Steve Raymond’s weblog

Yahoo!’s No Work From Home Policy Makes Sense to Me

Image representing Yahoo! as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

As a CEO and a former Yahoo!, as well as the husband of an extremely high leverage full-time remote employee, here is my $0.02.

There has been a ton of hand-wringing about the insensitivity and wrong-headedness of this move. Its not fair to working mothers. Or older workers. Or of workers who have jobs that are performed better in solitude. I don’t think any of these arguments are wrong, but I don’t think they are to the point.

Marissa Meyer has been handed the keys to a company that has a ton going for it, most importantly a strong consumer brand and a ton of eyeballs. To use a real estate analogy, its like a night club that used to be a hot spot, is in a killer downtown location, but is no longer the place where the coolest people go. The food is solid but boring, the employees are nice but not outstanding.

Its a safe bet that Marissa and her team have identified some strategies and tactics that they think will really improve the value of the underlying company. But I’m sure that they also have been frustrated by the slow pace of progress and change. She has come from a place where the metronome is beating a bit faster. The culture needs to change.

I left Yahoo! in 2007. It may be hard to believe, but in 2004 Yahoo! had an incredible employee base. It was a great place to work, and we working on some really cool problems. I would love to write or even read the oral history of Yahoo! Pretty much starting in 2007 Yahoo! suffered a great diaspora. Now there are obviously exceptions and I could name a few, but for the most part the rock stars have left the building with a very high velocity, one that is probably historically unprecedented. If you have Yahoo! on your resume and decide you want to go, you will find multiple exits in about a week.  I can name 20 people I worked with there 6 years ago who are doing amazing things.

If you do the math, you are left with an employee base that didn’t want to leave for better opportunities. They were happy with being well compensated in a B company.  Its still a “good” job.   There is a selection bias in the resulting employee base when those with a lot of ambition are gone. I’m not saying those left behind are bad employees, every big company needs all kinds. And of course there are tons of exceptions, I’m speaking in percentages.  But Yahoo is left with a hole in its culture of ambition, and doubtless that is over-indexed in the WFH employee base.  Again, I am married to a full time high leverage employee of a Big Company.  I love WFH!!  But its understandably a problem at Yahoo!

So my conclusion is that Marissa and her exec team don’t have as much problem philosophically with working from home and its impact on the larger economy and social structure. I’m sure 5 years from now Yahoo will have employees that work from home again. But they are faced with turning around a culture that has a lot of inertia, not enough fire starters in the mix. In that context a broad stroke like eliminating Work From Home makes sense to me. Even though they are at risk for losing some A players, they are sending a signal that the culture needs to change. It’s worth a try. I can tell you that in the start up world, we aren’t looking for people who want to work from home, even if the job could be done from home.

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Raising Capital: A Founders Perspective

The slides from a presentation I gave for a General Assembly LA event called Assembled Capital on 12/8.

Mick vs. Keith – a Rock VORP showdown

Chuck Klosterman recently wrote a great essay On Rock VORP for his new web project Grantland.  You either know what VORP is or you don’t so explaining it in depth isn’t worthwhile.  In short, VORP is a baseball statistic invented fairly recently in the scheme of things that crunches a whole bunch of offensive statistics (or pitching statistics) and compares a particular player to the guy you could pick up for league minimum off of the waiver wire at the same position.  So I suppose the Rock VORM is a measure of how much more valuable a particular bassist is than a guy who you could find off of CraigsList.

In the last 15 or so years the process of player evaluation in major league baseball has taken a quantum leap forward.  Simply put, some of the guys who we used to think were really good at baseball when measured by traditional statistics like batting average and RBI it turns out arent really that helpful at helping your team win, whereas some other guys whose traditional statistics were more mundane are really valuable.  As KenTremendous put it, the most important thing about a hitter is his ability to not make an out.

I just finished the surprisingly insightful Keith Richards autobiography Life, and it got me thinking.  Could it be that Keith Richards is actually the VORM leader of the Rolling Stones?  Traditional popular opinion would grant that honor to Mick Jagger (he’s the one who got knighted after all), but maybe he is the Juan Pierre of VORM, the player who puts up solid traditional stats, but doesn’t look so good under the glaring light of modern statistical analysis.

NOTE:  I am not a Stonesologist (although I love them), so this farce of an analysis has a wide margin of error.

Read the original article for the methodology

Songwriting (40 points)

Since Mick and Keith wrote all the music, they split all the points.  In fairness you would need a whiteboard and a calculator to really do this category justice for one of the greatest songwriting teams of all time.   Based on Keith’s autobiography, the writing methodology went like this: Keith would come up with the basic idea for the song, the main riff, the titles, and Mick would fill in the lyrics. (Although it flipped sometimes and some of the songs are all Mick or all Keith).  You could I suppose just give them 20 points each.  But if you dig a little deeper, Stones songs arent really great because of their lyrics, they are great because of their riffs and chord structures.  Satisfaction, Jumpin Jack Flash, Start Me Up, Tumbling Dice….  Bonus points to Keith because for Exile on Main Street (their greatest album) nothing could really start until Keith was in the building.

KR:  25

MJ: 15

Sonic Contribution (20 points)

Here Keith and Mick don’t get all of the points because of Charlie Watts and the excellent 2nd guitarists that have been in the band.  But they get most of the them.  I never knew this but Keith Richards basically invented a methodology of playing the guitar where he took a string off and tuned it to an open major scale.  He provides a lot of detail in this book.  Its the reason why cover bands can never really get the Stones sound right.  Hard to take anything away from maybe the greatest lead vocalist of all time, but again the Stones don’t sound like anyone else, and its because of the guitars.

Charlie Watts: 3

Brian/Mick/Ronnie/Ian et al: 2

KR: 8

MJ: 7

(For a really cool breakdown of the tracks in Gimmee Shelter, check this out.)

Visual Impact (10)

A strong category for Mick, the quintessential front man, and the guy with the lips.

KR:1

MJ:8

everyone else: 1

Live Performance (10 points)

A 2 part category per the methodology.  Really this category should go higher in the case of this band, but I’m no methodology revisionist.  For the sake of this argument Keith and MickJ split all the points (even though Mick Taylor is one of my favorite live guitarists ever).   Mick is a legendary performer, bedder of iconic supermodels, beknighted one.  Keith is a tremendous live performer, bedder of supermodels himself, and spent an unprecedented 10 straight years at the top of the “most likely to OD or die in a car wreck” list.  Either one of these guys would get 9+ points in almost any other band.

MickJ: 6

Keith: 4

Attitude (5 points)

Similar to the last category, they both have it in spades.  These guys were the driving force behind the 2nd best band of all time.  Its a tie.

KR: 2.5

MJ: 2.5

Intangibles (15 points)

Wow, the toughest category.  To be fair I should read Mick’s autobiography because I just read a few hundred pages written by Keith where he rips Mick quite a bit.  I have to dock Mick a few points because he piggybacked a solo record deal on the Stones and then released a series of turds, whereas Keith has had some decent side projects (although not big commercially).  Mick was a global icon for a few decades.  Keith crashed Bentleys, was criminally charged multiple times in multiple countries, and wrote a great autobiography.  Mick is probably the swaggeriest live performer of all time.

KR: 7

MJ: 8

 

FINAL TALLY

Keith: 47.5

Mick: 46.5

So there you have it Keith Richards had the highest (Gross) VORM in the Rolling Stones by the slimmest margin.  And since the Stones had the 2nd highest “accepted value” of all time, he’s definitely in the all-time pantheon.

 

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Time Warner Cable RoadRunner ISP blocks ESPN3

File under “That’s just dumb old media guys

Per my previous post, we have recently canceled our DirecTV service in favor of “cutting the cord” and consuming only internet delivered TV.  Until yesterday I had been happy with one aspect of my configuration – my high speed internet access from Time Warner Cable.  We had been using Verizon DSL for our home ISP, but were only seeing 1-2 Mbps download speeds, not enough for HD on a 42″ TV.  We went through the hassle of switching over to TWC (the install went smoothly for the most part and the installers were very professional) and now I’m seeing speeds well above 10 Mbps, and am able to stream in HD to 2 TVs simultaneously.

If you are planning to cut the cord and you love sports, one of the key sources of streaming content is ESPN3.  With some restrictions, most of the sporting events carried live on ESPN are available to stream to your browser either live, or for a week or so after the event.  This includes a wide variety of content including NBA, MLB, college football, international soccer, etc.  It is a really nice service and a very big piece of the content landscape given all of the content that ESPN licenses.

Per the ESPN3 FAQ:

How do I get access to ESPN3?

ESPN3 is available nationwide, but you must subscribe to a participating high speed internet service provider.

Time Warner Cable is listed as a participating ISP, so as part of the $40/month I am paying them I should have access to  ESPN3, right?  In the words of ESPN’s Lee Corso, “NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND!”

When I authenticated through TWC’s MyServices portal, I was given an error saying I needed to be a subscriber to ESPN on TWC’s cable service in order to use ESPN3.com.  Which is pretty hard since I don’t have cable TV. You would be in the same predicament if you had DirecTV for TV and TWC as your ISP.

I got on the phone with ESPN tech support (this was about 9PM Pacific time and I reached a live knowledgeable person right away, BRAVO ESPN), and they confirmed that Time Warner Cable is the only ISP that has this ridiculous service limitation.  Indeed, ESPN3 worked fine for me via AT&T DSL. I got on the phone with Time Warner Cable tech support (they were friendly but useless) and finally threatened to cancel my account, which meant an escalation to customer service, but to no avail.

The net conclusion:  Time Warner Cable RoadRunner is a poor choice for an ISP if you are planning to consume streaming content and aren’t interested in bundled TV service. If you have another option (including DSL, cable, fiber) you should choose that one instead (provided it is on the list of ISPs that support ESPN3).  Even if you aren’t a sports fan, there is little doubt that other content providers (HBO) will launch services similar to ESPN3.com, and TWC is signaling that they are willing to destroy customer value for their internet service in order to prop up their profitable cable business. This of course makes both businesses ripe for disintermediation in the medium term, but that doesn’t always dictate strategy (See my Defending Corporate Hara Kiri post).

The good news is that there is a hack (find it elsewhere, this isn’t a hack blog), so if you are like me and don’t have a choice for which high speed internet service you can use, you can still watch espn3.  But if you have a choice, don’t choose Time Warner Cable.

TWC’s announcement of ESPN3.com limited support is on their blog, along with the predictable angry comments from those who have discovered this crushing limitation.

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Cutting The Cord – Thoughts from the other side

This month my family are joining the rivulet of Americans who are “cutting the cord” – canceling their premium cable service in favor of consuming content primarily from the internet.  In our case we canceled DirecTV service.  Here are our reasons and initial reactions. I’m planning some future blog posts about the nuts and bolts of cord cutting.

16 year old TV EOL

Full disclosure:  I worked for Comcast/NBC in their Interactive Media Group for two years.   I didn’t work on the cable side of the business, I started and ran a product and sales/marketing group for their larger websites.  One of the reasons working at Comcast on the digital side appealed to me was that I felt I’d have a ringside seat for the disintermediation that is taking place in Hollywood.  My time there didn’t provide me with a lightning bolt of clarity on this subject, but it did inform my opinions.  (Comcast isn’t available in LA so I kept DirecTV when I joined)

Our reasons for cutting the cord:

  1. Expense: We were spending about $115/month for our DirecTV, plus $210/year for the MLB Extra Innings package.  (One of my favorite guilty pleasures is watching or listening to Red Sox games during the dog days).  In the scheme of things this isn’t an overwhelming part of our discretionary income, but its not insignificant.
  2. Too much TV: I use TV as a crutch for downtime, and for the most part its wasted time.  Less TV is a good thing.
  3. A lot of what we watch is online: between premium direct-to-fan sports packages, Hulu Plus and Netflix, there is a lot out there.
  4. Curiosity: The internet TV space feels a lot like the PC market in the early 80s.  Like when I saved money from mowing lawns all rummer so I could drop $800 on an external floppy drive for my Atari 800 so I could play pirated games.  Its experimental, its hobbyist, its a new frontier.  It appeals to the geek in me.  Even more so now that I have taken the plunge.
  5. The cloud: Amazon gave me 20 GB of cloud storage for free, I wanted to see if that was a realistic solution for owned media playing in the living room.  I worked on a similar idea at Yahoo! in 2007, but we didn’t have as good a business case as Amazon, and we had less leverage with the labels.

What we did:

  1. Canceled DirecTV (yeah!!).  Actually we got everything up and running for a week and then canceled DirecTV.  My wife actually did this and said they gave her an extremely hard sell to get us to stay.  Even if you aren’t planning to cut the cord, call them up and tell them you are going to and see what they offer.
  2. Bought a Boxee box from D-link, which we connected via HDMI to our existing home stereo and living room big screen. ($200)  I’ll try to do a blog post in the near future on why I chose this solution – I’m still not sure I made the right choice.  On the positive side, because the hardware is largely unbundled from the content, you don’t have a high switching costs if you choose the wrong platform.
  3. Upgraded our internet connection from a really poor Verizon DSL line (about 1.5MBS although it was marketed as much faster) to a Time Warner cable line (>20mps most days). Optical is not available on our street.  (this was a wash cost wise, installation was free)
  4. Replaced my 16 year old massive 36″ console TV in our guest bedroom with a Vizio internet ready flat screen.  ($350 but this was overdue as the old one took up a ton of space.)  The Vizio internet software stack is based on an old Yahoo! software stack that i very tangentially worked on about 6 years ago.  I’m positive this software stack will become obsolete, but this TV was such a screaming deal I wasn’t too worried about it.  There is no futureproofing in an emerging technology market.  Does it matter what cell phone you bought 10 years ago?  5 years ago?  As an aside, how is Yahoo so early to all these markets (they had 20 good people working on it in 2006) and so poorly positioned to capitalize?  sigh.
  5. Subscribed to Hulu Plus ($8/month)  This works on our laptops and phones, and the Vizio TV, but not on the Boxee yet – supposedly its coming.
  6. Subscribed to foxsoccer.tv ($15/month)  Not sure if I’ll keep this, but its a nice package.
  7. Subscribed to the MLB.TV premium ($119/season compared to over $200/season for the DirecTV MLB package, so this is a net $90 savings)
  8. Bought a digital antenna at Best Buy to be able to tune in over-the-air channels on the Vizio.  ($30)  I will probably get one for the big TV as well, although I’m not sure it has a digital tuner (they became mandatory in 2008).
  9. Bought a new MacBook Air – I needed a new laptop anyway, but partially rationalized buying this sleek machine because it is so great for media consumption.  Its basically an Ipad with a keyboard. (it was $1700, but I was going to buy it either way….)
  10. Kept the Netflix streaming subscription we were already paying for. (another wash)

So in total I shelled out $580 for hardware (not including the Macbook), mostly for a TV I needed anyway and saved $90 on the MLB Season Ticket package.  I shed $115 in DirecTV monthly costs and picked up $23 in direct to fan content subscriptions.  The Fox soccer channel was NOT part of my content package before, so most of this soccer content I did not have access to from DirecTV.

Initial feedback after about 2 weeks with internet ready TVs and a week without DirecTV

  1. Its not easy yet. On top of the inertia of not wanting to go through the 10 steps above, with Internet TVs you generally need to burn a few more calories, not just in initial setup but in finding something to watch. And then stuff crashes, you have buffering issues and content holes.  If you love watching TV and get frustrated easily, put down your cord cutters and walk away.
  2. The cable/satellite companies do add value right now.  I undervalued how EASY cable/satellite TV is.  Hit a button, it instantly turns on, its well integrated with DVRs, integrated program guides, search functionality, access to ON DEMAND content.   BUT, there is a gap between what we are paying and the value being delivered (its waaaaay less than $90/month).  I’ll write a future post about what this means for the upcoming “cable wars”, but suffice it to say Google smells blood.
  3. There is plenty of content. It may not be the same content you were watching before, but its good stuff.  And in some cases (like with MLB) you are getting a better product for less money (ie my package works on my Macbook and iPhone as well, the DirecTV one did not).  Not only that, but I am picking up 90 or so stations OVER THE AIR in HD (albeit many of these are foreign language channels in polyglot LA).  The main reason we all got cable in the early ’80s was all the channels – you could only get a half dozen or so with rabbit ears.  Over the last 30 years this has quietly changed, although I don’t think there is a lot of value in that content for me specifically.
  4. There is different content.  Smart people are already figuring out how to take advantage of the distribution opportunity.  For example, the Cartoon Network has an app that plays 2 min clips from their various shows one after another with no commercials.  Its strangely entertaining.  Also, there is a TED app which aggregates the TED talks (they aren’t as good as you think they arein general, although some are amazing).
  5. For now, a good 10′ browser is the killer app.  Any video you can watch in a browser you can get to on the Boxee (unless they have specifically coded the video player to not play off a PC).  This weekend I watched the Masters coverage off their website, and it what I use to watch foxsoccer.tv content.
  6. Delicious saves the day.  In order for the browser experience to be somewhat usable, you need an rss feed of bookmarked pages that house video content.  I’m so glad Yahoo didn’t kill delicious.
  7. Just like everything else on the internet, its all about UX.  Just using what in 10 years will seem like dark ages UI really clarifies how much innovation needs to happen.  Right now it means good apps on the important platforms, and websites that work well on a 10′ browser.  Netflix is the clear leader here – their UX is light years ahead of anyone else’s and its integrated across form factors.
  8. The cloud is the DVR. Right now I don’t have a local hard drive for recording live TV – most everything is on demand from the cloud.  I’ll be interested to see if that changes.
  9. I’m reading more books, hopefully will blog more, etc.

At this point I don’t see us going back to DirecTV or cable, but I wouldn’t bet my life against it.  I think I’ll probably end up paying slightly more for content subscriptions than I am right now as new offerings come on the market, and I’ll probably rent more movies from iTunes or Vudu than before.  The fallout from Net Neutrality looms – but I don’t think its as much of an issue for people who aren’t pirating video.

Feel free to reach out on Twitter or in the comments if you have any questions.

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Charcutapalooza – Salt Cure

Our lemon tree is going crazy, maybe due to all of the rain we’ve had in LA.  So I decided to answer the February challenge for Charcutapalooza by salt curing some of the excess lemons.  The recipe couldn’t be simpler.  Cut the lemons in half, cover them with salt, and wait a few months.  You actually eat the rind, scraping out the pith and center.  Not sure exactly how I will use all of them, but some of my ideas are pasta when the spring artichokes arrive, as part of a mojo sauce with grilled poultry, and maybe as part of a fruit pie filling.  I’ll try to follow up with the results when they are done.

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Apple’s Ecosystem Elasticity and Killing the Middle Men

Apple’s new subscription model is genius, and its sizing offers insight into their strategy.  As a sometime poker player, I can only whistle at the size and audacity of the bet they are making.  The best framework to analyze their move is game theory, and poker works as well as anything.

Why Apple is making the right bet.

Apple’s new rules are being labeled as subscription rules, but they really are mainly about content sales on Apple hardware, with the subscription model being the red herring. The key provision is that any content you pay for to consume from within an iOS app is available at parity pricing from within the app.  If you pay for it from outside of the app, you don’t need to pay a rev share to Apple, but if you pay for it from within an app, Apple keeps 30%.  Doesnt matter whether the model is per piece or subscription.

Apple understands that content is king, but UX is queen. (damn, a chess metaphor in my poker framework).  Simply put, the user experience of buying content via the App Store is going to be better than the user experience of buying content elsewhere.  The UX gap is a straight up tax that guarantees that most content consumed on apps will be purchased through the app store.  Without having to be in the content licensing or curating business, Apple is demanding that they get a cut of all media consumed in apps running on their hardware.  This is where you whistle at the audacity and size of the bet, because you know they have cards and are not bluffing.

In poker, the sizing of bets is everything.  A perfectly sized bet makes the bettor indifferent to whether his opponent calls, raises, or folds based on the probabilities involved.  Apple’s bet size today is 30%.  That is a very very large number in the scheme of things because it is greater than the profit margin for most types of content.  If you are a content middle man like Netflix or Amazon you have a very tough decision to make.  Call with a weak hand, or fold and pull your products out of the App Store.  If you stay in the hand you need to raise your prices, so you probably need to set up a two tiered pricing model which is difficult.

My initial intuition here was that the 30% number is a skosh too high, and that for certain content types they would need to negotiate new deals, which they don’t want to have to do because a one-size fits all model is operationally so much more efficient.  But upon further reflection their bet feels about right, because their aim is to wipe out the middle men outside of niche content types that can survive under the 30% royalty.

The reason Apple has put its ecosystem partners to the test with this audacious move is that they want to really stress out content middlemen (other than themselves).  The 30% surcharge is going to make aggregation and curation a much harder business, and force the content owners to deal with Apple directly.  If Apple gets 30% from the purchase of your movie either way, you are going to have a harder time keeping your film out of the Apple Store.  Basically content aggregators who want to offer content on Apple devices can never offer a better revenue split than 70-30.  If Apple turns around and offers 70-30 revenue split deals to all of the studios, they need to say yes to be maximizing revenue on Apple devices.

Opening for Android

Apple has really thrown down the gauntlet vs. Android today, and in doing so placed an enormous amount of pressure on itself to continue to offer the best media consumption devices across all of its form factors.  The obvious move for Google now is to NOT charge any kind of content surcharge towards aggregators in the Android app store, and hope the ecosystem collectively puts more resources against the Google platform and slowly narrows the quality gap between Android and iOS devices.  Apple is betting that their more tightly integrated products, bolstered and funded by the massive margins they will create through content licensing, allows them to deliver a better user experience that justifies their higher content prices and maintains or grows their market share.

Personally I love Apple’s strategy here.  It is very innovative and shrewd, and nobody in the market can imitate it.  It is disruption-proofed, because unlike Microsoft’s PC OS hegemony it applies across all screens and popular form factors.  And maybe most importantly, it creates an internal imperative to innovate and create the best user experiences, or it all comes apart hard.  If it works, Apple will have an unassailable market position for a long time to come.

UPDATE:  Apparently, Apple was overplaying their hand a little bit.  They have relaxed their requirements and are allowing apps to play content purchased outside the app store, with the condition that the content can’t be offered for sale from inside the app.  This seems like a rational move, and a nice compromise.  Apple is still betting that apps that don’t provide in-app purchasing will suffer in the long term.

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Cult of Done Manifestations

I highly recommend checking out the Cult of Done Manifesto. (if that link is broken it is here).  When I discovered it a few months back I printed a copy and posted it above my desk, as well as the cool rubix cube graphic.  The manifesto (like all good ones I guess) is oddly inspiring, and it has really helped me to be more productive, as well as toss and turn less at night thinking about everything I didn’t get done that day.  Here are some reflections as to why it works:

  1. Don’t wait for all inputs to start: I’ve always kept a to-do list of one form or another.  I think the tendency is to skip the harder tasks with rationalizations like “I’m waiting for an email from Sally with a spreadsheet that she said will be useful for this task”.  Per the Manifesto item #6 (Banish Procrastination) you have to get started now.  Maybe you need the spreadsheet to finish, but most times you don’t.
  2. Don’t wait for it to be perfect for it to be done: Most of us are working in collaborative settings that are pretty fast-paced.  A 75% complete item that is “done” is much more valuable to the network of people you work with than a 75% complete item that is waiting for a few finishing touches on your hard drive.  If that last 25% turns out to be important either you or someone else will do a revision later.
  3. Keep score: When you are adhering to the Cult of Done you derive pleasure from the long list of completed tasks you rack up every week.  Whatever list making system you are using (see Workflowy below), make sure you can see the completed tasks pile up each week.  Getting stuff done is the point.
  4. What am I going to get done today?:  Mark Suster’s productivity hacks post a while back mentioned the 3×5 note card approach to daily planning.  If you are going to worship at the Altar of Done you are going to need a similar system.  Review your todo’s each day and ask the question, “what am I going to get done?”, and find a way to work till they everything is done.  (Aside:  This really helps me with work life balance.  Every once in a while a meeting gets canceled etc. you get your daily list done by 4PM.  Sure you can grab another item from the list, but sometimes just shut down the computer and take your wife and kids out to dinner – secure in the knowledge that you had a productive day).
  5. Send it, the network effect: A slightly different take on #2 above.  The great thing about encouraging a Cult of Done culture on your team is that a lot more information starts getting shared.  Because lets face it, our to-do’s are mainly information posts of one form or another, to someone in our network.  If you are getting more docs to the shared drive, more emails to the team, more code checked in, more blog posts written, etc, then your team and your partners are getting more raw materials to get more stuff done too.  Once they get stuff done, you can start and finish more projects.  Snowball.  Perhaps a corollary to manifesto item #6 (The point of being done is not finish but to get other things done) is the point of being done is not to finish but to provide a starting point for getting multiple other things done.
  6. Complete or Delete:  I’m really enamored of a new minimal web tool called Workflowy, and I can’t really articulate why exactly.  Maybe they read the Cult of Done Manifesto.  One of the features that I like is that you can either mark an item “Complete” or “Delete”.  Per Cult of Done Manifesto item #5 (Banish procrastination), if something lingers on your todo list, you need to delete it.  This is really empowering.  (Aside – sometimes instead of deleting I just move it from a to-do list to an archived list, which qualifies under item #11 Destruction is a variant of Done)

DONE!

 

UPDATE: 6/25/11  I still love Workflowy and use it every day.  They just added a killer sharing feature.

Best Sophomore Albums

Loved this subject on the Sound Opinions Podcast – best sophomore albums, the rare condition where the second record is better than the first. They are really really hard to find.  Here are their lists, followed by mine (when I heard the subject the 2 that I thought of were Smells Like Teen’s Spirit and Paul’s Boutique):

Jim
Nirvana, Smells Like Teen Spirit
The Cars, Candy-O
A Tribe Called Quest, The Low End Theory
PJ Harvey, Rid of Me

Greg
Jimi Hendrix, Axis Bold As Love
Sinéad O’Connor, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got
Elvis Costello, This Year’s Model
Beastie Boys, Paul’s Boutique

Steve
Neil Young and Crazy Horse – Everybody Knows This is Nowhere
Bob Dylan – The FreeWheelin Bob Dylan
The Band – The Band

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Social Search by Google

Just saw my first “social search” result from Google.   Wow, pretty cool.

Very nicely done.  When I click on my social circle it gives me a nice transparent look at exactly what is going on here

Since I don’t really use google chat and have never consciously curated my chat list, it is mainly just a list of people who are also gmail users with whom I have exchanged email from my gmail account.  I think I disabled my Google Buzz profile a few months back (ie my twitter account is not tied in because I opted out) or else I would have a lot more connections.  Mark Suster maybe this sort of answers your question about Google Buzz??

There is a lot more information available to me about my social circle, including all of the source data that Google is indexing for me broken down by contact.

I was a guest speaker last week at Andres Terech’s two MBA-level Marketing Strategy classes at UCLA Anderson GSM.  The main subject of the discussion was internet privacy as it relates to marketing strategy.  I left both classes with the advice to strongly consider starting a personal blog and make sure they maintain an up-to-date LinkedIn profile, mainly as a way to curate the information that is associated with you on the internet.  The idea is that when you are going on a job interview or even to a business meeting, its likely that the people you are meeting will do a Google search on you, and you want to be controlling what is on the first page.  This advice is even more important in light of this feature….

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