It doesn’t have to be crazy at Work: Takeaways

Here are some notes I had to take while reading this great book. Probably more to come.

  • Asynchronous first. Emergencies that require immediate action rarely ever happen. Create an environment where people don’t feel obliged to answer immediately. Of course that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t call the fire departement if there’s a real fire to put out.
  • Office Hours. It’s great to have a lot of knowledge available in your company. Constant distractions to tap into that knowledge suck. Let everybody define their own office hours. That way you know you won’t be bugging Joe if you approach him Thursday between 9 and 12.
  • Heartbeats. Every team writes an internal blog post about what they’ve been up to the past month/week. It’s a great way to let everybody take part in past achievements and problems without having time and soul draining meetings.
  • Treat your company like a product. It needs to evolve and improve over time. Too many companies create new products but never question how they do it.
  • Present in Writing. Encourage new ideas be presented in written form. Meetings enforce immediate reactions which are often not the most thoughtful ones. Written presentations allow for more clam and substantial reactions.
  • Don’t rely on a single source of revenue. When you’re afraid of loosing the most important customer you’re in danger of letting them talk into your product and business decisions.
  • Lead by example. You cannot create a calm environment with sane hours and concentrated people if you don’t practice these values yourself
  • Encourage a calm working environment. Allow remote work and flexible working times.
  • Encourage your employees to take time off and feel good about it.
  • Trust reduces bureaucracy. For example, at Basecamp every employee gets a company credit card and doesn’t have to ask anybody permission to use it. Because if you can’t trust someone to spend $200 wisely why would you hire them in the first place? 
  • Work in clearly defined cycles and stick with them. For Basecamp,  periods of 6 weeks work best to create any new feature. If it takes more than that it’s probably to complex and should be broken in smaller chunks. Your perfect timeframe may vary – experiment and find out. If it becomes clear that a goal won’t be achieved on time the scope needs to be reduced while still creating something shippable. No crazy all-nighters and no expansion of the timeframe.

Track your learning hours

Just a quick idea I find very useful to motivate myself and keep track of time spent on lerning certain things.

If you already have a system in place to track work time just use that. If not, I can recommend an app called Tyme. Nice and clean, yet it has all features I need and doensn’t get in the way. It’s available for Mac OS and iOS and offers sync via. I’ve been using it for years to track freelance work but only recently came up with the idea to also employ it to see how much time I invest to improve my skills. I simply set up a project called Learning and in there I’m having tasks for every topic or tutorial I’m working on.

It’s gratifying to see despite having had a really crazy week that I still made time to spend an hour on that Vue training I’m so into right now. It helps a lot to not starting to think I’ve accomplished nothing – and it’s hell of a motivation to not just spend that time on Netflix or Twitter.


Mir geistert schon länger die Idee einer Art „Time Bank“ im Kopf.

Die Idee: mensch bietet beliebige Leistungen für andere Menschen an. Wenn jemand etwas in Anspruch nimmt bekommt mensch die dafür aufgebrachte Zeit auf einem Konto gutgeschrieben. Man könnte es auch umständlich ausdrücken: Zeitversetzter Tauschhandel für Dienstleistungen.

Mir gefällt der Gedanke sehr gut, dass der Zeit aller Teilnehmenden der gleiche Wert zugesprochen wird. Zeit als natürlich begrenztes Gut erlaubt wenig Spielraum für Spekulationsblasen.

Nun habe ich ein wenig recherchiert und festgestellt: Zeitbanken gibt es bereits, sowohl als Konzept als auch in diversen realen Anwendungen. Die findet meist in kleineren Kreisen und häufig auf lokaler Ebene statt. Ein bisschen wie Nachbarschaftshilfe. Eine Lösung, die ich selbst gerne nutzen würde ist mir noch nicht untergekommen. Eine lokal und global funktionierende Plattform für den Austausch von Fähigkeiten, bezahlt durch das Zurückgeben von Minuten, Stunden, Tagen.

Ich werde also vorerst weiterhin Tabellen führen, wem ich Zeit schuldig bin und bei wem ich noch ein paar Stunden gut habe.

A True Alternative to Instagram

The idea started with the following tweet.

Right now this is just me, thinking loudly. If you’re feeling the same itches you’re more than welcome to join scratching. Continue reading

The Missing Journaling Workflow

Of the difficulty to drop Day One

When I first heard of my Day One becoming a subscription service I – once again – started to reconsider how I want to keep my journal.

I’ve been using Day One for years and I’m really grateful for who they made regular journaling work for me. It’s hard to argue that whatever kind of journal system one employs: it’s worthless if you don’t actually use it. Continue reading

Keep your social content yours – using Drupal?

Granted, most stuff spread across various social networks doesn’t seem important.
But I must confess that, from time to time, I simply like scrolling through my timelines at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like and I wouldn’t find it too cool, if all that was gone. I don’t want to talk about the actual risk of my data vanishing, rather thinking about alternatives. I remember ideas of online applications like Sweetcron, which had its primary focus on collecting the data you created across social networks and gather them in one place.

Why shouldn’t we do it the other way around? Having you own self hosted platform for Tweets, Images, Blogposts, Links, Quotes – you name it. These would be translated to some basic content types, quite similar to Tumblr. And then simple publishing options checkboxes to decide, to which social stream(s) you want to share your update. Which fantastic open source software has most of the bits and pieces readily available for exactly that? Yep, that’s Drupal.

At least to me a Social Media Hub Drupal Distribution seems really worth a shot. What do you think? Have there possibly even some efforts been made?

Fluxkraft is most definitely the project to watch when it comes to connecting various platforms and services.

Of course, thinking about mobile is crucial. Besides Drupal 8’s native mobile efforts Drupad shows, that it’s well possible to have a universal app to use with any kind of Drupal installation.

This is just some brainstroming, collecting ideas and possible tools. I’m just excited about going back to a more open and distributed web, keeping what’s yours under your control while using existing networks for distribution and interaction. And yes, removing Facebook comments in favor of Drupal’s own comment system is a step that’s overdue for me here personally.

I’d be glad to hear some opinions.