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Designer, reader, writer. Sensemaker. Management thinker. CEO at MAQE — a digital consulting firm in Bangkok, Thailand.

Week 27, 2021 — Issue #159

Author Ben Horowitz (Photo courtesy of Inc.com)

Each week: three ideas on and about the future of work. This week: three ideas from Horowitz’s 2019 What You Do Is Who You Are.

Takeouts below.

1. Core Virtues

Horowitz’s thesis is simply that actions speak louder than words. Culture is complex. It’s messy. And if you think culture creation entails pinning a set of nice-sounding core values to the office wall… well… you’re in for a surprise. “Culture is weird like that. Because it’s a consequence of actions rather than beliefs, it almost never ends up exactly as you intend it.” …


Week 26, 2021—Issue #158

Photo by Medienstürmer on Unsplash

Each week: three ideas on the future of work. This week: a case study from organizational design firm The Ready.

My company — MAQE — is changing and I’ve been writing about Haier and Zappos in an effort to learn from their examples. Both make for fascinating case studies. But context is important. And it’s vital to remember that both are substantially different from MAQE.

MAQE is a relatively small professional services firm with about 80 people. Zappos is a product company with 1,500+ staffers (primarily) in Las Vegas, Nevada. …


Week 25, 2021 — Issue #157

Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

Each week: three ideas for how to make work better. This week: three reasons why MAQE is adopting the Rendanheyi (RDHY) organizational model and philosophy.

Let’s dig in.

1. Complexity Conscious

We’re looking to make MAQE more resilient and adaptive to constant and continuous change. Doing so requires that we unbundle the organization, moving from a monolithic to a microservice-type structure. We think RDHY’s focus on platform ecosystems to be particularly valuable in this context. As an organization, we tend to favor consensus and mutual agreement. That’s not necessarily bad, but consensus takes time. …


Week 24, 2021 — Issue #156

Ronda Churchill | Bloomberg | Getty Image

Each week: three ideas on and about the future of work. This week: three ideas on Zappos’ organizational model.

Zappos is a customer service company that just happens to sell… well, lots of things. They started with shoes but have since expanded into apparel and assessors etc. Their purpose is to “live and deliver WOW” which means that the products they sell are (almost) irrelevant. It’s the experience of buying those products that matter. And for Tony Hsieh, Zappos’ firebrand CEO, “customer-centricity” wasn’t just a buzzword to be bandied about in marketing. It meant something much, much more.

1. Market-Based Dynamics

So much…


Week 23, 2021 —Issue #155

Photo by Romain Dancre on Unsplash

Each week: three ideas on the future of work. This week: three ideas from the intersection of Rendanheyi and contracting.

Last week, I wrote that Haier — the Chinese white-goods conglomerate and creator of the Rendanheyi (RDHY) organizational model and philosophy — uses conditional contracts to govern interactions between its various entities. I likened those contracts to an Application Programming Interface (API). Because just like regular APIs allow disparate systems to interact and share information, so too do Haier’s contracts enable its entities to collaborate and share resources.

MAQE is working to adopt RDHY. We believe in the philosophy and…


Week 22, 2021 — Issue #154

Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash

Each week: three ideas on and about the future of work. This week: three ideas to help understand Rendanheyi.

Analogies and metaphors are tremendously useful when communicating new ideas. They have the power to make complex matters simple; they help us see things in a new light.

MAQE is implementing Rendanheyi (RDHY) — Haier’s novel organizational model and philosophy. And we are using analogies to communicate how and why RDH applies in our context as a technology services firm.

For example:

1. Microservices

Most organizations today are built with monolithic architectures, meaning they consist of one whole. And if one part of…


Week 21, 2021 — Issue #153

Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

Each week: three ideas on and about the future of work. This week: three ideas on something called Task Relevant Maturity (TRM).

TRM is a combination of two things: (1) your skill and ability to perform a certain task and (2) your willingness and motivation with which to do so. It’s a simple enough concept to understand. But despite that simplicity, it has proven to be a rather useful concept.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Instruct

TRM is a framework that helps managers provide the right kind of support to the right person at the right time. At its most…


Week 20, 2021 — Issue #152

Photo by Jacek Dylag on Unsplash

Each week: three ideas on the future of work. This week: three ideas about business ecosystems.

James Moore recently spoke at the Business Ecosystem Alliance. In his talk, Moore spoke about how and why his thinking around ecosystems had changed since the publication of his seminal The Death of Competition in 1997. Here’s what you need to know:

1. Competition

A business ecosystem is best understood as a network of interdependent organizations that collaborate, compete, and co-evolve in the delivery of specific products or services. It’s a well-established concept that Moore uses to explain, amongst other things, how Intel was able to…


Week 19, 2021 — Issue #151

Photo by Romain Dancre on Unsplash

Each week: three ideas on how to make work better. This week: three to-be relics of organizations past.

Stop for a moment and think about everything that’s changed in the past 100 years. Back in the 1920s, the world population had just hit 2 billion, the Model T was the world’s most popular car, commercial air travel had just gotten off the ground (pun intended), and the television was still a novelty.

Fast forward until today and the world population is approaching 8 billion. And thanks to a slew of technological advancements — computers, Internet, space travel — we now…


Week 18, 2021 — Issue #150

Photo by Surface on Unsplash

Each week: three ideas on the future of work. This week: three ideas Haier’s organizational model Rendanheyi (RDHY):

How Haier Works by Corporate Rebels

I’ve written about RDHY before (w42020). Start there for an introduction to the concept. Below: three takeaways from the RDHY Masterclass I recently completed:

1. Platforms

RDHY asks that we reenvision the organization as a platform. The concept of digital marketplaces provides the analogy. Marketplaces are in the commerce business, but they don’t sell their own products. Rather, they facilitate and enable others to sell theirs. RDHY is the same, except it isn’t limited to selling things. …

Andreas Holmer

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