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Mike Bybee
Mike Bybee

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Don't Be A Douche, Vol. 1

I've been intending to detail my approach to business for a while. Google (still?) has "Don't be evil" (I think?). My approach is, while very outspoken, hopefully in keeping with my own philosophy:

Don't be a douche. I mean, sometimes I may be a douche, but hopefully only to douches.

In keeping with that, here's a response to a prevalent thought that had gone through my mind a ton since the lockdowns:

Video meetings are the new norm...

They shouldn't be right now. Seriously. Think about your neighbors. Think about their kids ready to revolt if they can't watch their streams (I get it, luxury item, but is it really right now?).

Think about the documents and code commits and all the other things which actually need to be uploaded. Your face isn't one of them.

Think about your team. There's a reason "Zoom fatigue" keeps coming up in the news. It's exhausting to feel like you're in a fishbowl all day, every day, for everyone to see.

You don't need to stare at the same faces on the screen every day. Turn off your camera. Encourage your team to do the same.

Your phone plan likely has unlimited voice. Call in. Encourage your team to do the same.

And then there's the daily standup. It's 2020. Set up a DailyBot or similar, and share those details via email/Slack/etc., with actionable dashboards from the results.

This isn't hard.

This includes interviews. Pick up the damned phone instead of sending a meeting link.

Discussion (2)

pentacular profile image

It's important to see faces to remember that people are actually people with feelings, and so on.

You can have a coffee meeting, or something, for that, but it's an important thing to keep people grounded emotionally.

stereoplegic profile image
Mike Bybee Author • Edited on

It doesn't need to be every meeting every day (and that's not even getting into how productivity sapped by meetings affects emotional grounding - most people need a lot fewer of them than they're actually having).

I posit that the added stress of (especially unnecessarily) strained bandwidth - for necessary work, or keeping kids' cabin fever at bay - is far harder on that emotional state than a stuttery, pixelated view of your coworkers solves... Especially when you throw a micromanager, freaking out about not being about to physically count heads and look over shoulders, into the mix.