More Energy at Work! The Best of the Internet

Before your relaxing weekend, check out some of the best of what we shared on the interwebs this week:

One snippety tool that companies like Foursquare, Buzzfeed, and Shopify use

How crafting media empire Annie’s uses iDoneThis

De-stress in 15 minutes

How to REST YO’ SELF for more energy at work.

imageDundee’s Tips of the Week:  Did you miss our exclusive content in the iDoneThis weekly newsletter? Sign up here!

Make Your Life Easier: The Best of the Internet

Lil girlHappy Friday – Double Awesomeness Edition! Catch up with the best of what we’ve shared on the interwebs these past 2 weeks: 

This dull skill makes for excellent management.

How to make your life easier.

The most engaged employees work at small companies.

Spark happens when we create the conditions for it to do so.

The extreme habits of great remote teams.

Culture prevents people from jumping ship.

3 motivational mind tricks.

imageDundee’s Tip of the Week:  Keep track of specific kinds of dones by using #hashtags!

 

Anywhere in the text of your done or comment, type “#” followed by a keyword or topic name, like this: #reimbursements or #win.

Buzzfeed’s Kismet Engine that Drives Deliberate Focus

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People often hold this ideal about how great work gets done through serendipity, as if brains to stumble upon each other like characters in a romantic comedy. More often, the spark happens when we create the conditions for it to do so. If you really want lightning to strike, you don’t just mosey along empty-handed, you go out there with a lightning rod.

Jon Steinberg, president and COO of Buzzfeed found his lightning rod system, what he calls his “kismet engine.” That fateful engine is Snippets, a surprisingly simple productivity system that originated at Google.

How Snippets works at Buzzfeed is this:  employees send Jon a weekly email by the end of the workday on Friday identifying what they’ve been working on and what they need help with. Everyone can also subscribe to each others’ snippets. As for Jon, he reads his compiled snippets over the weekend and then responds with feedback and questions.

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The art of getting stuff done without bossing around

The availability of seed-stage funding today means that there are a ton of first-time entrepreneurs out there assembling teams and building companies without any experience running a team or managing people.  Building a team in this environment is especially difficult because funded companies typically grow teams prior to sustainability or product-market fit. It’s hard to steer the team in the right direction when you yourself don’t quite know what to build.

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Naval Ravikant at AngelList has blogged about “Building a team that ships”, describing his assembled team as “self-managing people who ship code.” Naval calls this peer management: one person per project (with help from others as needed), no middle managers, and individual choice on what to work on using accountability is the rudder. In his words: “Promise what you’ll do in the coming week on internal Yammer. Deliver – or publicly break your promise – next week.”

At iDoneThis, we’ve seen peer management as an effective approach to take for the young startup CEO.  We’ve worked closely with many first­-time entrepreneurs like Danny Wen at Harvest and Tobi Lutke at Shopify who have succeeded in building unique, quirky, and profitable companies by empowering individuals at their companies to manage themselves and each other to build out great products exceeding a high standard of excellence. Here are some keys to effective peer management that we’re seeing.

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Silicon Valley’s Productivity Secret

The wonder of Silicon Valley has been its rich history of producing incredibly capital efficient companies operating at massive scale.  No doubt part of that achievement lies in the capital efficiency of software engineering itself where technology gives incredible leverage to create and disrupt established industries.  Nevertheless, as a company scales, individual engineers need to work together in concert which results in the industry-agnostic problem of people management.

Unique from other industries, Silicon Valley’s natural inclination is not simply to find a solution to people management, it’s to create a scalable management model.  Of course, technology is the natural place to turn.

During Google’s growth stage, Larry Schwimmer, an early software engineer, stumbled upon a solution deceptively simple, but one that persists to this day at Google and has spread throughout the Valley.  In his system called Snippets, employees receive a weekly email asking them to write down what they did last week and what they plan to do in the upcoming week.  Replies get compiled in a public space and distributed automatically the following day by email.

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