Sunday, March 31, 2019

Review: Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Start with Why explains that having of clear mission is important to success. The general themes in the book are things you wish every team did, but which most teams ignore. Sineck makes his point in an easy to read book that includes a number or stories.

Understanding your mission (or why you are doing what you do) has benefits at all phases, ranging from execution to marketing and sales. At the execution end of things, a team that understands (and embraces) a mission can work more autonomously and creatively, and thus be more productive. At the consumer end, it can differentiate your product from others that do the same thing, and lead to brand loyalty. A clear “why” can influence a product decision more than technical merits, especially in an evolving product space.

This resonates with my experiences. I’ve often thought of my self as an “Early Adopter” and someone who made decisions that often included intangibles rather than an evaluation of a pro/con lis. An early example of this, is my deciding to buy a Palm Pilot in spite of friends extolling the technical merits of the Apple Newton, because I really just wanted an easy way to carry addresses and calendars around, and while the Newton was “cool” I wasn’t sure why I’d want one.

Sineck draws many examples from successful businesses that, while necessarily being the first in a business, had a clear sense of purpose, including Apple (at least the Steve Jobs era) and Southwest Airlines.

While the book seems focused on the importance of Why in business strategy , the philosophy in this book carries over into many aspects of ones work (and even personal) life.

For example, in software requirements, I’ve always been skeptical of requests that tell me what functionality to build, without having an idea of why the person wants it (or what they what to accomplish). Obscuring the Why makes it harder to build creative, more cost-effective solutions.

In terms of work/life balance, I’ve always felt more engaged in work that I found inspiring, and when leading teams, I’ve observed that teams moved more quickly when everyone had a reasonable sense of the mission and goals.

As I read the book, I even realized that I could improve a presentation I’m working on by focusing more on why the ideas I’m presenting can move not just work, but values forward.

And, as the last paragraph in the book sums up, being able to share “why” can help you, as a leader, inspire action.

I picked up the book almost at random, but am, glad to have read it. It’s engaging, inspirational, and actionable. The ideas make sense, and you may even have thought along similar lines yourself. The core ideas here are ones that I’ve always tried to live by in my professional life, though it felt that I often got blank looks when I raised the question of mission in certain teams and organizations. Having had the book to point to might have made a difference. Perhaps not (and the question of why an idea from a third party takes better than one from an employee is likely the subject of many other books).

At some level, Start with Why is simply about applying what Jerry Weinberg called “Congruent Action.” Know what your values are is a prerequisite for acting congruently. This book is worth reading if you want to improve your (or you team or organization’s) focus and enjoyment of work.

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Sunday, February 10, 2019

Transferring Minecraft Worlds using Files between iOS Devices

This is a bit off of the usual “Software Development/Agile/SCM” theme that I usually follow, but it does fit into the theme of accidental simplicity

If you (or a family member) plays Minecraft on iOS, and you get a new iPad you’ll often want to transfer the worlds between devices. The simplest thing is to restore the new iPad from an iCloud Backup of the old device. This will transfer all of the data, including Minecraft words.

Sometimes you might want to start a new iPad from a clean slate. ( Since most of the data I care about is already in some sort of cloud storage, a new iPad is a good excuse to cut down on clutter). Minecraft doesn’t make transferring data as easy as other apps do. There are 3 options, including one that I hadn’t come across doing searches the times I’ve done this.

One option is to use Minecraft Realms. With Realms you can keep words in the cloud or upload worlds on one iPad and download them on another. Realms isn’t really a backup solution. You pay per ‘world’ and the upload and download process is slow. But it can work if you have a small number of worlds, and if this is a one off, you can do the transfer during the free trial period. Mojang has a helpful article describing how to do this.

The more useful approach is to use a Mac app that lets you mount your iOS devices as disks. There are many forum posts on how to do this. The two tools that get mentioned often are iExplorer, a paid app, or iFunBox, which is free.

I wondered why one could not use the iOS Files app to do this, thus avoiding third party tools. And it turns out that you can.

When you go to the Files app for the first time, navigate to On My iPad,. You may notice that there isn’t an anything promising visible.


But you can make a Minecraft folder visible. Connect the old iPad with the world data to your Mac via USB, and go through the workflow to have your iPad trust the Mac it’s connected to. No need to synch or transfer any data.

When you disconnect, you should see a Minecraft Folder. Navigate to the Minecraft Worlds folder (as described in the posts on how to use iExplorer-- games/com.mojang/minecraft Worlds) and copy the Minecraft Games folder to another place on your iCloud Drive.


Connect the new iPad to a Mac to get the Minecraft Folder to appear. Navigate to the correct place and copy the world files from the iCloud Folder into the Worlds folder.

Restart Minecraft and you should see the worlds.

(I haven’t dug deeply into why connecting to the Mac makes the folder visible, but I’ve heard some plausible explanations from friends who know more about iOS app development than I do. If someone has a concise, explanation I can share it.)


Review: Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek My rating: 5 of 5 stars Start with Why ex...