The Surprising Science of Motivation

Dan Pink argues that what science knows about motivation, is markedly different from what business practices… Specifically, the carrot/stick method of motivating people to work in business, is only effective for robotic job tasks – it is utterly ineffective at inspiring people to innovate. For that, you need emotional motivation (read: social business design!)

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Salient Lessons on Entrepreneurship

I was just listening to David Heineimeier Hansson, the creator of Ruby on Rails and partner at 37signals, on the Stanford Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Podcast, as he shared some interesting thoughts about entrepreneurship. David brought up some interesting entrepreneurial advice which is worth highlighting:

1) Work Smart – get plenty of rest and sleep and focus your energies on producing output that scales. You are not going to outspend or outbuild a Microsoft so focus your energies on turning an industry or a sector on its head and focus your own work around something that gives you a multiplier effect in time you put in vs. time-to-market traction.

2) Sleep – dumb entrepreneurs work day and night and then brag about it; smart ones work day jobs, do something on the side for 10 hours a week and then take that on full time when it gets traction. In fact, when you are 5X more tired, you level of effectiveness drops by 50X – it’s a multiplier effect.

3) Work within constraints– constrain the time you are willing to put in. Don’t take a college approach to business by doing anything more than is required of a particular task – that’s not working smart.

4) Don’t take venture capital, whatever your do – David was pretty adamant about the fact that venture capital is a time bomb that is strapped to your shoulders. It makes you complacent because it is not your money and at the same time it gets you hooked on the drug dealer (VC’s) so that you are jonesing for than next cash infusion. In short: build businesses that are profitable from the get-go.

5) Don’t ever plan long term (which he defined as longer than 2 months out). David argues that long term planning is flawed because how can you, in a startup environment, purport to know where the market or product will be in 1-5 years? I don’t particularly agree with this one, as I think that some long-term thought can go a long way in helping you design dynamic strategies/approaches that do not hinge on a reactionary mindset- ie) What do we do next week? This type of thinking is unfortunately indicative of the common myopia that can potentially be detrimental to the long-term growth of any business…

You can listen to the full podcast here.

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What Matters Now

Seth Godin’s new book, “What Matters Now,” is an interesting co-creation by a number of web influentials. Although as you might expect, it is a bit scattered in focus in that it sometimes calls out contradicting views (ie – “Slow down, don’t live through your iphone” and “the world is interconnected, participate!”) it is nonetheless an interesting collection of 1 page thought bursts from some very smart people. Esentially, all of these people were asked to answer one simple question in short form: “What matters now?”

Download the free e-book here

Some of my favorite quotes:

The past decade has been an extraordinary adventure in discovering new social models on the Web—ways to work, create and organize outside of the traditional institutions of companies, governments and academia. But the next decade will be all about applying these models to the real world. – Chris Anderson

You are only as rich as the enrichment you bring to the world around you. -Rajesh Setty

For decades, organizations and their leaders were comfortable with strategies and practices that kept them in the middle of the road—that’s where the customers were, so that’s what felt safe and secure. – William Taylor

Management is great if you want people to comply – to do specific things a certain way. But it stinks if you want people to engage -Daniel Pink

You grow (and thrive!) by doing what excites you and what scares you everyday, not by trying to find your passion. -Derek Sivers

Posted in Books, Collective Intelligence, CrowdSourcing, Wisdom of the Crowds | Leave a comment

Crowdsourced Job Descriptions

In thinking about how businesses can become more socially-calibrated, I am surprised we are not seeing more experimentation with crowd-sourcing job descriptions. Certainly, Best-Buy has already proven that this could technically be done by crowd-sourcing a job description for a social media manager position through customer polling… I wonder how that worked out for them.

However, think about what corporate life would be like if every job description, even the CEO’s, was internally crowd-sourced within the organization… job descriptions could become living, breathing documents that can be dynamically calibrated to suit the ever-changing needs of the company. Certainly, most high-level competencies and roles might remain more static, but sub-routines within those larger competencies could certainly become more fluid.

Crowdsourced job descriptions could also potentially lead to more measurable individual performance metrics, eventually bubbling up into more socially-calibrated resumes.

Posted in Career, Collective Intelligence, CrowdSourcing, Social Business Design, Wisdom of the Crowds | 2 Comments

Career Fulfillment through Social Business Design

I am most passionate about social business design and its potential to make our careers more meaningful and fulfilling for us on a personal level. For far too long, corporations have neglected to understand and engage with both their customers and their employees in meaningful, collaborative interactions, opting to apply industrial age approaches to information age challenges. Now, with the advent of new media, organizational hierarchies are flattening into horizontal networks of influence and businesses are starting to understand that it is more effective to influence than to coerce, more rewarding to converse than to message, and more fruitful to engage than to target.

The Challenge
While new media is in the process of transforming an organization’s outward facing institutions such as marketing and public relations, I believe that it has only begun to affect the organization’s internal business structures; as a result, most organizations struggle to more effectively inspire their employees to be more passionate in their work. To address this problem, it is imperative that businesses develop a deeper understanding of their employees: an understanding that extends beyond the resume or job description to one that values an individual’s brand, influence networks and most importantly, personal passions.

While businesses struggle to grasp how to tap into the innate passions of their employees, they also grapple with the challenge of attracting the right talent in the first place. Like employees, they too stumble through the archaic interview process, while in the back of their minds thinking that surely there must be a better way. Grasping at every possible tool in their arsenal, companies create sleek “web 2.0” websites, corporate blogs and twitter accounts, hoping to exude some shred of humanity by crafting a corporate-approved “genuine voice.” Unfortunately, such efforts are often uncoordinated at best and frequently represent the voices of only a handful of individuals with the corporation.

Conversely, prospective employees struggle to fully understand what a corporation, or a specific role within a corporation, will entail and how that role marries with their personal talents and passions. Stuck in an endless cycle of hope and disillusionment, many professionals cling to the promise that their next career experience will be one that ignites their personal passions, only to be disillusioned upon realizing that reality may fall short of expectations. While this is certainly a part of human nature (Read: Stumbling Upon Happiness), I think we still have quite a bit of room for improvement here.

Looking to the Future
Building on the initial promise of enterprise 2.0, businesses will become both more social and more open, encouraging employees to broadcast their professional activities as a part of their current social life-streams. In doing so, employees will achieve a higher level of synchronicity with the organization, enabling a new level of “hive mindedness” that will allow them to grow faster. Additionally, businesses will find that in encouraging more openness and synchronicity, they will be able to attract and retain more of the right talent. This combination of transparency and social signaling will also redefine “leadership” by rewarding social influence over corporate politics and backstabbing.

The confluence in all of these trends in social business design will create an entirely new set of business opportunities for entrepreneurs in the coming years. In the immediate short term, there will be opportunities for consultancies, like the Dachis Group, to guide current businesses through this transitional period of social business change.

In the longer term, there will be opportunities for new entrepreneurs to create businesses and business networks built, from the ground up, on the principals of social business design. It is this new era of social business design that I am most passionate about, as I believe it holds the greatest promise for the future of our careers.

What are you most passionate about?

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Social Media Guru


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Our Engagement Photo Shoot with Glen Cooper

We just got the photos from our engagement photo shoot with Glen Cooper; and they speak for themselves. Check out Glen’s blog post about it here.

Shakarian Engagement Photo Shoot

Shakarian Engagement
Shakarian Engagement Photo Shoot


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