Merlin Mann on Company Culture and Why People Quit

Posted by on Dec 16, 2014 in Work | No Comments

I’ve always loved this quote by Merlin Mann. He really cuts to the quick of what motivates us:

I want to do real things, to think about real stuff, for real people who need real things done, and I want to feel great about my environment when I do it. Not in a macramé, ‘let’s talk about our feelings’ way, but in a very muscular way of saying, ‘If I am going to spend 10 hours a day here, I need to like you guys a lot, and we need to have a culture that works.’

Money is the reason people say they leave a job, but culture is the reason that money became an issue, a lot of the time. If someone loves their job intensely and feels very keyed in to the culture of their work, they’ll find ways to make the money work a lot of the time, or at least longer than you would think.

—Merlin Mann

There Is No Auto-Pilot

Posted by on Dec 15, 2014 in Work | 2 Comments

Recently I wrote about life not being Ceteris Peribus—the fact that we really can’t control the variables in our lives. Here’s a snippet:

Essentially we believe that if we could make any certain variable (or variables) of our life or job constant, we’d be happier, richer, healthier, fill in the blank.

Ryan Carson, CEO of Treehouse, wrote a really good post that touched on the same theme, specifically in the context of change within a company.

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Why I Unsubscribed from Your Email List

Posted by on Dec 11, 2014 in Nerdery, Work | No Comments

I recently I wrote about unsubscribing from a good friend’s email list and how “I’m too busy” is a cop-out excuse. That kick-started a post about how I consume the internet. I thought it would be interesting to publish the full email I sent to my friend when I responded.

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Why I Love What We Do at The Iron Yard

Posted by on Dec 9, 2014 in Work | No Comments

To help someone accomplish significant change in their life is a true privilege. Seeing graduates from The Iron Yard land jobs and make fresh starts is one of the best parts of what I get to do every day. 

Learning a City: Walking Streets and Talking to Locals

Posted by on Dec 9, 2014 in Adventures, Nerdery, Work | No Comments

Years ago I had the chance to travel in China with a long-time family friend. This gentleman is much older than me (30+ years) and has traveled the world extensively.

The best way to get to know a place is to walk the streets.

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Maine Sea

Posted by on Dec 6, 2014 in Adventures, Photos | No Comments

The second stop on our Northeastern tour found us in Acadia National Park. We stayed on both the Shoodic Peninsula and Mount Desert Island sides of the park and found the Schoodic area to be much quieter and less touristy.

I posted photos of Acadia’s mountains previously, but that was only half the story. Maritime heritage is the true treasure of Maine’s coastline. I recommend steering clear of Bar Harbor and retreating to active fishing towns like Bass Harbor, which we found to be quaint, full of history, and a great way to access offshore islands.

Fun fact: Bass Harbor was once haphazardly named McKinley, after President William McKinley. At the turn of the 20th century, federal officers asked what they should name the village’s newly built post office. Someone in their company told them to “name it after the president, for all we care.” And they did. The town carried the same name until citizens petitioned to have it changed in 1961.

2012-09-04 Vacation - Maine-Acadia - Day 1 08

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Redundant UI: Click Call to Make This Call

Posted by on Dec 5, 2014 in Nerdery | No Comments

“Click Call to make this call.” 

I’m not a UI expert, but giving such self-evident instructions to the user seems either unnecessary or a bandaid for poor design. 

 

Maine Mountains

Posted by on Dec 5, 2014 in Adventures, Photos | No Comments

The second stop on our Northeastern tour found us in Acadia National Park. We stayed on both the Shoodic Peninsula and Mount Desert Island sides of the park and found the Schoodic area to be much quieter and less touristy.

Fun fact: The highest point in Acadia, Cadillac Mountain, is named for Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, a French explorer. Along with leaving his namesake in Maine, he helped found the city of Detroit in the early 1700s. An automobile manufacturer honored the effort in 1902 by naming their firm “Cadillac” and using de La Mothe’s coat of arms as their logo.

Here are a few photos from the hills.

2012-09-07 Vacation - Maine-Acadia - Day 4 49

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Being Head of Marketing Doesn’t Mean You Have the Best Ideas

Posted by on Dec 5, 2014 in Work | No Comments

I come from the world of marketing agencies. Marketing and advertising as a service can be a really fun industry to work in—it’s fast paced, full of variety and if you’re hungry, you can learn a whole lot in a short amount of time.

Every type of business has its flaws, though, and one that I experienced consistently was the myth of “the all-knowing creative director.” The concept of a sage-like mogul in an agency plays out in a number of ways (both good and bad), but I want to focus on one specific aspect: ideas.

In agency-land (and other contexts), a pervasive, un-spoken mindset can develop in which it is understood that the creative director in charge holds their position because they have the best ideas. Even in places that claim to operate in an idea meritocracy, the practical implication is that anyone can offer ideas, but the ones that are chosen and implemented ultimately belong to one person. (Oftentimes this is because that person hit a grand-slam at some point in their career and continue to live off of equity from that success, as well as other base-hits along the way.)

It’s strange to write, but this year I became a marketing executive. I’m not big on titles, but I was christened with the rank of Chief Marketing Officer. (This is on a relatively small scale at a startup, mind you.) Our organization has grown significantly this year and as I’ve worked with handfuls of different people on my team to execute marketing in cities across the country, I’ve seen from experience that the best ideas absolutely do not come from the person at the top (that person being me, in this case).

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Making it Count: How I Consume The Internet

Posted by on Dec 4, 2014 in Life, Work | No Comments

This is the sixth post in a series called Making it Count about getting things done and using our precious hours wisely .

Recently I wrote about unsubscribing from a friend’s weekly email and how he challenged my reason (or excuse) of “being too busy.”. I’ve been thinking for some time about the next post in my Making it Count series and an article on how I consume the internet has been at the top of the list. Responding to my friend’s email was a great way to kickstart the writing process.

A Vast Ocean of Information

Intentionally consuming content on the Internet can be an overwhelming task. The speed at which content is created and travels, along with the sheer immensity of information available is simultaneously wonderful and engulfing.

For many of us, though, the Internet can feel small at times. I think there are a few reasons for this. First, we use tools that bring content to us: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, news feeds of any variety. Secondly, we often use the web to find very specific types of information and search engines allow us to start our journey and arrive at the correct destination in short order. Third, we develop go-to content sources over time. If the information isn’t coming to us, we often go to ‘familiar’ places to consume content from proven sources, just like a favorite restaurant. (There are many more reasons, of course, but these will suffice for our purposes here.)

Engaging a network that is both immeasurably large but can also feel small and familiar creates somewhat of a paradox in how to actually use it, in part because the possibilities are, almost literally, endless. You can find anything you can imagine or only what you’re looking for—and we find value in both.

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