Whatever Next #5: Q&A, communicating is caring
About Q&A meetings, GrubHub acquisition, customer privacy, managing insights, Clayton Christensen, and Jeff Bezos.
Hi @ll! I hope you’re all ok in these uncertain times. Welcome my humble newsletter, where I will be sharing different topics that I found interesting during the week. Only ten sections maximum per newsletter, I don’t want to bother or bore you!
Opinions and selection of topics are my own.
💬 Townhall: How do you handle internal Q&A communications?
This is an interesting question (thread) started by Oscar Pierre, Glovo co-founder, were he is asking his followers to share how do they prepare Q&A meetings with employees.
He is asking for scale-up startups. Startups are more eager to change in a short period, and is key to communicate properly. But I think that this kind of communication is not limited to fast-growing startups. But it is true that when a company grows, it makes difficult to coordinate this communication effort
We have a recent example in Google. They used to have a well-known Q&A weekly meeting named TGIF (Thank God It’s Friday), that at some point evolved to biweekly, and was dramatically cut last year by Sundar Pichai. Arguments were that attendant ratio decreased, the coordinated effort to communicate worldwide, and that employees could no longer be trusted to keep matters confidential. As said by Sundar Pichai, it wasn’t working in its current form, and regarding some sensitive topics, Google may address such issues in specific town-hall meetings when trust and confidentiality is warranted.
What a pity. They lost part of their essence. Quoting Laszlo Bock post at Think With Google when talking about transparency, “We share everything we can. We have a weekly all-hands meeting called TGIF, hosted by our founders, Larry and Sergey. In the first 30 minutes, we review news and product launches from the past week, demo upcoming products, and celebrate wins. But the second 30 minutes is the part that matters most: Q&A”. Laszlo is a former Google SVP People Operations, and Work Rules! book author, book that I recommend.
This kind of meetings are not the property of Google, lots of tech companies do it. Looking for the big and well-known players, Facebook is another example. Regarding the last controversy with Mark Zuckerberg and politics, the question maybe is how long will it take until they cancel it. I hope they don’t.
But returning to the original thread, it was a very interesting thread but not very successful in terms of participation. But you could take some ideas from there. For example, submitting questions before the meeting is a good idea. If there are no questions in the Q&A it is probably not because everything is clear, it is because there is not trust, or there’s a lack of commitment. In any case, a problem. Tools like Slido and Mentimeter could help to interact with the employees, and vote about the questions, or other sensitive topics.
🍕 Winner eats it all: Just Eat Takeaway acquires Grubhub
What is interesting in this acquisition, and the continuous acquisitions in this on-demand food ordering and delivery market is their difficulty for being profitable.
On the same TechCrunch article about the acquisition, this is very well reflected:
Online food delivery has been a tough gig: on one hand, very popular with consumers, but on the other, an extremely commoditised and competitive business, where companies need to spend huge amounts of money to gain and keep customers.
One solution to that cycle has been to take out rivals and get better economies of scale on operations. This has been the route so far with Just Eat Takeaway and Grubhub, which combined say they will be profitable and can now focus on improving margins further.
So this is the future of these players: The winner takes it all. The same article ends up with the question about Which players will consolidate next? Stay tuned.
📺 Steve jobs on companies products
We all love Steve Jobs videos. This is a short video, but as always happens with this shared media, with powerful insights. “The companies forget what it means to make great products… And they really have no feeling in the hearts usually about wanting to really help the customers.”
🔮 Instead of asking yourself what will change, ask you what won't.
This was part of the answer from Jeff Bezos when asked about how to make long-term plans:
I would always encourage people, when they think about 10 years, to ask the question, what won't change?
That's actually the more important question. You can build strategies around things that will be stable in time. In that 10-year vision, there are a bunch of things at Amazon that are not going to change.
One of them, maybe the most important one, is that we will stay customer-obsessed instead of competitor-obsessed. We will work on maintaining that culture.
I am not going to copy the entire article, you could find it below.
It’s worth thinking about it. It is not the answer for uncertain times, but for developing a strong company to face whatever it may come. What won’t change? The purpose, the culture, the core values, and the long-term relationship that you've built with your people.
🔒 Protecting customer privacy from Google
Some days ago I shared this DuckDuckGo article from Wired UK. I had seen it as a source of visits, as I see also Chinese search engines, but I never saw it as a competitor for Google.
But something has changed, from this summer on you will be able to select the search engine on your android devices. This is the consequence of EU antitrust fine to Google for abusing the dominance of its Android operating system. And this opens the door to DuckDuckGo, and other competitors.
DuckDuckGo is a search engine that emphasizes privacy and doesn’t collect user data. “We're not trying to topple Google. Our goal is for consumers who want to choose a private option, they should be able to do so easily.”
After reading this article, I realized that I saw a billboard close to home. No kidding, next time I will take a photo.
And continuing with applications that protect customer privacy we have the trending HEY email by Basecamp: “We didn’t reinvent the wheel, only email.”. They are currently receiving massive requests.
As Casey highlights on his The Verge article, they block tracking pixels, read receipts, and other surveillance. And only notifies if you configure it to.
Both DuckDuckGo and Hey are not willing to crush their competitors from Google. They know it, and they aren’t the only competitors. And Google is the example here, but it is not the only company willing to know more about us and our habits.
But seems that companies and applications that protect customer’s privacy have their space in this world managed by big companies avid to get more data from them.
🎧 The Remarkable Leadership Podcast: The Making of a Manager with Julie Zhuo
This time I am sharing a new podcast, “The Remarkable Leadership”. I am finishing Julie’s book “The Making of a Manager“, so when I saw it I was immediately interested in listening to it. Only 37 minutes, which is the perfect length, I don’t like too long podcasts.
About the book, I am enjoying it! It is easy to read. It is not a book developing a single leadership theory, it is based on personal experience while leading teams on Facebook, her learnings, and growth while managing people, but also while managing oneself, which is always great. I would recommend it for starting managers, but also experienced ones.
🦜 Welcome to Voice tweets
As Twitter announced in its blog, their newest functionality are voice Tweets. This is limited only to iOS.
There’s a lot that can be left unsaid or uninterpreted using text, so we hope voice Tweeting will create a more human experience for listeners and storytellers alike.
This isn’t innovative, but I think it is a huge change inside Twitter. This is not about including media, it is about changing its whole way of communication. From 140 characters to 140 seconds. It is not limited to 140s, if you continue talking a new voice tweet starts. A thread of voice tweets.
I am not convinced about it, it will surely have its supporters and detractors. I am no going to say that I hate this functionality before using it, but I can’t stand Whatsapp voice notes. What about you?
📜 My latest post
It was last February when I decided to include “disruptive innovation” as a topic to write about in my blog. After professor Clayton Christensen decease, there were lots of articles about his person, and my interest in his theories increased.
While I was writing the post about his disruption theory, I read about How will you measure your life, and I was amazed about it. So I decided to postpone the first idea, and I wrote about it.
“Think about the metric by which your life will be judged, and make a resolution to live every day so that in the end, your life will be judged a success.”
This week I decided to finish what I started months ago, and I published the post about disruptive innovation.
🎁 Bonus gift
This is just extra stuff, but I found it funny. This was Jeff Bezos in 1999.
He was the owner of Earth’s smallest bookstore…
And… That’s it! If you arrived here, thanks for reading. I hope you like it!
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