Philip Rosedale: ‘Work together and help each other.’
Philip Rosedale, the founder of Coffee and Power, referred to humans as herd animals and reminded listeners that we all have a desire to feel safe, then turned around and asked the audience to consider whether companies need CEOs at all.
Consider new ways to interact
Inspired by the Mandelbrot set and cellular automata, Rosedale wondered: "What if computers and the digital world had the power to create more than is in the real world?" He was left with the vision to connect everyone's computers to create a digital world. But beyond this "geeky desire to build a strange blank canvas," Rosedale realized users would want bodies of some sort to wander through the new world. Hello, avatars.
Hello, Second Life.
"What pieces of human contact need to be kept?" asked Rosedale, who launched Second Life in 2003. "In Second Life, communication was stretched to the limits of virtual contact." Avatars date and marry and do business within Second Life, even leading to real-life connections among players.
Decentralize work rewards
What if employees could give each other bonuses, instead of waiting for a manager's decision? Rosedale told each of his employees they had $1,000 to give to anyone else in the company but themselves. They could split it however they wanted: For example, give it all to one person or give a few bucks to every person in the company.
Rosedale found that while high performers were still recognized as usual, a few "heroes in the trenches" were also brought forward that management may not have seen otherwise.
Use SurveyMonkey. Do it.
"Everyone here should do this!" Rosedale ordered, fixing the audience with his sternest look. "Do an anonymous survey, do a SurveyMonkey, and ask your employees if they'd keep you as CEO or get someone else."
Even though Rosedale encouraged new levels of autonomy in the workplace, he said that a CEO is still vital to a company. The company as a whole, he said, needs to be able to trust someone to decide where to go next, to make the crazy decision if necessary. Voting won't be effective in deciding company direction. "Also," he added, "no one is dumb enough to suggest a really risky big idea in that setting."
Co-work to connect, not to be efficient
"People come to co-working spaces not for market efficiency," Rosedale said, "but for community." Hence his latest venture of the last two and a half years, Coffee and Power. The application is meant to let you see where people check in and work. "Maybe you go to the cafe where that developer worked the other day," he said, "because you need some development work done."
Make freelancing safe
"We all want safety," Rosedale said. "What if we no longer needed salaries, but just worked for each other on a job-by-job basis?" Though he admitted that it's easier for companies to offer salaries than negotiate contracts, Rosedale suggested that the more freelancers there are in an area, the more jobs they can offer each other. And what if freelancers helped each other out in between jobs? "Freelance doesn't have the cache that it should," he said, referring to résumé value. "So we're working to find ways around that."
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