The vulnerability deficit


I don’t write here much anymore. It’s not for a lack of wanting. Perhaps it’s mostly a lack of time. Perhaps it’s mostly a lack of creative energy when everything is poured into work. Perhaps it’s mostly a lack of habit. One thing’s for sure is that the longer it goes without documenting the journey via the written word – the harder it is to get back into it. When you stop expressing your raw thoughts and feelings in a public forum, you go a long time between syncs. Then there’s almost so much to say, so much that’s missed, that it’s easier to say nothing at all. I’m calling this an accrued ‘vulnerability deficit’.

My vulnerability deficit ramped up when I became a true CEO. CEO in that you’re an executive of a corporation, have stakeholder expectations to manage, employee salaries to make happen, customers to satisfy, ongoing goals to achieve, and so forth. You become so careful and mindful of what you say, what you do, and how you do it that it’s better to delay your vulnerability. One day I’ll share more things in a book, I say. One day…

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How to give and receive better feedback as a remote team

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I’m mixing things up this week with a guest post from our happiness lead at CloudPeeps, Tessa Greenleaf, about how to do one-on-ones well in distributed teams. 

From the very beginning, CloudPeeps has been committed to creating a culture of transparency, which means sharing consistent feedback — and that’s a huge part of why I wanted to join the team. It’s important to us that we keep open lines of communication on a daily basis. So far it hasn’t been too much of a challenge, as we’re all pretty tight-knit. However, even though the culture has been instilled, now is the time to cement it.

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Startups and the freedom myth


I’ve just finished reading Ryan Hoover’s post: Startups ≠ Freedom.

He writes:

People start companies to become “their own boss” for the same reason — they seek freedom. But in most cases, it’s ironically the exact opposite. As a founder, you’re responsible to your investors (assuming you take money), your team, and your users. There’s no “two week notice” like in a regular job. It’s empowering and scary. Many romanticize startups and ignore this reality when pursuing entrepreneurship.

This came at a poignant time for me.

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Celebrating character and what we do when no one is watching


Last Friday evening I got the chance to see The Theory of Everything starring Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking. My friends know me as being particularly obsessed with the gloriousness that is Redmayne but I point to this movie not for his talent alone.

You see, I’ve been thinking a lot about character, relationships and giving recently. What I liked about this film is that it portrays the love, support, care and commitment Jane Wilde gave to her partner as he battled motor neuron disease. The story is as much about compassion and sacrifice as it is the career trajectory of a physics genius. In a way, the hero’s journey refreshingly revolves around Wilde as the carer, not Hawking.

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10 ways to win at professional time etiquette

time I think of the last year and a half I’ve spent in New York as professional finishing school. If there’s anywhere on this planet where people are stupendously busy, it’s this place. It definitely took me a few months to settle into the rhythm. Combine this experience with recently fundraising, and I now feel incredible mindful of everyone’s time. So, without ado, I wanted to share 10 tips on how to win at professional time etiquette:

1) For the love of humankind, be direct with asks

Growing up in England and Australia, I was taught to be the opposite of direct. Skirt around issues, don’t address things head on, be tirelessly polite and pad lots of superfluous info around a lone ask. What I’ve now learnt is that one of the kindest things you can do for someone’s time, is to be as direct as possible. Don’t ask someone for coffee if you can put something in a one-sentence email.

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The Daily Gratitude: a complement to the stand-up meeting


I recently started a new company where I’ve been heads down doing a lot of testing and building. Part of this experience has been working with a new team that works remotely.

From day one, we’ve started to think about our culture – and the focus on culture has been inspired a lot by our advisor Joel Gascoigne and the crew at Buffer. (You can view their culture deck here.)

Among many things, like kindness, humility and authenticity, we deeply value gratitude. The thing about gratitude though, is that it’s not just an attitude – it’s a practice.

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