Gary Allison's Leadership Blog

December 2011

Everyday Tech and Mobile Computing and Tech News21 Dec 2011 09:47 am

Yesterday, a decision was reached in the Apple/HTC lawsuit in which Apple claimed infringement on 10 patents.  In the sound bite headlines making news yesterday, one could walk away with the impression that Apple emerged victorious and HTC (plus all other android phone manufacturers by proxy) would be severely impacted in their ability to produce smart phones.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.  This article shows that out of the 10 patents in question, only 1 patent was upheld.  This patent was extrapolated to cover the feature of having a phone number in an email be clickable to auto dial that number.  Not a show stopper guys.

Not surprisingly, HTC is already testing new phones to workaround this issue.  And, since they can sell existing phone until April, this victory amounts to a huge number of legal hours on both sides with HTC essentially able to continue cranking out great phones.

The gap between open source android capabilities and the proprietary iPhone capabilities has closed.  This ruling is good for competition and thus good for innovation.  Apple is an amazing and innovative company.  So are Google, MotorolaGoogle, HTC, Samsung, et al.  This all bodes well for mobile internet innovation for years to come.

Leadership and Teams13 Dec 2011 10:13 am

Sunday, an article appeared in our local paper that has everyone buzzing over a talent shortage in Austin. I agree a talent crunch may be looming in the near term, and we’ve been working to prepare for it. Rather than describe some of our recruiting strategies here for continued growth through this crunch, I thought I’d share a few simple things that we do to take care of the people we already have. I’m comfortable sharing this because they are so simple, but require so much effort and constant attention, our competitors will likely not follow this advice anyway.

To sum it all up succinctly: ensure people have meaningful work, that they work with truly excellent peers, put them in control of their efforts, recognize their success both individually and as a team, and keep them pointed towards a compelling vision. Simple, right?

The challenge in the above is that you have to create a culture by which all of this is possible. This culture creation is the extremely challenging aspect – it requires years of investment and continual nurturing. And, since this culture drives even more success, you have to be able to scale the team and yet retain the culture.

So, a talent crunch is likely indeed coming. When the COO of facebook is out encouraging students to study computer science, you can be sure there’s an issue. But those companies without the culture I describe here will be far more crunched than those with one.