Google Didn’t Get It Wrong: The Open-Office Trend Just Isn’t Right For Your Workplace

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First we had hunting, then farms, then factories.

Then there were offices, with their doors and thick walls. Then cubicles, thinner and shorter walls and no doors.

Today, no more walls. No more doors. Want a picture of your kid on your desk? Better set it as your computer background. Because that chair is up for grabs tomorrow morning, pal. We all belong everywhere and nowhere in the cafeteria of modern work. We live in a strange new world. Your digital desktop is more permanent than your actual desktop.

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Evernote Founder Phil Libin’s Secret To Looking Interested During Meetings

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“I haven’t actually told this to anyone before.”

Anytime you hear those words, pay attention to what the person says next.

Anytime you hear those words from someone who’s co-founded three multimillion-dollar companies, drop everything and start taking notes.

In this case, those words came from Phil Libin, who co-founded and until very recently served as CEO of Evernote. He helped grow Evernote from a simple note-taking application to the billion-dollar productivity suite it is today.

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How Talko uses iDoneThis + Slack + Talko for great daily standup meetings

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Building the future of communication requires a whole lot of — you guessed it — communication.

Especially when the team is spread out across three cities and two time zones.

Talko is a tool for holding one-on-one and team calls wherever you are. It’s designed to work great while mobile, including in and across highly variable mobile networks. The calls can be recorded, tagged and interjected with photos during the call. The whole call and supporting data is then stored and can be easily searched or shared. The company was founded by former Microsoft Chief Architect Ray Ozzie along with Matt Pope, who heads up product, and Eric Patey, who heads up engineering.

When the team at Talko gets together for their daily standup meeting, they turn to three tools to get the job done: Talko, iDoneThis and Slack.

Or as the Talko team wrote in a recent blog post on Medium:

“We use iDoneThis to log what each team member has done and will do. We’ve used and loved it for years now. By the time we do standup, we know that everyone has seen ‘just the facts’ regarding dones and to-dos. So we focus our standup time exclusively on issues, blockers or questions. It’s efficient.”

Talko is made up of 11 people, with about half in Boston and the rest divided between San Fransisco and Seattle.

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Why Remote Companies Are Doing Employee Perks Better Than Google

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Employee perks. The idea rushed into our vocabulary sometime around the year 2000. The world feared Y2K, it got foosball and laundry service. Since then perks at tech companies have covered all positions on the field, from the practical (catered lunch) to the silly (birthday parties).

Some perks — casual dress, equity — are so common in Silicon Valley that they don’t even seem like perks anymore. We take them for granted.

In your parents’ or grandparents’ day, insurance and sick days were the only perks needed. Even weekends and holidays started out as a wacky and progressive idea. Those days are gone. Today’s employees expect ping pong, pizza Fridays and bring your dog to work policies. Or at least that’s what we’re told.

In reality, many companies are evolving their understanding of what a good employee perk really is. We’ve gone from the early perks of the dot-com bubble (ping pong tables to seem cool and attract press attention) to the perks designed to help keep you sitting on your squishy exercise ball writing code all night. Now, a new kind of perk is emerging, and remote companies are leading the way.

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51 Free Tools To Start A Business

 

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Trying to start a business is never easy. Being an entrepreneur means sticking your neck — and wallet — on the line for a product you believe in. It won’t be cheap. There will be plenty of costs, some you’ve never expected. Thankfully, there are free tools to start a business available online.

We’ve compiled this list of free tools to start a business. Many of them we used here to help build iDoneThis. Others we wish had existed when we started.

Building a business will be one of the hardest things you ever do. But thankfully there are these free tools get you started building the business you’ve always dreamed of.

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How SimpleReach Learned Sales The Hard Way

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The founders at SimpleReach knew they were on to something. Everything seemed to be in place.

Great product, great team, great market.

There was just one problem.

“Like most B2B companies we just took the approach of ‘build it and they will come’. But that’s just not the case,” said Eric Lubow, CTO and Co-Founder at SimpleReach.

Or as their CEO Edward Kim put it on Twitter: “One of the biggest lessons I learned the hard way – great product is cost of entry, but sales determines whether you win or lose.”

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How To Keep Great Employees Once You Conquer The World

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Landing an early role at a hyper-growth company like Facebook or Google seems like a dream. It seems like something you’d never want to walk away from.

So why do so many great people do exactly that? What can keep great employees from taking off?

And if you’re running one of these organizations, how do you keep great employees — those who helped build the organization — from hitting the road once you’ve achieved big success. It almost seems inevitable.

When the going gets tough, the tough show up.

When it stops being tough, they go find something else.

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Why Amazon Hires Good Managers, Not Great Ones

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Really great managers are hard to come by. They’re even harder to hire.

Those who are truly and undisputedly world class are already working. And the company they’re working for will do whatever it takes to keep them. These managers are rarely, if ever, on the market. Even if you’re Amazon.

The top 1 percent of product managers, for example, are so rare that one Amazon director believes he has never encountered one in a job interview.

“I’m not sure I’ve ever met a 1% PM, certainly not one that I identified as such prior to hiring,” Ian McAllister, Director of the AmazonSmile program at Amazon, wrote on this Quora Answer.

So how does Amazon consistently hire world-class managers? Here’s how. Identify the areas a 1 percent manager excels at, and hire someone who excels at some of them, but not all.

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Don’t Preserve Startup Culture in Your Growing Company

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Like seeing your kids off to college for the very first time, it’s always a bit jolting for startup founders who see their company grow beyond the plucky “move fast and break things” startup culture of its youth. It’s hard not to get a little nostalgic about that exciting age when everything was new.

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Phil Libin has seen his company Evernote shoot up from a small startup to a billion-dollar company in six short years. Growing the Evernote team from just tens of people to 400, Libin worried over what such fast growth would do to the young company culture.

When he talked to Dick Costolo, Twitter CEO, who’d seen his own company grow precipitously, he asked him how to preserve the company culture that had helped get Evernote to such a successful start. Costolo’s answer was completely unexpected.

Don’t, Costolo said.

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Why You Shouldn’t Build a Billion-Dollar Startup

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Entrepreneurs dream about building the next big billion-dollar company. But the Apple, Google, and Facebook-shaped stars in their eyes end up clouding their vision. It’s easy to get caught up imagining your company going viral and getting to millions of users — all before your business has made a single dollar.

All the hopes and visions in the world won’t get you any closer to your billion-dollar exit. In fact, setting out to build a billion-dollar startup is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.

Gary Chou, an instructor at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, teaches his students how to launch a startup by taking a completely divergent approach. His course in Entrepreneurial Design has an unexpected syllabus for a business class: forget about creating a business plan or making a pitch deck for a fictitious billion-dollar unicorn company. Instead, get out there and do it — create a real $1,000-dollar company.

Chou’s assignment is to create a business that will produce $1,000 in monthly profit in a way that’s repeatable and sustainable. What has emerged from this exercise includes real profitable, ongoing businesses and funded Kickstarter projects. But beyond the money that’s been made and the companies created, what’s most important is the experience and knowledge you take away — for if you take on the challenge of building a $1,000 startup, you’ll learn three invaluable lessons.

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