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
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:
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.
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!!!