Something you all may or may not know about me is that I am a big fan of Mexican food. Well, I say that but I suspect what I’m really a fan of is American Mexican food, which is probably a different thing.
Growing up we had your standard Family Taco Night fairly regularly – hard shelled tacos, ground beef, the quintessential starter taco.
I’m not ashamed to admit that Taco Bell introduced me to soft tacos. I had to learn about them somewhere, and I think at the end of the day Taco Bell as a gateway drug into new taco horizons is an acceptable origin story.
Continue reading “Feasting and Flexible Work”
This piece was first delivered to the plebe class at the United States Military Academy at West Point in October 2009. It’s a really marvelous piece of thinking that I find myself returning to whenever I need to reset my professional or personal compass.
Continue reading “Worth Reading: Solitude in Leadership”
Over the last month or so, I’ve been working closely with our Mobile development folks to take a closer look at the way we provide support for and through our apps.
One of the greatest points that was illustrated to me very clearly was one that I’d heard probably a hundred times before but never really internalized: Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
What do I mean when I say this? Let’s take a look at the Android and iOS Forums for the WordPress App. Here’s Android. Here’s iOS. These forums are not what you’d call super active support forums – maybe 2-3 posts and replies a day, all answered fairly quickly and accurately by folks who can help.
When I started in with the mobile support work, I imagined that the response from customers to our in-app help option would be fairly similar – low-volume, fairly straightforward, entirely in a language I speak and understand.
This was wrong – very wrong. Our in-app support (powered by Helpshift) received 1400 support requests last week. That’s 200 new issues opened every day, larger than our forum activity by an order of magnitude.
By including access to support within the application itself, we lowered the barrier of entry, and suddenly we found ourselves with truckloads more support requests – requests that we never would have had access to using only forum-based support. While it may be more work in terms of sheer reply volume, it is also offers far more insight into the app and our customers, and we are already improving the app experience using these new insights.
Assuming that the low volume of support requests in the forums indicated a low level of demand for support was an example of confusing an absence of evidence for evidence of absence. Simply because we did not see them, or offer them an outlet to be heard, did not mean that that need for support did not exist.
Remember that your customers might have needs and questions you’re not hearing because they don’t know how to tell you. How can you listen in a new way?
RULE ONE: Find a place you trust, and then try trusting it for awhile.
RULE TWO: General duties of a student — pull everything out of your teacher; pull everything out of your fellow students.
RULE THREE: General duties of a teacher — pull everything out of your students.
RULE FOUR: Consider everything an experiment.
RULE FIVE: Be self-disciplined — this means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way.
RULE SIX: Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail, there’s only make.
RULE SEVEN: The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It’s the people who do all of the work all of the time who eventually catch on to things.
RULE EIGHT: Don’t try to create and analyze at the same time. They’re different processes.
RULE NINE: Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It’s lighter than you think.
RULE TEN: “We’re breaking all the rules. Even our own rules. And how do we do that? By leaving plenty of room for X quantities.” (John Cage)
HINTS: Always be around. Come or go to everything. Always go to classes. Read anything you can get your hands on. Look at movies carefully, often. Save everything — it might come in handy later.
From the always fascinating Corita Kent.
subtitled; Knowledge Workers are still Workers
I will start by warning you that this is a fairly long piece for this blog, and earnest. You’ll find no animated GIFs beyond.
What I Read to Get Here
I recently read a pair of articles, one about Medium’s internal structure, and one about the new internal structure at Zappos. This is interesting because both of these companies are signing on for a new idea; Holacracy.
I’ll be referring to both of those articles and the Holacracy site and wiki. I’ll try to use quotations liberally so that you don’t have to read those pieces if you don’t want to – I’ll keep them in context, and I won’t try to make the quotes say or mean things that they don’t. Even so, for the full picture, you should read at least the two articles yourself.
Continue reading “Holacracy, Flat Hierarchy, and You”