March 2, 2016

On Criticizing Without Creation

I criticize by creation, not by finding fault. ― Cicero

This one of my favorite quotes.

I apply it to my everyday work life. Since I don’t have a Steve Jobsian personality to just declare something as shit, I need a way to provide feedback and not struggle with how I’m going to say it.

Feedback with examples may take more effort on your part, but it pushes the process towards the goal. It is also an efficient way to say no. This is true in all directions of the organization chart (peers, bosses and reports), because it leads to a more informed next step. Not necessarily a faster step — which is probably what Jobs was going for — but I’d argue that in a non-tyranical environment the overall process is less traumatic.

That said, sometimes if you’re enough removed from something, it’s just easier to throw a snarky remark and continue on your way:

I’m sure a lot of really smart and talented people work at Skype. Actually — just like the old Opera logo way back when — I’m willing to bet there a number of people that have a more detailed list of improvements they want to make to the app.

I’m also pretty sure that if we manage to convince the powers to be at work and switch to Slack, soon enough I’ll lot of things to miss in Skype1.

But from a really high level, you sometimes just know that a Software time has come. Even with its native app, huge installed base, etc, Skype just feels 2000’s.

I hope that by expanding my whinny tweet, I feel less bad about throwing an App I’ve used for so many years under the bus.

  1. Even with really slow connections, Skype voice quality is amazing.↩︎


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