In Case It Missed You 005: Signals, Transparency, and Serendipity ✨

It's like a mixtape of interesting stories, products, and VCs

🗞️ Stories

Signaling for help. The pandemic is leading to any number of other escalating crises. Among them, an increase in violence directed at intimate partners who are sheltered in place together. If you or someone you know is trapped in a situation and in need of help, this simple hand signal — designed to be used on video calls — can enable you to discretely alert others. More in OneZero.

An incredible level of transparency. Usually, when executives move on or are asked to move on, we’re told by the company that it’s so that they can “spend more time with family” or some other equally toneless and vapid explanation. Which makes this recent piece from Ryan Caldbeck about leaving his CEO role at CircleUp a difficult — but also refreshing — read.

Dropping the office. Any number of companies are using this forced work-from-home time to reassess the necessity of asking their employees to return to work when this situation passes. But few have been terribly transparent about the decision process — or the deciding factors. Which is why Dropbox providing their thoughts on going remote first struck me as a story worth reading.

Going unvirtual first. While some companies are working toward doing away with a physical office, others are leasing a ton of new space as they prepare to go back to the office. And with the activity that’s occurring in New York City — as tech giants gobble up square footage — some folks are beginning to think that this is New York’s ascension to becoming another fabled tech hub. More in The New York Times.

Getting more and more creative. Part of the issue of “going back to the office” is the changing nature of work and what it takes to be successful at a job. Sparked in large by the way we work today. The transition from “worker” to “knowledge worker” has been a fairly recent and rapid one. But how did it come about? How did putting in a “hard day’s work” move from a largely physical effort to a largely mental and emotional one? Read this exploration of how creativity became an economic engine.

Mixing delight and surprise with consistency. It’s often said that the best products —in addition to effectively providing the services for which they were designed — take the opportunity to delight the user. But that’s a delicate balance. And it’s difficult to pull off. That’s why this piece on serendipity and reliability struck me.

A good attitude can get you funded. But like any other venture capital funding, that doesn’t necessarily portend long-term success for a company. At least those are the findings from a Yale study that finds founders giving cheerful and enthusiastic pitches are more likely to garner funding than other pitches. More in Yale Insights.

Learning from failure. While hearing stories of resilience and success can be uplifting and inspiring, there’s generally not much else to take away from them in terms of learning. Stories of failure, on the other hand… so so much to be learned from what didn’t work. That’s why it’s great to see this recap of companies that made it into Y Combinator but didn’t wind up making it. More in Failory.

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Thanks for reading In Case It Missed You! I’m curious to hear about what worked, what didn’t, and what I might be able to improve. Or, if you’re already convinced that this regular braindump of interesting stuff has even a smidgen of potential, I’d be super grateful to have you share it with your friends, family, foes, and perhaps even random passers by. Wear a mask. Stay safe. As always, please feel free to reach out to me on Twitter.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash