When authenticity matters most


March madness and the spirit of the NCAA basketball tournament are everywhere. But there’s one particular bracket no one wants to be on. For the past six years, the website The Consumerist has held a tournament for readers to decide the Worst Company in America.

The site takes nominations to determine the initial selection of 32, then round by round readers vote to determine the winner.

One company on the list this year has decided to do something about it. Not about the reasons why they made the list, or why they “won” the competition last year–but about making sure their competition wins first.

Continue reading When authenticity matters most

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Time to chase a new kind of dream

Last week the time had come for me to say goodbye to Red Hat. I joined the company on the third day of the year 2000. Red Hat was 350 people then. Today the company is over 3500 and is the largest and most recognized open source company in the world. I may have left the company, but in many ways I will always be a Red Hatter.

But today I’m chasing a new kind of dream. Today is my first day at New Kind.

Continue reading Time to chase a new kind of dream

Discovering desire lines: How to break down barriers and let paths emerge

The story is told like this: A university constructs several new buildings on its campus. But rather than build sidewalks between buildings, they plant grass, let people walk, and wait. Pedestrians choose the most efficient paths–and over time the lines worn in the grass reveal where sidewalks should be.

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5 reasons why rapid prototyping works for creative projects

The open source community has a phrase for the principle of rapid prototyping: “Release early, release often.” The theory is sound: Don’t wait until a project is perfect to share it. Instead, keep producing work so more people can experience it, react to it, find bugs, and improve it.

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Sharing the story of Red Hat’s brand and culture

Last week I was asked to speak about brand and culture to a group of visiting MBA students from the Mason School of Business at the College of William & Mary. They came to Red Hat to learn more about the company, and I gave a talk on how brand and culture align at Red Hat.

I love telling this story.

Continue reading Sharing the story of Red Hat’s brand and culture

Comparing leadership cultures and creating change


Yesterday I attended a panel on cultural leadership at the Coach K Leadership Conference at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. The panel featured our own Senior VP of People and Brand at Red Hat, DeLisa Alexander, and Mark Reuss, President of General Motors North America.

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Inside the culture of Wikipedia: Q&A with the author of “Good Faith Collaboration”

Wikipedia is among the world’s most widely recognized examples of mass collaboration. Most people also know Wikipedia is open for anyone to contribute. But what does open mean? What are the rules? Who writes them? And how do they solve inevitable disputes over content?

Continue reading Inside the culture of Wikipedia: Q&A with the author of “Good Faith Collaboration”

Darwin meets Dilbert: Applying the Law of Two Feet to your next meeting

I came across an interesting concept recently: the Law of Two Feet. Brilliantly simple, it says any time you’re in a meeting where you’re not contributing nor adding value–you are encouraged to use your two feet and find a place where you can. In other words, if it’s not meaningful, and you’re not doing your part to make it meaningful, move on.
Continue reading Darwin meets Dilbert: Applying the Law of Two Feet to your next meeting

Jim Whitehurst: Don’t build a better mousetrap. Change the business model.

Companies that are creating massive value typically aren’t building a better mousetrap. They’re not improving on existing technologies or simply adding new features. Instead, they’re changing the business model. This was the message behind Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst’s keynote at today’s CED Venture 2010 Conference.

Continue reading Jim Whitehurst: Don’t build a better mousetrap. Change the business model.