for W3c validation
Friday Faves is our weekly blog series highlighting a few select pieces from the REG team’s reading lists. You can catch up on past Friday Faves on the archive.
Tony Hsieh, former Zappos CEO and ‘tremendous visionary,’ dies at 46
Anne says: You may have seen the news about this already – Tony Hsieh (pronounced “shay”), former CEO and founder of Zappos, passed away last week. There are many tributes from other entrepreneurs and people who knew Tony, but I think one of the key business impacts he created has been eloquently captured by Gaping Void and the work they did with Zappos, led by Tony, on culture. Their ten insights from their work:
- Business is about human potential.
- The end result of building a great culture is a magnetic brand.
- A quiet determination, a fearlessness to do things differently, and without regard for convention…
- Try anything.
- Insatiable curiosity.
- Forcing change.
- The power of thoughtful introverts.
- Quirk and Language.
In our current disruptive times, I find these insights even more relevant than in what used to be normal business, pre-COVID19. Meanwhile, get an expanded perspective on culture and business from the Gaping Void range they have generously have shared from their images developed for Zappos. It’s a further insight into the culture and business attitude at Zappos, a credit to Tony and his team.
There’s plenty of other obituaries and reviews of Tony’s contributions to not just Zappos but his life before Zappos.
How Microsoft crushed Slack (and why the era of worker-driven tools may be over)
This headline of this piece from Casey Newton caught my eye immediately, and I just had to read Casey’s analysis – and now, I’m sharing it with you!
Last week in our Friday Fives we shared the rumour that Salesforce was in talks to buy Slack. Fast forward to this week, and the rumour of talks was not only confirmed, but they’ve now sealed the deal: Salesforce is officially acquiring Slack for US$27.7B. The analysis positions the sale against the background of Microsoft’s launch of Teams in 2016. Unsurprisingly, with the scale of Microsoft and their inclusion of Teams within their Microsoft 365 suite at no additional cost, in the four years since Teams launched Microsoft has increased users from 0 to 115 Million. In the same period, Slack went from 4M to 12M users.
What stood out for me in this piece though was not so much the how Microsoft could have ‘crushed’ Slack, but rather the suggestion from the subheading that perhaps what we’re seeing is the end of the era of work-driven tools. Newton says:
But it also feels like the end of an era — one where workers gained new power to bring their own tools to the office, and decide for themselves how they wanted to get work done. Slack first succeeded with small teams who wanted to accelerate their work, and was often dragged into organizations by early adopters. But today, waves of consolidation are leaving people with fewer real choices.
The piece goes on to consider the kind of almost idealism behind – to paraphrase Slack’s open letter to Microsoft back in 2016 – “doing it with love”, versus the practical reality of competing in a marketplace dominated by companies at the scale of Microsoft and, indeed, Salesforce. I think it’s also true to say, though the analysis doesn’t delve into this aspect, that sometimes great products don’t necessarily have great business minds behind them, or at least, maybe not the ones they need, the right minds at the right time. There are countless examples of great products being swallowed up by bigger businesses, and all too many of them have gone on to be lesser versions of themselves instead of greater.
The idea that workers would someday choose all their own tools was always a fantasy, [Box CEO Aaron Levie told me, in part because most workers don’t event want to think about their tools. In such a world, the winning app will almost always be one with a giant, er, salesforce behind it.
The analysis concludes with questions, not answers, but it’s great fodder for further reflection, making the whole piece worth a read (don’t worry, it’s not a long one).
Around the house
another day of staring at the big screen while scrolling through my little screen so as to reward myself for staring at the medium screen all week
— Delia Cai (@delia_cai) November 22, 2020
Jakkii says: Happy December, everyone! It’s only 3 short weeks to Christmas now, so I hope you’ve started your Christmas shopping! Aside from making lists (and checking them twice), here’s a few things you can watch, read and do from home this week while you’re staying safe, and staying healthy.
- Get a hand writing some poetry with this handy poem generator
- Need some holiday music? Try this list of ‘best’ albums, by the numbers
- Environment: how green is your Christmas tree?
- Are you doing Elf on the Shelf? These 25 ideas will keep you going through to Christmas Day!
- Missing rollercoasters? You could recreate one in your backyard, like this family did
- Guns, drugs and viral content: welcome to cartel TikTok
- 11 films to watch if you loved — or hated — Hillbilly Elegy
- This interesting game takes tabletop RPGs to new, incredibly moving places
Manager Expectations pic.twitter.com/JM9lqi8Eqi
— work chronicles (@_workchronicles) December 2, 2020
i’m already so annoyed that my grandkids are going to be interviewing me for book reports on the 2020 pandemic expecting me to be profound and i’m gonna have to be like “i spent all the whole thing sending friends tiktok links against their will and eating cake and crying”
— emma lord (@dilemmalord) November 23, 2020
Did you have a happy childhood or are you funny?
— 𝕗𝕚𝕟𝕖𝕤𝕥🙆🏾♀️ (@Neyogems) November 21, 2020
— White Mystery (@MissAlexWhite) March 29, 2020
Misinformation Friday Five
- Zuckerberg flipped secret switch favoring credible news outlets on Facebook after the election: NYT
- Facebook said it would ban holocaust deniers. Instead, its algorithm provided a network for them
- Parler is bringing together mainstream conservatives, anti-Semites and white supremacists as the social media platform attracts millions of Trump supporters
- Facebook’s first Oversight Board cases tackle hate speech and misinformation
- Donald Trump posts speech on Facebook repeating US election misinformation
COVID-19 Friday Five
- ‘Fake news’ about a Covid-19 vaccine has become a second pandemic, Red Cross chief says
- COVID-19: four ways to respond to vaccine sceptics – and maybe even convince them
- Viral TikToks offer firsthand accounts of vaccine trials, debunk misinformation
- In Santa’s mailbag, a peek into children’s pandemic worries
- Remote school is leaving children sad and angry
Work Friday Five
- Marc Benioff sets his sights on Microsoft as Salesforce signs definitive agreement to acquire Slack
- Optimising collaboration in the post-pandemic workplace
- Microsoft will fix the creepiest part of its ‘productivity score’ thing
- The future of remote collaboration could lie with VR
- Technology alone is never the answer
Tech Friday Five
- Platform regulation should focus on transparency, not content
- Why AI is the future of home security
- Google says its News Showcase will add free access to paywalled stories
- For the sake of democracy, social media giants must pay newspapers
- A pared-down version of Facebook’s Libra project could launch as soon as January
Social Media Friday Five
- Social media platform WeChat censors Scott Morrison’s post directed at Chinese community following deepening fake photo scandal
- Google Maps takes on Facebook with launch of its own news feed
- Tired of the social media rat race, journalists move to writing Substack newsletters
- The social media addiction bubble
- They found community, and then love, in online games
Bonus: (Podcast) Anti-social media
Corona Business Insights Podcast
Working from home and big tech gains spark debate about taxes and taxation as we look to tackle the economic effects of the pandemic.
As COVID-19 sets out to change the world forever, join Sandra Peter and Kai Riemer as they think about what’s to come in the future of business.