Genchi Gembutsu

The importance of basing strategic decisions of firsthand understanding of customers is on the core principles that underlies the Toyota Production System. At Toyota, this goes by the Japanese term genchi gembutsu, which is one of the most important phrases in the lean manufacturing vocabulary. In English, it is usually translated as a directive to “go and see for yourself” so that business decisions can be based of deep first hand knowledge. Jeffrey Liker, who has extensively documented the “Toyota Way,” explains is this way:

In my Toyota interviews, when asked what distinguishes the Toyota Way from other management approaches, the most common first response was genchi gembustsu – whether I was in manufacturing, product development, sales, distribution, or public affairs. You cannot be sure you really understand any part of any business problem unless you go and see for yourself firsthand. It is unacceptable to take anything for granted or to rely on the reports of others. 

Poka Dota

This page demonstrates some of the things I’ve been working on using the HTML5 API. Keeping with the poka dota theme I added a canvas directly under the navigation which creates blue circles when the user’s mouse passes over the canvas area. 

I used the drag and drop API to show an interesting way you could have the user choose which sock they would like to by. You can drag a sock over to the shopping cart and a cash register sound rings. 

I used SVG elements to show how a user could create their own customized sock. Using some simple JS a user can change the colours on the SVG sock. 

It’s interesting but their are some issues when using HTML5. The canvas has to have a fixed width which makes it difficult to create a responsive design. Drag and drop don’t work on phones( until it does I probably won’t use it again). If’s hard to draw using SVGs. I would use everything sparingly but each effect does make the user experience more enjoyable. 

The Lean Startup and House M.D.

Recently I’ve been reading the lean startup written by Eric Ries. It discusses how today’s entrepreneurs use continuous innovation to create radically successful businesses. The book has many real world examples of applying lean practises in management. His most interesting example being his work at IMVU. His team was trying to predict what the customers wanted before delivering their product to market. The product was a complete failure but this process taught them the true needs of their costumers. They were able to take what they learned and create a product that a potential customer would actually use and enjoy. This lead to their success.

I see parallels with this methodology and House M.D. This is a great show on Netflix. House uses his genius to diagnose rare and lethal diseases. In every episode his initial diagnosis is always wrong and the patient has a dramatic hit to their health. Just when you think House is a complete failure he uses what he has learned from the failed test and comes up with a new diagnosis. They do this process over and over until they can cure the patient. It seems to me that a start up is much like curing a patient. Often our first diagnosis is always wrong but what we learn for this is necessary when trying to find the right solution.  

Rails Pub Nite

This is a link to an awesome Rails meet up in Toronto. I haven’t been yet but Pete Forde says it’s awesome so I’ll definitely check it out next month. This month I’ll be traveling.

I think its a great idea to host an event like this at a Pub. In my experience alcohol helps the creative process. It allows us to break down the barriers and think outside the box. 


The Dead Poets Society of Ruby

My name is David, and I’m learning to program in Ruby. I want to be able to execute my own ideas and have a great time doing it. Since I’ve noticed that I work best with a small group of people that share similar educational goals, I’m looking to gather 3-5 others that would like to meet every week or two to work on coding — sort of like a book club, except we are teaching ourselves Ruby. I’m a proud beginner that wants good company and maybe you are, too?

Over the past couple months I’ve made a serious attempt at learning Ruby. I’m doing this so that I can build these web apps,

  • A simple one on one Euchre game. This is special to me because it’s something my Mom and I invented and I promised I’d make it for her (but I think others would enjoy it too).
  • An online textbook for my Dad. He’s a university prof who’s experimenting with new and exciting ways to teach his students. There are hundreds of online resources to learn how to code but very few on calculus or linear algebra. Could a gamified web app keep a student engaged or even inspire future mathematicians?
  • The last is a project I think any beginning Rubyist would benefit from – a gamified environment for learning how to create proper methods in Ruby. Basically, I’d like to reverse engineer and make it beginners.  

These are just a few ideas I’m pursuing and I know I’m going about it the hard way. Finding an online tutorial is really easy but learning everything on my own has proven difficult. I learn best around others – through experimentation with proper guidance. Where can I find this type of environment? Should I spend thousands of dollars on a bootcamp or join a meet up? 

Yesterday I received some awesome advice from Pete Forde. He suggested I create a study group that consists of like-minded individuals. I’m looking to meet people that like to experiment, learn and create. This could be the dead poets society of Ruby! I think the idea sounds exciting. 

I’d like to hear from you if you think the idea is exciting too. Respond to this post, email me at or email me through my website,