Welcome to Google Island -
I awoke aboard a boat, just before daybreak, which was weird. The last thing I remembered was being in San Francisco’s Moscone Center, wrapping up a four-hour Google I/O keynote liveblogging session. My last recollection was of Google CEO Larry Page taking questions from the audience and promoting a vision of a utopia where society could be free to innovate and experiment, unencumbered by government regulations or social norms.
1. Create a smaller to-do list. I hate them, but a small list allows me to feel a sense of accomplishment. The bigger the list, the more you feel like you are falling behind and can’t catch up!
2. Take breaks. This is important, Steven Covey called this ‘Sharpening the Saw’. Basically the best way to get stuff done is in spurts of activity, taking breaks in between.
3. Follow the 80/20 rule. Did you know that only 20 percent of what you do each day produces 80 percent of your results? Since the 80/20 rule always applies. Just simply figure out what are the 20% that gets stuff done, and focus on those.
4. Start your day by focusing on yourself. Simply put, who runs your life, you or the ton of emails, voicemails, messages from others. Ignore that stuff until you are finished with your stuff.
5. Take on harder tasks earlier in the day. Simple, get the stuff you find hardest to focus on, and most difficult to do, out of the way early and you can focus on the things that are more enjoyable as a reward.
6. Pick up the phone. I hate the phone, but I know that it is a necessary tool, above all other methods of communication.
7. Create a system. One that works for you. Not one that works for someone else, don’t like my suggestions, find something that works for you!
8. Avoid Productivity Killers. Meetings and things like that are productivity killers. Look at those as a last resort. After everything else is done.
Forgot one last thing: I like to have music playing in the background. It helps me stay focused and light. Just a thought.
Skype with care – Microsoft is reading everything you write - The H Security: News and Features -
If you thought Skype messaging was private, think again. The H’s associates at heise Security have discovered that Skype/Microsoft analyses all data sent using the service
I have been looking for an alternative to SKYPE for sometime. I use FaceTime on the OSX/iOS platforms and love it. I have been weary of Skype since MS took over, thinking nothing good will come of it. Looks like I may have been correct - GF
Does Trying to Be Happy Make Us Unhappy? -
As we muddle through our days, the quest for happiness looms large. In the U.S., citizens are granted three inalienable rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In the kingdom of Bhutan,
GF - My response to this is a bit different. Being happy or unhappy, by and large is a choice. But, when you look at the root of much of it, in western culture, it is a really more a case of “keeping up with the Jones’”.
We compare ourselves to others and view our success in relation to their success. We look at the chapter in their life story and see it as the whole. We do not look at the struggle, the failure and other things that brought them here. We only see the here. As trite as it sounds, looking at someones chapter and comparing it to your book, is not a good way to be happy. It is a road to misery.
But, that’s just my opinion.
It's Easier To Be Honest -
Four college students missed an important exam. They went together to their professor the next day, and said, “We’re so sorry we missed the exam. We had a flat tire on the way to class.
“Sure,” replied the professor. “Come on in tomorrow, and you can all take a retest. It’ll be Pass/Fail though.”
The four students arrived the next day to take the retest, and all of them sat down in their seats. Before handing them their exams, their professor told them, “I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is, there’s only one question on the test. The bad news is, if any of you fail, you all fail the test.
The students sat there, a bit worried from this professor’s strange introduction to the exam. Then the professor handed out the four exams, and each student stared down at their papers, which contained just one simple four word question:
“Which tire was it?”
Lying Makes Life More Difficult; Transparency Makes Life Easier
We all know that it’s right to tell the truth, and wrong to tell a lie. And yet, somehow, so often, in business and in life, we end up telling “little white lies.” Or omitting the complete truth. Or even telling outright lies. Corporate lies and secrecy has been going on since corporations have existed.
My argument here isn’t that you should be honest and transparent because it’s the right thing to do (although obviously it is). My argument is that it’s the easier thing to do - even if doesn’t always feel that way at first. When you’re honest and transparent, you never have to worry about what you said to whom. You never have to worry about keeping secrets. You never have to worry about getting caught in a lie. You never have to worry about your integrity or reputation. It’s freeing and more comfortable to tell the truth. It’s easier to be honest.
Our companies use Verne Harnish’s 1 Page Strategic Plan (from one of my favorite business books of all time) to guide our business planning and execution. Transparency has always been a core value of Likeable Media. But three years ago, we took the concept to a new level when we began posting an enlarged copy of our strategic plan and financials on a specially-designed whiteboard n the office wall- where all could see it - employees, interns, clients, prospects, and the janitorial staff. I even posted a copy of the plan in my last book.
Many people questioned this - couldn’t competitors find out details about our financials? Did everyone at the company really need to know our strategy and each manager’s accountability? Dozens of employees personally told me how much they appreciated our openness. It helped to build a more positive working environment (Crains Top 30 place to work in New York!) It made recruiting easier. For me, it came down to this: Honesty and transparency breed trust. And trust makes it easier to build a business.
Of course, transparency around this particular strategic plan ended up being a bit more challenging than usual. You see, each quarter we have a theme, a team challenge, and a reward. That quarter, we had a sales challenge, and each time someone made a sale, money was put into a pot, which we then planned to use to host a party at the end of the quarter. And if you look closely at the photo above, on the bottom right, you’ll see our reward in print: “Pot Party.” That picture ended up in print, for many thousands to see. But it was just a party, from a pot of money earned by sales. I swear. Honest.
The Risk To Your Brand Isn’t Worth Being Dishonest
Three weeks ago, I was taken out of a management meeting when my assistant came in and said, “There’s a guy calling from Aflac who says he has an appointment with you.”
I didn’t recall an appointment, but I begrudgingly left my meeting to take the phone call. I put the guy on the phone, and asked, “Did we have an appointment?”
It was a salesperson who then replied, “No, but I just wanted to ask you a few questions.”
The guy had lied to both our receptionist and my assistant in order to get on the phone with me. I called him on the lie, and he promptly got off the phone, in order to go after his next victim.
Now, I’m in the process of building an inside sales team for Likeable Local, and I must admit, as horrified as I was, there was a part of me that thought, “He must make a lot of sales this way, if he’s still lying to get in front of a decision maker. Could it be worth it?” I asked mysales coach what he thought, and he told me,
“This guy might occasionally get through using a lie, and it might even (less) occasionally lead to a sale. But what about the risk of brand damage to Aflac he does with ever lie? And to his own personal integrity?
It’s easier to be honest. It’s easier to be transparent.
It’s easier in the short term because of how you’ll feel. It’s easier in the long term because integrity and trust are everything, and both breed business.
We all are tempted to lie occasionally, or hold back from telling the complete truth. That’s okay. But next time you’re tempted, just take the easy way out, and be honest.
How to Dress for Success Today -
I’m warning you: Based on conversations about this topic at my office, you may find this post to be controversial - you may totally disagree with me. You may even find it to be trivial. But with
GF - I have to agree. After reading this article, I’m on the fence. In general, if someone asks me, my rules are simple:
Find a balance and work with it.
My 2 cents. GF
To Land the Job, Do Something Different -
There are a number of ways to get a job. Not all work for everybody. If you really want the job, find a way to stand out. Differentiate yourself.
Everyone, including me, has advice. But, only you really know what will work, and your comfort level.
Why Going Home At 5:30 Brings In Top Talent -
SurveyMonkey CEO Dave Goldberg has been in the startup hustle for almost 20 years. So he knows how to build a longhaul read: grownup culture.
Selina Tobaccowala was talented: She founded eVite—which still sends more than 3 million invitations per month—while she was at Stanford. Then she went to Ticketmaster and ran product engineering. Dave Goldberg needed her to do the same for SurveyMonkey.
So how did SurveyMonkey—then a small startup—land Tobaccowala?
“I was able to get her because she was four months pregnant,” he says, and so she didn’t want to do the sleeping-in-conference-room startup thing. She needed a culture that would fit her (grown-up) life. As Goldberg tells First Round Capital, he made sure to build one.
We’ve been able to hire people that like that startup feel and environment,” he says, “but also like the stability of a successful, profitable company.”
That happy medium makes for happy employees: Tobaccowala’s now had two kids since she joined SurveyMonkey.
“The business was really successful with 12 people, so with 200 people, people shouldn’t be killing themselves,” Goldberg says. “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”
But you don’t sculpt a culture through a slogan: Going home on time is Goldberg’s way of showing that the company is in it for the long haul. Like many super-successful execs, he goes home, has dinner with his wife and kids, and then works in the late evening.
Goldberg didn’t always have a schedule like this: He tells of nonstop 14-hour days when he first started LAUNCH Media back in 1994. The balance, then, is part of the growing up.
The Takeaway: If you create a company that encourages people to lead full lives, you can land a full roster of talent.
Watch the original video here.
7 Reasons Why You're Not Getting Promoted -
1. You Lack the Skills Necessary to do the Job
“Julie is very efficient and effective in the completion of her daily tasks. The position she was hoping to get, however, requires strong analytical skills she doesn’t have.”
One of the most common misconceptions employees have about promotion decisions is that they’re based solely on performance in their current role. While that’s certainly a consideration, success in one area doesn’t always translate to success in another. For instance, someone who excels at data entry may need additional education or training to become a data analyst, a job that requires strategic thinking and problem solving abilities.
The secret to getting ahead? Become familiar with the requirements of the job you want, and determine what skills you need to improve upon if you’re going to succeed in it. Then, talk to your boss. Let her know you’re interested in moving up, and ask for her advice on how to get there.
2. You Lack the Soft Skills Necessary to do the Job
“Pam is extremely accomplished, technically. Before we can promote her, though, we’d like for her to spend some time developing her leadership and teamwork skills.”
Here’s something else The Powers That Be (TPTB) don’t tell you up front: These skills aren’t always technical. Particularly if you’re moving up to management, you’ll need to have mastered some soft skills—like conflict negotiation, diplomacy, and business communication—and coming up short might very well be a deal breaker.
Develop the soft skills you’ll need to succeed in the job you want, then highlight them through your involvement in programs that are important (and visible) to TBTP. Perhaps you canbecome an informal mentor to a newer employee, or volunteer to lead a presentation or training. Whichever method you choose, you’ll be signaling to your boss that you’re ready for management.
3. You Don’t Take Feedback
“I’ve really tried to develop Mary, to get her ready for a promotion. But she gets very defensive when I give her constructive feedback. I feel like she spends more time trying to prove me wrong than she does trying to improve.”
I doubt there is a woman among us that hasn’t struggled to keep her composure when receiving “constructive” criticism. But remember—feedback is not always a bad thing. Is it possible that your boss has some valid points? She’s telling you how to improve your performance—and this is good information to have when you’re gunning for a promotion.
When you receive feedback, whether in your review or in the hallway, resist the urge to defend yourself. Try to take it in and see what you can learn from it, instead.
4. You Lack Professionalism
“What frustrates me more than anything else is employees who are consistently negative about the company. What they don’t understand is, the things they say—they get back to us. Why would we promote anyone who behaves like that?”
It’s not unreasonable to expect that, as you move up the career ladder, you’ll begin to conduct yourself more professionally—and not just when the boss is looking. This came up several times in different contexts—from an inability to maintain confidentiality to participation in office gossip—and was identified by executives as the most difficult challenge for employees to overcome.
This may seem obvious, but how you behave in the company of co-workers is just as important, if not more so, as how you behave around management. For example, you can and should identify problems within your department and company, but you should not pontificate about those problems in the break room—which gives the impression that you’re looking for an audience, instead of a solution.
5. You Don’t Take Initiative
“Jennifer is quick to recognize areas that could use improvement, but we can’t get her to go beyond lodging the complaint. We’d really like to see her take the initiative to come up with solutions, not just expect everything to be fixed by management.”
Becoming a problem solver shows that you care—not only about your own career, but about the long-term health of the business as well. Don’t just document the problems you see, analyze the issues and find ways to get involved in developing the solutions. Collaborating with others to create positive change will identify you as a leader in your organization. Remember, anyone can drop a complaint into the suggestion box.
6. You Think Like an Employee—Not a Manager
“Craig is good at his job, but it seems like he’s more committed to getting on the freeway by 10 ’til than he is to the success of his department.”
Remember, TPTB are anointing future leaders here. If you’re giving them the impression you’re only showing up for a paycheck, it’s not likely that you’ll be high on their list of candidates. No, you don’t have to become a workaholic or start hanging out long past five or six just to “be seen,” but it’s a good idea to express interest in the things that happen when the meter isn’t running.
7. You Expect It
“Sean has made it clear that he expects to be promoted. The problem is, I feel like he expects to be promoted based on only his length of service. There are others on his team that are more focused on their career development, and even though they’ve not been here as long, it’s likely that they will be promoted before him.”
Lastly, recognize that in today’s environment, tenure is no longer the primary factor in promotion decisions, and is best left out of any arguments you might make on your own behalf. These days, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve been there six months or six years—it’s all about your contribution.
Being passed over for a promotion doesn’t need to be the end of the world. In fact, it can be a huge learning opportunity—and sometimes, it can also be just the kick in the pants you need to get you started down the right path. So take these lessons, learn from the past, and keep that promotion in your sights.
We Recreated The Pepsi Challenge And Found That In Real Life More People Actually Like ... -
Always preferred Coke!
Schoolgirl tries science experiment, arrested for felony -
Who among us hasn’t — just once in our lives — put a couple of things in a test tube, a bottle, or our mouths and wondered what might happen?
Occasionally, this might have difficult consequences. But rarely does someone try to arrest us for it.
16-year-old Kiera Wilmot wasn’t so lucky.
Short Version: A 16-year-old high school student creates an “explosion” that doesn’t even generate the force of a firecracker, and gets expelled for discharging a weapon on school grounds. She’s now also facing possible felony charges for what her own principal considers to be a simple science experiment gone wrong. Anybody think the school district is out of line?
“Despite the fact that Wilmot reportedly told police this was nothing more than the experimentation of a curious mind, she was taken to a juvenile detention center and may now be labeled a felon.”
Wow. Punished for a science experiment… have we time-traveled to the Middle Ages?
This is really pathetic!
How Facebook Exploits Your Private Information -
You have willingly told Facebook who your friends are, what your hobbies are, how old you are, where you live and whether you are in a relationship or not. What’s more, Facebook knows what you like
Competence vs. possibility -
As we get more experienced, we get better, more competent, more able to do our thing. And it’s easy to fall in love with that competence, to appreciate it and protect it. The pitfall? We close ourselves off from possibility….
25 Life Hacks you didn't know you needed to know, but do. Probably. -
Inspired by David Pogue’s TED Talk about tech tricks you need to master, here’s a list of other cool “life hacks” to make life easier
The Frontier of Social Reputation: What's Next? -
About a year after I founded TaskRabbit, a mother in San Francisco emailed me a story of her experience with the site. She told me that she had a 20-year-old son undergoing chemotherapy in Boston.