So, married for a cpuple of days already… Everything looks great so far, and here are some pictures:

Marriage @ Flicr

I’ll write about the party and everything in a couple of days!

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The odd thing about Argentina is that you get to get married twice. It has to be with the same person, but it’s twice anyway. How come? Well 1 marriage is for “the law” the other is “for god”. In other words, you have to get married both by a judge and by a priest, and they can’t go together.

By law you get to go to what we call “Civil Registry” which is a badly maintained governmental location, where some judge gets to marry you. It’s quite informal and usually only those intimate to the couple go (closest friends and family). This is Friday 13th for us.

With a serious Catholic preponderance the Church marriage is the most awaited and important. Besides the whole thing is much more impressive. You get to stand in a church, the doors open, the bride comes to you while people stare and “ohs” and “ahs” sound around her. The party comes after this. Everyone’s invited here since it’s quite more theatrical as well. This is Saturday 14th for us.

Yesterday we planned the “timing” for everything for this Saturday. It is like a ballet with entrances and exits, I hope I barely notice it; it’ll probably fly past me and I’ll notice everything after it’s over.

Still much to do. Some beverages issues to be solved and other similar stuff. That besides planning my backups for my vacation next week.

I’ll probably go off-line from today till Saturday or Monday and next week I’ll try to keep away from my PC, or I’ll really piss off my wife 😉 (although I know I’ll check how things are going every now and then).

So, I’m working all this week from Junin, some 260 KM away from the noice of Buenos Aires. It is good for a change. It’s quite impressive the very different rythm and pace this place has; it only took me about two hours to sort of unplug and relax quite more. I can still get my work done, but I’m more layed back.

What is it? Is it the distance from office? Thel lack of Noices? The traffic? The people actually not yelling and punching at their car horns like crazy? It’s all of the above and more. When you walk into a store at Buenos Aires you’re allways in a hurry and so are all other customers, if you don’t get an employee’s attention in a couple of seconds you start to get frustrated. Here you walk in, relaxedly chat with other people, wait whatever you have to wait… and this is just one of many examples I can think of.

I come myself from a town called Bariloche, a place located in the patagonian Andes. I was there untill I was 17. but returned for vacations every once in a while. It was quite layed back, but not as much since in the last years before I left a lot of people from the city moved there but forgot to left their attitudes behind.

What I still miss the most is Mountain-Biking. During my last high school years I became obsessed with it and started Racing. Two serious accidents (and their injuries) forced me to stay out of the tracks for 6 months and I could never quite recover. After that I moved to Buenos Aires, where there’s nothing that even resembles a hill, so no way to do anything in that sense.

In the past couple of years I’ve increasedly felt the lack of phisical activity. And there’s no sport I’m too fond of which I can perform in Buenos Aires (no Mountain Biking, Motocross, SnowBoard, Kite surfing or the like) and I’m not too good or too much of a fan of urban sports like tennis or even jogging.

All of this sets me thinking about what it is I want and “completes” my life. I really like my job, I like what I do and I like the prospects I have, but I couldn’t be doing it from anywhere else (at least in Argentina). On the other hand I feel a need to do some sport and get some adrenalin rushes, which I can’t quite get on the city.

Fresh air or job oportunities? Sports and adventure or smog  and pollution? Trying to survive on a small town (and probably get bored jobwise) or be challenged intelectually and pushed to the limits?

Such a dicotomy… I’ll try to get both 😉

So, next week’s Friday I’m getting married. By this time I was sort of expecting to be freaking out, screaming around in a nervous break down. Nothing could be further away from truth.

I must admit that about a month ago I had some sort of “panic attack” (not really) and had some doubts about it all. After all I have been living with my *to become* Wife for almost two years, so: what’s the point or difference about getting married?

Well, there is. And I mean besides the “legal” implications of it (no pre-marital arrangements here, thank you very much), which I don’t care about anyways. There’s a psychological change, a sort of increased responsibility that comes with marriage which I wondered if I was willing to take. Truth is I am.

I’m well aware that the road might become bumpy. It has been already in the past. It won’t be no fairy-tale, but everything’s easier when you can divide the burden amongst two.

Little is known about a small car company in Bavaria, sold to BMW in 1966. This company was run by my grandfather’s cousin.

In post-war germany, inspired by the success of the Vespa in italy Glas decided to go ahead ang give it a try with the Goggo

Goggo Scooter

The thing wasn’t as pretty as it’s italian counterpart but it was rock solid (the term rings a bell…)

As economy became a little healthier and as people started to dislike getting wet and muddy on their way to work the time came to put a lid on that. Thus the goggo-mobile:

goggo Mobile

Then it was time to move to somewhat major leagues, with higher CC and HP engines ending up with a powerful 3 litre V8 known as the “glaserati”:

Glaserati

The investment needed to run such a challenge was too much for the rather small Glas company, and thus it was bought by BMW, who, against all predictions continued building the cars for quite some more years (the picture above is a BMW (Glas) 3000 V8, you can see the disctinctive “g” just bellow the “3000” at the side of the car).

I couln’t find a better way to introduce the Cars topic a greatpassion of mine and my family.

Sell this way and stick to it. Don’t even try to suggest something different. Stop. No, I said no!! Don’t think about it, its not going to happen.

So, what is a business model, according to Wikipedia, the definition given by Osterwalder, Pigneur and Tucci is:
a conceptual tool that contains a set of elements and their relationships and allows expressing the business logic of a specific firm. It is a description of the value a company offers to one or several segments of customers and of the architecture of the firm and its network of partners for creating, marketing, and delivering this value and relationship capital, to generate profitable and sustainable revenue streams.

In other words it’s what you have to sell, how you sell it, and who you sell it to.

What.
Of course the type of commodity you are trying to sell is going to define your how and your who. Its not the same to sell heavy industrial equipment, high tech medical appliances or cell phones. Your “audience” is different, the way they are going to buy is different, the way they are going to pay is different and the way you are going to deliver and support the products is different.

How.
You can direct sale. You can sale through partners, you can finance, you can take cash, credit or check, you can provide support directly or through a 3rd party (or provide no support at all, if you want a company to run out of business its not my issue), you can ship, you can retail. It’s a whole universe of possibilities out there.

Who.
The most important part of the trilogy. The fuel that drives everything. Customers. Business models aim to them, products aim to them and how we sell aims to our Target audience. Of course the segment we will sell to is defined mainly by our what and the success in appealing to them is determined by the how.

So out of the three parts in this trilogy our most variable item is the “how”, we have a set of products which we usually can’t change all that much. Then there’s the who, products limit this, and business models, pricing, payment methods and other “details” can limit this. You might limit your target customers purposely with your model, or it can happen by “accident” .

But where’s the tyranny?
We’re getting there. In most cases  companies instate a Business model that proves to be somewhat successful and stick to it. Sales managers fall in love with what works for them and if someone suggests anything a tad different they are accused for heresy (and usually burn in some sort of pyre as well).

The result this usualy yields is a static business model, which only changes due to external influences and not because of an inside desire or drive to change.

What then happens is that a business model then wears off, gets outdated and must be replaced once it’s not working anymore (does the word “loss” ring a bell?). Thus the model tyranny.

Get out of the circle.
Is there any way to avoid this? Sure is! The business model should be in continuous reinvention, evolving and changing, ahead of the events whenever possible. Thus, new things should be tried all the time, different approaches (hows) to tackle the same issue. Of course this can be both time and resource-consuming, so there must be no confusion about “evolution” and “just trying things out”.

The whole point is to change the set of mind. Keep asking questions:
-This works so far, but can it work even better?
-What things can be done to improve the different areas?
-What’s already showing to be outdated or less than perfect (or will become so in a short term)?

Its a whole different approach, regarding a business model more like a dynamic ever-changing part rather than a word carved in stone.

Well I haven’t been in a “leadership” position for much, but there are some things I have learnt, both form my previous experience (and what my old “bosses” did right and wrong from my point of view) and what has been an exiting journey so far.

Not so long ago I was a self employed freelance designer and programmer. Most of the time I struggled to survive and make a living, the remaining time I struggled to handle tons of work that seemed to come the same month. With such “work randomness” I had to work alone. Before that I manly played music (and had not-worth-mentioning-jobs) which is done in a group but has a lot of individualism as well (manly on the composition side). So, before IBM (and then Lenovo) I didn’t have a lot of teamwork experience. Right before I started working this kind of made me nervous: would I adapt?

I did. And I loved it. Quickly enough I could see that 4 people together could do a lot more than 4 people working alone. And quality is much better. The whole is more than the sum of the parts. Even better if there is a good leadership.

I had both good and bad leaders in the past (and will have both kinds in the future, for sure), I hope people consider I am in the first group, but that is not for me to say; but I can scribble a couple of concepts I think are good to keep in mind.

M stands for Motivation.
I cannot state strongly enough how key this is. If people are motivated they are unstoppable. They can achieve whatever you ask them to do, and more.
So, what motivates people? Well salaries are the obvious answer for many, but I think that even if good salaries are a must, they don’t motivate that much (on the other hand, bad salaries kill motivation as fast as light). You can’t motivate if you pay poorly, but a healthy pay check wont motivate people per se.
The enumeration isn’t looking very good this far, 1 thing that kills motivation but is not a motivation itself; lets try to do a little bit better now.

  • Create a good work environment. Enhance participation, make people comfortable.
  • Promote creativity. People have ideas, most of those are good, listen to them, take good care that their ideas see the light of day and that credit is given.
  • Absorb the punches, pass congratulations. Most “rants” about things gone wrong should be absorbed by leaders, lessons must be duly learnt and positive feedback should be passed along in every case (even in case of screw-ups). Every now and then a warning might be necessary, most of the time it’s not.

Communiquê.
Communication is the base. Listen and learn. The best way to learn what’s going on in a team is to listen to what people say and listen harder to what they don’t say. (Tricky, ain’t it?).
Take the time to listen to suggestions and issues. And do not “just listen”, take action to prove you are actually listening.
Make them out-stand.
The worst mistake I’ve seen leaders do is to “stop” their team members from doing things mostly because they are afraid of either loosing control or to be “out-shined” by them. In my experience the exact opposite is true. The better people in a team work, the better the leader looks. In terms of control, just re-read “Communique”.

Preach with the example.
“I don’t expect you to work more than I do”. If you prove you work, listen and are yourself motivated you’ll transmit exactly that. Works like a charm.

Always stand by them.
Make your team members life as easy as you possibly can. If you have to choose between covering your own back and theirs: cover theirs. You will never recover from a “treason” to your own team.

Final word.
I have always been part of creative teams. I know nothing about, say, working on an accounting team; but I think the same basic principles apply to all sorts of teams.

As I keep learning on a daily basis I’ll keep the blog updated on this regard.