Do The Right Thing

I applaud companies that have grown to a sizable employee count but don’t lose their human touch. After all, a company is nothing other than a living breathing organism made out of humans. So why is it, that employees in BIG companies seem to lose all common sense and make decisions that hurt the business in the end?

I recently called Time Warner Cable and told them I would like to terminate our internet service as we are being evicted from our office building (it’s going residential) and the new building we’re moving into doesn’t offer their service. What happened was baffling: Their response was that I have to pay a $900 early termination fee for Tattly and CreativeMornings each.

Completely stunned at the absurdity of this, I tried to talk to a customer support, kindly explaining that this makes absolute no sense. We are moving to a location that DOESN’T offer their service. Why would we be punished for that?

All I got was: “There’s nothing I can do!”

If I would have been on the other side of that call, my soul would have shriveled up and died. I in fact feel for the Time Warner employee that wasn’t able to do the right thing.

Do you run a company? Do you make sure your employees have the power to do the right thing? I will make sure mine do.

Admin Mondays

admin mondays

Over dinner last week Jessica Hische convinced me to try her concept of Admin Mondays. Read her entire post on email efficiency.

24 hours without complaining

no complaining

Can you go 24 hours without complaining? Let’s do this.

A Teen’s Take on Social Media

“Facebook is something we all got in middle school because it was cool but now is seen as an awkward family dinner party we can’t really leave.”

You’re a parent or simply interested in how teenagers and young adults use Social Media? Read this post. It’s written by Andrew Watts, a 19 year old. Such insights. Fascinating!

(via Mark)

Home Organization Advice from Marie Kondo

“Ms. Kondo’s decluttering theories are unique, and can be reduced to two basic tenets: Discard everything that does not “spark joy,” after thanking the objects that are getting the heave-ho for their service; and do not buy organizing equipment — your home already has all the storage you need.”

Kissing Your Socks Goodbye, by Penelope Green

On Candor

“As a leader my responsibility is to tell hard truths to my team and to my CEO. I can only do that when folks truly believe that I have their best interests at heart and my intention is to push them to being their better selves.”
– Jesse Hertzberg

In his most recent blog post, Jesse Hertzberg, former COO of Etsy and Squarespace, shares some of his principles on how to build a culture centered around speaking the truth: On Candor.

If this is your thing, make sure to also read his older posts On Recruiting, On Feedback and On Walking and Talking.

The Things You Do Often

“For many things, your attitudes came from actions that led to observations that led to explanations that led to beliefs. Your actions tend to chisel away at the raw marble of your persona, carving into being the self you experience from day to day. It doesn’t feel that way, though. To conscious experience, it feels as if you were the one holding the chisel, motivated by existing thoughts and beliefs. It feels as though the person wearing your pants performed actions consistent with your established character, yet there is plenty of research suggesting otherwise. The things you do often create the things you believe.”
– Benjamin Franklin

From this Brain Pickings post.

Nobody Knows What The Hell They Are Doing

“… The real trick to producing great work isn’t to find ways to eliminate the edgy, nervous feeling that you might be swimming out of your depth. Instead, it’s to remember that everyone else is feeling it, too. We’re all in deep water. Which is fine: it’s by far the most exciting place to be.”

Nobody Knows What The Hell They Are Doing, by Oliver Burkeman

2 Essential Rules in Sales

1. Never answer a question that the customer hasn’t asked.

2. Never provide information that the customer hasn’t requested.

2 Essential Rules Most Salespeople Forget, by Geoffrey James

(In some way, we are all in Sales, aren’t we?)

Jon Setzen on The Great Discontent

“I’ve had shitty jobs and internships: folding t-shirts at radio stations, working in a stock room at Nordstrom, delivering pizzas, and all of that. It’s important to have those shitty jobs so you understand when you actually find a good job.”
– Jon Setzen

Read the full interview over on The Great Discontent

In Tune With What You Love

“…the difference between people who are successful and not are that those who are successful seemed to know from the age of 7 or 8, maybe older, they’re very in tune with what they love. I compare it to a voice inside their head, not literally a voice but something that says “you really are drawn to this subject” and they hear it throughout their lives. For me it was writing and books, since I was a kid. At any time I deviated from that love and went into something else, I was just so unhappy and I knew that I wasn’t doing the right thing. It’s just this voice that keeps drawing you back to what you really, really love.”
– Robert Greene

Found the above quote via this blog post, feed your head + find your soul, by Justine Musk. Something I think about a lot, hoping I’ll be able to help my kids find what they really, really love.

Pitching Like A Girl

“I don’t want to be afraid to say what I haven’t yet figured out or to give realistic projections of what we can deliver when. As a designer, I never promised a client anything I couldn’t deliver, and I won’t start now as a founder.”

Pitching Like a Girl, by Ellen Johnston

Doing That Thing On Your Own

“You’ll become known for doing what you do. It’s a simple saying, but it’s true…The only way to start being asked to do something you want to do is to start doing that thing on your own.”
– Jonathan Harris

Beautiful feature in The Great Discontent

Malcolm Gladwell on Criticism

Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 12.11.28 AM

Love this thought snippet by Malcolm Gladwell on criticism. I recommend you read (and listen) to this entire Brain Pickings post.

The Panda and the Bicycle

“…Tribes thrive when they connect and coordinate and synchronize. They work when they create a cultural connection. But they can’t thrive when they merely embrace (or deny) the reality of the world around them.

As you organize and lead your tribe, then, the opportunity is to be crystal clear about what you stand for, but to give the alert observers within your clan the ability to stick with you and what they believe without having to pretend that the world outside doesn’t actually exist.”

The panda and the bicycle, by Seth Godin

Massimo Vignelli, 1931-2014

“I was already at my desk on my first day of work when Massimo arrived. As always, he filled the room with his oversized personality. Elegant, loquacious, gesticulating, brimming with enthusiasm. Massimo was like Zeus, impossibly wise, impossibly old. (He was, in fact, 49.) My education was about to begin.”

Michael Bierut remembering design legend Massimo Vignelli

THE DISTANCE

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 8.34.15 PM

Today Jason Fried and his team at Basecamp launched THE DISTANCE, an online magazine that celebrates interesting private businesses that have been in business for 25 years or more.

Read Jason’s blog post about it and the first issue of THE DISTANCE featuring Chicago’s Last Tannery.

30 Second Habit

“Immediately after every lecture, meeting, or any significant experience, take 30 seconds — no more, no less — to write down the most important points. If you always do just this, said his grandfather, and even if you only do this, with no other revision, you will be okay.”

The 30 second habit with a lifelong impact, by Robyn Scott

Understanding Innovation

Novelty: Something new
Creation: Something new and valuable
Invention: Something new, having potential value through utility
Innovation: Something new and uniquely useful

Horace Dediu explains innovation.

(via Kottke)

Surprises

What makes entrepreneurs entrepreneurial

A true gem discovered by John Maeda in this PDF; What makes entrepreneurs entrepreneurial? by Saras D. Sarasvathy

The Crossroads of Should and Must

The crossroads of should and must

Excellent long read: The Crossroads of Should and Must, by Elle Luna

(via Michael)

Communication Patterns

communication patternscommunication patternscommunication patternscommunication patterns

Loved this Business Insider article on cultural communication patterns. As someone who grew up in Switzerland and then moved to the USA at 26, I can attest that there are clearly different communication styles at play.

British linguist Richard D. Lewis charted communication patterns as well as leadership styles and cultural identities in his book, “When Cultures Collide“.

Read the Article.

Made In The Future

Made in the Future is an effort to capture IDEO’s musings about what a not-so-distant tomorrow might look like. They broke their findings into five themes: Meaning Economy, Outer Skills, Making Exchanges, Raw Systems and New Matter.

Some fascinating food for thought.

(via Kary)

On Criticism

“At the core of criticism, there should always be an intent to assist.”

Inspire or stifle? Reconsider the purpose of criticism, by Sean Minogue