Things I keep: Buzz Kaplan’s “Rules to Live By” (What are yours?)

imageThere is life before (and, I’m sure I’ll find one day, after) Microsoft. It’s important to remember that and appreciate the little things from our time before MSFT that made an impact. This is one of my favourites. How appropriate I should note this in my 6,000th update (aka “tweet”) on Twitter.

During my days at Replay TV, I had the opportunity to work with some fantastic people in the industry on then what was a new class of product (the digital video recorder). Besides my other Silicon Valley keepsakes – including original 3DO juggling balls (thanks, Trip), the infamous Autodesk cow patent poster, and my Pinnacle team jacket – the most used and often referred to item from a previous employer would be the one I still carry in my wallet.

Buzz Kaplan’s Rules to Live By.

When I worked with Buzz, he had 15 on the little card in my wallet. On his blog, I see that he’s added a few more, 21 in all… which is a number that is coming up more and more in my work. (More on that later.) Although in this time of Spring Cleaning and general attempt to avoid being featured on the new hit TV show, Hoarders, there are items such as this one that’s easy enough to keep close at hand without contributing to the mess.

When I was at Replay TV, getting a copy of Buzz’s List was one of those things that made you feel like you’d arrived in a special club. I realized at the time this was one of his ways to get people up to speed on the basics. Most are common knowledge, especially if you’ve ever read the likes of Robert Fulghum’s “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.”

On the creation of the list, Buzz notes… “I just started the list 30 years ago to remind myself how to work better and be happier and then I started to share it with people I worked with and so and so on….”

Here they are for your enjoyment – details on each can be found on Buzz’s blog.  (You can also find him on Twitter @buzzkaplan.)

1. Have Integrity

2. Be on Time (OK, I’m still working on this one)

3. Keep your commitments

4. Always Close the Loop

5. Emails (and the proper use of the Cc:)

6. Count to 10

7. The Only Acceptable Attitude is a Positive One

8. Play on your Team, not Against It

9. Lose the Backstory

10. Leaving Notes for Co-workers

11. Spend your Employer’s Money as if it Were your Own

12. The Rule of Pages (or better, “The Rule of One Page”)

13. The New York Times (you know, it’s OK to write anything you wouldn’t mind seeing on the front page of the Times)

14. Top of the Pyramid (or improving quality in the sprint of a project)

15. Meetings

16. Spelling is Important

17. Make People Right, NOT Wrong

18. Be Generous with Information

19. Ask for the Bad News

20. Write So that a Twelve Year Old can Understand (he’s being generous 😉

21. To Lose a Client is a Great Sin (unless the client is habitually unprofitable in which case it’s a blessing)




Tags: articles, what I read, blogs, whack.


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One reply on “Things I keep: Buzz Kaplan’s “Rules to Live By” (What are yours?)”

M3-you’re as funny as your are clever. And always were at ReplayTV.

Thanks for bringing a smile to my face. I’ve fond memories of you and wish you all the best.


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