People are still talking about Yahoo’s $1.1 billion purchase of Tumblr. For example, here’s a great post from Tumblr’s first employee, Marco Arment.
People are still talking about Yahoo’s $1.1 billion purchase of Tumblr. For example, here’s a great post from Tumblr’s first employee, Marco Arment.
The big news from over the weekend is that Yahoo’s board has reportedly approved the plan to buy Tumblr for $1.1 billion in cash. Tumblr’s board has reportedly agreed to the deal, too.
It’ll be interesting to see how Yahoo deals with all the porn stored on Tumblr. There’s a lot. Sometime in 2011, people started searching more for “tumblr porn” than “torrent porn.”
Jolla, a startup out of Finland, just launched a new smartphone platform. This is the first phone for it.
Pinterest made its “pins” more useful. Users can pin easier from mobile, and pins now come in optional categories like movies, recipes, and products. Obviously there are some monetization benefits here for Pinterest.
Is that a miracle or pure random chance? Or, perhaps, it’s a really great strategy.
I just heard a story from a friend of mine. She knows a guy who’s been out of a job for over a year. He spent the year working on his resume and sending it out. He’s on Internet job sites every day. He tries to meet with people when there’s the opportunity but there aren’t a lot of opportunities these days. And he’s getting more and more depressed. It’s hard to get out of bed but he does. He puts on a suit and tie, sits at his computer, and looks. Eventually, he figures, he’ll find a job. I’m sure he’s right.
The sad truth is that there aren’t many jobs out there. And most people feel beat down and discouraged about our current economic situation. Most have already accepted the fact that we are in this rut for the long haul.
The same applies to companies who have lost clients, whose revenues are down, who are scrambling for business. It’s a scary economic environment out there.
I was talking about this with a close friend of mine who holds a senior position at a large consulting firm. He sounded down—not depressed—but uninspired. We were commiserating about the environment when he said, “We’re going after anything that’s out there. This is not the time to be choosy. It’s not fun.”
We need to realize that there’s another way to go through these times with less pain and more success. There is a way to increase our chances of getting that job, of winning a new client and maybe even enjoying it.
Let go. Not completely, but mostly. Stop trying so hard. At most, spend 1-2 hours a day on it. Here are a few rules:
• Write your resume quickly and efficiently. Get the basic point across and then let it go. Same with a cover letter. Your resume is not going to get you a job. If you’re a company, the same holds true for your marketing materials. I’m sure they’re already good enough.
• Don’t spend time on job sites. It’s highly unlikely, with all the people who are looking, that someone will hire someone they don’t already know (or someone they know doesn’t already know). Same goes for companies: don’t respond to RFPs unless you already have the relationship.
• Spend all your hunting time with people: at lunch, on the phone, going for walks. Finding a job or new clients is all about human relationships.
If you aren’t going to spend all your time looking for work, how will you find it? Try these:
1. Make a list of all the things you love doing or things that intrigue you that you’d like to try doing. This is brainstorming so don’t limit the list or judge it; write down everything you can think of.
2. Separate the activities you do with people from the activities you do alone. For example, gardening, reading, meditating, and writing are alone activities. Volunteering to run a fundraiser is with people.
3. Look at the activities you do alone and figure out if you can (and want to) do them in a way that includes other people. For example, join a garden club. Or a reading or meditation group. Or write something that other people read (a blog counts). If you can (and want to) make them activities that include other people, keep them on the list. If not, then cross them off the list.
4. Now’s the fun part: Spend 90% of your time doing things you love (or have always wanted to try) with other people who also love doing those things. If possible, take a leadership role.
A good friend of mine has recently gotten involved in a charity organization she adores. So she met with them and offered to help in whatever way they needed. She’s now leading a monthly strategy breakfast with the volunteers and leaders of the organization. I’ve never seen her so excited.
A company I know is doing pro bono work for charities and the government. Everyone working on those projects is energized.
Why does this work? Woody Allen once said that eighty percent of success is just showing up. In my early career, a great mentor of mine told me to join the boards of not-for-profits and do what I do best for them. Other board members will then see the results and want to hire me or my company to do the same for them and their companies. That’s the obvious reason.
Here’s the more subtle reason this works. Nobody wants to hire someone (or a company) who needs to be hired to survive. Depressed is not attractive. People want to hire energized people who are passionate and excited about what they’re doing. Jobs come from being engaged in the world and building human connections.
Plus, if you’re passionate about what you’re doing, and you’re doing it with other people who are passionate about what they’re doing, then chances are the work you eventually find will be more in line with the stuff you love to do. And then … then your life changes (not to be too dramatic but it’s true). No longer are you, like my consulting friend said, “Going after anything that’s out there.” You’re using this crisis as an opportunity to do work you love, at which you excel, with the people you enjoy. You can’t help but succeed.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking: that’s a fine strategy if you’re independently wealthy, getting that nice fat trust fund check every week to pay for your gym membership (or mortgage or kid’s tuition). What about the rest of us? Our inability to pay the monthly bills might actually intrude on our ability to “enjoy” unemployment. I know how scary it is to be without an income.
And that fear is what you have to manage because here’s the kicker - It won’t take longer to find a job even though you’re spending less time looking. It’ll take you less time.
Pursuing things you love doing with people you enjoy will position you better to get a job; other people will notice your commitment, passion, skill, and personality and they’ll want to either hire you or help you get hired.
Also, actively pursuing other activities while looking for a job will make you more qualified for a job. Because in the end, you’ll be a more interesting person as you were when you started your search. When you finally get that job interview, you’ll be able to recount all the many things you’ve been doing (and will probably have a good time relating them) instead of saying that the only thing you’ve been doing for the past three years is looking (unsuccessfully so far) for a job.
The same holds true if you’re a company looking for business. Spend your time doing things that will make you a more interesting company to hire when the business comes back.
And even if it took the same amount of time to find a job, wouldn’t you rather spend your time doing things that are interesting with people you enjoy? Life is too short to stress out. Let go and enjoy the ride.
I just heard the story of a woman who decided to do work she didn’t enjoy for a few years in order to make a lot of money. Three years later the company went bankrupt. That could happen to anyone - Bad luck. But here’s what she said that I found the most depressing: “It’s as though I didn’t work for the last three years - it’s all gone. And what’s worse, I worked like a dog and hated it. I just wasted three years of my life.” Sounds familiar?
Take this opportunity. We need to do our job search or client search. But do it in a way that excites you. That teaches you new things. That introduces you to new people who see you at your natural, most excited, most powerful best. Use and develop your strengths. Show the things at which you excel. The things you love.
It’s well known that it’s unlikely you’ll get into a relationship if all you think about is getting into a relationship. The same holds true for finding a job (or, for a company, finding new business). However hard it may be, force yourself to do things you love with other people. Let the work find you.
What is authentic leadership?
It continues to surprise me how many leaders attempt to be one way at work, while their “true” personality emerges outside of work. Once a CEO reminded me, “Leadership is acting.” And it surprises me when these same leaders seem shocked or confused when their employees don’t trust them, don’t like them, and can’t really wait to work elsewhere.
Authenticity has been explored throughout history, from Greek philosophers to the work of Shakespeare (“To thy own self be true.” –Polonius, Hamlet). Authentic leadership has been explored sporadically as part of modern management science, but found its highest levels of acceptance since Bill George’s 2003 book, Authentic Leadership.
But what is authentic leadership?
While different theorists have different slants on the concept, most agree that:
1. Authentic leaders are self-aware and genuine. Authentic leaders are self-actualized individuals who are aware of their strengths, their limitations, and their emotions. They also show their real selves to their followers. They do not act one way in private and another in public; they don’t hide their mistakes or weaknesses out of fear of looking weak. They also realize that being self-actualized is an endless journey, never complete.
2. Authentic leaders are mission driven and focused on results. They are able to put the mission and the goals of the organization ahead of their own self-interest. They do the job in pursuit of results, not for their own power, money or ego.
3. Authentic leaders lead with their heart, not just their minds. They are not afraid to show their emotions, their vulnerability and to connect with their employees. This does not mean authentic leaders are “soft.” In fact communicating in a direct manner is critical to successful outcomes, but it’s done with empathy; directness without empathy is cruel.
4. Authentic leaders focus on the long-term. A key tenet in Bill George’s model is the company leaders are focused on long-term shareholder value, not in just beating quarterly estimates. Just as George did as CEO of Medtronic MDT +1.16%, and as Bezos has done for years at Amazon, leaders realize that to nurture individuals and to nurture a company requires hard work and patience, but the approach pays large dividends over time.
Don’t forget the tax consequences of your wellness program (for both you as the employer and your employees)! says Jones.
Employers should obtain guidance from a tax professional before offering a wellness program, as tax laws are complex and change frequently.
Taxation of fringe benefits—just one more daily challenge. In HR, if it’s not one thing, it’s another. Like FMLA intermittent leave, overtime hassles, ADA accommodation, and then on top of that, whatever the agencies and courts throw in your way.
The summer job market is upon us, and the good news is that there are likely to be more openings. The most recent annual summer jobs survey by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas found that even after a sharp increase in teen employment last summer, more openings are likely this year.
A second survey, by snagajob.com, an hourly employment network, found that 19 percent of the hiring managers who responded plan to hire summer help, up from 9 percent in 2012, and more of them think it will be “easy” for teens to find work.
That’s a good thing, since these days, high school and college students aren’t the only ones looking for summer employment. With so many people over 60 out of work for lengthy periods or looking for supplemental income, the jobs competition between teens and older workers may be heated.
“I’d be foolish to say they don’t compete with each other,” said Kerry Hannon, the author of “Great Jobs for Everyone 50+.”
Hannon says older workers are attracted to a wide range of seasonal jobs, some of which draw younger workers as well. “When they do job fairs for Major League Baseball and amusement parks like Six Flags, you see a lot of retirees showing up to apply,” she said. But older workers also seek opportunities that younger applicants may skip, like work in RV parks that enables them to go cruising over the summer, or hiring themselves out as summer tutors.
In any case, high school and college students seeking jobs may have less competition than they think from their peers. In 2012, only 1.2 million indicated they wanted jobs, according to Challenger, Gray.
“We’re not in a culture where students work as teens the way they used to. When I grew up, you worked at drugstores and grocery stores and clothes stores. I painted houses and I mowed lawns,” said John Challenger, chief executive of Challenger, Gray. “It’s not as built into the culture today. They go to summer school. They go to camps.”
One company that regularly adds to its workforce in the summer months is Home Depot. The company recently announced it will take on 80,000 seasonal workers this summer, up from the roughly 70,000 it added last summer.
“Spring is our Christmas,” said Stephen Holmes, a company spokesman, adding that the retailer has openings for everything from “loaders in the garden centers to cashiers to sales associates.”
There are also plenty of entrepreneurial opportunities, Challenger said. “Teens that have technical skills, programming skills, even Power Point skills, can do tech service and support. They can really find some high paying jobs that used to not really be available to teens.”
For more conventional jobs closer to home, both Challenger and Hannon stress that if possible, it’s best to meet potential employers in person rather than applying online.
“Go talk to the store manager or retailer. Meet them in person and offer to help during hectic times. Point out that you have flexible hours,” particularly if you are an older worker, Hannon said.
Challenger offers similar advice to teens. “Go to the mall, early or late in the day, ask if you can meet the store manager, and tell them you’d be interested in working there,” he said. And since dressing for a job interview can be tough the first time around, Challenger suggested that young job seekers “go and check out how other people working in the store are dressing and try to fit that dress. Show that you can fit in.”
Also, since dependability is not necessarily a hallmark of adolescence, Challenger suggests addressing it head on. “Make sure to tell them you will be reliable,” he said. “You don’t have to have much experience. Make sure you say you can be on time, be someone they can count on.”
You’re likely to work for plenty of bad managers in your career. If you’re lucky, you’ll also get to work for some good ones. Here are eight signs that you have a great boss:
1. Great bosses tell you where you stand. They’re clear about what you do well and where you need to improve, and they’re also clear about how you’re doing overall. You never need to wonder what they think of you.
2. Great bosses stand up for you. If your boss’s boss or someone in another area of the company is making unreasonable demands, they intervene. If you haven’t had a vacation in a year, they make sure you get one. And if you need particular resources to do your job better, they find a way to get them for you.
3. Great bosses don’t avoid difficult decisions. They know that their job is to solve problems, not avoid them, so they’re willing to have to have tough conversations, make decisions that may be unpopular, and enforce standards and consequences.
4. Great bosses know how to get things done in your organization. There’s no overstating the value of manager who knows how to make things happen, whether it’s expediting a production process, adding a new staff position, or replacing that incompetent assistant.
5. Great bosses value the right things. They favor people who do good work, not personal friends or suck-ups.
6. Great bosses are challenging while still being reasonable. A great manager will hold people to high standards, but won’t demand the impossible or insist that an employee work all weekend for something that easily could wait.
7. Great bosses make it safe for you to be honest with them. Rather than getting defensive or shutting out differing opinions, they create an environment where employees aren’t afraid to say that something is a bad idea or that a deadline is unreasonable. In fact, you may hear them thanking a staff member for sharing complaints or concerns—and they really mean it.
8. Great bosses know when to cut you some slack and when to push you harder. They get to know you well enough to recognize when to challenge you to do better—but will also make life easier on you when you need it (for instance, if you’re dealing with stress in your personal life).
If you have a boss who fits the picture above, let him or her know! They rarely hear it enough.
These books reveal the truth of how organizations really work, and it’s not pretty.
As anyone who reads this column knows, I’m a huge proponent of positive thinking. However, positive thinking is delusional unless it’s based upon a clear understanding of how the business world really works.
Put another way: We can’t make the world a better place unless we can first see things as they really are. I’ve already pointed you at the “Top 10 Motivational Books of All Time” in order to help you prepare to make the world for the better.
The books on this list show you exactly what we’re up against.
10. How to Lie With Statistics
Darrell Huff’s classic 1954 tome explains how business people, politicians, and the news media misuse “the truth” specifically to mislead. As a touchstone and reality check, this book keeps you from being duped by others. As a weapon, this book gives you vast power over the ignorant masses. Please handle with great care.
Best quote: ”A well-wrapped statistic is better than Hitler’s ‘big lie’; it misleads, yet it cannot be pinned on you.”
9. The No Asshole Rule
As much as we all wish it were different, there’s no denying that some people are jerks and that sometimes we’re going to end up working with them. The expletive in the title sets the tone for this book, which also provides suggestions for avoiding, transcending, or even utilizing these inevitable corporate sphincters.
Best quote: ”Two-faced backstabbers…who have enough skill and emotional control to save their dirty work for moments when they can’t get caught, are tougher to stop—even though they may do as much damage as a raging maniac.”
8. The 4-Hour Workweek
Hard work and long hours are the key to success, right? Well, maybe not. In this widely praised (and criticized) book, author Timothy Ferriss asks you to rethink the concept of work, revealing the sad truth that 90 percent of what you’re doing may be not just unnecessary but actually detrimental to achieving the life you desire.
Best quote: “Alternating periods of activity and rest is necessary to survive, let alone thrive. Capacity, interest, and mental endurance all wax and wane. Plan accordingly.”
7. The Peter Principle
Most businesses aspire to create meritocracies where the brightest get promoted while the mediocre get culled out of the company. Unfortunately, there’s a downside to this strategy, according to authors Laurence Peter and Raymond Hull. As companies grow and change, all staff members (including CEOs) end up in over their heads.
Best quote: ”Anything that works will be used in progressively more challenging applications until it fails.”
6. Crazy Bosses
The business press tends to lionize the heads of large corporations, treating them as giants among the rest of us mere mortals. This classic by Stanley Bing reveals the petty side of corporate privilege: the extreme narcissism of the powerful and privileged psychopaths who’ve clawed their way to the top.
Best quote: ”After nearly 6,000 years of evidence on the subject, one thing stands clear: the people who end up as leaders in any organization, large or small, are often the craziest guys around.”
5. 21 Dirty Tricks at Work
In this horribly fascinating book, authors Mike Phipps and Colin Gautrey explain the most common ways that bosses, co-workers, and employees attempt to manipulate one another. More important, it provides specific advice for thwarting these attempts and getting what you want at work.
Best quote: ”Dirty tricks are more than just a career-threatening nuisance; they also form part of the political backdrop to all the great recent organizational scandals.”
4. Don’t Bring It to Work
Ever wonder why some people act childishly at work? Wonder no more. Workplaces have a tendency to reproduce the family dynamics of the people who work there, explains author Sylvia LaFair. She describes the dysfunctional types, then provides suggestions to help them evolve beyond their emotional limitations.
Best quote: ”The reason most organizational programs abort is that they fail to deal with our life patterns, which are at the foundation of workplace anxiety, tension and conflict.”
3. Poorly Made in China
According to author Paul Midler, the real story behind outsourcing to China isn’t how much cheaper it is to manufacture there; it’s how Chinese manufacturers destroy product quality and weaken brand names. Once you read this, you’ll know why just about everything you can buy in the U.S. (but made in China) feels like a second-rate replica.
Best quote: ”American companies…were no match for savvy Chinese industrialists who often went out of their way to manipulate product specifications to widen profit margins.”
2. The Complete Yes Minister
Based on the acclaimed BBC TV program of the 1980s, this hilarious book describes exactly how faceless, nameless bureaucrats wield the vast power of inertia to frustrate attempts by clueless “leaders” to move organizations in new directions. Read it once, read it twice, and you won’t get fooled again.
Best quote: ”It’s called ‘the law of inverse relevance’: the less you intend to do about something, the more you have to keep talking about it.”
1. The Dilbert Principle
Still one of the best (and certainly the funniest) business books ever written. Author and cartoonist Scott Adams looks into the very soul of the business world and captures the absurdity of much that takes place there, puncturing every bloated corporate balloon that ever floated past a cubicle.
Best quote: ”We’re a planet of nearly six billion ninnies living in a civilization that was created by a few thousand amazingly smart deviants.”
Source: Inc Magazine
Surprisingly, the best price and best value is at the bottom of the customer’s priority list. See what’s at the top.
Why does a customer buy from one vendor rather than another? According to research recently conducted by The Rain Group (detailed report here), customers tend to buy from sellers who are superlative at the following tasks:
If customers could diagnose their own problems and come up with workable solutions on their own, they would do so. The reason that they’re turning to you and your firm is that they’re stuck and need your help. Therefore, you must be able to bring something new to the table.
Customers absolutely do NOT want you to sell them something, even something that’s wonderful. They want you to work with them to achieve a mutual goal, by being responsive to the customer’s concerns and ways of doing business. Ideally, customers want you to become integral to their success.
Customers will not buy from you if you can’t persuade them that you, your firm, and your firms offerings will truly achieve the promised results. It is nearly impossible to persuade a customer to believe in these things unless you yourself believe in them. You must make your confidence contagious.
When they’re describing themselves and their needs, customers sense immediatelywhen somebody is just waiting for a break in the conversation in order to launch into a sales pitch. In order to really listen, you must suppress your own inner-voice and forget your goals. It’s about the customer, not about you.
It’s not enough to “connect the dots” between customer needs and your company’s offering. You must also connect with the individuals who will be affected by your offering, and understand how buying from you will satisfy their personal needs, like career advancement and job security.
Here’s where many sellers fall flat. Customers know that every business decision entails risk but they also want your help to minimize that risk. They want to know what could go wrong and what has gone wrong in similar situations, and what steps you’re taking to make sure these problems won’t recur.
Solution selling is definitely not dead. Customers want and expect you to have the basic selling skill of defining and proposing a workable solution. What’s different now though is that the ability to do this is the “price of entry” and not enough, by itself, to win in a competitive sales situation.
Customers hate it when sellers dance around issues like price, discounts, availability, total cost, add-on options, and so forth. They want you to be able to tell them, in plain and simple language, what’s involved in a purchase and how that purchase will take place. No surprises. No last minute upsells.
Ultimately, every selling situation involves making a connection between two individuals who like and trust each other. As a great sales guru once said: “All things being equal, most people would rather buy from somebody they like… and that’s true even when all things aren’t equal.”
And here, finally, at the No. 10 spot (below everything else) comes the price and how that price compares to similar offerings. Unless you can prove that buying from you is the right business decision for the customer, the customer can and should buy elsewhere.
Facebook is reportedly trying to buy Israeli mapping startup Waze for $1 billion. Here’s a little analysis on why.
Now that it’s doing a lot more digital video, the WSJ would like its reporters to look better in front of the camera, please – “neat and professional dress, combed hair…”
If, for some inexplicable reason, you ever wanted a TV that bends Samsung has a patent on the technology. Something we can expect in the Galaxy S…10?
Wellness programs are growing in popularity and many are effective at keeping employees healthier and reducing employer costs, says attorney Mark Jones, but you have to “put on your lawyer hat” to avoid legal entanglements.
Generally, wellness programs are healthcare options that employers offer to employees to reduce preventable illnesses. They offer obvious benefits to the employee—better health—and benefits to the employer—lower costs and reduced absenteeism.
Common wellness programs include:
Put your lawyer hat on and look at this list. Which are likely to cause the employer problems from sharing private data? The number one culprit is health risk assessments and number two is biometric testing.
An employee goes to a health fair and a screening shows a risk factor, say high cholesterol or high blood pressure. The employee doesn’t get an expected promotion. There may be a suspicion that because of the information uncovered at the health fair, the employee didn’t get the promotion.
So companies need to design programs in a way that ensures that information is kept confidential, Jones says.
And which items on the list are most likely to cause problems with discrimination? It’s when there is a financial incentive, he says. For example:
Different programs have different tax implications, says Jones. For example, employees given a discount for gym membership are subject to tax on the discount. However, a $100 contribution to an employee’s FSA shouldn’t be taxable as long as employer has complied with all requirements.
HR budget cuts? Let us help. email@example.com
Despite employers’ best intentions, workplace wellness programs can lead to unintended legal consequences. For example:
The Pension Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) contain several provisions that could positively affect your workplace wellness programs:
Seff vs. Broward County, Florida, an 11th Circuit Court decision in August 2012, helps to clarify the issue of cash rewards and penalties, says Jones.
In the case, employees had a lot of costs related to diabetes and high cholesterol, so the county decided to make an additional $20 biweekly payroll deduction on county employees who did not complete a health risk assessment and biometric testing during open enrollment.
Employees who didn’t want to participate claimed that the penalty violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The finding (upheld on appeal) was that the wellness program did not violate the ADA because it is:
Find out what the buzz is all about. Get a free HE Assessment HERE solve your top problem, and get a complimentary gift.
Wellness programs provided under a group health plan are subject to the following new privacy requirements (effective March 26, 2013):