Dennis Crowley on Work and Productivity

The New York Times has a good interview with Dennis Crowley, co-founder and CEO of Foursquare:

On things he’s learned being a CEO:

As the company has grown, I can sometimes start to feel disconnected, and I’ll decide to randomly meet with one person a day, and we’ll go out for a half-hour coffee. You do that for six weeks or so, and then all the channels of communication are open again. People feel like they can come and talk to me. I learn about the things that are troubling them or challenging them, or questions they might have.

I liked this exchange also:

Q. You worked at Google for a couple of years. Anything you’ve borrowed from that culture?

A. A lot of it. One of them is this idea of weekly snippets. Every Monday, you send in a bullet list of the stuff you’ve been working on, and the software compiles a list and mails it out to the entire company. So you can quickly scan them to find out the status of a project or what somebody is working on. It gives you a nice general overview of the company. So you follow the people you want to get updates from, but we make sure that everyone automatically gets them from me and our C.O.O. and our head of engineering and our head of product.

When I send out mine, the first heading is, “Things I’m Psyched About,” and the next is, “Things That I’m Not So Psyched About” or “Things I’m Stressed About.”  The next thing is usually a quote of the week — something I heard from one of our investors or maybe overheard from an employee — and then I have my snippets below that.

I’ve been using this system for about a year, and it works out great. I get a lot of feedback from employees. It only takes them a minute or two to read, and it’s like a bird’s-eye view of what I think is going well at the company and areas where I think we could improve. It’s also a good way to start a conversation. So I might write, “Hey, I heard someone say this, and so let me address why we’re thinking about it this way.”

You can find Dennis Crowley on Twitter here.

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