Podcast – How Google uses behavioral science to make work suck less

Podcast: How Google uses behavioral science to make work suck less

This episode of the You Are Not So Smart podcast came recommended by Donncha, a colleague at Automattic. It’s packed full of really interesting thoughts, including “the job of a manager is to serve their team”; a good reminder that everything we at WordPress.com VIP do in terms of process does serve our team and our goals.

Laszlo Bock (head of People Operations at Google) explains how and why Google does what it does when it comes to everything internal, from perks and promoting to motivation and productivity. In the interview you’ll hear how the company combats confirmation bias, the halo effect, the Abilene paradox, pluralistic ignorance, survivorship bias, and more – all with a mix of behavioral science and Google’s immense power to test and re-test using its unique resources.

If Tom Willmot’s WordCamp Europe talk was out on video, I’d link to that, so keep your eyes open there. There’s also Nikolay’s tweet recommending Drive, which is now on my reading list:

…of course, if your work sucks, you could change that by coming to work for Automattic ;)

Mine ears have attended dConstruct 2010

I remember seeing the speaker list for dConstruct 2010 go up and thinking “that is so so awesome, I am definitely going to that”: Merlin Mann, Tom Coates (particularly), John Gruber. Amazing. Then this summer it was decided that we should have a family holiday, with my in-laws, between the 21 August and the 4 September. Because I am a Big Man (emotionally) I sucked it up, didn’t create a scene, and had a lovely time… with my mother-in-law… missing dConstruct. (Actually my mother-in-law is lovely, it’s just hard to avoid the temptation to play to the stereotype.)

Luckily dConstruct are also great in that they record the audio from their conferences then get it online really quickly, so this week walking to and from my office has been accompanied by lots of lovely ideas banging on my ear drums. My highlights were, in no particular order: John Gruber, for a lucid and illuminating treatise on why the captain of your ship should have really good taste; Hannah Donovan, for starting her talk on design jam sessions with some musical improvisation; Tom Coates, on how the tendrils of the web are beginning to reach into the objects of our lives; James Bridle, on knowledge structures and the history of knowledge artifacts; and Merlin Mann, rambling on about how we’re all nerds, how that’s (mostly) great, and some nerdery coping strategies, along with anything else which happened across his brain. In a fit of quite staggering arrogance I’ve assembled these highlights into a shortened Simon’s dConstruct 2010 edit but if you have the time, I recommend the whole gosh-be-darned shooting match here so you don’t miss the rest of the talks. Enjoy!