Growth is not magic.

There’s been lots of hype lately about growth and growth hacking. I’ve even heard such nonsense as “we can turn on virality whenever we want to.” (Um, if it were that easy….. never mind.)

The truth about user acquisition is that while there are some fundamental principles at work, there is no substitute for having a valuable product and delivering it in a great user experience. This truth is both refreshing and stabilizing. It’s about the product, people.

Continue reading “Growth is not magic.”

Seven Things I Want in a Job

As you know, I’ve been on the job hunt lately. Just like changing countries, moving apartments and other big changes, a job search forces you to get concrete about what you want your new life to be like. And because I love working, my job is a big part that vision.

  1. I want to make things with people who are energetic, smart, and unusually interesting.
  2. I want to be at a company that is clear about what it is, inspired by what it wants to become, and admired for being exceptionally good at what it does. (I’m anthropomorphizing. Forgive me.)
  3. I want to be able to dress like myself. Edgy and bold and professional. My workplace cannot require heels or suits (only my clients can); I live in the hills and I like to walk too much.
  4. I want to be respected for my ideas (ooh!), my rigor (hmm…) and my irreverence (gasp!).
  5. I want to use my skills as a social scientist to further a creative agenda of problem solving.
  6. I want to use my skills as a teacher, persuader and story-teller to lead challenging changes in how people work, behave, and think.
  7. White boards, sketchbooks and post-its are a must. I love my Macbook Pro to an almost fetishist degree, but for creative collaboration, nothing beats analog.

Some of these requirements (like the last) may seem mundane, but they are culturally significant: It’s important that my workplace that supports visual thinking, rapid prototyping, and collaborative problem solving.

And some of them are just things I’ve learned that I want in a workplace, time and time again. My former acting coach taught me that it’s essential to love using the tools of your trade. It’s important not to ignore those things.

So let me know…..  where should I work?  And what do you want in your next job?

Self-Control is Exhaustible (Video)

Why Change Is So Hard: Self-Control Is Exhaustible | Fast Company (by Dan Heath)

Also see the pioneering work of psychologist Roy Baumeister and the concept of “ego strength” (I love his article about how “Self Control is Like a Muscle”).

I want to share ideas more freely

…and so I am going to start writing MORE often LESS perfectly.  Not to imply in any way that I have ever achieved anything close to the P-word!  It’s an elusive self illusion maintained to protect the ego….   so I must let it go and practice what I preach and share my ideas before they’re “ready.”

I am going to start writing more PUBLICLY.  After half-reading The Artists Way by Julia Cameron, I always write my morning pages.  When I don’t write my three pages of drivel first thing in the morning,
I feel rushed and scattered, especially if my day is unstructured by meetings and teaching – and I’m sure it’s not just a scattered feeling but that it’s apparent in my behavior as well.  Because I have to manage my self, my projects, and my own time, I need to manage my mind.  So I write.

But because I’m kind of a scaredy-cat, I don’t share.  I keep wonderful private journals that nobody can read.

So now I’m going to start the habit of writing drivel that I share publicly in the hopes that what I learn and think day to day might somehow someday help someone someway.

I hope you enjoy and read and comment and share yourself.  Here goes.  Vanity, be gone.

Google Sync: Holding Hands with Microsoft to Make Apple Jealous?

If there’s one big company I love, it’s Google. No Apple. No Google. Oy vey! Until now, the two usually got along quite well, with many Google apps becoming backbones for the iPhone and eliminating we Mac users’ grumpy reliance on all things Microsoft. Many Google lovers love the Mac and vice-versa.

But now it seems that Google is making a play against Apple. Or is this a desperate move of courtship?

The recently released Google Sync (in beta) will allow users to synchronize
Google Contacts and Google Calendars across multiple computers and devices and platforms (Web, Windows, Mac, Blackberry, iPhone, Windows Mobile, and of course, Google’s Android phones).

Why pay Apple $99 a year for Mobile Me if I can sync via Google for free? Second curious fact… Google Sync is based on a license from Microsoft for its Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync protocol, which is running on Google’s servers. I usually don’t think of the Goog and MS as BFF…. Is Google holding hands with Microsoft just to make Apple jealous?

Read about it at Technology News

Have you tried Google Sync? Please let us know what you thought.

(Oh, and what is Mobile Me? It’s Apple’s subscription-based ‘cloud’ service that syncs tons of data – calendar, contacts, photos, preferences, files, etc. – between iPhones, Macs, and the Web. Automatically, through the air. My iPhone with Mobile Me setup has happily ended my sync-frustration, and I don’t have to grovel to my (MS Exchange-oriented) IT department any more! 🙂 Except for fun.)

Petition for a Secretary of the Arts

Few things inspire hope, change, or freedom like the arts. As the arts and all forms of innovation and design are increasingly threatened in the U.S., so is our nation’s future economy, our health and welfare, and our cultural and moral legacy.

Quincy Jones has started a petition to ask President-Elect Obama to appoint a Secretary of the Arts. While many other countries have had Ministers of Art or Culture for centuries, The United States has never created such a position. We in the arts need this and the country needs the arts–now more than ever. Please take a moment to sign this important petition and then pass it on to your friends and colleagues.

(Photo at right: Obama has notably inspired artists of all kinds. One of the most famed Obama-inspired fashion pieces of this fall’s Paris debut was this yellow sequin dress, a highlight of Jean-Charles de Castelbajac’s Spring-Summer 2009 Ready-to-Wear collection. “I dream of change today”, emblazoned on the back, ignited applause from the audience.)