New way to see news

The homepage of BuzzFeed is a real turn-off for me, but this article by Ben Thompson has me sticking with it. It's not dignified or 'nice,' but it's very real and very hard-working. I think that's what I can respect. The writers and editors at BuzzFeed are working very, very hard to communicate all the news that we want to have online. It's a good way to understand mainstream interests, and it's not ephemeral (although the interests are).
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Stratechery: Why BuzzFeed is the Most Important News Organization in the World, 2015-Mar-3 by Ben Thompson

In short, by not making money from display ads, and by extension deprioritizing page views, BuzzFeed incentivizes its writers to fully embrace Internet assumptions, and just as importantly disincentivizes pure sensationalism. There is no self-editing or consideration of whether or not a particular post will make money, or if it will play well on the home page, or dishonestly writing a headline just to drive clicks. The only goal is to create – or find – something that resonates.


How to live without being defined by edges

I spend way too much time reading. But occasionally I stumble across something that blows open my mind, making it possible for me to reach the next level of achievement, or something... a higher state of existence. If you want to go there youself, stop reading this and instead read The Web's Grain by Frank Chimero. You'll enjoy it more if you have a big screen and you may want to turn your sound low if people are nearby.  

I have a habit of drawing circles that represent a day in my life and then to divide it up and try to proportion my interests to the amount of time I have. The worst part is when I actually label the time of the day on the slices. I'm defining my life by its edges. In real life, I'm always running over those slice edges as things take longer than I anticipated. 

If the edge of a slice is the time when we have to leave to pick up a child from school, then we need to put an alarm bell on it. Otherwise we need to understand that these edges limit us. 

I want to live a life filled with passion. When we're immersed in what we're doing, then we go into "flow," and lose our sense of time. We wake up and realize we've gone over the slice edge. 

We cannot live with passion and define our life by slices. Instead we have to assemble the pieces of our lives in a way that they can hold together. It happens all the time in real life. Things just cohere or stick together. The parts grow unevenly and the shape is unexpected. 

David Hockney: Billy Wilder Lighting His Cigar, 1982

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FrankChimero.com: The Web's Grain, 2015-Feb-20 by Frank Chimero

Simply put, the edgelessness of the web tears down the constructed edges in the company. Everything is so interconnected that nobody has a clear domain of work any longer—the walls are gone, so we’re left to learn how to collaborate in the spaces where things connect....

The size of what we’re making is unknown until we know what we’re putting there. So, it’s better to come up with an arrangement of elements and assign them to a size, rather than the other way around. We need to start drawing, then put the box around it. ...the perfect example of not drawing the box until you know what goes in it. [Emphasis mine.]

...we’re creating assemblages of elements, then associating them with the appropriate space.... 

You could say that our current technological arrangement has spread out too far, and it is starting to look and feel wrong. Fortunately, we can treat this over-expansion just like everything else I’ve mentioned. We can draw a line, and create a point of reassembly for what we’ve made. We can think about how to shift, move, and resize the pieces so that they fall back in line with our intentions.


Make your resume a customer experience

We usually write a resume that makes us feel good. Unfortunately we are not the target audience. Asking our business associates for feedback may make us uncomfortable, but it is vital. The more like our targeted hiring managers they are, the better. 

Career Marketing Coach: A Little Resume Tough Love, 2015-Mar-25 by Debra Rosenfeld

…because a resume is a very personal document, and it feels uncomfortable to have qualified people tell you that you need to change your very personal document. It feels much less threatening to ask for advice from people who are not qualified to give it.

So, if you’re not getting interviews, I encourage you to have your resume reviewed by people who are qualified to give you valuable feedback:

* Direct hiring managers in the field in which you work
* Your previous managers
* Senior colleagues or other managers with whom you worked


Why you can't motivate other people

Thanks to Ann Iverson for linking up this classic McKinsey article about customer experience. We are reminded that you can manage your company culture and incentives, but you cannot actually motivate people--they decide to act based on their motivation. All you can do is set the stage for them. 

When your organizing your team, you have to anticipate a range of good and bad motivations, plan your own reactions, make some announcements, and consider the messages your own actions are sending. Incentives should allow you to elevate some people as role models without generating too much negative competition. It's one of the hardest jobs we have to do as leaders. 

McKinsey.com: The Moment of Truth in Customer Service, 2006-Feb by Marc Beaujean, Jonathan Davidson and Stacey Madge

As everyone knows, a range of motives drives human beings: from the purely selfish (fear and greed) to the more creative, altruistic, and personally fulfilling (problem solving, artistic excellence, service to others). Great customer service companies are invariably good at allowing people to discover their motivations themselves. After all, these companies know that most frontline employees actually want to help customers and to gain their goodwill. The trick is to allow these employees to express this urge while simultaneously restraining their selfish motives, which experience suggests are incompatible with good behavior at moments of truth.

"People will work hard when they are given the freedom to do the job the way they think it should be done, when they treat customers the way they like to be treated," observed Jim Nordstrom, the former copresident of Nordstrom. "When you take away their incentive and start giving them rules, boom, you've killed their creativity."


Asking to get (what Sarah said)

Medium: The art of asking: or, how to ask and get what you want, 2013-Sep-9 by Sarah Kathleen Peck [highlight added.]

Put the ask on the table. Make it easy to find. Make your wishes known.

  • Give alternatives if you’d like, but stick to two, maximum three. Sometimes it’s easier for people to say yes to one of two options rather than having to choose between many. Stick to just one or two things.
  • Start with small wins. Ask incrementally for specific, small things. Get a foot in the door. Don’t ask for the big thing until you’ve established rapport, responsibility and demonstrated follow-through with someone.

14. Pay attention to context and surrounding cues. People make decisions based on their physical surroundings—much more than they would probably believe.