FastCompany Magazine

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Here’s how to keep in touch with your connections, without becoming a stalker.
From finding a job to meeting your next business partner or new client, you know that there are countless ways that your network can help you when you need it.
The problem is that reaching out, especially out of the blue, can feel awkward and inauthentic. You want to establish regular communication so that any requests are just part of the conversation.
So how do you reach out without feeling sketchy about the whole thing? “The key is if you strive to provide real value in your outreach, people will look forward to hearing from you, every time,” says Jenny Powers, founder of the professional women’s networking group, Running With Heels. “Soon enough, they’ll be reaching out to you as well and it won’t feel like a one way street.”
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Here’s how to keep in touch with your connections, without becoming a stalker.

From finding a job to meeting your next business partner or new client, you know that there are countless ways that your network can help you when you need it.

The problem is that reaching out, especially out of the blue, can feel awkward and inauthentic. You want to establish regular communication so that any requests are just part of the conversation.

So how do you reach out without feeling sketchy about the whole thing? “The key is if you strive to provide real value in your outreach, people will look forward to hearing from you, every time,” says Jenny Powers, founder of the professional women’s networking group, Running With Heels. “Soon enough, they’ll be reaching out to you as well and it won’t feel like a one way street.”

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When your boss isn’t in the office, it’s easy to let communication slip down the priorities list. Here’s how to stay in touch and on task.
The workplace today is much different from the workplace of 30, 20, and even 10 years ago. Open office designs, in-house baristas, and for many organizations bosses managing from across the country are now the norm. Between video conferencing, email, and instant messaging, physical proximity to the office is no longer a requirement. Companies are hiring based on talent and fit, not if someone can be in their chair 24/7. This change has led to entire teams being spread across time zones, states, and even countries. While it can be tricky to report to a remote manager, I’m here to tell you it’s possible.
I work for a non-profit in Washington, D.C., but my manager works from her home in southern California. I’ve been working with her remotely for over a year, and in that time have expanded the responsibilities of my role and received a salary increase. Here are the tips that have helped me succeed:
Read More>

When your boss isn’t in the office, it’s easy to let communication slip down the priorities list. Here’s how to stay in touch and on task.

The workplace today is much different from the workplace of 30, 20, and even 10 years ago. Open office designs, in-house baristas, and for many organizations bosses managing from across the country are now the norm. Between video conferencing, email, and instant messaging, physical proximity to the office is no longer a requirement. Companies are hiring based on talent and fit, not if someone can be in their chair 24/7. This change has led to entire teams being spread across time zones, states, and even countries. While it can be tricky to report to a remote manager, I’m here to tell you it’s possible.

I work for a non-profit in Washington, D.C., but my manager works from her home in southern California. I’ve been working with her remotely for over a year, and in that time have expanded the responsibilities of my role and received a salary increase. Here are the tips that have helped me succeed:

Read More>

When your days already feel jam-packed, how can you afford to experiment with productivity? Get to the bottom of time-wasting habits.
It’s classic productivity advice: Match your most important work to your most productive hours. If you do that, you’ll get a lot more done.
But this advice assumes you know when your most productive hours are. Many people don’t, says Daniel Gold, a productivity specialist and author of Evernote: The Unofficial Guide to Capturing Everything and Getting Things Done, among other life management books. “We’re too often stuck without thinking about the bigger picture,” he says. If you’re constantly in reactive mode, or your life features irregular hours or travel, you may not be familiar with your own internal rhythms. Getting there is “really just about taking that uncomfortable step inwards,” he says. Here are strategies for paying attention.
Read More>

When your days already feel jam-packed, how can you afford to experiment with productivity? Get to the bottom of time-wasting habits.

It’s classic productivity advice: Match your most important work to your most productive hours. If you do that, you’ll get a lot more done.

But this advice assumes you know when your most productive hours are. Many people don’t, says Daniel Gold, a productivity specialist and author of Evernote: The Unofficial Guide to Capturing Everything and Getting Things Done, among other life management books. “We’re too often stuck without thinking about the bigger picture,” he says. If you’re constantly in reactive mode, or your life features irregular hours or travel, you may not be familiar with your own internal rhythms. Getting there is “really just about taking that uncomfortable step inwards,” he says. Here are strategies for paying attention.

Read More>

It’s that time again. Y Combinator, one of the most coveted accelerators in the country, is hosting a demo day for its graduating batch of startups.
Expect a marathon of pitches. Eighty-five companies will present on stage for a few minutes apiece, hoping to convince investors to bank on their ideas to transform X, Y, or Z.
The accelerator is best known for its tightly knit network and breakout startups, such as Dropbox, Airbnb, and Twitch—all three of which are in the billion-dollar-valuation club. Earlier this summer, president Sam Altman said Y Combinator’s portfolio of more than 400 active companies exceeds $30 billion in value.
Fast Company’s Alice Truong will report live from the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. The event begins at 10 a.m. PT.
You can submit questions now!

It’s that time again. Y Combinator, one of the most coveted accelerators in the country, is hosting a demo day for its graduating batch of startups.

Expect a marathon of pitches. Eighty-five companies will present on stage for a few minutes apiece, hoping to convince investors to bank on their ideas to transform X, Y, or Z.

The accelerator is best known for its tightly knit network and breakout startups, such as Dropbox, Airbnb, and Twitch—all three of which are in the billion-dollar-valuation club. Earlier this summer, president Sam Altman said Y Combinator’s portfolio of more than 400 active companies exceeds $30 billion in value.

Fast Company’s Alice Truong will report live from the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. The event begins at 10 a.m. PT.

You can submit questions now!

A new website from a couple MIT grads lets customers haggle for high-end, locally made products.
Haggling is an age-old tradition at marketplaces around the world, but price negotiations between merchants and buyers haven’t quite made their way into the world of e-commerce.
Theorem, a San Francisco-based startup headed by MIT grads Ryan Jackson and Adam Roberts, is trying to change that.
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A new website from a couple MIT grads lets customers haggle for high-end, locally made products.

Haggling is an age-old tradition at marketplaces around the world, but price negotiations between merchants and buyers haven’t quite made their way into the world of e-commerce.

Theorem, a San Francisco-based startup headed by MIT grads Ryan Jackson and Adam Roberts, is trying to change that.

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A Dutch designer imagines a better way to brand the Korean giant.
For 21 years, the Samsung name as served as the company logo, occasionally superimposed over a wobbly blue oval. It’s the kind of logo that’s fine on washing machines and televisions, but incredibly boring on something personal, like a smartphone. Never is this more apparent than when compared to the branding of Samsung’s arch-enemy in Cupertino, which is simply the silhouette of an apple.
Regardless, Samsung sells more smartphones and tablets than even Apple does. Doesn’t it deserve branding just as good?
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A Dutch designer imagines a better way to brand the Korean giant.

For 21 years, the Samsung name as served as the company logo, occasionally superimposed over a wobbly blue oval. It’s the kind of logo that’s fine on washing machines and televisions, but incredibly boring on something personal, like a smartphone. Never is this more apparent than when compared to the branding of Samsung’s arch-enemy in Cupertino, which is simply the silhouette of an apple.

Regardless, Samsung sells more smartphones and tablets than even Apple does. Doesn’t it deserve branding just as good?

Read More>

Here’s what’s happening in Fast Company’s September issue!

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(via fastcompany)

Square just posted the “Top 10 Myths About Square.” Jack Dorsey and his superstar investors respond to the six they really care about.
Lately, Square CEO Jack Dorsey has been binge watching Friday Night Lights. The uplifting TV series, about a high school football team called the Dillon Panthers, is centrally themed around underdog comebacks. And after the week Dorsey has just endured—during which Amazon launched a product aimed at stealing away Square’s customers, a move that compelled the startup to publish a blog post debunking the “10 myths” about Square, including whether its business is struggling—one might think Dorsey is due for a Panthers-style comeback of his own.
Based on the time I spent with Square, including interviews with Dorsey, his investors, and his key lieutenants, here are their flesh-and-blood responses to the myths they really care about:
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Square just posted the “Top 10 Myths About Square.” Jack Dorsey and his superstar investors respond to the six they really care about.

Lately, Square CEO Jack Dorsey has been binge watching Friday Night Lights. The uplifting TV series, about a high school football team called the Dillon Panthers, is centrally themed around underdog comebacks. And after the week Dorsey has just endured—during which Amazon launched a product aimed at stealing away Square’s customers, a move that compelled the startup to publish a blog post debunking the “10 myths” about Square, including whether its business is struggling—one might think Dorsey is due for a Panthers-style comeback of his own.

Based on the time I spent with Square, including interviews with Dorsey, his investors, and his key lieutenants, here are their flesh-and-blood responses to the myths they really care about:

Read More>

Here’s how to get your boss and coworkers used to the idea that you won’t always be available.
Picture this. You’re on a beach in the middle of the Caribbean with no Internet access, no phone reception, and no text messages.
You return from your vacation well rested, and want to continue some of these healthy habits—like not sleeping with your smartphone on your pillow. But how does that work when you’ve been tethered to your phone, and your coworkers and boss expect you to answer 24/7 because that’s what you’ve always done?
Depending on your particular situation, you can broach the topic with your boss. It may not be easy to detach from your smartphone, but it’s certainly not impossible, according to several experts. Here’s what they advise:
Read More>

Here’s how to get your boss and coworkers used to the idea that you won’t always be available.

Picture this. You’re on a beach in the middle of the Caribbean with no Internet access, no phone reception, and no text messages.

You return from your vacation well rested, and want to continue some of these healthy habits—like not sleeping with your smartphone on your pillow. But how does that work when you’ve been tethered to your phone, and your coworkers and boss expect you to answer 24/7 because that’s what you’ve always done?

Depending on your particular situation, you can broach the topic with your boss. It may not be easy to detach from your smartphone, but it’s certainly not impossible, according to several experts. Here’s what they advise:

Read More>

Don’t let them get you down. A guide to the kinds of people you’re forced to work with, and how to deal with them.
If you’re like most people, you like most of your colleagues most of the time. Generally speaking, the workplace is a community. People are friendly, and there is a shared goal. And that makes work a fulfilling place to be, and hopefully you feel as though you are part of something bigger.
Unfortunately, all that goodwill generated by your wonderful coworkers can evaporate completely when a few jerks appear. Just a couple of negative interactions with a colleague can be enough to overcome a host of other positive conversations. And those negative interactions may stay with you even after you leave work.
Here’s a field guide to some of the biggest jerks at work and a few things you can do to keep up your positive mood.
Read More>

Don’t let them get you down. A guide to the kinds of people you’re forced to work with, and how to deal with them.

If you’re like most people, you like most of your colleagues most of the time. Generally speaking, the workplace is a community. People are friendly, and there is a shared goal. And that makes work a fulfilling place to be, and hopefully you feel as though you are part of something bigger.

Unfortunately, all that goodwill generated by your wonderful coworkers can evaporate completely when a few jerks appear. Just a couple of negative interactions with a colleague can be enough to overcome a host of other positive conversations. And those negative interactions may stay with you even after you leave work.

Here’s a field guide to some of the biggest jerks at work and a few things you can do to keep up your positive mood.

Read More>

Networking in a new industry can be daunting for even the most socially adept. Here’s how to dissolve the nerves.
Networking is research-proven to be the overwhelmingly best way to land a job, better than job board hunting and recruiter services.
But for most of us—introverts, especially—selling oneself as a “brand” doesn’t come naturally. Something as small as fully owning the skills section of your resume feels like pulling your own teeth; shoving yourself out the door to walk into a room of strangers feels like a root canal.
Here’s how to calm the nerves and awkwardness that come with wading into a crowd of industry pros, in search of your next big break:
Read More>

Networking in a new industry can be daunting for even the most socially adept. Here’s how to dissolve the nerves.

Networking is research-proven to be the overwhelmingly best way to land a job, better than job board hunting and recruiter services.

But for most of us—introverts, especially—selling oneself as a “brand” doesn’t come naturally. Something as small as fully owning the skills section of your resume feels like pulling your own teeth; shoving yourself out the door to walk into a room of strangers feels like a root canal.

Here’s how to calm the nerves and awkwardness that come with wading into a crowd of industry pros, in search of your next big break:

Read More>