Slack, for most of us, is either a ridiculously effective messaging and organizational tool or an undeniably addictive platform for posting GIFs and procrastinating on the company dime. But for those afflicted by colorblindness, Slack is just another whirring and buzzing rectangle taking up space on the screen.
Thankfully, it’s easy to customize Slack’s palette to compensate for both the red-green deficiency that the majority of those with color blindness are affected by, and the far rarer blue deficiency.
One of the best kinds of NewCos are those that are “hindsight obvious” — at first you don’t get what the big deal is, but after you spend a bit of time grokking the company’s story, it’s undeniable how much better their version of the world is than that which came before.
Such is the case with Typeform, a four-year old startup I came across during NewCo Barcelona last Fall (NewCo Barcelona is coming up again next week). TypeForm’s co-founder and joint CEO David Okuniev spoke at the NewCoBCN kickoff event, and later came to San Francisco to visit our offices. His is a compelling NewCo narrative, the story of a bootstrapped company formed to scratch its founders’ itch, now scaling past 10,000 paying customers — all on the cloud-based SaaS model much beloved by Valley insiders. This narrative is so common in the Valley that what initially struck me about Typeform wasn’t its business model, it was its location. The company feels like a typical San Francisco Internet startup, but when you dig in, it’s unique.
Small manufacturing operations can produce complex products without a prohibitively large capital investment
Local Motors was founded in 2007 by John “Jay” Rogers, an Ivy league-educated ex-Marine who wanted to marry his lifelong interest in vehicles with new economic models. The result: Local Motors, a company that, after eight years in business, now produces a series of vehicles built locally in a handful of facilities, but designed by a global community of enthusiasts.
We’ve exchanged command and control for coax and manipulate
You thought things were political before?
The irony of fostering autonomous and self-organizing teams is that it eventually negates the need for traditional management. This is a common pattern observed during re-orgs and “transformations”. Being savvy career-wise, management tries to adapt and in the process becomes even more spooky and political. It’s like parents transitioning from command and control to helicopter parenting. In some cases it is downright Orwellian.
This year’s debut NewCo Boston festival was outstanding — and I’m going to show why by not mentioning any Boston companies at all.
Although most of the action yesterday was in Boston proper, I spent the day visiting companies more on the city’s periphery. To get to them, I drove north from Boston on Route 128, then west on Route 9, home to many of the companies that made Massachusetts’ reputation as a center of business and technological innovation in generations past, such as Polaroid, Wang, Data General and DEC. And I learned that the new Boston innovation renaissance doesn’t much care about city limits.
Business gurus love buzzwords. One of the buzzwords that’s got a lot of attention in the past few years is “design,” or more specifically, “design thinking.”
Even as an admirer of the principles behind design thinking, I expected the hype to peak in the late ’00s. But instead of fading it’s actually finding a wider audience and pushing deeper into more industries and organizations. Harvard Business Review put it on the cover last September.