Grey Baker, Mitbegründer von Dependabot, wendet sich dem Lesen zu, um seinen Geisteszustand zu ändern
Dependabot is a product where he already knew exactly what to build, part of an industry he perfectly understood. Grey worked as a strategy consultant for a couple of years, before teaching himself how to code.
He also spent 4 years as VP of Product and Engineering of GoCardless startup, where he contributed to the growth of the company: from 6 employees to over 100, and from a monthly volume of £100,000 to £100m. He also built the company’s AML (Anti Money Laundering) and anti-fraud systems, and wrote the (successful) application to become an FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) Authorised Payments Institution.
Grey volunteers full time, helping a healthcare organization with their software decisions.
Find out more about his favorite books, how they impacted him and the lessons he learned.
Was ist dein Lieblingsbuch und warum? Geschäftlich und nicht geschäftlich, wenn möglich.
Fiction: The Waves, by Virginia Woolf. The language is so beautiful, and was so different to anything I’d read before. I remember feeling swept along by it for hours.
Non-fiction: I read very little non-fiction, and even fewer business-related books. The best thing I read recently was Eine Weltgeschichte in 100 Objekten, which is absolutely brilliant. It charts the history of humanity through objects from the British Museum’s collection, and is wonderfully holistic. I can’t recommend it enough for anyone looking to broaden their perspective.
Perhaps the only business book I’ve read and truly loved is Taiichi Ohno’s “The Toyota Production System”. It’s referenced a lot as the origin of the “Lean” movement, but it’s a much more enjoyable read than that makes it sound. Rather than management guru speak, it’s a wonderful book about the hard-won lessons Taiichi Ohno learned on the factory floor at Toyota. It won’t teach you what kanban means in modern management, but learning about Ohno’s desire to build an information nervous system for Toyota’s plants is so much more interesting!
Gab es einen bestimmten Moment, in dem Ihnen etwas, das Sie in einem Buch gelesen haben, geholfen hat? Kannst du mir davon erzählen?
I mainly read to decompress and change my state of mind, so it’s hard to point to an insight I read that helped me. Reading fiction has pulled me out of a bad mood more times than I can count, though, and always reenergises me to attack problems that had stumped me again.
That said, I read and loved Don Norman’s “The Design of Everyday Things”, and it’s helped me think through design problems ever since.
Welche Bücher haben Sie am meisten beeindruckt? (vielleicht hat sich Ihre Sicht der Dinge verändert, Ihr Karriereweg dramatisch verändert)
I read Das schlanke Startup just after leaving my job at McKinsey & Co., when I was just beginning to think about startups. The advice it gives has become part of the core cannon of startup advice these days, and might feel like old rope to someone starting out now, but it was eye-opening for me. I ended up taking on small product challenges at GoCardless as a result of the iterative approach it espouses, which also fitted the way I’d worked at McKinsey before. I’m not sure I would have ended up running product at GC if I hadn’t read that book.
Welche Bücher würden Sie jungen Leuten empfehlen, die sich für Ihren beruflichen Weg interessieren? Wieso den? (keine Anzahl Begrenzung hier)
They’re already mentioned above, but I can’t recommend the following highly enough:
– Taichi Ono’s “The Toyota Production System”. It will make you question everything from first principles, which is essential if you’re going to make the right decisions for your startup. As a bonus, it will also make you smile every time you hear someone parrot words like “kanban” with no idea of the history of the word.
– Don Norman’s “The Design of Everyday Things”. You’ll never think about product design the same afterwards.
– Neil McGregor’s “Eine Weltgeschichte in 100 Objekten”. It will help keep your mind broad, and you never know when those insights will help you.
Links where you can follow Grey Baker or find out more about his projects:
All books mentioned by Grey Baker in this interview:
- Das Lean Startup von Eric Ries
- The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman
- The Waves by Virginia Woolf
- A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor
- Toyota Production System: Beyond Large-Scale Production by Taiichi Ohno