September 30th, 2010 by Moti Karmona | מוטי קרמונה · 8 Comments
*** Warning: this post might contain cultural bias material ;) ***
As most of my friends and colleagues, I had the pleasure of working with Americans for most of my professional life and this post is only the tip-of-the-iceberg trying to capture one tiny angle of the American-Israeli cultural gap.
We (Israelis) think we know enough about English since we have watched many hours of American TV, studied the language from early age and use it constantly and “fluently” during our adult professional life but we should be aware about our tendency to interpret English phrases literally, which results in amusing/frustrating/interesting/challenging misunderstandings – We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.
Israelis consider themselves creative, direct and honest but being perceived as arrogant, stubborn, negative, rude and pushy (did I forget any other negative adjective here? ;)
Americans are professionals, positive, polite and showing respect but being perceived as bureaucrats, artificial and square
Original (American) Wording
Possible (Israeli) Misinterpretation
American: “This is a challenge”
This is a problem!
Israeli: Great!, we are always looking for interesting challenges
American: “I would appreciate if you could get this done by Friday”
The deadline is Friday – Make it happen!
Israeli: It is nice-to-have to get it done by Friday, but next week is also an option…
American: “You might want to consider…..”
There is a problem here – This need to be changed
Israeli: IMHO, there are other options but yours is also good
American: “This is ok but…”
This is bad!
Israeli: This is OK (Thanks! :)
American: “I do have my concerns”
There are severe problem here
Israeli: This is OK – Need some more discussions but nothing serious…
American: “I’ll make an effort”
Just being polite… No real commitment here, it’s optional whether I’ll try harder than usual
Israeli: You can count on me doing everything possible for this
Original (Israeli) Wording
Possible (American) Misinterpretation
Israeli: “I don’t agree”
I disagree with your point of view and want to discuss it some more so that we can reach agreement on the best approach (this is almost the default :)
American: (Rude) There’s no room for discussion
Israeli: “Your presentation was OK”
Your presentation was really good
American: I didn’t like your presentation.
Israeli: “Why don’t you do it another way?”
I’m giving you a helpful suggestion because I’m interested in improving the result.
American: (Rude) I am insulting your work
Israeli: “I am OK” (direct answer to “How are you?”)
I feel great – if I wasn’t, be sure you will be the first to know
American: Nothing is OK
Israeli: “This will not work!”
I need you to explain the way it suppose to work since it seems like I am really missing something here
American: (Rude) I am insulting your work again…
Israeli: “I think” (pronounced as sink :)
German Coastguard | “What are you s(th)inking about?”
With an evidence-based (experience studying and consulting to managers in many settings) approach he have identified a list of key beliefs that are held by the best bosses — and rejected, or more often simply never even thought about, by the worst bosses.
Here are the half dozen I liked most, you can read the rest (+ dedicated post on each one) on his HBR blog post.
I have a flawed and incomplete understanding of what it feels like to work for me.
My job is to serve as a human shield, to protect my people from external intrusions, distractions, and idiocy of every stripe — and to avoid imposing my own idiocy on them as well.
I aim to fight as if I am right, and listen as if I am wrong — and to teach my people to do the same thing.
Innovation is crucial to every team and organization. So my job is to encourage my people to generate and test all kinds of new ideas. But it is also my job to help them kill off all the bad ideas we generate, and most of the good ideas, too.
How I do things is as important as what I do.
Because I wield power over others, I am at great risk of acting like an insensitive jerk — and not realizing it.
The plan was to use this tutorial but surprisingly enough this did not work out-of-the-box (apparently due to Tomcat/JDK versions on the default AMI the plug-in is using but I didn’t waste time in making sure this is the issue) so I moved to plan B
Plan B – Create a custom EC2 AMI with Tomcat 6.something and JDK 1.6
* Launch an EC2 instance using Amazon’s ami-84db39ed AMI. (basic Fedora 8 image) * Use Putty connect to your instance
* Create EBS Image AMI from your instance (it does takes couple of minutes to complete) * Open your eclipse and start a new AWS project as described in the original link * Define a new EC2 Server in Eclipse using your new AMI (reminder: the default didn’t work) * Create your “Hello World!!!1” Servlet