Having friends is important. If you have friends, that means you are not insufferable. Make sure you meet the friends of your friends. If you can’t stand any of them, then your friend has poor taste and their validation does you no good. Move on. My advice: save energy by befriending people that have no other friends.
Today, we moved to a new, larger office space. We’ve grown from 10 to 25 in the last three months.
We leased our old space from a company called InnerWorkings. Their CEO was giving a guest a tour of the office; when he came to The Point, he explained what we do. “Oh, so it’s like Groupon for social activism,” he replied, not realizing that we were the company that runs Groupon. His wife is a huge fan, apparently.
A few great quotes from another New Yorker article:
Obama, who is not without an ego, regarded himself as just as gifted as his top strategists in the art and practice of politics. Patrick Gaspard, the campaign’s political director, said that when, in early 2007, he interviewed for a job with Obama and Plouffe, Obama said that he liked being surrounded by people who expressed strong opinions, but he also said, “I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.”
Early in the process, Obama told aides, “I’m in this to win, I want to win, and I think we will win. But I’m also going to emerge intact. I’m going to be Barack Obama and not some parody.” At another point, in early 2007, Obama returned from a forum about health care knowing that he had not done well against Hillary Clinton. “She was very good, and I need to meet that standard, meet that test,” he told Axelrod. “I am not a great candidate now, but I am going to figure out how to be a great candidate.” One of Obama’s achievements as a politician is that he somehow managed to emerge intact, after navigating two years of a modern and occasionally absurd Presidential race, while also becoming a great candidate. On Election Night, as he once again invoked the words of Lincoln, he seemed to be saying that he was going to figure out how to be a great President.
From the New Yorker, Ron Regan addresses comparisons between him and Rahm Emanuel (both former dancers):
I’m a well-known actor – not a big star, but I appear in movies – and you’re talking about someone who was in the drama club in high school.” He argued that dancing and politics are “really two different parts of your brain.” He said, “Politics is the art of compromise. It’s shades of gray and nuance. There’s nowhere to hide when you’re a dancer. You’re almost literally naked, wearing an outfit that reveals everything about you.” He went on, “There are no Sarah Palins in dance – no one who doesn’t know what they’re doing. They’re weeded out by the time you get to be a professional.”
Reagan is profoundly wrong; people are weeded out of politics, just not by qualities we’d like.
I was excited to see Yammer launch at TechCrunch50, a business-focused version of Twitter that asks, “What are you working on?” instead of, “What are you doing?” I’ve wanted something like this for awhile. 37 signals did something similar, but it was appended to an existing product (Backpack) that also does a lot of other stuff that we’re already doing with other tools.
Our company already has email, IM, group chat, an internal blog, and a wiki… so what does Yammer add?
It allows the branches of your team to passively communicate. The Point is a pretty tight-knit group of 9, but it’s a struggle to keep the business side up-to-date with what the technology side is working on, and vice-versa. Knowing what everyone is working on allows our community managers to provide better customer service, and allows technology to understand how people are using the tools they are building.
It forces us to decide what we’re working on. Computers provide an endless stream of opportunities to be distracted. If you don’t articulate what you’re working on, you often end up doing 10 different things, and none of them well. In that sense, using Yammer is a great way to force us to pick a task and focus on completing it.
Yammer still needs work
Yammer does a really awesome job at porting Twitter. The user experience is clean and all the Twittery features are there. At the Twittery stuff, they arguably out-execute Twitter.
What Yammer doesn’t do so well is adapt their product to be a tool that is primarily for business, not for being social. Yammer needs to recognize that answering “what are you working on?” is a different problem than answering “what are you doing?” I have two specific suggestions.
A message time line isn’t the ideal view for this information
I would argue that “What is so-and-so working on?” is a pull, not a push. It’s not information that I want interrupting me – I just need it to be there when I want it. The most useful way to view Yammer updates is a dashboard with the last message of each employee. As far as I can tell, that view does not currently exist. By no means should Yammer get rid of the time line view – it can still be useful – they should just deprioritize it.
Yammer should not emphasize conversation
When I invited our employees to try out Yammer, half of them groaned about yet another app, and the other half started using it exactly like they use Twitter – posting little comments about other people’s comments, or ideas they had… not using it to answer the question, “What am I working on?” And why wouldn’t they use it this way? Yammer’s design encourages it. Our Yammer experience quickly degenerated into another source of noise, or at best, something that made more sense in our company chat room.
Yammer shouldn’t prevent social interactions from taking place, but its design should discourage them. Instead of a “Reply” button next to messages, there should be a button to IM or email the person. Most companies already have a place for conversation to take place online. Yammer needs to focus on doing a great job at answering “what am I working on?” and nothing else, or their customers will end up asking, “Why am I working on Yammer?”
Apple released a new feature in iTunes 8 called “Genius” – it builds playlists based on what it knows about people who like the same type of music as you do. It also includes a sidebar that recommends songs from the iTunes store.
The feature has a lot of potential, but doesn’t go far enough to be useful. At least not to me. If music is in my playlist, it is, by definition, something I would like – I don’t need a social filtering system to tell me that.
I really like the idea of Genius exposing me to music that I don’t already own in the iTunes Store, but not by sitting around clicking through 30 second clips in the sidebar. It needs to be a Pandora-like passive experience, where I have Genius radio stations that let me buy the current track in a single click. And with the tight integration between the stations and the store, they’ll likely avoid the life-threatening troubles currently facing Pandora.
Starbucks, why must you take every opportunity to fan the flames of our guilt? It’s hard enough to buy a $3 coffee when half the world makes less than that every day. But to add insult to injury, you make us order it with words – tall, grande, venti – that punctuate the burden of our privilege.
Now you’re selling smoothies. But they’re not smoothies — they’re Vivannos. Forget it. The buck stops here. I’m never going to buy a Vivanno. I’ll buy a smoothie though should you choose to rename them.
Join this campaign. Let’s send Starbucks a message that they can make money without forcing us to speak their language.
My friend Rob sent me (and some other Prius owners) this:
and I’ve seen all of you do worse…
I would like to address a common misconception — that the Prius is the final conquest, the proverbial cherry on top of the human quest for ethical perfection. Spotting a chink in imagined armor, people just can’t wait to call out a Prius owner’s “hypocrisy” when he, for example, fails to recycle.
Whether I don’t recycle, I’m a mobster, or I’m just doing it to be cool, do any of those things make it wrong for me to own a Prius? Whatever other bad decisions I make, isn’t that one still good?
I, for one, own a Prius because they’re neat and gadgety. The gas engine doesn’t turn on until you’re going 12 MPH, and it has a built-in computer you can hack to do all kinds of things. I haven’t hacked it, but I like knowing that I can.
Also, I don’t recycle. Not even at work, where the recycling bin is 1 inch from the normal trash. There I go out of my way to not recycle, subconsciously and completely irrationally, to punish Joe (who loves recycling) for allowing dirty cups to collect in the conference room, even though it isn’t his job to clean them.
The standard excuse of major news corporations, when accused of featuring trivial headlines, is that they are merely reflecting what people want. They’re businesses, and as such, their survival requires a sensitivity to demand.
I kind of believed that, until I saw this headline this morning:
And then a few hours later, this:
Clearly, this story is popular because it was placed on the front page. It’s safe to say that there was no prior demand for news related to Billy Joel’s The Stranger.
I guess that’s the appeal of social news sites like digg; for all their shortcomings, at least they eliminate suspicious editorial decisions like this one.
What does it mean
To a vending machine vendor
If you introduce a new product in a machine
And it is sold out the next day?
It should mean
that the product is very popular
and you should get more.
never get that product again for over 3 weeks.