Swapping Drivers on this Long Road Trip Together

2013 has been a really hard year for me. In many ways, it’s been harder than even the 2002-2006 era when my Mom and I went deeply into debt and worried about paying the rent and being chased by creditors. Some of that is attributable to the less-than-what-I-hoped-for results the business achieved (mostly because we artificially constrained our acquisition funnel…

Vision-Based Framework

Some companies exist primarily (or exclusively) to make money. Others exist for a variety of non-financial (or pseudo-financial) reasons. But in much of the research about companies that have gone from startup to scale to world-changing status, observers found a common architecture. This architecture is vision-based, and mission driven. It starts with a core purpose and core values, then builds…

Generosity & Entitlement

I’ve been trying something new at Moz. I schedule 90 minutes every week or two for “office hours,” and invite anyone from any team at the company to come visit and chat about whatever’s on their mind. So far, attendance has been sparse (only 1 person the first week, ~10 the 2nd week, and 4 each of the last two…

Well, He’s Not Going to Get Very Far

Company culture is incredibly fragile. It’s hard for founders/CEOs/execs to understand how little faith and trust people have in us when we stand up at a meeting and say “we believe in our culture” or “we put values first.” That skepticisim has often been built up over years or decades of being let down. People joined companies that claimed to…

If Management is the Only Way Up, We’re All F’d

Geraldine used to love her job at Cranium (the board game startup in Seattle, prior to the Hasbro acquisition & layoffs). She wrote questions for the board games, and copy for the boxes and marketing materials. She was good at it. But, something weird happened – they tried to promote her. I remember her coming home at night and fretting…

The Expectation of 100%

It’s 4:36am. I’ve been awake for an hour, stumbling through email and catching up on reading. G and I flew back from London two nights ago, and although I slept great last night, I crashed at 10pm tonight and only managed 6 hours before the jetlag kicked in. Casey, who runs the inbound engineering team at Moz, and I had…

7 Ways We Try to Make Internal Emails Better

Email is a tough communication medium. Conveying tone, voice, attitude and disposition are all stymied by the the format. Efficiency is a good thing over email, but it can lead to suspicion of dismisiveness or even contempt by a reader. And the cycle of misinterpreted emails leading to bad blood between people is something we’ve all experienced. So how do…

Weaponized Humor

There’s a constant fight raging at Moz, and every other scaling startup I’ve seen. On one side are the forces of corporateness – trying to make the workplace a more stodgy, inauthentic, TPS-reports-to-be-filed place. On the other are the defenders of humanity and authenticity – the people who built the company and are, by and large, doing their best to…

Why Every Company Should Have a Marketing-Focused Webdev Team

Ask any marketing consultant focused on inbound channels (SEO, social media, conversion rate optimization, email, etc.) what the most challenging part of their job is and 75%+ will say: “working with the engineering team.” This should come as no surprise. Engineering and webdev resources are, along with web marketers, the biggest scarcest and hardest to hire for web-based businesses. We…