I didn't sign up for this
How to see things from another point of view, and why. Also, 7 other things worth knowing today.
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‘What the actual [bleep]?’
This is a story about a new policy at Door Dash, and a leadership truth that goes back to Shakespearean times (at least). (Also, Sesame Street.)
Let's tackle the Shakespearean part first. It comes from Henry V, which Shakespeare wrote in 1600, and which people know even if they've never read Shakespeare because it contains the famous "St. Crispin's Day" speech.
(Kenneth Branagh as Henry V. Fast forward to about 2:45 for the most famous part.)
There is an earlier scene in that play, however, in which the king disguises himself and walks among his troops before going into battle, thus letting him talk with them and learn a bit about what they truly think of him as a leader.
Think of it perhaps as the earliest known precursor to the TV show, Undercover Boss.
Now, whether you're a 21st-century leader, or a fictionalized version of a 15th century English king, this kind of scene reveals an essential truth: The bigger a team that a leader leads, and the more successful he or she ultimately becomes, the harder it can be to get a sense of critical facts on the ground.
With that in mind, let's go to the announcement that DoorDash made recently that has some employees reacting incredulously—but that honestly makes a lot of sense.
Starting this month, nearly all DoorDash employees, from the lowest-ranking software engineer to the company's CEO, Tony Xu, are required to do at least one food delivery run per month during the year.
Employees who don't drive, or who have other reasons not to want to do an actual delivery, will have other options like shadowing customer service agents.
On the social media site Blind, a DoorDash employee (Blind apparently confirmed their employment status) was not happy with the new requirement, and started a discussion that now has over 2,000 comments.
The first comment reads:
"You need to dash once a month. WILL BE TRACKED IN PERFORMANCE REVIEWS!! What the actual [bleep]? I didn't sign up for this, there was nothing in the offer letter/job description about this."
From there, the reaction was mixed, with some people against the policy and others saying it was a smart idea, and maybe even ridiculous for highly paid employees to complain about it. Example:
"Seriously? They're paying you 400k and want you to deliver food once a month so you can actually experience your product and you're complaining? What's wrong with you?"
I admit I hew a lot closer to the “What’s wrong with you?” crowd on this one. Honestly, it sounds like a good opportunity to experience the product from other perspectives.
In his 8-foot yellow costume, Spinney couldn’t see in front of himself, so the crew rigged a small TV inside the costume. As a result, he once wrote, “I see the same picture the viewer sees, not the world from the Bird's point of view.”
My theory is that maybe part of why he connected with young viewers for close to 50 years was that he literally saw the character as they did.
Anyway, sometimes the only way to learn about how other people see the world is literally to go out there and look.
Perhaps it doesn't have to be as strict as DoorDash's apparent use-it-once-a-month-or-else policy, but in business and in life, making the effort to see things from others’ points of view seems like a smart bet.
Now, excuse me as I send the fifth “test email” draft of this newsletter to myself, so I can see what it will look like to you in the morning.
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7 other things worth knowing today
“Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Richard Clarida said Monday he will be leaving his post with just a few weeks left on his term and amid revelations regarding his trading of stock funds. In an announcement released Monday afternoon, Clarida said he will be stepping down from his post this Friday. His term expires on Jan. 31.” (CNBC)
A New Orleans judge has been indicted on charges that she failed to disclose on her taxes the thousands of dollars she earned in fees for officiating weddings over several years. (MarketWatch)
Five former college students sued 16 of the most prestigious US universities, alleging antitrust violations because of the way they work together to determine financial aid awards for students. (WSJ, $)
Parts of the US are experiencing the coldest weather in three years: “Wind chills across the Upper Midwest were forecast to be as cold as 45 below zero and wind chills across the Northeast and New England as cold as 35 below zero.” (NBC News)
A California court has ruled that two Los Angeles police officers were properly fired for playing Pokémon Go instead of responding to a robbery. A video system in their patrol car in 2017 captured the officers discussing how to catch a Snorlax and trying to capture the rare Tegetic in the game, while ignoring a report of several people robbing a Macy’s department store. (KTLA)
In a medical first, doctors transplanted a pig heart into a patient in a last-ditch effort to save his life; a hospital said Monday that he’s doing well three days after the highly experimental surgery. “It was either die, or do this transplant. I want to live. I know it’s a shot in the dark, but it’s my last choice,” said the patient, David Bennett, a 57-year-old Maryland handyman. (AP)
Chinese media released a spy spoof video after MI6's chief declared China to be the UK's top intelligence priority. (MI6 thanked them for the “publicity.”) (Fox News)