AKF Partners

Abbott, Keeven & Fisher PartnersPartners In Hyper Growth

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Scalability Workshop - How to Scale Organizations, Architectures, and Process

By Michael  |  Posted on May, 7 2015

Scalability Workshop - How to Scale Organizations, Architectures, and Process

We are hosting our second Scalability Workshop on September 23rd & 24th at the Four Seasons Silicon Valley in Palo Alto, CA. This unique two day event is designed for current CTOs, VPs of Engineering, Chief Architects, and other technology executives that want to improve their management, leadership, and technology skills. Marty Abbott, Mike Fisher, and Dave Berardi from AKF Partners will share their combined decades of experience as CTOs and technology executives at both large organizations and start-ups.

Register Here

The two-day workshop will cover the following topics:

  • The CTO Role: A discussion on the diversity of expectations and responsibilities from the 400 companies we have worked with at AKF Partners.
  • The Right People & Roles: Ensuring the right talent is placed in positions for success.
  • Management & Leadership: The skills of a transformational leader and highly effective manager.
  • Conflict & Innovation: A discussion of good and bad conflicts in organizations and how to increase innovation.
  • Multidisciplinary Agile Teams: Building innovative teams with diverse experience and skills.
  • Team Goals & KPIs: Setting goals, metrics, and KPIs for Agile teams to ensure success.
  • The Experiential Chasm: The widening gap between business leaders and technology leaders and how to close it.
  • Service Delivery Mindset: The most successful technology organizations are structured with a service oriented mindset and we will discuss how to transform your organization and mindset.
  • AKF Risk Model: Our viewpoint of risk and how to manage it successfully in your architecture, people, and processes.
  • Highly Scalable Architectures: An in-depth look at creating highly scalable and available architectures
  • AKF Scale Cube: Our approach to designing highly scalable architectures.
  • Creating Fault Isolation: The importance of isolation for availability and time to market.
  • Architecture Principles: An in-depth look at the top architecture principles and how to apply them.
  • Processes for a Learning Organization: The most effective processes to put in place to create a successful learning organization.

AKF Partners Scalability Workshop will be held on September 23rd & 24th at the Four Seasons Silicon Valley at East Palo Alto. If you are interested in attending or sending a member of your organization please register here!

Here are some pictures and quotes from the first workshop.

“It is a must for anyone trying to scale their platform. The level of people, both presenters and participants, was first rate.”
“Imagine taking decades of experience and packing it into two days and you can imagine what the CTO bootcamp is like. Highly recommended for any technical executive, no matter what stage the company is in.”
“AKF’s positive obsession with the need for technology organizations to add value by effectively scaling human talent and technical components should be required training for technology leaders.”


The Power of Customer Misbehavior

By Michael  |  Posted on November, 6 2013

The Power of Customer Misbehavior has just been released in the UK and is available now for pre-order in the US.

The Power of Customer Misbehavior presents, in clear practitioner language, the newly discovered drivers of viral growth – product misuse, self-identity, and technological features. This information comes from academic research conducted over the past several years and has been presented at numerous conferences. Several academic papers stemming from this research are under review at top tier journals. The book The Power of Customer Misbehavior presents these newly discovered concepts as simple, actionable principles to the reader in order.

The Power of Customer Misbehavior is the first book to explore the idea that customer misuse of current features is the key to viral growth through product development based on this information. This book also introduces the concept of self identity as a motivator for participation in social networks as well as product purchases. Additionally, The Power of Customer Misbehavior discusses several technological features such as the user interface and page load time and their impact on user adoption and retention


Agile Training

By Michael  |  Posted on August, 14 2013

There are many people and organizations offering Agile training, some of which is really terrific. However, over the past several years we have noticed that none of them were approaching the Agile methodology from a scalability perspective. At AKF we believe scalability is comprised of three critical components all of which must work together effectively in order for the business to scale - architecture, organization, and process. Therefore, just teaching or improving one or two of those, leaves the company sub-optimized and vulnerable to scaling issues.

agile training

We have been working with Agile trainers as well as many clients to create and refine an Agile Training that incorporates all three components of scaling. We are proud to offer this training as an additional service that we can provide our clients. We will partner with you to ultimately help improve your TTM and Quality making your products and company more competitive in the marketplace. We will do this by providing you with the necessary training, consulting, and coaching to help transition your business and engineering teams to an Agile framework while complementing it with AKF Scaling best practices. The goal is to teach the tools, share the knowledge, and encourage the behavior necessary to apply in your business’s context.

If this training would be beneficial to your team, reach out to us at: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Openview Leadership Lab

By Michael  |  Posted on July, 17 2013

Mike Fisher partnered with Openview Labs to produce three articles on scalability.

If You Think Scalability Is All About Developing Software, You’re Wrong
In part one of a three-part series on software scalability, former PayPal executive and serial entrepreneur Mike Fisher addresses the three things that can help (or prevent) growing software businesses from scaling efficiently.

Why eBay Isn’t Big in Japan: Learning from a Billion-Dollar Mistake
In part two of a three-part series on software scalability, Mike Fisher shares a three-step process aimed at helping tech companies prepare for and properly manage the challenges of rapid expansion and growth.

Ain’t Misbehavin’: How Encouraging Product “Misuse” Helped Facebook Beat Friendster
In this final post in a three-part series on software scalability, former PayPal executive and serial entrepreneur Mike Fisher explores the power of customer misbehavior, and explains why encouraging users to push your company’s product to its limits can actually help it scale.



Moving from Misuse to Bricolage

By Michael  |  Posted on February, 25 2013

Checkout our recent article in the Graziadio Business Review Moving from Misuse to Bricolage - Finding Innovation from Customer “Misbehavior” where we discuss how companies can learn from how customers misuse their products.


Chinese Version of Scalability Rules

By Michael  |  Posted on January, 14 2013

Chinese Version of SR


We’re excited to announce that Scalability Rules has been translated into Simplified Chinese.

This version is available here on Amazon.cn.

Checkout the Scalability Rules site.


New Associate Partners

By Michael  |  Posted on September, 1 2012

We are very excited to announce that Geoff Kershner and Dave Berardi are joining AKF Partners.

For those who have worked with AKF in the past, you might recognize Geoff as he was part of our extended team a couple years ago. He most recently spent time at LiveOps running a Program Management Office in efforts including Agile development and PCI-DSS certification. He also spent 6 years at eBay and PayPal.

Dave is a long time friend and colleague as well who recently spent a number of years helping Progressive with incident and problem management processes. He has led various software development teams and spent 8 years at GE working on data warehousing and six sigma projects.

Check out Dave and Geoff’s full profiles.


UF College of Engineering Commencement

By Michael  |  Posted on May, 1 2012

AKF Managing Partner Marty Abbott will be the 2012 Commencement Speaker for the University of Florida’s College of Engineering on May 6, 2:00 p.m. He is a distinguished graduate of the Masters of Science in Computer Engineering program from the University of Florida and participates on the Engineering Leadership Institute’s advisory board. You can watch the commencement recorded here, starting at 1:06:25 on the video.


ICT KTN - The Art of Scalability Presentation

By Michael  |  Posted on August, 23 2011

Marty Abbott and Mike Fisher presented a webinar on September 19, 2011 for the Information and Communication Technologies Knowledge Transfer Network (ICT KTN).  The ICT KTN seeks to create a competitive advantage for the UK by facilitating the exchange of knowledge and seeks to bring a competitive advantage to the UK by facilitating the exchange of knowledge on Information & Communications Technologies and accelerating innovation.

Ian Osborne, Director, IntellectUK, hosted the webinar. 

If you missed the live event you can listen to it here at BrightTalks.


Code as Craft - Scalability Rules

By Michael  |  Posted on July, 18 2011

We are scheduled to speak at Etsy’s Code as Craft Speaker Series. Our presentation will take place on July 28th at 7pm at the Etsy Labs on the 7th floor at 55 Washington Street in beautiful Brooklyn. If you’re in the neighborhood, sign up here.



Scalability Rules on InformIT

By Michael  |  Posted on May, 10 2011


Our newest book Scalability Rules is now available on InformIT.  You can purchase the book, the e-book, or the bundle.  It is also available for pre-order at Amazon  and Barnes and Noble

Scalability Rules is a collection of 50 rules that will guide developers, architects, managers, and executives on how to build a scalable system.  It takes a direct approach by presenting fundamental principles in an easily read and digestible format for rapid application to almost any technical environment. It will be useful to all readers as a primer, a refresher, and as a reference. Its principles can be used to form the basis of architectural strategy for just about any company dealing with hypergrowth in the Web 2.0 world.



Research Update

By Michael  |  Posted on April, 1 2011

Marty and Mike will both be presenting their research at the 2011 Academy of Management Conference. Below are abstracts and links to the full text for both papers:

THE CO-PRODUCTION OF SOCIAL CONTAGION - Theories of technology product adoption and diffusion fail to adequately explain social contagion or viral growth. Additionally, the role of product design in users’ propensity to use and recommend products is both understudied and poorly understood. To address a vexing gap in knowledge about what explains viral growth, we conducted ethnographic interviews with technology executives and users of two social networking sites that have experienced dramatically different growth patterns. Our findings reveal that product co-production and user self identity—not product attributes – fuel viral growth. Social networking products co-produced by users and providers, with “meaning” socially constructed by customers, permit users to more effectively establish and maintain their self-identities and are far more likely to result in social contagion than are engineering-centric products. User experiences with Facebook and Friendster and organizational responses to them demonstrate the role of self identity – and in particular five specific selves – on viral growth.  Full text...

TEMPORAL TRIBES: THE ORIGIN AND RESOLUTION OF TENURE BASED AFFECTIVE CONFLICT IN VENTURE BACKED TOP MANAGEMENT TEAMS ABSTRACT - Venture backed firms with both exceptionally high and relatively low growth experience a comparatively fast turnover of executives, often resulting in multiple cohorts within the top management team (TMT). These tenure cohorts often act like warring tribes, generating value destroying affective conflict. While several studies have validated the relationship between tenure diversity and affective conflict, none explain its source. To address this gap in knowledge, we conducted in-depth ethnographic interviews with 34 executives from six U.S. venture backed private companies. Our results move beyond those of previous studies on tenure based affective team conflict by revealing its source to be strongly embedded “new” and “old” social identities within venture backed TMTs. Absent purposeful efforts by top management to forge a shared identity that subordinates the existing “old” and “new” identities, negative effects of affective conflict will likely trump the benefits of cognitive conflict. Full text...

Here is a video of Marty presenting his research.


Weatherhead Doctoral Program

By Michael  |  Posted on March, 3 2011


Thumbing through the recent copy of Harvard Business Review, you might have noticed Marty and Mike in one of the advertisements. As students in the doctorate program at Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management, we were asked to provide a quote about the benefits of the program. While we’re still waiting to get our first article published in HBR, we’re happy to see AKF Partners mentioned.


The Art of Scalability in Japanese

By Michael  |  Posted on February, 15 2011


We are very pleased to announce that The Art of Scalability has been translated into Japanese.  We’re very excited about this and look forward to hopefully many other translations.  If you haven’t picked up a copy of the English version here are links to a few online stores Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Borders.


All Posts Index

By Michael  |  Posted on October, 29 2010

With the new redesign we did away with some pages.  One of the most popular pages was the index to all our old blog posts.  We’re adding this page back so click here for the index page.  If you like this index or any other page feel free to post a comment or drop us a note.