I Learned a Lot About Strong Company Culture From Jeff Bezos — But There’s 1 Strategy I Won’t Copy
Amazon’s culture is fairly cutthroat and trust does not run high. Every year employees are stack ranked and those at the bottom of the list are cut. In theory, it’s important to keep the bar for performance high and this is one of the ways Amazon does that. But, this practice pits employees against each other. Instead of working as teammates they compete as rivals. Trust is essential in building a healthy company. You need every person on the team to be willing to shift priorities and pitch in on initiatives that fall well outside their defined job role in order to make the company successful. You need a culture where people have each other’s backs. If you get the right people on board and align them all around a single vision, this will happen naturally.
Don’t Struggle Always to Be the ‘Smartest Person in the Room.’ Instead, Rely on a Mentor.
Find several mentors who share your passions. When you reach out to mentors — and aim to have more than one — look for common ground according to your passion for similar challenges and objectives. Then, when you approach these individuals, emphasize these shared passions in a letter or speech to demonstrate the potential of a collaboration.
Don’t just ask someone generically and blandly to be your mentor; you’ll risk coming across as a “social climber.” Mentors want to be aligned with those who share similar values and goals.
Once again, I beat Mr. Oliver to the punch (Obviously I love Last Week Tonight, and just feel vindicated that we cover the same topics (and that I am a little ahead of the trend every once and a while).
Facebook, WeWork and others use this startup to make swag
“People think of swag as junk but it shouldn’t be,” Swag co-founder Jeremy Parker told TechCrunch. “It could be an amazing marketing tool if it’s built right.”
Swag.com offers products like water bottles, umbrellas, shirts, jackets, USB drives, bags and other items from brands like Patagonia, Case Logic. Once you pick the product, you upload your designs, specify how many you want printed and then wait for Swag to send you the production mockup for approval.
Standard production time takes about 15 days while priority production takes 10 days and costs a bit more. Production doesn’t start until the customer has approved the mockup. Since Swag works directly with the manufacturer and vendor, it doesn’t have to hold any inventory.
Behind the Facebook profile you’ve built for yourself is another one, a shadow profile, built from the inboxes and smartphones of other Facebook users. Contact information you’ve never given the network gets associated with your account, making it easier for Facebook to more completely map your social connections.
Facebook isn’t scanning the work email of the attorney above. But it likely has her work email address on file, even if she never gave it to Facebook herself. If anyone who has the lawyer’s address in their contacts has chosen to share it with Facebook, the company can link her to anyone else who has it, such as the defense counsel in one of her cases.
How Many Robots Does It Take to Replace a Human Job?
The study’s authors find that the addition of one robot per 1,000 workers reduces the employment-to-population ratio (the number of people actually employed in an area divided by the number of people of working age) by 0.18 to 0.34 percentage points, and reduces wages by between 0.25 and 0.5 percent. On the low end, this amounts to one new robot replacing around three workers. The impact is unsurprisingly most pronounced in manufacturing (particularly in the production side of the auto industry), electronics, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals, among others. Perhaps most importantly, there were negative effects for virtually all workers except managers.
This Neighborhood is Transforming by Letting Artists Buy Its Vacant Homes for Cheap
In Indianapolis, one block in the Garfield Park neighborhood south of the city’s downtown is experimenting with a different model. An arts nonprofit worked with other partners to buy and renovate vacant houses and is now offering to co-own them with artists. Artists will pay half the cost–one $80,000 home, for example, will sell for around $40,000. If they later move out, they’ll get their equity back, but no more; the house will be sold at the same cost to someone else, keeping the neighborhood accessible as the artists help make it more desirable.
“There is still a stigma that remote workers are disconnected from the rest of the team, yet this study proves that they are more sociable and proactively reach out to develop strong relationships. The new technology tools that enable communication and collaboration are motivating workers to pick up the phone, seek face time and create lasting bonds. This is the upside of remote work we rarely talk about,” says Jeanne Meister, partner, Future Workplace.
Why So Many Workers Prefer Their Remote Colleagues To The Ones In Their Office
Herrmann might be onto something. In a recent study by the communications company Polycom, which covered over 25,000 workers across 12 countries, 66% said their favorite colleague isn’t located in their own office but in another one far away.
There is a fear of remote-work tools and policies, though. Many companies don’t implement them well, and wind up building virtual fences that hurt their projects’ success and limit accountability. When that happens, many employers think twice about going remote. Yahoo, in perhaps the best-known example, scrapped its remote-working policy in 2013 and maintained years afterward that that was the right move.
New FCC chairman: Net neutrality rules were a ‘mistake’
During his speech at Mobile World Congress, Pai said a “new generation” of leadership at the FCC is focused on “renewal as well as change.” The agency will return to the light-touch regulatory approach of the past three decades, he said.
Pai touted his decision to end an investigation into so-called zero-rating plans, in which some mobile providers exempted some services from their data caps. Promoters of the free data plans have called them pro-consumer, but some net neutrality advocates suggested that plans may violate the rules against selectively promoting some web content.
Once you have the right people, surround them with hard-working peers. Create a culture of “all for one, and one for all” prepared to do whatever is necessary to help the company win the race. Create realistic targets for them to hit by certain dates, and create a competitive spirit within the company, where people can show off their skills.
‘Ugh, I’m So Busy’: A Status Symbol for Our Time (a follow up to last week’s post)
The gleam of being both well-off and time-poor, the authors write, is “driven by the perceptions that a busy person possesses desired human capital characteristics (competence, ambition) and is scarce and in demand on the job market.” In a curious reversal, the aspirational objects here are not some luxury goods—a nice watch or car, which are now mass-produced and more widely available than they used to be—but workers themselves, who by bragging about how busy they are can signal just how much the labor market values them and their skills.
Toxic Workplaces Will Persist As Long As Fairness Is Just A Matter Of ‘Compliance’
But HR, on its own, is poorly situated to fix a business culture that is indifferent to (or in denial about) offering meaningful opportunities for advancement to women or other minorities in the workplace. As political scientist Frank Dobbin has argued, human resources professionals have long struggled to establish their legitimacy within organizations.They are rarely the locus of power within corporations, which instead resides in revenue-generating departments like engineering and sales, and in the executives that preside over the business.
Trump eyes end to an H-1B system that favors largest outsourcers
The H-1B lottery favors large firms. In the 2015 fiscal year, for instance, the top 10 firms received 38% of all the H-1B visas in computer occupations alone. All these firms, except for Amazon and to a partial extent IBM, are outsourcers. These large companies have the resources to submit enough visa applications to help ensure they receive a bare minimum of approvals.
Instead, the Trump administration is hinting at changes that may end the random lottery distribution and replace it with a merit system. It could distribute visas based on wages or whether a visa holder was educated in the U.S. It could favor non-dependent H-1B companies — a legal definition for firms that have less than 15% of their staff on the visa — over dependent firms, which includes all the all the large offshore firms.
Among Hatch’s proposals are capping the number of visas any single employer can apply for, and requiring employers to attest that they first tried to hire an American worker. He also proposed something called a “shot clock” rule that will revoke a visa if it isn’t used within a certain period of time.
To pay or not to pay: Too many victims say yes to ransomware
According to the FBI, the collective amount of ransoms paid in all of 2015 in the US was $24 million. In 2016, it had jumped to $209 million in just the first three months – which means if the growth curve continued it would easily have topped $1 billion by the end of the year.
Preparing Our Economy for the Impact of Automation & AI
Why Office Perks Are Traps, Not Benefits
Is it any wonder, then, that the “benefits” at so many companies aren’t benefits at all, but ploys to get you to work longer? Dry cleaning and laundry services available on-site? Great — now you can put in a few more hours a week, because your clothes will be cleaned for you. Free pizza for the long hours you put in on that important project on Friday? Fantastic — no lunch break, meaning more work we can extract from you. These so-called perks, in other words, tend to be Trojan Horses. While you’re chewing away on pizza and having your laundry delivered to your office, the company and its leaders are smiling because you are still in your office.
If you are not creating value for your customers, then stop what you are doing. We create value at Alley by offering massively discounted services for each and every one of our members. Most of our members are emerging startups and they need help, so we created a platform to help them grow. These services have been vetted, and all of the services we offer are from our members. You basically live with them, next door to your accountants or insurance providers. We also have direct links into investor relationships. We partner with firms such as ERA and Techstars to give the companies exposure. This is great deal flow for investment firms and this is wonderful for our members who need to raise money. I am proud to say that since our inception Alley companies have raised over 1 Billion in funding based on our last studies. This year, two of our companies have made it into the elite accelerator, Y Combinator.
As budgets are settling down and getting approved for many of the companies I’m on the board of, I’m seeing a general trend of much less headcount growth in 2017 than in 2016. In some cases, companies got ahead of themselves. In others, they need to integrate all the people they’ve added. In some, they feel like they have a critical mass of people and want to march to get profitable on current headcount. And still others are profitable and have realized significant operating leverage in the past two quarters that they want to continue.
Google Co-Founder: Take Chances, Pursue Your Dreams and Silence the Voices
Brin encourages experimentation and innovation, just as one of his professors did when he wanted to leave Stanford to launch Google. But his career has taught him that the future is impossible to predict. He is cautious in his forecasts.
“The evolution of technology might be inherently chaotic,” he said. “We have a set of values and desires today that are probably pretty different than before the Industrial Revolution, and different still than before the Agrarian Revolution. And we might continue to evolve.”
In a tech-saturated world, customer feedback is everything
Executives and product teams shouldn’t wait until a product breaks to hear from their customers. My team, for example, recently executed a high-stakes redesign and overhaul of our central product. While we always strive to incorporate customer feedback and interaction into our day-to-day work, we worked with around 16,000 customers to receive feedback on different versions of our new product. Our entire process was oriented around continuous customer feedback — and it transformed the way we do business. We now collaborate with 11,000 customers who give us a constant look at how our product helps them solve the challenges they face in their day-to-day lives.
Why your “career path” won’t lead to your dream job
You may wonder, then, what’s the point of setting goals, working hard, and ending up somewhere you never intended to be? How can you make progress if you continually break course? How can you be successful if you can’t even follow a straight line?
Here’s the thing: The more activities you participate in, the more people you meet, the more opportunities you grab hold of, the more likely you are to find something amazing along the way—regardless of (or maybe especially if), your path is quite windy. In the words of the inimitable Oprah Winfrey, “Luck is preparation meeting opportunity.”