No matter how much you may love your job, there are always parts of it that are no fun. As my Dad used to say "They call it work for a reason."
But what if you could take those unpleasant parts of the job and make them fun?
When I pledged my fraternity (Pi Kappa Phi) I had certain jobs I was required to do around the house as an associate member before I was initiated. The week before initiation my class gathered at the house nightly to perform tasks. These are tasks I have never enjoyed like cleaning the bathrooms, painting and removing a large tree from the front yard.
But guess what - I had fun.
There is something about doing work with your friends that makes the duty seem light. We were laughing, telling jokes and removing a 50 foot tree and it's debris at the same time.
In the fraternity this is what we call Brotherhood. In the military it's called camraderie. In the Church it's called fellowship.
Leaders, you are responsible to build a team that gets along and respects each other and works toward a common purpose. Sprinkle in a good sense of humor and make the work fun.
Quick answer: Yes.
Recently I had a manager leave my company. As she was leaving she said she would like to come have lunch sometime and be friends with the people on our team. She explained she could not be friends while she was the manager.
I know this is popular thinking, but it is not accurate.
Good managers are also good leaders. To lead you have to be able to influence your followers to achieve the desired objectives.
I consider Jesus to be the best leader who ever lived. He developed and trained 12 core followers that eventually transformed the world. How did he treat his followers? He called them friends. And how did he define a friend? Someone who he would be willing to die for.*
So why are managers afraid to be friends with their employees? Most of the time the reason is learned behavior. This is what they have been told or shown by their leaders.
But those who truly understand what friendship is may shy away because of the commitment involved in truly sacrificing for the benefit of your followers.
An objection is that if you act like a friend then you would not be able to discipline or fire your subordinates. This is not true. I have been fired and needed to fire others. If the situation warrants it this is appropriate behavior. If someone is in the wrong role it is not "friendly" to have them continue.
A parent gives and loves sacrificially for their children, but the best ones still provide discipline when necessary.
So who influences you more: People who are committed to your success or people who are looking out for their own interests?
The best managers, and leaders, are your friends.
Yes, I passed, w00t!
I did not even know there was a Google Analytics certification a week ago. When I stumbled across the designation I said "I should get me one of those." I've been using GA for years and figured a certification was within my grasp. It took me about 8 hours of study and $50, but I got it done.
OK, this is more the story of how I passed the test than an authoritative guide, but I hope it helps. I did the most logical thing first, I Googled "Study Guide for GAIQ." I found some great advice, but I think this post did the best job:
Everyone who has taken the test says to watch all the videos provided by Google in Conversion University and I concur. I usually hate watching videos for training because they tend to suit the slowest learners. I like to read, skim and hone in on things I don't already know. These videos are well done though. They are really more like slide shows with a few videos dispersed throughout. They go quickly so I paused and re-watched a few slides that I needed to study more.
I had a second laptop setup as suggested, but I found it was easier to open a second browser than to change computers. Note: You need a second browser not a second window in your browser. I used Chrome for the test and Firefox to look up answers I was unsure about.
One thing I did not like about the test were all of the questions that were not in the study materials. A few I could not find even after Googling for answers and scouring the GA help section. I took my best guess on those.
I did learn some new things by going through all of the training materials. Definitely worth the effort. If you are a regular user of GA, I recommend getting this certification. Good luck!
I put together this quick overview of Google Analytics for my clients. Google Analytics is a fantastic tool that every website owner should be using. It has so many powerful tools it can be overwhelming, but don't be intimidated.
Every site owner should have some key performance indicators (KPI's) that they track. Things like visitors, sales and traffic sources are easy to set up and follow.
And like a lot of Google products, Google Analytics is free. So get started by visiting Google.com/Analytics.
I have to brag. My 8 year old, third grade daughter, Isabella, won the school speling bee. She beat all of the third fourth and fifth graders at her school.
Tonight she will be competing against the other shools and junior highs in the district. She will even be competing against eigth graders.
How long has she been studying? She hasn't. We did not know about the speling bee until she came home and said she won.
If she should win tonight, which I think is a tall order against eighth graders, she will not move on because she is too young.
I'll post an update tomorrow to let you know what happens.
Isabella competed against 50 middle school kids and two fifth graders that won at the other elementary schools.
She made it to the final round and tied for fourth place.
Impressive, most impressive.
I'm in my 5th year of using Squarespace for my website hosting. I was attracted to the ease of use and the unique look I can create with their site building software, but something else has gained my attention as of late. Their hosting. My site never goes down.
I listen to a lot of the podcasts on Leo Laporte's TWIT Network. It's great fun for tech geeks like me. They have quite a following. So large that every time they mention a website that website is inundated with traffic. And it goes down. Unless it's a Squarespace site.
Squarespace has their act together. When a site gets more traffic than usual, they are able to relieve the stress by balancing the load on their servers. Cool stuff.
But wait, there's more...
I got an email from team Squarespace last week explaining that their servers are located in lower Manhattan and that fuel to their last generator was running out. Hurricane Sandy had taken it's toll. I had a few hours until my site, and all the Squarespace sites lost power.
I kept checking my site, but it never went down. So what happened? Did they hand carry fuel up 17 flights of stairs in total darkness to keep MichaelDaehn.com from going down?
I got the email below telling the story.
Way to go team Squarespace. You have increased my respect and admiration for your fine company. Keep up the good work.
Hurricane Sandy Update
A little over a week ago, I sent out one of the most difficult emails that Squarespace has ever delivered to our customers.
Peer1, our data center in downtown Manhattan, was so severely impacted by Hurricane Sandy that it suffered a total loss of power despite multiple levels of redundant systems. At the time, there was no resolution in sight. Our backup fuel reserves and building infrastructure had been destroyed by Sandy's storm surge, which flooded many buildings downtown. As you may be aware, this was a historic and unprecedented storm for the entire tri-state region, bringing about the largest storm-related power outage ever in Con Edison's history.
I am proud to announce that throughout this event, Squarespace customers experienced absolutely no downtime related to the power outage. This is an amazing outcome considering the extraordinary circumstances we faced last week. What remains is an incredible story.
For those of you that haven't been following our updates, employees from Squarespace, Fog Creek, and Peer1 manually carried fuel up 17 flights of stairs for three days to save our generator while an interim fuel supply and pump could be installed. These efforts to provide uninterrupted service for our customers were chronicled by numerous publications including All Things D, BetaBeat, Computerworld, Fast Company,TechCrunch, The New York Times, Pando Daily, and The Verge.
We now have a working pump system delivering fuel to the roof generator, more than enough fuel on site, and a redundant street-level generator connected and tested as of last night. These systems will remain in place for the foreseeable future. Our building has still not been able to connect to Manhattan's power grid, as the building's two sub-basements were submerged in 30 feet of water that took four days to pump out. We will continue to post updates on status.squarespace.comas we resume normal operations.
Of course, such heroics should not be necessary to keep operations running smoothly. We initiated a plan to build a geographically redundant operation this past summer and expect to have it online in early 2013. This gives us the ability to route around areas affected by natural disasters much more effectively.
We take the responsibility of running the hundreds of thousands of sites on Squarespace very seriously . Our homepage states that our scalable, reliable cloud infrastructure eliminates downtime, and our customers all over the world count on us to keep their websites online no matter what. Wanting to keep that promise is what propelled us forward and helped us persevere during this most challenging of times. Thank you all for being Squarespace customers - it is with your continued support that we can continue to fight for great design, amazing products, and exceptional service.
We know that there are many in our area that were impacted far beyond what we experienced - if you can, please take a moment and contributeto hurricane relief efforts. A little goes a long way.
I've been trying the new compose page in Gmail. It's one of those "what took you so long?" ideas. Many times I have opened Gmail again in a second tab when composing to get information while composing.
It is missing a few things like CC and BCC that made me go back to the previous version to finish my message, but overall I think it is a step in the right direction.
What do you think? Have you tried the new compose page in Gmail?
Wow this was too good not to re-post for my readers and posterity.
This is a great idea. If only I had thought of it 3 years ago.
A lot of places will reward you for taking a survey. Allowing customers to give feedback right away provides:
- Greater incentive - Get rewarded right away
- Easier to use - Don't have to login at home
- Better quality results - customers can remember their experience better in 5 minutes than in 5 hours or 5 days
QR Codes are everywhere these days. Some people use them well, like Red Robin. Others are out of their minds - QR Codes on TV Commercials. Good marketers use the right tools, the right way for their product.
If you could also share this link or story we would all appreciate it. Do it for the kids.
I had a wonderful time at the TEDxOrangeCoast event this week at Soka University. I must say I was surprised by how beautiful this campus is. I have been to larger universities, but Soka is most impressive.
The event consisted of 4 hours of footage from the TEDGlobal2012 event in Edinburgh, Scottland. TEDxOrangeCoast aired the best of the presentations. I learned about everything from human genomes to the hacker collective Anonymous. And there was even a magician/mind reader.
This was just a taste of the awesomeness that is TED.
If your appetite is whetted, I recommend you check out the LIVE TEDxOrangeCoast event coming up this October. It should be a blast. See you there.
If you are like me, you like to check out Facebook apps, but get a little nervous about letting them post on your behalf. I have inadvertently spammed my own wall with posts from apps.
If you don't want others to see these posts, but still want to use the app you simply need to adjust your settings.
When you first use the app, a screen will appear that lets you customize what the app posts. Simply click on the dropdown and set to "Only Me" and only you will see posts from this app.
Don't let posting permissions keep you from trying out some cool apps on Facebook.
I launched a new website with my buddy Damian Raffele. I enjoy craft beers and decided to mix business with pleasure. Here's the story as told on the Beer Hobby site:
Beer Hobby was started by Damian Raffele and Michael Daehn. Raffele and Daehn met in college and hit it off right away talking about hard core Christian bands like Mortal, Deitiphobia and The Prayer Chain. When they weren’t moshing they worked on some interesting projects together.
Today Beer Hobby is a website devoted to sharing stories about beer and getting people together to learn how to make their own. Stay tuned as we continue to ferment this idea and create some killer batches of fun stuff to do with brewing.
One day they decided to start something new. While talking over beers they developed the idea of Beer Hobby. Beer Hobby is a place to share their love of beer and get together with friends. Maybe even make a business out of it. At worst, they would have fun a few good beers in the process.
I have written several posts over there, including:
|I Drank a Pilsner and I liked it
Since I’m a big IPA guy you probably think I wouldn’t be caught dead drinking a measly Pilsner. Well that’s what I thought anyway. Last Spring I was talking to the very cool beer guy at Whole Foods in Town & Country, MO. We chatted often and I would always ask him what to try. [...]
|American Craft Beer Week 2012 – Get the Memo?
I admit I am knew to the craft beer universe, at least beyond drinking. I found out yesterday that this is American Craft Beer Week, there’s even a website. Sounds like something I would be interested in, right? I was oblivious. Either they need to do a better job of marketing or I am lame. [...]
|Bottles or Cans? Just Clap Your Hands
The more I learn about beer the more I think canned beer is a good idea: It protects the beer from light and air It’s easier to transport You need to pour your beer into a glass, even if it comes in a bottle, to open up carbonation and flavors Cans are cheaper Cans are [...]
|San Diego Brewery Trip April 2012: Stone, Lost Abbey, Port Brewing and Pizza Port
I got to take a nice trip down to San Diego to visit some of my favorite breweries. Speaking of San Diego, my friend Diego was a saint and did the driving – what a guy! View Larger Map First stop was Stone Brewery. Stone is the nicest brewery I’ve ever seen. The environment [...]
|Calling All Beer Lovers: Write for the Beer Hobby Blog
I would like to invite you to add something to the Beer Hobby blog. It could be: Pictures Reviews How to shop for beer How to make beer A brewery tour How you became a beer snob Anything fun and beer related You can send your ideas to michael(at)beerhobby.com or damian(at)beerhobby.com. Here’s to brew!
|Bottling Our First Beer
Damian and I were able to bottle our first batch of beer this week. Much to my surprise, it didn’t taste terrible. I know it takes some time to get good at brewing, and there are a lot of things that can go wrong and spoil your brew, but it tasted good. It’s the Mr. [...]
|Beer Hobby Logo Ideas
OK, these are rough and I made them myself. I’m not a full fledged designer. What do you think of what we have so far? Any recommendations?
How I Went From Beer Slob to Beer Snob
Take a look and let me know what you think - especially if you like beer.
- Integrating your social and email programs Day 1 - 11 AM
- Accelerating results with Facebook Pages Day 1 - 4:30 PM