Idea Garage Sale: Inbetweenity Edition 2

Several years ago, I used to publish a series of semi-regular Idea Garage Sale posts where I’d share the miscellaneous stuff I’d collected that didn’t seem to merit a full blog post.

Today, Twitter and Tumblr are my outlet for the interesting links, ideas and random thoughts I find everyday.  However, every once in a while, I’ve got some stuff that fits somewhere in between Twitter’s 140 Characters and a full post on this blog.

Here’s some more of that “in-between” stuff:

The most impressive employee handbooks ever from Valve (.pdf).  Here’s a video pulling our some key lessons from the handbook:

Jeff Bezos on giving ideas time to work:

“If everything you do needs to work on a three-year time horizon, then you’re competing against a lot of people,” Bezos told Wired in 2011. “But if you’re willing to invest on a seven-year time horizon, you’re now competing against a fraction of those people, because very few companies are willing to do that.”

The Fixer’s Manifesto:

If it is broken, fix it!  Because everyday practical problem solving is the most beautiful form of creativity there is.

Treat clients as team members:

From the initial stage of the project, it is a good idea to make it clear to the clients that you see them as a team member of the project and expect cooperation and support during the entire project. 

Designing Contracts for the XXI Century:

There are many reasons the core rules of contracts are still in place two millennia after the fall of Rome. But there are other elements that we can, and should, take to the twenty-first century.

If we want to address the readability problems unique to our era—and improve communication with our clients—then it’s time we fix the language, layout, and typesetting of our contracts. And who better than designers to do it?

The fewer the tools, the greater the imagination.” – Ben Orki

Seventy Great Critical Thinking Questions

Are lawyers among the screwed?  From Jason Lanier book You Are Not a Gadget:

The people who are perhaps the most screwed by open culture are the middle classes of intellectual and cultural creation.  The freelance studio musician, the stringer selling reports to newspapers from warzones are both crucial contributors to culture. Each pays dues and devotes years to honing a craft. They used to live off the trickle down effects of the old system, and like the middle class at large, they are precious. They get nothing from the new system.

Oblique Strategies is still a go-to place when I need to put my creative thinking hat on.

It’s easier to do trivial things that are urgent than it is to do important things that are not urgent, like thinking.” – John Cleese

Disrupt or Be Disrupted.  Pick One.

 “Give me a couple of billion dollars and I can set up a bunch of start-ups in just about every industry that will come in and eat the lunch of the incumbents, and not one of them will be able to change in time to do anything about it.”

So how many of us are worried about that? How many of us are working on our internal capacity to respond to disruption, or even our ability to move in and disrupt other parts of our environment? Not enough, I think. Of course, I understand why: our organizations are run like machines, and machines were never designed with disruption in mind.

If law firms’ compensation worked like W.L. Gore’s:

Everyone is ranked by their peers, people who know what they’ve done and how they’ve interacted with others on a daily basis; and their compensation will be based on that. That’s a powerful motivator to contribute. Here’s how Gore’s performance evaluation and compensation system works:

  • No specific criteria are provided; people are just asked to indicate who’s making the biggest contribution to Gore’s success.
  • An associate typically is evaluated by 20-30 peers and will, in turn, evaluate 20-30 peers. They are forced rankings, from top to bottom, and only for people you know.
  • A cross-functional committees of individuals with leadership roles discuss the results, and develop an overall ranking from 1-20 of these particular associates.
  • In setting compensation, they make sure the pay curve is aligned with contributions.

The most powerful manifestation of “we’re all in the same boat” is that all associates are part owners of the company through the associate stock plan. Gore believe that it not only allows everyone to share in the risks and rewards of the company, but also gives them an added incentive to stay committed to its long term success, and always consider what’s in the best interest of the company when making decisions.

Ping Fu on the importance of clarity:

[I]t is better to be clear than to be right. A lot of times, I find leaders want to be right and they think being right is what gains respect. I find being clear is what gains respect–if you’re clearly wrong, people can correct you, and if you’re clearly right, people can follow you.

Are you working with your introverted clients as well as you can?

Transform a Tablet Into an Affordable Kiosk for Clients or, you can use Reception Manager

Also true of CLE?

“There are only two things wrong with education: 1) What we teach; 2) How we teach it.” – Roger Schank

More Women = Better Creative Problem Solving:

Evidence suggests that the number of women on a given team drastically increases that team’s ability to solve complex problems.

What is the “One Metric that Matters” for your business?

That doesn’t mean there’s only one metric you care about from the day you wake up with an idea to the day you sell your company. It does, however, mean that at any given time, there’s one metric you should care about above all else. Communicating this focus to your employees, investors, and even the media will really help you concentrate your efforts.

Do your employees understand your business model?  Using the Business Model Generation Canvas for a Puppy Rental Business:

My goal is that any new employee working to make the awesomeness of puppies available to everyone will be able to walk into my office and understand the business model at a glance.

You shouldn’t use a client survey if …

Great overview on using personas to understand your clients better.

Instead of arguing back and forth whether or not these problems exist, it’s very easy to identify particular types of people for whom these problems MIGHT exist and then do some simple qualitative research to see if you’re right.

A great question when thinking about changes to your firm:

“What is the fastest, cheapest way to validate the idea?”

That’s it for now.  See you again, soon!

One Response to Idea Garage Sale: Inbetweenity Edition 2
  1. Jeanette Glass
    January 24, 2013 | 9:32 pm

    I really enjoy these idea garage sale posts (and the rest of your blog), thank you for posting them.

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