The Kendeo Weekender #12

We're back at it in 2015 at Kendeo.  We've got a new office and are having a great time. Hope you're ready for another Weekender because we've got a bunch of cool stuff for you this weekend.

Now that it's the New Year, how about some ancient wisdom? These Say a Little Prayer cards are really beautiful.

This is a really great quote about boats that I wish applied more to business ideas (via):

“Every boat is copied from another boat….It is clear that a very badly made boat will end up on the bottom after one or two voyages, and thus never be copied….One could then say, with complete rigor, that it is the sea herself who fashions the boats, choosing those which function and destroying the others.” 
- Émile Chartier

NASA is really upping their design game, as these posters from the Exoplanet Travel Bureau demonstrate.  I for one can't wait to go to planet HD 40307g!

Paul Graham says Mean People Fail:

[B]eing mean makes you stupid. That's why I hate fights. You never do your best work in a fight, because fights are not sufficiently general. Winning is always a function of the situation and the people involved. You don't win fights by thinking of big ideas but by thinking of tricks that work in one particular case. And yet fighting is just as much work as thinking about real problems. Which is particularly painful to someone who cares how their brain is used: your brain goes fast but you get nowhere, like a car spinning its wheels.

Everybody needs more mousetraps, even it it is for a Pepsi commercial:


We all have these kind of days (via Swiss Miss):

Speaking of productivity, Steve Pavlina asks if you could complete a whole day's work in only 90 minutes, what would the 90 minutes look like?

The typical American office worker only does about 90 minutes of real work per workday.
The rest of each workday is largely spent on distractions like reading the news, web surfing, socializing with coworkers, snacking, taking coffee breaks, shuffling papers around, processing irrelevant emails, needless delay tactics, playing games, and daydreaming.
Moreover, American office workers are among the world’s most productive. In many other countries, even less work gets done each day.
This stat hasn’t changed much in decades, despite massive investments in time management and productivity training by many companies. We have more technology to assist us in being productive, but we also have more to distract us.
The general problem is that we’re still applying an industrial age model to the productivity of knowledge workers. It makes sense to pay attention to hours worked if the productive output for each hour is roughly the same. That may be true for repetitive labor, but it doesn’t apply much to knowledge workers.
For a knowledge worker, what’s the difference between an hour of peak productivity vs. a low productivity hour? That peak hour could easily be 10x more productive in terms of the volume of work completed and the results generated.
What sense does it make to spend more time at the office if you’re normally operating at less than 20% of capacity? Why not simply do 90 minutes of real work and then go home for the day?

My daughter totally loved these images of female movie heroes from Scott Park, even though she's not old enough to see all the movies yet:

The Kendeo Year-ender: 2014

We decided to clean out the link closet here at Kendeo and wanted to share a whole mess of cool and interesting things we found online this year:

First off, you can't go wrong with Star Wars Samurai, can you?

Paul Graham nails it again:

When experts are wrong, it's often because they're experts on an earlier version of the world.... Another trick I've found to protect myself against obsolete beliefs is to focus initially on people rather than ideas. Though the nature of future discoveries is hard to predict, I've found I can predict quite well what sort of people will make them. Good new ideas come from earnest, energetic, independent-minded people.
Betting on people over ideas saved me countless times as an investor. We thought Airbnb was a bad idea, for example. But we could tell the founders were earnest, energetic, and independent-minded. (Indeed, almost pathologically so.) So we suspended disbelief and funded them.
This too seems a technique that should be generally applicable. Surround yourself with the sort of people new ideas come from. If you want to notice quickly when your beliefs become obsolete, you can't do better than to be friends with the people whose discoveries will make them so.
It's hard enough already not to become the prisoner of your own expertise, but it will only get harder, because change is accelerating. That's not a recent trend; change has been accelerating since the paleolithic era. Ideas beget ideas. I don't expect that to change. But I could be wrong.

Wall Scrabble?  Yes!!!

Not just a question for job candidates. A great one for customers as well:

What do you like about our product/business and what don’t you like? How would you change what you don’t like?

Mark McGuinness argues in Manage Your Day-to-Day:

The single most important change you can make in your working habits is to switch to creative work first, reactive work second. This means blocking off a large chunk of time every day for creative work on your own priorities, with the phone and e-mail off.

If you like menus, check out Art of the Menu's best of 2014.

Speaking of menus, this is interesting:

“In a study conducted at Cornell University in 2009, researchers found that people who received the menu without the dollar signs, spent significantly more money than those who received a menu with the usual currency sign present.”  (Via Swiss Miss)

These are some beautiful visual "Animagraffs" from Jacob O'Neal depicting how things work.  Absolutely tremendous.

 Click  here  to see the speaker "speak."

Click here to see the speaker "speak."

7 Pieces of Wisdom That Will Change the Way You Work.  My favorite comes from Twyla Tharp (via Mason Curry's Daily Rituals:

I begin each day of my life with a ritual: I wake up at 5:30 a.m., put on workout clothes, my leg warmers, my sweatshirt, and my hat. I walk outside my Manhattan home, hail a taxi, and tell the driver to take me to the Pumping Iron gym at 91st street and First Avenue, where I work out for two hours. The ritual is not stretching and weight training I put my body through each morning at the gym; the ritual is the cab. The moment I tell the driver where to go I have completed the ritual.

Johnnie Moore is thinking of Idea Zoos vs. Idea Habitats:

Maintaining the natural habitat for species is more challenging and doesn’t provide as much short term gratification. Similarly, supporting the kind of working relationships in which ideas naturally flourish is much more challenging to hierarchical organisations than creating brainstorms and innovation incubators and hubs. The urge to have something organised, and centralised may distract us from what really allows ideas to flourish.

Here's a beautiful tribute to space in cinema.  It is amazing just how far the future seems to stay out of reach.

Here are the 50 best websites for you or the entrepreneur in your life.

Wish you could read more?  Rick Webb suggests you take some advice from Glengarry Glenn Ross and Always Be Reading.

We've got lots more coming in the New Year.  Have a great holiday season and we'll be back soon!

The Kendeo Weekender #11

Welcome to another Weekender!  We hope you enjoy the stuff we found for you.

How many ideas are you working on?

"Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life--think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success." --Swami Vivekananda

- Found in this amazing list of motivational quotes.

Who doesn't love the Simpsons -- especially when scenes from Springfield are illustrated as a deadbeat town by illustrator Tim Doyle?

Wonder why nobody at work "gets" your sarcastic humor in your emails?  Perhaps you should be sarcastic in person:

Digital miscommunication wouldn't be much of a problem if we always adopted the most optimistic or generous view of an ambiguous email or text. If we all took "noted" to mean "he noted that" instead of "he hates me," we could all move on with our days. But that's not what we do. Management scholar Kristin Byron of Syracuse University has written that misinterpretation tends to comes in two forms: neutral or negative. So we dull positive notes (largely because the lack of emotional cues makes us less engaged with the message), and we assume the worst in questionable ones.

This digital slide toward neutrality or negativity came through in a 2011 study led by psychologist Bradley Okdie of the University of Alabama. Test participants were paired up and instructed simply to converse and get to know each other. Some interacted face to face; others via instant message. The face-to-face interaction took more reported effort--you had to actually acknowledge and deal with another living being--but also resulted in more positive ratings of the partner's character, and an overall more enjoyable experience.

The lesson is a little face or phone time can go a long way toward exchanging more personality information, forming more positive impressions, and reducing email awkwardness. Short of that, it can help to use concrete emotional words in an email (e.g. "I'm happy to say…"), or to clarify someone's tone ("when you said that, I took it to mean…"), or if you must, to dispatch emoticons. Some companies have been known to include disclaimers saying that brief emails may give a "false impression of curtness or insensitivity"--though people misinterpret the disclaimers, too.

Speaking of email, these ten words that have no place in your outgoing messages:

  1. Unfortunately
  2. But
  3. Sincerely
  4. Regrettably
  5. Best
  6. Amazing
  7. Statistically
  8. Formally
  9. Interestingly
  10. Remotely

Jessica Hagy nails it.

In these eleven rules of highly profitable companies, there were a few gems.  My favorite:

Even the great Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, has wisely said that, "If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you've launched too late."

Test someone’s ability to deliver on a specific and tight deadline before hiring them based on a dazzling portfolio.

Products can be fixed as long as you have cash-flow, and bugs are forgiven, but missing deadlines is often fatal. Calvin Coolidge once said that nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent; I would add that the second most common is smart people who think their IQ or resume justifies delivering late. Don't tolerate it.

Wow!  Change the order of events, change the outcome in this amazing-looking game:

Why we should punish waste, yet celebrate failure:

No one wants to admit they failed and no one wants to make a decision that causes problems up the food chain. Your employees should not be petrified of the repercussions of failing--so long as they act. They should be afraid of the repercussions of wasting time and not making a decision. Make sure your employees know you value action and independence over riding the fence. "Don't punish failure. Punish waste," Wessel says. Encourage small ideas that can be tested, and decisions that can be made without notifying the executives. If it's successful, you'll know about it.

If you loved your old IBM desktop's rock-solid keyboard, here's the background of the "greatest keyboard ever made."

I'd really like to go to one of these Same Height Parties.

Arcade belt buckle that lights up from Etsy? Yes, please!!!

The Kendeo Weekender #10

Welcome to another edition of the Weekender!  We've been saving up lots of stuff to share with you this week, so here you go:

What if you wanted to get better at something, and decided to work just a little bit on it everyday for a year?  Bob Ewing did just that and shares his progress from days 1-365.

Five simple emails you should send every week.

A better brainstorming method from Google that we've been playing with for a while. It really works better with introverts and in rooms with high status differentials:  Note and Vote.  Here's how it works:

Note:  Distribute paper and pens to each person. Set a timer for five minutes to 10 minutes. Everyone writes down as many ideas as they can. Individually. Quietly. This list won’t be shared with the group, so nobody has to worry about writing down dumb ideas.
Self-Edit:  Set the timer for two minutes. Each person reviews his or her own list and picks one or two favorites. Individually. Quietly.
Share and Capture:  One at a time, each person shares his or her top idea(s). No sales pitch. Just say what you wrote and move on. As you go, one person writes everybody’s ideas on the whiteboard.
Vote:  Set the timer for five minutes. Each person chooses a favorite from the ideas on the whiteboard. Individually. Quietly. You must commit your vote to paper.
Share and Capture (2):  One at a time, each person says their vote. A short sales pitch may be permissible, but no changing your vote! Say what you wrote. Write the votes on the whiteboard. Dots work well.
Decide:  Who is the decider? She should make the final call — not the group. She can choose to respect the votes or not. This is less awkward than it sounds: instead of dancing around people’s opinions and feelings, you’ve made the mechanics plain. Everyone’s voice was heard.

Why might this work?  Because in most meetings, three people are doing 70% of the talking.

This video for Dropbox makes me realize everyone should have their own muppet at work:

Hate networking?  Here's a great way to think about it from Joanna Goddard:

Network up and down. Many people get turned off by the term “networking” (read: a bunch of suited-up people at happy hour) but I just think of it as a fancy word for making friends in your industry. When you email someone about a project, ask about their dog. Tell them about your vacation. Send a card when they have a baby. Be real with them. Help people. Stay in touch. Tell friends about job openings. Meet for breakfast, or send a short note saying you loved their recent article or project.

If it's not networking that keeps you up at night, but rather just plain old-fashioned insomnia, don't worry: there's an app for that.

Overwhelmed when you don't seem to get to anything on your to-do list?  Try a To-Done List instead

Dubbed the "Anti-To-Do List" by Buffer's Joel Gascoigne, this approach reportedly gives you an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and spurs productivity throughout the week. According to Gascoigne, by writing a separate list of tasks you have accomplished, including ones that weren't originally on your to-do list, you prevent yourself from feeling "knocked down" by the fact that you're doing something not on your original list.

Speaking of productivity, I really like this productivity tip from Nate Green:

Don’t create and consume at the same time.
You should either be creating something or consuming something. Not both at the same time.
When you’re creating, you’re fully engaged on what you’re doing. There should be no distractions, no “I’ll just check something real quick and then come back to this…”
Focusing on one thing without interruption is how you get meaningful work done.
When you’re consuming, you’re open to anything and everything. You get taken wherever the wind takes you, and it’s all groovy. What’s this article? Who’s that dude? This restaurant seems legit. You think they’re open for dinner? Lemme check Yelp…

Ray Kelvin, founder of the Ted Baker fashion brand, shares some of his tips for success. If you're meeting with him, never be late:

"I have never, ever met someone really successful who's late," Kelvin says. "It is so disrespectful of other peoples' time."

Want to get more out of conferences and events? Here's a great tip:

Before you leave to the conference there’s two things you need to do. One, is schedule a 30 minutes meeting with your team for the very first day when you arrive back in the office. The second is schedule a one hour slot for yourself either on the very first day or the very next day when you get back.

When you return, you already have a meeting scheduled with your team. Is 30 minutes long, so all those emails and fires can wait 30 mins for you to brief the team. That’s right, you’ll use that time to talk to them about the conference, the good, the bad, etc. And you will also show them your notes and give them an overview of what you’ve learned and what’s coming (action items) to each of them. This serves two purposes. First, with the conference still fresh in your mind you can accurately tell your staff what happened at the show and prepare them for what’s going to come their way, and second it helps you solidify what you learned during the show.

When you get to the second meeting you scheduled prior to leaving the office for that conference, you will then stop whatever you are doing and get all your notes out. Since all of them have an “action items” section at the bottom you can quickly go through your list and start identifying what needs to get done, prioritizing the tasks, and assigning them to appropriate team members (or to yourself).

Ever wonder what it would be like to be a judge for the Guinness Book of World Records?

"Like a visiting emperor, I have the power to confirm or destroy dreams with a thumbs up or down," she says. "I don't deserve this elevation. It's my clipboard, suit and the Guinness logo."

Love Sriracha (or "Rooster") sauce?  An unknown street artist in Vietnam drew the iconic logo.

Mike Monteiro has eight great tips for working with a designer.  Chief among them (and true for every profession): 

A designer should never make you feel stupid for not understanding their craft.

Looking to hire someone for a bold initiative, find someone who's failed before, because they're the only ones likely to succeed.

Finally, something to add to your Christmas list:

See you again soon!  We've got some great Kendeo news coming next week.






The Kendeo Weekender #9

It's time for another version of The Weekender.  Enjoy!

Let's start off this three-day weekend with some 2000-year-old wisdom from Seneca:

It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested...  So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it… Life is long if you know how to use it.

To be successful, you've got to do the hard things.

Some solid advice on tackling your passion with the 90-90-1 Rule:

For the next 90 days, devote the first 90 minutes of your work day to the one best opportunity in your life. Nothing else. Zero distractions. Just get that project done. Period.

Play is a crucial part of the best conferences and meetings. Here's why:

Speaking of conferences, Jeff De Cagna believes many professional associations may need to rethink their value:

In addition to delivering greater value to the communities they’ve already identified, associations can gain from a more connected, relevant approach by drawing in audiences and partners who would otherwise have stayed outside the membership wall. De Cagna said one of the greatest vulnerabilities of traditional associations is their failure to “consider the stakeholders who aren’t here,” whose challenges and expectations are fundamentally different from the groups that have already affiliated.

Everybody loves LEGO!  Here's a great story about their massive corporate turnaround that starts with design.

And nearly everybody who loves LEGO has also got to love 70's Science Fiction illustrations, right?


Flowing Data always has some interesting data visualizations, including these about the #Ferguson tweets.

Afraid of the water?  Check out these Art of Swimming wood cuts from an English manual on swimming from 1587.  Pretty cool how the swimmer and the background were printed with separate blocks so they could reuse the backgrounds.

Does your business card need a built in USB?  Of course it does: Swivel Card is a Kickstarter for paper USB business cards.  when inserted they point to a website or shared folder. 

Missed comics genius Jack Kirby's birthday?  Grab this beer dedicated to him and raise a glass in a belated celebration.

Want more beer?  Think outside of the case and grab a 99-Pack.

The folks at Dress Code are doing some insanely cool work.

We absolutely love these huge Engineer Prints.

Finally, as the holiday weekend is coming to a close, perhaps it is time to improve organizational productivity. Start by decluttering.

The best way to institutionalise decluttering is to force managers to justify any bureaucracy they introduce. Seagate Technology, a data-storage company, and Boeing, an aircraft-maker, both hold their executives accountable for the “organisational load” that they impose on their subordinates in terms of meetings, memos and initiatives, and measure them against their peers. As Bain points out, the most valuable resource that many companies have is the time of their employees. And yet they are typically far less professional about managing that time than they are at managing their financial assets.

The Kendeo Weekender #8

Welcome to another collection of interesting things we've found around the web.

We'll be introducing Kendeo's Innovation Framework as we open up Filament -- our new creative meeting space in downtown St. Louis -- this fall.  For now, here's a pic of our the first stage: EXPLORE.

The Kendeo Weekender #7

Welcome to another edition of Kendeo's Weekender.  We hope you enjoy this collection of cool things we've found for you.

Here's another of our "before" images for some upcoming Kendeo marketing stuff, because sometimes things aren't as clear as they need to be:

How do you live up to your business ideas?

You can't go wrong with a poster of all the Batmen:


Jonathan Harris, of We Feel Fine, has some words of wisdom for becoming well known:

A bit of advice I give to art students or younger people is this: You’ll become known for doing what you do. It’s a simple saying, but it’s true. When you do something, you will become known as the kind of person who does that particular thing. The only way to start being asked to do something you want to do is to start doing that thing on your own. Eventually, if you do it well, and long enough, people will start asking you to do it for them.

Ever thought about choosing a hotel based upon the quality of its WiFi?  Now you can.

Trying to hire some creative folks?  Pay attention to their body language:

If you want to hire creative thinkers, interview them in pairs, and beware of the over-eager interviewee nodding, bucking, and jiving when you're trying to tell him or her about your company. That guy's probably a little slow. 

Nick Pettit on making time for ideas -- but not too much time:

You can always make more ideas, but you can’t make more time. If you decide to work on an idea, make sure you’re serious about it. Sleep on it, think about it, share it with other people. If you’re still crazy passionate about it, then do it. — Nick Pettit, Treehouse, February 24, 2014.

Why Pinterest Exists: Things That Don't Need to Exist.

The Kendeo Weekender #6

Welcome to another Kendeo Weekender!  Here's what we've found last week:

New ideas are almost always better, according to Neil Degrasse Tyson:

In practically every idea we have as humans, the older version of it is not better than the newer version. With the invested effort of generations, and centuries, and sometimes millennia of smart people who have been born since the idea came out, we have improved ideas.

Here's a much better way to solicit and implement ideas across your organization from Quirk.

Rethinking the placebo effect:

It has always been assumed that the placebo effect only works if people are conned into believing that they are getting an actual active drug. But now it seems this may not be true. Belief in the placebo effect itself — rather than a particular drug — might be enough to encourage our bodies to heal.

We absolutely love these everyday objects turned into playful characters.

What does collaboration mean?

Collaboration means bringing different minds and skillsets together in a way that doesn’t make assumptions about what someone is or isn’t good at. It means dispensing with limiting roles, and introducing a fluidity of thought and activity into the design team. Above all, it means putting interconnectedness at the heart of every action.

Here's an alternative view of pricing theory, from Henry David Thoreau:


Your product is all there is:

What do I mean by this? [A]t the end of the day for most people the product either works or it doesn’t. It either fills a need of theirs (one they may not have know they had before encountering your product) or it doesn’t. Again, the vast majority of users will neither know of nor care about your vision.

This is worth repeating over and over again: your product is all there is. For the insiders in the know it is so easy to project the vision onto the product and they will always see it. But that is not how everyone else experiences it. Always keep this in mind. This by the way is true not just for consumer products but also for B2B ones.

So what should you do? Lots and lots of enduser observation of people who know nothing about your grand plans. And product improvement based on that feedback. Rinse and repeat and good things will happen.

Here are some interesting thoughts on project managers' new role in the modern organization.

Anyone else miss the prank call?

At your next conference, give Scott Berkun's Min/Max Note Taking Methodology a shot:

  1. When a session ends, immediately make a list of 5 bullets per talk

  2. Use breaks and lunch to catch up and summarize.

  3. Consider taking notes on paper

  4. Annotate links and references from the talk.

  5. Post your summary on your blog (& twitter with the conference hashtag) 

  6. Share a one page summary at work.

Seth Godin nails the things we're working on here at Kendeo:

What if instead, you created a reputation as the person or organization that can honestly say, "you can't get this from anyone but me?"

See you next week!