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Computing Thoughts
Business Rules of Thumb
by Bruce Eckel
July 29, 2009
Things that stood out for me from the rest of the book.


Final notes from the book Rules of Thumb.

Rule 28: Good Design is Table Stakes. Great Design Wins.

Books suggested:

Rule 35: The Red Auerbach Management Principle: Loyalty is a Two-Way Street.

Principles from the author's interview with the Boston Celtics' most successful coach.

  1. You don't reward your players based on their statistics -- you reward them based on their contributions to the team.
  2. You create a special bond with your players based on honesty.
  3. You never motivate your players through fear but only through pride.
  4. Uncertainty creates a huge problem for professional athletes -- and a huge opportunity for coaches. (If the players feel secure, they don't want to leave).
  5. Loyalty is a two-way street. (If the company isn't loyal to me, why should I be loyal to it?)

Rule 36: Message to Entrepreneurs: Managing Your Emotional Flow is More Critical than Managing Your Cash Flow

He says: The biggest threat to any startup isn't running out of money -- it's going out of your mind. If you run out of emotional energy, it doesn't matter if you still have cash; you're done.

Things to keep in mind:

  1. The team is what makes or breaks it, not the spreadsheet (no one believes those numbers anyway).
  2. Stay humorous.
  3. Listen to loud music to keep you pumped up.
  4. Entrepreneurs travel on their bellies. Make a place where everyone wants to hang out and eat (lots of creativity happens there).

Rule 38: If You Want to Think Big, Start Small

Start with small experiments that solve real problems that people are having. See what works and build on that.

This is the opposite of "Get Big or Get Out." One of the benefits of the web is that it's possible to make smaller companies that solve specific problems without costing a fortune in startup costs. Especially with technologies like Google App Engine and the like, it's becoming easier and easier to create full-powered, scaleable systems from dorm rooms and garages.

Rule 41: If You Want to be a Real Leader, First Get Real About Leadership.


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About the Blogger

Bruce Eckel ( provides development assistance in Python with user interfaces in Flex. He is the author of Thinking in Java (Prentice-Hall, 1998, 2nd Edition, 2000, 3rd Edition, 2003, 4th Edition, 2005), the Hands-On Java Seminar CD ROM (available on the Web site), Thinking in C++ (PH 1995; 2nd edition 2000, Volume 2 with Chuck Allison, 2003), C++ Inside & Out (Osborne/McGraw-Hill 1993), among others. He's given hundreds of presentations throughout the world, published over 150 articles in numerous magazines, was a founding member of the ANSI/ISO C++ committee and speaks regularly at conferences.

This weblog entry is Copyright © 2009 Bruce Eckel. All rights reserved.

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