More on Leadership
6 months ago
Improving collaboration with the Six Thinking Hats
Six Thinking Hats was written by Dr. Edward de Bono. "Six Thinking Hats" and parallel thinking allow groups to plan thinking processes in a detailed and cohesive way, improving collaboration.
In order to develop strategies for thinking about specific issues, the method assumes that the human brain thinks in a variety of ways that can be intentionally challenged. De Bono identifies six brain-challenging directions. In each direction, the brain brings certain issues into conscious thought (e.g. gut instinct, pessimistic judgement, neutral facts). Some may find wearing hats unnatural, uncomfortable, or counterproductive.
The example of "mismatch" sensitivity is compelling. In the natural world, something out of the ordinary may be dangerous. This mode causes negative judgment and critical thinking.
Colored hats represent each direction. Putting on a colored hat symbolizes changing direction, either literally or metaphorically. De Bono first used this metaphor in his 1971 book "Lateral Thinking for Management" to describe a brainstorming framework. These metaphors allow more complete and elaborate thought separation. Six thinking hats indicate ideas' problems and solutions.
Similarly, his CoRT Thinking Programme introduced "The Five Stages of Thinking" method in 1973.
|BLUE||"The Big Picture" & Managing||CAF (Consider All Factors); FIP (First Important Priorities)|
|WHITE||"Facts & Information"||Information|
|RED||"Feelings & Emotions"||Emotions and Ego|
|BLACK||"Negative"||PMI (Plus, Minus, Interesting); Evaluation|
|GREEN||"New Ideas"||Concept Challenge; Yes, No, Po|
Strategies and programs
After identifying the six thinking modes, programs can be created. These are groups of hats that encompass and structure the thinking process. Several of these are included in the materials for franchised six hats training, but they must often be adapted. Programs are often "emergent," meaning the group plans the first few hats and the facilitator decides what to do next.
The group agrees on how to think, then thinks, then evaluates the results and decides what to do next. Individuals or groups can use sequences (and indeed hats). Each hat is typically used for 2 minutes at a time, although an extended white hat session is common at the start of a process to get everyone on the same page. The red hat is recommended to be used for a very short period to get a visceral gut reaction – about 30 seconds, and in practice often takes the form of dot-voting.
|Initial Ideas||Blue, White, Green, Blue|
|Choosing between alternatives||Blue, White, (Green), Yellow, Black, Red, Blue|
|Identifying Solutions||Blue, White, Black, Green, Blue|
|Quick Feedback||Blue, Black, Green, Blue|
|Strategic Planning||Blue, Yellow, Black, White, Blue, Green, Blue|
|Process Improvement||Blue, White, White (Other People's Views), Yellow, Black, Green, Red, Blue|
|Solving Problems||Blue, White, Green, Red, Yellow, Black, Green, Blue|
|Performance Review||Blue, Red, White, Yellow, Black, Green, Blue|
Speedo's swimsuit designers reportedly used the six thinking hats. "They used the "Six Thinking Hats" method to brainstorm, with a green hat for creative ideas and a black one for feasibility.
Typically, a project begins with extensive white hat research. Each hat is used for a few minutes at a time, except the red hat, which is limited to 30 seconds to ensure an instinctive gut reaction, not judgement. According to Malcolm Gladwell's "blink" theory, this pace improves thinking.
De Bono believed that the key to a successful Six Thinking Hats session was focusing the discussion on a particular approach. A meeting may be called to review and solve a problem. The Six Thinking Hats method can be used in sequence to explore the problem, develop a set of solutions, and choose a solution through critical examination.
Everyone may don the Blue hat to discuss the meeting's goals and objectives. The discussion may then shift to Red hat thinking to gather opinions and reactions. This phase may also be used to determine who will be affected by the problem and/or solutions. The discussion may then shift to the (Yellow then) Green hat to generate solutions and ideas. The discussion may move from White hat thinking to Black hat thinking to develop solution set criticisms.
Because everyone is focused on one approach at a time, the group is more collaborative than if one person is reacting emotionally (Red hat), another is trying to be objective (White hat), and another is critical of the points which emerge from the discussion (Black hat). The hats help people approach problems from different angles and highlight problem-solving flaws.
Jano le Roux
17 days ago
The Real Reason Adobe Just Paid $20 billion for Figma
Sketch or Figma?
Designers are pissed.
The beast ate the beauty.
Figma deserves $20B.
Do designers deserve Adobe?
Adobe devours new creative tools and spits them out with a slimy Adobe aftertaste.
Frame.io — $1.3B
Magento — $1.7B
Macromedia — $3.6B
Nothing compares to the risky $20B acquisition.
If they can't be beaten, buy them.
And then make them boring.
Like that friend who dabbles in everything creatively, there's not enough time to master one thing.
Figma was Adobe's thigh-mounted battle axe.
a UX design instrument with a sizable free tier.
a UX design tool with a simple and quick user interface.
a tool for fluid collaboration in user experience design.
a web-based UX design tool that functions well.
a UX design tool with a singular goal of perfection.
UX design software that replaced Adobe XD.
Adobe XD could do many of Figma's things, but it didn't focus on the details. This is a major issue when working with detail-oriented professionals.
Design enthusiasts first used Figma. More professionals used it. Institutions taught it. Finally, major brands adopted Figma.
Adobe hated that.
Adobe dispatched a team of lawyers to resolve the Figma issue, as big companies do. Figma didn’t bite for months.
Figma helped designers leave Adobe. Figma couldn't replace Photoshop, but most designers used it to remove backgrounds.
Online background removal tools improved.
The Figma problem grew into a thorn, a knife, and a battle ax in Adobe's soft inner thigh.
Figma appeared to be going public. Adobe couldn’t allow that. It bought Figma for $20B during the IPO drought.
Adobe has a new issue—investors are upset.
The actual cause of investors' ire toward Adobe
Spoiler: The math just doesn’t add up.
According to Adobe's press release, Figma's annual recurring revenue (ARR) is $400M and growing rapidly.
The $20B valuation requires a 50X revenue multiple, which is unheard of.
Venture capitalists typically use:
10% to 29% growth per year: ARR multiplied by 1 to 5
30% to 99% growth per year: ARR multiplied by 6 to 10
100% to 400% growth per year: ARR multiplied by 10 to 20
Showing an investor a 50x multiple is like telling friends you saw a UFO. They'll think you're crazy.
Adobe's stock fell immediately after the acquisition because it didn't make sense to a number-cruncher.
Designers started a Tweet storm in the digital town hall where VCs and designers often meet.
Adobe acquired Workfront for $1.5 billion at the end of 2020. This purchase made sense for investors.
Many investors missed the fact that Adobe is acquiring Figma not only for its ARR but also for its brilliant collaboration tech.
Adobe could use Figmas web app technology to make more products web-based to compete with Canva.
Figma's high-profile clients could switch to Adobe's enterprise software.
However, questions arise:
Will Adobe make Figma boring?
Will Adobe tone down Figma to boost XD?
Would you ditch Adobe and Figma for Sketch?
13 days ago
Early Adopters And the Fifth Reason WHY
Product management wizardry.
Early adopters buy a product even if it hasn't hit the market or has flaws.
Who are the early adopters?
Early adopters try a new technology or product first. Early adopters are interested in trying or buying new technologies and products before others. They're risk-tolerant and can provide initial cash flow and product reviews. They help a company's new product or technology gain social proof.
Early adopters are most common in the technology industry, but they're in every industry. They don't follow the crowd. They seek innovation and report product flaws before mass production. If the product works well, the first users become loyal customers, and colleagues value their opinion.
What to do with early adopters?
They can be used to collect feedback and initial product promotion, first sales, and product value validation.
How to find early followers?
Start with your immediate environment and target audience. Communicate with them to see if they're interested in your value proposition.
1) Innovators (2.5% of the population) are risk-takers seeking novelty. These people are the first to buy new and trendy items and drive social innovation. However, these people are usually elite;
Early adopters (13.5%) are inclined to accept innovations but are more cautious than innovators; they start using novelties when innovators or famous people do;
3) The early majority (34%) is conservative; they start using new products when many people have mastered them. When the early majority accepted the innovation, it became ingrained in people's minds.
4) Attracting 34% of the population later means the novelty has become a mass-market product. Innovators are using newer products;
5) Laggards (16%) are the most conservative, usually elderly people who use the same products.
Stages of new information acceptance
1. The information is strange and rejected by most. Accepted only by innovators;
2. When early adopters join, more people believe it's not so bad; when a critical mass is reached, the novelty becomes fashionable and most people use it.
3. Fascination with a novelty peaks, then declines; the majority and laggards start using it later; novelty becomes obsolete; innovators master something new.
Problems with early implementation
Early adopter sales have disadvantages.
Higher risk of defects
Selling to first-time users increases the risk of defects. Early adopters are often influential, so this can affect the brand's and its products' long-term perception.
Not what was expected
First-time buyers may be disappointed by the product. Marketing messages can mislead consumers, and if the first users believe the company misrepresented the product, this will affect future sales.
Some technological advances cause compatibility issues. Consumers may be disappointed if new technology is incompatible with their electronics.
Method 5 WHY
Let's talk about 5 why, a good tool for finding project problems' root causes. This method is also known as the five why rule, method, or questions.
The 5 why technique came from Toyota's lean manufacturing and helps quickly determine a problem's root cause.
On one, two, and three, you simply do this:
We identify and frame the issue for which a solution is sought.
We frequently ponder this question. The first 2-3 responses are frequently very dull, making you want to give up on this pointless exercise. However, after that, things get interesting. And occasionally it's so fascinating that you question whether you really needed to know.
We consider the final response, ponder it, and choose a course of action.
Always do the 5 whys with the customer or team to have a reasonable discussion and better understand what's happening.
And the “five whys” is a wonderful and simplest tool for introspection. With the accumulated practice, it is used almost automatically in any situation like “I can’t force myself to work, the mood is bad in the morning” or “why did I decide that I have no life without this food processor for 20,000 rubles, which will take half of my rather big kitchen.”
An illustration of the five whys
A simple, but real example from my work practice that I think is very indicative, given the participants' low IT skills. Anonymized, of course.
Users spend too long looking for tender documents.
Why? Because they must search through many company tender documents.
Why? Because the system can't filter department-specific bids.
Why? Because our contract management system requirements didn't include a department-tender link. That's it, right? We'll add a filter and be happy. but still…
why? Because we based the system's requirements on regulations for working with paper tender documents (when they still had envelopes and autopsies), not electronic ones, and there was no search mechanism.
Why? We didn't consider how our work would change when switching from paper to electronic tenders when drafting the requirements.
Now I know what to do in the future. We add a filter, enter department data, and teach users to use it. This is tactical, but strategically we review the same forgotten requirements to make all the necessary changes in a package, plus we include it in the checklist for the acceptance of final requirements for the future.
Errors when using 5 why
Five whys seems simple, but it can be misused.
The accusation of everyone and everything is then introduced. After all, the 5 why method focuses on identifying the underlying causes rather than criticizing others. As a result, at the third step, it is not a good idea to conclude that the system is ineffective because users are stupid and that we can therefore do nothing about it.
to fight with all my might so that the outcome would be exactly 5 reasons, neither more nor less. 5 questions is a typical number (it sounds nice, yes), but there could be 3 or 7 in actuality.
Do not capture in-between responses. It is difficult to overestimate the power of the written or printed word, so the result is so-so when the focus is lost. That's it, I suppose. Simple, quick, and brilliant, like other project management tools.
Today we analyzed important study elements:
Early adopters and 5 WHY We've analyzed cases and live examples of how these methods help with product research and growth point identification. Next, consider the HADI cycle.
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10 months ago
Framework to Evaluate Metaverse and Web3
Everywhere we turn, there's a new metaverse or Web3 debut. Microsoft recently announced a $68.7 BILLION cash purchase of Activision.
Like AI in 2013 and blockchain in 2014, NFT growth in 2021 feels like this year's metaverse and Web3 growth. We are all bombarded with information, conflicting signals, and a sensation of FOMO.
How can we evaluate the metaverse and Web3 in a noisy, new world? My framework for evaluating upcoming technologies and themes is shown below. I hope you will also find them helpful.
Understand the “pipes” in a new space.
Whatever people say, Metaverse and Web3 will have to coexist with the current Internet. Companies who host, move, and store data over the Internet have a lot of intriguing use cases in Metaverse and Web3, whether in infrastructure, data analytics, or compliance. Hence the following point.
## Understand the apps layer and their infrastructure.
Gaming, crypto exchanges, and NFT marketplaces would not exist today if not for technology that enables rapid app creation. Yes, according to Chainalysis and other research, 30–40% of Ethereum is self-hosted, with the rest hosted by large cloud providers. For Microsoft to acquire Activision makes strategic sense. It's not only about the games, but also the infrastructure that supports them.
Follow the money
Understanding how money and wealth flow in a complex and dynamic environment helps build clarity. Unless you are exceedingly wealthy, you have limited ability to significantly engage in the Web3 economy today. Few can just buy 10 ETH and spend it in one day. You must comprehend who benefits from the process, and how that 10 ETH circulates now and possibly tomorrow. Major holders and players control supply and liquidity in any market. Today, most Web3 apps are designed to increase capital inflow so existing significant holders can utilize it to create a nascent Web3 economy. When you see a new Metaverse or Web3 application, remember how money flows.
What is the use case?
What does the app do? If there is no clear use case with clear makers and consumers solving a real problem, then the euphoria soon fades, and the only stakeholders who remain enthused are those who have too much to lose.
Time is a major competition that is often overlooked.
We're only busier, but each day is still 24 hours. Using new apps may mean that time is lost doing other things. The user must be eager to learn. Metaverse and Web3 vs. our time? I don't think we know the answer yet (at least for working adults whose cost of time is higher).
I don't think we know the answer yet (at least for working adults whose cost of time is higher).
People and organizations need security and transparency.
For new technologies or apps to be widely used, they must be safe, transparent, and trustworthy. What does secure Metaverse and Web3 mean? This is an intriguing subject for both the business and public sectors. Cloud adoption grew in part due to improved security and data protection regulations.
The following frameworks can help analyze and understand new technologies and emerging technological topics, unless you are a significant investment fund with the financial ability to gamble on numerous initiatives and essentially form your own “index fund”.
I write on VC, startups, and leadership.
This writing is my own opinion and does not represent investment advice.
Aaron Dinin, PhD
2 months ago
I'll Never Forget the Day a Venture Capitalist Made Me Feel Like a Dunce
Are you an idiot at fundraising?
Humans undervalue what they don't grasp. Consider NASCAR. How is that a sport? ask uneducated observers. Circular traffic. Driving near a car's physical limits is different from daily driving. When driving at 200 mph, seemingly simple things like changing gas weight or asphalt temperature might be life-or-death.
Venture investors do something similar in entrepreneurship. Most entrepreneurs don't realize how complex venture finance is.
In my early startup days, I didn't comprehend venture capital's intricacy. I thought VCs were rich folks looking for the next Mark Zuckerberg. I was meant to be a sleek, enthusiastic young entrepreneur who could razzle-dazzle investors.
Finally, one of the VCs I was trying to woo set me straight. He insulted me.
How I learned that I was approaching the wrong investor
I was constructing a consumer-facing, pre-revenue marketplace firm. I looked for investors in my old university's alumni database. My city had one. After some research, I learned he was a partner at a growth-stage, energy-focused VC company with billions under management.
Billions? I thought. Surely he can write a million-dollar cheque. He'd hardly notice.
I emailed the VC about our shared alumni status, explaining that I was building a startup in the area and wanted advice. When he agreed to meet the next week, I prepared my pitch deck.
The meeting seemed like a funding request. Imagine the awkwardness.
His assistant walked me to the firm's conference room and told me her boss was running late. While waiting, I prepared my pitch. I connected my computer to the projector, queued up my PowerPoint slides, and waited for the VC.
He didn't say hello or apologize when he entered a few minutes later. What are you doing?
Hi! I said, Confused but confident. Dinin Aaron. My startup's pitch.
Who? Suspicious, he replied. Your email says otherwise. You wanted help.
I said, "Isn't that a euphemism for contacting investors?" Fundraising I figured I should pitch you.
As he sat down, he smiled and said, "Put away your computer." You need to study venture capital.
Recognizing the business aspects of venture capital
The VC taught me venture capital in an hour. Young entrepreneur me needed this lesson. I assume you need it, so I'm sharing it.
Most people view venture money from an entrepreneur's perspective, he said. They envision a world where venture capital serves entrepreneurs and startups.
As my VC indicated, VCs perceive their work differently. Venture investors don't serve entrepreneurs. Instead, they run businesses. Their product doesn't look like most products. Instead, the VCs you're proposing have recognized an undervalued market segment. By investing in undervalued companies, they hope to profit. It's their investment thesis.
Your company doesn't fit my investment thesis, the venture capitalist told me. Your pitch won't beat my investing theory. I invest in multimillion-dollar clean energy companies. Asking me to invest in you is like ordering a breakfast burrito at a fancy steakhouse. They could, but why? They don't do that.
Yeah, I’m not a fine steak yet, I laughed, feeling like a fool for pitching a growth-stage VC used to looking at energy businesses with millions in revenues on my pre-revenue, consumer startup.
He stressed that it's not necessary. There are investors targeting your company. Not me. Find investors and pitch them.
Remember this when fundraising. Your investors aren't philanthropists who want to help entrepreneurs realize their company goals. Venture capital is a sophisticated investment strategy, and VC firm managers are industry experts. They're looking for companies that meet their investment criteria. As a young entrepreneur, I didn't grasp this, which is why I struggled to raise money. In retrospect, I probably seemed like an idiot. Hopefully, you won't after reading this.
8 months ago
5 Bored Apes borrowed to claim $1.1 million in APE tokens
Unknown user took advantage of the ApeCoin airdrop to earn $1.1 million.
He used a flash loan to borrow five BAYC NFTs, claim the airdrop, and repay the NFTs.
Yuga Labs, the creators of BAYC, airdropped ApeCoin (APE) to anyone who owns one of their NFTs yesterday.
For the Bored Ape Yacht Club and Mutant Ape Yacht Club collections, the team allocated 150 million tokens, or 15% of the total ApeCoin supply, worth over $800 million. Each BAYC holder received 10,094 tokens worth $80,000 to $200,000.
But someone managed to claim the airdrop using NFTs they didn't own. They used the airdrop's specific features to carry it out. And it worked, earning them $1.1 million in ApeCoin.
The trick was that the ApeCoin airdrop wasn't based on who owned which Bored Ape at a given time. Instead, anyone with a Bored Ape at the time of the airdrop could claim it. So if you gave someone your Bored Ape and you hadn't claimed your tokens, they could claim them.
The person only needed to get hold of some Bored Apes that hadn't had their tokens claimed to claim the airdrop. They could be returned immediately.
So, what happened?
The person found a vault with five Bored Ape NFTs that hadn't been used to claim the airdrop.
A vault tokenizes an NFT or a group of NFTs. You put a bunch of NFTs in a vault and make a token. This token can then be staked for rewards or sold (representing part of the value of the collection of NFTs). Anyone with enough tokens can exchange them for NFTs.
This vault uses the NFTX protocol. In total, it contained five Bored Apes: #7594, #8214, #9915, #8167, and #4755. Nobody had claimed the airdrop because the NFTs were locked up in the vault and not controlled by anyone.
The person wanted to unlock the NFTs to claim the airdrop but didn't want to buy them outright s o they used a flash loan, a common tool for large DeFi hacks. Flash loans are a low-cost way to borrow large amounts of crypto that are repaid in the same transaction and block (meaning that the funds are never at risk of not being repaid).
With a flash loan of under $300,000 they bought a Bored Ape on NFT marketplace OpenSea. A large amount of the vault's token was then purchased, allowing them to redeem the five NFTs. The NFTs were used to claim the airdrop, before being returned, the tokens sold back, and the loan repaid.
During this process, they claimed 60,564 ApeCoin airdrops. They then sold them on Uniswap for 399 ETH ($1.1 million). Then they returned the Bored Ape NFT used as collateral to the same NFTX vault.
Attack or arbitrage?
However, security firm BlockSecTeam disagreed with many social media commentators. A flaw in the airdrop-claiming mechanism was exploited, it said.
According to BlockSecTeam's analysis, the user took advantage of a "vulnerability" in the airdrop.
"We suspect a hack due to a flaw in the airdrop mechanism. The attacker exploited this vulnerability to profit from the airdrop claim" said BlockSecTeam.
For example, the airdrop could have taken into account how long a person owned the NFT before claiming the reward.
Because Yuga Labs didn't take a snapshot, anyone could buy the NFT in real time and claim it. This is probably why BAYC sales exploded so soon after the airdrop announcement.