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Nuggets of Knowledge: February 2015

By February 26, 2015Nuggets of Knowledge
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Most of you know the drill for Nuggets of Knowledge by now: we read a whole lot of stuff, choose the very best of it to share with you, add our unique voices to the commentary, and leave you in peace to enjoy our brilliance and the brilliance of those we admire. It’s a good system. It works.

Which is why, of course, we’ve decided to change it up a bit. The team is growing and rather than overwhelm you with so much monthly genius, we’ve decided to split it up a little. So this month, you’ll be hearing from half the team. The other half will share next month. And so on and so forth. Really, we’re just trying to keep your brains from exploding with all the amazing-ness that we have to share.

So dive right into this month’s NOKlist, rife with office and team dynamics, data on user behavior, and some great tips for personal information. Plus our shining faces.

Well, half of our shining faces.

Er, that is…the shining faces of half our team. No faces were halved in the making of this NOKlist. We swear.

Nor any other NOKlist for that matter. Seriously, check out our NOKlist archive. All faces, entirely intact.


Rebecca’s Pick

Overwhelmed? Simplify Complex Tasks with a List

by Tanner Christensen

Rebecca

Rebecca

This article is dedicated to anyone who has ever had too much to do. If that’s not you, then please back away slowly lest you incur the wrath of the overwhelmed.

For the rest of us, we can rein in those tasks that never seem to get done because they seem just too darn big to start. And it all starts with the art of list making.

Tanner Christensen helps us understand that complexity can in fact be the enemy of accomplishment. But perhaps all you need is a list to save the day.

Let’s start with this one:

1. Identify that task that, for some reason, you don’t want to do. Instead you keep binge-watching Scrubs because Netflix told you they were going to remove it and yet you were only three-fourths of the way through the nine-season series, but then after weeks of watching 3-5 episodes a day they took off that warning (lying bastards).

2. Read this article.

3. Make your list.

4. Bask in your success.

5. Finish Scrubs at a reasonable cadence and let your husband watch his Nova documentaries for crying out loud.

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Olivia’s Pick

Why Your Team Needs Rookies

by Liz Wiseman

Olivia

Olivia

“I have no idea what I’m doing, but I know I’m doing it really well.” – Andy Dwyer, Parks and Rec (also me, multiple occasions)

Before I read this article, I didn’t think being a rookie was an awful thing necessarily, but I definitely didn’t think it was desirable.

Career wise (and life wise), it seems like being an expert or a veteran, with experience and knowledge on your side, is advantageous to being a rookie, who has lots to learn (and inevitably lots of mistakes to make), yes?

This article shows you why that’s not totally true. It explains why rookies one, are underestimated, and two, are something a team needs. I’ll let you discover the specific reasons, but think an eagerness to learn and experiment, a willingness to explore unconventional options, and an aptness for just jumping in and doing the dang thing. In fact, having a knowledge or skills gap can be hugely advantageous. (Counterintuitive, right? But this idea actually makes a lot of sense once you read about it.)

I especially liked this because in an industry like, say, integrated marketing, things change quickly, so there’s a good chance that sometimes, you’ll feel like a rookie even if you’ve been around for a while. Sometimes I find this slightly frustrating, but it turns out that having that rookie mindset is valuable. And, bonus: anyone can adopt it, regardless of their age or career.

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Nat’s Pick

6 things we learned from website use in 2014

by Keir Gibson and Gavin Holland

Nat

Nat

As a designer, I find data helpful. It helps me figure out how my design is going to address user needs, behaviours, and small improvements needed in a website’s design. This, of course, is done by looking at data which is unique to said website.

But you know what else I’ve realized? It’s also crucial to stay up-to-date on larger trends and behaviours, pulled from a larger pool of data. Looking at a larger sampling of data helps me understand the wider themes of user behaviours, which in turn helps me become a better designer (rather than an out-dated one). That’s why I’m sharing this post by Keir Gibson and Gavin Holland for this month’s NOKlist. Gibson and Holland looked at data from 2014 and analyzed usage-related stats from more than 25 sites, and came up with some interesting findings.

They touch on 6 key things:

1. Device trends
2. Browser trends
3. Top traffic-driving channels
4. Social network referrals
5. Landing pages
6. User behaviour

You don’t have to be a designer to find this data useful. If you’re an online marketer, a business owner, or just someone interested in user behaviour from 2014, then check this article out and see what you learn.

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Mack’s Pick

Why Yammer Believes the Traditional Engineering Structure is Dead

By Kris Gale, VP of Engineering at Yammer

Mack

Mack

As Mack Web continues to grow, I seek insight that will help us better structure our team for efficiency, balance, and better serving our clients while staying true to our responsive nature and extremely collaborative culture. Although we are not a team of engineers, there are many parallels in Kris’ post that provide food for thought as the Mack Web team increases in size.

The biggest realization I had while reading Kris’ post was from this piece:

“If you’ve broken up work…where the top-level managers have to divide tasks and then delegate them, you’re doing it wrong. If the individual who’s actually implementing the code spots something that’s wrong with the spec, he or she has to propose a change all the way up the ladder, which then has to filter back down. It’s a blocking process and will bring product development to a halt. Meanwhile, the other engineers in different parts of the organization will see this as churn since they’re not working closely with the engineer who proposed the change. They won’t understand the rationale behind the revision itself.”

Even when you’re a small company, it’s really easy to over-think structure and put roadblocks where they don’t belong. As we work to identify the quickest way to delegate tasks throughout the team and spend more time on action and less time on planning, this post provides some great advice.

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Ayelet’s Pick

Madam C.E.O., Get Me a Coffee

by Adam Grant & Sheryl Sandberg

Ayelet

Ayelet

What?! A departure from my regular posts in our Nuggets of Knowledge about analytics, social media, and community?! Am I feeling alright? Yes, I feel fine and yes, I am taking a break from those wonderful topics this month. This article about women in the workplace really spoke to me. Because although I now work in an office of mainly women, I – like most women who have been in the workplace for any length of time – have faced these issues, even though we may not realize them explicitly or we’ve talked ourselves out of recognizing what exactly is going on.

Adam Grant and Sheryl Sandberg write about how women work and how that style can affect the opportunities they get offered at work. This article isn’t just great for other women to read; it is a must for everyone to read. It doesn’t male bash and there’s real research behind what they say. Adam and Sheryl (we’re on a first-name basis now) stir up a hopeful discussion on how the current situation for women in the workplace can be reversed. Please check it out and pass it on.

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Nuggets of Knowledge April 2014