The @farnamstreet podcast between @photomatt and @ShaneAParrish was excellent.

Here are 40+ things I learned, quotes and highlights👇
When it comes to starting companies, the market trumps everything else.
Communities are a competitive advantage.
People working on something because they love it will win in the long run.
The open-source philosophy is one of the most powerful in our lifetime.
Our lives are now full of black boxes.

Who we date, what news we read, the cars we drive.

We are losing agency and sovereignty of ourselves.
Being able to see how something works is valuable.

But only if you can change it.

That's why open-source wins.
Open-source comes to dominate every market over time.
Focus on growing the whole pie, not just your slice.
Automattic is a holding company, kind of like Berkshire Hathaway, but they do try to take advantage of economies of scale, advantages like hiring and infrastructure, and other things which overlap.
Influencing culture is more about cross-pollination than top-down.

Mix with other departments and teams and characteristics will transfer naturally.
Environment is the most important factor in how people perform.
The best framework for motivating people is from @DanielPink: mastery, autonomy and purpose.
Mastery is being challenged and getting good at what you do.

Autonomy is the freedom to be able to do it.

Purpose is working towards something bigger than yourself.
At Wordpress, they're seeking to democratize the web, and preserve it for generations to come.
Automattic is distributed, not remote.

Language matters, and no one wants to be remote.
They prefer to think of it as antifragile, distributed network made up of a bunch of equally-weighted nodes.
The value of distributed work is that it gives people flexibility.

There's no counting of hours; the results are all that matters.
@photomatt's excellent framework on the tiers of distributed work:…
If you're able to design an organization where people can pop in and out in whatever time zone, and fully contribute and move goals forward, then you unlock access to the world's talent.
Asynchronous communications can be far richer than synchronous because you can unlock the power of the introverts in your company, and give people time to think in a detailed way.
At Automattic, decisions are made by creating a thread, and allowing people to weigh in on the thread.

They can take their time, and the responses are richer as a result.

It also serves as a decision journal.

A manager writes a tl;dr version at the end.
The biggest downside of distributed work?

Not getting to spend as much time with colleagues.

When you love your work and who you work with, you value that time.
In normal times, people get together 3-4 times per year.

One company gathering, and then a few others with your team of 5-10 people.
In the current climate, people are working harder than ever, but feeling less productive.

They're feeling more strain on their hours.
This also puts strains on relationships.

They become transactional, and there's less time building trust.
We should think more about trust.

If we spent time thinking about trust and investing in it, we could have much richer relationships despite being apart.
The start of building those relationships is bringing it into the open:

"Hey, we haven't seen each other in a while, can we chat soon?"

"Hey, we used to do these brainstorm sessions that were valuable—how can we replicate that?"
The best decisions have a deadline associated and a summary.
The best way to avoid information overload: have clear expecations.

"I won't reply to most Slack messages. If it's important, we can chat on the phone."
The biggest problem with distributed work is encouraging time away from the keyboard, not more time at it.
Matt's current time breakdown: one third people, one third product, one third for the emergency of the week.
Automattic is designed to be a fractal organization.

As you zoom in or out, the structure is similar.
The hardest point for a team or company is going through the 20-50 person range.

Communication and natural collaboration breaks down.

Too much is going on to follow all of it.

You're also trying to onboard people and bring them up to speed on the institutional knowledge.
@photomatt "The number one thing that motivates me is the the quality of the care, compassion, the kindness intelligence of my colleagues. And I consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world to work with the people I do."
Book recommendation: Non-Violent Communication.
One of the areas Matt is investing in: training and listening to his body as well as his mind.
"Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I'd like to see you living in better conditions."—Hafiz
Mental models are like music.

There are 12 notes, but with them, you can make millions of combinations.

If you know them really well, you can improvise.
Open source creates the opposite of the tragedy of the commons.

Instead of something ruined by people operating in their own interest, people operate for the greater good.

It's possible because the internet has economics of abundance instead of economics of scarcity.
You can listen to the full episode here:…

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More from @grahamkmann

14 Jan
All would-be creators wonder: "What am I an expert in? What can I teach?"

And most of us think: "Nothing."

We know much more than we think.

(thread below)👇 Image
The first question would-be creators ask: “What am I an expert in? What can I teach?”

Imposter syndrome says: “Nothing. You aren’t an expert. There’s still so much you don’t know. You can’t teach.”
The more we learn about a subject, the less certain we become.
Read 9 tweets
13 Jan
A ton of learnings from the conversation between @jackbutcher and @bzaidi on Creator Lab

40+ takeaways 👇
FYI, this is episode 2 with @jackbutcher, so check out the first for more tactics and his story
The economics of the creator economy have changed in the last decade.

You no longer need a huge audience to make a living.

1000 true fans to 100 true fans.
Read 40 tweets
13 Jan
I enjoyed It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work so much that I went back and re-read Rework by @jasonfried and @dhh

Here are 40+ ideas, quotes and highlights 👇
Don't learn from your mistakes. Learn from successes: they tell you what does work.
Plan short-term, because we suck at planning.

Long-term planning just doesn't work.
Read 39 tweets
13 Jan
We're all using the wrong terms for remote work.

Today's atomic essay (thread below)👇
One of the early adopters of remote work was @photomatt, founder of Wordpress.

He now runs Automattic, Wordpress’s parent company, with 1300 employees who are all remote.
Except they don’t call it remote. They call it distributed.

For Matt, language matters. No one wants to be remote.
Read 11 tweets
12 Jan
Remote work is here to stay.

But there's a cost: culture.

Today's atomic essay (thread below) 👇
There is now more remote work than ever.

Entire industries are shifting to be remote.

But there is a hidden cost: culture.
Culture is the name for how it feels to work at a particular place.

It may include things like speed and execution but it also includes things like camaraderie and humour.
Read 16 tweets
12 Jan
Love this piece on many gems:…
11. Prefer the simple over the technical.

Use shorter words, sentences and paragraphs at points of complexity.
21. Know when to back off and when to show off.

When the topic is most serious, understate; when least serious, exaggerate.
Read 10 tweets

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