“Fabulous.You sir are exactly the type of patron that I never want to see at an Alamo Drafthouse ever again. People who continue to talk when the movie has started are impolite, self-absorbed losers who were never taught common decency by their parents. WE DON’T EVER WANT YOU AT THE ALAMO. Please take your business elsewhere for the rest of your life….To our friendly customers, stay vigilant, report talkers and keep our theater safe from the raging hemorrhoids of cinematic society.”—TIm League’s response to a loud-mouth passerby who disrupted the movie-wtching experience for others at the Alamo Drafthouse. Kicking out unwanted customers: Church of the Customer Blog
“Dude," said one of my colleagues at Gap. "This place messes with time. It slows down, it crawls, it moves backward." He was right: At Gap (we were told to never call it "the" Gap) my chief duty was to fold clothing that had been unfolded by customers, a Sisyphean task. Sisyphus, you might recall, was condemned by the gods to keep rolling a boulder up a hill for eternity. And that’s just what working at Gap felt like: an eternity. This was also true of working at Enterprise rental car and Starbucks, where all of our movements were measured and monetized. Perceptions of time, I found, are closely linked to the employees’ feeling of freedom: The more constrained the environment, the slower things moved, and the less happy employees were.
In contrast, work at the Apple Store was set up so you were focused on accomplishing goals, not filling up time. At Apple, most product layout was left to one “visual merchandiser” who was passionate about keeping the store neat, leaving others like me to interact with customers, share information, and be ourselves instead of following a script. I was judged about what I did instead of how I did it. By having long leashes, Apple employees could forget about the hours and get into the “flow” state, so well articulated by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, in which one is “completely involved in an activity for its own sake.”—For those who remember Po Bronson of early Silicon Valley days, you’ll appreciate journalist Alex Frankel’s account of his experience working in various companies to uncover why employees at Apple, Container Store, UPS were happier than others (Gap). The key, he thinks, is they engender Flow, Fostering Authenticity and Finding the Right Match when cultivating their culture. Greater Good Magazine | Working for Happiness
Maybe I’m being weirdly English, or uptight, or just me, but it feels like everyone playing the game has their own idea of what kinds of places you can check in to. Should you check in when you get to work? When you’re at the supermarket? What about at home?
If one person is checking in to every building they enter, while another is only doing so in more sociable places — pubs, restaurants, etc — then the latter is never going to do well. And so they either have to live with the fact they’re a low-scoring loser or stop playing the game.
If Twitter gives you the fluffy, qualitative inkling that others are probably having more fun than you, Foursquare gives you the certain, quantitative assurance that they really are having more fun. Just look at the numbers! Either that or they’re cheating.
So, while I initially thought the points were a good incentive, maybe they’re not helping.
“NYC-area startup Aviary, which makes Web-based creative software, has raised $7 million in Series B financing.
The best way to think of Aviary is as a less-expensive, less-complex, Web 2.0 version of Adobe’s creative suite. (Potential acquirers could include Adobe, Microsoft, Google, or even Apple.)
Today we announced Spark’s investment in Aviary (www.aviary.com) – a pioneering suite of digital creation and editing tools in the cloud. With this investment, we join a terrific team of existing investors including Bezos Expeditions and a prominent network of angel investors who continue to be engaged in the business.
Aviary’s business is exciting on two primary fronts. Firstly, Aviary is fundamentally democratizing digital creation by bringing free browser-based tools to a previously desktop software dominated market. The software as a service model has been proven over and over again in multiple markets (Salesforce, NetSuite, Google Docs, Flickr, Vimeo, DropBox, etc.) and it is sure to extend to the creative marketplace. And the Freemium business model is continuing to prove itself across a number of these businesses as well as many others.
We are also in the very early stages of an emerging digital economy. I’ve said before that I expect the digital goods market to grow substantially over the coming years and mirror the market for offline goods in many ways. We recently reached the $1B threshold of digital goods sold, and it’s still incredibly early. Aviary provides the manufacturing capacity for this digital economy. Their toolset and open API empower the market for creation, allowing users to participate in the creation as well as consumption of digital goods. This completes the circle necessary to exponentially increase the number of creators and collaborators contributing to the digital goods marketplace and ultimately drive the velocity of the digital economy.
What I’m most excited about though is having the opportunity to work with Avi, Michael, Iz and the rest of the terrific Aviary team. The products they’ve built to date are nothing short of fantastic. And they’re just getting started…
“Have we forgotten how to forget? Viktor Mayer-Schönberger worries about this. The associate professor of public policy, who is affiliated with Harvard, has written a fascinating book called Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age, due out in September. In it, he argues that technology has inverted our millennia-old relationship with memory.
For most of human history, almost everything people did was forgotten, simply because it was so hard to record and retrieve things. But there was a benefit: “Social forgetting” allowed everyone to move on from embarrassing or ill-conceived moments in their lives.
Digital tools have eliminated that amnesty. Google caches copies of our blog postings; social-networking sites thrive by archiving our daily dish. Society now defaults to a relentless Proustian remembrance of all things past.”—
Was thinking about this a couple of days ago while discussing the obsolescence of the 5+/- 2 rule of memory. We no longer need to commit to memory many of the once-trivial things that used to be ephemeral because they were difficult to retrieve. Great find!
Ask Not How Big Your Market Is Today, But How Awesome You Can Make It!
Q:How did you estimate the size of the market?
Ev:We didn’t. I ran into this question when we were at Google with Blogger. People asked how big is the market for blogging? I said “I don’t know”, but if we make it awesome lots of people would do it. With Twitter there is no market, other than we knew it was cool.
This Is Why You're Fat Truck NYC Cart Challenge On 10/29!
How does a bacon-cinnamon roll sound? What about a grilled-cheesecake sandwich? Look out for weird snacks like these on Oct. 29, when the team behind This Is Why You’re Fat—a blog where people post photos of far-fetched cuisine—will hold a food-truck contest to promote the release of their first book.
For the contest, six Manhattan mobile food vendors are preparing extra-indulgent items, which TIWYF will describe to participants via Twitter. The first person to hit all six vehicles and submit a photo of himself eating every treat gets a food-truck party of his choice for 25 friends. Info on the trucks’ locations will be updated every 20 minutes.
“If the game is to identify and connect the innovators, how do you identify them and ensure that they have the resources and freedom to innovate? I like hanging around innovators and have been honing my targeting and selection process over many years. Here are 10 behavioral characteristics I use to recognize an innovator.
1. Innovators always think there is a better way.
2. Innovators know that without passion there can be no innovation.
3. Innovators embrace change to a fault.
4. Innovators have a strong point of view but know that they are missing something.
5. Innovators know that innovation is a team sport.
6. Innovators embrace constraints as opportunities.
7. Innovators celebrate their vulnerability.
8. Innovators openly share their ideas and passions expecting to be challenged.
9. Innovators know that the best ideas are in the gray areas between silos.
“The Nobel Peace Prize is the rest of the world saying, “Don’t blow it.”
…The president has set himself, and the rest of us, no small task. That’s why America shouldn’t turn up its national nose at popularity contests. In the same week that Mr. Obama won the Nobel, the United States was ranked as the most admired country in the world, leapfrogging from seventh to the top of the Nation Brands Index survey — the biggest jump any country has ever made. Like the Nobel, this can be written off as meaningless … a measure of Mr. Obama’s celebrity (and we know what people think of celebrities).
… Americans are like singers — we just a little bit, kind of like to be loved. The British want to be admired; the Russians, feared; the French, envied. (The Irish, we just want to be listened to.) But the idea of America, from the very start, was supposed to be contagious enough to sweep up and enthrall the world.
And it is. The world wants to believe in America again because the world needs to believe in America again. We need your ideas — your idea — at a time when the rest of the world is running out of them.”—Bono, “Rebranding America”, NYT