12 Questions: Meet Jelena Mirkovic Jankovic (Serbia) Audree | May 22nd, 2014

In our 12 Questions blog series, we feature interviews with someone from the crowdSPRING community. For these interviews, we pick people who add value to our community – in the blog, in the forums, in the projects. Plainly – activities that make crowdSPRING a better community. Be professional, treat others with respect, help us build something very special, and we’ll take notice.

We’re very proud to feature Jelena Mirkovic Jankovic (crowdSPRING username: JMJ) today. Jelena lives and works in Belgrade, Serbia.

JMJ

1. Please tell us about yourself.


When I think a bit, my name is mom. Most of the day I respond to IT: Moooom, come to see this!!! 
Moooom, why are turtles bold? 
Mom, will the people on clouds fall down on us one day? 
Mom, why are there no woman pirates? 
…and so on and so forth. 
Seventhousandandeightynine times a day!
And the rest of the day – when I’m not dressed in the magic “mom” costume – I’m simply Jelena. I got Mirkovic from my father and I greedily snatched Jankovic from my husband. And thus we got JMJ (Jelena Mirkovic Jankovic).

Oh, I forgot to tell you. 
I am actually a sculptor. Deeply involved in painting and arts. And again – in momhood.NegativeColorVertical

It all started a long time ago – almost 38 years ago, when everything that could be drawn – was drawn, when all that could be colored – got colored. And that “disease” remained incurable in my case. I was born in Bosanski Petrovac, a small town in Bosnia (ex-Yugoslavia), where I blissfully lived the best and most magnificent childhood on earth.  This was a childhood ample with smells of earth and sky, full of colors, bare feet, animals and freedom. Following my “artistic urge”, which is more powerful than orientation (what I would be when I grew up), I left to attend the High School of Art in Novi Sad (Serbia), where I graduated from the Department for Interior and Industrial Design. I never wondered what I would do later. Nor did I have any compromise. I wanted to study painting. Alas, all the teachers who saw the drawings that I prepared for the entrance exam said – you’re born to be a sculptor. And it took me just few days to make five portraits (plaster cast) and take them, still “hot”, to the exam. This is how I became a graduate sculptor and art professor. In spite of my fingertips being enamored with the tactile world of sculpture, my ontological need for painting, drawing and colors never ceased, it was rather simultaneous. Following this urge, I finalized my Master at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Belgrade, Department for the Theory of Culture, and I defended the thesis entitled Color and Culture (from myth to postmodern culture).

2. How did you become interested in design?
Huh, entirely by chance!
By the end of my studies, I visited a friend and colleague in a marketing agency and their design studio. At that moment, they sought a junior designer, which was not me, of course. I had zero experience. And no designer portfolio whatsoever. The only thing that I always had with me was a bunch of drawings. And yet, almost the same day, I found myself before a Wacom tablet, exploring the world of design from a completely different perspective – a creative one.
Almost 15 years have lapsed since then, and for the past seven years I have been employed as art director in several marketing agencies. I am currently working for an international company as consultant at the position of art director for several projects.

Read the rest of this post »

How Typography Affects Conversions and Sales Ross | May 21st, 2014

typography-is-important

 

Do you give much thought to the typography you use on your website or marketing materials? You should! Typography plays an important role in influencing people’s decisions.

For example, Tahoma is the most legible font at size 10, Courier is the most legible at size 12 and Arial is the most legible at size 14. Since people spend so little time looking at web pages, you should optimize your content to be as legible as possible, at all times.

Typography can be a small detail in an otherwise large site. But sometimes the smallest details have a big impact.

Neil Patel created a helpful infographic (below) that explains good/bad practices when it comes to typography and conversions.

Read the rest of this post »

5 Things Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Superheroes! Mike | May 19th, 2014

To many people out there (investors, business students, politicians) entrepreneurs are heroes of the first degree. They are lionized, studied, imitated, and held up as shining examples of American ingenuity and creativity. But truly, entrepreneurs are heroes of the second degree. Although their creativity can not be denied, their energy borders on legendary, their resourcefulness is unmatched, and their passion boundless, they still have a great deal to learn. And who better to learn from the Superheroes!

When it comes to strength of character and ability to persevere through tough times, no entrepreneur can even start to compare to the likes of Spider-Man, Batman, Wonder Woman, or Captain America! These heroes are the archetypal crime fighters, the justice slamming vigilantes, the saviors of all that is good and valuable in our society. They represent the powerless and strike down the evil! Kinda makes running a small business seem tedious by comparison, no?

This doesn’t mean that we can’t draw lessons from these selfless paragons of virtue. After all, aren’t entrepreneurs also intent on creating businesses for the benefit of humanity? Here are 5 lessons we can draw from our Superheroes!

1. Powers. Superheroes have powers galore: secret powers, supernatural powers. They posses extraordinary powers of strength, agility, and flexibility, not to mention the crazy weird powers to set things on fire, stretch themselves to unheard of lengths, perform gymnastic contortions, and deflect just about any projectile hurled their way. Entrepreneurs powers may pale in comparison, but that don’t mean we ain’t got em; the trick is in understanding your own strengths and weaknesses. Entrepreneurs need a healthy dose of self-awareness in order to know what they are great at, what they need help with, and what they downright suck at. This awareness helps us to build better businesses, create stronger teams, and (when necessary) turn to others to ask for help. Matter of fact, that humble ability to know when they need assistance can be the mark of a true super-entrepreneur.

2. Branding. Seriously. Superheroes rock at their ability to create and sustain a brand image.  The costumes, the logos, the instantly-identifiable masks and capes! One of the hallmarks of a great superhero is their ability to be recognized instantly, whether in person or by something left behind. Who wouldn’t recognize Spider-Man swooping through the urban canyons in a flash of red and blue? Who on this earth would not know that the bat silhouette icon projected on the night skies is not the world-famous logo of the Dark Knight? Entrepreneurs must focus hard on creating brand value for their own companies through creating strong visual iconography that differentiates them from the competition and creates an indelible image in the minds of their customers.

Read the rest of this post »

Twitter Link Roundup #223 – Small Business, Startups, Innovation, Social Media, Design, Marketing and More Ross | May 16th, 2014

spacefelix

Every day on the crowdSPRING Twitter account and on my own Twitter account, I post links to posts or videos I enjoyed reading or viewing. These posts and videos are about logo design, web design, startups, entrepreneurship, small business, leadership, social media, marketing, and more! Here are some of the links that I’ve liked and shared this past week!

The above image shows Felix Baumgarnter before his famous jump from a helium balloon in the stratosphere (where he set an altitude record for a manned balloon flight, parachute jump from the highest altitude, and greatest free fall velocity). You will find more examples of epic photos in the Other section below.

smallbusinessblog

What Influences People To Buy Products or Services? Top 10 Factors – crowdspring.co/1jWAkij

Small Business and Startup Tips: Enjoying Your Customers For Profit and Fun – crowdspring.co/1jy0bxm

7 Magic Words (And 10 Negotiation Ideas) For Entrepreneurs | Forbes by Cheryl Snapp – crowdspring.co/1uUleyG

The 7 Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs | Entrepreneur – crowdspring.co/QIOBDJ

Founders Can’t Scale: Fact or Fiction? – crowdspring.co/1iGeQlb

What Zillow Learned From Setting Unrealistic Goals | Fast Company – crowdspring.co/1uUZ9zW

startupsblog

Small Business and Startup Tips: Enjoying Your Customers For Profit and Fun – crowdspring.co/1jy0bxm

Very good overview from Chicago Tribune on Chicago’s coworking spaces – crowdspring.co/1uUmhyF

The 7 Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs | Entrepreneur – crowdspring.co/QIOBDJ

7 Magic Words (And 10 Negotiation Ideas) For Entrepreneurs | Forbes by Cheryl Snapp – crowdspring.co/1uUleyG

The Startup Mass Extinction | The New Yorker – crowdspring.co/1jTnSQs

Interesting insight for entrepreneurs raising seed rounds (best/worst times of year to do so) – crowdspring.co/1iGe0EW

What fuels great design (and why most startups don’t do it) – crowdspring.co/1nFcUi7

What Influences People To Buy Products or Services? Top 10 Factors – crowdspring.co/1jWAkij

4 crucial principles for a compelling startup website | Webdesigner Depot – crowdspring.co/1iGkzr9

How Much Can You Really Spend on Marketing? (And The “Problem” With The S+M=ACV Axiom) | saastr – crowdspring.co/1nEMgpF

The Anatomy of the Perfect Technical Interview from a Former Amazon VP – crowdspring.co/Rswumt

How To Use Portfolio Theory At Your Startup | by Chris Yeh – crowdspring.co/1jkfmFu

Mobile Commerce Sales to Top $100 Billion In 2014, Forrester Estimates – crowdspring.co/1iGdIy3

Another billion dollar exist for a Chicago tech company (Fieldglass) – crowdspring.co/1g4kMtQ

Founders Can’t Scale: Fact or Fiction? – crowdspring.co/1iGeQlb

Apple buying Beats could radically transform the digital music business – crowdspring.co/1nELuZC

Knockoff products … an increasingly growing problem at Amazon – crowdspring.co/1g5t0By

The Mind Does Not Belong in a Cubicle | Atlantic Mobile – crowdspring.co/RsA6Fh

What Zillow Learned From Setting Unrealistic Goals | Fast Company – crowdspring.co/1uUZ9zW

socialmediablog

What Influences People To Buy Products or Services? Top 10 Factors – crowdspring.co/1jWAkij

Andrew Sullivan on native ads: Journalism has surrendered | Digiday – crowdspring.co/1kSVlZl

A Framework for Maximizing Startup Marketing Effectiveness | by Tomasz Tunguz – crowdspring.co/1g5sEuQ

Asking why is not always the best strategy | Inside Intercom – crowdspring.co/1jkkJ7A

How Much Can You Really Spend on Marketing? (And The “Problem” With The S+M=ACV Axiom) | saastr – crowdspring.co/1nEMgpF

How to Plan Your Content Marketing Strategy Beyond the Blog (Part 1 of 2) – crowdspring.co/1uUryGu

designblog

70 New High Quality Free Fonts For Professional Designers | InstantShift – crowdspring.co/1iGknYZ

What’s new for designers, May 2014 | Webdesigner Depot – crowdspring.co/RHLHQY

Read the rest of this post »

What Influences People To Buy Products or Services? Top 10 Factors Ross | May 13th, 2014

decisionfactors

Why do people buy one company’s products or services while ignoring the products or services of a competitor? What influences people’s purchasing decisions?

Some, like Clay Christensen, argue that customers “hire” products (or services). It’s a novel theory –  one that requires you to carefully listen to your customers.

People’s purchasing decisions – both online and offline – are influenced by many factors. The following infographic from BigCommerce summarizes the key factors.

Quality dominates people’s purchasing decisions. That’s not surprising. Brands like Apple have gained substantial market share by introducing high quality products. More surprising was the finding that more than half of all shoppers research big-ticket items in-store before buying them online. This offers retail businesses a tremendous opportunity to find ways to convert those customers in the store.

Read the rest of this post »

Small Business and Startup Tips: Enjoying Your Customers For Profit and Fun Mike | May 12th, 2014

When a customer walks through your door, be it a bricks-and-mortar door or a virtual one, it is paramount that they be greeted and feel welcomed into your business. Not just making them at home, or perhaps offering a little espresso, but rather making them feel that you are there to help them, to answer their questions, to find what they are looking for, or to chit chat about whatever is on their mind. There is no reason that the conversations you or your team have with customers should not be enjoyable for both of you. The best conversations are the fun conversations and these are the ones you want to actively encourage.

This means being accessible, being knowledgeable, being thoughtful, and being helpful. Every member of your team, whether it is a front-line cashier or a back-end coder, needs to understand your offering and be able (and willing) to help any customer. A baseline level of availability is necessary to build relationships with your customers; this can be achieved by positioning salespeople on the floor where customers can see them, by adding live chat features to your website, by displaying your customer service phone number prominently on every page of your site, or by communicating proactively through emails, newsletters, or mailings.

But aside from simply being available, of equal importance is how you are available; the quality of your communications count. What possible good can come with a surly or rude counter-person? How do potential customers feel if they are ignored or treated coldly? Here are five things any front-line employee can do to welcome customers, make them feel wanted, give them comfort that you are here to serve, and actually enjoy the interaction!

1. Understand them. The first step in communicating with your customers is to understand who they are, why they came to you, and what the problem they’re trying to solve might be. The basics of this are simple: if someone walks into a hardware store, chances are excellent that they want to buy some kind of tools or supplies, right? But it is impossible to know exactly which aisle they need unless you ask. Anyone in your business who is entrusted with speaking to customers needs a level of empathy and understanding that allows them to help that customer find exactly what they are looking for, advise them on their choices, and arrive at a decision on what they will buy from you that day.

2. Stay off-script. Last week, I had another of those incredibly frustrating calls with a customer service agent on the other end of the line insisted on reading to me (over and over) from the scripted response she was required to deliver. What this particular company (OK fine – it was People’s Gas) clearly didn’t understand, was that every customer is different and every customer’s problem is unique to that person. This is why we train our customer service agents to be natural in their conversations, to be themselves with our customers, and to understand that every response is must be distinct. Building a culture of service starts with the people who deliver that service and teaching them to communicate effectively without relying on a script is a good lace to start. Read the rest of this post »

Twitter Link Roundup #222 – Small Business, Startups, Innovation, Social Media, Design, Marketing and More Ross | May 9th, 2014

strava

Every day on the crowdSPRING Twitter account and on my own Twitter account, I post links to posts or videos I enjoyed reading or viewing. These posts and videos are about logo design, web design, startups, entrepreneurship, small business, leadership, social media, marketing, and more! Here are some of the links that I’ve liked and shared this past week!

The image above is an interesting project from Strava, showing a heatmat of bike paths in the Chicago area. You can look at similar data for any geographic area in the world on the Strava Labs site for biking and running. Here’s a link to the Chicago map, but you can easily navigate to another geographic area.

smallbusinessblog

Raising the Minimum Wage: Why it Matters to Small Business – crowdspring.co/1iitwqt

Founders with Kids – crowdspring.co/1rW91oS

U.S. businesses are being destroyed faster than they’re being created – crowdspring.co/Rr3vPY

startupsblog

Entrepreneurship and Women: How We Can and Should Make “Female” an Unnecessary Adjective | by Kelsey Recht – crowdspring.co/1j0I8Qg

Surprising Trends in Startup Founder Equity Stakes | by Tomasz Tunguz  – crowdspring.co/1njnhbl

The Unraveling of Miami-Based Gui.de | Tech Cocktail – crowdspring.co/1i671VI

Founders with Kids – crowdspring.co/1rW91oS

The math behind why Midwest is a promising place for venture capitalists – pic.twitter.com/43K7jXW9MO

Top Venture Capitalists Leave Silicon Valley, Bet Their Careers On Midwest – crowdspring.co/SEC1rh

The Anatomy of the Perfect Technical Interview from a Former Amazon VP – crowdspring.co/Rswumt

Three Musts to Retaining Superstar Talent | by Jeff Weiner – crowdspring.co/1lVbAHT

Fantastic essay by @abbymyles on the current obsession with design/designers & market realities – crowdspring.co/1lWpMjT

Why Square Needs To Sell Itself–And Do It Quickly – crowdspring.co/1nQ2H4E

How to Know When Your Great Idea is Ready for the World – crowdspring.co/1mAl75N

A Discussion on Material Choices in Mobile – crowdspring.co/1lYw8iS

Unfortunately, SaaS Start-Up Valuations Are About To Fall by 50% | saastr – crowdspring.co/1j3n4bO

U.S. businesses are being destroyed faster than they’re being created – crowdspring.co/Rr3vPY

With IPO Hopes Fading, Square And Box Face Reality Of Commodity Products | TechCrunch – crowdspring.co/1rWbako

The Collaborative Economy Raises Over $800m In One Month | by Jeremiah Owyang – crowdspring.co/1j0IXIT

Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook’s Future, From Virtual Reality to Anonymity | WIRED – crowdspring.co/1rWbCzf

“The sharing economy is on a path to reinvent our economy, our culture and the way we live and work.” – crowdspring.co/1j0HTod

Words of wisdom from Bonobos: don’t hire for experience – crowdspring.co/1nQ25Mo

socialmediablog

21 Digital Marketing Trends & Predictions for 2015 – crowdspring.co/1rTXJ4A

NY Times: 57% Of Online Video Ads Unviewable – crowdspring.co/1mzrq9u

10 ways to fix the unseen video ad problem | Digiday – crowdspring.co/SEBENl

Why It’s Time To Re-Think Real-Time | by David Armano – crowdspring.co/1s04die

The Answer to the Organic Reach vs Advertising Problem on Social Media Channels – crowdspring.co/1rTUmdM

Why Users Aren’t Clicking Your Home Page Carousel | UX Movement – crowdspring.co/1nQ1J8r

Why the social networks are falling apart | Computerworld by Mike Elgan – crowdspring.co/1mAjDIB

designblog

Typography Lovers Rejoice: Font Town Offers More Than 30,000 Free Fonts | noupe – crowdspring.co/1jfIt19

23 Inspiringly Beautiful Portfolio Designs – crowdspring.co/1mVP03W

Read the rest of this post »

Raising the Minimum Wage: Why it Matters to Small Business Mike | May 5th, 2014

In his new book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty argues that the gap between the wealthiest members of our society and the poorest has widened significantly over the past decade. Much of this increasing discrepancy is accounted for by the global recession that began in 2008, but much of the blame lies with the policy-makers in the world’s great capitols. For much of the past 6 years, governments responded to the rise in unemployment by instituting austerity measures that did little to reduce the effects of the recession but, it can be argued, actually made the problem worst by magnifying the reduction in demand that led to a downward spiral.

In order for an economy to remain healthy and to grow over time, demand for goods and products must be sustainable – remember small businesses are dependent on the customers who buy their products or services; when those customers no longer have the means to do so, small business suffers. And because small businesses are also customers themselves, consuming lots of products and services  offered by other businesses large and small, they too will purchase less over time, magnifying the problem and quickening the downward spiral. In other words, we are each other’s customers and when one of us can’t pay her bills, all of us suffer.

The minimum wage was established under President Roosevelt in 1938, when congress legislated that no worker should earn less than 25¢ per hour. This increased over the next three decades, such that by 1968, the federal minimum wage was up to $1.60. The last increase in the minimum wage was in 2007, when it was increased to $7.25 per hour. For three decades, policy makers used the minimum wage to slowly decrease the gap between the richest among us and the poorest, but in the past 4 decades since 1968, inflation has steadily decreased the value of the minimum wage, such that it is now worth less than it was at the end of World War 2. The chart above illustrates the gap between the “actual” minimum wage (in gray) and the inflation-adjusted value (in blue). It is this erosion that most hurts small businesses over time; if our customers (and their customers) can afford to consume less and less over time, business suffers. Read the rest of this post »

Twitter Link Roundup #221 – Small Business, Startups, Innovation, Social Media, Design, Marketing and More Ross | May 2nd, 2014

Every day on the crowdSPRING Twitter account and on my own Twitter account, I post links to posts or videos I enjoyed reading or viewing. These posts and videos are about logo design, web design, startups, entrepreneurship, small business, leadership, social media, marketing, and more! Here are some of the links that I’ve liked and shared this past week!

The video above is a phenomenal and fun short performance by four musicians who perform some incredible stunts while masterfully continuing to play their instruments.

smallbusinessblog

Small Business, Culture and Pancakes – crowdspring.co/1mR8eb1

Empower Your Small Business, latest crowdSPRING newsletter: managing remote vendors, marketing tips, culture – crowdspring.co/1hS8brU

The Sharing Economy Is About Desperation | NYMag – crowdspring.co/1k6bGZ4

6 Tips for Reluctant Negotiators | by Whitney Johnson, Harvard Business Review – crowdspring.co/1k6nQRA

Why a standard resume is not enough for hiring – crowdspring.co/1k6oLBD

I always find useful info for Small Business in Gene Marks’ NYT column – crowdspring.co/1fr34QU

startupsblog

Larry Page: The Untold Story | Business Insider – crowdspring.co/1k8QdzZ

Why startup biz dev deals almost never get done – crowdspring.co/1fmCrMM

Start-ups are all Naked in the Mirror – crowdspring.co/1hxDXdJ

Some Reflections on VC Investment Decisions – crowdspring.co/1k68xbJ

The Hard Truths of Entrepreneurship – crowdspring.co/1k6tXVS

“The most valuable compensation for working at a startup … is a dramatically higher rate-of-learning (ROL).” – crowdspring.co/1fmEnVQ

Cycling IS the new golf for entrepreneurs! – crowdspring.co/1ftv1Y3

80% of Your Culture is Your Founder | First Round Capital – crowdspring.co/1lk0ZGm

6 Tips for Reluctant Negotiators | by Whitney Johnson, Harvard Business Review – crowdspring.co/1k6nQRA

The Sharing Economy Is About Desperation | NYMag – crowdspring.co/1k6bGZ4

Hottest Pre-IPO Adtech Startups | Business Insider – crowdspring.co/1k6cUmV

10 Creative Rituals You Should Steal | 99U – crowdspring.co/1iD9lIC

Who Gets Into Accelerators? Persistent Men With SaaS Apps, Says Study | TechCrunch – crowdspring.co/1lk1C2o

A Critique of “Don’t Fuck Up The Culture” – crowdspring.co/1mPAZVz

Why a standard resume is not enough for hiring – crowdspring.co/1k6oLBD

Startups Anonymous: Things founders say to investors that are complete BS | PandoDaily – crowdspring.co/1lSUyZ9

Interesting trend at VC firms … design partners | Co.Design – crowdspring.co/1k67wjJ

One Startup’s Struggle to Survive the Silicon Valley Gold Rush | WIRED – crowdspring.co/1fmuIOO

Data Doesn’t Speak for Itself | Thomas C. Redman – Harvard Business Review – crowdspring.co/1kf1Xzu

How Founders Can Fight Through The Great Fragmentation Of Talent | Haywire – crowdspring.co/1hxFsZn

The Bubble Question | AVC – crowdspring.co/1mPBizM

The New Role Of Leaders | Digital Tonto – crowdspring.co/1fmuVlc

If Management is the Only Way Up, We’re All F’d – crowdspring.co/1fms5wx

socialmediablog

Marketers Not Prepared for Negative Feedback: New Research | Social Media Examiner – crowdspring.co/1mVP5ES

Is Native Advertising Even Profitable for Brands? | Copyblogger – crowdspring.co/1kl099w

Interesting Facebook post on the viral potential of rumors … The strange truth about fiction – crowdspring.co/1rJBrCv

Are Brands Measuring the Wrong Type of Engagement? (Red Bull as a Case Study) – crowdspring.co/1kf1c9K

The Evolution of Digital Media – crowdspring.co/1ixsITp

Data Doesn’t Speak for Itself | Thomas C. Redman – Harvard Business Review – crowdspring.co/1kf1Xzu

This Advice From IDEO’s Nicole Kahn Will Transform the Way You Give Presentations – crowdspring.co/1k8OWbU

8 Powerful Takeaways from Eye Tracking Studies – crowdspring.co/1iDkmJs

designblog

Cool Stamp Designs | Abduzeedo – crowdspring.co/1iDjYdM

An Utterly Subjective Guide To The Best Chairs At Milan Design Week | Co.Design – crowdspring.co/1iDkxUU

Read the rest of this post »

Small Business, Culture and Pancakes Mike | April 28th, 2014

Remember when you were a kid and mom would hang one of your drawings on the door of the fridge? How good did that make you feel to be recognized? To have your wonderful talents displayed for everyone to see? When we celebrate the work of a family member or a team member it is an affirmation of belonging and a recognition of the contribution any individual can make to the group. A great team truly is stronger than the sum of its parts and this goes for companies just as much as it does for families.

Lots and lots has been written about the importance of company culture; how it is critical to growth, to innovation, and to creativity. Too often culture is simply used a buzzword — a simplistic way to say that our company is cool. Culture is not about cool, it is about respecting the contribution of each individual, empowering them to do their best, teaching them that they can and should empower others and, most importantly, making each member of the team feel that they are a part of something bigger, something important. How a company goes about doing this has everything to do with the values they promote and the atmosphere they create.

The values a company works to instill and nurture have to be owned by everyone who works together at a company. Managers can not simply make statements about values, they need to take time to teach values, to live by those same values, and to encourage everyone to do the same. This can start with simple affirmations of each team member’s contributions to the company. A great example of this is how a few years ago Ross started a wonderful project: whenever a customer would write to us with kind words about how one of our folks helped them, he would print it out and tape it to the front door of our office. Over time it came to include dozens of these customer testimonials and it is always noticed and commented by visitors and guests. Every time a new compliment is hung on the door, the entire team beams and the individual recognized has a wonderful proud moment. What this teaches is one of the values we try hard to live by, which is that we are customer-focused and every one of us has a responsibility to serve our users as best we can.

Recognizing that the ‘team’ is the most important asset a company has means showing, every day, that we value one another. Company culture needs to reflect this simple truth and there are easy ways to do so. Start by spending time with your fellow team members: outings, parties, special events, and special projects are great ways to help build strong bonds. It can be even simpler than that; for instance when the team came to my home recently for several days of work together I promised pancakes for all. By taking 30 minutes out of my busy day to cook for everyone I delivered the sincere message that I valued them, liked, them and wanted to have fun with them. Plus, pancakes are delicious.

Every company, every manager, must look for ways to build bonds, support one another, celebrate every worker’s accomplishments, and instill the core values that a company is built on. Plus, can you think of a better way to message how you value your team than by hanging their drawings on the fridge and eating pancakes together? I can’t.

Photo: Dio, Bianca and Yang enjoying cS culture!