When My Remote Leadership Skills Took Off
4 Ways To Manage Remote Teams & Employees
The wheels hit the ground as I landed in Rochester.
Our six-person satellite office was now part of my team.
Their manager only reported to me the day before, but I had my ticket booked ahead of time.
I had managed remote employees before but this was different. Engineers dialed into headquarters for every meeting.
So when I learned about the org chart change, I knew a strong first impression would set the tone for everything else.
I was either their boss, or their boss's boss, and I needed them to know I was committed.
Managing a fleet of satellite freelancers or multiple offices requires treating others as more than just a face behind a screen.
You must comprehend each remote team member's perspective and daily interactions.
The good news is that you can start using these techniques right now to better understand and elevate virtual team members.
1. Make Visits To Other Offices
If budgeted, visit and work from offices where teams and employees report to you. Only by living alongside them can one truly comprehend their problems with communication and other aspects of modern life.
2. Have Others Come to You
• Having remote, distributed, or satellite employees and teams visit headquarters every quarter or semi-quarterly allows the main office culture to rub off on them.
When remote team members visit, more people get to meet them, which builds empathy.
If you can't afford to fly everyone, at least bring remote managers or leaders. Hopefully they can resurrect some culture.
3. Weekly Work From Home
No home office policy?
WFH is a team-building, problem-solving, and office-viewing opportunity.
For dial-in meetings, I started working from home on occasion.
It also taught me which teams “forget” or “skip” calls.
As a remote team member, you experience all the issues first hand.
This isn't as accurate for understanding teams in other offices, but it can be done at any time.
4. Increase Contact Even If It’s Just To Chat
Don't underestimate office banter.
Sometimes it's about bonding and trust, other times it's about business.
If you get all this information in real-time, please forward it.
Even if nothing critical is happening, call remote team members to check in and chat.
I guarantee that building relationships and rapport will increase both their job satisfaction and yours.
More on Leadership
9 days 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?
28 days ago
Payouts to founders at IPO
How much do startup founders make after an IPO? We looked at 2018's major tech IPOs. Paydays aren't what founders took home at the IPO (shares are normally locked up for 6 months), but what they were worth at the IPO price on the day the firm went public. It's not cash, but it's nice. Here's the data.
Several points are noteworthy.
Huge payoffs. Median and average pay were $399m and $918m. Average and median homeownership were 9% and 12%.
Coinbase, Uber, UI Path. Uber, Zoom, Spotify, UI Path, and Coinbase founders raised billions. Zoom's founder owned 19% and Spotify's 28% and 13%. Brian Armstrong controlled 20% of Coinbase at IPO and was worth $15bn. Preserving as much equity as possible by staying cash-efficient or raising at high valuations also helps.
The smallest was Ping. Ping's compensation was the smallest. Andre Duand owned 2% but was worth $20m at IPO. That's less than some billion-dollar paydays, but still good.
IPOs can be lucrative, as you can see. Preserving equity could be the difference between a $20mm and $15bln payday (Coinbase).
13 days ago
Why Google's Hiring Process is Brilliant for Top Tech Talent
Without a degree and experience, you can get a high-paying tech job.
Most organizations follow this hiring rule: you chat with HR, interview with your future boss and other senior managers, and they make the final hiring choice.
If you've ever applied for a job, you know how arduous it can be. A newly snapped photo and a glossy resume template can wear you out. Applying to Google can change this experience.
According to an Universum report, Google is one of the world's most coveted employers. It's not simply the search giant's name and reputation that attract candidates, but its role requirements or lack thereof.
Candidates no longer need a beautiful resume, cover letter, Ivy League laurels, or years of direct experience. The company requires no degree or experience.
Elon Musk started it. He employed the two-hands test to uncover talented non-graduates. The billionaire eliminated the requirement for experience.
Google is deconstructing traditional employment with programs like the Google Project Management Degree, a free online and self-paced professional credential course.
Google's hiring is interesting. After its certification course, applicants can work in project management. Instead of academic degrees and experience, the company analyzes coursework.
Google finds the best project managers and technical staff in exchange. Google uses three strategies to find top talent.
Chase down the innovators
Google eliminates restrictions like education, experience, and others to find the polar bear amid the snowfall. Google's free project management education makes project manager responsibilities accessible to everyone.
Many jobs don't require a degree. Overlooking individuals without a degree can make it difficult to locate a candidate who can provide value to a firm.
Firsthand knowledge follows the same rule. A lack of past information might be an employer's benefit. This is true for creative teams or businesses that prefer to innovate.
Or when corporations conduct differently from the competition. No-experience candidates can offer fresh perspectives. Fast Company reports that people with no sales experience beat those with 10 to 15 years of experience.
Give the aptitude test first priority.
Google wants the best candidates. Google wouldn't be able to receive more applications if it couldn't screen them for fit. Its well-organized online training program can be utilized as a portfolio.
Google learns a lot about an applicant through completed assignments. It reveals their ability, leadership style, communication capability, etc. The course mimics the job to assess candidates' suitability.
Basic screening questions might provide information to compare candidates. Any size small business can use screening questions and test projects to evaluate prospective employees.
Effective training for employees
Businesses must train employees regardless of their hiring purpose. Formal education and prior experience don't guarantee success. Maintaining your employees' professional knowledge gaps is key to their productivity and happiness. Top-notch training can do that. Learning and development are key to employee engagement, says Bob Nelson, author of 1,001 Ways to Engage Employees.
Google's online certification program isn't available everywhere. Improving the recruiting process means emphasizing aptitude over experience and a degree. Instead of employing new personnel and having them work the way their former firm trained them, train them how you want them to function.
If you want to know more about Google’s recruiting process, we recommend you watch the movie “Internship.”
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Jano le Roux
2 months ago
Here's What I Learned After 30 Days Analyzing Apple's Microcopy
Move people with tiny words.
Apple fanboy here.
Macs are awesome.
Their iPhones rock.
$19 cloths are great.
$999 stands are amazing.
I love Apple's microcopy even more.
It's like the marketing goddess bit into the Apple logo and blessed the world with microcopy.
I took on a 30-day micro-stalking mission.
Every time I caught myself wasting time on YouTube, I had to visit Apple’s website to learn the secrets of the marketing goddess herself.
We've learned. Golden apples are calling.
Cut the friction
Benefit-first, not commitment-first.
Brands lose customers through friction.
Most brands don't think like customers.
Brands want sales.
Brands want newsletter signups.
Here's their microcopy:
“Buy it now.”
“Sign up for our newsletter.”
Both are difficult. They ask for big commitments.
People are simple creatures. Want pleasure without commitment.
Apple nails this.
So, instead of highlighting the commitment, they highlight the benefit of the commitment.
Saving on the latest iPhone sounds easier than buying it. Everyone saves, but not everyone buys.
A subtle change in framing reduces friction.
Apple eliminates customer objections to reduce friction.
Less customer friction means simpler processes.
Apple's copy expertly reassures customers about shipping fees and not being home. Apple assures customers that returning faulty products is easy.
Apple knows that talking to a real person is the best way to reduce friction and improve their copy.
Learn about fine rhyme.
Poets make things beautiful with rhyme.
Copywriters use rhyme to stand out.
Apple’s copywriters have mastered the art of corporate rhyme.
Two techniques are used.
1. Perfect rhyme
Here, rhymes are identical.
2. Imperfect rhyme
Here, rhyming sounds vary.
Apple prioritizes meaning over rhyme.
Apple never forces rhymes that don't fit.
It fits so well that the copy seems accidental.
Alliteration always entertains.
Alliteration repeats initial sounds in nearby words.
Apple's copy uses alliteration like no other brand I've seen to create a rhyming effect or make the text more fun to read.
For example, in the sentence "Sam saw seven swans swimming," the initial "s" sound is repeated five times. This creates a pleasing rhythm.
Microcopy overuse is like pouring ketchup on a Michelin-star meal.
Alliteration creates a memorable phrase in copywriting. It's subtler than rhyme, and most people wouldn't notice; it simply resonates.
I love how Apple uses alliteration and contrast between "wonders" and "ease".
Assonance, or repeating vowels, isn't Apple's thing.
You ≠ Hero, Customer = Hero
Your brand shouldn't be the hero.
Because they'll be using your product or service, your customer should be the hero of your copywriting. With your help, they should feel like they can achieve their goals.
I love how Apple emphasizes what you can do with the machine in this microcopy.
It's divine how they position their tools as sidekicks to help below.
This one takes the cake:
Conversational copy engages.
Excellent copy Like sharing gum with a friend.
This helps build audience trust.
Apple does this by using natural connecting words like "so" and phrases like "But that's not all."
The mother of all microcopy techniques.
A snowclone uses an existing phrase or sentence to create a new one. The new phrase or sentence uses the same structure but different words.
It’s usually a well know saying like:
To be or not to be.
This becomes a formula:
To _ or not to _.
Copywriters fill in the blanks with cause-related words. Example:
To click or not to click.
Apple turns "survival of the fittest" into "arrival of the fittest."
It's unexpected and surprises the reader.
So this was fun.
But my fun has just begun.
Microcopy is 21st-century poetry.
I came as an Apple fanboy.
I leave as an Apple fanatic.
Now I’m off to find an apple tree.
Cause you know how it goes.
(Apples, trees, etc.)
This post is a summary. Original post available here.
3 months ago
# DeaMau5’s PIXELYNX and Beatport Launch Festival NFTs
Pixelynx, a music metaverse gaming platform, has teamed up with Beatport, an online music retailer focusing in electronic music, to establish a Synth Heads non-fungible token (NFT) Collection.
Richie Hawtin, aka Deadmau5, and Joel Zimmerman, nicknamed Pixelynx, have invented a new music metaverse game platform called Pixelynx. In January 2022, they released their first Beatport NFT drop, which saw 3,030 generative NFTs sell out in seconds.
The limited edition Synth Heads NFTs will be released in collaboration with Junction 2, the largest UK techno festival, and having one will grant fans special access tickets and experiences at the London-based festival.
Membership in the Synth Head community, day passes to the Junction 2 Festival 2022, Junction 2 and Beatport apparel, special vinyl releases, and continued access to future ticket drops are just a few of the experiences available.
Five lucky NFT holders will also receive a Golden Ticket, which includes access to a backstage artist bar and tickets to Junction 2's next large-scale London event this summer, in addition to full festival entrance for both days.
The Junction 2 festival will take place at Trent Park in London on June 18th and 19th, and will feature performances from Four Tet, Dixon, Amelie Lens, Robert Hood, and a slew of other artists. Holders of the original Synth Head NFT will be granted admission to the festival's guestlist as well as line-jumping privileges.
The new Synth Heads NFTs collection contain 300 NFTs.
NFTs that provide IRL utility are in high demand.
The benefits of NFT drops related to In Real Life (IRL) utility aren't limited to Beatport and Pixelynx.
Coachella, a well-known music event, recently partnered with cryptocurrency exchange FTX to offer free NFTs to 2022 pass holders. Access to a dedicated entry lane, a meal and beverage pass, and limited-edition merchandise were all included with the NFTs.
Coachella also has its own NFT store on the Solana blockchain, where fans can buy Coachella NFTs and digital treasures that unlock exclusive on-site experiences, physical objects, lifetime festival passes, and "future adventures."
Individual artists and performers have begun taking advantage of NFT technology outside of large music festivals like Coachella.
DJ Tisto has revealed that he would release a VIP NFT for his upcoming "Eagle" collection during the EDC festival in Las Vegas in 2022. This NFT, dubbed "All Access Eagle," gives collectors the best chance to get NFTs from his first drop, as well as unique access to the music "Repeat It."
NFTs are one-of-a-kind digital assets that can be verified, purchased, sold, and traded on blockchains, opening up new possibilities for artists and businesses alike. Time will tell whether Beatport and Pixelynx's Synth Head NFT collection will be successful, but if it's anything like the first release, it's a safe bet.
7 months ago
A Warm Welcome to Web3 and the Future of the Internet
Let's take a look back at the internet's history and see where we're going — and why.
Tim Berners Lee had a problem. He was at CERN, the world's largest particle physics factory, at the time. The institute's stated goal was to study the simplest particles with the most sophisticated scientific instruments. The institute completed the LEP Tunnel in 1988, a 27 kilometer ring. This was Europe's largest civil engineering project (to study smaller particles — electrons).
The problem Tim Berners Lee found was information loss, not particle physics. CERN employed a thousand people in 1989. Due to team size and complexity, people often struggled to recall past project information. While these obstacles could be overcome, high turnover was nearly impossible. Berners Lee addressed the issue in a proposal titled ‘Information Management'.
When a typical stay is two years, data is constantly lost. The introduction of new people takes a lot of time from them and others before they understand what is going on. An emergency situation may require a detective investigation to recover technical details of past projects. Often, the data is recorded but cannot be found. — Information Management: A Proposal
He had an idea. Create an information management system that allowed users to access data in a decentralized manner using a new technology called ‘hypertext'.
To quote Berners Lee, his proposal was “vague but exciting...”. The paper eventually evolved into the internet we know today. Here are three popular W3C standards used by billions of people today:
HTML (Hypertext Markup)
A web formatting language.
URI (Unique Resource Identifier)
Each web resource has its own “address”. Known as ‘a URL'.
HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol)
Retrieves linked resources from across the web.
These technologies underpin all computer work. They were the seeds of our quest to reorganize information, a task as fruitful as particle physics.
Tim Berners-Lee would probably think the three decades from 1989 to 2018 were eventful. He'd be amazed by the billions, the inspiring, the novel. Unlocking innovation at CERN through ‘Information Management'.
The fictional character would probably need a drink, walk, and a few deep breaths to fully grasp the internet's impact. He'd be surprised to see a few big names in the mix.
Then he'd say, "Something's wrong here."
We should review the web's history before going there. Was it a success after Berners Lee made it public? Web1 and Web2: What is it about what we are doing now that so many believe we need a new one, web3?
Per Outlier Ventures' Jamie Burke:
Web 1.0 was read-only.
Web 2.0 was the writable
Web 3.0 is a direct-write web.
Web1: The Read-Only Web
Web1 was the digital age. We put our books, research, and lives ‘online'. The web made information retrieval easier than any filing cabinet ever. Massive amounts of data were stored online. Encyclopedias, medical records, and entire libraries were put away into floppy disks and hard drives.
In 2015, the web had around 305,500,000,000 pages of content (280 million copies of Atlas Shrugged).
Initially, one didn't expect to contribute much to this database. Web1 was an online version of the real world, but not yet a new way of using the invention.
One gets the impression that the web has been underutilized by historians if all we can say about it is that it has become a giant global fax machine. — Daniel Cohen, The Web's Second Decade (2004)
That doesn't mean developers weren't building. The web was being advanced by great minds. Web2 was born as technology advanced.
Web2: Read-Write Web
Remember when you clicked something on a website and the whole page refreshed? Is it too early to call the mid-2000s ‘the good old days'?
Browsers improved gradually, then suddenly. AJAX calls augmented CGI scripts, and applications began sending data back and forth without disrupting the entire web page. One button to ‘digg' a post (see below). Web experiences blossomed.
In 2006, Digg was the most active ‘Web 2.0' site. (Photo: Ethereum Foundation Taylor Gerring)
Interaction was the focus of new applications. Posting, upvoting, hearting, pinning, tweeting, liking, commenting, and clapping became a lexicon of their own. It exploded in 2004. Easy ways to ‘write' on the internet grew, and continue to grow.
Facebook became a Web2 icon, where users created trillions of rows of data. Google and Amazon moved from Web1 to Web2 by better understanding users and building products and services that met their needs.
Business models based on Software-as-a-Service and then managing consumer data within them for a fee have exploded.
Web2 Emerging Issues
Unbelievably, an intriguing dilemma arose. When creating this read-write web, a non-trivial question skirted underneath the covers. Who owns it all?
You have no control over [Web 2] online SaaS. People didn't realize this because SaaS was so new. People have realized this is the real issue in recent years.
Even if these organizations have good intentions, their incentive is not on the users' side.
“You are not their customer, therefore you are their product,” they say. With Laura Shin, Vitalik Buterin, Unchained
A good plot line emerges. Many amazing, world-changing software products quietly lost users' data control.
For example: Facebook owns much of your social graph data. Even if you hate Facebook, you can't leave without giving up that data. There is no ‘export' or ‘exit'. The platform owns ownership.
While many companies can pull data on you, you cannot do so.
On the surface, this isn't an issue. These companies use my data better than I do! A complex group of stakeholders, each with their own goals. One is maximizing shareholder value for public companies. Tim Berners-Lee (and others) dislike the incentives created.
“Show me the incentive and I will show you the outcome.” — Berkshire Hathaway's CEO
It's easy to see what the read-write web has allowed in retrospect. We've been given the keys to create content instead of just consume it. On Facebook and Twitter, anyone with a laptop and internet can participate. But the engagement isn't ours. Platforms own themselves.
Web3: The ‘Unmediated’ Read-Write Web
Tim Berners Lee proposed a decade ago that ‘linked data' could solve the internet's data problem.
However, until recently, the same principles that allowed the Web of documents to thrive were not applied to data...
The Web of Data also allows for new domain-specific applications. Unlike Web 2.0 mashups, Linked Data applications work with an unbound global data space. As new data sources appear on the Web, they can provide more complete answers.
At around the same time as linked data research began, Satoshi Nakamoto created Bitcoin. After ten years, it appears that Berners Lee's ideas ‘link' spiritually with cryptocurrencies.
What should Web 3 do?
Here are some quick predictions for the web's future.
Users own information and provide it to corporations, businesses, or services that will benefit them.
No government, company, or institution should control your access to information (1, 2, 3)
Connect users and platforms:
Create symbiotic rather than competitive relationships between users and platform creators.
“First, the cryptonetwork-participant contract is enforced in open source code. Their voices and exits are used to keep them in check.” Dixon, Chris (4)
Transacting value, information, or assets with anyone with internet access, anywhere, at low cost
Giving you the ability to own, see, and understand your entire digital identity.
Not pull, push:
‘Push' your data to trusted sources instead of ‘pulling' it from others.
Where Does This Leave Us?
Change incentives, change the world. Nick Babalola
People believe web3 can help build a better, fairer system. This is not the same as equal pay or outcomes, but more equal opportunity.
It should be noted that some of these advantages have been discussed previously. Will the changes work? Will they make a difference? These unanswered questions are technical, economic, political, and philosophical. Unintended consequences are likely.
We hope Web3 is a more democratic web. And we think incentives help the user. If there’s one thing that’s on our side, it’s that open has always beaten closed, given a long enough timescale.
We are at the start.