Workplace experiments at PG

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About this group
We are doing a new work place experiment and were wondering how we could be extending this to folks beyond the developing sphere. The PaGaLGuY.com Slog Blog Blog Archive Workplace experiments: Four Point Someone The text on our blog is ...
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About Marketers and Designers and Content Guys:

You are telling me your guys in these depts don't have side things/projects A.K.A. their own IDEAS ??? Ummm, Sorry but can't believe that. Heck, I have ideas on: How to run this country, How to run the BCCI, what would I do at PG if I ever work there, where and how I would like to change something in this world... The point is Everybody has ideas, sometimes you have to make people search for them...

Marketing: I don't know much but I think Seth Godin but I feel he popularized the "permission marketing" .. So, Marketing could still do with some ideas

Content: Well Well Well, I feel for reportersjournalists, content writers the scope is limitless because apart from the usual reporting, you can always come up with great initiatives that could alter the course of what you are doing :
The pen is still mightier than the sword and you can win still win battles with it:

You want one: What about Pagalguy on Wikipedia: I guess its not there yet ????

That is a lot of thinking. Though writing about the world and the country in the .1 after writing about MBA in the .4 doesn't qualify as a side project 😉 , but yes, people on content would be working on exploring newer media to publish information - such as video, building wikis, collaborative book publishing, using mashups for richer information, and the works. The key here is to already have a comfort level with all these technologies in the side projects so that when it comes to building products on PG, the content team already knows how to deliver the best mix of information.
I come in peace. Take me to your leader. http://www.twitter.com/apurv
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Developers have so many such projects(learning new languages, contributing to open source projects etc) doing which they will feel very happy. so what we still need to figure out is what will be such side-projects for marketing and Content people which makes them very happy.

Cheers,
Deepu.

@deepu
Now thats why I said you should have tech guys on the forum Thanks Deepu for the insight... I can understand, learning is sometimes great fun...

About Marketers and Designers and Content Guys:

You are telling me your guys in these depts don't have side things/projects A.K.A. their own IDEAS ??? Ummm, Sorry but can't believe that. Heck, I have ideas on: How to run this country, How to run the BCCI, what would I do at PG if I ever work there, where and how I would like to change something in this world... The point is Everybody has ideas, sometimes you have to make people search for them...

Marketing: I don't know much but I think Seth Godin but I feel he popularized the "permission marketing" .. So, Marketing could still do with some ideas

Content: Well Well Well, I feel for reportersjournalists, content writers the scope is limitless because apart from the usual reporting, you can always come up with great initiatives that could alter the course of what you are doing :
The pen is still mightier than the sword and you can win still win battles with it:

You want one: What about Pagalguy on Wikipedia: I guess its not there yet ????

For the Creative/Designer guys at PG: TRY THIS : www.coroflot.com

The thing about ideas is, it may happen that your 'big idea' may not be related to what you are doing presently or what your profession is, so don't bound ur teams to work on their projects in their sphere: Ask them to come up any God dammed Idea under the sun, Listen to it, if you feel its worth it.. Pursue it

@Pagalguy
Just one point:

Qualifications: This may already be a trend at PGHQ but am still compelled to point out as 99.99% of the companies in the world give max importance to Qualifications.
WHY? Why does it matter ... I don't get it. You need a person who loves to do developing not someone who does it because his parents asked him to be a Computer Engineer. If you have someone who loves what he does, rest assured, his productivity and efficiency won't be related to what you pay him... He'll do it because he loves it and not because you pay him for it....

@harshadk

I don't see anywhere mentioned that PG has said if their developers innovate something, PG.com would take it. I think if they are allowing them to work on side projects of their own, it means, PG won't take credit for it... Hope I am right --) Pagalguy, deepu??
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You have said that you are experimenting with the idea to give your developers a chance to work on thier own projects. Here, I have an idea that could integrate your developers and marketers in the 4.1 strategy:

1. Tell your Non-Technical team to come up with something new/different/insane . The developers then give it a look and try to experiment whether it is technically possible. Actually, "If you give someone an Idea and they say its impossible,nobody can do it, its preposterous etc." THAT is your 'Next Big Thing'.

2. Now why am I saying that ask your developers to experiment with PG instead of going for their own projects:

For PG: If even one Great Idea gets implemented, who knows what it could do for us....

For Developers: If they make their own projects, they may test it somewhere BUT if they try something that is integrated with PG, their testing ground is The Best MBA website in the country and plus if they want to take it to R&D; of some Big Shot, they have the backing of having tested and successfully implemented it on a website teeming with enthusiastic users.




what you have said is the procedure we normally follow for the PG projects for which developers work for 4 days a week. But side-projects may not be products at all. The focus should be on spending time doing something(related to the field) which one loves the most even if it doesn't result in any product or monetary benefit for the company. For ex:- A developer might want to learn a different language which isn't useful for PG and from which PG cannot gain anything monetarily. But if he spends one day learning that language and is happy about that, then good for PG.

Developers have so many such projects(learning new languages, contributing to open source projects etc) doing which they will feel very happy. so what we still need to figure out is what will be such side-projects for marketing and Content people which makes them very happy.

Cheers,
Deepu.
.
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Hello !

I think this is a great idea ( I'd loved it when I'd read about it in the Google Story ).

I don't think extending this to marketing and other departments should be very difficult as long as the people there are disciplined enough to use the opportunity in the right spirit. I've worked in marketing, and I've often had ideas which I would have liked to spend more time on, but couldn't.

I see 2 problems here, both wrt to time constraints.

1. I've worked in my own start-up, and most of the time, at least in the beginning, it's a fight for survival. Time is a huge constraint, and if you don't have financial back-up, you CANNOT experiment with radical ideas even if they appear good because of the risk involved. But this shouldn't be a problem with PG as it has grown sufficiently big and stabilized itself ( as far as I see it )

2. How practical is it to finish off the week's work in 4 days? In many places, it's very difficult NOT to come to work on extra days, forget finishing it in 1 day less. A lot of thinking has to go into the job design and responsibility allocation to make this work.

Yet another issue I can think of is what kind of incentive that an employee will have to work on a side-project knowing that if it's successful, it'll be taken over by the company.

But it's a great thing to see PG doing this.... :)

Cheers,
Harshad

Not sure how 'stabilized' we are - but we are looking to grow faster and better than we have and we are now needing to test the boundaries of what we want to be when we grow up. That for us is challenging and this is a move in that direction.

Incentivising developers/teams to work on side projects also is a challenge and we will go ahead and figure a way to make that happen as well. It takes people and resources to pull that off and it would be the company's responsibility to manage it effectively. I can't imagine everyone wanting to work on the same set of products forever and this way we may be able to help manage people, aspirations and keep growing as fast as we can
Command like a king, work like a slave.
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AFA I am concerned, PG is/will not be short of Content Writers, grahic designers or marketers. For a site such as PG which is still developing, you need programmers and developers who are ready to experiment.

See, I feel, the ultimate aim of any person(in his respective field) is to innovate and when you are at the initial stage, you don't make boundaries as to what your 'Big Idea' would be. At that stage, it can be anything but it should be unique and something people sit and take notice of.

You have said that you are experimenting with the idea to give your developers a chance to work on thier own projects. Here, I have an idea that could integrate your developers and marketers in the 4.1 strategy:

1. Tell your Non-Technical team to come up with something new/different/insane . The developers then give it a look and try to experiment whether it is technically possible. Actually, "If you give someone an Idea and they say its impossible,nobody can do it, its preposterous etc." THAT is your 'Next Big Thing'.

P.S. There is this Sci-Fi series: Stragate Atlantis : it has a character: Dr. Mckay, the Best Brain on Earth: Whenever the stargate team has some tech. stuff that seems impossible, they look to him and he Cribs like anything ( that it is humanely impossible et al) but does it in the end

2. Now why am I saying that ask your developers to experiment with PG instead of going for their own projects:

For PG: If even one Great Idea gets implemented, who knows what it could do for us....

For Developers: If they make their own projects, they may test it somewhere BUT if they try something that is integrated with PG, their testing ground is The Best MBA website in the country and plus if they want to take it to R&D; of some Big Shot, they have the backing of having tested and successfully implemented it on a website teeming with enthusiastic users.


Again, good stuff here. We are looking to structure it in that fashion i.e to let everyone work together to decide and work on projects. I believe we need to structure the regular jobs to even make sure they have to implement stuff for PG as well and then they can work on side projects during the weekend. We are still grappling with the broader set of guide-lines and how we want to go about achieving it. But atleast we've put the stake in the ground and will go about finding a solution to how we can manage this best.
Command like a king, work like a slave.
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Hello !



2. How practical is it to finish off the week's work in 4 days? In many places, it's very difficult NOT to come to work on extra days, forget finishing it in 1 day less. A lot of thinking has to go into the job design and responsibility allocation to make this work.

Yet another issue I can think of is what kind of incentive that an employee will have to work on a side-project knowing that if it's successful, it'll be taken over by the company.

But it's a great thing to see PG doing this.... :)

Cheers,
Harshad


Harshad,
thanks for posting your views. about the problems that you have quoted :-

2) Yup not everyone can be so productive as to complete the work in 4 days. it needs a good level of skill in doing the work and also some sense of personal productivity so as to not waste time on unnecessary things. so with these experiments getting into PGHQ just got a bit tougher (in the sense that one needs to posses both the above mentioned qualities)

Also the company's intention is " Don't be evil" . Although we are yet to figure out the proper policies, i don't think anyone will jeopardize the relationship with their employee, who just created a rockstar product , just for some more money.


Cheers,
Deepu.
.
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Hello !

I think this is a great idea ( I'd loved it when I'd read about it in the Google Story ).

I don't think extending this to marketing and other departments should be very difficult as long as the people there are disciplined enough to use the opportunity in the right spirit. I've worked in marketing, and I've often had ideas which I would have liked to spend more time on, but couldn't.

I see 2 problems here, both wrt to time constraints.

1. I've worked in my own start-up, and most of the time, at least in the beginning, it's a fight for survival. Time is a huge constraint, and if you don't have financial back-up, you CANNOT experiment with radical ideas even if they appear good because of the risk involved. But this shouldn't be a problem with PG as it has grown sufficiently big and stabilized itself ( as far as I see it )

2. How practical is it to finish off the week's work in 4 days? In many places, it's very difficult NOT to come to work on extra days, forget finishing it in 1 day less. A lot of thinking has to go into the job design and responsibility allocation to make this work.

Yet another issue I can think of is what kind of incentive that an employee will have to work on a side-project knowing that if it's successful, it'll be taken over by the company.

But it's a great thing to see PG doing this.... :)

Cheers,
Harshad

Commenting on this post has been disabled by the moderator.

The 4.1 idea - the challenge is to extend this to marketers, graphics etc. I wonder if people in marketing/advt/content can become a part of projects. For example, we think the idea for the project could come from marketers, content or graphics folks and if the idea is sufficiently large enough then developers would join in.


AFA I am concerned, PG is/will not be short of Content Writers, grahic designers or marketers. For a site such as PG which is still developing, you need programmers and developers who are ready to experiment.

See, I feel, the ultimate aim of any person(in his respective field) is to innovate and when you are at the initial stage, you don't make boundaries as to what your 'Big Idea' would be. At that stage, it can be anything but it should be unique and something people sit and take notice of.

You have said that you are experimenting with the idea to give your developers a chance to work on thier own projects. Here, I have an idea that could integrate your developers and marketers in the 4.1 strategy:

1. Tell your Non-Technical team to come up with something new/different/insane . The developers then give it a look and try to experiment whether it is technically possible. Actually, "If you give someone an Idea and they say its impossible,nobody can do it, its preposterous etc." THAT is your 'Next Big Thing'.

P.S. There is this Sci-Fi series: Stragate Atlantis : it has a character: Dr. Mckay, the Best Brain on Earth: Whenever the stargate team has some tech. stuff that seems impossible, they look to him and he Cribs like anything ( that it is humanely impossible et al) but does it in the end

2. Now why am I saying that ask your developers to experiment with PG instead of going for their own projects:

For PG: If even one Great Idea gets implemented, who knows what it could do for us....

For Developers: If they make their own projects, they may test it somewhere BUT if they try something that is integrated with PG, their testing ground is The Best MBA website in the country and plus if they want to take it to R&D; of some Big Shot, they have the backing of having tested and successfully implemented it on a website teeming with enthusiastic users.
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This is a good start .. For having not worked at a start-up, you surely have thought this through 😃

1) In terms of developers sharing ideas with PG, quite possible. We are planning on an internal vote system to manage that but yes we could also through it open on PG. We might find new folks to work concurrently on projects.

2) The 4.1 idea - the challenge is to extend this to marketers, graphics etc. I wonder if people in marketing/advt/content can become a part of projects. For example, we think the idea for the project could come from marketers, content or graphics folks and if the idea is sufficiently large enough then developers would join in :D


3) Wonderful idea - we were looking at managing dev camps, bar camps and other events - but this could be a wonderful new idea .. every week every one comes to come and discuss business ideas and how we think we can create the next big thing.

Command like a king, work like a slave.
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While google has proved that it is possible to do at the developer level, is this a culture that can be taken over to marketing, content, strategy, graphics and the full monty? What do you guys think. How is your experience working at startups and what do you think they could do to attract better talent?



Well, I don't have any exp at working for start-ups but yes, being a fresher I can pit through some ideas as to what would be the kind of start up I would like o work with.

The basic thing to understand is, if anybodu knows he is good, he'll definitely eye the bigger fish instead of going for a start-up and hence you need to give him the flexibility to innovate ans experiment to keep him. This is what you ahve already done, hence Kudos to your team.

Now my suggestions:

1. As far as your developers go, one thing they could do (if they are comfortable with it) is to post their innovation/idea here and get the reviews of thejunta, thus helping him to improve upon his work. AND, who knows, he may find someone on PG working on the same thing and they could collaborate to bring up the next Google

2. The 4.1 strategy (I m loving it )would work fine with everyone but the priorities will change. See, people in designing, developing and technical stuff can work on their individual projects but guys into marketing/advertising/mangerial positions etc. would do the same only for the Co. they working for. Hence, you could use the strategy for everyone but the best thing is to give ur complete team this idea and tell them to Test It.

3. You could bring this officially alive on PG: Call the developers, designers and anybody else you can think of, ask them to put forward their "BIG IDEA" and then get the views of the people of their fields(they would be able to pinpoint the loopholes better than the junta) and then meet up and discuss it at some place (PGHQ on Sundays maybe... )


What Say ???
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