Sunday, March 4, 2012

Posts in Other Places

Here are recent entries I wrote on other sites:
Fast and Far, Together
This post on the Code for America (CfA) blog is a brief recap of the CfA Institute, the training program the Fellows completed before each team's February residency.  During my residency in Austin, the experiences of the Institute served as an invaluable reference during meetings, personal and team planning, responding to feedback, managing my own expectations and more.  Individually or as a team, there is a constant tension between competing visions of leadership and metrics of progress.

Entrance to Austin Council Chambers
"To go fast, go alone.  To go far, go together."  My default starting point is to work alone, developing and vetting ideas before getting others involved.  This approach can have the unintended consequence of being seen as myopic, uncompromising or apathetic to the concerns of others.  Or, as an inarticulate braindump in search of an audience.  The issue is usually one of communication and framing, not the substance of the ideas.  Much B-school ink has been spilled over how to recognize and overcome one's default leadership or working style; in other words, the continuing wisdom of the ancients' 'know thyself.'  The recent article, The Rise of the New Groupthink, produced one of those "I wish I wrote that" moments for me.  It's important to recognize when to go fast for the sake of oneself or one's group, or when to get swept up in the rising tide of collaboration.

In my opinion, there's no right way to do it, just the necessity of finding (not forcing) comfort and context in both.  And clearly communicating your intentions before getting started; typically, "seek forgiveness, not permission" doesn't apply here.  It's more like "seek understanding, find progress."  Onward...

Code for America Meets Austin
With the help of CfA, a post I wrote during my time in Austin made it to the Huffington Post.  w00t!  It began as a newsletter and wound up as a touch of overview, a hint of roadmap, a dash of idealism and a dollop of background.  Hopefully, I'll have the opportunity to post more on the HuffPo as the CfA Fellowship continues.

Update: Getting Started in ATX
This post shares some of the results of the hackathon that Code for America hosted on February 25 in Austin and promotes CfA participation in a few SXSW events.