In the light of sharing how we, at Yummygum, feel about running a company/design agency every so often we unveil some of our professional habits. Today I want to talk about Linkin Park (not the band), how our team benefits from it and how you can incorporate it in your own team.
If I had to take a guess I’d say the tech industry (in the broad sense of the word) is probably the fastest growing industry at least in first world countries and perhaps beyond. Just take a look at how many (new) products are added to ProductHunt. Apart from actual industry growth in sales numbers, many new Medium stories on tech related topics are published every day.
As a professional in the tech industry keeping up with even the most important developments can be daunting, if not impossible. Unfortunately keeping up with these developments is key in anticipating and understanding trends that directly and indirectly affect your day job.
A couple of years ago Vince Schwidder and I noticed some of our team members found it harder to keep up with tech industry news than others. For that reason we started having our biweekly Linkin Park meetings where team members could update the rest of the team on a compelling article they had read or an incredibly useful digital product that was launched.
*Side note: our Linkin Park meetings used to be called Sharing Stone, until Vince and I noticed most team members weren’t old enough to understand the pun as they had never heard of 90s actress Sharon Stone.
In anticipation of each upcoming Linkin Park meeting we all share links on Slack in a dedicated #linkin-park channel. That way we can instantly share what’s new. On Mondays and Thursdays we collectively view the articles on an iPad which is airplayed to a big screen TV. The iPad gets passed around to whoever shared the article so he/she can tell about the article’s main takeaway, usually resultsing in a conversation or discussion on the subject at matter.
A couple of rules you can/should apply for Linkin Parks:
Use a large monitor/tv to make sure everyone is focused on one screen
Use a laptop or better yet an iPad to share/airplay the Linkin Park items on the large screen. Using an iPad gives you the freedom to give the iPad to the person that shared an article/website and have them scroll through it at their desired pace.
You’re not required to contribute to Linkin Park, but it’s desirable. It’s okay if you occasionally didn’t have time to read & share anything. Just don’t make it a habit.
If you share an article, make sure you’ve actually read it. Having someone look at an article without knowing what it’s about is just a waste of time.
Maintain a no-device policy meeting (accept for the screen-sharing device of course).
Use a bookmarking tool. Appoint one person to add all shared links after the meeting and have them organize/tag the bookmarks properly. This makes it easy for other team members to look up everything that’s shared themselves.
Allow for a couple of minutes of group discussions. But make sure you round up a discussion timely to move on to the next Linkin Park item.
What I really like about our biweekly Linkin Park meeting is how it eases everyone into another working week and set everyone’s mind into design/tech mode, ready for a new working day. Besides that it indirectly forces you to read industry related news which for some people doesn’t come as natural as to others.
Linkin Park meetings are a great brain-stretching exercise right before your daily of weekly standup.