“It Is a Great Art to Saunter”

Sauntering 001 - Louisville, CO.

“It Is a Great Art to Saunter” – Walking, Henry David Thoreau

Walking is available on Project Gutenberg http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1022

Here is a brief excerpt.

“…SAUNTERING, which word is beautifully derived “from idle people who roved about the country, in the Middle Ages, and asked charity, under pretense of going a la Sainte Terre,” to the Holy Land, till the children exclaimed, “There goes a Sainte-Terrer,” a Saunterer, a Holy-Lander. They who never go to the Holy Land in their walks, as they pretend, are indeed mere idlers and vagabonds; but they who do go there are saunterers in the good sense, such as I mean. Some, however, would derive the word from sans terre without land or a home, which, therefore, in the good sense, will mean, having no particular home, but equally at home everywhere. For this is the secret of successful sauntering. He who sits still in a house all the time may be the greatest vagrant of all; but the saunterer, in the good sense, is no more vagrant than the meandering river, which is all the while sedulously seeking the shortest course to the sea. But I prefer the first, which, indeed, is the most probable derivation. For every walk is a sort of crusade, preached by some Peter the Hermit in us, to go forth and reconquer this Holy Land from the hands of the Infidels.”

Rework – Great Read on Work, Operating Models, and Organizational Design

REWORKRework Book Cover by Jason Fried & David Heinemeir Hansson (founders of Basecamp) offers a fresh look at work, Operating Models, and Organizational Design. If you are a manager, leader, organizational designer, or someone who wants to positively influence organizational design and culture you’ll find that this book is just packed with interesting observations, insights and inspiring ideas.

“You don’t create culture. It happens. This is why new companies don’t have culture. Culture is the byproduct of consistent behavior…. Culture isn’t a foosball table or trust falls. It isn’t policy. It isn’t the Christmas party or the company picnic. Those are objects and events, not culture. Culture is action, not words…You can’t install a culture. Like a fine scotch, you’ve got to give it time to develop”. –  From the chapter “Culture”.

Consider Kanban To Visualize Work, Balance Workflow, and Coordinate with Less Stress

Kanban is a method to help a team visualize work, balance the flow of work, and collectively understand priorities. You may have heard of it in the context of Agile Framework for software development, but the method is worth considering for any type of project.

The Kanban board surfaces all the work on a single page. This board becomes a framework for iterative and rational discussions about what to work on next. It allows everyone to be on the same “sheet of music” and thereby reduces stress. Using Kanban can also help explain the status of the work to management in a clear way.

My favorite tools for digital Kanban boards are MeisterTask and XMind. I then link the Kanban tiles to projects in Basecamp 3 where people collaborate to execute projects.

Learn More…

Continue reading “Consider Kanban To Visualize Work, Balance Workflow, and Coordinate with Less Stress”

“Welcome to Flatland” – Valve Software Employee Handbook


Want to read about an interesting management model? Check out the Valve Software Employee Handbook which they kindly published on their web site. If you are not familiar with Valve Software, they are the makers of the  STEAM digital distribution and gaming platform.

By 2011, over half of digital PC game sales were through Steam, and Valve was the most profitable company per employee in the United States *

Some interesting concepts revealed in this handbook are 1) A flat management model 2) Stacked Ranking for compensation rewarding combinations of depth and breadth 3) Cabal multidisciplinary teams 4) Employees choose the projects they work on and more.

“Why does your desk have wheels? Think of those wheels as a symbolic reminder that you should always be considering where you could move yourself to be more valuable. But also think of those wheels as literal wheels, because that’s what they are, and you’ll be able to actually move your desk with them.”

The Idle Traveler and the Art of Slow Travel

I’m a big fan of Tom Hodgkinson’s books on being idle. I’m also enjoying this book by Dan Kieran, The Idle Traveler, The Art of Slow Travel. Tom Hodgkinson wrote the forward which nicely captures the theme of the book:

What Dan has attempted in this book is to outline a particular philosophy of travel, where travel becomes part of one’s own therapeutic journey, rather than simply an escape. So it would be true to say that idle travel does not mean comfortable travel or easy travel. In fact, Dan reserves particular ire for the soul-deadening effect of fancy hotels. It is not even necessarily slow travel, for the actual pace of movement is surely relative – a train ride would have seemed impossibly fast to a Florentine apothecary of 1450. Idle travel is nothing to do with ‘fun’ in the modern sense, meaning a temporary escape from our ills. No: it is more to do with attitude. Perhaps ‘deep’ travel would be a better synonym.


The Pirate Compensation Model Mindmap

Click here to view the full and interactive mindmap I made on this exhibit.

On April 26, 1717, the Whydah was caught in a violent storm and wrecked. Whydah and her treasure eluded discovery for over 260 years until 1984… Whydah is the only fully authenticated Golden Age pirate shipwreck ever discovered.

In 2011 I went to the “Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah” Traveling Exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. I fenced competitively for 20 years, so this sort of exhibit was right up my alley.

The exhibit had more than just artifacts and also introduced me to the intriguing culture and operational practices of pirates –  which were quite evolved in regards to logistics and management.

Oh, and if you are ever on Cape Cod you can see this exhibit at the Whydah Pirate Museum.