The company isn’t a family

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Whenever executives talk about how their company is really like a big ol’ family, beware. They’re usually not referring to how the company is going to protect you no matter what or love you unconditionally. You know, like healthy families would. The motive is rather more likely to be a unidirectional form of sacrifice: Yours.… keep reading

Introducing “The Heartbeat” Newsletter

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I’m fed up with newsletters, so I decided to create my own. I’m not a fan of newsletters. Many of them are full of B.S. or feel sales-y to me… especially when it comes to the topics of leadership, employee engagement, and company culture. And, compiling a million Google alerts for me to try to stay… keep reading

Going to the Mattresses

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Illustration by Nate Otto Tim Masters describes himself as “just a mattress maker,” but that belies the business acumen he’s gained over decades of building and selling beds. Tim’s store in the Chicago suburbs, Quality Sleep Shop, opened in 1969 and has held its own against the proliferation of private equity-backed mattress corporations and chain stores.… keep reading

Building the Best Relationships We Can

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Maslow had it wrong. To get it right, we have to move social needs to the bottom of his pyramid. -Matthew Lieberman (Professor of Social Cognitive Neuroscience at UCLA and author of the book Social) Babies would die without their caregivers at birth. Study after study show the pain and ill we go through when… keep reading

You Won’t Get Rid Of Your Problems. Best You Can Do Is Trade Up

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https://twitter.com/thereaIbanksy/status/885214933230772225 I used to have this business partner Jim. He’d drive me nuts. Our startup business was part of the second class ever of Y Combinator during the winter of 2006. We built a virtual stock exchange that businesses could use to improve their forecasts. This was the early days of Ruby on Rails in… keep reading

Why we dismiss negative feedback

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Three fallacies that get in the way of hearing what we need to hear. Here’s how by recognizing them, we can overcome them. My stomach dropped. My face flushed. I thought to myself: “No way that’s true!” and “No way that’s me…” Those were my physical and mental reactions when an acquaintance gave me some feedback a few… keep reading

Show me a business problem and I’ll do my best to avoid it

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“One of the greatest ways to avoid trouble is to keep it simple. When you make it vastly complicated — and only a few high priests in each department can pretend to understand it — what you’re going to find all too often is that those high priests don’t really understand it at all…. The system often goes out… keep reading

“I think I’m having a heart attack”

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In 2011, I was part of the Summer class of Y Combinator, working on a startup creating online games, and I was stuck on a problem. I hadn’t slept well for days. Weeks. I stayed up as long as I could keep my eyelids open each night, powering through work with tons of caffeine. I… keep reading

I do whatever I want at work and I haven’t been fired yet

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A few of us at Basecamp were recently discussing how decisions get made to “green light” new projects, and I came to the conclusion that it boils down a simple rule: If you can make a decision and you don’t think it’s going to get you fired, just do it. Basecamp operates without much in the… keep reading

Programming languages aren’t a zero sum game

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Stop me if you’ve heard these before when people get to talking about programming languages… “These features are copied this from <superior language>.” “Nothing new here. <superior language> has done this for years.” “This language has nothing on <superior language>, but nobody realizes it.” “<superior language> does the same thing, but better.” I bring it up because… keep reading