Former Madisonian, and person who I wish would be my friend, Chris Coyer, said something years ago that had a profound affect on how I work. He said, and I’m paraphrasing here, you shouldn’t be afraid to use the tool that makes you the most productive, no matter what people say.

If you’re productive in Microsoft Paint, then use Paint. Stop wasting your time worrying about the tool and focus, instead, on the outcome. He called this idea “Instant Productivity”.

I decided to use Squarspace for my personal website. I know. I know. I know. How can any self-respecting web…

If you’re on the quest for your next career opportunity, you should learn as much as you can about the culture of the company you want to work for. The type of culture should be as important to you as any other benefit offered. After all the people you work with are more impactful to your overall happiness than any other benefit, including your vacation time.

Over the past few months, I’ve been telling you about the types of company culture you should avoid. Today I want to speak of the one you should proactively seek out. …

Everyone loves a good foosball table story, so here’s mine. I was at a conference a few years ago conducting some research for a project. My team and I sought out business leaders and asked them questions about their company culture.

We were hoping to gain some insight on how they utilized their culture to ensure the success of their companies. Instead, we discovered something a bit more insightful. We learned of an entirely different classification of company culture we had never even thought of, I call it the Facade Culture — and here’s why it’s a bad, bad, thing.

CEOs love to brag about their company culture. In researching your next career opportunity, you’re likely to discover that fact.

Here’s the thing though, you can safely ignore everything a CEO says about their company culture. It’s just not going to be of much value to you as you consider your next career opportunity — and here’s why.

First, to be clear, I’m not animadverting against CEOs for boasting about their company culture. They should. It’s an accomplishment, and I think it should be screamed from the rooftops.

But for the rest of us, we can safely move on to…

I’ve been thinking a lot about what contributes to the contamination of a company culture. Why do so many companies have misguided approaches to fostering culture? Of course, there are a lot of reasons why that happens. However today I want to talk about just one. I call it the Placeholder Culture.

But first a story.

Imagine the following scene. A person enters a room, they sit down and wait patiently for the others to arrive. Another person comes into the room but enters from the back. The second person is proceeded by several other people, each trickling in one-by-one…

Competitive Vs Inclusive Culture

A company will more than likely describe their culture to the outside world in one of two ways; competitive, “we only let the special people in” or inclusive, “we’re a melting pot, good people can come from anywhere.”

These two approaches are designed to do the same thing, attract and retain good talent. So it isn’t necessarily a bad thing to be on either end of the spectrum for this one, but you should be cautious of companies that are on the wrong end of the spectrum because that’s likely to cause some trouble for everyone. …

Since the beginning of the App Store, Apple has been cautious about how money exchanged hands between the app developers and their customers. At first, Apple didn’t offer any compensation, beyond the sale of the actual app. After that, Apple offered In-App Purchases and lightened up some of the restrictions on certain in-app financial transactions. More recently, Apple introduced subscription pricing, but, again, they were quite restrictive on who could partake in that particular pricing model.

Recently, however, Apple has lifted those restrictions and now lets any app developer charge their users monthly or annually through a subscription pricing model…

Mandated Behavior Culture Vs Influenced Behavior Culture

What value does a healthy culture have within a company? For me, culture has always been a shortcut for good behavior. If I foster a healthy culture, my team shouldn’t have to ask me how to behave, the culture should inform good behavior that is critical to the success of the company. But, unfortunately, that’s not how all companies attempt to foster good culture. Let’s talk about how you can identify the companies that get this critical aspect of culture wrong so you can avoid the mistake of working for them.

Conflating mandated behavior with influenced behavior

When a company…

Recently the makers of Ulysses, a popular Mac writing app, announced that they were switching from a one-time paid pricing model to a subscription-only purchasing model and, well, let’s just say some people didn’t take the news too well.

As David Sparks pointed on his blog, within a few days of the announcement the reviewed ratings of the app on the App Store plummeted to just 2.5 stars, with most of the reviewers sighting the recent change in pricing as their reason for their one-star review. …

I am a confident person. I wasn’t always, but I can honestly say that I can commit to my current level of confidence today.

When I think about how such confidence was achieved in my life, I often arrive at a memory of a conversation I had with my older brother.

Growing up, my older brother had always been the confident, independent member of the family. Being the oldest, he arrived at all of life’s challenges first and — as big brothers so often do — he seemed to shed light on the mysterious milestones for me.

I admire my…

Dan Merfeld

Digital Creator, Artist, Developer, Writer of Short Stories, Founder of TheoryThree Interactive

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