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Dispatch from the Trenches #2

Last updated on July 25, 2014

Since a worker is basically knackered and good for nothing but a quick dinner and a DVD box set after eight hours of work, she might as well go the extra mile and work into the night if it results in fewer commutes and a routine four-day weekend.
Billionaire Calls for Three-Day Workweek | New Escapologist

Having an extra day or two off would make a huge different to quality of life.

When I was in college, I never had class on Friday. For four years I didn’t have to be anywhere on Friday. This was my recoup day. I would sleep and work on projects. Saturday would be fun day where I’d goof off. Sunday was a work day.

I worked for the school’s newspaper which meant 12-16 hour days trying to wrangle the paper’s reporting staff into providing their stories so I could lay them out and get the paper to the printer so it could be returned and delivered on Monday.

The last company I worked for offered an “RDO” schedule. This stands for Regular Day Off. It was an optional schedule where I would work an extra hour everyday and in return I would get a day off every two weeks.

The day off was decided beforehand by the company to assure proper coverage for our customers. But it was an amazing perk. Having that day off during the week to schedule vehicle maintenance and health appointments was the best perk of working there.

Even if I used the day to see a movie and sleep in, I returned to work feeling more rested and less stressed.


People often compare Minecraft to LEGO; both support open-ended creation (once you’ve mastered the crafting table, you can build nearly anything) and, of course, they share an essential blockiness. But I think this comparison is misleading, because a LEGO set always includes instructions, and Minecraft comes with none.

Minecraft is a game about creation, yes. But it is just as much a game about secret knowledge.

The secret of Minecraft — The Message

As a kid, I was a Lego addict. I would build things for hours in my room. I have not dipped my toe into the world of Minecraft partly for fear of losing myself forever in a colorful world of blocks.

This was a really interesting read because Minecraft is all about secret knowledge. You’re presented with a world. You have to survive. No manual. No instructions. No help.


Even though Fog Creek, Trello, and Stack Exchange are now three separate companies, they are all running basically the same operating system, based on the original microprocessor architecture known as “making a company where the best developers want to work,” or, in simpler terms, treating people well.

This operating system applies both to the physical layer (beautiful daylit private offices, allowing remote work, catered lunches, height-adjustable desks and Aeron chairs, and top-tier coffee), the application layer (health insurance where everything is paid for, liberal vacations, family-friendly policies, reasonable work hours), the presentation layer (clean and pragmatic programming practices, pushing decisions down to the team, hiring smart people and letting them get things done, and a commitment to inclusion and professional development), and mostly, the human layer, where no matter what we do, it’s guided first and foremost by obsession over being fair, humane, kind, and treating each other like family.
Trello, Inc. – Joel on Software

This is the operating system I want. This is the life I want to have. I urge you to click-through and read that second paragraph on Joel’s site because it’s filled with links. I wish there was more talk about operating systems like the one Joel build and not ones impersonating National Parks.

He has the right idea. Treating people well is the currency of the 21st Century.

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