15 Years

Eugene Federenko, my colleague from Wildbit and someone I admire very much, had his 15th anniversary with the company this week. That’s a crazy number in our current times. He took the time to share a few thoughts about the idea and it’s a great read. On what makes Wildbit such a great place: 15 years in the same company is rare, but tech companies that old are unicorns by themselves. Unlike traditional businesses, most of them come and go with a new wave of hype. Wildbit is product agnostic, privately owned, and built to be sustainable in…

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Darwin was a slacker and you should be too

This was a fun read (hat tip to my coworker, Eugene Federenko). The article covers the working habits of several well known thinkers from years past, and also digs in to the psychology and research that supports their tendencies. I came away from the post feeling like it was a page out of Deep Work. But it is good to remind ourselves of some of these truths. And I love it when I am able to read about people like Darwin or Hemingway and get an accurate picture of their days, if only to compare it with my own. Like…

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Assume they have something to teach you

Rands shares a good piece of advice for how to get value out of all interactions. At the base of his advice is that, although not all interactions with all people will benefit you directly, it’s still worth your time to make investments in others. He summarizes his advice this way: Life isn’t short. It’s finite. As a leader with a finite set of minutes, it is your job to find the stories. They will teach you.He’s describing that idea that although he is not hiring for a position, it can still be a good…

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How to manage up with your boss

This article is interesting to me for two reasons. One, it well illustrates the different type of communication preferences people have. And how that can be hard when your boss communicates differently than you. I once had a boss who would send me a series of two-word emails throughout the day, each one bearing the same message: “Call me.” Each time I received one of these emails, the hairs on the back of my neck would stiffen and my stomach would churn violently.The author’s reaction was never justified: When I did call my boss, our conversation was always…

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Why GitHub finally abandoned its bossless workplace

If there was ever a “well, duh” sub-title, this is it: The software maker, which once prided itself on a flat corporate environment similar to Valve and Zappos, finds that workers can benefit from a little direction.This article discusses the progress that GitHub has taken from a holocracy to its current structure. It includes some of the struggles the company has gone through over the past few years and their direction for the company. I find the topic of leadership and company culture a fascinating one. Some of the most frustrating times in my career have been when there…

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A new type of work schedule

Related to my focus last week, Shawn Blanc and his team are experimenting with how they structure their work time in 2017. Taking cues from the Basecamp team, they’re trying an 8 week cycle, where focused work happens in weeks 1–6, followed by a buffer week, then finishes up with a week off. It’s an interesting concept with a couple of benefits. One, the team members will take time off. That sounds a bit pedantic, but in environments like Shawn’s, with basically an open vacation policy, people end up taking far less time off than they…

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What makes the perfect office?

Tim Harford takes a good look at what makes for the best productive work environment. Surprise — pristine, design focused spaces are not the answer. He covers some history in this post, including the details of M.I.T.’s infamous Building 20 (also covered in detail in Deep Work) and the Pixar offices under Steve Jobs. Through the piece, Harford is making the case that so many great innovations come from spaces where the worker is in control of the environment. He refers to studies that prove just that: Haslam and Knight have confirmed what other researchers have long suspected…

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