Mike Judge’s Silicon Valley is my favorite binge TV show at the moment. I identify well with the cast, and I find the show entertaining on multiple levels (including references to DCMs and DCT filters).
I wish I would have watched this show before I left the military, because of the lessons I learned about the commercial sector:
- Be flexible. My first company after the military was about as inflexible as the military!
- Do not burn bridges. Corollary: build and maintain as many bridges as you can.
- Do not overlook legalities. Yes, the fine print is hard to read, but the gotchas are in the fine print.
- Building a brand is a process. The brand is often the shared brainchild of a select group within the company, but it takes the entire company to buy in and protect and build that brand.
- Embrace mistakes, but learn from them. If you don’t make mistakes, you’re not working on hard enough problems. And that’s a big mistake.
- Strive for healthy work-life balance. In the military, my brain was available for work about 20 hours of the day, and even in my 4 hours of sleep I was often thinking about work. I fell into a trap with my first civilian job, because it was all I know–and the employer seemed to enjoy and endorse the behavior.
- Quality is key. Every company has a widget or a gadget, but not every company has a quality widget or gadget.
- Have a vision, and keep your eye on the prize. Again, I was astounded at the lack of vision displayed by the commercial sector.
- Make the right hires. A company is only as good at its people. Corollary: make the right fires.
- Leadership is important! I could almost