My answer to Bill Gates

Today I logged in to a freshly redesigned Linkedin.com and saw this question by one of my favorite people, Bill:

Q:

How can we do more to encourage young people to pursue careers in science and technology?

A:

As a millennial, I can tell you exactly how.

Bolster our *existing* young/outspoken leaders in science and technology. Help them be leaders, then allow them to talk. The younger the better, our youth have to be able to empathize with the person they are listing to. If they can see an inclining of themselves within that person then you have a chance. “If s/he can do it, so can I.” Open up.

Please don’t even try with a traditional media company or traditional media outlets. It has to be peer2peer — and you’d better hurry up because trust there will be gone soon like the rest.

Romanticize those leaders.

You, Bill, have the ability to do this. And I believe you will. Please keep asking questions and talking. You’re a leader, you have an obligation. Thanks for realizing that.

Thoughts on managers/execs

Thanks to http://notanmba.com and Todd’s comment for getting me thinking like this.

As an outsider (corporate outsider, that is), it seems unbelievable to me that managers don’t make a point to communicate/get to know their team. I can understand the desire to keep secrets/keep things non-transparent, but I liken that to being a wimp. A pushover. And other terms. That’s just weak. If you are the best, you should have nothing to worry about, challenge that. Be the best. Let your guard down and ask questions.

Here’s something I was talking about with my uncle yesterday: You get into upper management because you are a gal/guy who can get things done. You got there because you are a top performer. Now you’re leading a group and you think you have to continue doing the same thing. So, you crack the whip and push your team hard. You work 90hrs vs 60 because “you know best.” Nothing happens.

Here’s what I think: Rethink the position you are in. A great manager/exec is a coach/a teacher. You’re not there to continue doing what you did. You’re there to teach your whole team how to achieve, like you used to. To do this successfully, be a good teacher you have to stop doing, doing, doing and start talking, communicating, getting to know your team, understanding why each of them do things the way they do. Allow yourself to empathize with them, and they with you.

This is good for two reasons. 1. If they can see themselves within you, and they respect you, it will encourage them, motivate them. 2. If you can empathize with them then you can understand their intentions. Understanding their intentions is like understanding their thought process.

Where did I come up with this response? I thought about what I learned from the ad industry: How to reach and know your target market. …The same principles apply to so many domains. Listen. Communicate. Ask questions. Achieve empathy.

Internal social media strategy

Last night I had dinner with my Uncle. He’s a leadership/exec coach so after dinner we hung out and he gave me a couple hours of coaching. I was surprised how much what he was saying sounded like a social media pitch.

The ideas are the same: get to know your customers/employees, build (empathetic) relationships with them, be able to understand where they are coming from, ask questions, don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know.”

It seems like companies should have an internal social media strategy: a series of outlets created just for employees. A way of keeping a conversation going.

Just asking questions now… Is that the value of having an internal social network? How do you keep people using it? How do you make it fun? Who is an expert in this?

I’ll be thinking.

Where to post jobs in Austin / active communities

Let me know if I’m missing any important ones under these topics, this is the list I sent to the City of Austin guys…

Communities with active job boards

Other Active Groups

Happy Hours/Events

Know any good UI designers in Austin?

To follow up on my last post, we had drinks with the AustinGo guys. They’re working hard on the site – I told them a list of places to post for jobs. They need Plone developers.

On that note, I’m always surprised with how little people know about what is going on in the city.

I was watching DEMO the other day and discovered a new Austin startup: Voyant Inc., purveyors of Voyant @Home. It’s a downloadable java app that allows you to create a financial time line for yourself and/or family. meh.

It’s not like mint.com (a service that connects to all your financial accounts and creates pretty graphs to tell you when you’ve spent to much eating out, etc.)- you have to enter everything manually. I love time lines, but they have to be pretty. That makes them fun to use. My friend Michael had me watch a TED video of JJ Abrams, in it he says how he loves Apple computers because they are so beautiful. It’s like they look at you and say “what are you going to write worthy of me.” Needless to say, Voyant @Home is not really fun to use this time around.