Absolutely nuts paper by researchers from U Chicago analyzing the productivity of 10,000 workers before and after the pandemic.

Conclusions: WFH led to 2 more hrs of work per day, more meetings, less focus time, and *less productivity* bfi.uchicago.edu/wp-content/upl…
This does not surprise me. The way I think of it now is as a 2x2: formal / informal x text / video communication.

Email is formal text, Slack informal text, and Zoom formal video.
Informal video used to be the office, which we've lost.

So we've pushed all these interactions to other media that were never designed to them (hence the awful "Zoom happy hours").

I think the loss of productivity comes from this mismatch, and, concretely, from 3 factors.
First, talking is 8x faster than typing. So when you spend 30min on Slack, that's an interaction you could have had in 3min 45sec in person.

"8h on Slack can save you 1h on Zoom."

Synchronous communication is also faster since it results in less context switching.
2: Parkinson's Law — "any unit of work expands to fill up the amount of time allotted to it."

We used to pop by for a 45s question. Now, these 45s questions are 30min calls.

The very fact that every conversation lasts an exact increment of 30min is a tell something is wrong.
And 3: all this generally results in weaker relationships, less trust, more explaining to do anything, and so lower productivity.

Congruent with this paper from MIT researchers. The greatest predictor of performance is number of face to face exchanges. hbr.org/2012/04/the-ne…

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More from @Altimor

1 May
Checked our applicant tracking system the other day and found out I’m closing in on 1,000 people I personally interviewed over the last year for @getTeamflow. Learnings below.
Look for attitude over aptitude. You can never fix a bad attitude, and a single person with one can ruin the culture of an entire organization.

Early in my career, I used to be surprised seeing managers fire high performers with a bad attitude — now I understand.
Experience is a surprisingly poor predictor of performance.

This cuts both ways — don’t gloss over someone’s weaknesses because they have a ton of experience, nor overlook someone’s potential because of their lack of experience.
Read 16 tweets
30 Apr
Gonna sound like a boomer, but I’ve come to believe that 90%+ of cloud spend is irrational, coming from the fact that engineers aren’t finance savvy enough nor CFOs tech savvy enough

Cloud computing is often 10-100x pricier.

And I know the refrain — “you don’t wanna manage your own data centers,” “the cloud gets better while you sleep,” “it scales up and down,” “turn capex into opex!”

But still — 10-100x pricier. Just spreadsheet it out
“But it saves you so much engineering time!”

Have you seen AWS’ console? Tried to debug an issue with a lambda function? Had to pay a $200k bill because of a set of monster instances you forgot to shut down?
Read 6 tweets
6 Jan
1/ I'm insanely excited to announce what I've been working on for the last year:

Teamflow, a virtual office that makes you feel like a team again. Coming out of stealth and announcing our $3.9M seed round today 🎉🎉🎉 teamflowhq.com/blog/announcin…
2/ @getTeamflow lets you see your video in an office where your team can hang out.

You can move yourself around, and only hear and see people around you.

So when you want to chat with someone, you can just drag yourself over and say hi — no more juggling with Zoom links
3/ You can also open apps in the space, like Figma, Trello or Google Docs.

Everybody can see and use them together — so you can meet around your sprint board in the morning for standup. Image
Read 14 tweets
3 Jan
What are the reasons why 3D TVs and theaters failed, and do they apply to VR too?
Searches for Oculus over the last 5 years. The increase is slow, but it's real, and it wouldn't be the first consumer product to have a slow start before becoming a huge success. The iPod took 4 years before really taking off. ImageImage
That said, I still don't understand the case for VR for anything else than video games — and even then. VR vs PC / console / mobile:
A. A lot more immersive — but then 3D TVs were too
B. 3D controls — but then so was the Wiimote. People don't like having to move around (cont'd)
Read 4 tweets
29 Dec 20
This was my biggest surprise seeing how huge operations run even at a co like Uber, which is v technically competent and in theory should be able to measure anything. The fog of war, even inside the walls of your own castle, is very thick. Insanely hard to get data you can trust
I remember playing simulation games as a kid and thinking “this is fun! Why wouldn’t running a business be as fun!”
And that’s fun too, but I really think that most of the difference is that in a simulation game you have 1/ clear, up to date data that you can trust
2/ a few levers that you can pull, with certainty on what will happen if you do (as opposed to an infinity of levers that you can perhaps pull, and you’re not sure what’s gonna happen for most of them)
Read 5 tweets
16 Jun 20
I think this is one big reason why Uber won. For ~half of what HQ built, the user was ops, not riders. We built a ton of general purpose tools that they used to hustle and run their business — and how they used these tools often surprised even us
The most spectacular example of this is Uber Eats — originally a pilot called Uber Fresh in LA, which required 0 product or engineering work to launch. It was all ops techcrunch.com/2014/08/26/ube…
The vast majority of products we ended up building at HQ started as ops-only experiments — you’d always hear people say things like “the [DC] team is killing it with [experiment X], we need to productize this.”
Read 5 tweets

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