The joy of the chase, the reality of slogging

Love this. First the glorious luster of the idea in finding the next big thing:

Google is famously creative at encouraging these breakthroughs; every year, it holds an internal demo fair called CSI — Crazy Search Ideas — in an attempt to spark offbeat but productive approaches.

And then the reality of improvement sets in:

But for the most part, the improvement process is a relentless slog, grinding through bad results to determine what isn’t working.

Progress, it seems, is so much about the grind. Idea-coming-up-with is glorious and absolutely fun to think about. But the making-things-better part is hard, grind it out work. It’s work.

(Indented remarks from Steven Levy’s look into Google’s algorithm)

Lessons From a Blue-Collar Millionaire

Companies that actually (actually!) mean what they say about the culture being most important always seem to be successful. But the thing that’s difficult for me to understand is why so many continue to pay lip service to culture’s importance. Naive on my part? I don’t think so. But I’m biased.

Enter Nick’s Pizza and Pub (they use checklists too!):

Sarillo has built his company’s culture by using a form of management best characterized as “trust and track.” It involves educating employees about what it takes for the company to be successful, then trusting them to act accordingly. The alternative is command and control, wherein success is the boss’s responsibility and employees do what the boss says. Think of the Navy SEALs versus the National Guard. Both approaches can work, but they produce very different cultures. If done right, moreover, trust and track can allow a company to be nimble, flexible, and productive enough to perform at the highest level through good economies and bad.

Trust. Wild concept.

Lessons From a Blue-Collar Millionaire

It’s close to 11 p.m., and the jet touches down in White Plains. Leaving the small corporate-jet terminal with her luggage, she walks toward a black Mercedes that is idling at the sidewalk. She walks past it — it’s waiting for someone else on another plane — and heads to her own car in a nearby parking lot. She grabs her keys, loads her bag in the back and drives herself home.

From a NY Times profile of Xerox’s CEO. She’s changing the company’s culture. And she’s doing it by being real.