Mar 25, 2011
Ricky Gervais was interviewed in the Harvard Business Review (Ricky Gervais on Not Having a Real Job), if you subscribe to HBR you can read it, but anyone can listen to the 12 minute podcast.
If your knowledge of this comedian is from the original The Office BBC TV series or his hosting episodes on the Golden Globesawards, the man on this podcast is NOT that man. And while Ricky did not specifically address what to do on your next embedded design, he did have some gems which can be applied to your project.
1) "Ask yourself 'Why am I doing this? What's the best that can happen?'" also ask "What's the worst that can happen?" Always critically examine what you are doing and why. What was a "good" idea at the start of the project or the start of the week may be a waste later, based upon the learning since.
2) "What matters is the work you've done" Take pride in your work. Don't be afraid to be recognized for it. Kinda goes without saying, though. Still.
3) "Write about what you know" was Ricky's response when asked why he did "The Office", but he also meant "write" about what other people know, as in everyone gets the office setting and situations. So on a project if your code and comments and design explanations aren't being understood, you missed your mark. Rewrite them for others, not for yourself. Especially if you don't wish to be fixing it for years.
4) "Be fair and upfront and you can't go wrong" Keep it real on the project, if you bring up a "problem" make sure you are talking about the "real" problem. If the "refresh rate" problem is more about you wanting to do the filtering design, be honest with the team.
5) "If everybody likes something no one will love it" Love comes with hate, like means it's watered down. When something is average it doesn't generate strong emotions, when something is great, it will also have its critics. But depending on the project, good and reliable might be exactly what is desired. Then again, the iPhone and iPad are not average, people love them and some do hate them.
6) "One veto and it's out" - Anyone on the team doesn't like something, it's dropped. What's left is everything great, but, of course lots of good ideas are rejected to keep the great. This again is how you rise above ordinary, and if your product is not required to be just good and reliable, you will need to reject some good ideas.
7) "Ya, probably not, though" Keep the language precise when you're discussing the project. This response by Ricky' to a question was very interesting, might lead you to wonder the next time he answers "Ya" is he really finished or if you wait long enough will he get to the point like "can't pay your salary this week".
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