Protagonist rule #3: Compete intentionally

For almost all of human history, we lived in scarcity. We lacked food, housing and safety and lived in small communities that could easily be wiped out by competing tribes. It’s hard to imagine for most of us, but famines occurred regularly. Warfare between tribes was the norm in many regions of the world. And … Read more

Protagonist rule #2: Have a purpose

When Western society to a large extent was religious, Christianity offered a ready-made framework for meaning and purpose. The promise of an eternal afterlife offers a powerful incentive to live life in a way that contributes to the community you’re part of. Humans have an internal moral framework and religion aligns with that framework in … Read more

Protagonist rule #1: Own it

Life at work, as well as outside of work, can be very surprising. Lots of unexpected and unwelcome things can happen. Interestingly, if you look at how modern society organizes itself, you realize that much of what we spend time and energy on is concerned with creating predictability in our lives. The houses we live … Read more

Be the protagonist of your life: 15 rules

Over the last few years, I’ve enjoyed a steadily growing following on Linkedin. I’m very grateful for that, so thank you if you’re one of them. To understand what you and others like, appreciate and think about, I often read comments and, occasionally, engage in discussions to better understand your viewpoints. Based on this reading … Read more

PD fallacy #10: the customer cares about the product

One of my favorite activities when meeting with the companies I work with is to tell them that their customer doesn’t give a flying hoot about their product. This often leads to a storm of protests and objections and meeting participants proudly showing me net promoter scores and quotes from customers where they express their … Read more

PD fallacy #9: products are static

Humans love to think in terms of absolutes. We like to set a target, work really hard toward it and have the illusion that when we reach it all our troubles will be gone and we’ll be in a state of permanent bliss. For instance, sports competitions have a very clear target and those of … Read more

PD fallacy #8: the bill of materials has the highest priority

Traditional companies building products including mechanics, electronics and software tend to focus on the bill of materials (BOM), standard unit cost (SUC) or some other KPI tracking the per-product instance cost during manufacturing. When manufacturing large numbers of the same product for extended periods, this makes perfect sense as every penny saved is multiplied over … Read more