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One of my favorite relationship frameworks is The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. In short, Love Languages are different ways to express and receive love. The key insight from Chapman’s work is everyone prefers to receive love differently. Knowing the love language of the person to whom you are expressing love allows you to communicate in a way that will be most well received.

While Chapman’s work was originally tailored for romantic relationships, I have found the insights are also useful for work relationships, particularly between people managers and their reports, where love == appreciation (related: Chapman wrote a book about Love Languages in the workplace if you are interested in a deep dive). …


I’ve been working on Facebook’s NPE team for over a year building new products and we’ve launched a few of them publicly (Whale, Tuned, CatchUp). Before Facebook, I built 0 to 1 products at Dropbox (eg, Dropbox Transfers) as well as building from scratch as the CEO of a start-up. I wanted to share some thoughts on 0 to 1 product development within established companies based on these experiences. Note: I am defining 0 to 1 products here as building totally from scratch, not adding new features to an existing product with a large active user base.

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First, a few principles when building 0 to 1 products

(1) Trying to solve too many problems with your initial product is a recipe for not solving any problem well. New products should focus on being the best solution for a single problem/JTBD for a well-defined target customer. …


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As I reflect on my own leadership path, and the lessons I’ve learned via both managing teams as well as observing leaders across companies, I wanted to capture some of these lessons as a primer for new leaders.

I’m a big fan of Ben Horowitz, especially his book The Hard Thing About Hard Things, so I modeled this post after Good Product Manager, Bad Product Manager — thanks for the inspiration Ben!

Overall, to be a successful leader you have to care. …


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Truly understanding the value of an employment offer, especially from a technology start-up, can be complicated. Given my experience running a start-up, as well as hiring at scale at Twitter, I recently gave a talk to my part-time coding bootcamp class on how to understand and compare start-up offers and thought it would be useful to put together a guide with links to more comprehensive sources on each topic as a resource for people who are evaluating offers.

A couple of overarching points before diving into specifics:

  • If your goal in working at an early stage company is to get rich, I recommend getting a job at a hedge fund instead. Given that the majority of startups fail, the likely value of options — particularly at an early stage company — is unknown and has a chance to be $0. There are a number of reasons to join an early stage company (eg, career growth, being inspired by the mission, etc), however, assuming you are getting in early at the next Facebook is not a great one. That being said, equity in the company gives you a chance to participate in any upside, so is a key part of your comp package. …


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We launched Verst to fulfill our vision to create modern, elegant tools for creative thinkers. Since putting the product out into the world, we’ve been amazed at what creators and publishers have done with it.

Today, we’re excited to announce that the Verst team is joining Dropbox to help build simple, powerful products for more than half a billion users.

What does this mean for publishers currently using Verst? You can read more of the specifics here. In short, we will be shutting down the platform on 12/21 so that we can apply everything we’ve learned towards Dropbox’s mission to simplify the way people work together.

We’re incredibly grateful to all of our customers for your love, support, and thoughtful feedback — you are the best.

💚

The Verst Team


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As a start-up, one of the only true advantages you have over the infinitely better-resourced incumbents is the ability to move quickly. In software companies, this speed enables rapid iteration and consistent improvement based on user feedback. Given this principle, a significant amount of my time as CEO of Verst has focused on improving our team’s overall productivity allowing us to operate at a high velocity without demanding the draconian hours fetishized by many Silicon Valley elites.

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Our weekly all-hands meetings.

People choose to come to work at Verst every day for more than just a paycheck. To ensure our environment is constantly improving, I approach team productivity similarly to how I approach evolving a product, by continuously gathering and responding to feedback. I’ve found specific best practices include weekly all-hands meetings, one-on-one conversations, team surveys, and full team agile-style retros (we use start, stop, continue). …


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The web publishing landscape has evolved into a diverse and profoundly important ecosystem over the last few years. Targeted publishers like Stratechery have blossomed into major players, and savvy digital creators have become serious influencers overnight. Overall, more and more people are creating digital content in order to establish credibility and build an engaged audience.

Creating useful and insightful digital content has become a cornerstone of effective brand strategy. …


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The web doesn’t need another basic blogging tool. For the hobbyist who wants to share an inspiring road trip story there are already a host of fitting options. In recent years, however, a more ambitious creative class has emerged — website publishers who deliver valuable content to engaged audiences, and convert that audience into paying customers.

These professional publishers have cracked the code that turns engagement into conversion: build a trusted voice through compelling content and then monetize with your own offering. Take, for example, Dave Asprey’s incredible Bulletproof content brand, which has become a major inbound marketing channel, converting Dave’s visitors into loyal Bulletproof Coffee customers. …


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Business Cat — my spirit meme

What I’ve Learned Through a Decade at Twitter, Google and BCG

After plenty of mistakes, late nights at the office & many performance reviews, here are seven lessons that have helped me traverse the corporate landscape during my career so far at Twitter, Google, and BCG.

You better work

Ms. Spears said it best. Producing excellent work consistently and efficiently is the foundation of any successful career. Nothing matters more. Once your manager and other leaders know you can solve any problem quickly with little handholding, more work (and more important work) will come your way. …

About

AJ

Celebrity animal aficionado. @UVA Wahoo.

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