Smart Casual v. Business Casual: A primer on how to decode what it means when your company sends a email saying “wear smart casual” for an after work happy hour.
How Not to Bomb Your Offer Negotiation: A good negotiator is empathetic and collaborative. They don’t try to control you or issue ultimatums. Rather, they try to think creatively about how to fulfill both your and their needs. So when you think of negotiating a job offer, don’t imagine haggling over a used car. Think more like negotiating dinner plans with a group of friends, and you’ll fare much better.
There are many dimensions to a job negotiation: salary, signing bonuses, stock, year-end or performance bonuses, commuter benefits, relocation expenses, equipment, an educational stipend, a childcare stipend, extra vacation time, a later start date, getting a dedicated hour a day to work out or study or meditate or play solitaire.
You could choose which team you’re assigned to, what your first project will be, what technologies you’ll be working with, and sometimes even choose your title. Maybe you’re a frosting person, and the company is more into cherries. You never know if you don’t ask.
As we wrap up 2016, I’ve been reflective on how I lived my 2016 and how I want to live my 2017. I found many nuggets of inspirations in Creative Inc. by Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar, on how to better manage people, organizations, and our work lives. He is an amazing storyteller and distilled many truths about creating and maintaining a creative, innovative, and inclusive culture. Many of these thoughts resonated a lot with me on a personal level as well. Here are nine notes of inspiration to be a better you in 2017.
WORK: NURTURING TEAMS OF TOMORROW
Many people ask, what is more important – people or ideas? Ed’s answer is: people, because ideas originate from people. Ideas do not self-generate.
CREATE GREAT TEAMS FOR GREAT IDEAS: Give an idea to a mediocre team, and they will screw it up. Give a mediocre idea to a great team, and they will either fix it or come up with something better. If you get the team right, chances, are that they’ll get the ideas right.
HIRE FOR POTENTIAL: When looking to hire people, give their potential to grow more weight than their current skill level. What they will be capable of tomorrow is more important than what they can do today.
MAKE IT SAFE TO TAKE RISKS: It’s not the manager’s job to prevent risks. It is the manager’s job to make it safe to take them.
LIFE: FAIL OFTEN AND CHEAPLY
We grow up striving to succeed. Success is equated with not failing. However, if we are always afraid to fail, we may not grow to become greater than who are now. Perhaps the real recipe to success is to make the cost of failure low, so we can fail often. That way, we can learn from them more easily and build something that we couldn’t have fathomed before.
MEASURE PROBLEMS SOLVED NOT MISTAKES: The desire for everything to run smoothly is a false goal – it leads to measuring people by the mistakes they make rather than by their ability to solve problems.
FAIL – TO DO SOMETHING NEW: Failure isn’t a necessary evil. It is a necessary consequence of doing something new.
FIX ON THE CHEAP: The cost of preventing errors is often far greater than the cost of fixing them.
RELATIONSHIPS: TRUST, TRANSPARENCY, AND BALANCE
We equate trust to not failing – like I trust you not to let me down. However, we are human and sometimes fail to live up to our promises. So trust in your family, your significant other, your friends, and your colleagues, mean that you trust them to do the best they can. If they screw up, you trust them to try their best to fix it. You trust them to be authentic and transparent with you.
TRUST EVEN WHEN THEY SCREW UP: Trust doesn’t mean that you trust that someone won’t screw up – it means you trust them even when they do screw up.
SHOW EARLY AND OFTEN: Don’t wait for things to be perfect before you share them with others. Show early and show often. It’ll be pretty when you get there, but it won’t be pretty along the way. And that’s as it should be.
FIND BALANCE, NOT STABILITY: Do not accidentally make stability a goal. Balance is more important than stability.
Do you agree with these points? Do you have others to add? Feel free to comment.
After reading a thoughtful book, I find it tough to remember what I actually read a couple of weeks later. So after reading Zero to One by Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and Palantir, I decided to write down three nuggets for entrepreneurs worthy to chew over. If you don’t see yourself as an entrepreneur, take advice from Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn: we are all entrepreneurs of not only our businesses, but also our personal and professional lives.
Are We Making Vertical or Horizontal Progress?
I tend to think about progress as generally making something faster and better – faster computers or higher buildings. However, Thiel splits it into two:
Horizontal progress (traditional idea of progress) is replication or globalization. China built railroads and cities in 20 years that took the United States 100 years by copying. But is there anything new here?
Vertical progress (technological progress) are new inventions that change the way we live: the wheel, horse-drawn carriages, automobiles, planes, rockets, and computers.
Entrepreneurs make vertical progress. Most large corporations make horizontal progress.
Is the Future Definite or Indefinite? Optimistic or Pessimistic?
The view in China is definite and pessimistic. Its economy has been growing in leaps and bounds, but by following the footsteps of American growth the past century. Rapid growth is unsustainable, so what is next?
American baby boomers saw the world as definite and optimistic. Job security is guaranteed as long as you worked hard and moved up the ranks.
Europe is currently in an indefinite and pessimistic mood. The population is aging and growth is slowing, but unsure of what will happen.
Americans are indefinitely optimistic. College graduates are taught to diversify their skill sets and wear many hats. Who knows where the bright future will take them next?
These views lead us to the power law, which advises you to make as few investments as possible because 20% of investments reap you 80% of the benefits (Pareto). So should we invest our money and time in a few successful endeavors or in many to hedge our bets? Which view is best to navigate today’s world?
How Do We Uncover the World’s Secrets to Find Success? There are three different types of goals:
“Goals that can be satisfied with minimal effort”
“Goals that can be satisfied with serious effort”
“Goals that cannot be satisfied, no matter how much effort one makes”
Entrepreneurs who find goals that can be satisfied with serious effort are the Facebooks and Googles of today.
Do you agree with Thiel’s interpretation of the entrepreneurial world? Are there other concepts you found helpful in starting and managing your business or career?
You have the highest stress levels 25-34 years, with a steep drop after 55.
Women experience greater levels of stress.
Stress levels decrease with greater education and higher income.
WEALTHIEST ZIP CODES: The top five zip codes in America with the highest average income probably won’t surprise you: three of the five are in New York City, while one is in Miami Beach.
Washington, D.C. 20510 ranks as the wealthiest zip code in the District, with an average income of $191,818.
Maryland, Gibson Island, 21056 has an average income of $450,012.
Virginia, Roanoke 24005 has an average income of $394,400
Florida, Miami Beach 33109 with a stunning $2,180,105 in average income.
New York City has the wealthiest zip code (10104), with an average income of $2,976,929.
HOW MUCH DO YOU MAKE? Nearly 73% of full-time workers aren’t comfortable with the idea of discussing their pay with anyone at work other than their boss or the HR department. Only 13% said they’d be “completely comfortable” with sharing such information more broadly, recognizing that it might offer workers better leverage in negotiations. The remaining 14% or so said they would be comfortable discussing their salaries with close colleagues, but not their wider team.
Women were slightly more uncomfortable than men with the idea of sharing what they make, despite what they might stand to gain from doing so. About 74.5% of the women in the sample said they were uncomfortable talking about it with anyone other than a supervisor or HR, compared with 70% of the men.
There was a little more variation, meanwhile, among age groups. Respondents aged 25 to 34 were most likely to welcome the idea of talking openly about their pay. 34% said they were either completely comfortable with it or would do so with close colleagues, compared to 27% of all ages surveyed.
1) Draw a Venn Diagram
2) Translate percentages into fractions
3) Encourage everyone to “take a step back”
4) Nod continuously while taking notes
5) Repeat the last thing the engineer said very very slowly
6) Ask “will this scale?” no matter what it is
7) Pace around the room
8) As the presenter go back a slide
9) Step out for a very important phone call
10) Make fun of yourself