Annual Reviews


This year’s annual review process swung around fast! It seems like the team joined Ingram Digital just months ago. I’ve done them a few times, but this was the first review process I’ve done at ID. Reviews are a time for reflection. A time to make and receive input on how we’ve performed. A time to realize and face weaknesses and understand our strengths.

There were five appraisals of my developers, and one on myself. To normalize the results I did my self-appraisal first. I had everyone on the team do their own self-appraisal, too, but I avoided reviewing theirs until I’d done my appraisal of them. This was to make sure my scores weren’t skewed and to look for any disconnects.

I started by reading status reports I sent for the year. For the weeks without status reports I re-read email to make sure I didn’t miss any accomplishments. This was time consuming and highlights the need to maintain a tighter journal of deeds. I’ve done this for myself over the last ten years. Keeping a separate journal for one’s team is highly valuable and I’m going to start doing this beyond status reports.

My team rocks, and my entries in my self-appraisal are the result of their efforts. As I listed each accomplishment I thought, “My team made this. My team created that… I worked my face off, but what specifically did I do?” It’s strange to reflect on what one was responsible for, but did with the hands of others.

Appraisals for my team were less demanding after my own. For one, after this point I’d compiled the full list of the team’s accomplishments. For two, it’s easier to judge others after judging one’s self.

Some additional links on performance reviews:

Failure – Go out and find it

A Saturday thought on failure…

I’m not kidding in the title. You should be looking for areas to fail in. You can’t succeed without it. If you’re not accustomed to pushing yourself to the limit, you’ll never reach a goal that exists at the limit.

You should put yourself in situations that significantly challenge your ability to persevere as often as possible (without being reckless). Be used to being in this situation. The most successful people are consistently diving in to difficult situations and using the experience to push them to the next level.

It might mean you have to push yourself to the physical limit while running a marathon. It might mean having to cram 14 hours per day of studying to learn a new technology. In the end, the push to overcome potential failure makes you stronger. And in the beginning, you’ve calculated some risk and chosen a course of action to succeed.

Partners, friends, co-workers, and bosses who push your limits are the best kind. They keep you going and stretch your abilities. You’re on the right track with these folks. These people are the ones who will mercilessly help you reinvent yourself and bring you a better career and appreciation for life.

Get out there and find things you could fail at, calculate the risk, and choose the course of action that overcomes.

iofy digital audiobook platform acquired by Ingram Digital

“Ingram Digital, an Ingram Content company focused on solutions for digital content management, hosting, distribution and promotion, today announced it has acquired the iofy digital audiobook platform from Audiofy Corporation.”

It’s official. As described in the press release, the iofy digital audiobook platform is now part of Ingram Digital. I’m happy about this move. This is the iofy development team I lead and I’m confident our acquisition will bring incredible value and additional ingenuity. We’ll now be building something amazing, which iofy wouldn’t have had the resources for on its own.

Other than some title changes, the team and focus are unchanged. Cartwright Reed, iofy’s President, is now in the role of Vice President of Product Development at Ingram Digital. My team is continuing the charge to build the best audiobook platform available (look for continued web service goodness).

The culture at both companies is driven by growth, creativity, and building solutions. I’ve had only positive experiences working with the folks at Ingram. They’re great people, and we’re looking forward to being part of an Ingram company.

The morning habit of highly effective people – wake up for yourself

Valley Forge Sunrise Deer

Early Sunrise in Valley Forge – 2003


In Stephen R. Covey‘s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, shared traits and behaviors of effective people are described (at the strategic level). I’ve found one habit, at the functional level, which seems to span every effective person I’ve met. I do it too.

It’s waking up and doing something you enjoy. By starting the day and doing something focused, for yourself, you’re establishing a sort of leadership over your day. Instead of waking up and being ruled/owned by the clock, it’s getting up and taking control of the day.

Personally, I run. It starts with getting up, stretching, and hitting the pavement. This time is my time. While my legs are spinning, my mind is churning through any challenges or plans for the day. Most everyone I’ve met who are business leaders do something for themselves first.

It can be anything… Coffee and a newspaper, yoga, morning television news, surfing, gardening, art, etc. You can start off by getting in to the office at 7:00am if that’s what you want. The point is that you’re doing this for yourself and not for anyone else. Your day is starting off under your lead.

Installing tile – real developers do it themselves

Tiling 19 Tiling 8 Tiling 15

Tiling... Done! iFlickr IMG_0444.JPG

This weekend my wife and I got an early start Friday to finish off our bathroom’s tile. I’ve been photo-blogging it to Flickr and periodically putting up notes on Twitter. The last couple weekends have been similar, doing plumbing, floor tile, prep work, etc.

Though there is so much to do (more blog posts, tons of iofy priorities, and building in a certain web service), this is still satisfying work… Something everyone 1/2 interested in real estate should do at least once. I’m a software engineer and dev team manager because I love to build things. I think other developers should feel this way too.

More pics after the jump…

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