Ada and I both had the privilege of working at two data-driven companies, LinkedIn and SurveyMonkey, led by two analytically rigorous leaders, Jeff Weiner, and the late Dave Goldberg. Those experiences shaped the way that we both now think about building an effective data-driven product culture. One practice that both companies established was weekly executive-level metrics reviews. LinkedIn had two such meetings: the first was a member value meeting focused on the consumer experience, and the second was a monetization meeting covering each of the company's business lines. SurveyMonkey, on the other hand, had a single meeting called ACER, which stood for acquisition, conversion, engagement, retention, where they covered these funnels across all A/B tests happening in the company. I've come to believe that establishing such a metrics review meeting is critical for developing an effective data-driven culture and I wanted to share some of the best practices around doing so.
Over the years Ada and I have both enjoyed being informal career mentors to countless of our friends and colleagues. We were recently reflecting on how dramatically those career conversations have changed as our friends and colleagues have aged from early in their career to mid-career.
In many ways, early career conversations were actually far simpler in nature. Like a video game, most individuals were focused on leveling up as quickly as possible and wanted to know how to acquire the hard and soft skills they needed to climb the career ladder laid out in front of them by their current employer. Or they were exploring a new role or company that might meaningfully accelerate their timeline for leveling up. When asked about their dream job, they often aspired to one of just three roles: a VP in their discipline, a CEO, or ultimately a startup founder.
In stark contrast, the midlife career conversations we've been having look entirely different. While to some it may initially feel a bit like a midlife crisis, the reality is that through the course of their careers many friends and colleagues have developed unique insights and a deeper self-awareness that enable them to now re-orient their career towards truer fulfillment.
I wanted to share some of the most common insights friends and colleagues have at this stage in their career that lead them to be more thoughtful about their next career move.
So many of my colleagues have recently been introduced to working from home for the first time and will likely have to for the foreseeable future. But many are finding their home environment to be far less productive than their traditional office. I, on the other hand, have now been working from home for over four years. Each year I've found a variety of ways to optimize my home office setup to maximize productivity. And I can now safely say that I'm far more productive in my home office than I've ever been in a traditional office setting. So I thought I'd share all the gear that has contributed to my productivity.
Given all the recent interest in remote work, I spent the weekend reading Remote: Office Not Required by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. As the founders of Basecamp, they have been practicing remote work for over a decade now, well before the present-day excitement around it. In the book, they cover everything they have learned from their experience, including why remote work is good for a company, how to hire for remote work, collaborating effectively, managing remote workers, and more. However, what I found most interesting were the tips for how individuals could cope and ultimately thrive in a remote work setting. I wanted to share five such tips I took away from the book.
When I started writing 11 years ago, I did so the same way most people do: by opening a blank document and typing my thoughts on the page. But each year since then I've subtly refined and evolved my process in an attempt to improve the quality of my writing and its impact. Now with 150+ essays published with over 1.5 million views, I wanted to share every detail of my writing process for fellow or aspiring writers who might benefit from it.