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Joseph Bironas
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Joseph Bironas

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#FugaziFriday
I'm not your adversary. I'm not your reason. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsKPFHg5NkA

#ns
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Joseph Bironas

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You'll never convince me that a "CTO" doesn't have to know how to plug in their own ethernet cable.
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I was remembering a shit show that a friend had to dig me out of once. I'm maintaining my righteous indignation. 
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Facebook from Yosemite doesn't work so well. But g+ loads are snappy. Odd.
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Haha - I thought you meant OSX Yosemite
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Playing Lean is at it again with a kickstarter relaunch http://kck.st/1bUJGKV get it while it's hot!
Simen Fure Jørgensen is raising funds for Playing Lean relaunch: Play Leaner on Kickstarter! Playing Lean is the board game that teaches Lean Startup in a fun and engaging way - and in only 90 minutes.
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Cakotra pics

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Love the new Daredevil, but seriously... am I the only one here who wants Jessica to whip out her fangs and take down Kingpin? #daredevil #trueblood
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Don't you know ink washes out easier than blood...
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Joseph Bironas

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#FugaziFriday  

I don't want to be defeated I don't want to be defeated I don't want to be defeated I don't want to be defeated!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6JUS-JhZZo
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Joseph Bironas

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When listening to aphex twin I imagine a monkey strung out on coke downing amphetamines with red bull playing a tiny drum set frenetically.

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Joseph Bironas

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Board Game Review: Playing Lean 
Kickstarter link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/44846941/playing-lean-relaunch-play-leaner

Full disclosure, I’ve been helping playtest Playing Lean from the initial release, and actually play tested the initial version in SF’s Runway a few months back. 

So what is Playing Lean? Essentially it’s a game of tech startup domination. Who doesn’t love tech startup domination? You pick your social media startup, and work to learn the needs of your customers, then build features in search for dominating the market and gaining millions of users. 

There aren’t a lot of games that cater to this topic. That’s probably because it’s hard to turn the world of engineers with their heads down hacking as frantically as possible, day-in day-out alternating between beer and/or coffee and eating pizza, into something not as boring as watching people type. But that’s where Playing Lean is different -- it captures the decisions and drama of building a company by stripping away the tedium and making core principles fun. It’s a game with quite a few moving parts. There are customers, and resources - of course - but you also have to balance adding and removing features with understanding the marketplace. You have to keep your intel secret (or not), more importantly, you have to keep it accurately, and then cleverly manage what you have to beat a path to the most users before anyone else. 

The game teaches Lean principles, but never comes across heavy handed. Turns are taken in four phases, which takes a round to get used to, but it’s quick to grasp even for novice players. The rulebook goes into detail, and is a helpful reference, but the gist is, 1) Adjust your resources, you can trade resource cards for a different type or pull one of chance, but there’s a tax to pay, 2) Run an experiment if you have the right resources - this gives you market intelligence, 3) Build (or remove features) which let’s you market to customers 4) Earn some more resources. The first round will be heavily guided by the rule book, but after that rounds go quickly and become more fluid. Even my 10 year old daughter was able to get into the flow and get engaged early.

Since the game is about gaining users, there are all sorts of subtle dynamics that eventually emerge around the economy. Probably the most difficult thing to grasp is that the economy scales as the game progresses. It’s fairly simple, but takes some attention to detail, as you progress beyond initial adopters and features, the dollar values go up via a system of tiered colors. It’s basically based on what customer tier (green, yellow, orange, red) you’re selling to, and the visual queues on the board, and cards all indicate which tier you’re on. This was the point of some confusion, so it takes a slight amount of attention to which dollar value and color each player is intending at any given time. 

Features are another important aspect. This is the mechanic I love most in terms of the subtlety of the various dynamics at play. Feature costs scale in a tiered fashion, in threes. So your first three features are less expensive than the next three, which are cheaper than the next three and so on. As the game progresses, and you’re building or removing features more quickly to get and retain customers, it takes a careful eye on which feature you’re on and what that feature costs. Not only that, but the costs don’t align well with the values on your resource cards, so you’re almost always paying more for features than necessary because there’s no bank to give you change*. I want to be perfectly clear, my wife hated this dynamic because the accounting was dirty, but I loved it. This penalty seemed to grow over time, and as someone who has managed a code base, this is true to life. The longer it goes the more tax you pay on agility and this lack of change was a great function to represent that tax. 

The late game is pretty thrilling, and it turns into a race to the end pitting player against player where you have to make important decisions, and the slightest mishap can change winners into losers quickly. 

The game came to me in a fantastic wooden box, with a wood backed playboard that was split. It will take some investment in game tokens from Amazon or a local gaming store to keep track of features, and what customers belong to what teams, but if you don’t have those, you could cut some out of colored paper. It’s mostly to keep your fellow players honest anyway. The cards are easy to read and colorful. The experiment cards have entertaining stories of what happened during the experiment, and provide some insight into the “behind the scenes” work of startups, but towards the end we just skipped to the bottom to read how many customer tiles we got to investigate. All in all, it’s well crafted, fun to look at, and provides all the info necessary to keep the game moving along. We were able to finish with a group of first time players including children in just over 90 minutes.

What I love about Playing Lean is that once the basic mechanics are understood, it’s easy to fall into the role of startup CEO making important decisions based on the things you have available. Because it’s tied to real companies with real media profiles, you can imagine yourself in that role. The sense of competition is real, and it’s fun to put on the persona of these famous companies. More importantly, you get a sense of the decisions necessary to gain market share in the cheapest way possible, while all the time watching agility decrease, costs increase, and competitors eat away your market share to gain advantage. It’s easy enough to enjoy with the kids, and fast enough to hold everyone’s attention, and at the end -- if you’ve been paying attention -- you might learn something about keeping a company lean. 

The most telling point was when my wife said the next day, "Is it crazy that I want to play that again? I really feel like I was starting to get it, and want to do it again!" 

* I figured out later, there are change tokens that can be used, but we didn't, and still had a lot of fun.

#boardgames   #playinglean  
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Joseph Bironas

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Dear Recruiters,

If you can't get my basic work history correct, it's unlikely that I will ever talk to you beyond the initial, "I was never a FOO at BAR." I'm sorry, but I have to have some standards, and being able to read words is one of them.

j-
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This. However, I will help her enforce the rules...
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Yup. This.
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