Monday, April 06, 2009

There's No Need to Bat .900

This Sunday's NYT included an interview with John Donahoe, eBay's CEO.

When asked how his management style has evolved, he pointed to a lesson from an early mentor.

"Another part of my management style I learned from Kent Thiry, who was another one of my early bosses, and is now CEO of DaVita. I did not know it at the time, but I was suffering from a real fear of failure. Kent said, "you know John, your challenge is that you're trying to bat .900." And he said: "when you were in college, you got a lot of As. You could get 90 to 95 percent. When you took your first job as analyst, you were really successful and felt like you were batting .900." But, he said, "now you are playing in the major leagues, and if you expet to bat .900, eithr you come up to bat and freeze because you're afraid of swinging and missing, or you're a little afraid to step into the batter's box." He said,"remember, the best hitters in MLB can strike out 6 times out of 10 ands till be among the greatest of all time hitters."

And he said,"that's my philosophy - the key is to get up in the that batter's box and take a swing. And all you have to do is hit one single, a couple of doubles, and an occasional homerun out of every 10 at-bats and you're going to be the best hitter or best leader around."

The interview really resonated with me. The best performers understand that failure is part of the game, that one should focus less on discrete events (single at-bats) and more on the process of performance (practice and routines), and that fear of failure can be paralyzing and self-fulfilling.

In this marcro environment, strike out rates are going up, and it is even more important that leaders focus on singles, doubles, the occasional home run, and mind set that helps to get in the box and take a swing.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Widgetbox Turns 3

Today, Widgetbox turns three.

On April 1, 2006, Ed Anuff, Dean Moses, and Giles Goodwin formally started Widgetbox.

Here is a copy, thanks to, of the first front door.

The site promised to "change how the world thinks about syndicating functionality on the web."

And so it has!

Since launch, Widgetbox has helped tens of thousands of publishers syndicate their content, service, and applications via widget technology. The company continues to ride the web widget syndication wave and we just finished our most successful month ever - serving over 740m widgets to over 89 million uniques.

Importantly, in addition to traffic, Widgetbox just reached an impressive customer milestone with over 400 paying customers.

Happy Birthday Widgetbox.