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Fixing Twitter: why Twitter is broken and why reputation systems can help (part 1 of 2) • Chuq Von Rospach
von Rospach has handled lots of communities - first at Apple, then at Palm:
<p>Ultimately the problem at Twitter is a policy problem and a community management problem, which is why it’s been of interest to me. The first challenge of community management is that it doesn’t scale well. A community manager can handle a small group — depending on the population into a few tens of thousands — successfully, but as the group continues to grow the ability to cover it well and consistently becomes a challenge.

Now, grow that problem from tens of thousands to tens or hundreds of millions. You literally couldn’t hire enough talent to cover a community that size the way you would a smaller one. Youtube has 300 hours of video uploaded to it per minute. Stop and imagine the scale of a group charged to review and approve that content.

So you can’t hire your way out of the problem. You need technology. Technology pushes us in the other direction, though, where companies become overly reliant on algorithms to solve the problem. A good example of this kind of thinking is the most recent complaint about Facebook where it was found people could target ads to groups like “Jew Hater”. Facebook’s answer to this? More human oversight. Where did this problem come from? Building a system that assumed that the technology would prevent problems. Which it did: only it can only solve problems the humans know to program it for, and this wasn’t one of them.

So the answer to solving these problems is to use technology to amplify and leverage a human component.

My tool of choice? A reputation system driven by a Machine Learning setup…

…A quick digression on this challenge: back when I was working as Community Manager at Palm, I went to a meeting with a product manager to talk about proposed pages to the App Store. Her proposal was to add buttons for people to report apps that were abusive or contained inappropriate materials. Her plan was if we got those reports, those apps would be pulled from the store for evaluation.

My first question to her was “How do you think this will work when developers start flagging their competitors to get them pulled from the store?” And her response was simply “They’d do that?”

That was, I think, the moment I realized I needed to leave Palm. And here’s an important hint for success: don’t let people who aren’t community users and managers design your communities. Bad things will happen.</p>

Read <a href="">the second part too</a>.
twitter  management  community 
yesterday by charlesarthur
Why working from home should be standard practice |
Why working from home should be standard practice
Sep 20, 2017 / Ari Surdoval
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And if your boss is on the fence, here’s a compelling case study — from economics professor Nicholas Bloom — to show her.

Quick — imagine a person working from home. If you pictured somebody in pajamas watching videos on their laptop, you’re not alone. “Many people think of working from home as shirking from home,” says Stanford University economics professor Nicholas Bloom (TEDxStanford Talk: Go ahead, tell your boss you are working from home).

But Bloom thought there had to be more to telecommuting than binge-watching Netflix. The professor — who co-directs the Productivity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship program at the US’s National Bureau of Economic Research — had worked from home at a previous job, and he recognized that it’s becoming more and more common around the world. In the US, the number of employees who telecommute has tripled over the past 30 years, although it’s still only 2.4 percent. “Out of the 150 million Americans who work, that means roughly 3.6 million Americans work from home,” says Bloom. However, in developing countries — where mobile technology and improving digital connectivity have coincided with congestion and skyrocketing rents in cities — between 10 and 20 percent of employees work remotely at least part of the time.

He found few unbiased studies on the subject. “Everything I saw was pro-working from home and put out by people who were for it from the outset. The people against it have stayed quiet,” Bloom says. Plus, it’s not an easy subject to investigate. “It requires close monitoring and enough participants to fill experimental and control groups, and the participants need to be willing to continue with the experiment for an extended period of time,” Bloom explains. Finally, researchers must find a company that is willing to experiment with their workers.

Fortunately, Bloom knew someone with access to the critical elements. In his graduate economics class was James Liang, cofounder and CEO of Ctrip, China’s largest travel agency, with a workforce of 16,000. “One day while James and I were talking, he mentioned Ctrip was interested in allowing its Shanghai employees to work from home,” Bloom says. Office space in the Chinese megacity was expensive, and the company was experiencing high attrition rates, in part due to workers getting priced out of living in the city center and having to endure long, difficult commutes. But without hard data to inform their decision, the company was reluctant to make dramatic changes to their telecommuting policy.

Bloom and Liang designed a randomized controlled trial to put remote work to the test. More than 500 employees in the company’s call center volunteered, and about half met the study qualifications, which included having a private room at home from which to work, having been at Ctrip for at least six months, and decent broadband access. Those with even-numbered birthdays were selected to telecommute four days per week; those with odd-numbered birthdays remained in the office as a control group.

Would employees be able to resist the three main pitfalls of being at home: the bed, the TV and the fridge? Adding to managers’ concern was the fact that call center workers are among the youngest in the company, and they might be especially prone to distraction without in-person supervision. The study lasted for nine months, and Bloom guessed the experiment would basically break even in terms of benefits and drawbacks.

When they reviewed the results, Ctrip management and Bloom were stunned. “It was unbelievable. Ctrip saved $1,900 per employee over the course of the study on office space, and we knew this would happen,” Bloom says. “But to our amazement, the work-from-home employees were far from goofing off — they increased productivity by 13.5 percent over those working in the office. That’s like getting an extra day’s work from each employee.” The people working from home also reported shorter breaks and fewer sick days and took less time off.

The gains went beyond productivity — attrition rates among the at-home group were 50 percent lower than those who worked in the office. In interviews with researchers, the remote employees also reported higher job satisfaction. Still, to the surprise of Ctrip management, more than half of the volunteer group changed their minds about working from home — they felt too much isolation. And for a number of them, being at home was not alone enough. “Some of the employees who lived with their parents were quite ready to get back to the office,” reports Bloom.

Bottom line: the study shows that companies have little to lose — and much to gain — by allowing employees to work from home. “My advice for companies who are curious is to examine different ways to do it,” Bloom says. Some options: it could be offered on a contingency basis when severe weather events are forecast, or for summer days when people’s children are out of school; it could be given on an individual, probationary basis; it could be part of a promotion; or it could be granted in lieu of a raise or a bonus. And if productivity falls, an employee can return to being in the office full-time.

One or two days a week is probably the ideal amount of time to work from home, suggests Bloom. “You don’t want to go much higher because you risk jeopardizing the cohesion of your team.” As companies compete to hire and retain the best employees, being able to offer the option to work from home can sweeten the deal. “The need to go into a workplace five days a week started because people had to go to a factory and make products,” he says. “But companies that still treat employees like that are increasingly finding themselves at a disadvantage.”

Ari Surdoval is a writer, editor and content strategist, and the founder of Spoonful Communications a boutique strategic communications and content creation agency. He lives in Nashville with his wife, two children and an ever-expanding pack of rescued animals.
business  management  HR  work  career  success  happiness  psychology  productivity 
yesterday by enochko
A Stanford psychologist on the art of avoiding assholes - Vox
A Stanford psychologist on the art of avoiding assholes
"Not giving a shit takes the wind out of an asshole's sails."
Updated by Sean Sep 26, 2017, 12:40pm EDT


Javier Zarracina/Vox
The world is full of assholes. Wherever you live, whatever you do, odds are you’re surrounded by assholes. The question is, what to do about it?

Robert Sutton, a psychology professor at Stanford University, has stepped up to answer this eternal question. He’s the author of a new book, The Asshole Survival Guide, which is basically what it sounds like: a guide for surviving the assholes in your life.

In 2010, Sutton published The No Asshole Rule, which focused on dealing with assholes at an organizational level. In the new book, he offers a blueprint for managing assholes at the interpersonal level. If you’ve got an asshole boss, an asshole friend, or an asshole colleague, this book might be for you.

Asshole survival, Sutton says, is a craft, not a science, meaning one can be good or bad at it. His book is about getting better at it.

I sat down with him recently to talk about his strategies for dealing with assholes, what he means when he says we have to take responsibility for the assholes in our lives, and why he says self-awareness is key to recognizing that the asshole in your life may be you.

“You have to know yourself, be honest about yourself, and rely on people around you to tell you when you’re being an asshole,” he told me. “And when they are kind enough to tell you, listen.”

Our full conversation, lightly edited for clarity, follows.

Sean Illing
How does a Stanford professor come to spend so much of his time thinking about assholes?

Robert Sutton
Well, there’s some intellectual logic to it. I’ve done a lot of research on the expression of emotion in organizational life, including how to deal with assholes. I wasn’t using that word at the time, but that’s basically what I was doing. I even did some ethnographic work as a telephone bill collector, where I was dealing with assholes all day long. I was also part of an academic department that had a no-asshole rule — seriously. And we actually enforced it.

Sean Illing
Wait, what? What does a “no asshole” policy in an academic department look like?

Robert Sutton
We would talk about this explicitly when we were making hiring decisions. Stanford’s a pretty passive-aggressive place, so it wasn’t really in your face. But if someone was acting like a jerk, we would gently shun them and make life difficult for them. The idea was to avoid hiring assholes if it all possible, and if one squeezed through the cracks, we would deal with him or her collectively.

Sean Illing
Before we can talk about surviving assholes, we need a proper definition of assholery. Can you give me one?

Robert Sutton
There are a lot of academic definitions, but here’s how I define it: An asshole is someone who leaves us feeling demeaned, de-energized, disrespected, and/or oppressed. In other words, someone who makes you feel like dirt.

Sean Illing
So an asshole is someone who doesn’t care about other people?

Robert Sutton
I would make a distinction between temporary and certified assholes, because all of us under the wrong conditions can be temporary assholes. I'm talking about somebody who is consistently this way, who consistently treats other people this way. I think it’s more complicated than simply saying an asshole is someone who doesn’t care about other people. In fact, some of them really do care — they want to make you feel hurt and upset, they take pleasure in it.

Sean Illing
How many people looking for asshole survival strategies fail to notice they’re part of the asshole contingent?

Robert Sutton
A great question. The reason that I have this definition of assholes as somebody who makes you feel demeaned, de-energized, and so on is that you've got to take responsibility for the assholes in your life. Some people really are so thin-skinned that they think everyone is offending them when it's nothing personal. Then the other problem, which you're also implying, is because assholeness is so contagious, that if you're the kind of person where everywhere you go, the people objectively treat you like dirt and treat you worse than others, odds are you're doing something to prompt that punishment.

You can see this with Donald Trump. I don’t want to talk about him too much, but I think that’s part of what’s going on with him. If you insult virtually everybody, they're going to throw the shit back at you.

Sean Illing
Well, I’m not going to call the president an asshole here, but I will say that he’s checking all the asshole boxes you’ve set forth in this book.

Robert Sutton
Yeah, I won't call him one either, but I agree with your assessment.

Sean Illing
What’s the surest way for someone to recognize that they’re being an asshole? I assume that most of us are occasionally assholes but prefer not to be.

Robert Sutton
Absolutely. There's some evidence in the book about how few people will say that they're assholes compared to how many people will say they're oppressed by assholes. There's a huge disparity. The main thing this research on self-awareness says is that the worst person to ask about someone’s assholeness is the asshole himself, and the best people to ask are the people around him or her who know that person at least fairly well. Bottom line: Assholes need someone in their life to tell them they’re being an asshole.

Sean Illing
Being an asshole isn’t a great relationship-building strategy, but it does seem to correlate with professional success. I’m thinking of a famous asshole like Steve Jobs. Why is that?

Robert Sutton
Yes, if you are in a situation where it's an “I win, you lose” kind of game in the organization, then you don't need any cooperation from your competitors, and leaving people feeling like dirt might be worthwhile.

But there are two problems with that. One of them is that in most situations, you actually need collaboration. And we have plenty of research that shows that people who are givers rather than takers tend to do better in the long term. If you're playing a short-term game, then yeah, being an asshole might pay dividends — but I’m fairly convinced that doesn’t work in most situations.

Sean Illing
And, to be fair, there are examples of assholes in business being upended by their own assholery. I’m thinking of Uber’s former CEO Travis Kalanick.

Robert Sutton
Right. There are typically costs for being an asshole in the professional world. When you’re climbing the corporate ladder, for example, you might be destroying the organization around you by driving out the best people, undermining their productivity, creativity, and so on.

Sean Illing
Let’s get to the meat and potatoes of the book, which is about how to deal with assholes. So tell me, what’s your best asshole neutralization strategy?

Robert Sutton
First, it depends on how much power you have. And second, on how much time you’ve got. Those are the two questions that you have to answer before you can decide what to do. Assuming that you don't have Dirty Harry power or you’re not the CEO and can’t simply fire people you don’t like, I think you have to do two things in terms of strategy.

To begin with, you've got to build your case. You’ve also got to build a coalition. One of my mottos is that you have to know your assholes. We already talked about temporary versus certified assholes, but another distinction that's really important is that some people, and you mentioned this at the outset, some people are clueless assholes and don't realize they're jerks, but maybe they mean well.

In that situation, you can have backstage conversations, gently informing them that they’ve crossed a line. This is simple persuasive work. But if it’s somebody who is one of those Machiavellian assholes who is treating you like shit because they believe that’s how to get ahead, in that case you’ve got to get the hell out of there if you can.

Sean Illing
Let’s make this more concrete. Say you’re someone who’s struggling against an asshole boss. Obviously, there’s a power asymmetry, so it’s not as simple as telling him or her they’re an asshole. I imagine this is a common situation for many readers interested in this book. What’s your advice?

Robert Sutton
The first question is, can you quit or transfer to another department? If you’re stuck under a certified asshole, that means you’re suffering. And if that’s the case, you should get out — it’s that simple.

The second question is, if you must endure, are you going to fight or are you just going to take it? If you’re going to fight, you need a plan and a posse, you need to collect your evidence, and then you have to take your chances. In any case, I tell people to try to have as little contact as possible with assholes, and I offer strategies for doing that in the book.

One of the simplest — but admittedly hardest — things you can do is simply learn not to give a shit. Not giving a shit takes the wind out of an asshole’s sails. When an asshole’s being nasty to you, ignore him. Think about when you’ll get home later that night and the fact that that asshole won’t be there and won’t matter. Think about how a year from now that asshole won’t be in your life, but he’ll still be the asshole he always was.

Sean Illing
What if you’ve got an asshole as a peer or a colleague? Does that call for a different strategy?

Robert Sutton
Your chances of getting rid of them are higher because you have more power. But there’s a simpler way… [more]
psychology  career  work  management  social-skills 
yesterday by enochko

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