The Fetch Blog

The best events and reads for professionals

Product update: Introducing The Fetch’s new design and newsletter — September 16, 2015

Product update: Introducing The Fetch’s new design and newsletter

We can’t believe believe that so much time has passed since we successfully funded our re-launch on Kickstarter, helping us bring The Fetch to you lovely folks everywhere. Today, we’re excited to share our progress so far – along with a first look at what’s coming next!

A refreshing, new look

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 2.19.30 PM

We kicked off efforts by updating our existing style guide and re-designing The Fetch’s homepage. Designed to make submitting and finding events easy, we focused on simplifying the site to surface information Fetchers will need. You’ll see simple, clean pages in our signature, city colors – a fun, streamlined experience. If you want to secure your username aka vanity URL – make sure you head along to register now!

More focused media

In the new and improved version of The Fetch, we’ve separated local events and media. Dedicated to doing both things well, we’ve created a global reading list in addition to the regular, local event-based email (coming soon). The weekly global reading list will give you much of what you loved in former The Fetch emails: top stories, inspirational professional profiles, and all of the can’t-miss things that caught our team’s attention during the week. Haven’t subscribed to the new reading list yet? Join us here!

An incredible, updated curator community

Just as before, our curators remain an important part of The Fetch community. We’re grateful for amazing representation in the first of our five re-launch cities: Sydney, Melbourne, New York, San Francisco, and Berlin. We’re still taking applications, and would love to hear from you if you know what’s on and think your city needs The Fetch!

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 3.13.56 PM

What’s next

Now that we’ve made it possible to submit events on site, we’re heads down on the next few major milestones:

  • Local events digest: We’re so close to bringing back the local events digest for our first five cities, which will feature the best happenings from the new platform neatly rolled into a weekly email and sent to Fetchers who live there. Our curators will begin testing this week, so expect to see local events in your inbox soon!
  • Individual event pages: Tell or learn more about an event with a description, image, and tags. Each page will have space for an image, along with social sharing functionality and calendar integration. Get a sneak peek here.
  • Event search functionality: From community breakfasts to programming workshops, you will be able to find events by type, category, or skill level.

Our goal is to help you crush your work-life with the best events and great reads with each email, so please continue to share your feedback as we move along. Thanks for your continued enthusiasm – we love hearing from you!

Coffee talk: Krista Gray, director of community operations at The Fetch — July 13, 2015

Coffee talk: Krista Gray, director of community operations at The Fetch

Meet Krista Gray, the new Director of Community Operations at The Fetch! A passionate traveler, Krista also loves tech and bringing people together. Here, she shares her story and why she’s so excited to be working with The Fetch community.

How did you end up where you are today?

Still in my first few weeks of experimenting with life as a ‘digital nomad’, I’m currently working from one of my oldest friend’s newly purchased home in Connecticut. This is amazing because I left New England about seven years ago to pursue a change of pace in California. My time on the West Coast has consisted of a two year stint in Carmel-by-the-Sea before moving to San Francisco to help build a startup (which turned into several startups over a five-year span). Just recently, I left my last role to spend this summer with people I’ve missed dearly for nearly a decade. The best part? While I’m temporarily back where I started, I’m able to work with The Fetch!

Why did you want to get involved with The Fetch?

I’ve followed The Fetch since meeting Kate Kendall at a Skillshare class she was teaching about Community Management in 2012. At that time, I had just moved to the city and jumped into the entire startup ‘scene’. The concept of The Fetch resonated so deeply with me as it was exactly the kind of resource I found myself searching for. Starting over in a new place/industry is overwhelming, and having a cheat sheet for the the right kind of events along with access to carefully curated, intelligent reads can make it much easier to get acclimated and involved.

What things excite you about our community right now?

The sheer volume of incredible things that Fetchers are working on! I’m so impressed with the passion and knowledge each person brings to the community, and eager to help them all make the most of their work-life.

What events do you recommend in San Francisco?

I love Inforum (a division of the Commonwealth Club) for their conversation series. I recently had the pleasure of watching Molly Ringwald interview Judy Blume at the Castro Theater, and it was really enlightening to hear each woman discuss her respective creative endeavors, sources of inspiration, and challenges encountered over the last twenty years. These events are also a great place to network with like-minded people and make new friends.

What’s your favourite thing about your city?  

The weather. No, seriously! A lot of folks complain about the fog, particularly in the summer, but I think there’s a certain bit of magic to it. I love San Francisco’s temperate climate and the opportunity to layer clothes everyday, nearly year round. ‘Sweater weather’ has always been my favorite. 🙂

What’s unique about San Francisco?

I think the people are what make San Francisco truly special and unique. The tech industry attracts such a diverse range of people from varied cultures, backgrounds, and experiences. I’ve found that people I’ve met in San Francisco also seem to share a sense of heightened awareness in terms of gratitude — it’s refreshing to be surrounded by such great minds that are also deeply appreciative.

Where can we find you in San Francisco?

If I’m not at The Roastery, you’re likely to find me at a Bar Method class or getting fresh air in one of my favorite places: the Lands End Trail, Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, or Crissy Field. I’m also a huge fan of sunsets, and like to watch them from friends’ roof decks or the city’s best vantage points.

How can we connect with you?

Keep up with my adventures by reading my journal, or give me a shout on one of my favorite social sites — Twitter or Instagram.

If you didn’t live in San Francisco, where would you be?

San Francisco is easy to fall in love with, and really difficult to think about leaving for a long amount of time. However, if I didn’t call the City by the Bay home, I think I’d try life in a European city. I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Rome and marvel over how different the daily grind is. I think we learn the most when we push ourselves out of our ‘normal’ routines and overlaps, and trying something so different could be a really fun and productive way to keep growing personally and professionally. Time will tell!

Last, how do you like your coffee?

It depends. I’m somewhat of a rare breed in that I don’t have a go-to coffee selection. I’ll often drink it black, but there are days that I mix in cream and raw sugar. Additionally, I can never resist a coconut iced coffee at Breaking New Grounds in Portsmouth, NH when I’m visiting home. They flavor the beans, and it’s simply the best.

10 time-saving methods to help you master scheduling — May 6, 2015

10 time-saving methods to help you master scheduling

97B17DF945

This is a post that first appeared on my blog last year.

I think of the last two years I’ve spent in New York as professional finishing school. If there’s anywhere on this planet where people are stupendously busy, it’s this place. It definitely took me a few months to settle into the rhythm. Combine this experience with recently fundraising, and I now feel incredible mindful of everyone’s time. So, without ado, I wanted to share 10 tips on how to win at professional time etiquette:

1) For the love of humankind, be direct with asks

Growing up in England and Australia, I was taught to be the opposite of direct. Skirt around issues, don’t address things head on, be tirelessly polite and pad lots of superfluous info around a lone ask. What I’ve now learnt is that one of the kindest things you can do for someone’s time, is to be as direct as possible. Don’t ask someone for coffee if you can put something in a one-sentence email.

2) Do double opt-in introductions

When I receive an email with the subject line: “Introduction…” my heart sinks. Connecting someone to another without asking the person if they want to opt-in, in a professional context, isn’t a favour to the recipient – it’s often a burden. In the days of overflowing inboxes, managing requests and day-to-day work – we can be plagued with guilt of not being on top of it all. The best referrers understand signal over noise – what each party is looking for. Over time when you build up trust in a professional relationship… use it wisely.

As Fred Wilson writes on AVC:

“When introducing two people who don’t know each other, ask each of them to opt-in to the introduction before making it.”

If you’re the one asking for an intro, include the context and a blurb that the introducer can easily copy across. Make it easy for people to help you.

3) Bcc the introducer post introduction

Once you have that intro, reply! It sounds super obvious but there’s been countless times when someone has sent an intro to me and the requester didn’t reply. Don’t be that person! When you do reply, move the person introducing you to bcc so they see you’re on it but you’re not clogging their inbox. Simply say thanks and that you’re moving the introducer to bcc in the email copy. No more getting stuck on irrelevant back and forths.

4) Don’t ask questions that you can easily google

Please don’t ask what someone’s email address is via social media when you can easily find it on the web. The same goes for other minutiae like addresses. If I’m sending a calendar invite through for a meeting, I’ll find the office address online (if it’s not on the website, look in their email signature, Foursquare/Yelp data and so forth).

If you’re reaching out to someone for advice, make sure you’ve read what’s out there first. Every man and his dog seems to have been interviewed about their journey or write a blog with their thoughts these days. Don’t make people repeat themselves.

5) Don’t abuse Facebook messages

This depends on personal preferences but I’m less of a fan of using Facebook messages for work comms. In a way, I’m glad Facebook is now splitting out the messenger app so I don’t have to install it and can switch off from another inbox to manage. If you want to say something important and have a request, don’t send it via Facebook. It’s likely just going to sit in someone’s ‘Other’ section unnoticed or just annoy them while they’re busy wading through the latest click bait in their feeds!

6) Calendar invites or it’s not happening

If you’ve arranged to meet someone or are hosting an event – calendar invite that thing up! Forget Facebook events invites or group text messages, New Yorkers sendPaperless Post invites that you add straight into your calendar. It often takes weeks to get on people’s schedule here – you’ve got to make sure you’re literally on it. If you’re finding scheduling is taking up a lot of time, check out services like Zirtualor Assistant.to.

7) Do phone calls

I have to admit, I used to hate phone calls… I’d much prefer an email. When I first moved to New York, I was surprised at all the phone call suggestions verse in-person meetings. The thing is, getting around the city takes a lot of time so why spend two hours out of your day commuting then having coffee, when you could fit it in an half-hour phone call. The same goes for email – if you’re forming work relationships, don’t ping emails back and forth, New Yorkers pick up the phone and hustle.

8) Do your background research

Preparation and research beforehand will make your meetings. Don’t spend time asking basic questions – the more you can deep dive, the livelier, more interesting and memorable the conversation will be. If you’re fundraising, for instance, go in knowing what companies/founders someone’s invested in, what their investment thesis is and if you’re at the right stage (e.g. What’s their average check size?). It’s likely not worth both of your time, if these things don’t align.

In terms of insights, Refresh is seriously a great app – it offers a nice (and often a bit too ‘stalkerish’) overview of the people you’re meeting with. It’s actually made it onto my phone’s homescreen it’s been that useful.

9) If you’re not 10 minutes early, you’re late

Australians are known, well, for being casual with time. It’s quite okay to ‘rock up’ five to 10 minutes late to a meeting there. I mean, it’s obviously not great manners but most people do it. Fast forward to when I moved to New York, and had a steep learning curve. Over time, I’ve stopped arriving in the nick of time – and now give myself 10-15 minutes before any meeting.

10) Follow through

Pipeline’s Natalia Oberti Noguera recently said at a conference:

“Fortune is in the follow up.”

All of the above tips are nothing if you don’t follow up and follow through. Following up makes it worth it and is the ‘getting stuff done’ part – make sure you get your follow ups done within a few days post-meeting.

8 tips on how to give the best feedback of your life —

8 tips on how to give the best feedback of your life

KCIU8RWM09

This is a guest post from Shannon Byrne at our sister company, CloudPeeps.

Sharing feedback is tough no matter what circumstance you face. Most of us try to be constructive, to balance positive and negative, to tailor it to the recipients communication preferences and ideally, to communicate your overarching goals while sharing.

It’s nerve-racking.

The first thing to know is that the responsibility of sharing effective feedback should not rely solely on the provider. Feedback should be a two-way dialogue. Expectations should be set to create a collaborative environment open to feedback, and all parties should agree upon the end-goal in mind, as well as everyone’s role in reaching said goal.

Here’s eight tips for sharing more effective feedback and improving collaboration among your team, whether they’re in-house, freelance, or volunteer.

1) Keep it professional, but friendly

Feedback presented with hostility enters dangerous territory. The recipient will immediately become defensive, and the discussion will turn into an argument that lasts way too long. On the flip side, there’s a fine line between being empathetic and being passive when taking a friendlier, softer approach.

Remember that you’re having a professional conversation. When providing feedback, your tone should be friendly, but not overly casual; assertive, but not mean or demeaning.

The best way to refine your tone is to practice. Ask your loved ones, friends, and colleagues if you can practice giving them feedback, then have them critique your approach. How meta, right?

More importantly, remember that you’re talking to another professional — an expert on the thing that you hired them to work on.

This 2013 study from The Journal of Consumer Research says that when people are experts on a subject, or consider themselves experts, they’re more eager to hear negative feedback, while those novices are more likely to seek positive responses. Take this into consideration before having a feedback discussion with the recipient.

2) Be direct and candid

This Harvard Business Review article suggests that in order to get down to business and avoid weird anxious feelings among both the provider and recipient of feedback, start the conversation with a straightforward “I’m going to give you some feedback” or “Are you open to my coaching on this?”

This way, no one will be caught off guard by whatever it is you’re going to say next, which should be candid insights on what’s being presented.

Additionally, it’s possible to be candid without being mean. Be empathetic. But instead of starting a sentence with “Maybe instead you could…” start it with “Instead, you can take this approach…here’s why the results will be closer to what we’re looking for.”

With this approach, you’re solving a problem together rather than passive aggressively sharing what you would’ve done differently.

3) Share technical instructions, not emotional appeals

As mentioned in this New York Times article, author of “Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure,” Tim Hartford says: “We need to separate the emotional side from the technical points.” It’s not helpful to say “that’s really good” or “that’s really bad.” It’s helpful to explain how something should be done.

I’ve faced this challenge in providing feedback on pieces of writing before. Rather than saying “this is really good, but… ” to a specific point being made, I provide specific instructions, such as:

  • “Typically, our blog posts start with an impact — lead with the point you’re making, then back it up with research and opinions. Tell your story throughout, rather than all at the beginning.”
  • “There’s a lot of run-on sentences in this paragraph, here’s how you could break up this sentence, for example….”

You’ll see that the first example isn’t overly direct. That’s because the idea of disregarding someone’s feelings when giving feedback is a difficult one to swallow. Very few of us are good at sharing instructions without any emotional appeal. It’s ok to keep a level of empathy, as long as you’re still instructing on what needs to be corrected. Which leads to the next tip…

4) Avoid the compliment sandwich

So often when giving feedback we want to start by sharing something positive, then move to the constructive feedback. But of course we don’t want to end on a negative note, so we share something positive again then go on our merry way. We’ve been conditioned to give feedback this way.

The problem with this, is that often times it leads to the constructive part being lost entirely. Then, when a contract ends and you don’t renew with the contractor, they are left confused and perturbed.

This situation can be avoided by applying tip number three. Provide instructions rather than emotional appeals. Be clear in sharing the specific results you’re happy with, the ones you’re not, and why for both. That why is crucial here.

The why allows the recipient of feedback to understand what went wrong and how to correct their course of action. It relates the work that has been done (or hasn’t been done) back to the overarching goals that everyone involved has sought out to achieve.

The article “The Power of Feedback” by John Hattie and Helen Timperley published in The Review of Educational Research says that if providing positive feedback, sharing exactly what it is the recipient did correctly is more helpful than just telling them that they did a good job. This way, you’re creating a learning experience that the recipient can build from.

5) Share feedback often with regular check-ins

Timeliness is key to avoiding a potential disaster. Upon initial agreement of an engagement, set a schedule for results presentation and feedback. You can name this standing meeting however you like. Perhaps something along the lines of “weekly check-in” or “one-on-ones” in order to avoid any anxiousness among any party, or stigma that the meeting will be a lashing session on someone’s work or leadership style.

Rather, these meetings should be short and periodic reviews of what has been done correctly and what can be done better. It’s also a great time for the recipient of feedback to ask any questions they may have been uncomfortable interrupting the provider to ask.

Start each meeting by quickly reviewing what you’re going over and what the end result of the meeting should be. Then give each party plenty of time to present their work and to have collaborative discussion on the points made. Most importantly, make sure everyone involved walks away with action items owed to each other.

6) Develop a collaborative dialogue

The effectiveness of feedback is measured significantly by perception. By developing an understood and agreed-upon language for all parties to adopt when giving feedback, misunderstandings will be avoided. The result for the receiver is that they know when they’re being given constructive feedback, not just being scolded.

Allow your recipient to take part in defining this language. Maybe they have trouble differentiating when you’re sharing feedback from when you’re unhappy with something else happening in your life. By sharing this with you, you’re able to improve the process and create feedback guidelines together.

Roger Schwartz, author of “Smart Leaders, Smarter Teams” says that you should allow feedback recipients to share why they’ve taken the course of actions they have. This understanding lets you provide what they can specifically do to produce improved results next time. It also opens your mind to other potential solutions to the issue or work at hand.

7) Avoid micromanaging; let the recipient share their results first

This doesn’t mean that if you see an issue (let’s say a typo in a tweet) pop up that you shouldn’t say something. That isn’t micromanaging, that’s pointing out a typo and asking a colleague to be more careful and helping them to learn to pay attention to details.

However, if you’re commenting on every piece of work (or every tweet) you see published, the recipient is going to feel over-monitored and is going to resist any feedback you provide, before you even get a chance to properly share it.

Rather, let the recipient present the work they have done and the results from said work. From there, you can provide instructional and clear feedback on what has been done to your standards, what hasn’t, and why.

8) Have patience

Patience is an important quality in a leader, it’s also one of the most difficult ones to adopt and maintain. We all lose it sometimes, and that’s ok. However, when working with a team and several different personalities and work styles, patience is necessary to keep your sanity.

Sometimes you’re going to have to share the same piece of feedback three times before a change is made. People are busy and have a lot on their minds. Refining work is a process and some areas of work need more guidance than others. Have patience, but also set limitations on flexibility.

If it takes more than three times sharing the same piece of feedback, you likely need to assess how you’re presenting such feedback. Are you being clear? Is the recipient understanding what you’re saying? Don’t hesitate to ask them — have them repeat it back to you. How else are you going to know, and get better at sharing feedback?

Wrapping it up

These tips will help you improve your feedback style, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. Working relationships are dynamic and unique to the individuals involved. Be honest and genuine with each other while maintaining an appropriate level of professionalism. It’s the only way you’ll learn how to effectively communicate with each other.

About our contributor // Shannon Byrne is the Chief Content Officer for CloudPeeps.

Mapping the future of The Fetch: Kickstarter campaign now live — August 23, 2014

Mapping the future of The Fetch: Kickstarter campaign now live

Back the campaign now here:  http://bit.ly/kickstartfetch

74111cf13dcdf553459d18eb895fa9f8_large

The past three years have been an exciting whirlwind of a journey, as The Fetch grew from its humble beginnings as an email newsletter and side project into a vibrant and diverse community of professionals from around the globe. We’ve proudly watched it evolve, and even outgrow itself. This is a good challenge to have, and one that we’re now tackling with all of our passion – but we need our community’s continued support to make it a reality.

“Since becoming the Melbourne Curator, my life has changed dramatically in a very positive way. It’s truly been an ongoing journey of personal learning and professional growth. The Fetch has provided me with the opportunity to meet an exciting network of people across the digital, tech and creative industries who are eager to connect, collaborate, and share knowledge. ~ Kat Loughrey, Curator of The Fetch Melbourne

In order to build a true curated city guide for professionals across the globe, we’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign. There, you’ll learn more about our mission and what you can expect from The Fetch if we get your backing. We believe that in this cluttered, crazy digital world, in-person interactions are more important than ever, and we want to be the catalyst to make those happen.

We hope that you decide to support the campaign, and help us mold the future of The Fetch. We can’t thank all of our community members enough for all of your support and dedication. To help make this campaign a success, please share it with your friends.

In case you’re new to The Fetch community, here’s some insight from some of our amazing community members:

“I regularly recommend The Fetch to people looking to get involved in their local startup scenes — it’s quick, informative and brilliant. As a weekly reader, I’m a huge fan.” ~ Kathryn Minshew, Co-founder & CEO, The Muse

and

“The Fetch has allowed me to invest in my own growth. I have been able to forge new friendships, develop skills and pursue unexpected interests because of what The Fetch has put in my path. As a result of the things I am aware of in my community, I have become better equipped at guiding other people towards the resources they need to fuel their own aspirations and endeavours.” ~ Jackie Antig, City Ambassador.

and

“To feel the pulse of a city’s tech scene, I recommend subscribing to The Fetch. Regardless of whether you’re making in-roads into creative communities, or wanting to attend a web metrics meetup, each issue will have you both scrambling for your calendar and reading up on new and interesting projects!” ~ Rosanne de Vries, Community Manager, Campaign Monitor

Thank you again and we look forward to building something great with you!

Back the campaign now here:  http://bit.ly/kickstartfetch

%d bloggers like this: