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Seattle Startup Week Sponsor Spotlight | Hired

Hired LogoHired, a two-sided recruiting marketplace and a Seattle Startup Week sponsor, is on a mission to make both finding a job and finding quality employees easier.

What makes you excited about Seattle Startup Week?

We’re excited to support and participate in Seattle’s startup community.  In particular, we are excited to discover new companies, share ideas and meet interesting people.

What are you hoping to get out of the week of events?

We are hoping to be a resource for job seekers and to build partnerships with startups to help grow their teams.

What do you love about being part of the Seattle startup culture?

The Seattle startup culture is extremely welcoming and extremely innovative.  The people here are passionate about what they do and it shows in their enthusiasm to help others and give back to the community.

If Hired was a food, what would it be and why?

Hired would be a Vegas seafood buffet.  It serves and satisfies everyone and is a pleasure to experience.

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Seattle Startup Week | Fremont Run to Beat Breast Cancer

Fremont Run To Beat Breast Cancer LogoSeattle Startup Week is only two weeks away, and preparations are in full swing here at thinkspace!  October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  And you know we are always looking for ways to build and strengthen our ties within the community. If you’re a part of the startup community and we haven’t met you yet, we’re hoping to change that soon.  And if we have already met you, we’d love to see you, too!

We’d like to invite you to spend your morning with us on Wednesday, October 28th for a 5K Run to Beat Breast Cancer.  Run, walk, skip, jump and be merry with us.  The run begins at 8:30 am and will take us along the Burke-Gilman Trail and through Gasworks Park.  Stick around after the run concludes to eat some breakfast noms and jam out to some early morning disco tunes at our Fremont location.

The event is free, but we’d appreciate any donations you can put forth.  All proceeds will go to raise funds for Dr. V.K. Gadi’s research at Fred Hutchinson Medical Research Center.  5K t-shirts will also be available for $20, with all proceeds supporting Dr. Gadi and his team.

RSVP for the Fremont Run to Beat Breast Cancer here.

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Peter Chee, Ali Spain and Katie Walvatne at Brunch to End Breast Cancer October 11, 2015

Can’t make it on the 28th?  Running just isn’t your thing?  Not to worry!  We’ll be supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month throughout Seattle Startup Week, with opportunities to make a donation to the Fred Hutch team at each of our events:

 

 

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Seattle Startup Week Sponsor Spotlight | Name.com

Name.com logoName.com is a domain name registrar, web hosting company and a Seattle Startup Week sponsor.  To get to know them a little better, we asked them a few questions.

What makes you excited about Seattle Startup Week?

We are excited to support Seattle Startup Week because we love the whole Startup Week movement.  We’ve supported Boulder and Portland this year too, but see a particular energy in Seattle’s startup scene that’s infectious; and we want to be a part of it.

What are you hoping to get out of the week of events?

We are hoping to spread the word that new alternatives to .com domains are now available.  Domain name extensions like .ninja, .social, .news, and 1,300 others are becoming available.  We love these names because they inspire people to come up with new ideas and discover new possibilities on the Internet.

What do you love about being part of the Seattle startup culture?

Our favorite part of the Seattle startup scene is the drive that people have.  There’s a unique sense of “anything is possible” in the Seattle area.

If Name.com was a food, what would it be and why?

We would probably be lasagne.  That’s because we are simple on the outside, but super complex on the inside.

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Seattle Startup Week Schedule

[sched sidebar=”yes” url=”http://seattlestartupweek2015.sched.org/”]Seattle Startup Week Schedule[/sched]

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We are made for Labor Day.

So, I gotta be honest.  Up until writing this post, I actually didn’t know the history behind Labor Day.  Why question a 3-day weekend, right?  For the majority of my teens and twenties, Labor Day was simply the weekend I saw Dave Matthews at the Gorge before heading back to school.
 
But the history behind Labor Day is as interesting as it is empowering.

Labor Day was first celebrated in 1882 (pictured: a lithograph of the parade in New York City on Labor Day).  In 1887 it was established to be celebrated yearly on the first Monday in September to honor the American Labor Movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of their country (source).  A group of the key players within this movement called themselves The Knights of Labor. The Knights believed in the unity of the interests of all producing groups and sought to empower not just laborers but everyone who could be truly classified as a producer (source).

For most of us, work is a commitment that takes up most of our time.  But, though work dominates most of the hours of our week, it is also the one thing that we can routinely do week in, week out.  Think about your work week rhythm.  Now replace your work with something else.  Can you imagine doing something else for 40-60 hours, week in, week out?  Exercising?  Watching television?  Reading books? Playing golf?  I’ve heard people say, “When I retire I’m going to play a lot of golf.”  But 40 hours a week of golf?  Or television?  Try keeping that up for a few weeks.  We aren’t made to do that.

But we are made to work.  We can handle work in large quantities of time, unlike other activities.  We are made to be creative.  We are made to produce things.  Just like the Knights of Labor believed in the late 1800s, the movement wasn’t just for laborers, but anyone who produced anything.  I have a friend who is a project manager, but her passion is baking cupcakes.  She spends time dreaming of flavor combinations to try.  She carves time out of her schedule to carefully craft and decorate them.  And then she lets me eat them.  She is a “laborer” (project manger by day) and “producer” (cupcake creator by night).  You take away her labor and she is still a producer.  Take away what she produces, and she’s still a laborer.

The point is this: we are made for work.  We are made for Labor Day.

Happy Labor Day everyone!

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I Hate Process, But, Now We Are Creating a Playbook

russell-wilson-playbook

I attended an event last week where ironman Jack Daly was the speaker talking about his journey as an entrepreneur. There are two things that stuck out to me when he spoke. Firstly, if the Seahawks drafted a player and they said “that’s nice you have a playbook, but, I’m not going to follow that because I’ve got my own style” – what do you think Coach Pete Caroll would say about that? Secondly, the only thing that matters is conversion rate. Yes, you can track tons of other KPI’s but the one that matters most is conversion rate. My personal feeling is that customer satisfaction is also one other metric that defines your success as company and a company should track their NPS (Net Promoter Score).

What’s inside our playbook:

  • Core values.
  • Mission and vision.
  • How do we want people to feel?
  • Defined Roles with each person having a set of measurable KPI’s.
  • Measuring KPI’s on a weekly, monthly, quarterly basis.
  • Color-coding each person’s KPI’s with the colors green, yellow, red.
  • Tying everything back to our Quarterly One Page Strategic Plan.
  • Accountability by having numbers on the wall for each person.
  • Quarterly performance reviews instead of annual performance reviews.
  • Standard operating procedures.
  • Training, practicing, and regular testing to ensure we understand what’s in the playbook.
  • Hiring people that only fit into this system.
  • Benefits that allow our team to have an unlimited vacation policy.

Who Draws Up the Plays?

This is definitely a situation where key employees get to help design what the playbook should look like for their area of expertise. I’ve always focused on leveraging the strengths of each individual person and learning what they are great at. In the book “It’s not about the coffee” by Howard Behar, Starbucks executive. He shares:

The Person Who Sweeps the Floor Should Choose the Broom. People are not “assets,” they are human beings who have the capacity to achieve results beyond what is thought possible. – Howard Behar

Leadership and employees need to both agree on the outcome, but, the process to get there should be determined by the employee. At the end of the day, it’s about ensuring the results are achieved.

Our Biggest Area of Focus

Over the last year, the thing that has been my biggest area of focus is the customer experience. It’s also been my biggest point of frustration too. I badly want to raise the bar for our customer experience but I just haven’t been able to make traction on that. Clearly, I’m missing something in my knowledge and work experience that is allowing me to break through. In the last few months, my last three hires are people with university degrees in Hospitality Management. My intention and hope is that these people will focus on raising the bar really high for customer experience. I don’t think we will be able to do this without having a playbook and the entire team is in synch and executing as a unit.

What do you think? Does your company have a playbook? What do you like about your company’s playbook? How do you track and measure KPS’s. Please share!

Bacon, Beer, & Freedom

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As I write this post, I am sitting on the deck overlooking the Puget Sound, consuming three pieces of bacon, wondering if it’s too early for an IPA, and thinking about freedom. Having recently returned from a trip to the beautiful land of Israel, there are certain aspects of our country’s freedom that I am more aware of and grateful for. The word freedom is an interesting one. We use it a lot to describe our rights and entitlements. In my own profession, we use it to describe what we’ve been “freed from” and therefore what we’re “freed to receive.” Freedom is defined as the absence of restraint resulting in the state of being free.

Therefore, freedom is a two-fold action! The absence of what’s restraining you results in a euphoric state of freedom. You can’t have one without the other.
Today we raise a glass to freedom and celebrate this country.
Freedom is a gift we all agree we are thankful for.
What ways can you celebrate personal freedoms in your own life? In other words, fill-in-the-blank: “The absence of ________ will free me to ________.”
Let freedom ring in this country and in your life!
Happy 4th of July. Stay safe out there and make good decisions!

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You are your own boss.

mug“Twenty years ago, you’d go to a company and they’d tell you your [career] route.  Today, it’s on you” (Jody Greenstone Miller, CEO of Business Talent Group).

You are your own boss.

People rarely get promoted because they wait to do what they are told.  No.  People get promoted because they have the “I’m my own boss” mentality.  They know that they can decide their own career path, so they take ownership over their skills.  They are open and adaptable.  They constantly look for ways to improve or change the way they work.  They try new things and think outside the box.  And most of all, they have learned to be agile.

Agility is a job skill that Miller states shows someone that will be successful, and quickly.

If you’re 50 years old or younger, you may already be familiar with agility (by force or choice).  The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that those 50 years old and younger will not only have 11 different jobs, but 11 different careers.

I guess when you’re your own boss, you know when to stay and when to go.

What do you all think?  How important is agility?

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5 Ways to Clear Your Head to Increase Concentration

 We all have times when we feel very unproductive and have a hard time focusing on our tasks. Finding inspiration can turn into a major problem if you don’t fuel and rest your brain from time to time.

But–to the rescue!–there are some easy ways to “unstick” your brain:

restaurant-person-woman-coffee-large1. Take a pause

If you have thought the situation through, and there is no way out, then it’s time to take a pause. Grab a coffee, have a little snack and do something else for a while. Refocusing elsewhere and returning to your problem later will allow you to see things from a different angle, and may help you resolve the problem.

 



 

landscape-nature-sky-sunset-large2. Fresh air

Take a walk outside, preferably into the green. Your eyes will be thankful for the pause from your computer screen, and some fresh air will help your body and mind to recharge their batteries. If you’re living in the city, don’t go the usual way, but try to explore new streets and areas.

 

 

 

person-woman-music-pink-large3. Surround yourself with nature

Research shows that there are cognitive benefits to surrounding yourself with greenery or images of nature. Try to choose a workplace where you’ll have a nice view outside, some plants nearby. Not an option? Listen to some soothing background sounds in order to boost your creativity.

 

 

 

Brooklyn Bridge4. Exercise

Sitting in front of your computer all day is not only bad for your health, but it’s also bad for your brain. It’s scientifically proven that people who exercise up to four times a week have better creative thinking skills than people that don’t. If you’re commuting to work, it’s great idea to walk or bike. Try to use lunch breaks to fit in some exercise.

 

 

 

1CB98C9DF85. Talk

Often we tend to immerse ourselves in our own problems, and we feel that we shouldn’t bother others with our issues. However, it can really help if you talk to somebody else. It can help not only to talk about your problems, but also to listen to other people’s problems and try to help. By doing this, you will get a different point of view. Perhaps while helping others, you will also distract yourself from your own problems–a win-win for both sides.

 


unnamedStefano Merlo is the CEO and founder of Noisli, a service that helps people to focus and boost productivity by blocking out annoying noises and creating a personal sound environment. Stefano has a Degree in Product and Visual Communication Design. A curious mind, always craving to learn new things. Find Stefano on Twitter at @stefanomerlo
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Sites for Free Stock Photos That Are Perfect For Start-ups

As the Marketing Manager of a start-up for start-ups I need a lot of stock photos for our website, social channels and print collateral. I have a set budget for marketing and I don’t want to waste it on getting cheesy stock photos. I think that aligns pretty well with the challenges start-ups face when it comes to stock photos so I’ve compiled a useful list of the best places to find stock photos for start-ups. I even sorted them in a handy way. You’re welcome.

The requirements:

  1. They have to be free because ain’t nobody got money for that.
  2. They can’t just have a bunch of white guys shaking hands because the world doesn’t actually look like that and no one wants to see another one of those bad stock photos.
  3. It has to be really really really re-hee-eealy easy to figure out if you are going to get a strongly worded letter about using it.

person-woman-apple-hotel-largeI Need Something Specific

Pexels

This is my personal favorite, being mostly in tech this site has a huge selection of pictures of phones, laptops and tablets to use.

StockSnap.io

The search on stock snap is great. The tags are easy to use to find high quality royalty free stock photos.

Pic Jumbo

There is a ton of variety on Pic Jumbo. You’ll find a few borderline cheesy stock images but for every one of those you can find 10 really great ones.

 

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Scratching a Niche

These guys do one thing and do it well. Working in a niche? Scratch with one if these sites.

Foodie Feed

Warning! Do not browse before lunch. This site is full of appetizing food photos fit for any food based start-up.

New Old Stock

Looking for a great vintage photo? Browse the archive of vintage public domain imagery at New Old Stock.

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Send Me Inspiration

Even the best marketers run out of ideas from time to time. Sometimes you need to find something specific and sometimes you need something to spark a little inspiration. Get these stock photos right to your inbox to get your creative juices flowin.

Unsplash

Receive 10 high quality artistic stock photos everyday from Unsplash right to your inbox.

Snapwire Snaps

7 hand-picked snaps every 7 days that are completely free to use.

Death To Stock Photos

These guys are sending you packs monthly. Be sure to follow them on Instagram to watch them travel the country in search of the best stock photography.
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I’m Just Browsing

These sites let you get lost in the never ending scroll of beautiful imagery.

 

Magdeleine

These user generated photos are gorgeously curated for your viewing/using pleasure.

Refe

Get user generated photography for free from Refe.

 

Do you have a favorite free stock photo go to? Leave it in the comments, I am always on the hunt for more great places for images.