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What it takes to get hired at these top tech companies: A mixture of hard problem-solving skills and the right rapport with company culture.
When you’re hiring, how do you know when someone is right for the job? Is it an intuitive decision, or based solely on the facts of their experience?
It’s not so cut and dry, these leaders say.
“The one piece of advice that I would tell young people getting into the tech industry today is to surround yourself with smart people you can learn from,” says Jess Lee, CEO of Polyvore. When having inspiring comrades around means handpicking them from a crowd of applicants, the process of assembling your all-stars can be overwhelming.
A candidate’s success or failure at your company depends on more than their cover letter and resume. These industry influencers don’t rely on an applicant’s list of experiences, but read between the lines to what makes a great hire.
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What it takes to get hired at these top tech companies: A mixture of hard problem-solving skills and the right rapport with company culture.

When you’re hiring, how do you know when someone is right for the job? Is it an intuitive decision, or based solely on the facts of their experience?

It’s not so cut and dry, these leaders say.

“The one piece of advice that I would tell young people getting into the tech industry today is to surround yourself with smart people you can learn from,” says Jess Lee, CEO of Polyvore. When having inspiring comrades around means handpicking them from a crowd of applicants, the process of assembling your all-stars can be overwhelming.

A candidate’s success or failure at your company depends on more than their cover letter and resume. These industry influencers don’t rely on an applicant’s list of experiences, but read between the lines to what makes a great hire.

Read More>

The CEO of JoyTunes, a music-learning app, is now giving away his product to the 40 of its previously paying customers who use it most.

Sacrificing 40% of your profits? It’s certainly a leap of faith. But Kaminka—and his investors—feel that to do otherwise would be to miss out on a big opportunity. “This technological trend happening now in music education means for me that I can be dominant here. Someone will take over and be the standard, and that’s the opportunity for JoyTunes,” says Kaminka. It’s not merely a question of grabbing the most market share, either, he suggests. He thinks that by making JoyTunes more broadly accessible, he can actually grow the market of digital music learning in its entirety.

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The CEO of JoyTunes, a music-learning app, is now giving away his product to the 40 of its previously paying customers who use it most.

Sacrificing 40% of your profits? It’s certainly a leap of faith. But Kaminka—and his investors—feel that to do otherwise would be to miss out on a big opportunity. “This technological trend happening now in music education means for me that I can be dominant here. Someone will take over and be the standard, and that’s the opportunity for JoyTunes,” says Kaminka. It’s not merely a question of grabbing the most market share, either, he suggests. He thinks that by making JoyTunes more broadly accessible, he can actually grow the market of digital music learning in its entirety.

Read More>

I have a lot of ideas in my head. And for the most part, that’s where they used to stay.
In my head. Where other people couldn’t see them, interact with them or build upon them. Where they were safe and untested and uncriticized. All mine.
Sure, I’ve created some. Some might say I’ve created plenty. But that’s only because they can’t see what I’m not creating. For example, this very post sat dormant for at least a month while I pondered, waited and nitpicked at it.
Because the riskiest, most dangerous and potentially most interesting ideas are the easiest to hold back. I would pin them down like butterflies on a mat, like art at a museum. They were in spreadsheets, in notebooks, on scrap paper around my desk.
And while it might feel creative to think of these ideas, they were dying a lonely death when I wasn’t doing anything with them. They didn’t get their chance to add anything to the world. To affect someone. To spark something.
I lost out, too, with this arrangement. I didn’t push myself to think deeper and harder. I lost out on the feedback or insight or even criticism of others. I missed the chance to discover uncharted territory within myself. I stopped before I could start.
It wasn’t the best life I could give my ideas—or myself.
So I decided to change. To find a way forward, I cataloged all the things that had ever stopped me from creating so I could shoot them down, one-by-one. It turned out to be a helpful exercise, so I thought I’d share. 
Do any of these reasons for not creating something sound familiar to you?
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I have a lot of ideas in my head. And for the most part, that’s where they used to stay.

In my head. Where other people couldn’t see them, interact with them or build upon them. Where they were safe and untested and uncriticized. All mine.

Sure, I’ve created some. Some might say I’ve created plenty. But that’s only because they can’t see what I’m not creating. For example, this very post sat dormant for at least a month while I pondered, waited and nitpicked at it.

Because the riskiest, most dangerous and potentially most interesting ideas are the easiest to hold back. I would pin them down like butterflies on a mat, like art at a museum. They were in spreadsheets, in notebooks, on scrap paper around my desk.

And while it might feel creative to think of these ideas, they were dying a lonely death when I wasn’t doing anything with them. They didn’t get their chance to add anything to the world. To affect someone. To spark something.

I lost out, too, with this arrangement. I didn’t push myself to think deeper and harder. I lost out on the feedback or insight or even criticism of others. I missed the chance to discover uncharted territory within myself. I stopped before I could start.

It wasn’t the best life I could give my ideas—or myself.

So I decided to change. To find a way forward, I cataloged all the things that had ever stopped me from creating so I could shoot them down, one-by-one. It turned out to be a helpful exercise, so I thought I’d share.

Do any of these reasons for not creating something sound familiar to you?

Read More>

Starbucks gets great PR when a chain of customers pays for each others coffee. But thats not whats really going on.
When you combine coffee with a poor understanding of economics, two things can happen: You feel smug and self-congratulatory, or you demonize the wrong person. Both happened at the same Starbucks this week, when a chain of 378 people “paying it forward” was supposedly broken by “some cheap-ass” in a white Jeep.
“Cheap Bastard Ends 10 Hours of Starbucks Customers ‘Paying it Forward’” was Gawker’s headline summary of the event. The news, which began in a local paper, even made the Today show.
Everyone seems to misunderstand what’s actually happening during these “pay-it-forward” chains, which occasionally develop at this and other coffee joints. So let’s break it down, at the end of which you’ll understand this: The woman in the white Jeep is innocent. And nobody involved in these chains should be overly pleased with themselves.
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Starbucks gets great PR when a chain of customers pays for each others coffee. But thats not whats really going on.

When you combine coffee with a poor understanding of economics, two things can happen: You feel smug and self-congratulatory, or you demonize the wrong person. Both happened at the same Starbucks this week, when a chain of 378 people “paying it forward” was supposedly broken by “some cheap-ass” in a white Jeep.

Cheap Bastard Ends 10 Hours of Starbucks Customers ‘Paying it Forward’” was Gawker’s headline summary of the event. The news, which began in a local paper, even made the Today show.

Everyone seems to misunderstand what’s actually happening during these “pay-it-forward” chains, which occasionally develop at this and other coffee joints. So let’s break it down, at the end of which you’ll understand this: The woman in the white Jeep is innocent. And nobody involved in these chains should be overly pleased with themselves.

Read More>

Life is full of new beginnings. Here’s some valuable advice to help you along the way.
My son leaves for college this week, and I’ve realized that it’s one of several fresh starts many of us make in life. This adjustment will be followed by new jobs, new relationships, and maybe career changes. In fact, chances are good that my son will have more fresh starts than I did; according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average person stays with an employer for 4.6 years, while millennials average just 1.3 years on a job.
As I pull together my thoughts, grab some tissue, and prepare the words of wisdom I’ll leave with my son as we unpack his dorm, I’m reminded of the great advice I’ve heard over the years. One of the perks of being a writer is that you get to interview a lot of experts. Since I write about time management, productivity, and leadership, I hear plenty of tips and new ways of thinking aimed at getting more out of life. Here are 10 of my favorite words of advice for starting anew:
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Life is full of new beginnings. Here’s some valuable advice to help you along the way.

My son leaves for college this week, and I’ve realized that it’s one of several fresh starts many of us make in life. This adjustment will be followed by new jobs, new relationships, and maybe career changes. In fact, chances are good that my son will have more fresh starts than I did; according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average person stays with an employer for 4.6 years, while millennials average just 1.3 years on a job.

As I pull together my thoughts, grab some tissue, and prepare the words of wisdom I’ll leave with my son as we unpack his dorm, I’m reminded of the great advice I’ve heard over the years. One of the perks of being a writer is that you get to interview a lot of experts. Since I write about time management, productivity, and leadership, I hear plenty of tips and new ways of thinking aimed at getting more out of life. Here are 10 of my favorite words of advice for starting anew:

Read More>

If your motto is no new friends, it’s time to challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone. The payoff will be worth it.
We all seem to gravitate toward our comfort zones from time to time, and one of the easiest ways to stay there is to spend time with people who are just like us.
These people agree with us, think like us, and have a similar viewpoint on issues. But while this may seem to make our lives easier, there is also a downside.
Only spending time with people like us prevents us from growing, and even though we may be less comfortable hanging around people who are different from us, doing so also helps us to expand in crucial areas.Here are five benefits of spending time with people who are different from us:
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If your motto is no new friends, it’s time to challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone. The payoff will be worth it.

We all seem to gravitate toward our comfort zones from time to time, and one of the easiest ways to stay there is to spend time with people who are just like us.

These people agree with us, think like us, and have a similar viewpoint on issues. But while this may seem to make our lives easier, there is also a downside.

Only spending time with people like us prevents us from growing, and even though we may be less comfortable hanging around people who are different from us, doing so also helps us to expand in crucial areas.

Here are five benefits of spending time with people who are different from us:

Read More>

Last month, as I geared up to teach my daughter “Bug” to code, we built a better map of our neighborhood than Google had. On one level, it was a moment of empowerment. But on a deeper level it was a lesson about the futility of fighting Mountain View: The Fusion Tables my 6-year-old and I used to build our map are just one of a suite of Google Drive apps, and all the data we manually pulled together went back to the mothership.
Kids generally (and Bug specifically) get this. If you want a peek into how deeply they trust consumer-facing brands, drive them to McDonald’s and order them something new, and note their willingness to try anything Ronald boxes up in a Happy Meal. Now attempt to swap generic oat circles for the big yellow Cheerios box.
Kids today want to trust brands, and that’s why digital companies are trying to break into the Happy Meal demographic. Google is reportedly aiming to build child-friendly versions of its services, and the Instagram-for-kids app Kuddle raised millions in funding. This all suggests a move toward a Nickelodeon-ization of the Internet that allows you to plant your kid and walk away.
Read More>

Last month, as I geared up to teach my daughter “Bug” to code, we built a better map of our neighborhood than Google had. On one level, it was a moment of empowerment. But on a deeper level it was a lesson about the futility of fighting Mountain View: The Fusion Tables my 6-year-old and I used to build our map are just one of a suite of Google Drive apps, and all the data we manually pulled together went back to the mothership.

Kids generally (and Bug specifically) get this. If you want a peek into how deeply they trust consumer-facing brands, drive them to McDonald’s and order them something new, and note their willingness to try anything Ronald boxes up in a Happy Meal. Now attempt to swap generic oat circles for the big yellow Cheerios box.

Kids today want to trust brands, and that’s why digital companies are trying to break into the Happy Meal demographic. Google is reportedly aiming to build child-friendly versions of its services, and the Instagram-for-kids app Kuddle raised millions in funding. This all suggests a move toward a Nickelodeon-ization of the Internet that allows you to plant your kid and walk away.

Read More>

As a 20-something looking for his purpose, Rohan Marley found it by going back to his roots.
Marley Coffee is still a relatively small company, having churned out $6 million in revenue in 2013. But founder Rohan Marley, one of Bob Marley’s children, has big plans for his Jamaican-born coffee business.
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As a 20-something looking for his purpose, Rohan Marley found it by going back to his roots.

Marley Coffee is still a relatively small company, having churned out $6 million in revenue in 2013. But founder Rohan Marley, one of Bob Marley’s children, has big plans for his Jamaican-born coffee business.

Read More>

Can cities reduce traffic congestion and emissions with a private transit network?
The best way to describe JPods, a new form of public transit soon to be tested in New Jersey, is “something out of the Jetsons.” At least that’s how one city official described the solar-powered pods, which are a combination of light rail and self-driving car suspended above roads. Imagine something like a ski lift running above our existing streets and you’re getting close to the right mental image.
But there’s one sticking point: The JPods are a private transit system. Will investors be willing to fund a network of pods that compete with light rail, buses, subways, and other current public transit options? And if the capital was there, would municipal governments let this happen?
Read More>

Can cities reduce traffic congestion and emissions with a private transit network?

The best way to describe JPods, a new form of public transit soon to be tested in New Jersey, is “something out of the Jetsons.” At least that’s how one city official described the solar-powered pods, which are a combination of light rail and self-driving car suspended above roads. Imagine something like a ski lift running above our existing streets and you’re getting close to the right mental image.

But there’s one sticking point: The JPods are a private transit system. Will investors be willing to fund a network of pods that compete with light rail, buses, subways, and other current public transit options? And if the capital was there, would municipal governments let this happen?

Read More>

If you want to boost your productivity, focus, creativity, or sanity, you need to leave your desk and take a walk.

Looking for some creative inspiration? Scientists at Stanford suggest going for a walk—whether indoors or outdoors, in a green space or on a treadmill—to give your creativity a boost. Compared to sitting, they found any form of walking could increase creative thinking by about 60%.
"We’re not saying walking can turn you into Michelangelo," said researcher Marily Oppezzo. "But it could help you at the beginning stages of creativity."

Read More>

If you want to boost your productivity, focus, creativity, or sanity, you need to leave your desk and take a walk.

Looking for some creative inspiration? Scientists at Stanford suggest going for a walk—whether indoors or outdoors, in a green space or on a treadmill—to give your creativity a boost. Compared to sitting, they found any form of walking could increase creative thinking by about 60%.

"We’re not saying walking can turn you into Michelangelo," said researcher Marily Oppezzo. "But it could help you at the beginning stages of creativity."

Read More>