More on Productivity
1 year ago
Why Google Staff Doesn't Work
Sundar Pichai unveiled Simplicity Sprint at Google's latest all-hands conference.
To boost employee efficiency.
Not surprising. Few envisioned Google declaring a productivity drive.
Sunder Pichai's speech:
“There are real concerns that our productivity as a whole is not where it needs to be for the head count we have. Help me create a culture that is more mission-focused, more focused on our products, more customer focused. We should think about how we can minimize distractions and really raise the bar on both product excellence and productivity.”
The primary driver driving Google's efficiency push is:
Google's efficiency push follows 13% quarterly revenue increase. Last year in the same quarter, it was 62%.
Market newcomers may argue that the previous year's figure was fuelled by post-Covid reopening and growing consumer spending. Investors aren't convinced. A promising company like Google can't afford to drop so quickly.
Google’s quarterly revenue growth stood at 13%, against 62% in last year same quarter.
Google isn't alone. In my recent essay regarding 2025 programmers, I warned about the economic downturn's effects on FAAMG's workforce. Facebook had suspended hiring, and Microsoft had promised hefty bonuses for loyal staff.
In the same article, I predicted Google's troubles. Online advertising, especially the way Google and Facebook sell it using user data, is over.
FAAMG and 2nd rung IT companies could be the first to fall without Post-COVID revival and uncertain global geopolitics.
Google has hardly ever discussed effectiveness:
Amazon treats its employees like robots, even in software positions. It has significant turnover and a terrible reputation as a result. Because of this, it rarely loses money due to staff productivity.
Amazon trumps Google. In reality, it treats its employees poorly.
Google was the founding father of the modern-day open culture.
Larry and Sergey Google founded the IT industry's Open Culture. Silicon Valley called Google's internal democracy and transparency near anarchy. Management rarely slammed decisions on employees. Surveys and internal polls ensured everyone knew the company's direction and had a vote.
20% project allotment (weekly free time to build own project) was Google's open-secret innovation component.
After Larry and Sergey's exit in 2019, this is Google's first profitability hurdle. Only Google insiders can answer these questions.
Would Google's investors compel the company's management to adopt an Amazon-style culture where the developers are treated like circus performers?
If so, would Google follow suit?
If so, how does Google go about doing it?
Before discussing Google's likely plan, let's examine programming productivity.
What determines a programmer's productivity is simple:
How would we answer Google's questions?
As a programmer, I'm more concerned about Simplicity Sprint's aftermath than its economic catalysts.
Large organizations don't care much about quarterly and annual productivity metrics. They have 10-year product-launch plans. If something seems horrible today, it's likely due to someone's lousy judgment 5 years ago who is no longer in the blame game.
Deconstruct our main question.
How exactly do you change the culture of the firm so that productivity increases?
How can you accomplish that without affecting your capacity to profit? There are countless ways to increase output without decreasing profit.
How can you accomplish this with little to no effect on employee motivation? (While not all employers care about it, in this case we are discussing the father of the open company culture.)
How do you do it for a 10-developer IT firm that is losing money versus a 1,70,000-developer organization with a trillion-dollar valuation?
When implementing a large-scale organizational change, success must be carefully measured.
The fastest way to do something is to do it right, no matter how long it takes.
You require clearly-defined group/team/role segregation and solid pass/fail matrices to:
You can give performers rewards.
Ones that are average can be inspired to improve
Underachievers may receive assistance or, in the worst-case scenario, rehabilitation
As a 20-year programmer, I associate productivity with greatness.
Doing something well, no matter how long it takes, is the fastest way to do it.
Let's discuss a programmer's productivity.
Why productivity is a strange term in programming:
Productivity is work per unit of time.
Money=time This is an economic proverb. More hours worked, more pay. Longer projects cost more.
As a buyer, you desire a quick supply. As a business owner, you want employees who perform at full capacity, creating more products to transport and boosting your profits.
All economic matrices encourage production because of our obsession with it. Productivity is the only organic way a nation may increase its GDP.
Time is money — is not just a proverb, but an economical fact.
Applying the same productivity theory to programming gets problematic. An automating computer. Its capacity depends on the software its master writes.
Today, a sophisticated program can process a billion records in a few hours. Creating one takes a competent coder and the necessary infrastructure. Learning, designing, coding, testing, and iterations take time.
Programming productivity isn't linear, unlike manufacturing and maintenance.
Average programmers produce code every day yet miss deadlines. Expert programmers go days without coding. End of sprint, they often surprise themselves by delivering fully working solutions.
Reversing the programming duties has no effect. Experts aren't needed for productivity.
These patterns remind me of an XKCD comic.
Programming productivity depends on two factors:
The capacity of the programmer and his or her command of the principles of computer science
His or her productive bursts, how often they occur, and how long they last as they engineer the answer
At some point, productivity measurement becomes Schrödinger’s cat.
Product companies measure productivity using use cases, classes, functions, or LOCs (lines of code). In days of data-rich source control systems, programmers' merge requests and/or commits are the most preferred yardstick. Companies assess productivity by tickets closed.
Every organization eventually has trouble measuring productivity. Finer measurements create more chaos. Every measure compares apples to oranges (or worse, apples with aircraft.) On top of the measuring overhead, the endeavor causes tremendous and unnecessary stress on teams, lowering their productivity and defeating its purpose.
Macro productivity measurements make sense. Amazon's factory-era management has done it, but at great cost.
Google can pull it off if it wants to.
What Google meant in reality when it said that employee productivity has decreased:
When Google considers its employees unproductive, it doesn't mean they don't complete enough work in the allotted period.
They can't multiply their work's influence over time.
Programmers who produce excellent modules or products are unsure on how to use them.
The best data scientists are unable to add the proper parameters in their models.
Despite having a great product backlog, managers struggle to recruit resources with the necessary skills.
Product designers who frequently develop and A/B test newer designs are unaware of why measures are inaccurate or whether they have already reached the saturation point.
Most ignorant: All of the aforementioned positions are aware of what to do with their deliverables, but neither their supervisors nor Google itself have given them sufficient authority.
So, Google employees aren't productive.
How to fix it?
Business analysis: White suits introducing novel items can interact with customers from all regions. Track analytics events proactively, especially the infrequent ones.
SOLID, DRY, TEST, and AUTOMATION: Do less + reuse. Use boilerplate code creation. If something already exists, don't implement it yourself.
Build features-building capabilities: N features are created by average programmers in N hours. An endless number of features can be built by average programmers thanks to the fact that expert programmers can produce 1 capability in N hours.
Work on projects that will have a positive impact: Use the same algorithm to search for images on YouTube rather than the Mars surface.
Avoid tasks that can only be measured in terms of time linearity at all costs (if a task can be completed in N minutes, then M copies of the same task would cost M*N minutes).
Software development isn't linear. Why should the makers be measured?
Notation for The Big O
I'm discussing a new way to quantify programmer productivity. (It applies to other professions, but that's another subject)
The Big O notation expresses the paradigm (the algorithmic performance concept programmers rot to ace their Google interview)
Google (or any large corporation) can do this.
Sort organizational roles into categories and specify their impact vs. time objectives. A CXO role's time vs. effect function, for instance, has a complexity of O(log N), meaning that if a CEO raises his or her work time by 8x, the result only increases by 3x.
Plot the influence of each employee over time using the X and Y axes, respectively.
Add a multiplier for Y-axis values to the productivity equation to make business objectives matter. (Example values: Support = 5, Utility = 7, and Innovation = 10).
Compare employee scores in comparable categories (developers vs. devs, CXOs vs. CXOs, etc.) and reward or help employees based on whether they are ahead of or behind the pack.
After measuring every employee's inventiveness, it's straightforward to help underachievers and praise achievers.
Example of a Big(O) Category:
If I ran Google (God forbid, its worst days are far off), here's how I'd classify it. You can categorize Google employees whichever you choose.
The Google interview truth:
O(1) < O(log n) < O(n) < O(n log n) < O(n^x) where all logarithmic bases are < n.
O(1): Customer service workers' hours have no impact on firm profitability or customer pleasure.
CXOs Most of their time is spent on travel, strategic meetings, parties, and/or meetings with minimal floor-level influence. They're good at launching new products but bad at pivoting without disaster. Their directions are being followed.
Devops, UX designers, testers Agile projects revolve around deployment. DevOps controls the levers. Their automation secures results in subsequent cycles.
UX/UI Designers must still prototype UI elements despite improved design tools.
All test cases are proportional to use cases/functional units, hence testers' work is O(N).
Architects Their effort improves code quality. Their right/wrong interference affects product quality and rollout decisions even after the design is set.
Core Developers Only core developers can write code and own requirements. When people understand and own their labor, the output improves dramatically. A single character error can spread undetected throughout the SDLC and cost millions.
Core devs introduce/eliminate 1000x bugs, refactoring attempts, and regression. Following our earlier hypothesis.
The fastest way to do something is to do it right, no matter how long it takes.
Google is at the liberal extreme of the employee-handling spectrum
Microsoft faced an existential crisis after 2000. It didn't choose Amazon's data-driven people management to revitalize itself.
Instead, it entrusted developers. It welcomed emerging technologies and opened up to open source, something it previously opposed.
Google is too lax in its employee-handling practices. With that foundation, it can only follow Amazon, no matter how carefully.
Any attempt to redefine people's measurements will affect the organization emotionally.
The more Google compares apples to apples, the higher its chances for future rebirth.
1 year ago
17 Google Secrets 99 Percent of People Don't Know
What can't Google do?
Seriously, nothing! Google rocks.
Google is a major player in online tools and services. We use it for everything, from research to entertainment.
Did I say entertain yourself?
Yes, with so many features and options, it can be difficult to fully utilize Google.
#1. Drive Google Mad
You can make Google's homepage dance if you want to be silly.
Just type “Google Gravity” into Google.com. Then select I'm lucky.
See the page unstick before your eyes!
#2 Play With Google Image
Google isn't just for work.
Then have fun with it!
You can play games right in your search results. When you need a break, google “Solitaire” or “Tic Tac Toe”.
#3. Do a Barrel Roll
Need a little more excitement in your life? Want to see Google dance?
Type “Do a barrel roll” into the Google search bar.
Then relax and watch your screen do a 360.
#4 No Internet? No issue!
This is a fun trick to use when you have no internet.
If your browser shows a “No Internet” page, simply press Space.
We have dinosaurs! Now use arrow keys to save your pixelated T-Rex from extinction.
#5 Google Can Help
Play this Google coin flip game to see if you're lucky.
Enter “Flip a coin” into the search engine.
You'll see a coin flipping animation. If you get heads or tails, click it.
#6. Think with Google
My favorite Google find so far is the “Think with Google” website.
Think with Google is a website that offers marketing insights, research, and case studies.
I highly recommend it to entrepreneurs, small business owners, and anyone interested in online marketing.
#7. Google Can Read Images!
This is a cool Google trick that few know about.
You can search for images by keyword or upload your own by clicking the camera icon on Google Images.
Google will then show you all of its similar images.
Caution: You should be fine with your uploaded images being public.
#8. Modify the Google Logo!
Clicking on the “I'm Feeling Lucky” button on Google.com takes you to a random Google Doodle.
Each year, Google creates a Doodle to commemorate holidays, anniversaries, and other occasions.
#9. What is my IP?
Simply type “What is my IP” into Google to find out.
Your IP address will appear on the results page.
#10. Send a Self-Destructing Email With Gmail,
Create a new message in Gmail. Find an icon that resembles a lock and a clock near the SEND button. That's where the Confidential Mode is.
By clicking it, you can set an expiration date for your email. Expiring emails are automatically deleted from both your and the recipient's inbox.
#11. Blink, Google Blink!
This is a unique Google trick.
Type “blink HTML” into Google. The words “blink HTML” will appear and then disappear.
The text is displayed for a split second before being deleted.
To make this work, Google reads the HTML code and executes the “blink” command.
#12. The Answer To Everything
This is for all Douglas Adams fans.
The answer to life, the universe, and everything is 42, according to Google.
An allusion to Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, in which Ford Prefect seeks to understand life, the universe, and everything.
#13. Google in 1998
It's a blast!
Type “Google in 1998” into Google. "I'm feeling lucky"
You'll be taken to an old-school Google homepage.
It's a nostalgic trip for long-time Google users.
#14. Scholarships and Internships
Google can help you find college funding!
Type “scholarships” or “internships” into Google.
The number of results will surprise you.
#15. OK, Google. Dice!
To roll a die, simply type “Roll a die” into Google.
On the results page is a virtual dice that you can click to roll.
#16. Google has secret codes!
Hit the nine squares on the right side of your Google homepage to go to My Account. Then Personal Info.
You can add your favorite language to the “General preferences for the web” tab.
#17. Google Terminal
You can feel like a true hacker.
Just type “Google Terminal” into Google.com. "I'm feeling lucky"
You'll be taken to an old-school computer terminal-style page.
You can then type commands to see what happens.
Have you tried any of these activities? Tell me in the comments.
Read full article here
Jano le Roux
1 year ago
Never Heard Of: The Apple Of Email Marketing Tools
Unlimited everything for $19 monthly!?
Even with pretty words, no one wants to read an ugly email.
Not Gen Z
Not Gen X
I am a minimalist.
I like Mozart. I like avos. I love Apple.
When I hear seamlessly, effortlessly, or Apple's new adverb fluidly, my toes curl.
No email marketing tool gave me that feeling.
As a marketing consultant helping high-growth brands create marketing that doesn't feel like marketing, I've worked with every email marketing platform imaginable, including that naughty monkey and the expensive platform whose sales teams don't stop calling.
Most email marketing platforms are flawed.
They are overpriced.
They use dreadful templates.
They employ a poor visual designer.
The user experience there is awful.
Too many useless buttons are present. (Similar to the TV remote!)
I may have finally found the perfect email marketing tool. It creates strong flows. It helps me focus on storytelling.
It’s called Flodesk.
It’s effortless. It’s seamless. It’s fluid.
Here’s why it excites me.
Unlimited everything for $19 per month
Sends unlimited. Emails unlimited. Signups unlimited.
Most email platforms penalize success.
Pay for performance?
$87 for 10k contacts
$605 for 100K contacts
$1,300+ for 200K contacts
In the 1990s, this made sense, but not now. It reminds me of when ISPs capped internet usage at 5 GB per month.
Flodesk made unlimited email for a low price a reality. Affordable, attractive email marketing isn't just for big companies.
Flodesk doesn't penalize you for growing your list. Price stays the same as lists grow.
Flodesk plans cost $38 per month, but I'll give you a 30-day trial for $19.
Amazingly strong flows
Foster different people's flows.
Email marketing isn't one-size-fits-all.
Different times require different emails.
People don't open emails because they're irrelevant, in my experience. A colder audience needs a nurturing sequence.
Flodesk automates your email funnels so top-funnel prospects fall in love with your brand and values before mid- and bottom-funnel email flows nudge them to take action.
I wish I could save more custom audience fields to further customize the experience.
Flodesk's editor is Apple-like.
You understand how it works almost instantly.
Like many Apple products, it's intentionally limited. No distractions. You can focus on emotional email writing.
Flodesk's inability to add inline HTML to emails is my biggest issue with larger projects. I wish I could upload HTML emails.
Simple sign-up procedures
Dream up joining.
I like how easy it is to create conversion-focused landing pages. Linkly lets you easily create 5 landing pages and A/B test messaging.
I like that you can use signup forms to ask people what they're interested in so they get relevant emails instead of mindless mass emails nobody opens.
I love how easy it is to embed in-line on a website.
Wonderful designer templates
Beautiful, connecting emails.
Flodesk has calm email templates. My designer's eye felt at rest when I received plain text emails with big impacts.
As a typography nerd, I love Flodesk's handpicked designer fonts. It gives emails a designer feel that is hard to replicate on other platforms without coding and custom font licenses.
Small adjustments can have a big impact
Flodesk remembers your brand colors. Flodesk automatically adds your logo and social handles to emails after signup.
Flodesk uses Zapier. This lets you send emails based on a user's action.
A bad live chat can trigger a series of emails to win back a customer.
Flodesk isn't for everyone.
Flodesk is great for Apple users like me.
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1 year ago
How We Just Raised $6M At An $80M Valuation From 100+ Investors Using A Link (Without Pitching)
Lawtrades nearly failed three years ago.
We couldn't raise Series A or enthusiasm from VCs.
We raised $6M (at a $80M valuation) from 100 customers and investors using a link and no pitching.
We refocused our business first.
Lawtrades raised $3.7M while Atrium raised $75M. By comparison, we seemed unimportant.
We had to close the company or try something new.
As I've written previously, a pivot saved us. Our initial focus on SMBs attracted many unprofitable customers. SMBs needed one-off legal services, meaning low fees and high turnover.
Tech startups were different. Their General Councels (GCs) needed near-daily support, resulting in higher fees and lower churn than SMBs.
We stopped unprofitable customers and focused on power users. To avoid dilution, we borrowed against receivables. We scaled our revenue 10x, from $70k/mo to $700k/mo.
Then, we reconsidered fundraising (and do it differently)
This time was different. Lawtrades was cash flow positive for most of last year, so we could dictate our own terms. VCs were still wary of legaltech after Atrium's shutdown (though they were thinking about the space).
We neither wanted to rely on VCs nor dilute more than 10% equity. So we didn't compete for in-person pitch meetings.
AngelList Roll-Up Vehicle (RUV). Up to 250 accredited investors can invest in a single RUV. First, we emailed customers the RUV. Why? Because I wanted to help the platform's users.
Imagine if Uber or Airbnb let all drivers or Superhosts invest in an RUV. Humans make the platform, theirs and ours. Giving people a chance to invest increases their loyalty.
We expanded after initial interest.
We created a Journey link, containing everything that would normally go in an investor pitch:
- Trailer (from me)
- Product demo
We could also link to our AngelList RUV and send the pitch to an unlimited number of people. Instead of 1:1, we had 1:10,000 pitches-to-investors.
We posted Journey's link in RUV Alliance Discord. 600 accredited investors noticed it immediately. Within days, we raised $250,000 from customers-turned-investors.
Stonks, which live-streamed our pitch to thousands of viewers, was interested in our grassroots enthusiasm. We got $1.4M from people I've never met.
These updates on Pump generated more interest. Facebook, Uber, Netflix, and Robinhood executives all wanted to invest. Sahil Lavingia, who had rejected us, gave us $100k.
We closed the round with public support.
Without a single pitch meeting, we'd raised $2.3M. It was a result of natural enthusiasm: taking care of the people who made us who we are, letting them move first, and leveraging their enthusiasm with VCs, who were interested.
We used network effects to raise $3.7M from a founder-turned-VC, bringing the total to $6M at a $80M valuation (which, by the way, I set myself).
What flipping the fundraising script allowed us to do:
We started with private investors instead of 2–3 VCs to show VCs what we were worth. This gave Lawtrades the ability to:
- Without meetings, share our vision. Many people saw our Journey link. I ended up taking meetings with people who planned to contribute $50k+, but still, the ratio of views-to-meetings was outrageously good for us.
- Leverage ourselves. Instead of us selling ourselves to VCs, they did. Some people with large checks or late arrivals were turned away.
- Maintain voting power. No board seats were lost.
- Utilize viral network effects. People-powered.
- Preemptively halt churn by turning our users into owners. People are more loyal and respectful to things they own. Our users make us who we are — no matter how good our tech is, we need human beings to use it. They deserve to be owners.
I don't blame founders for being hesitant about this approach. Pump and RUVs are new and scary. But it won’t be that way for long. Our approach redistributed some of the power that normally lies entirely with VCs, putting it into our hands and our network’s hands.
This is the future — another way power is shifting from centralized to decentralized.
1 year ago
What is headline inflation?
Headline inflation is the raw Consumer price index (CPI) reported monthly by the Bureau of labour statistics (BLS). CPI measures inflation by calculating the cost of a fixed basket of goods. The CPI uses a base year to index the current year's prices.
As it includes all aspects of an economy that experience inflation, headline inflation is not adjusted to remove volatile figures. Headline inflation is often linked to cost-of-living changes, which is useful for consumers.
The headline figure doesn't account for seasonality or volatile food and energy prices, which are removed from the core CPI. Headline inflation is usually annualized, so a monthly headline figure of 4% inflation would equal 4% inflation for the year if repeated for 12 months. Top-line inflation is compared year-over-year.
Inflation erodes future dollar values, can stifle economic growth, and can raise interest rates. Core inflation is often considered a better metric than headline inflation. Investors and economists use headline and core results to set growth forecasts and monetary policy.
Core inflation removes volatile CPI components that can distort the headline number. Food and energy costs are commonly removed. Environmental shifts that affect crop growth can affect food prices outside of the economy. Political dissent can affect energy costs, such as oil production.
From 1957 to 2018, the U.S. averaged 3.64 percent core inflation. In June 1980, the rate reached 13.60%. May 1957 had 0% inflation. The Fed's core inflation target for 2022 is 3%.
A central bank has privileged control over a nation's or group's money and credit. Modern central banks are responsible for monetary policy and bank regulation. Central banks are anti-competitive and non-market-based. Many central banks are not government agencies and are therefore considered politically independent. Even if a central bank isn't government-owned, its privileges are protected by law. A central bank's legal monopoly status gives it the right to issue banknotes and cash. Private commercial banks can only issue demand deposits.
What are living costs?
The cost of living is the amount needed to cover housing, food, taxes, and healthcare in a certain place and time. Cost of living is used to compare the cost of living between cities and is tied to wages. If expenses are higher in a city like New York, salaries must be higher so people can live there.
What's U.S. bureau of labor statistics?
BLS collects and distributes economic and labor market data about the U.S. Its reports include the CPI and PPI, both important inflation measures.
1 year ago
How Jeff Bezos wins meetings over
We've all been there: You propose a suggestion to your team at a meeting, and most people appear on board, but a handful or small minority aren't. How can we achieve collective buy-in when we need to go forward but don't know how to deal with some team members' perceived intransigence?
Investigate the divergent opinions: Begin by sincerely attempting to comprehend the viewpoint of your disagreeing coworkers. Maybe it makes sense to switch horses in the middle of the race. Have you completely overlooked a blind spot, such as a political concern that could arise as an unexpected result of proceeding? This is crucial to ensure that the person or people feel heard as well as to advance the goals of the team. Sometimes all individuals need is a little affirmation before they fully accept your point of view.
It says a lot about you as a leader to be someone who always lets the perceived greatest idea win, regardless of the originating channel, if after studying and evaluating you see the necessity to align with the divergent position.
If, after investigation and assessment, you determine that you must adhere to the original strategy, we go to Step 2.
2. Disagree and Commit: Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, has had this experience, and Julie Zhuo describes how he handles it in her book The Making of a Manager.
It's OK to disagree when the team is moving in the right direction, but it's not OK to accidentally or purposefully damage the team's efforts because you disagree. Let the team know your opinion, but then help them achieve company goals even if they disagree. Unknown. You could be wrong in today's ever-changing environment.
So next time you have a team member who seems to be dissenting and you've tried the previous tactics, you may ask the individual in the meeting I understand you but I don't want us to leave without you on board I need your permission to commit to this approach would you give us your commitment?