Worst email ever

July 21, 2014


Microsoft lays off 12,500 employees via the worst email ever

“Talk about burying the lead.

In a rambling, 1,100-word memo, Microsoft’s Executive Vice President of Devices & Services Stephen Elop announced that 12,500 of his employees would be laid off. Or at least, we’re pretty sure that’s what he says — the absurdly long email is riddled with corporate jargon and takes 11 paragraphs to get to the point, as Kevin Roose at New York points out. The move is part of a larger round of 18,000 layoffs announced today, but Elop’s division was hardest hit.

Elop’s epistle (which, oddly, begins with a casual introduction of “Hello there”) is a master class in how to use business speak to utterly confuse everyone. Amid mentions of “appropriate financial envelopes,” “local market dynamics,” and “right-siz[ing] manufacturing operations,” are fun and easy-to-understand paragraphs like this one:

As part of the effort, we plan to select the appropriate business model approach for our sales markets while continuing to offer our products in all markets with a strong focus on maintaining business continuity. We will determine each market approach based on local market dynamics, our ability to profitably deliver local variants, current Lumia momentum and the strategic importance of the market to Microsoft. This will all be balanced with our overall capability to invest. [Microsoft]

I’d guess that employees who had to wade through all this would have preferred The Donald’s signature directness.”

Project management that matters

July 21, 2014

By Seth Godin via sethgodin.typepad.com   Article

Project management for work that matters

  1. “Resist the ad hoc. Announce that this is a project, and that it matters enough to be treated as one.
  2. The project needs a leader, a person who takes responsibility as opposed to waiting for it to be given.
  3. Write it down. All of it. Everything that people expect, everything that people promise.
  4. Send a note confirming that you wrote it down, specifically what you heard, what it will cost and when they will have it or when they promised it.
  5. Show your work. Show us your estimates and your procedures and most of all, the work you’re going to share with the public before you ship it.
  6. Keep a log, a notebook, a history of what you’ve done and how. You’ll need it for the next project.
  7. Source control matters. Don’t change things while people are reviewing them, because then we both have to do it twice.
  8. Slack is your friend. Slack is cheaper, faster and more satisfying than wishful thinking. Your project will never go as well as you expect, and might take longer than you fear.
  9. Identify and obsess about the critical path. If the longest part of the project takes less time than you planned, the entire project will take less time than you planned.
  10. Wrap it up. When you’re done, take the time to identify what worked and what didn’t, and help the entire team get stronger for next time.”

The 5 Saddest Words

July 21, 2014

By  via inc.com   Article

The 5 Saddest Words You Can Say

“I walk offstage after speaking to 4,500 people. A sound tech shakes his head. ‘I could never do that,’ he says.

‘Sure, you could,’ I think. It’s hard, but not that hard. First you struggle because you haven’t figured out what you want to say doesn’t matter–all that matters is what your audience will benefit from hearing. Then you work and revise and find your hook and your story. And you practice. And what’s to be afraid of? That you’ll fail? Sometimes we bomb when we speak to one person; the only difference is the degree.

In time, speaking is relatively easy–and if it’s relatively easy for someone as shy and insecure as I am, it can be fairly easy for anyone. You just have to be willing to try. …

Life throws up enough barriers. Genetics. Education. Intelligence. Athletic ability. The list of reasons we can’t do certain things is endless. No matter how hard I work I’ll never be as talented as LeBron James. Or Usain Bolt. Or Maria Sharapova. Or Stephen King or Stephen Hawking or Stephen Colbert.

They’re all bigger, stronger, faster, smarter, more creative, or much, much funnier. Those are barriers I could forever work to overcome but likely never surmount. I can go far…but probably not that far. (If you haven’t gotten the point yet, I am definitely nothing special. If I can do interesting or challenging things–imagine what you can do.)

But then there are the hundreds of barriers we construct all on our own without any justification. We don’t know we can’t; we just decide we can’t. So we decide we shouldn’t.

We decide whatever we might want to do is too hard, too challenging, or too scary for a person like us.

And that’s why five of the saddest words you can say are, ‘I could never do that.’”



A penny becomes a dime

July 21, 2014

By Patrick Allan via lifehacker.com   Article

A Dollar Saved in Your 20s is Equal to Ten Dollars Saved in Your 50s

“Saving money with compound interest is not a new concept, but G.E. Miller at 20somethingfinance explains why putting away money early is so important in an easy-to-understand way.

With the current average annual rate of 8% on investments over 30 years, a dollar now will be ten dollars later. Even if you adjust for inflation, Miller explains that you’ll have over 500% the buying power later for every dollar you save today. …

William, starts saving $4,000 a year when he is 20 and stops after 20 years, after having saved $80,000. His brother, James, starts saving $4,000 at 40, and does so for 25 years, for a total of $100,000 saved.

They earn 6% on their savings.

At age 65, William will have $850,136 in his account, while James will have only$219,242. Despite having saved less, William’s nest egg will be almost four times greater because of compounding

You may not be able to save four grand a year in your twenties, but the savings hammer should be banging you over the head. A penny saved is a dime earned.”

Individuals as disruptors

July 14, 2014

By Trish Gorman via forbes.com   Article

Let Clay Christensen, The New Yorker Argue About Disruption — Here’s How It Really Works

“The concept of disruption is explosive, and so are the disruptors — the individuals who drive dramatic changes in an organization.

Disruptors are both difficult and wonderful to work with. They are, to put it bluntly, blowing things up within an organization. They challenge established patterns of behavior. Their ideas may cause a business to shift the vision it communicates to employees and customers, or to walk away from projects that once received significant investment.

Yet all disruptors are not created equal. They may be more conceptual or concrete in their thinking; their areas of expertise may be narrow or broad. Each type brings their own strengths and weaknesses. To get anything innovative done, you need a team that combines different types who can work together, communicate effectively and leverage each other’s strengths.”

“Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable”

July 14, 2014

By Patrick Allan via lifehacker.com   Article

“The U.S. Navy SEALs have a saying: “Get comfortable being uncomfortable.” If you can be comfortable being uncomfortable, you’ll be prepared to handle whatever situation comes along in your own life.

The Navy Seal saying applies not only to the extreme physical conditions they endure, but also the situations. During their rigorous training, SEALs go through what’s called “surf torture.” The process involves everyone linking arms and laying down in the frigid ocean until the body reaches early stages of hypothermia. They do this daily before taking on whatever other tasks are required of them.

The point is for them stay focused on what they need to accomplish, despite how uncomfortable they feel. You shouldn’t subject yourself to these extremes, but the sooner you can find a way to stay focused—no matter what situation you’re in—the better. Life will make you feel uncomfortable, but that doesn’t ever have to stop you. Remember, it’s a good thing to feel uncomfortable. It means you’re moving forward and exploring new territory.”


Pushover or Jerk?

July 14, 2014

By Amy Morin via forbes.com   Article

Do Your Counterparts See You As A Pushover Or A Jerk? Study Shows You May Be Oblivious

“When considering how your boss, co-workers, or other professional contacts behave, it’s likely you can quickly pick out “the jerk,” and “the pushover” in the crowd. But, have you ever stopped to think how your counterparts view you? Perhaps you assume you have a reputation as being “tough,” or maybe you like to play the part of “the nice guy,” but there’s evidence that shows you may be completely oblivious to the way other people actually see you.

A surprising new study titled, “Pushing in the Dark: Causes and Consequences of Limited Self-Awareness for Interpersonal Effectiveness,” shows that people fail to recognize whether they’re behaving too aggressively or too passively in the eyes of others. Unfortunately, this limited self-awareness can have serious consequences. …

If people perceive you as a jerk, they’re likely going to be less interested in conducting fair business deals with you. But, if you’re perceived as a pushover, they’re more likely to take advantage of you.

Increasing your self-awareness takes hard work. The key is a willingness to evaluate outcomes and a desire to examine how your attitude and behavior influence other people. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from other people. Often, what you discover about how others perceive you can teach you valuable life lessons if you’re open to learning.”


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