Is Remote Work Killing Collaboration?
Jason Fried, CEO of 37signals, doesn’t think so. It’s more about having the right people, he says, than having them all in one place.
Here are today’s highlights:
What do you do when your PE firm acquirer reduces its offer at the last minute?
A lot of business owners are Baby Boomers, which means it’s time to understand Medicare.
JPMorgan is expanding lending to small businesses in minority-majority communities.
#RIPTwitter has been trending on Twitter.
OUR PUBLISHING SCHEDULE
The 21 Hats Morning Report will take a break next week, returning on Monday, November 28: The 21 Hats Podcast will continue to publish as usual, with new episodes dropping on Tuesday the 22nd and Tuesday the 29th. Dashboard will publish on Monday the 21st but not Monday the 28th. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Is remote work killing collaboration, brainstorming, innovation? Jason Fried, CEO of 37signals, long fully remote, doesn’t think so: “There's an assumption that four walls, a whiteboard, a table, some space, and a door at a shared address are necessary ingredients in the creative soup that is working creatively with other people. But ideas don't give a s@#% about any of those things. Ideas like the shower. Ideas like our pillows. Ideas like commutes. Ideas like walks. Ideas like the morning, or late nights. Ideas like daydreams. Ideas like you doing something else so they can surprise you. Ideas aren't contained. They aren't located. They don't reside. They're nomadic. They aren't something you control — they bubble up, they arise. You don't get to have them when you want. They come to you.”
“And you absolutely don't need to be huddled up breathing the same air to work on an idea. To play with an idea. To toss one back and forth with a partner, or two, or five.”
“You just need the right minds, wherever they are, feeding on insights, wrapped around the same concepts. It's a fluid process, not a fixed one. You need communication, not presence.” READ MORE
SELLING THE BUSINESS
Michael Girdley asks what to do when a PE firm agrees to a deal and then demands a big price cut right before closing and gets a lot of good suggestions. My favorite: Do your research and find out if your suitor has a pattern of doing this:
The hashtag #RIPTwitter has been trending on Twitter: “Twitter suffered a new wave of departures Thursday to its already depleted workforce after many employees rejected Elon Musk’s demand that they commit to working ‘long hours at high intensity’ in order to stay. Many staffers spent the past day weighing their options, after waking up Wednesday to an overnight email in which Mr. Musk told them to fill out a form by Thursday, 5 p.m. ET, to indicate if they want to remain at the company and are willing to be ‘extremely hardcore.’ Employees who don’t opt in will be given three months of severance, Mr. Musk said. Employees began posting farewells Thursday as they opted not to sign up. Some former Twitter employees said they suspected that hundreds of staff had opted to leave the company, though the exact total wasn’t yet clear. Twitter hasn’t disclosed the scale of departures.”
“Adding to potential strain, Mr. Musk has said the usage of Twitter has increased since he completed his acquisition—‘we just hit another all-time high in Twitter usage,’ he tweeted Thursday night—and the company is bracing for the start on Sunday of soccer’s World Cup, which in the past has brought surges in traffic on the platform.”
“‘The best people are staying, so I’m not super worried,’ Mr. Musk tweeted late Thursday. He had earlier poked fun at concerns the platform could struggle to maintain service with employees exiting. ‘Don’t wanna jinx it, but there’s a chance we can keep Twitter alive …’ he tweeted.” READ MORE
Not everyone is so confident:
Rhonda Abrams says business owners of a certain age should familiarize themselves with Medicare: “Baby Boomers own a lot of small businesses. In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, over half of small business owners are over 55 years of age. That means that right now millions of them are being bombarded with ads and mail about Medicare plans because we are smack dab in the middle of the annual period to enroll in Medicare or change your plan between Oct.15 to Dec. 7.”
“So listen up: If you’re a small business owner, whether you’re approaching the age you can sign up for Medicare – 65 – or already on Medicare, now’s the time to think about your choice of Medicare plans and think carefully.”
“This choice can cost you or save you thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of dollars.” READ MORE
JPMorgan is launching a new program to expand lending to minority-owned businesses by tweaking its lending criteria: “The country’s biggest bank has been quietly piloting a special-purpose credit program this year here and in Dallas, Detroit and Miami that allows it to offer more loans to business owners who might have otherwise been rejected. JPMorgan isn’t changing its lending rules based on race. Instead, it is targeting minority-majority neighborhoods across the country with loans and business mentoring. All customers who apply in those areas will benefit from the changes. Other banks have been working on similar projects and pilots, but JPMorgan’s is the first with national reach. The bank says the lending, and a program starting next year on credit cards, will help the bank open 100,000 new accounts over five years.”
“Chief Executive Jamie Dimon said the bank put a focus on small-business lending when looking at its broader commitment to spend $30 billion on racial equity because of feedback from communities.”
“In 2021, small businesses owned by people of color were more likely to apply for financing than white-owned firms, but were about half as likely to get all the funding they requested, according to a Federal Reserve survey.”
“Even minority applicants with good credit scores were less likely to get financing.” READ MORE
Disney World is raising its prices for a second time this year: “Disney World announced new single-day prices on Wednesday for its four different parks, beginning December 8. But prices will vary based on the park and the days people are attending: Magic Kingdom will cost anywhere from $124 to $189 for one day; it will be most expensive around the nine days around Christmas and New Year's. Hollywood Studios will cost $124 to $179. EPCOT will cost between $114 and $179 for a single day. The price range of a one-day ticket to Animal Kingdom will stay the same, from $109 to $159.”
“Disney's parks have been a boon for the company during economic uncertainty. Disney said during its most recent earnings report that parks revenue increased from $5.5 billion in the same quarter last year to $7.4 billion this year.” READ MORE
THE 21 HATS PODCAST
For Richer, For Poorer: This week, Liz Picarazzi, Hans Schrei, and Laura Zander talk about something they have in common: They all own and run their business with a partner who also happens to be a spouse. Which suggests some interesting questions: Is someone in charge? How do they divvy up responsibilities? What do they talk about? What do they fight about? Do they fight in front of the employees? How do they make decisions? Who does the dishes? Do they ever wish they were not in business with their spouse? Do they know what would happen to the business if they were to divorce?
You can subscribe to the 21 Hats Podcast wherever you get podcasts.
Thanks for reading, everyone. — Loren