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robertogreco : 37signals   35

The Documentation Dilemma - (37signals)
"The ideal loop is short enough that you can still feel the spark of your idea and you’re still curious to find out if the decision was right or not as you click through the implementation. You can’t fully judge a design until you’ve tried it in action. The clothes simply look different when they’re on. If there are too many changes to evaluate at once, we can’t tell which of the changes contribute to the improvement or regression and how those changes suggest future steps. Moving in one direction in one feedback cycle is easy. Moving in ten directions in the same cycle is too hard.

I hope this look at our process gives you a clearer picture than a bare statement like “documentation is bad.” Documentation may be necessary when your throughput is low, and that’s an opportunity to see documents not as charming deliverables but as warning signs of a deeper problem in your process."
via:litherland  balance  pacing  pace  development  process  product  programming  iteration  design  traceyhalvorsen  2012  37signals  reflection  documentation 
september 2012 by robertogreco
37signals Earns Millions Each Year. Its CEO’s Model? His Cleaning Lady | Fast Company
"…sounds like you want to build a slow company.

I’m a fan of growing slowly, carefully, methodically…not getting big just for the sake of getting big… rapid growth is typically of symptom of… there’s a sickness there. There’s a great quote by… Ricardo Semler… He said that only two things grow for the sake of growth: businesses and tumors…

I take…inspiration from small mom-&-pop businesses that have been around for a long time… restaurants all over the place that I like to go to that have been around a long time, 30 years or more… that’s an incredible run… not like in the tech world, where everyone wants to beat each other up…there’s one winner. Those are the businesses I find interesting—it could be a dry cleaner, a restaurant, a clothing store… my cleaning lady, for example, she’s great…

She’s on her own, she cleans people’s homes, she’s incredibly nice. She brings flowers every time she cleans, and she’s just respectful and nice and awesome. Why can’t more people be like that?"
momandpopstores  startups  leadership  small  openstudioproject  glvo  ricardosemler  slowcompanies  slowbusiness  business  growth  slow  management  37signals  jasonfried 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Chris Heathcote: anti-mega: to be real
"…a bit more theoretical than many of my talks, but I wanted to make the point that things like trust and authenticity aren’t binary – these are built slowly, and gained in the minds of people by doing the right thing. Also that the best trust is from just doing your job, and letting your employees & customers tell their stories."
hownotto  howto  socialmedia  personalization  depersonalization  twitter  firstdirect  people  vimeo  37signals  iceland  nokia  ebay  newspaperclub  kickstarter  upcoming  flickr  personality  providence  history  business  branding  storytelling  heritage  moleskine  sweden  curatorsofsweden  bookdepositorylive  tumblr  generalelectric  net-a-porterlive  enoughproject  theyesmen  facebook  spambots  brompton  bromptonbicycles  hiutdenim  historytag  @sweden  douglasrushkoff  google  dopplr  copywriting  webdesign  craft  social  spam  russelldavies  online  web  internet  administration  management  howwework  chrisheathcote  2012  authenticity  trust  nextberlin  nextberlin2012  webdev 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Webstock '12: Matt Haughey - Lessons from a 40 year old on Vimeo
"Matt will cover a bunch of lessons he’s learned in the past decade of life as he embarks on turning 40. They eschew much of the Techcrunch/ReadWriteWeb/Mashable world by focusing on taking a longer term view of your work and focusing on life/work balance and having a happy life as well as a fulfilling career."

community  portability  backup  platformagnostic  urls  permanence  simple  attention  time  relationships  cv  metafilter  longterm  37signals  small  slow  bootstrap  lifestylebusiness  aging  wisdom  lifelessons  startups  webstock12  webstock  longnow  meaning  purpose  work  happiness  fulfillment  life  matthaughey  work-lifebalance 
march 2012 by robertogreco
The class I'd like to teach - (37signals)
"…a writing course. Every assignment would be delivered in five versions: A three page version, a one page version, a three paragraph version, a one paragraph version, & a one sentence version.<br />
<br />
I don’t care about the topic. I care about the editing…constant refinement & compression…taking three pages & turning it one page. Then from one page into three paragraphs…into one paragraph. & finally, from one paragraph into one perfectly distilled sentence.<br />
<br />
Along the way you’d trade detail for brevity. Hopefully adding clarity at each point…editing is an essential skill that is often overlooked and under appreciated. The future belongs to the best editors.<br />
<br />
Each step requires asking “What’s really important?” That’s the most important question you can ask yourself about anything. The class would really be about answering that very question at each step of the way. Whittling it all down until all that’s left is the point.<br />
<br />
I hope to be able to teach this class one day."
education  learning  design  teaching  web  37signals  jasonfried  classideas  editing  communication  colleges  universities  brevity  editors  condensation  2011 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Why You Can’t Work at Work | Jason Fried | Big Think
"With its constant commotion, unnecessary meetings, and infuriating wastes of time, the modern workplace makes us all work longer, less focused hours. Jason Fried explains how we can change all of this."
jasonfried  37signals  bigthink  interruptions  meetings  communication  business  distraction  gtd  office  management  design  leadership  productivity  process  workplace  work  tcsnmy  creativity 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Edward Hall: The perfect group size = 8-12 - Signal vs. Noise (by 37signals)
"Fortunately, something is known both empirically and scientifically about the influence exerted by size on groups and the effect of size on how the groups perform. Research with business groups, athletic teams, and even armies around the world has revealed there is an ideal size for a working group. This ideal size is between eight and twelve individuals. This is natural, because man evolved as a primate while living in small groups…Eight to 12 persons can know each other well enough to maximize their talents. In groups beyond this size, the possible combinations of communication between individuals get too complex to handle; people are lumped into categories and begin the process of ceasing to exist as individuals. Tasks than can’t be handled by a group of eight to 12 are probably too complex and should be broken down further. Participation and commitment fall off in larger groups — mobility suffers; leadership doesn’t develop naturally but is manipulative and political."
37signals  business  collaboration  productivity  psychology  groups  size  groupsize  tcsnmy  edwardhall  management  process  small  scale  humanscale  lcproject 
june 2010 by robertogreco
Quote: Men don’t like appliances. We want things t - (37signals)
""Men don’t like appliances. We want things that can do lots of different things, that we can tweak and fiddle with, and then argue with each other about which one is better. Women aren’t like this, and because of this I have a feeling that it’s women who actually determine the eventual winners in consumer tech." — Ultimi Barbarorum on the iPad. Who knows if it’s true. But I can say this, whenever we hear praise from women on a product, it gives me more confidence that we hit the “useful” mark."
ipad  37signals  gender  women  usefulness  singlefunction  multifunction  complexity  design  apple  software  simplicity  ui  men  appliances 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Avoiding "if they like x, give them more of x" - (37signals)
"He’s [David Simon] talking TV. But when launching a business, there’s a lot to be said for starting from a point of view and knowing what you want to say too. When you do that, you have an anchor for everything you do moving forward.
tcsnmy  focus  purpose  lcproject  administration  mission  37signals  davidsimon 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Control in its wider sense - (37signals)
"A lot of companies seek to control employees. They have handbooks & policies...monitor emails...make rules about what’s allowed & forbidden. But “control” is a tricky thing. The tighter the reins, the more you create an environment of distrust. An us vs. them mentality takes hold. And that’s when people start trying to game the system. That’s why workplace managers who seek “control” might want to consider the advice Shunryu Suzuki gives: "The best way to control people is to encourage them to be mischievous. Then they will be in control in its wider sense. To give your sheep or cow a large, spacious meadow is the way to control him. So it is with people: first let them do what they want, and watch them. This is the best policy. To ignore them is not good; that is the worst policy. The second worst is trying to control them. The best one is to watch them, just to watch them, without trying to control them." Imagine an employee handbook that just said: “We trust you. Be mischievous.”
management  control  administration  leadership  mischief  alternative  handbooks  policy  rules  tcsnmy  trust  employees  life  work  entrepreneurship  37signals 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Step one is admitting you have a problem - (37signals)
"The startup world is full of people addicted to work. The addiction often carries a heavy toll of lost friendships, broken relationships, bad health, and a dearth of other interests. All that matters is the next high from work. The next deal, the next milestone, the next round of funding.
startups  health  well-being  wellness  work  workaholics  productivity  lifestyle  business  psychology  wisdom  entrepreneurship  burnout  entrepreneur  addiction  37signals  culture 
december 2009 by robertogreco
The Way I Work: Jason Fried of 37Signals
"If anyone ever writes us with a complaint, our stance is it's our fault -- for not being clear enough or not making something work the way it should. I'm constantly keeping an eye on the problems that keep arising & then we address them. But I don't keep a list of all the complaints, because that's too time-consuming. We also get 1000s of suggestions. The default answer is always no. A lot of companies lie and say, "Sure, we'll do that." We never make promises that we can't keep, so we say, "We'll keep that in mind." Some customers don't like that...We rarely have meetings...huge waste of time...costly...chop your day into small bits...Creative people need unstructured time to get in the zone...We don't have big, long-term plans, because they're scary -- & usually wrong. Making massive decisions keeps people up at night...The closer you can get to understanding what that next moment might be, the less worried you are. Most of the decisions we make are in the moment"
37signals  productivity  planning  collaboration  entrepreneurship  strategy  jasonfried  business  work  administration  leadership  management  tcsnmy  meetings  complaints  bloat  featurecreep  features  lcproject 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Mojito island is a mirage - (37signals)
"Early retirement is a mirage when you’re physically and mentally capable of doing more. Humans are generally not built to derive sustainable happiness from sipping mojitos on a picturesque island somewhere in the pacific. Once you’ve tasted the sweetness of a dedicated purpose, it’s near impossible to be content just sitting on the sidelines."
business  retirement  work  life  money  happiness  entrepreneurship  success  passion  37signals 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Beware managers with free time - (37signals)
"There’s nothing more dangerous than an average manager with free time on his hands. When your work is solely coordinating and assigning other people’s tasks, topping off a slow day usually means making up more (needless) stuff for others to do. This is in part the tyranny of the 8-hour work day paradigm. When the work is progressing as planned and the core issues have been addressed, the right move for the manager is often to step back. But if all you know how do is “manage”, there’s no fallback. Nothing else to fill your time with.

What you’re left with is net-negative management. That the presence of a manager actually detracts more value than not having one at all would do.

The alternative for many smaller teams or shops is the combined idea of managers of one and working managers. That management can be less than a full-time role, it can be a responsibility that people who also does the work can take upon them when needed."
management  leadership  administration  meetings  work  productivity  culture  downtime  37signals  office  bullshit  jobs 
october 2009 by robertogreco
How playtime is responsible for Post-It Notes, Lasik, and more - (37signals)
"Most of the smart, creative, successful people I know spend a good deal of time looking for inspiration, tracking down ideas and doing research.
culture  business  play  creativity  work  management  administration  learning  leadership  productivity  innovation  coudalpartners  jimcoudal  google  3m  ibm  37signals  lifestyle  invention  tcsnmy 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Getting Real: The alone time zone - Signal vs. Noise (by 37signals)
"Guess which part of day we get the most work done? The alone part. This is why many people prefer to work either in the early morning or the late nights — they’re not being bothered. And when you have a long stretch when you aren’t being bothered you can get in the zone. The zone is when you are most productive. It’s when you don’t have to mindshift between various tasks. It’s when you aren’t interrupted to answer a question or look up something or send an email or answer an IM. The alone zone is where real progress is made."

[See also: ]
cv  work  productivity  creativity  programming  gtd  time  nightowls  sleep  37signals  process  howwework 
february 2009 by robertogreco
Multitasking is the fastest way to mediocrity - (37signals)
"I’m not complaining, I’m just observing. And the primary observation that comes out of all this is that multitasking is the fastest way to mediocrity. Things suck when you don’t give them your full attention.

I’m not thrilled with the work I’ve been doing lately.

This isn’t a breakthrough, it’s just a reminder. If you want to do great work, focus on one thing at a time. Finish it and move on to the next thing. It means some things aren’t going to get done as fast as some people may want. It means some people aren’t going to get your full attention for a while. But doing a bunch of crappy work, or making a bunch of poorly considered decisions just to get through the pile isn’t worth it."
multitasking  singletasking  continuouspartialattention  productivity  process  success  37signals  monotasking 
february 2009 by robertogreco
Daring Fireball: Copying the Wrong Thing
"What drives some people nuts about 37signals is that their products are not for everyone. But they’ll be the first ones to agree with that. Rather than trying to build things that work OK for everyone, they’re building things that work really well for some people. And how often does building something “for everyone” actually work out, anyway? The closest anyone has ever come, I think, is Google’s web search. Good luck trying to duplicate that sort of success. The key ingredient I see in successful apps, Mac or web — and, really, in creative commercial endeavors of any kind — is that the creators are building something they themselves love. That’s what you should copy."
37signals  daringfireball  software  design  creativity  development  tcsnmy  authenticity 
february 2009 by robertogreco
Malcolm Gladwell on meaningful work and curiosity - (37signals)
"Gladwell: Meaningful work is one of the most important things we can impart to children. Meaningful work is work that is autonomous. Work that is complex, that occupies your mind. And work where there is a relationship between effort and reward — for everything you put in, you get something out…
malcolmgladwell  charlierose  37signals  collaboration  leadership  management  administration  mission  meaning  life  work  cv  teaching  parenting  autonomy  mind  effort  reward  curiosity 
january 2009 by robertogreco
Hire managers of one - (37signals)
"A manager of one is someone who comes up with their own goals and executes them. They don’t need heavy direction. They don’t need daily check-ins. They do what a manager would do — set the tone, assign items, determine what needs to get done, etc. — but they do it by themselves and for themselves. These people free you from oversight. They set their own direction. When you leave them alone, they surprise you with how much they’ve gotten done. They don’t need a lot of handholding or supervision. How can you spot these people? Look at their history. Have they been self-sufficient at previous jobs? Have they defined their own role before? Have they started their own site/company before? Or done their own thing in some other way? Find someone with initiative & a budding entrepreneurial spirit. And then nurture it. You want someone who’s capable of building something from scratch & seeing it through. When you find these people, it frees up the rest of your team to work more & manage less."
hiring  management  administration  entrepreneurship  people  business  work  leadership  hierarchy  37signals  tcsnmy 
november 2008 by robertogreco
Forbes misses the point of the 4-day work week - (37signals)
"The point of the 4-day work week is about doing less work. It’s not about 4 10-hour days for the magical 40-hour work week. It’s about 4 normalish 8-hour days for the new and improved 32-hour work week. The numbers are just used to illustrate a point. Results, not hours, are what matter, but working longer hours doesn’t translate to better results. The law of diminishing returns kicks in quick when you’re overworked."
business  freelancing  work  productivity  management  administration  leadership  37signals 
august 2008 by robertogreco
Gearheads don't get it - (37signals)
"Figure out what you have to say that’s interesting and then unleash it. Use whatever tools you’ve got already or what you can afford cheaply. Then go. It’s not the gear that matters. It’s you and your ideas that matter. Tone is in your fingers." Good advice.
equipment  37signals  technology  gear  creativity  design  art  writing  photography  graphics  glvo 
august 2008 by robertogreco
[Quotable] NetNewsWire, JotSpot, Git, Google, old Texas sayings, etc. - (37signals)
"Companies used to want to be in the middle of the road — that’s where all the customers were. But now, in an age of hyper-competition and non-stop innovation, the middle of the road is the road to ruin." - Bill Taylor
37signals  advice  quotes  administration  management  identity  branding  leadership  meaning  competition  schooldesign  gamechanging 
july 2008 by robertogreco
Workaholics fixate on inconsequential details - (37signals) [see also the comments]
"Q: Do workaholics accomplish more than people who work fewer hours? A: Often, they don’t. That is because, as perfectionists, they may become so fixated on inconsequential details that they find it hard to move on to the next task"
37signals  advice  productivity  management  work  eficiency  administration  careers  leadership  time  workaholics  perfectionism 
may 2008 by robertogreco
If you’re working in a big group, you’re fighting human nature - (37signals)
"According to...Antony Jay, there are centuries of evidence to support idea that small groups are most efficient...humans have worked in small groups, 5-15 people, as hunters & farmers for hundreds of generations....ideal group size is a ten-group"
37signals  management  business  organizations  groups  work  lcproject  psychology  dynamics  efficiency  teams  collaboration  productivity  entrepreneurship 
april 2008 by robertogreco
Tips on how to work smarter from Ricardo Semler - (37signals)
"Treat employees like adults; Write less (short, direct memos, emails); Minimize your information intake; take time to think; Be confrontational in your presentations; How to run a meeting"
37signals  ricardosemler  management  work  productivity  business  organizations  leadership  administration  meetings  writing  lifehacks  communication 
april 2008 by robertogreco
Excerpts from Ricardo Semler's book "Maverick: The Success Behind the World's Most Unusual Workplace" - (37signals)
"A modern company must accept change as its basic premise; [quote]

Growth is often just about greed; [quote]

How rules snowball; [quote]

What’s wrong with bosses; [quote]

Why bureaucracies get built:
Bureaucracies are built by and for people who busy themselves proving they are necessary, especially when they suspect they aren’t. All these bosses have to keep themselves occupied, and so they constantly complicate everything…I wanted our people to have more contact with one another. I wanted less clutter. I wanted fewer levels. I wanted more flexibility. I wanted a new shape for our organization.

ricardosemler  37signals  business  entrepreneurship  management  culture  administration  leadership  democracy  hierarchy  power  growth  greed  money 
april 2008 by robertogreco
Getting Real: Alone Time (by 37signals)
"Many people prefer to work either early in the morning or late at night — times when they're not being bothered. When you have a long stretch when you aren't bothered, you can get in the zone. The zone is when you are most productive."
productivity  gtd  attention  cv  work  flow  37signals  interruptions  time  offices  officedesign  psychology 
march 2008 by robertogreco
Clifford Stoll calls BS on the internet in 1995 - (37signals)
"Vision is about demolishing today’s assumptions and recognizing that new things are possible. It takes real guts to fight for the side of the non-obvious."
internet  web  skepticism  cliffordstoll  37signals  change  technology  society 
march 2008 by robertogreco
Typical person? No such thing. - (37signals)
"I am perfectly willing to acknowledge that not all of us excel at the same things, but I’m coming to believe more and more firmly that this whole “typical person” entity is a myth. I’ve never met a typical person. There are only people who are pa
37signals  business  management  productivity  people  leadership  administration  work 
march 2008 by robertogreco
Workplace Experiments - (37signals)
"Shorter work weeks; Funding people’s passions; Discretionary spending accounts"
management  administration  leadership  productivity  workplace  business  37signals  education  creativeclass  democracy 
march 2008 by robertogreco
Ask 37signals: Is formal education important? - (37signals)
"No...we care about intelligence, curiosity, passion, character, motivation, taste, intuition, writing skills, and the ability to make smart value judgements...most of [these qualities] are better learned through practical experience."
learning  education  informallearning  informal  apprenticeships  experience  work  jobs  business  37signals  colleges  universities  deschooling  unschooling 
november 2007 by robertogreco
The disease of giants - Signal vs. Noise (by 37signals)
"One last excerpt from Edward Hall’s “Beyond Culture.” Here he riffs on how things keep getting bigger despite evidence humans actually thrive in the opposite sort of environment."
homeschool  education  learning  schools  business  economics  history  space  scale  human  society  architecture  culture  edwardhall  small  humanscale  37signals  tcsnmy 
july 2006 by robertogreco

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