Why are office romances such a bad idea?
For a lot of people, dating in the workplace is a very important topic, indeed, it's also one that I've been asked about a number of times in my various companies. While the logic is obvious -- we spend more time at work than just about anywhere else, so where better to find a potential mate than in a professional setting? -- the dangers and risks are quite high too.
I remember those halcyon days when I was young and single (well, they weren't that halcyon, in retrospect) and I hated trying to find venues where I could meet eligible singles in a pleasant environment. Bars? Health clubs? Community college courses? Church or temple? Outdoor activities? It's no wonder that like most of my colleagues, my eye wandered at work, checking out others in the firm during lunchtimes, afternoon breaks, conferences, workshops and other events.
But there's danger lurking in office romances, genuine risks to your career and credibility, along with your mental health...
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How much should you pay an Executive Director?
I've talked before about the Board Café's informative newsletter for non-profit Boards of Directors, particularly in the article entitled Non-Profit Board Self-Assessment Survey. The latest article on Executive Director pay is another keeper, particularly given the scandals surrounding the often incredibly inflated salaries of even the most benign non-profits. Indeed, before you donate to your favorite charity, exec director pay is an interesting figure to learn... And do pay attention: this article also talks about a shocking gender gap in the pay of executive directors too.
HOW MUCH SHOULD EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS BE PAID?
Both the Internet and new regulations in some states are making nonprofit boards more aware than ever about executive compensation. On the web at guidestar.org, all the Forms 990 for US nonprofits (with annual revenues of $25,000 or more) are posted and each shows the salaries for "key employees" who are paid $50,000 per year or more. In other words-by going to this website anyone can find out the salary of the top staff in nearly any nonprofit.
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How do you fire an employee?
A recent article by my friend Amy Gahran about The True Cost of Cowardly Management has left me thinking about the proper way to tell an employee that they're on probation and, ultimately, to fire them.
While I haven't fired hundreds of people (no, I'm not Donald Trump and no I don't actually enjoy firing people) I have certainly let employees go and know just how difficult it is, even when there's no question that the person needs to part ways with the firm.
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How does Disney inspire customers to apologize for its products?
I've always been fascinated by Disney Corporation and its ability to continually tap into the emotional attachment that its customers have with the Disney products and brand. In a lot of ways, I think Disney is the most powerful and valuable brand in the industry, because the passion stoked by Disney does something wholly remarkable: it turns customers into fans and some into apologists.
I know because I'm a fan of Disney's theme parks. I admit it. In fact, I'm listening to the fascinating DisneyWar right now and learning even more about the background machinations of this billion dollar empire and the collective shenanigans of Michael Eisner, Jeff Katzenberg, Frank Wells, Roy O. Disney and the rest of the crew. But more about that when I'm done with the book!
As a fan, I subscribe to a variety of Disney-related publications, few of which are as good as Deb Wills' All Ears Network. In a recent issue, I was struck by an article by Disney fan Joshua Olive, who did something that every business needs: he apologized for a less than stellar product and explained how other customers could learn to get the most out of it. In this case, it's Disney's Animal Kingdom park...
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Why the United States just doesn't get the United Nations
This article diverges from my usual business focus, but the role and importance of the United Nations are something about which I feel passionately, so I'm publishing this piece herein. I welcome your thoughts and feedback, either via email or as a comment here.
For years I have been amazed as I've listened to people here in the United States demonstrate their complete ignorance of the purpose and tremendous value of the United Nations, even to the point of our country not paying dues to the organization. Ambassador to the United Nations has often been viewed as a second-class or B-level diplomatic job and with the current Presidential perspective, the UN has become a troublesome entity and the appointment of an Ambassador a hassle. John Bolton, denied the appointment, knows what I'm talking about here.
To understand what value the United Nations brings to the world, you have to start out by understanding where the UN came from...
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Why you should be ignoring your search results
Today I'm attending a search engine research workshop run by Brad Fallon in Atlanta, Georgia, and am fascinated by the people here who obsessively track their SERPs (search engine results placement, jargon for what match number you are on Google for a given search term).
My part of this workshop is to talk about how blogging can help your search engine placement, but what I'm actually talking about is whether SERP is a meaningful measure of whether or not you're being successful. And that's what I want to talk about in this article too.
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Fixing the world of Angel InvestingI've been working closely with the DaVinci Institute on some of its entrepreneurial efforts, and recently had a chance to interview Kevin Johansen, the sharp and charismatic head of the Entrepreneurial Standards Forum, about the world of angel investing and how it could be significantly improved. It's a long interview, but darn interesting for anyone who's ever thought about raising capital...
Q: I think that historically angel investing has been not just erratic and characterized by poor diligence on the part of investors, but also a crap shoot in terms of results. What are your thoughts?
Investing in startups is a gamble that's more likely to pay off if you know the rules of the game and play the percentages. By comparison, if you go to Vegas and watch the professionals you'll quickly learn that they know the rules inside & out and that they play the percentages with a great deal of discipline. This generally means that unless they know *exactly* what their next move should be, they don't move. The amateurs, however, are there for fun and the off chance that they might hit it big. As a consequence, they generally don't think much before they act as doing so lessens the element of surprise and can take the fun out it.
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Two of my favorite companies partner: LinkedIn and SimplyHired
There are more Internet based companies than there are stars in the heavens, at least it sure seems like that some days, so it's a pleasure to read the news and find out that two smart and agile companies I follow have announced a partnership arrangement that's a clear win:win for all of us.
Though the online job market is busy and saturated with solutions, from the 800 pound Monster.com on down, I've still been impressed with what I've seen of SimplyHired, a Palo Alto (CA) based employment search engine that aggregates millions of available jobs and offers a sophisticated and powerful search engine to let you explore your future opportunities.
I've also been writing a lot about LinkedIn, what I believe is the premier business networking site (as opposed to social networking).
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Out, Damn Spam!
My backlog of books is getting out of control again, with two titles sitting on my desk, covers staring balefully at me while I ignore then, even with their "advance reader copy' lure. Eventually, I'll get to them.
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Review: The Art of the Start by Guy KawasakiApple before that, so it's been great fun watching him translate the lessons he learned as the high-profile evangelist at Apple Computer (think a pre-blogging version of Microsoft's Robert Scoble and you'd have an idea of what Guy was doing to help the Macintosh change the world) into his successful Garage Technology Ventures (formerly known as "Garage.com"), an early stage startup incubator.
Much of the very best of his thinking and expertise in identifying the essence of what makes a startup business succeed has been captured in The Art of the Start, a succinct, engaging, and amusing handbook that I recommend to all entrepreneurs, whether you're still in the proverbial garage, or whether you're trying to produce a revolution within a larger organization.
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Wall Street Journal warns about phishing
One of the greatest banes of modern computing is the scourge of so-called phishing attacks. You know what I'm talking about: email that purports to come from Paypal, eBay, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Chase Manhattan, or a raft of other sites, asking you to log in and correct or update some aspect of your personal record or account.
When you click on the link, however, you don't go to the real Web site, you go to an elaborate mockup, a different site that has all the right graphics and design (since it's easy to steal HTML code) but funnels your account and password directly into a nefarious hacker's database, for them to break into your real account and do as they like.
In this brave new world (yes, that's sarcasm) it's interesting to get the following email message from the Wall Street Journal Online, where I'm a paid subscriber...
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LinkedIn: Exemplary response to member criticism of new policies
On the ridiculously popular My LinkedIn Power Forum a great debate has ensued following a letter from LinkedIn management announcing that group owners within the LinkedIn universe will need to pay for an upgrade to Premium Group to gain access to specific services and capabilities. Group owners that don't upgrade will have a Basic Group, with fewer capabilities. This is about the LinkedIn for Groups service only, notice.
Shades of the MeetUp.com brohouha, eh?
The messages between group owners in the Forum have been interesting, but what I find excellent, exemplary, is the long, thoughtful explanatory message that LinkedIn Director of Marketing Robert Leathern posted to the list...
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Journey to Boulder: Job Hunting the Blogger Way
In years past, people relocated because companies moved them, or because word of mouth led to an opportunity across the state or country. My family relocated from England to New York because my Dad wanted to try his luck in America, then we relocated from New York to California when a new assignment pulled him across the country.
Everything changes in the online world, however, and IBM staffer Alan Cheslow's Weblog Journey to Boulder shows just how different the search for employment has become. Cheslow, based in Marietta, Georgia, is sharing the entire sequence of his planned relocation to Boulder, Colorado, from selling his home in Georgia to finding a job and home in Colorado.
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Apple Moves to Intel: So What? Big Deal.
I know that I have the minority position here, but while it's interesting to learn that Apple is planning on moving to the Intel platform (as reported in a million news outlets today, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, MacFixIt, Macintouch, Mac Network News and, of course, Robert Scoble's Scobelizer blog, where the story first broke), I can't really say that it's that exciting to me.
Yes, I know that it's a major event for the tech industry, yes I'm glad to know that - hopefully - the price of Macs will go down, the performance will go up, and I'll be able to run something like Virtual PC natively on my hardware, rather than through some painful emulation system, but ...
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"Learning Unix for Mac OS X Tiger" arrives!Learning Unix for Mac OS X Tiger from O'Reilly yesterday, and I must say that not only am I thrilled to have such a darn cute baby tiger on the cover (Thanks, Dale!) but pleased at how well this fourth revision of the book has come out.
In its concise format, this brand new book does a splendid job of showing you why the Unix underneath your pretty Tiger operating system is worth befriending, and how it
We now have review copies of Learning Unix for Mac OS X Tiger available to anyone who has a venue where they can publish their review: if you're interested please don't hesitate to contact me directly with your request! And, yes, widely read blogs count as a publishing venue too, of course.
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The Sun Shines on Louisville as Sun Micro buys StorageTek
This is an interesting, albeit somewhat puzzling strategic move for Sun too, as Storage Technology Corp. (the formal name, though everyone here in Colorado calls it StorageTek) is focused on data storage issues, an area that hasn't been much of a strategic focus for Sun as it's retooled itself with Solaris 10 to move into the open source future.
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