| Good morning! Here’s what’s on our radar at the moment: |
Chaos in Cannes
The annual Cannes Lions advertising festival is on right now, and the dispatches from the ground are really something. This annual collision of marketers, advertisers and media folks is always over the top, but with the business undergoing so many simultaneous transitions—technological, generational, existential—the players are jockeying for position even more than usual:
Link: The New York Times
“It’s chaos,” Shane Smith, the brash co-founder and chief executive of Vice Media, told me Thursday afternoon as he sipped wine on the rocks at his sumptuous seaside villa in Cap d’Antibes, Cannes’ even more exclusive neighbor. “But in the midst of the chaos there’s never been more content created, more money being made. There’s never been more stuff being sold, and for me on my end, there’s never been more people buying content.” Mr. Smith was a coveted dance partner at the festival, which was founded as a celebration of quality advertising but is now overwhelmed by deal making and schmoozing. His young audience — which lives on its devices — is the one that advertisers covet.
How to handle team conflict better
When two or more members of your team are disagreeing about something or not getting along, managers tend to have one of two impulses: ignore it and hope it goes away, or intervene and arbitrate a solution. Neither of them really addresses the root causes of the conflict, nor does it help your team members sort out the next difference of opinion in a productive way. A subtler approach that encourages teammates to resolve their differences organically will have better long-term results.
Link: A List Apart
Years ago I was frustrated to tears by a manager who, I felt, took from me the product I spent two years building. I knew I needed to talk with him but I struggled to find a productive way to tell him why I was upset. (Telling someone he is being a jackass is not productive.) A good friend in HR helped me script the conversation. It had three parts:
- I really work well when…
- This situation is bothering me because…
- What I’d like to see happen is…
Leaders have an important role to play in resolving issues. When a leader decides that their person is right and another person is wrong it turns a team problem into an organization problem. Instead we should should provide perspective, context and show how actions could be misunderstood.
The trick of the one-line email
If, like so many of us, you wrestle daily with an overflowing inbox, Tomas Barreto, VP of engineering at cloud storage platform Box has a clever trick (he also advocates cold showers and sauna meditation; your mileage may vary). Here’s how it works: power through your emails by drafting a single-sentence response to each one. You don’t have to send that terse message; but it gets the juices flowing, after which you can go back and elaborate on the ones that need a more fulsome reply:
Link: First Round Review
On particularly busy days when his inbox explodes, Barreto will sometimes draft opening lines for twenty emails, versus write twenty lines in an email at a time. To encourage swift action, he’ll set a timer for five minutes and work to get through the set. When the alarm sounds, he’ll decide whether to continue or move onto another task. A checkpoint at five minutes gives him control via an option to grant more time. “On those days, my response to each email is not the first order of business. It’s how I’m personally responding to my inbox itself,” says Barreto. “So drafting one line — the takeaway I want the recipient to absorb — for a few dozen emails bolsters me psychologically. I’ll sit with the partially-drafted notes open for a minute and regain that sense of control. Then I’ll return to the first one and elaborate, if needed. It’s shocking how many you can just reread the one line and send it as is.”
Antitrust in the digital age
Here’s more analysis of the record $3.5 billion fine that the European Commission is prosecuting against Google: What does anticompetitive actually look like in digital industries, where the competition is always just a click away? Ben Thompson at Stratechery says the commission’s case, while perhaps righteous, imperils the entire business model of Google and many other companies besides:
The implications of saying this is monopolistic behavior goes to the very heart of Google’s business model: should Google not be allowed to sell advertising against search results for fear that it is ruining competition? Take travel sites: why shouldn’t Priceline sue Google for featuring ads for hotel booking sites above its own results? Why should Google be able to make any money at all? This is the aspect of the European Commission’s decision that I have the biggest problem with. I agree that Google has a monopoly in search, but as the Commission itself notes that is not a crime; the reality of this ruling, though, is that making any money off that monopoly apparently is. And, by extension, those that blindly support this decision are agreeing that products that succeed by being better for users ought not be able to make money.
WATCH: An obsessive tour of the “Silicon Valley” title
HBO’s satire of the modern technology business is known for its attention to detail, and that includes the title sequence—a short animation that includes dozens of in-jokes for the sharp-eyed viewer. Now, normally we would not advocate explaining jokes in the hope of making them funnier; but this short breakdown zooms in and enhances to illuminate the true tech stories behind the visual gags that viewers only glimpse each week. Link: YouTube
Earnings reports today
Canadian publicly traded companies of note scheduled to report quarterly earnings today:
CNOOC Ltd. (CNU), Exfo Inc. (EXF), Roxgold (ROXG), Slate Retail REIT (SRT.U)
Thanks for reading! Have a truly excellent day.
Want to tell us what you thought of today’s briefing? Simply hit “Reply” on any Kickstart message and your email will go straight to a real human editor’s inbox. We welcome your views!