All posts by Richard Brown

Leadership Lessons from Confucius: first impressions

first impressions

Someone asked about Zichan. Confucius said: “He was a generous man.” “And what about Zixi?” “Don’t even mention his name!” “And what about Guan Zhong?” “What a man! He seized over three hundred households in Pian from the head of the Bo family. But even though he was reduced to eating coarse food until the end of his days, the poor man could never bring himself to utter a single word of complaint against him.”
或問「子產」,子曰:「惠人也。」問「子西」,曰:「彼哉彼哉!」問「管仲」,曰:「人也,奪伯氏駢邑三百,飯疏食,沒齒無怨言。」

The first impressions you have of someone can be deceptive for any number of reasons. Don’t let them cloud your judgment of the person. The more time you spend with them, the greater the opportunity you will have to evaluate them. Perhaps they’ll exceed your initial expectations or fail to meet them. The only way to find out is to give them a chance to show what they’re truly made of. Continue reading Leadership Lessons from Confucius: first impressions

Leadership Lessons from Confucius: a strong team

a strong team

Confucius said: “Whenever a government edict needed to be written, Bi Chen prepared the first draft, Shi Shu reviewed and revised it, Ziyu, the head of protocol, edited it, and Zichan of Dongli gave it a final polish.”
子曰:「為命:裨諶草創之,世叔討論之,行人子羽修飾之,東里子產潤色之。」

Be sure to build a strong team around you: one that is diverse and complementary in terms of personalities, perspectives, and skill sets. Without a strong team, you will struggle to grow and reach your full potential. Continue reading Leadership Lessons from Confucius: a strong team

Leadership Lessons from Confucius: demanding tasks

demanding tasks

Confucius said: “Can you truly care for someone if you’re not demanding towards them? Can you be truly loyal to someone if you refrain from admonishing them?”
子曰:「愛之,能勿勞乎?忠焉,能勿誨乎?」

Life can be tough at times. You’re not doing anyone any favors by shielding them from this reality. Give them demanding tasks to work on so that they have the opportunity to develop their skills and grow. Don’t be afraid of criticizing them when it’s necessary. Just make sure that your comments are constructive. Continue reading Leadership Lessons from Confucius: demanding tasks

Leadership Lessons from Confucius: the sweet taste of victory?

sweet taste of victory

Nangong Kuo asked Confucius, saying: “Yi was a great archer and Ao was a great sailor, but neither died a natural death. Yu and Ji toiled on the land, but they came to own the world.” Confucius made no reply. Nangong Kuo left. Confucius said: “He’s a true leader! This man truly prizes virtue!”
南宮适問於孔子曰:「羿善射,奡盪舟,俱不得其死然。禹稷躬稼而有天下。」夫子不答。南宮适出,子曰:「君子哉若人!尚德哉若人!」

Political battles are inevitable in any organization. Resist the temptation to join the fray. Even if you do end up coming out on top, the sweet taste of victory will soon sour as you scramble to sort out the divisions that have emerged in its wake. Better to have focused your energy and talent in a positive direction in the first place. Continue reading Leadership Lessons from Confucius: the sweet taste of victory?

Leadership Lessons from Confucius: pause and reflect

pause and reflect

Confucius said: “Although a leader may not always achieve goodness, a petty person never achieves it.”
子曰:「君子而不仁者有矣夫,未有小人而仁者也。」

We all make mistakes. When we do so, it’s important to pause and reflect on why it happened. Was it based on the right intentions or selfish motives? Did we deliberately cross the line or were we simply being careless? Was it an isolated incident or was it part of a pattern of recurring behavior? The deeper we dig, the greater the opportunity we have to learn more about ourselves and take the necessary steps to address the areas we need to improve in. Continue reading Leadership Lessons from Confucius: pause and reflect

Leadership Lessons from Confucius: fine words and brave deeds

fine words

Confucius said: “The virtuous have a lot to teach others; but people who have a lot to teach others aren’t necessarily virtuous. The good are always brave; but the brave aren’t necessarily good.”
子曰:「有德者必有言,有言者不必有德。仁者必有勇,勇者不必有仁。」

Fine words and brave deeds aren’t enough to prove that someone is truly virtuous or good. It can be all too easy for people to conceal their true nature with soaring oratory and ostentatious posturing when the potential downside is minimal and the potential upside in terms of publicity is huge. After all, calling for the government to bring an end to poverty after your financial advisors have optimized your tax liability costs you far less than actually digging into your pocket to fund some projects to address the problem yourself. Continue reading Leadership Lessons from Confucius: fine words and brave deeds

Notes from the field: accelerating edge-to-cloud fleet deployments

edge-to-cloud fleet deployments

Choosing the appropriate cloud platform for your Edge AI device deployments is a major strategic decision for any company. Do you invest in building your own private cloud? Or do you adopt one from AWS, Microsoft, Google, and a host of other third-party providers? Each path has its own advantages and disadvantages. Only you can decide which one provides the best fit for your organization.

Our objective with the VIA Mobile360 family is to make edge-to-cloud fleet deployments as simple and convenient as possible, no matter which cloud platform you decide on. At the most basic level, this means that we have enabled support for all the most popular cloud interfaces and protocols in the SDKs that we provide with each VIA Mobile360 system or device. Continue reading Notes from the field: accelerating edge-to-cloud fleet deployments

Leadership Lessons from Confucius: speak cautiously

speak cautiously

Confucius said: “When the way prevails in a state, speak boldly and act boldly. When the way doesn’t prevail in a state, act boldly but speak cautiously.”
子曰:「邦有道,危言危行;邦無道,危行言孫。」

There’s no point in speaking out when your words will fall on deaf ears. Wait until people are ready to listen to what you have say before you open your mouth. If the boss is in a foul mood or dealing with yet another crisis, the chances of him or her agreeing to your proposal are slim in any case. Better to keep your head down and wait for the storm to pass while continuing to do the right thing. Timing is everything. Continue reading Leadership Lessons from Confucius: speak cautiously

Leadership Lessons from Confucius: material comforts

material comforts

Confucius said: “A scholar-official who cherishes their material comforts isn’t worthy of the name.”
子曰:「士而懷居,不足以為士矣!」

There’s no denying that money’s important, but it shouldn’t be your only or primary source of motivation. How is it possible for you to produce truly great work if all you’re concerned about is how many dollars the project that you’re working on is going to generate for you? How is it possible to feel truly fulfilled if you’re always chasing the next big pay day rather than doing meaningful work that helps your customers be more successful and contributes even in some small way to the betterment of society? Continue reading Leadership Lessons from Confucius: material comforts

Leadership Lessons from Confucius: overcoming your weaknesses

overcoming your weaknesses

Yuan Xian asked about shamefulness. Confucius said: “Caring only about your official salary no matter whether good or bad government prevails in the state. That is shamefulness.” “If you overcome contentiousness, arrogance, bitterness, and greed can you be said to have achieved true goodness?” Confucius said: “You can be said to have achieved something difficult; but I don’t know whether it’s true goodness.”
憲問恥。子曰:「邦有道穀,邦無道穀,恥也。」「克伐怨欲,不行焉,可以為仁矣。」子曰:「可以為難矣,仁則吾不知也。」

Becoming a good leader involves much more than overcoming your weaknesses and character defects – no matter how egregious they might be. It also means harnessing your strengths and virtues in order to make a greater contribution to your family, organization, and society. The more you deny yourself the experience of engaging with your emotions and desires, the less able you are to understand and empathize with other people. By stepping away from the daily fray and basking in self-righteousness, you risk losing touch with reality and minimizing the positive impact that you would otherwise have on everybody. Continue reading Leadership Lessons from Confucius: overcoming your weaknesses