App: KindleBox moves eBooks from your Dropbox to Kindle

Drop an ebook file in your Dropbox and have it move effortlessly to your Kindle? Yus.

kindlebox

You’ll need to authorize the app in your Dropbox and Amazon accounts to get it working. Transferring files to and from the Kindle was already pretty easy, but if you use Dropbox, this is definitely a handy addition. #tnw

 

Wishlist Wednesday: Could Pick.co Be Meeting Scheduler Nirvana!?

I bumped into a post on SourceCon about Pick.co, a scheduler app that is mobile first (yaaay) and seems to do everything I want a scheduler to do. See them online

OH MY GOSH there is such a need for someone to just KILL this space… i don’t know why it’s not been done.

Three Years ago, it was finally confirmed that Tungle.me (shuttered by BlackBerry) was finally gone. I’ve been looking for a replacement in vain.

This one looked oh so much like it might be the one…

Until I realized when downloading that they, like every other scheduler, is only syncing with Google Calendar right now. WHYYYY? :(

My Wishlist for the Perfect Scheduling App:

  • Mobile First – on an APP.
  • EXCHANGE sync!
  • Easy to SEND calendar requests (“Hey, let’s meet! Pick a time that works for you here: http://linky.loo)
  • Easy to coordinate calendars with people who are NOT on the service. Just send email or text to book a meeting. Don’t make this hard!
  • Easy to move/change events (when the Boss changes staff meeting again, creating a conflict) without having to do anything hard/awkward.
  • Pro: Let me book concurrent meetings with multiple people (aka: Job interviews in succession)

And, quick question, why can’t my phone just sync my phone-based calendars with your app?? They’re all on my phone! That’s what Any.do does with their calendar... Sunrise does the same thing.  Why not you??

Do it!

Ready to use. Ready to tell everyone about this app. Ready to invest if I could!

 

P.S. Assistant.to is another one I heard about… is it any good?

Job Offers Should Be Like Buying A House (Not A Car)

couple-closing-on-new-home

A new job is an emotional experience for candidates and hiring managers alike. Nobody wants to make the wrong choice on either side of the table.

Unfortunately, the traditional process of presenting job offers usually felt something like subterfuge not simplicity. There always seemed to be the proverbial man behind the curtain (youtube) calling the shots but never really revealing all the details.

Thankfully, employers are experiencing an enlightenment of sorts.  Talent is hard to find, and simple economics tells you that the right people are more valuable (and worth paying) than a whole lot of the wrong people–no matter what you are (or are not) paying them. Richard Branson famously said that companies should “treat their employees well enough that they can leave, treat them well enough they don’t want to.”

With that as a backdrop to corporate compensation philosophy today, smart companies are working early and often with candidates to develop a clear, plain conversation around total compensation and rewards that includes the candidates interests, the company’s planned compensation model and finally, the market’s salary details for the given job and location.

This is why I say job offers should feel like closing on a home, not trying to buy a car.

A job offer like a good home closing will include:

  • Clear, up-front conversations about the full scope of the job from the first interaction to the job offer (the “closing”).
  • You will have many opportunities to discuss the job openly with future co-workers, subordinates as well as management.
  • Recruiters involved will be forthcoming and transparent about expectations and timing.
  • Clear and transparent discussion about compensation philosophy will be shared with you so you can make an informed decision about what you want to request.
  • Any disputes or discussions are fair and balanced with all the facts on the table.

Meanwhile, a car salesman’s job offer experience will feel like this:

  • The details about the job are only high-level and get fuzzy when you press for details.
  • You often only meet with one or two people and they’re the only ones who talk to you about the job.
  • You feel intense pressure to hurry and make a decision about the job. RIGHT. NOW! without all the details clearly worked out.
  • Often the person you’re talking with can’t make decisions and has to keep “going back for approval” repeatedly, exposing either tremendous red tape or (at a minimum) information hoarding by HR or finance or someone.
  • They want to know your comp requirements, but never share their expectations of pay OR WORSE, they never ask you what you’re looking for and just throw a number at you claiming it’s fair and you should take it.

Car Salesman

Here are three things companies can do to present job offers like a good home closing and not like a sleazy car salesman:

  1. Talk early and often about compensation and total rewards.
    This is often best done between the recruiter and the candidate. I recommend simply asking the candidate for a target comp as well as a minimum to determine a range. Importantly, no judgement is expressed here. The recruiter takes down the information and explains that this will come up again soon.
  2. Enable fully-transparent interview processes.
    We forget that we need the candidate to choose us as much as we want to choose them. Develop your interview processes in a way that will foster two-way selection. Let the candidate talk with future colleagues, direct reports, managers, cross-functional leaders and more. Let them understand how they will fit in to your company personally, not just professionally.
  3. Fully discuss compensation verbally before writing out paperwork.
    Legal departments hate this but it’s a key part of the process. You would never buy a home without first talking about price, what to include, what to exclude, etc. And we should do the same with our candidates.Give them details on base pay, bonuses and equity if-applicable. Tell them about vacation, benefits, or other things they should be aware of. Often the key factors come down to total expected annual cash compensation and the value of long-term rewards.

    Next, the recruiter goes back and gets approval to extend an offer at a certain point in the range the candidate wants and presents this to the candidate, who can accept it verbally.  Personally, thanks to legal department paranoia, I often state this as something like, “If an offer were to be made like this, do you think you would accept it, or at least seriously consider it?”. This is my chance to explore any wishywashyness and perhaps resolve it before generating any paperwork at all.

When this is done correctly, candidates will often accept the offers right away because experience of the job-offer is simply a formality… the legally-binding conclusion to a decision that was already emotionally determined days or weeks before!

Hey! Don’t Skip That Verizon Privacy Notice in Your Mailbox!

I slipped open an innocent letter from Verizon noting an “Important Privacy Notification” on the envelope this afternoon to read that, if I didn’t take any action, Verizon would (or would continue) to share the following information with third parties:

Are you OK with Verizon sharing the URLs you visit, location of your device and app usage with 3rd parties?

Are you OK with Verizon sharing the URLs you visit, location of your device and app usage with 3rd parties?

Yeah, no thanks.

Luckily, the process to tell Verizon not to share anything here is easy. Go to http://www.vzw.com/myprivacy, login, and go through and select what you are OK with sharing and what you are not OK with.

 
Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 5.07.53 PM Screen_Shot_2015-01-27_at_5_08_29_PMScreen Shot 2015-01-27 at 5.09.03 PM

Beware the ‘I Sent You A Docusign’ Email ‘Phishing’ Hack

There’s a hack going around that has all the hallmarks of a phishing scam, but using a new vector: Docusign, the popular online contract-signing service.

Realizing that many people are hopefully a little wary of opening attachments that don’t make sense right now, it seems that we may be all too happy to click hyperlinks though.

The same rules apply… if you weren’t expecting a contract or document to sign, VERIFY that you should be clicking this before doing so. ..

Here’s a screenshot of the most-recent version of this I have received. Note that mousing over (BUT NOT CLICKING!) the link reveals this won’t send you to Docusign afterall, but to somewhere unsavory, presumably with vicious computer bits just drooling to get their digital DNA all over your computer.

Pass the sanitizer, please.

This email looks like it might be a valid "docusign" email... but it's not. Nope... it's phishing you to get you to click an invalid link.

This email looks like it might be a valid “docusign” email… but it’s not. Nope… it’s phishing you to get you to click an invalid link.

 

Re: Doomed To Repeat It

IMG_2264.PNG

Perhaps it’s the same reason commuters can’t ignore tragedy on the freeway mixed with the human desire to improve on the things in our lives while diligently keeping our fingers in our ears to all rational experiential suggestions from those ahead of us on life’s trail.

Yet it is the case that we have a bizarrely morbid desire to gaze on others mistakes while simultaneously plunging ourselves into the same treachery they just met, but humans, it appears, are doomed to repeat… Just about everything.

A surprisingly engaging article on Medium drew me in discussing the reasons why engineers reinvent the same software over and over again: email, markup languages, and todo lists.

The developer raises up the great sword of technology and brings it down upon the plinth of culture—and the sword shatters. But never mind; we can go back to the forge to make a bigger, better sword for retina displays. And as we craft it we whisper that eternal prayer for the comfort of list-makers: This time will be different.

Doomed to Repeat It by Paul Ford

iMeet Requires Deep LinkedIn Permissions? Uhh. No Thanks.

Screen Shot 2014-09-19 at 10.30.38 AM

I was invited to an iMeet meeting (yet another web conferencing tool) and clicked the “LinkedIn” button to sign in using oAuth only to find not only that it wants to see my first and second connections but also wants to send messages and invitations to conenct with people as if its me.

Uhh. No web sharing app should need to do this.

No thanks.

Ancestry is Opening Our Doors to #NewCoSF 2014

Ancestry's SF Offices are Functional and Cool

Ancestry’s San Francisco Office Space in the SOMA neighborhood

Last night, I attended a cool kick-off party reception at the Salesforce headquarters hosted by John Battelle and Brian Monahan, the founders of Newco.co, which was founded on the idea that “what if all these cool companies just opened their doors for a day and let people come see what it’s like there?” “That would be awesome!”

I concur.

Just seeing, touching  and feeling what a company is like–from the inside–speaks a thousand words more than any job description, friendly referral or even job interview can.

But even though people outside of the Bay Area talk about the San Francisco tech startup scene with the kind of awe and wonder my kids use when talking about Disneyland, I’m learning that even though the cool kids around here work at cool companies with cool office-spaces, that’s not really what it’s about.

(But, we have a pretty amazing office space we’re excited to show off though)

What I am learning is that the tech elite in this city are deeply passionate about improving the world around them and leveraging their black-magic talents to drive real change–be that social innovation, food production/consumption (I’m learning about slow-food and love it), fashion, and yes, technology.

Excitedly, I think Ancestry fits right in with these kind of challenges. Our employees are driven and passionate and bold about their desire to make a real difference.  Time is fleeting, and they want to make their mark.

We are already the world’s largest online family history resource, but we are consistently renewing and revisiting that objective as if we were the new, scrappy startup on the block.

We have a relentless talent selection process that is determined to employ only the best people… both in terms of intelligence and capability, but also in terms of deep drive and passion for what we are doing and why we are doing it… not just how we are doing it.

It turns out, accomplishing “awesome” in the world of family history is complicated business.

To help people discover and get excited about their own legacy and the personal legacies of people they know is an exciting proposition, but beside the myriad technical challenges of hosting billions of genealogical records and millions of family trees–and making them accessible in milliseconds from your mobile app, tablet or multi-screened PC device–the entire genre of “family history” as a service is associated with user experiences that are, frankly, boring.

  • How do you bring people’s family history alive before their very eyes?
  • How do we help people access, document and share their personal legacies–or preserve them for their children and grandchildren and great, great, grandchildren in a way that is visual, immersive and exciting?
  • How do we encourage users of our mobile platforms to open our app while they’re waiting at the doctor’s office rather than another round of Candy Crush?

To accomplish these challenges, we need to bring people to work on these problems that are willing to challenge the status-quo and really get inside the challenges of accessing and displaying these intensely data-heavy bits of information in a way that captures interest and engages people in new ways than have been done before.

This is one reason why we hosted the XX+UX event earlier this year inviting local women in UX Design to hear from one of the leaders in their craft in the comfort of our offices.

This is also one of the reasons we’re opening our doors again today for the NewCo SF tour. We look forward to the guests and visitors who will join us and anticipate new partnerships, community and awareness to come from the event.

Looking forward to seeing you here.

How do I sign up?

Register for a NewCo.SF general admission pass for free here.  Then sign up for the session at Ancestry’s office: http://sched.co/1pbfVb3 (get on the waiting list if you have to)

Are there perks to coming aside from listening to the speaker?

Yes. Enjoy free appetizers, beer, and wine. We’ll also be giving away ten AncestryDNA kits, each paired with an Ancestry.com membership.

Finding your Purpose in Work

Finding purpose in your workWhat do you think of this graph from Todd Russell?

I like this. It appeals to me that finding purposeful work is a combination of these areas.

Does this accurately represent how

Personally, I wonder if the range for the star in the middle is too small. It assumes there’s only one thing or a small range of things that can be identified as your “purpose”. I think there’s a wide range of work that most smart, diligent, driven people can do that would solve these areas for them.

Secondarily, I’m watching a striking group of millennials and others who take the liberal approach of working for work (even doing several part time jobs) and then going and doing volunteer work, charitable work or other things to make social or spiritual impact without forcing “work” to solve their desire to make impact in the world.

Finally, what happens when the thing you can be paid for pays significantly less than what you were hoping to be earning?

What do you think? What’s most important for you?