Weekly Learnings Roundup (August 27, 2017)

Weekly Learnings Roundup (August 27, 2017)

Update:

Thanks for following the Weekly Learnings Roundup over the past year. I’ve had a great time curating some of the most interesting learnings and articles from the interwebs for you.

Starting September, I’ll be shifting this weekly feature to a monthly feature for two reasons:

  1. To set aside more time to write high quality, long-form articles that I think you’ll enjoy.
  2. To provide you with a synthesis of the interesting articles and learnings in one meaningful hit.

I still plan on sharing interesting articles through Twitter @peternakamura. And if you’re looking for my favourite articles, just keep an eye out for the hastag #mustread.

I appreciate your continued support for my blog and I’m looking forward to producing some more interesting content!

And without further ado, your roundup…


Thanks for checking out the Weekly Learning Roundup. These bite-sized, weekly posts are designed to give you a quick hit of interesting learnings and articles I came across this week.

It’s a motley assortment of tips, resources, and links that will hopefully give you a bit of inspiration for the upcoming week. Enjoy!

What I’m reading —

Eating To Break 100: Longevity Diet Tips From The Blue Zones by Eliza Barclay

Want to live to 100? Well, check out what folks in the “Blue Zones” (i.e. regions in the world with the highest concentration of centenarians) are eating. In a way, it’s the best science that we can find around diets that actually work.

Here’s what they do:

  • Eat until you’re 80% full.
  • Make your largest meal of the day either breakfast or lunch.
  • Eat mostly plants and eat meat rarely (i.e. once a week)
  • Drink alcohol moderately (i.e. 1-2 glasses a day)

Props to my friend Janice Sousa for sharing this article!

Podcast episode I’m enjoying —

Running a Family and a Business (Season 5, Episode 4) on the StartUp Podcast

Startup founder, Diana Lovett, opens up about her challenges with balancing the life of a founder and a mother. It’s an honest, emotional conversation between her and executive coach Jerry Colona as they talk through what’s really at the heart of her challenge with the balancing act.

A quote that’s inspiring me —

We often think that insecurity comes from a weak ego, but in my experience it is the result of an inflexible ego that has mistaken itself as the center of the universe, which keeps contradicting it on this key point.

— Shozan Jack Haubner

“ah-ha!” thought of the week —

Start with fun.

Having fun makes a lot of things easier. I remember as a kid that I hated taking piano lessons because my teacher was a horrible stickler. I think I ended up crying for most of the lessons that I took.

Even as adults, knowing the benefits of activities like exercise, we still have a hard time getting out and going to the gym. What’s the missing ingredient? I think it’s fun.

Fun can come in many shapes and forms. You might enjoy team sports over lifting weights. Or being a part of a community of people who enjoy the same type of exercise.

Whatever it is, start with fun and find ways to look forward to the activity. Do something that gets you excited and don’t make it a chore by thinking you need to go; rather, think that you want to go. This also means not over pacing yourself especially when you’re getting started.

Go out there – find ways to make your exercising, reading, cooking, etc. for the next 30 days. See how that works out for you.

Featured image by Matthew Henry.

As always, thanks for checking out this Weekly Learnings Roundup. Follow me on Twitter @peternakamura to see the full list of articles that I share on a daily basis.

Weekly Learnings Roundup (June 18, 2017)

Weekly Learnings Roundup (June 18, 2017)

Thanks for checking out the Weekly Learning Roundup. These bite-sized, weekly posts are designed to give you a quick hit of interesting learnings and articles I came across this week.

It’s a motley assortment of tips, resources, and links that will hopefully give you a bit of inspiration for the upcoming week. Enjoy!

What I’m reading —

Trickle-down workaholism in startups by David Heinemeier Hansson

A piece by the founder of Basecamp, David Heinemeier Hansson (aka DHH), that has caused a fiery debate in the VC and startup space. Some argue that workholism is a part, if not a requirement, in the startup world. DHH argues the opposite and has great points to back it up.

A quote that’s inspiring me —

Life always gives us

exactly the teacher we need

at every moment.

This includes every mosquito, every misfortune, every red light, every traffic jam, every obnoxious supervisor (or employee), every illness, every loss, every moment of joy or depression, every addiction, every piece of garbage, every breath.

Every moment is the guru.

— Charlotte Joko Beck

“ah-ha!” thought of the week —

Track your sleep for 30 days.

Something that I do on a daily basis is track my sleep. I use my Fitbit to create awareness of my sleep time and sleep quality. Whether you have a wearable tracker, app, etc., it’s worth spending 30 days to develop greater awareness.

In particular, observing what time you’re going to sleep over the course of 30 days will give you a rough idea of when your body is naturally going to bed. Your body’s natural clock will fit into one of four “chronotypes”. Based on your chronotype, you’ll have ideal and less ideal times to do certain activities.

By creating that awareness of when your body naturally goes to sleep, you can start building your unique schedule around it. You can also take this free quiz to find out what your chronotype is or dive into The Power of When by Michael Breus which provides a detailed look into the power of leveraging your chronotype.

Product I’m loving —

Uni-Ball Vision Needle Ink Pens

My favourite ink pen on the market. It’s a bit more expensive than your regular Bic pen but the performance is far superior. It writes super well on my Moleskine and Productivity Planner. I don’t go anywhere without one (or two).

Featured image by FWStudio.

As always, thanks for checking out this Weekly Learnings Roundup. Follow me on Twitter @peternakamura to see the full list of articles that I share on a daily basis.

Weekly Learnings Roundup (August 06, 2016)

Weekly Learnings Roundup (August 06, 2016)

Thanks for checking out the Weekly Learning Roundup. These bite-sized, weekly posts are designed to give you a quick hit of interesting learnings and articles I came across this week.

It’s a motley assortment of tips, resources, and links that will hopefully give you a bit of inspiration for the upcoming week. Enjoy!

What I’m reading —

Bruce Lee’s Never-Before-Seen Writings on Willpower, Emotion, Reason, Memory, Imagination, and Confidence by Maria Popova

It’s hard to describe how inspiring Bruce Lee’s career in martial arts and film was. In this article by Maria Popova, we get to see some of Lee’s internal dialogue and methods that helped him overcome the many critics he faced.

Books, documentaries, or podcast episodes I’m enjoying —

Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares

If you’re looking for ways to help grow your business, this book is a great way to start. It provides a great breakdown on the various channels startups and small businesses can explore to gain customer traction. You can download the first three chapters of the book for free.

A quote that’s inspiring me —

In order to control myself I must first accept myself by going with and not against my nature.

— Bruce Lee

Product I’m loving —

Moleskine notebooks

These minimalist notebooks are my favourite for recording all sorts of notes. Hemingway, Picasso, and many others used these notebooks for their thoughts and ideas. I keep two pocket-size notebooks as my meditation and gratitude journals along with a regular size notebook for work-related notes.

As always, thanks for checking out this Weekly Learnings Roundup. Be sure to follow me on Twitter – @peternakamura – to see the full list of interesting articles that I share on a daily basis.

Thoughts from Collision Conference 2016

Thoughts from Collision Conference 2016

Last week, I had the pleasure of traveling down to New Orleans, Louisiana for a start-up conference called Collision. It’s one of the premier conferences in North America for startups looking to receive funding, media coverage, mentorship, etc. etc. I was down at the conference as part of the startup I work for – actionable.co – and had a chance to take in the sites and sounds of the 10,000+ person conference.

IMG_0370
Our booth at Collision.

The conference had a pretty solid speaker line-up as well and I had a chance to sit in on a few of them. Below are a mish-mash of observations and thoughts from the conference. Enjoy!

Marketing

  • Marketing can no longer afford to be siloed from other aspects of the business. Marketing, customer care, and branding all live under the same umbrella and they need to be working together to deliver a great customer experience.
  • New age Chief Marketing Officers need to go beyond taking responsibility for marketing activities and into e-commerce, customer service, research, etc. They need to become customer champions.
  • There is a gap between brand promise and customer experience. How do we fill that gap?
  • Marketing will evolve into the caretaker of the customer experience.
  • The Onion and Upworthy have pivoted towards making more proprietary videos for their content. They believe it’s the most engaging type of content to share with their followers (even if it takes longer to produce).

Customer Experience

  • Customers and prospective customers can find us through a variety of doors. In the past we may have had a couple of doors (e.g. literally the front door of the shop and a website) but now thanks to social media they have tens of doors through which they can come in through.
  • We need to keep a close eye on which doors we currently have open and which ones we have locked to make sure we’re not leaving customers stranded.
  • The customer experience language: Indifferent-Impressed-Gratitude-Love. Courtesy of Ragy from Sprinklr.

Analytics

  • Only 5 years ago analytics was too expensive for most companies out there but now with services like Amazon Web Services analytics tools are cheaper (and will likely continue to become cheaper).
  • How do you effectively use data? Make sure you’ve thought through three key components: Infrastracture – Staffing – Culture. Analytics won’t thrive unless you’ve got those key components nailed.
  • The analytics sessions at Collision were sparesely attended comparative to other sessions. Likely an indicator that most startups are just trying to get their business of the ground – analytics just isn’t a priority for them (perhaps to their detriment).
  • Marketing analytics – views and impressions for online ad campaigns are not good stats to look at. It’s way too easy to count an “impression” and is a deceptive number. Conversions and clicks are what you should be focused on if you’re running any kind of pay-per-click campaign online.

Startups

  • Gusto (a payroll and benefits platform) is a pretty cool company. I thought their CEO & Co-founder, Joshua Reeves, was a pretty awesome guy with a lot of business “soul” to him.
  • Interesting to hear the Co-Founder of Infusionsoft, Scott Martineau, mention that their tool is specifically for small businesses under 50 people. Actionable will quickly get to the point of hitting 50 people so it’ll be interesting to see how the system will adapt to a larger team and more complexity.
  • Virtual Reality (VR) is here and it looks like it’ll stay. A few startups and vendors were pitching their various VR products and services. I tried a VR unit myself and was transported to a Armin van Buuren rave/concert. Not my scene but pretty cool. What was interesting was how I explained the VR experience as “I was at a concert” rather than “I saw a concert”. Pretty powerful stuff.
IMG_0358
About to jump into an Armin van Buuren concert courtesy of a VR unit.
  • Keep thinking about ways that you can explain your startup in an interesting way. In a PR-related session, one panelist bluntly stated “most startups are not very interesting.” So if you’re running a startup, think about angles that would pique journalists’ interest into what you’re doing. PR (especially free PR) can be quite powerful if you have the right story to tell.

Random

  • The key to having a successful conference as an attendee is to be fully engaged with the evening events. Lots of great opportunities to network with influencers and investors. If you’re going to be an attendee at Collision, don’t just rely on the conference floor or pitch competitions for connections but also the informal networking opportunities.
  • The way people talked about Facebook at Collision was kind of like the way people talked about Microsoft back in the early 2000s. Lots of awe and respect but also a begrudging acceptance to have to rely on their platform to reach their customers. Some folks were even pretty vocal about finding an alternative to Facebook.
  • New Orleans is a beautiful city. If you’re staying downtown, everything is within a 10-15 minute walk and Ubers are plentiful. Lots of fun bars and places to hit up to keep you busy for weeks! Oh, and don’t forget to indulge in their seafood when you’re down there.
  • The French Quarter is like a more cultured version of the Las Vegas strip. It’s cool – worth checking out – but probably not somewhere I’d spend most of my time when I go back to New Orleans.

To learn more about Collision, you can visit their website here. If your startup is growing and you’re looking for funding to take it to the next level, this is a great conference to be exposed to people who are highly connected in the startup world.

Peter’s Links of the Week (Dec. 27 – Jan. 2)

Peter’s Links of the Week (Dec. 27 – Jan. 2)

Links of the Week feature the most liked and re-tweeted articles from my Twitter feed this week. Did you know that in 10 years 75% of the workforce in the US will be millennials? If you’re looking at the future, start thinking about how you can begin to invest in your new hires as they might be your organization’s leaders in the future. Check out article #5 for three tips on how you can start preparing your training programs now.

#1

Employee performance management software to loom in 2016 (TechTarget)

2016 looks like it’s going to be a big year for employee engagement and talent management software. More companies – including Accenture, Deloitte, and GE – are moving away from annual performance reviews and more frequent (dare I say more “human”?) feedback methods.

#2

Leadership Mistake: Promoting Based on Tenure (Gallup)

It’s hard to find the right manager talent. According to Gallup, only 1 out of 10 people have the natural talent to be a great leader. That said, managers can still 1. help employees set work priorities and goals 2. be open and approachable 3. focus on employees’ strengths to create better engagement within their team.

#3

Don’t Let Frustration Make You Say the Wrong Thing (Harvard Business Review)

Before you respond with the wrong thing, question the tensions that may be pushing you over the ledge. It’s often not “the crime” that causes you to lash out but the bystanders (real or not real) that make you feel like you deserve to lash out.

#4

3 startups that want to get millennials saving money (The Seattle Times)

I’m really passionate about millennials getting ahead with saving money. Acorns, Digit, and Stash (mentioned in the article) are good examples of low cost index/ETFs that can help you start doing just that.

#5

3 Ways to Make Millennials Manager Material (Digiday)

Mobile-first training, micro-learning content, and instant feedback are what Millennials will look for as they step into leadership roles in the next 10 years. Great article highlighting the trends happening in the learning and development world.

 

As always, thank you to those that liked, re-tweeted, or commented on the posts. See you on next week’s round up!

#Culture #EmployeeEngagement – Links of the Week (Dec. 6-12)

#Culture #EmployeeEngagement – Links of the Week (Dec. 6-12)

The Links of the Week are the top articles from my Twitter feed along with some handpicked articles that I think are #MustReads. My favourite this week was #3 – an interview with Shawn Murphy about optimistic workplaces. There are a lot of actionable tidbits you can apply in your workplace from that article. Enjoy!

#1

The Secret to Building a Startup Culture that Lasts (Forbes)

Resilience – or the ability to reframe challenges and minimize the negative impacts of stress – is a vital component of any startup culture.

It costs a lot to replace someone on a team and it hurts even more when you’re in a startup. This article has some good advice on how you can create a resilient culture by establishing your values early, being transparent, and fostering connections.

#2

The Two Sides of Employee Engagement (Harvard Business Review)

For the most part, companies oversimplify things by viewing personal satisfaction as a proxy for engagement. As a result, they miss key behavioral signals.

Just because Mary feels good about her manager doesn’t mean it’s converting into higher productivity. It’s important that engagement isn’t just measured as low-medium-high because it misses the impact that engagement is having on a company’s goals and metrics.

#3

Creating an Optimistic Workplace — Interview with Shawn Murphy (Actionable Books)

Leaders have the greatest influence on employees’ work experience. So it’s natural that they be the solution to the problems that ail the modern workplace.

In a 2014 LinkedIn study that surveyed 18,000 people, only 15% of the respondents said they were satisfied with their jobs. It’s a big challenge Shawn Murphy has some great ideas on how we can create a more optimistic and meaningful workplace. Leadership is a big part of the solution.

#4

What Every Millennial Can Learn From Steve Jobs About Success (Fortune)

Looking back, I would give myself the same advice offered by the late Apple founder, Steve Jobs: “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

Following your passion is important but remember that it’s a journey. Your passion may require to learn, fail, and grow in different ways before you fully realize a career that allows you live your passion. Be curious and stay curious.

#5

Excel in Employee Engagement During Onboarding for Better Performance (Business 2 Community)

Almost 50% of potential employees explore company materials (like their careers website) to get a feel for the company’s values and cultural fit. For employers, this means “cultural onboarding” needs to start long before an employee starts working for you

Great onboarding can be the difference between retaining all-star talent or a short, disappointing stint for the employee. A more proactive, friendly, and longer onboarding could hold they keys to a better onboardin experience.

Some great articles this week. Thank you to those that liked, re-tweeted, or commented on the posts. Looking forward to next week’s roundup!

Links of the Week (Nov. 8-14)

startup-photos

This week’s Links of the Week is short and sweet. We’ve got one link to a “Top 10” book list and a couple of articles on employee engagement and startups. Enjoy!

#1

Lessons Every Startup Can Learn From The Hotel Industry (Inc.)

So why isn’t disrupting a market with a fanatical focus on delivering the best quality customer service considered a barrier to entry? Can customer service become an investable competitive advantage?

This article was by-far the most popular Tweet of the week – and for good reason. It makes a compelling case that startups can use excellent customer service as a barrier to entry against competition. So much of the startup world is focused on creating a better app or developing new technology, but customer service can be a key differentiator – just look at Zappos as an example.

There are a lot of great tactics from the hotel world that the article recommends to improving your customer service including never saying “no”, managers being on the frontline, and honouring loyalty over price. If your startup is looking for a way to distinguish itself, consider customer service – it’ll make your customers and staff happy to be working with you.

#2

Employee Engagement: Building Bridges (David Zinger)

On a Bhosporous ferry ride in Istanbul I saw the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge near the Black Sea. I believe this is an iconic image for work on employee engagement…I love how the bridge is being built from both sides. In employee engagement, engagement must be built by both the employee and the organization.

Great visual and metaphor of what it means to develop employee engagement. Both sides have to be open and ready to engage, and there’s much more than meets the eye. Building a bridge can be an exhilarating and rewarding experience but it takes a lot of coordination and hard work.

#3

Top 10 ‘Start Your Own Business’ Books of 2015 (Inc.)

2015 could arguably be named the “year of the entrepreneur.” Shark Tank became must-see TV, the SEC allowed regular folks to invest in startups, and Inc.com has become one of the most-visited business websites in the world.

I’m excited to check out Guy Kawasaki’s new book The Art of the Start and Jay Samit’s Disrupt You! Darren Hardy (from SUCCESS) also has a new book out called The Entrepreneur Rollercoaster which may be an interesting read for managing the emotional rollercoaster of being an entrepreneur. Either way, it’s a good list if you’re planning out your 2016 reading list.

Some great articles this week. Thank you to those that liked, re-tweeted, or commented on the posts. Looking forward to next week’s roundup!