March 01, 2013 by Chad Biggs

What We're Reading

Each week this collection brings some surprises. Case in point - multiple reads on Marissa Mayer's anti-telecommuting decree and the role of gender, including one that tackles both topics, spanning three Red Skyers. Sprinkle in some TED and a father-son visit to Burning Man and you have a glimpse into What We're Reading...

Jess Flynn
What's your excuse? There were some great stories written this week across Idaho about a young woman who took a class assignment all the way to the Idaho Statehouse. My favorite is the blog post written by Times-News' Melissa Davlin that included this great ending Here's the takeaway: A sixth grader -- a girl who won't be old enough to vote for six or seven years -- just got legislation printed in House State Affairs. What's your excuse?"

Idaho Kobe in the Spotlight:I love my adopted state of Idaho. And I love to eat. So I really love to see great Idaho producers like Snake River Farms get the royal treatment by being name dropped by Chef to the stars (& the Oscars) Wolfgang Puck on FoxNews and this little magazine called Vogue when discussing the Governor's Ball menu.


Karianne Fallow
Managing a full-time job, a number of volunteer commitments and a family that includes a three- and a one-year-old doesn't leave me with a lot of time to read these days. So, today, I'm going to share what I'm listening to! I've been really intrigued with the news about Yahoo's new CEO and new mom, Marissa Mayer, who issued an employee memo halting all telecommuting. I don't really have a position on the matter— it's her decision, as a leader, to make the tough calls. And, I respect her for doing so. Here are some additional thoughts:

  1. Drastic turn-arounds require drastic decisions. JCPenney is a great example— they've had staggeringly dismal earnings and have admitted that they've made mistakes and haven't made the right decisions.
  2. There is so much irony around how Yahoo is positioned as a leader in email communication and the power of building online relationships. To suddenly eliminate all remote work options or telecommuting appears on the surface to be a disconnect, at best.
  3. It's also ironic that Marissa, a new mom and someone who is probably just now recognizing the importance of managing a demanding personal life with the demands of work, is prohibiting ALL telecommuting.
  4. It's true— nothing works better than in-person collaboration. I believe that. Even today, as an agency, we are evaluating online management tools to help us better collaborate. I'm old school— I prefer the in-person collaboration and conversation as opposed to online project management tools. I will succumb, though, and will do so with enthusiasm!
  5. Finally, I do believe that telecommuting can, as the link suggests, identify team weakness. I've worked remote/ telecommuter jobs and I am comfortable with that approach. Not everyone can work in that environment, though. And, a remote work environment can identify team members who don't have the drive to be productive outside the office.

At the end of the day, Ms. Mayer has to make some tough decisions to make her company competitive. I still hope that leaders in other companies and other sectors consider the benefits of flexibility. I, for one, certainly appreciate the ability to not only balance, but integrate my work life and personal life.


Amanda Watson
Continuum And Bertucci's Come Together To Bring 2 Ovens To Life: Fast Company's Jake Zucker lays out the year in the life of savvy consulting firm, Continuum, and their project creating a spin-off restaurant of the out-dated, older skewing pizza restaurant, Bertucci's. Zucker walks the reader through the process of naming, creating a scale model, developing a menu and the creative process behind developing a younger, hipper pie joint.

Raising Your Girl Like a Boy: Julie Zhuo of the Huffington Post blogs about how her parents boasted about raising her like a boy all her life. She goes on to make arguments for equality and stating that although she has no plans to raise any future daughters she may have like boys, she will tell them that a princess is not a viable profession but a president is.


Justin Nyquist

Well, TED2013 is in session, and all of my other books and articles are on the back burner while I stay up-to-date on the TED Blog. Call me a wishful thinker, but any idea that can improve an archaic procedure to save more lives should be immediately implemented. You mean that people can have their lives' saved and do it cheaper and faster? Count me in! Teenager Jack Andracka, that's right I said teenager, has developed an early detection test for pancreatic cancer. If you only read one article/blog this week, I suggest you read this one.

The thing that I love so much about TED is that innovators and creative individuals present their life-altering, world-changing ideas that, if implemented, could potentially improve the quality of life for every person on Earth. Alex Laskey spoke about changing the way that people think about energy. If we checked out energy use just like we check our phone every few hours, how much could we save each month on our electric bill?

Anyways, enough about TED talks, just go read and watch them for yourself!


Doug Self
If Marissa Mayer Were A Man: Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer has taken a substantial amount of flack in the past few days from her decision to eliminate telecommuting options for her employees. This quick read confronts our biases about the motivations behind decision-making in the workplace.


Chad Biggs
Digital Darwinism: What Killed Borders, Blockbuster and Polaroid and How to Survive: Perhaps you have a LinkedIn profile and use it to cyberstalk people you will meet or recently met, but when will we officially applaud their efforts at being a targeted news hub? Perhaps now as their stock price surges and I link to the latest Brian Solis article on the importance of a leadership culture vs. a management culture. Bonus: this also includes a lengthy infographic equivalent of a brand tombstone featuring companies that failed to adapt. Solis tackles the origin of their eventual faceplants.

The Old Man at Burning Man: When a story carries the following line, there is nothing more to add: "When I mentioned to friends that I was going to Burning Man with my 69-year-old father, 'Good idea' were the words out of no one's mouth.

Clocks, Monks, and the iWatch: Yes, both Doug and I are flaunting a growing admiration of Medium. This is an interesting jaunt from the rumors of iWatch to the very first innovation of a timekeeping device and why, at the end of the day, we need to value the limited resource that time is by enjoying the right moments.

The Last Man Up: A sad, mysterious and captivating tale of how Michael LeMaitre went missing during the Mount Marathon Race in Seward, Alaska. Karianne mentioned irony and disconnect earlier. It is clearly out of character to be reading and promoting something from Runner's World when I'm only slightly inclined to trot when chased. But this is powerful writing by Christopher Solomon, who captures how embedded this race is into the fabric of Seward (the entire state of Alaska, really) and the collective loss everyone feels when a kindred spirit vanishes.

Tagged With: Corporate Communication, Agency Life, Things We Love