Posted by & filed under Business, Content - Highlights and Reviews, leadership, leading teams, management, managing people.

By Theodore Kinni

Theodore Kinni has written, ghosted, or edited more than 20 business books. He was book review editor for strategy+business for 7 years.

Everybody recognizes the importance of leadership in the C-suite, but we don’t always give it the attention it deserves in the trenches—where execution is the name of the game. Nevertheless, there are lots of so-called “hidden leaders” on the front lines, and supervisors and middle managers who know how to find and nurture them can enhance performance in their teams and provide a great boon to their companies. Read more »

Posted by & filed under Content - Highlights and Reviews.

For most college Computer Science students, an internship is a period of tremendous personal and professional growth. Friends are made, concepts are learned, meetings are had. Then you get the offer of a part-time position. Internships usually classify as full-time commitments so the first exposure to a professional environment is a primary focus, but what happens when the problem of balancing next semester’s courses and a 20 hour work schedule occurs? This post will go into some tips I have found that made working and going to school a smoother process. Read more »

Posted by & filed under android, iOS, ipad, mobile, Native apps, news, Product Updates & Tips, Safari, Safari News, Safari Queue.

Searching Safari Queue (iOS)

We’ve just added search to the latest version of Safari Queue. You can now search Safari’s collection of over 30,000 books and videos right from the app.

Screenshot from Safari Queue with an arrow pointing out the new search button
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Posted by & filed under Business, careers, Content - Highlights and Reviews, management.

By Theodore Kinni

Theodore Kinni has written, ghosted, or edited more than 20 business books. He was book review editor for strategy+business for 7 years.

There are plenty of plausible excuses for managers who don’t want to be bothered helping employees enhance their careers. There’s no time. People should “own” their own careers. If I give an inch, they’ll want a mile. Career development is only for so-called high potentials.

The only problem with these excuses, according to employee development experts Beverly Kaye and Julie Winkle Giulioni: “Study after study confirms that best-in-class managers—the ones who consistently develop the most capable, flexible, and engaged teams able to drive exceptional business results—all share one quality: they make career development a priority.” In other words, if you are being called upon to meet ever-expanding expectations or to continuously improve quality or to deliver the next big thing (and who isn’t), you better be thinking about how to help your people help you achieve those goals. Read more »

Posted by & filed under Safari.

The news today that LinkedIn has agreed to buy video training company Lynda.com came to some as a surprise, but it’s really just the latest (if largest!) signal of the incredible interest in tools and content to help employees (and employers) with the kind of ongoing, lifelong learning and career development that will be critical to success in the 21st century workforce.

Safari started in 2001 as a collection of books offered via the nascent Web, and we’ve since also seen demand grow considerably for video content. Indeed, we have collected and curated more than 11,000 hours of video training (about the same as Lynda, and far more than any other video training site).

But while video gets a lot of media attention, we know firsthand from our millions of users that only a very small percentage (less than 5%) just watch video content. Just as most of us tend to be quite omnivorous in our overall media diet — flitting about among YouTube, Buzzfeed, Twitter, and Snapchat — when it comes to learning new skills, most people prefer a mix of content types. That’s why we’re proud to be able to complement those 11,000 hours of video with more than 29,000 ebooks and audiobooks on business, technology, leadership, and design — exactly the kinds of skills needed to succeed in our information economy.

6% of usage among trial users  is video. 9% of usage among paying customers is video.

The average Safari user spends nearly 2 hours per week reading books and watching video content, and they read about 9 times as much as they watch. A typical pattern we see is that people read books in small chunks on their phone during their morning and afternoon commute, and then watch video courses or conferences in longer sessions on the weekends (and usually on a tablet). That kind of daily habit and practice of learning and reading is like mental exercise, and is the perfect preparation for a knowledge-based economy in a state of constant change.

At Safari, our guiding principle is that we believe everyone deserves a remarkable career. That’s why we help companies around the world provide and track learning across the world’s largest library of training courses, ebooks, audio books, and conference recordings. (In fact, assuming it takes about 5 hours to read a 400-page book, we have well over 170,000 hours of training resources!)

Safari Lynda Video Content

So for us it isn’t that much of a surprise that LinkedIn is thinking about more ways to help people develop in their career — great workplaces invest in giving their people the opportunity to learn and improve the skills they need to do their best work, and promote a culture of sharing that knowledge. And that’s something we’ve been doing for more than a decade with thousands of the world’s best companies (including LinkedIn).

Everyone deserves a remarkable career. Start exploring the world’s largest library of training courses, ebooks, audio books, and conference recordings today for free.

Posted by & filed under Business, communication, influence and persuasion, management, managing yourself.

By Theodore Kinni

Theodore Kinni has written, ghosted, or edited more than 20 business books. He was book review editor for strategy+business for 7 years.

I’m usually oblivious to anything more subtle than a bonk on the head, but even I couldn’t miss the body language in a recent episode of a fair-to-middlin’ TV political drama. In it, an actress playing the U.S. Secretary of State, who is suffering from post-traumatic stress after single-handedly thwarting a coup in Iran, is meeting with an actor playing the President’s chief of staff, who wants her to make a high-stakes appearance on a national TV news program. The chief of staff presses her, asking if she is ready to do the show, and the actress, shaking her head, says, “Absolutely.” He walks away happy.

Clearly, the chief of staff has not read Body Language: It’s What You Don’t Say That Matters (Capstone, 2012) by Robert Phipps. “You’ll typically see this sort of incongruence between words and body language when people are under pressure to do something they don’t really want to do,” explains the UK-based body language expert. “It’s often accompanied by a ‘shoulder shrug,’ which generally indicates one of two things: either ‘indecision’, being caught between a ‘Yes’ and a ‘No;’ or an outright contradiction of the verbal ‘Yes’.” Read more »

Posted by & filed under Business, communication, copywriting, dogfooding, Lunch & Learn.

Working remote may be in vogue, but using our smartphones to field email communication, meeting invites and take on-the-go conference calls is nothing to write home about. We’re all doing it, everyday. We’re using mobile for email communication so much so — that this fall, more than two-thirds of emails were opened from mobile devices alone.

Read more »

Posted by & filed under analytics, Programming & Development, Safari, Tech.

Like most companies, Safari’s interest in analytics data has only grown with time. Knowing how our users interact with our platform helps us to make a better product, and the more detailed questions we can ask about our users, the more successfully we can tailor our efforts to improve their experience. Commercial web site statistics platforms provide a relatively easy way to record and summarize analytics data and are enormously valuable in allowing companies to begin to understand their users. At Safari, for example, we’ve gotten a lot of benefit from using Google Analytics over the years, but at a certain point we began to want to answer questions that were very hard to “ask” of it.

Often this was because the data we needed was very granular and Google Analytics tends to want to answer questions about data in aggregate. On other occasions we needed to be able to stitch together data from our analytics software with other datasets that were internal to the company, which required reams of code to be written to fetch data from the Google Analytics API and reams more to perform entity resolution across those datasets. For commercial analytics platforms the trade-off you make for ease-of-implementation is that your data is never truly your own. Read more »

Posted by & filed under Business, change, Content - Highlights and Reviews, culture, innovation, learning, strategy, work culture.

“The ability of your company to be competitive and survive lies not so much in solutions themselves, but in the capability of the people in your organization to understand a situation and develop solutions.” — Mike Rother

Building a culture of innovation for your organization, without continuous learning, would be equivalent to giving a child an iPad with no battery life. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of watching a child’s disposition billow from curious excitement to nuclear melt-down, you’re aware that technology, without the juice to fuel progress, can elicit a DEFCON 1 condition.

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Business, Content - Highlights and Reviews, leading teams, management, managing yourself.

By Theodore Kinni

Theodore Kinni has written, ghosted, or edited more than 20 business books. He was book review editor for strategy+business for 7 years.

I took a free online leadership assessment created by the Wiseman Group the other day. The good news: I got a near perfect score. The bad news: the assessment measures the degree to which I would diminish people if I were leading them!

Leaders who are “diminishers” weaken employee performance by draining their momentum, sapping their energy, and otherwise feeding on them, according to Liz Wiseman, who, with Greg McKeown, is the author of Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter. Many of the behaviors that diminishers exhibit are self-aggrandizing and simply do not take into account the welfare and interests of employees. But, sometimes, diminishing behaviors can actually be well-intentioned—such as when a leader acts as a buffer between their people and the larger organization, or is overly eager to leap to the rescue whenever people are struggling. Such behaviors can diminish accidentally: For example, by rescuing employees too quickly, a leader can cut them off from learning and empowerment opportunities. Read more »