hypocritical : talking the talk without walking the walk

November 06, 2007

Performance reviews whenever, and from whomever, you want

It dawns on me that I have failed to mention one of my little side-projects to the hypocritical reader base. Hypocritical, I may be. Rude? Not usually. So, please allow me to share...

Once, in the not-so-distant past, I went nearly five years without a performance review of any sort.

That's not a typo. Nearly 5 years. More than 1,700 days.

I mean, I got anecdotal feedback. A few pats on the back. Some kind words. Minimal guidance.

But a formal review? Nope.

To put that in context, I basically went from selecting a college to getting my bachelor's degree without receiving a single grade.

And while the organization didn't really see this as a problem, I did. Because I was hoping to actually grow and improve.

Strange, I know.

Without feedback, my perception of self-worth plummeted. My motivation cratered. And, when it was all finally over, I found myself becoming very much the employee I didn't want to be.

Instead of the one that I did.

So, I promised myself that I would figure out some way to help myself retroactively. To give that version of me an out. To prevent someone from suffering through the same problem.

And after much scrapping and scraping, I am happy to announce that we have a very 1.0 version of the product that may help that version of me out of that rut.

We call it Kumquat. It's a simple tool designed to help you get feedback on your performance whenever you think you neeed it.

Quarterly? Weekly? Daily? Yes. Use it to your heart's content.

We're still building out the tool, but there is enough "there there" that we're comfortable letting people behind the curtain or in the backdoor or past the velvet rope or whatever to try Kumquat for their own performance reviews. And we're hoping that you'll critique Kumquat, as well.

So if the idea sounds interesting to you, please give soliciting your own performance reviews a try.

Or if you're just interested in learning more about the concept, please visit hello, kumquat.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled hypocrisy.

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Performance reviews whenever, and from whomever, you want

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March 31, 2007

Kumquat growing during March 2007

Kumquat is a little project on which I've been working for some time. I haven't been that vocal about it, because there really hasn't been that much "there there."

Now, we all know that I tend to complain--a great deal--about people doing the things the wrong way. I tend to do this, most often, because they are easy targets. Far from my reach or influence. But if I were in their shoes, it might seem reasonable to do the same things that they do.

I like to think that's not be the case. But really, who knows?

Well, now we might. Because, now, I am in their shoes.

So I thought it might be interesting to be as forthcoming as possible about Kumquat from a marketing standpoint. Giving you some insight into what we're seeing, what we're experiencing, where we're screwing up. That sort of thing.

So here's the first status report. Highlights as it were.
  • March 1, 2007
    0, zip, zilch, nada as far as visitors go; well actually as far as the site goes, too


  • March 8, 2007
    More than a living post about Kumquat ("I have a confession to make") causes traffic to spike at 14 visitors


  • March 14, 2007
    hypocritical post about Kumquat ("Hello, kumquat") doesn't move the needle


  • March 21, 2007
    Folks who have registered at the site--all 18 curious kids--receive the first status update on Kumquat


  • March 23, 2007
    Museum of the Modern Beta posts Kumquat to its ever-growing list causing traffic to jump to 108 visitors


  • March 24, 2007
    Following on the heels of the Museum of the Modern Beta post, a StumbleUpon user (Nickeloss) gives Kumquat a thumbs up (I quickly agree); traffic spikes at a record high of 198 visitors


  • March 26, 2007
    Killer Startups posts a review of Kumquat; without having spoken to us, they seem to have nailed the concept pretty much dead-on (we begin to think we may actually be communicating)


  • March 30, 2007
    Second email update goes out to the subscriber base, now sitting at 75 subscribers with 21 additional email addresses awaiting confirmation

So, for those of you keeping score at home, the total number of visitors to the Kumquat site in March 2007 was 645. This resulted in 75 folks joining the list. Alexa traffic rank sits at 3,123,857 (for context: this is not good).

I promise some pretty graphs of this stuff as we gather more relevant data.

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Kumquat growing during March 2007

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March 29, 2007

Ze kumquat, she is back

Please cease and desist with the weeping and rending of clothes.

hello, kumquat is back online.

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Ze kumquat, she is back

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Technology is your friend

Just as an FYI to the two readers out there who care, the hello, kumquat site is looking a little sparse as of late.

This is due to the fact that the FTP service crashed midstream, blowing away the main page but not uploading the new one.

Oopie.

Once FTP access is restored, I'll make sure that page is uploaded.

And, no, this is not an "exciting" unveiling. Not yet, anyway.

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Technology is your friend

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March 14, 2007

Hello, kumquat

If youíre anything like me, your career has been relatively devoid of feedback.

It's sad, really.

You've been driven by your own desire more so than the opinion of your superiors and peers. And your requests for guidance have often fallen flat or been completely ignored.

Worse yet, this feedback--when it comes--only comes on a quarterly or annual basis.

And it usually contains such thoughtful and career-altering guidance as "Great job," "Nice work," and "Smells nice; seems to shower often."

Yes, my friend, itís a sad and sordid tale.

Maybe youíre in the traditional corporate-review setup, where youíre only as good as your last project. Or maybe the project before that.

If youíre out on your own or at a small company, you have absolutely no structure to support a formal review process.

It's a problem. And it's pervasive. Fun.

Is this really the most valuable environment for furthering your development?

(Of course, the answer is no. Why would I ask the question, otherwise?)

Well, I thought I'd get some friends together and we'd try to fix that problem. Unfortunately, we're idea people. So we had to hire some other people to pretend to be our friends and help us.

The result? Kumquat.

With it, we're going to try to fix this no-feedback problem. You and me. Together. With our peers. And these other folks helping us, who despite their best efforts, have become friends, as well.

Will Kumquat succeed? Will Kumquat ever even launch?

Who knows? But I like you, so I thought I would invite you along for the ride. Or the train wreck. Just our little secret, snookums.

Join us, won't you?

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Hello, kumquat

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