The Work Experience

Telecommuting – the future ain’t what it used to be

Productivity versus collaboration. Isolation versus distraction. The pros and cons of working from home and “telecommuting” were making the rounds last week with articles about Google and Yahoo policies. Google, despite enabling its users to collaborate remotely doesn’t favour the practise itself. The positions of these companies on the matter are summarised by Asher Moses and Ben Grubb with some additional research facts, stats and links. Here’s a sample:

Dr Blount said telecommuting was not a one-size-fits-all solution and in each case a business case needed to be made.
Her research has found that in some instances team members and managers felt reluctant to “bother” teleworkers at home which could hinder collaboration, while at the same time the teleworkers themselves reported being far more productive and satisfied. Some however experienced “social and professional isolation”.

If this is an issue in your workplace read on for more links and references to a Deloitte study “Telecommuting – the future ain’t what it used to be”–the-future-aint-what-…

The Work Experience

Why Faking Enthusiasm Is The Latest Job Requirement | Fast Company

Award-winning UC Berkeley sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild, in her book The Managed Heart, coined the term “emotional labor” to describe the curious situation where “seeming to love the job becomes part of the job.”

Its not only hospitality that requires you to smile for the punters. Read on for the technology company and startup scenario which talks to the relative value placed on different job roles and that we should rethink the value places on people skills.

The Work Experience

Art of spotting and managing office pests via SMH

Another book on toxic work culture and personality types to look out for:

  • Narcissists
  • The Withholder
  • The Socialised Psychopath
  • The Egomaniac
  • The Bully
  • The Sleaze
  • The Rigid Control Freak
  • The Aggressive
  • The Histrionic
  • The Passive-Aggressive Manipulator

These lists are like celebrity photo galleries. There’s something sordid about the act of looking at them and identifying people with labels. I don’t discount their value to helping anyone negotiate the work environment I just wish such lists were accompanied with positive examples to give people a more balanced perspective and provide tools to help readers evaluate those around them more holistically.

Anyway, to read more about these traits and the book go to

The Work Experience

A New Hiring Manifesto: Your Fancy Credentials Are Worthless | Fast Company

Speaking as a graduate of one, top schools teach you credentialing and ladder climbing. If you’re lucky, you might learn how to create a financial model or craft a solid argument. They don’t make you a great UX designer or programmer. Your passion for learning and gaining more and more experience are what make you great. The nights you stayed up until 5am coding make you great. Your love of building things makes you great.

I want to hire hungry creative kids that want to step up. The best programmers from shitty schools and wannabe designers who dropped out of film school. Network engineers who started off as college dropouts but figured it out from years of on-the-job experience learning to be the best. Dev Bootcamp grads without any experience but who have spent every day and night the last 6 months programming.

I don’t give a shit where you went to college as long as you’re talented.

Events The internet the world

Sir Tim Berners-Lee: Then, now, tomorrow. What’s next for the World Wide Web?

The event, held at the Sydney Town Hall 5 Feb 2013, was part of the City Talks series presented by the City of Sydney and UTS spotlight.

The hashtag was the ever parochial #tbldownunder. The official ones were #sydcitytalk and #UTSengage

What people said

There were several introductions including Clover Moore’s rundown of the City’s contribution to supporting innovation which was quite impressive, and there were (too many) panellists, but everyone was there for Tim Berners-Lee.

He delivered his presentation with frenetic energy. Was there a thread? A theme? Not quite, although his historical tech overview did turn into an invitation to contribute to code and be vigilant of those who seek to control our data and our privacy. I think an implied warning of proprietors who want to lock down devices too.

When asked by Adam Spencer of proposed Australian government controls Tim Berners-Lee asked what does the restriction of intent access in Egypt imply for everyone else? How much power are we going to give our governments to block sites? What of censorship, of spying? What becomes of trust in government if they choose to exercise such power? Just as the independence of the press is vital, so too is the independence of the Internet, he said. He answered so many questions with a question but in a way for the audience to take responsibility for the web we want.

Then came the panel discussion on the future and the past: a discussion of technologies that will demand increased bandwidth, technologies we can envision (3D, holograms) to those we can’t yet anticipate, a rallying cry for entrepreneurs, a question about the role of devices changing how we behave, the inevitable changes to print media and the until now protected free-to-air TV industry…

I’m a bit ambivalent about questions being fielded from the Twittersphere. Not that I’m not into the channel, it just makes public discussions ad-hoc; ideas don’t build. So the following notes are correspondingly unrelated.

  • Tim Berners Lee posited the future of journalists as curators of quality content to counter the deluge of information.
  • He suggested new payment protocols to reward those that provide good information.
  • We heard about the emerging “Sydney model” for entrepreneurship. It was compared but in no great detail to communities in Berlin, Brazil, South Korea and Singapore. Sydney incubators are covering various industries and are beginning to consult the government.
  • Be grateful! Map data is free In Australia courtesy of the government, something we don’t even notice.
  • Current solutions to threats of cyber terrorism and cyber crimes have not countered the risks they introduce by the private data they promise to store on our behalf.
  • Close to my heart was a concern around the filtering of news content by cookies from the Fairfax panellist. We have to be sure that news does not begin to be filtered for us, narrowing the information served, attempting to bias information.
  • Further to points on data and privacy were the right to know what data is being stored about us, a quandary about who owns reputation data on peer to peer sites, the subject or the service provider?
  • And although no one used the words user experience the discussion did talk about the role of design. We have to be clear where data is coming from and where our data is going to. This has implications for geotagged messages, bank phishing scams, tagged photos on social networks. UX conventions need to emerge to make it easier, more predictable and safer for users.

And after all that, the night ended with a light show and some enthusiastic and appreciative applause.


Mobile Monday Pecha Kucha style

I never post such raw notes on this blog, but I thought, better raw than never tonight. I haven’t been to Mobile Monday in years, but spurred on by @roneo I went along.

Meet up flavour

Cheery friendly crowd ready to network and chat. Markedly more guys than gals. Devs, designers, developers… was there an investor or two in the room?

Speakers pitched their business ventures, spruiked projects and shared thoughts on topics they were passionate about as follows.

1. Mobile payments … Company mopay, come from gaming and dating industries, multiple payment flows and skins. Q&A Merchants get paid within 21 days.
2. Hyperlocal with the “neighbourhood networks” platform. From usyd. Services, location for communities. Users can block neighbours, Define areas based on radius e.g. Item borrowing, catering, dating. The radius likely narrower for borrowing. Incorporate data sets from gov like post codes and municipality.
3. WeSync. App for couples to communicate and understand each other better. Sets rewards and brownie points. People can register moods, moments, rewards. Launched 2 weeks ago. QA we sync is about hacking personal relationships, future plans for parent and business versions. Peso ally I think this is gamifying rather than hacking relationships.
4. Re-Placement speaker! BYOD organically been occurring in the corporate space. New terms! MDM Mobile device management. Is the slice of pie in SaAAS or BYOD? And of course something available for any scenario…more interesting is who owns the model? Ok clearly my notes didn’t cover this very well but you get the terrain hopefully.
5. Dan from Razorfish…and some other iOS dev company. What is the best way of outsourcing mobile development? Experience levels vary. Dos and dont’s of outsourcing development. If you give em a spec they will build it pixel perfect. But the data model/code can come back crooked. Have a domain expert in the field (windows, android, iOS) to own the “scaffolding” decisions, the data model. Might be somewhat costly at first , but it tends to be more effective than separating interaction design to data models. Q&A is your time saved or spent in quality assurance after build? Indecision is the real killer (references chaos review?). Fit for purpose = scope.
6. App village. “Community innovator” bringing together investors with app developers. Everyone has had an app idea. App village is about facilitating the process of development, finding and marketing. Experts assess submitted ideas. Research idea and target market to uncover features. Unique royalty based model. Project manage the whole process. Source ideas, designers, developers, and even consumers of apps. New apps coming out…bear hugs and food frenzie. They own the IP but the idea owner earns the royalties. Revenue model is they take 40% of the royalties. 10% to the investor, 10% to the idea owner…and sorry I didn’t grab the rest.
7. Flash IZ. Payment (another presentation) has evolved over time. Innovators are challenging cash. Customers: people e.g. from Emerging economies who have access to smart phones but not access to credit. First world customers who just want to leave their cards and cash at home.
8. A 16 yo entrepreneur. Ok I feel inadequate now. This guy has launched a voice based taxi app and spoke about the process of making his idea a reality, and the companies he partnered with. 8 months of development, 8 employees. taxi 24/7. Has 17,000 users. If you want to follow the career of this young gun keep an eye on Zeryab Cheema. Is the product the app or the Voice SDK?
9. Ian Lyons. A polemic re email on mobile. The mobile phone is a one thumb browsing device. Most emails and newsletters are optimised for desktop experiences. But you don’t have to pinch and zoom emails from real people. Easy to forget how simple you have to make the design. Subject lines? The simpler, more casual the better as proven by the Obama campaign. Send mobile optimised emails! Responsive to the rescue. Sydney festival examples. Plug for campaign monitor and mail chimp’s new features.
10. Roger @Rog42. Top 20 iphone Apps for motor cyclists. Apps for sharing experiences, knowledge and location amongst others.

The winner tonight? Stock images and PowerPoint smart graphics. Also super passionate Ian Lyons and super charming @rog42 talking biking and life…just lovely.