MJ Petroni

Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Software used to be sold as any other product: a box on a shelf (or a download equivalent) and either basic post-purchase support or paid support contracts. Users would have to wait for a new release to get new features.

Feedback Loops, Empathy and the Importance of Outrospection

Feedback Loops, Empathy and the Importance of Outrospection

As the world shifts towards more-networked organizations, the creation of feedback loops is more important than ever. An organization's capacity for empathy determines whether or not its products and services will actually serve the people it is trying to earn money from, and its awareness of what motivates its competitors, regulators and even its own staff will determine its ability to form important strategic alliances, form public-private partnerships and retain its workforce. 

Teams of Lone Wolves

Teams of Lone Wolves

I first started conceiving of misfits and misfit teams when I began to reflect on my own employment process. As an unusual, "over"-sensitive and intelligent kid with no siblings, I often balked at oversimplified directions, experienced a bruised ego when receiving criticism, and struggled with how to participate in team or group environments. By the time I entered the workforce, I had developed a complex web of insecurities and related defenses designed to protect against the embarrassment of making public mistakes, compensating with my intelligence. It was in my first management position, which happened at about the same time I was engaging in lot of personal development work, that I really saw the impact. 

Healing the Wounds of the Assembly Line with Feedback Loops and Doctrine

Healing the Wounds of the Assembly Line with Feedback Loops and Doctrine

Often, the focus on the ideal of the cross-functional, interdisciplinary, extroverted worker results in questions being asked which the average employee is insufficiently skilled to answer. In her book Quiet, Susan Cain cites the example of one of her research technical interviewees' recollection of a 'murder board,' a panel of decision-makers whom engineers had to face in order to get their new ideas considered for funding and other resources. One can imagine a hard-faced panel of besuited men tearing down the brilliant if meek engineer with the smug expressions of a young MBA grad: "What's your marketing plan!," they might shout, "

Kits as an Innovation Enabler (and an Indicator Species)

Kits as an Innovation Enabler (and an Indicator Species)

The creation of a kit—literally, as in the Maker world, or figuratively, as in the software world’s APIs and application frameworks—serves as a magnet to whatever industry offers it. Make: magazine’s Project Editor, Keith Sammons, offers why: 

The Introversion-Extroversion Spectrum

The Introversion-Extroversion Spectrum

Introvert seems to be a nasty word these days. It's worth unpacking why, though, according to Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. In the book, she point to an overemphasis on the extrovert rooted in the shift from a 'culture of character' to a 'cult of personality,' stemming from the need to find new ways to quickly and repeatedly introduce one's self—to sell  one's self—in the newly-urbanized United States in the early part of the 20th century. 

Autonomy and Acceptable Failures: The Need for Doctrine

Autonomy and Acceptable Failures: The Need for Doctrine

Autonomy, especially in and around U.S. businesses, is a tricky concept. Autonomy is valued very highly in our culture, but the challenge of finding a way to hand off acceptable amounts of control takes a lot more work than most leaders or employees realize. Few companies have the patience or budget for mistakes which occur when a more-autonomous goes wrong, so they choose not to grant autonomy in the first place, or revoke it at the first sign of trouble. Understandably, the constant conflict of employees who need autonomy and leaders who need accountability plagues most organizations. 

First Steps to Doctrine: the Example of Moore's Cloud Business Principles

First Steps to Doctrine: the Example of Moore's Cloud Business Principles

For an example of a fluid progression from values to high-level beginnings of doctrine, consider this published set of business principles from Moore's Cloud, a "smart light" startup based in Australia. Their founder, Mark Pesce, explained that the intent of these principles was both internal and external, being used both to inform internal daily decision-making and to filter (attract or repel) investors by explicitly stating the company's commitment to open ecosystems and transparent business practice. By 'downloading' individuals decision-making guides from key leaders in the organization and then 'uploading' them to the business's guiding source code, Moore's Cloud has reduced huge amounts of unnecessary

It's Okay to Talk About Gender: Using Archetypes to Balance Your Team

It's Okay to Talk About Gender: Using Archetypes to Balance Your Team

Gender is a touchy subject. In the U.S., business peoples' historic inability to responsibly discuss gender resulted in a backlash which human resources department also reacted to—with an oversimplified, "we're all the same" message substituting for a deeper, more nuanced discussion of inclusion and equality. 

Creatives, Non-Linear Thinkers and So-Called Misfits

I was recently asked to weigh in on how to support the creative worker. It's a broad, almost-impossible question: how does one even begin to categorize such a person? So I chose to respond by focusing on the elements of the workplace which enable creativity, both culturally and structurally, to support the rise of good ideas and ease for those bringing good ideas to light. 

The Spectrum of Introversion to Extroversion

The Spectrum of Introversion to Extroversion

Most leadership guides, hiring manuals and educational practices are grounded in the idea of supporting collaboration and motivating employees by having extroverts lead. The history of how this came to be is detailed in the revealing title by Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking.