10 Ways to Better Communicate with Your Employees

10 Ways to Better Communicate with Your Employees

Whether you’re a corporate giant towering over the masses or a new startup barely crawling, you communicate every single day. With your spouse as you leave for work, with commuters on the train, with the guy you buy your hot dog from. But mostly, you communicate with your employees.

Here is a list of tips for interacting with all employees, both in your building and out in the world.

Working Together

In the Office

– Pay attention to body language. Take note of a person’s equilibrium state (at lunch or just hanging out) and when they’re working. Learn to recognize stress levels and reactions so you know when you should approach them and when you might want to hold off.

– Schedule ‘non-transactional’ meeting time. Even if it’s only 15 minutes a day, make it clear to your employees that they are more to you than request-granting machines. We don’t recommend becoming best friends, but business has a better chance of thriving when employees know they can talk to you as a person, not just a boss.

– Communicate in writing. Email, text message, Post-It, whatever- write it out and include dates and times that the request was made. This is important so that the employee knows what’s expected and you know what was said. It also allows you to send messages without pulling them away from their work stations.

Working Solo

Online

– Use voice and video calls occasionally to establish a more personal connection. Meaning can often be misconstrued in the written word, and what may seem to you as the writer might be interpreted as all hell about to break loose to your reader.

– Don’t be afraid to use emojis or gifs to get your point across. Though you might think it feels silly at first, some people are just bad at wording in emails. A well-placed emoji (in reasonable quantities) can completely shoot the conversation over to the other side of the emotional spectrum.

– Utilize systems like Slack, HipChat, Viber, Flowdock, Campfire, or Skype to keep in contact. Some bosses fear the outlet for wandering minds, but these chat platforms allow employees to talk to each other in real time. Not only can it address emergency issues immediately, but the fluidity can foster better relationships than the turtle-pace of emails. Establish a codeword that exclusively means: “please don’t get offended, but I need to focus my undivided attention on this task right now.” Suggestions: ‘pirate ship,’ ‘hammer time,’ or ‘magnifying glass.’

*Sandbox Suites recently started using Slack as our main means of off-site communication. We can categorize our discussions into groups such as ‘marketing’ or ‘general’ and easily search all conversations for that one line from last Tuesday morning. (Their emoji selection is also pretty fantastic.)

– Limit industry jargon. Using acronyms and slang may make things more efficient for you, but for the employee, it may put a drag on productivity if they’re trying to figure out what the heck “Supes in the weeds this mrn, get TAJR report on M’s ASAP” means.

Blog, both
Both

– Make sure everyone knows the lines of communication are open. Employees who are afraid to disappoint or anger their bosses are less likely to communicate information. Reward them for good ideas and encourage them to ask questions. Projects take a lot less time when a wrong direction gets nipped in the bud.

– Use simple words and avoid unnecessary repetition. Nobody likes a dead horse, and nobody likes to hear it beaten.

WatchKit Workshops: Learn to build apps for WATCH

WatchKit Workshops at Sandbox-Learn to build apps for WATCH- December 16

RSVP here!

Like the iPhone and iPad that came before it, the Apple Watch is a whole new platform for users, which will hit the market in the spring of 2015.

On Thanksgiving, Apple released WatchKit, the software development kit (SDK) that will allow developers to build apps for the Watch. That same week, our meetup group held a hackathon where 33 teams built and presented their ideas. A few fun ones: an app that shows you when it will stop raining outside and an app that changes the speed of the music based on how hard you’re exercising. The developers who are there early have the most to gain should their app catch on.

However, in true iStyle, there are currently several limitations on what we as developers can do. We don’t have access to the hardware sensors yet, and a Watch app isn’t standalone — the code actually lives on the iPhone.

But I see these limitations as a form of focus. In the words of  interactive designer and front end developer, Jason Weaver, it is a bit like giving an artist three crayons and seeing what they can create. For one thing, when Apple announced the Watch on stage, the company showcased several partners that are using the SDK to do awesome things. The popular website Pinterest is a good example. Their app will tap you on the wrist you when you’re near a spot you’ve favorited and give you walking directions to get there. So imagine you’re in San Francisco and you’re near the Painted Ladies; one subtle tap and you’re on your way to see the picture in real life.

Another great use is an airplane app that you can use mid-flight to ask, “Where am I?” The dictation feature of the Watch will convert your voice into text and send a signal to an API. Because the airline knows your flight number, they can then send back the result to the watch —“30,000 feet.” So cool!

Everybody’s a beginner at this stuff, but through the meetup group we’re working to become a resource so that anyone can learn. We have a couple of events coming up at Sandbox Suites, including December 16th when we’ll be in Sunnyvale for Hello WatchKit. This event will provide an overview of the concepts and then cover the nitty-gritty details like working with API data. There will also be a more in-depth Bootcamp in both Sandbox Silicon Valley and Sandbox Union Square in San Francisco in January.

Ben Morrow is a developer, author, and hackathon organizer. With the Apple Watch community, he’s been teaching tools and techniques for the past six months and is ready to launch apps when the new device is released. Find more video and code at http://happy.watch­ →

5 Blogs for Entrepreneurs- in no specific order

5 blogs for entrepreneurs

5 Blogs for Entrepreneurs

ycombinator-logo-fb889e2e

1. Hacker News https://news.ycombinator.com 

The hub of Silicon Valley’s first and most well known incubator and VC is Y Combinator. It’s not technically a blog.  But it is bubbling over with great information for anyone starting a business, in the the thick of getting funding, or anyone looking to find a VC. It’s the pulse of VC culture and any entrepreneur, whether technically a startup or not, can find valuable resources here. Still not sold? Their companies have a combined valuation of over $30 billion. See also, Paul Graham.

Nerd_Dork_Geek_Venn_Diagram

 

2.”Both Sides of the Table”  http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com 

Mark Suster, is a seasoned entrepreneur and Silicon Valley native who has been on, well, both sides of the table. A 2x entrepreneur who joined Upfront Ventures in 2007 as a General Partner after selling his company to Salesforce.com. He provides startup lessons, marketing/pr topics, sales help and more.

seth-godin1

3. Seth Godin’s Blog http://sethgodin.typepad.com

He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything.*  If you are an entrepreneur, early stage startup or a one man band, you’re probably wearing all the hats in your company. This would include marketing your product. Seth’s blog is great resource for marketers and independent professionals alike.

*(borrowed from his bio.)

guycaricature

4. How to Change the World  http://blog.guykawasaki.com/

With a previous job title like Chief Software Evangelist at Apple, Guy understands not only how to be the hype guy for someone else, but how to strike off and start his own company. (Which he did after his departure from Apple.) He’s a prolific author and like several others on this list, understands all aspects of running a business. The content is a bit heavy on the marketing and product evangelism side, but as any new entrepreneur will agree, marketing your product can mean the difference between instant success and sudden failure.

 

5. Steve Blank  http://steveblank.com/

Before there was the Customer Development methodology, and thus before the Lean Startup movement, there was a serial-entrepreneur Steve Blank (real name.) In 2013 Blank was named by Forbes as one of the most 30 influential people in Tech of 2013. Through his down-to-earth writing, Blank leads readers through the issues of entrepreneurship. The blog is considered a “must-read” and is syndicated by UC Berkeley, VentureBeat, and Huffington Post.

 

Top 5 Reasons for Coworking in San Francisco

Top 5 Reasons for Coworking in San Francisco (or anywhere really)

Coworking Flexibility

Coworking in San Francisco offers flexibility.

1. Flexibility

As writer and theologian Adam Tosko said, “We ask 18-year-olds to make huge decisions about their career and financial future, when a month ago they had to ask to go to the bathroom.” Just like recent high school grads, those new to the startup world are suddenly faced with a LOT of freedom, a LOT of questions, and a LOT of possible options. Maybe you’re the kind of person who still likes to come in 9-5 M-F. Maybe you’re actually a night owl but never knew. Coworking spaces provide the ability to swing the full spectrum of productivity. Take the time to find what works best for YOU.

 

Work/life balance

2. Separation of space

Our brains pair particular settings with certain mental reactions. Sleep is to bed as hunger is to kitchen. The same is true of your work space. Offices were made for productivity and homes were made for relaxation.

 

coworking in san francisco

The effect of environment.

3. The effect of environment

Almost everything you like, you probably keep at home. That’s where your family is, that’s where your Netflix is, that’s where all your favorite foods are stored. No one wants to write a business proposal when the next episode of “The Walking Dead” is about to start, when your kid wants to play or when your roommate starts making the day’s third smoothie.

On the other hand, when you see everyone else around you quietly working, making progress on their goals, it stirs a sense of solidarity. Other cursors are moving rapidly toward the triumph of completion. No distractions, no excuses.

 

Network, socialize

Coworking offers an eclectic mix.

4. An eclectic mix

Sandbox is unique in that each of our locations is a collaboration of many diverse backgrounds. The hands that reach into the pizza box at networking events are those of tech companies, nonprofits, lawyers, freelancers, telecommuters, and countless more. And that’s not even what they do in their spare time. Who knows what mutual interests you might have?

Meeting Rooms

On-Demand meeting rooms

5. Dedicated meeting space

Don’t even bother struggling to find the quiet spot in a coffee shop to meet with a potential client. When you’re worried about making a good impression, you don’t need to be thinking about snatching up parking, waiting in long service lines, and paying too much for a latte. Your focus should be on the future of your business.  

 

Check out our membership options or book a free trial to see if coworking is right for you.

Flurry TechHub SF – Hosting Monthly Developer meetups at SBS!


Sandbox has partnered with Flurry TechHub to bring the SBS some valuable tech centric events. 

Flurry TechHub is a free-to-attend event that brings together high-caliber developers, founders, entrepreneurs and investors in the technology community. Group Meetups include both technical and market-oriented sessions and meet on a monthly basis. Their primary objective is to educate the market and help expand and inspire the developer base in creating and monetizing mobile applications. Flurry TechHub Meetups are held across the world’s top tech centers including San Francisco, New York, and London.

Meet the smartest, most innovative tech entrepreneurs in your community. Build relationships and share ideas in a relaxed setting over free drinks, free food and free knowledge.

Flurry TechHub’s first SBS hosted event will be TOMORROW evening Tuesday August 28th at 6pm at our South Park space. Tomorrow evening’s meetup will focus on “making some killer android apps!”  Details below. Please RSVP on eventbrite.

Making money on Android can be hard.  Many developers devote countless hours to building, testing, and marketing their apps only to fall short.  In this meetup, we’ll go over everything you need to know to get started including tips, tricks and benchmarks to reach optimal performance.  We’ll look at continuous integration and automated android builds, and testing of android devices out in the wild.  We’ve pulled together a panel of developer experts from across the app industry to describe their testing Dos and Don’ts. 

 

Join us: Tuesday, August 28 at Sandbox Suites for pizza, beer, networking and hear some success stories from developers who dedicate their time and efforts towards making some killer android apps.
Moderator: Bisera Ferrero, Sr. Solutions Architect @ Flurry
Panelists:
  • Nicholas Talarico, Founder & CEO of 12Gigs
  • David Zhang, Lead Developer, SideCar

Girl Power Comes to South Park

Believe in girl power? Come see it for yourself on February 22nd!

We’re partnering with Girls in Tech to bring you a conversation between Ben Parr, former editor of Mashable and startup advisor, and Leah Busque, founder of TaskRabbit and prominent woman leader in the technology sector.

 

Ben will be interviewing Leah about her wildly successful startup TaskRabbit, the explosion of service networking, and what it’s like to be a “girl in tech.”

You won’t want to miss this much entrepreneurial star power in one place!

When: February 22, 2012

Where: Sandbox Suites in South Park

Tickets: $15 for public, free admission for Sandbox members

RSVP on Eventbrite.

No Valentine? No problem! Startup Waffles at Sandbox

Come get warm and fuzzy over delicious waffles and great networking!

Meet exciting startups in mobile, gaming, media and other creative fields at our buzzing South Park location!

Taken or single, come ready to eat (and mingle).

When: February 14th, 8:30am

Where: Sandbox South Park

Tickets: This event is FREE but please remember to R.S.V.P. so we save you a plate!

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Interested in other events we’re hosting? Check out the Events Calendar!

All Things D joins Sandbox Suites South Park!

If you read tech and business news, and you know what’s good for you, then you already know All Things D is the place to go for breaking news in the digital sphere.

We are thrilled to announce that the All Things D team is joining the ranks of Sandbox Suites members in our South Park office!

Founded in 2007 by Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg as a result of the All Things Digital conference, AllThingsD is now one of the front-runners in digital news coverage.  We think they’ll be a great fit here at Sandbox!

 

South Park Member Cherry Launches Carwashing Service

Today, our South Park member Cherry left beta and launched their awesome new carwashing service in San Francisco. Cherry’s service allows users to coordinate and schedule carwashes from their mobile devices as well as the web, all with a few clicks (or taps). Not only is the interface user-friendly, it’s also a pretty piece of design.

Check in with your car’s details and location, and they’ll send the nearest carwashing professional to your car. You don’t even have to be there – go grab dinner and a movie. Get a pedicure. This is the age of multitasking, after all.

No more waiting in line at the gas station, no more leaky hoses – Cherry has found a way to make this chore easy, fast, and modern. You can check in your car from anywhere and they’ll send you a text when they’re on their way and again when they’ve finished.

$29 gets you an interior + exterior cleaning – and they’ll even leave you with a spiffy air-freshener.

Even better? They use 100% biodegradable carwash solution.

Be sure to check them out!

Happy Halloween from Sandbox Suites!

In need of some great costume ideas? Some spectacular outfits showed up at our South Park opening/Spookly Startup Bash earlier this month. Here’s a few good ones to put you in the mood!

Have a super spooky weekend, stay safe, and save us some candy!

 

 

Creative design from the South

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