Most of the companies that employ the more brutalistic Hastings model seem to be in the Southern California area: Netflix does it, I know Riot Games does it as well ... and the one LA company I worked at had crazy top-down power culture that kept a lot of people working in fear. I wonder if it's a Hollywood thing?


I guess there’s never a perfect solution. But having been part of a team with plenty of low performers I see the allure for Hastings culture. The good ones end up leaving when the low performer problem is unaddressed as holding the bag gets old pretty quick.

 

But yeah I can totally see that style getting out of control too - however at this point if you are joining Netflix you basically know what you are signing to - it shouldn’t be a surprise - but I would be interesting to see what the dynamics are. Would it be analogous to say wall street stock brokers where the stereotype is a jock bro type of personality? I guess in the case of Netflix it could be the too many cooks in the kitchen they all think they are right and nobody agrees dynamic - I’ve certainly seen that in Amazon and that also prohibits progress.

 

But I’ve seen the flip version of that (in Canonical) where everyone was a high performer but could align very quickly on objectives and make tremendous progress with few people.

 

I frankly wouldn’t be concerned if managers learned a thing or two from Netflix culture- granted don’t drink the whole kool-aid. 

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23 minutes ago, AlbertA said:

I guess there’s never a perfect solution. But having been part of a team with plenty of low performers I see the allure for Hastings culture. The good ones end up leaving when the low performer problem is unaddressed as holding the bag gets old pretty quick.

 

There's a mile of space between a low performer and an "adequate" performer, though. The fear culture is what all of this breeds, in my experience, at least.

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