How To Network Online, Value Weirdness, and Prevent Stress
BY Nitasha Tiku
How weird are your employees on a scale of 1 to 10? Readers of Inc. likely already know the premium Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh puts on company culture and customer service, but in an interview with the New York Times, he explains how that became priority numero uno. At Hsieh's first company LinkExchange, he made the mistake of not consciously crafting a set of values that represented the company which is why things went downhill as the company grew. "By the time we got to 100 people, even though we hired people with the right skill sets and experiences, I just dreaded getting out of bed in the morning and was hitting that snooze button over and over again," he says. Read our How I Did It piece on how Hsieh almost deleted the voicemail that lead to Zappos founding and our May cover story on how he crafted it into the most blissed-out business in America.
Bringing the streets indoors. In just one year, Roy Choi built the Korean taco truck empire Kogi, using Twitter to amass a cult following in the Los Angeles area. Now, come May, The Wall Street Journal reports, Choi will make his first foray into the brick-and-mortar restaurant business with the launch of an eatery in West Los Angeles. Choi hasn't yet come up with a name, but that hasn't affected his confidence. "There will be pandemonium in this parking lot," he told The Journal. "Cars backed up 20 deep."
Arrogance traps for cocky CEOs. A certain amount of confidence is necessary to start and run any business. But when faith in your abilities or ideas turns to arrogance, problems begin to arise. Forbes has highlighted 10 arrogance traps for entrepreneurs, including denying that you have any competition, neglecting to form a business plan, relying on the "first mover advantage," and not researching your target market.
How to prevent stress. Make a plan. That's according to the Wall Street Journal, which says the best way to fight stress is to "anticipate everything that might happen, and everything that's in your control to make happen." Now, some might argue that trying to anticipate everything that might go wrong is unhealthy. But, as we've written before, a little bit of paranoia can be a good thing. In May, SRC Holdings CEO Jack Stack told Inc.'s Bo Burlingham that his company had been able to avoid laying
off anyone for 26 years thanks to paranoia. "We've always been terrified of being forced to lay people off, and so we've spent the past 26 years trying to make sure we would never have to do that," Stack said.
The difference between software and hardware. There isn't much of one, says Fred Wilson, who writes a blog post today about his attempts to buy a better remote control for his home entertainment system. After spending $160 on new gadgets, he ended up chucking them in favor of a $2 iPhone application that does the same thing better. "Bottom line for me: apps beat devices," he writes. In other words, established companies will increasingly have to think about ways that a cell phone and a piece of software might represent a competitor; and upstarts may want to consider going the app route instead of manufacturing something expensive.
The Consumer Electronics Show takeaway. Despite past predictions that netbooks could serve as a smartphone alternative it seems the tide is turning the other way. At this year's Consumer Electronics Show Fast Company charts the new phone capabilities in the continued attempt to make smartphones a one-stop-shop for all our conceivable needs, how touch will play a stronger role in the future of gadgets, and the future of WiFi.
Your first impression of switching from the iPhone to Android may be wrong. Since the Nexus One launched last week, it's hard to find a review that doesn't compare the two. Slate even took bets on the coming "great mobile phone war." But TechCrunch's Jason Kincaid talks about what the transition process feels like for early Android adopters who've been using their iPhone for years. He compares it to switching from Windows to a Mac. The first few weeks would consist of superficial complaints about things like unintuitive button placement. But after that, you begin to fully grasp some of the benefits. Your patience with Android, adds Kincaid, will be rewarded with souped up Gmail, fantastic Google Voice integration, and the ability to run multiple apps at once. "There are plenty of things it doesn't do as well as it could. But until you've taken the plunge to see what lies beneath it's less-polished exterior, you haven't really seen what it has to offer."
How to become a savvy social business person in 10 easy steps It's easy to view social networks like Facebook, Twitter, or Bebo like an escape from your work life. But GigaOm argues that there's actually a lot of business value to exploit. Beyond the expected nuggets of wisdom--get involved, there's more to networking than LinkedIn--GigaOm has some useful tips, like using third-party tools like WeFollow to find professionals in your field and not wasting your time merely boosting your number of friends or followers. But perhaps the best advice is not to stick to business: "Social networking is not about being shy; it's about being willing to open up in an online world that has stayed anonymous for far too long. That means you'll need to talk about your interests and topics that others in your social network are engaged in." All without going overboard and keeping your employer (or clients) in mind, of course.
Reporter NITASHA TIKU covers technology, finance, green business, and social entrepreneurship for Inc. magazine and contributes to the staff’s daily links blog. Her work has appeared in New York magazine, The Villager, Chelsea Now, and on nymag.com. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. @nitashatiku