The Uptake

by Brad McCarty

Lessons learned, words written

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#RIPTwitter

Count me among the most rabid of Twitter’s fans. But today I’m worried for the future of the service that I hold dear. I’m worried because Twitter is talking about moving to an algorithmic feed. I’m worried because an algorithmic feed is the antithesis of the very thing that makes Twitter great.

Six years ago, I met a woman on Twitter because of its search function. I later went on to marry her. To say that Twitter holds a special place in my heart is a pretty big understatement. Improving that search function is a wonderful idea. I understand the need and desire for surfacing important content as it relates to a search.

But the beauty of Twitter as it exists today is that it allows each of us to curate exactly what we want to see. By taking that choice away from us and injecting what it deems relevant, the core of Twitter’s value to me (and many others,...

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Your Marketing Team Has a Customer Service Problem

First off, apologies for the radio silence for a few months. Turns out that this whole “I have a job to do” thing takes up a lot of time.

There are a lot of traditional benchmarks for great marketers. The impact that a marketing department can have on a company is positively huge. But I think that many organizations are ignoring a bigger piece of the puzzle. They’re hiring marketers who don’t have a passion for customer service and that’s killing their brand.

Marketers are tasked with walking this line between being the voice of the company and simultaneously trying to think like the customer. It’s not an easy balance to keep. It’s far more simple to take one side or the other, but allowing that to happen is a potentially fatal flaw for the business.

People with a passion for customer service exhibit incredible amounts of empathy. They know...

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This One Weird Trick Will Make You Infinitely More Productive

Totally not sorry for the title. I’ve waited for ages to be able to write one of those.

As I’m writing this, it’s 5am on a Monday. I woke up a few minutes ago because I was too excited to sleep. What could possibly cause that to happen on a Monday? I get to go back to work today.

I just came off of a 10 day paid PAID vacation, completely off the grid, and I can’t remember a time in my working life when I’ve ever felt better.

In the middle of winter, I took my family to Florida, we wore shorts and t-shirts for my kids’ first visit to Disney World. We ate incredible food, rode a crapload of rides and got soaked in a serious rainstorm.

And the Internet didn’t burn down.

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Everybody talks about unplugging, and that’s important. But what’s perhaps more important is to first have a system in place that allows for it to happen. At...

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How to Find a Product Evangelist - Step 1

Since transitioning into the startup world a few months ago, I’ve come to find the role of the evangelist to be increasingly important. But the question that I’m often asked is how you go about finding and hiring the right person to be an evangelist for your product.

Turns out, it’s a really simple process - Build something great.

No, the process of building something great isn’t simple, but I’m not referring to that part. I’m talking about the fact that when you do accomplish that task, your users will love what you’ve made and they’ll want to tell others about it.

This process of evangelism seems to be a somewhat innate thing within people. We like to be the ones that others rely on for answers. So when we’re early to discover something great, we sometimes go out of our way to let others know.

I had hear this argument before,...

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No Room for Excuses

I had my first quarterly review a few weeks ago. Things didn’t go very well. Though I had exceeded a few of the goals that we set up when I started, there was one key area in which I had undoubtedly failed. That failure led to a stern discussion with my VP of Biz Dev (my direct boss) and the CEO (his boss).

The short story? I was probably really close to getting fired, and so I started searching for things to blame. I was grasping for excuses.

One of our core culture points at FullContact is that “we communicate with candor”. Bart was very forthright with what he needed to tell me. He believed that we could meet the goals that we had set, he was aware that there were roadblocks, and he was willing to help in whatever way possible to remove them. I just had to “do more faster”.

In the spirit of candor, I’ll say this now - Being told to do more...

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The Utter Failure of my Windows 8.1 Upgrade

I have a Lenovo machine that I use for heavy lifting, because my daily-driver MacBook Air just won’t cut it. With the release of Windows 8.1 I was fairly excited to see the new changes, so I clicked the Upgrade button, expecting all would go well.

Let’s compare the process between upgrading OS X and what I’ve experienced thus far for Windows 8.1, shall we?

OS X - Open App Store, click the purchase button, download, install, reboot.

Windows 8.1 - Open the marketplace, click the button, download, prepare for installation, reboot, begin installation, verify installation, hang, blue screen, reboot, hang, blue screen, reboot, revert to previous installation, reboot.

Attempts two through eight (so far) have been largely the same, minus the necessity to re-download the file. Given that I have a laptop that is literally 3 months old, I have a hard time believing that...

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Things I Wish I Knew Before Joining a Startup

As of today, it’s been one month since I joined FullContact. Shortly after I started, I explained my thought process that led me to work with the company, but nothing could have prepared me for what I’ve experienced in the 30 days that followed. With that in mind, I thought that it would be fitting to tell you about the things that I wish that I had known before I started.

Learn Flexibility

You’re likely already familiar with the fact that working for a startup means that you’ll wear a number of hats. As FullContact’s Content Director I do produce a lot of content, but I’m also one of the press contacts, the corporate communications guy, the resident copy editor and handler of other duties as needs arise.

Nothing here came as a surprise to me, as Bart, Ben and I had discussed the various roles prior to my joining. But what absolutely did come as a...

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Operating from Respect

I learned something about myself about three weeks ago, and it has completely changed the way in which I approach life. I learned that almost everything that bothered me to any serious level could be attributed to a lack of respect. Since coming to this realization, I’ve never been happier or more challenged, so I hope that sharing it with you can help you in some way.

First, a little bit of background -

For most of my life, I’ve been perpetually late. If I said that I would be somewhere at a certain time, you could expect that I’d arrive no sooner than thirty minutes after I said that I would. But a few years ago, that changed. I gained a respect for the value of time, and I realized what my being late was doing to other people. This was the start of where I am today.

Two weeks ago, during an all-hands meeting at FullContact, our CEO Bart revealed what the...

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So You Want to Work for a Startup…

When I joined TNW, I didn’t want to work for a startup. I didn’t know better, so I thought that all technology blogs were pretty much the same.

Oh the things that I would learn.

I learned that TNW was young, hungry and scrappy. I learned that some blogs sent 30 people to a press event, when we only had 7 on the entire editorial staff. I learned the meaning of bootstrap, as it relates to money. I learned to enjoy sleeping on air mattresses and eating ramen. I learned to be happy with less, and to find excitement in staying lean.

When I started talking to Bart at FullContact, I did so with a few more years of experience and understanding. I knew that there were important questions to ask, numbers to be discussed and concessions to be made.

Chances are, if you read what I write here, you’re either a founder, a startup employee or you’ve considered becoming one...

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ABP - Always Be Pivoting

I hate the word “pivot”, in relation to the direction of companies. The fact of the matter is that it has become synonymous with “last-ditch effort” when the real story is that pivots should be a regular occurrence within a company.

As I was sitting with Bart the other day, talking about FullContact he mentioned that he had similar feelings and it made me realize that people simply have the wrong idea of the word and what it really means.

If you walked down the street every day, and every single day you tripped on the same crack, wouldn’t you move? If you went to work and did the same task each day without having any success, wouldn’t you change your tactic?

Why do we expect companies to be any different?

A pivot doesn’t have to be a complete 180 (or even 90) degree turn away from the current path. When your data finds that something is...

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