Lessons of Steve Jobs

The Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs is the cover story of the Apr-12 issue of HBR.

14 keys of success. I cannot resist to look into them - with the eye of and the applicability to our business.

Focus - I couldn't agree more. If such a leading company does, for us as comparatively small outfit it was ruinous to do not.

Simplify - I couldn't agree more. I am a senior member at Wilmott Online and before I put the link to this blog my signature was: Simplification is the Real Sophistication - Leonardo da Vinci. What I take as challenge is deep simplicity - not minimalism. 

Take Responsibility End to End - Integrability allow more simplicity of the components. This is even easier for our SW-only businesses.

When Behind Leapfrog - Release policy in SW at one hand forces continuity, but if taking (components, variants, releases) orthogonally leapfrogging happens in not so rare cases. For many years UnRisk has been Windows-only - in the near future it will support all types of heterogeneous CPU/GPU architectures - organized platform agnostic. Also our (instrument, model, method) are organized orthogonally enabling such leapfrogs.

Put Products Before Profit - I couldn't agree more. Our licensing/pricing scheme give the proof. It enables an reverse-innovation flow from serving small market participants to major players.

Don't Be a Slave To Focus Groups - I partially agree. In our business, requirements are changing so fast that we need to transform featured-customer experiences and requirements quickly into solutions. Our made-to-measure architecture enables our customers and us to make this quickly.

Bend Reality - I disagree. In our culture we make things sometimes quick by slowing down. It is my strong belief that in extreme competitive situation innovativeness suffers. Our teams work quite autonomous and do great things, because it is much more fun to do great things. No need to force them to make things running that look impossible.

Engaging Face-to-Face - Yes, creativity often comes from spontaneous meetings only.

Know Both the Big Picture and The Details - This is true for the UnRisk Core Team, except myself. I stay away from micromanagement.

Combine Humanities with The Sciences - Not only to understand the behavior of market participants and agents, but the essence of risk and the limits of probability - an understanding of modern philosophy, like speculative reality/speculative philosophy give insight and motivate for new approaches.
And we are interested in linguistics, neuroscience, the theory of complex systems, psychology, communication theory and even arts.
We do apply models and mathematics (and we have a lot of it) to value financial instruments grouped in portfolios and estimate their risk - but we never forget that our models and methods are not the world and that only the market is reality. What we do is applying clever calibration techniques to invert the market behavior into something computable that is as close to the market as possible. This contains a lot of intrinsic traps that we try to avoid.

(Oh what I forgot)

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish - Oh, yes. I am over 65 now and I went through the mixture of cultures. What this in concrete means, needs to be assess by anybody else. But I like post-punk, indie rock, loft jazz and modern opera. And I believe tradition, fixed IQ, politics and even lectures, mentoring, .. can be innovation-killers.