Wednesday, February 25, 2009

On the Reduction of Errant Whizzing

I recently read through a presentation by Tom Peters, which I downloaded from his blog. It mentions a significant reduction in errant whizzing through the seemingly small act of etching an insect-like target into urinals. Tom calls slight changes which have proportionally large results "nudges".

I thought of this today when I visited the bathroom of the Black Drop. They have innovated in their bathroom space in a different way. Being counter-cultural (or anti-establishment, or something like that) they have placed chalk boards in their bathrooms, presumably to encourage graffiti rather than discourage it. Would-be vandals probably don't feel cheated that their work can be wiped away effortlessly.

Speaking of the Black Drop, I hope to hear from them after this post. If they have Google Alerts set up, they will get notified that someone (me) is blogging about them. I set up Google Alerts for my name. No one is really talking about me. At least not yet.

That is all for now.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I Want to Work at Twitter, Or...

What Makes for a Good Job

Recently I had the chance to read @dom's post about how twitter got started. It was both interesting and inspiring, and it illustrates a number of the things that make for a good job.

1. A Smart Team
I love that the Twitter team works together so much. They brainstorm, design, dialogue, and meet in big open warehouse type places. I want to be part of a team like that.

2. A Clear Vision
Part of what creates such a compelling team atmosphere is the pursuit of a clearly defined vision. Nothing brings people together like a common problem, and vision is the anticipated solution to a problem. It would be great to be part of a team pursuing a clear, meaningful vision.

3. A Continuous Learning Opportunity
If I were to work at Twitter it would put me alongside people who know WAY more than me about technology, creating software, starting companies, and a whole host of other things I'm interested in. I'd be surrounded by really smart people. No matter what the job, the opportunity to ask questions and learn from smart people is very compelling to me. Maybe that's why this job opportunity intrigued me so much. My dream job: working as part of a brilliant team pursuing a clear, meaningful vision with continuous learning opportunities.

4. A Sense of Achievement
Twitter's creators must be incredibly proud. Their brain child has millions of users and Venture Capitalists are falling all over themselves to invest in their company. I hope to find work which I can look back on and feel proud of. For me, the impact of not getting a sense of achievement from my work is that I have a really hard time relaxing. I feel a built in need to improve, create, learn, and grow something - and when I don't feel like I am accomplishing this at work, I take that desire home. I get restless and anxious and I try to work at anything that will show progress when I should be recreating, laughing, and enjoying life's truest pleasures: coffee, The Office, comic strips, sunrises, camping, fishing, crossword puzzles, friends, sunsets, gardening, etc. I can tell this is becoming a problem based on the movies I want to watch. My favorite movies, the ones I truly enjoy, are rarely acclaimed. They are cliche, funny, and predictable. Like Emperor's New Groove (yes, the cartoon). When I don't feel like I'm accomplishing anything, I try to relax and achieve at the same time; so I pick movies that are critically acclaimed, or that I think will make me smarter, or that I can blog about later. Also, I start trying to work on my lunch breaks. I go to the library, research business ideas, bring books to read, and above all, I find myself asking "What can I do with this time? What can I get done?". I feel restless. All that to say, I need to feel a sense of accomplishment at work so that I can enjoy my family and friends and my life.

Basically, I want to work as part of a brilliant team pursuing a clear vision that provides continuous learning opportunities and a sense of accomplishment.

There, I said it. If you know of any opportunities like that, let me know.

PS That job I linked to above might still be available.