Don't Do This If You're Hiring in Tech

  1. Don't list positions on your job page that you aren't actively hiring for. Serious applicants will spend time preparing their application material, and you're just wasting their time. You also come off as careless to anyone poking around your website to learn more about your company. 
  2. Don't recruit and evaluate candidates for positions that you never intend on hiring for. Saying that you just wanted to "test out the waters" for potential positions after communicating with a candidate for weeks is inconsiderate. 
  3. Don't be inefficient. Have processes and clear steps in place for when you evaluate candidates. Make sure your whole team follows them. Communicate them with candidates and lead. Don't let a candidate languish for weeks waiting to hear back from you. It's inconsiderate and reflects poorly on your company. 
  4. Don't ask for free work products or suggest a test trial unless you will seriously consider the candidate and their work. Your company isn't the only one asking for this, and genuinely interested candidates will put a lot of time, effort and energy into this work. Don't waste their time. 
  5. Don't ignore applicants. Respond to every single one—even if you get thousands who are clearly unqualified. Automate this if necessary, and do it quickly. Respect their time and the fact that they wanted to work for your company. 

Political Expression in the Tech Community

I never could have imagined that I would hesitate to publicly express my views on something that I am passionate about. But until recently, I was hesitant to do so regarding the conflict between Israel and Hamas. It seems that I am not alone. While many people voiced support for either side, the tech community remained mostly silent as compared to the masses and to its own outcry over issues such as Ferguson. 

I think there were two reasons for the relative silence:

  1. The conflict is complex. It is rooted in a voluminous history that is difficult and impractical to thoroughly absorb. Reasonable people appreciate this and understand that what they read in the mainstream media is unlikely to make them better informed. The moral questions that the conflict raises also makes it difficult to form a perfectly defensible position. Because of this, I believe that people are simply unable to solidify their own views. If they do, the challenge then becomes crafting a fair message worthy of sharing publicly on Twitter or in a blog post. And if you get to this point, you should ideally be ready to defend your position against criticism, which can be fierce. 
  2. The conflict stirs deep emotions, and people don't want to alienate their professional peers. The tech community, perhaps more than any other professional community, relies heavily on Twitter and other public forums to connect with one another—so stating your views can come with professional consequences. 

Personally, I supported Israel before and throughout the conflict. But I didn't feel that I had a firm enough handle on the conflict to satisfy the first prong above. I spent July reading a lot of history and news from various sources, became more informed, and was ready to publicly support and defend the country. 

The second prong then became the obstacle. Would I come off as too political and risk alienating people by sharing even obvious arguments in support of Israel? Would I hurt my potential to grow in the industry by challenging more senior peers who shared messages that I strongly disagreed with? These risks are real, but they pale in comparison to the notion of staying silent on something that I am passionate about. And it is unacceptable to me to stay quiet while friends are risking their lives to defend Israel and all that it represents. So if people were to look negatively on what is an otherwise fair and responsible show of support, then I rather not work with them in the first place.

Current events have made for a sad, frustrating summer. But choosing to learn about and speak up on the controversial issues that I care about—as minor as these actions are—has given me some solace.

Product Hunt "Collections"

Since I wrote Product Hunt's Editorial Layer last week, I had a number of discussions with people who have been pondering the same issues I raised. An idea that came out of one of these discussions was a "collections" concept. I can't recall who suggested it—it might have been Erik Torenberg—but I really like the idea.

Adding my own twist to the idea: Product Hunt Collections would let users create curated lists of products. Collections can be public or private, and can have one or more contributors. Contributors can add a Collection description and notes about individual products. Think of it like a Pinterest Board or a playlist. Collections can be searchable, and discovered on its creators' profiles and on a new Product Hunt Community page (where perhaps other content—such as AMAs—can be featured). Collections could also be embedded anywhere on the web, on Twitter, etc.

Things I like about Collections:

  • Product Hunt can remain a platform and doesn't have to get too deep into the crowded business of content creation
  • Rather than trying create one perfect and official taxonomy of categories to organize products by—which would be very tough—members can create their own and browse other's that suit their specific needs.
  • The possibilities are endless. 
    • Regular users can create a Collection for products that they want to try, track or simply share.
    • VCs, salespeople, job hunters and other prospectors can create private Collections of companies that they want to reach out to.
    • Thought leaders can create public Collections of products in their domain.
    • Brands can can publish Collections of relevant products (Ex. Smithsonian's Favorite Science Products; Urban Outfitters' Favorite Party Products for Summer 2014; TechCrunch's Daily Product Recap). 
  • Collections could provide an alternative and potentially easier way to consume the hundreds of products hunted in a given week. 
  • Collections could eventually be open to all Product Hunt users, giving each of them a way to publicly contribute and create on the platform.
  • "Featured Collections" could give Product Hunt another way to monetize its service.
  • Collections can further expose Product Hunt's brand when they are shared or embedded around the web.

What do you think about Collections? Do you have any other ideas for Product Hunt features?

Everday Nostolgia on Mobile

Whenever I travel I add the city that I am visiting to my iPhone's Weather app. But I don't delete the city when I leave. What I love about this is that it's a great way to reminisce about places I have been to when I am doing something as simple as checking the weather at a later time. Annoyingly, the Weather app has a 20 city limit, so I'm always bummed when I have to delete a city to add a new one. I've even wondered: how will I remember that I travelled to the place that I am deleting?

On Twitter yesterday, I saw that two other people do something similar with the Alarm app. Naveen Selvadurai saves alarms he created for when he needed to wake up for significant life moments, such as when he ran a marathon and rode his bike to Montauk. 

 

Click on me!

Even more awesome, Taylor Davidson has set a different alarm for each day of the past year. And it looks like he labeled each alarm with a little note.

I'm sure dedicated apps exist that let you input the places you've travelled to and list your life's special moments. You can even use apps like Timehop and Memoir.  But it's nice to encounter a little nostalgia when you're doing something as simple as checking the weather or setting your alarm at night.  

Do you do anything unconventional on your phone that let's you remember what happens in life or that serendipitously results in a little nostalgia?

Shyp—Growth via Pick-up as a Service

Shyp's core service targets consumers that want to ship an item. Instead of searching for the cheapest shipping option, packing your items, and lugging them to the nearest shipping center, you can use Shyp. Simply take a picture of your item with the Shyp mobile app and enter your location and the item's destination. Shyp will send over a Shyp Hero who will pick up your item, pack it, and ship it through the least costly and most reliable courier. It's a delightful experience that saves you money and a head-ache. 

Even smarter, Shyp has an enterprise offering. It's a great option for small businesses, Etsy sellers, Ebay PowerSellers, and others that ship lots of items but are too small to setup their own sophisticated shipping operation. I love it when consumer businesses find such a use case in the enterprise. It gives the business a clear sales strategy and the potential for enormous growth. 

There are two other enterprise opportunities that I would love to see Shyp experiment with. 

E-Commerce Returns

The first is e-commerce returns. There are many consumer-oriented and high-end online retailers that try to make their customers' experience with them as delightful as possible (Zappos, Warby Parker, Rent The Runway, etc.). Shyp has the potential to be very helpful here as a service that facilitates seamless returns.

Marketplaces & On-demand Services

The other opportunity involves providing pickups for niche online marketplaces and the long-tail of on-demand services.  It would be great to see Shyp help the makers over at CustomMade, and the users of on-demand services like Gone

Of course, with each of these opportunities people can just drop off pre-paid boxes at their local shipping center, but this one of the main inconveniences that Shyp—or a while labeled version of it—can help them avoid. And services that care about a delightful experience will value this.