Why Are Design Firms Stagnating?

1. Design is too important to outsource and therefore is moving in-house.No doubt, every company needs good design to compete. Good design is a baseline, and without good design you can’t even play. Good design has become core to good business. Since it’s a core asset, it’s too important to outsource. Companies want to “own” their design and design capabilities, and large and small are bringing design in-house by the thousands. For example, GE and IBM have each announced they are in the process of hiring 1,000 UX designers per company, and Apple is rumored to be hiring hundreds of car designers. If you want to see a companies real strategic intent, just look at who they are hiring…

Source: Why Are Design Firms Stagnating? | Co.Design | business + design

3 Reasons Why Web Design Is the Domain of Your Entire Company | Entrepreneur.com

Your website is the central hub of the digital presence of your company, yet many companies delegate web design to the marketing department, expecting a small, highly specialized group to present the collective capital of the company in a compelling and actionable way.

Without involving other groups, your website will likely be a beautiful interface that doesn’t work for your sales department, fails to deliver the right message or makes it harder for your audience to pass through your sales funnel and offers.

via 3 Reasons Why Web Design Is the Domain of Your Entire Company | Entrepreneur.com.

A 10-Second Method for Testing the Vitality of Your Startup Idea | Inc.com

The best business ideas should have aspects of all three of these traits: Oxygen, Aspirin, & Jewelry.

  • Oxygen refers to products or services with inelastic demand: Food. Clothes. Funeral Services. Certain utilities. Entities humans can’t live without. Here’s the kicker: Oxygen can also refer to something businesses can’t live without since businesses are often going to be your target customers. Oxygen in a B-to-B sense would include e-mail and other software platforms like Salesforce.com which are the lifeblood of many organizations.
  • Aspirin refers to products that ease pain for businesses or consumers but, ultimately, are not essential for survival. An example, hard though it might be to swallow, is coffee. It feels like oxygen, yes, but in point of fact consumers can live without it. You’re not going to die.
  • Jewelry refers to products or services that are strictly luxuries. Think of desserts, movies, video games or other sedentary, recreational activities. You don’t need them. Yes, they’re addictive, but they’re not vital. Nor does their ability to ease pain compare to that of coffee or, well, aspirin.

You’re probably thinking: Isn’t it debatable whether a given product or service is oxygen, aspirin or jewelry? Isn’t it possible that certain items fall into all three categories?

Yes. And that’s when you know you’ve got a great startup idea.

via A 10-Second Method for Testing the Vitality of Your Startup Idea | Inc.com.

Top 10 ways to ensure your best people will quit

10. Treat everyone equally. This may sound good, but your employees are not equal. Some are worth more, because they produce more results. The key is not to treat them equally; it is to treat them all fairly.

9. Tolerate mediocrity. A-players don’t have to or want to play with a bunch of C-players.

8. Have dumb rules. I did not say have no rules; I specified dumb rules. Great employees want to have guidelines and direction, but they don’t want to have rules that get in the way of doing their jobs or that conflict with the values the company says are important.

7. Don’t recognize outstanding performance and contributions. Remember Psychology 101: Behavior you want repeated should be rewarded immediately.

6. Don’t have any fun at work. Where’s the written rule that says work has to be serious? If you find it, rip it to shreds and stomp on it, because the notion that work cannot be fun is actually counterproductive. The workplace should be fun. Find ways to make work and/or the work environment more relaxed and fun, and you will have happy employees who look forward to coming to work each day.

5. Don’t keep your people informed. You’ve got to communicate not only the good, but also the bad and the ugly. If you don’t tell them, the rumor mill will….

via Top 10 ways to ensure your best people will quit | Articles | Main.

Employee Retention: How to Have the Perfect ‘Stay Interview’

A “stay” interview, writes Sullivan on TLNT, is a one-on-one interview between a manager and a valued employee. Its aim, quite simply, is to learn what makes employees want to keep working for you. Likewise, it’s designed to elicit what might make key employees want to leave. Conduct enough stay interviews, and you might find  your employees are citing the same reasons for staying (or wanting to go).

Sullivan suggests holding interviews once a year, during a slow business period. Don’t space out the interviews, either. Conduct all of them (with all your key employees) within weeks of each other. That way, you can take what you’ve learned and promptly implement around that information. For new hires, conducting the interviews at four and eight months is acceptable.

Start the interview. How do you initiate a stay interview with a key employee? Say something like this: ”Thanks for taking the time to have this discussion. As one of our key employees, I want to informally pose some simple questions that can help me to understand the factors that cause you to enjoy and stay in your current role,” writes Sullivan.

Learn why they stay. One method is to deploy what Sullivan calls the “best work of your life” question. Specifically, ask your employees: “Can you list for me the factors that could contribute to your doing the best work of your life?” Sullivan notes that this is the No. 1 retention factor for top performers.

Learn why they leave. Ask about recent frustrations. Sullivan’s questions include: “Think back to a time in the last 12 months when you have been at least slightly frustrated or anxious about your current role. Can you list for me the frustration factor or factors that most contributed to that anxiety? Can you also help me understand what eventually happened to lower that frustration level?”

Employee Retention: How to Have the Perfect ‘Stay Interview’ | Forty Mile View.

Practical Tips: Retrieve a Stored Password

From a compatriot web developer down south:

Have you ever let Firefox or Chrome save a password for you? Then time goes by, and suddenly you’ve forgotten what that password was?

I got a new phone a few months ago, and the phone’s Twitter app asked me for my password, but since it was saved on my computer (and old phone), I never had to type it in, so it escaped my mind. I tried everything I could think of, but no luck. If only there were a quick and easy way to open up Chrome or Firefox and turn those password-asterisks into normal letters…Luckily, there is!

via Practical Tips: Retrieve a Stored Password by Playing Around with Code : Namas Solutions.