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May

27

2016

9 Resources to Help You Become a Better Leader

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Some things in life are relatively straightforward to learn. 

Want to knit a scarf? Head the local craft store, pick up a book, and get to work. Sure, your gauge might be all over the place and your transitions between balls of yarn might be haphazard, but you’ll still end up with something good enough to keep you warm during the winter. 

Learning to lead others isn’t so linear. 

Sure, you can pick up a book to get you started, but that’s all it will be — a start. You’ve got to read, and listen, and ask questions, and make mistakes, and course-correct, and then you might be at a “good enough” level. 

If you’re on that leadership development path and looking for some more materials to help you along that journey, we’ve got you covered. Below are some of our favorite podcasts, tools, tips, and resources to become a better leader. 

9 Resources to Help You Become a Better Leader

1) Bill Walton on The Growth Show

Even if you’re not a basketball fan, you can learn something from Bill Walton. The NBA legend worked alongside two of the most prominent leaders in basketball: John Wooden, his basketball coach at UCLA, and Larry Bird, his teammate on the Celtics. In this episode of HubSpot’s podcast, The Growth Show, you’ll hear more on what made those leaders so special — and apply those insights to your own career.

2) Speaking.io

While public speaking isn’t a requirement for being a strong leader, it certainly can help you differentiate yourself at work. Whether you’ve got to nail a presentation in front of a room of execs or you’re worried about presenting an idea to your manager in your next 1:1, knowing how to frame your idea and effectively communicate it to your audience is incredibly important. 

This resource is a near one-stop-shop for public speaking tips. Check it out to get advice on everything from developing your idea, to designing your slides, to actually delivering your presentation. 

3) Daring Greatly, by Brené Brown

Though it can be tempting to feel like you have to master everything to be a leader, the most exceptional leaders embrace their vulnerability — and use it to their advantage. 

If you’re struggling with being vulnerable with your team, look no further than Brené Brown’s book, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. In the book, Brené Brown dives into a decade of research to unveil the power of vulnerability, and gives tips on how you can open up more in your own life.

4) The Radical Candor Framework

Think about the hardest piece of feedback you’ve ever gotten. Chances are, it was rough to receive … but you were better in the end for it. 

That’s exactly what happened to Kim Scott. After an important presentation, Scott’s boss, Sheryl Sandberg — yes, that Sheryl — had some feedback. Harsh feedback. The kind of feedback that stings. But because Scott knew that Sandberg was coming from a compassionate place when giving the feedback, Scott accepted it, moved on, and became better.

Scott took this pivotal interaction and used it to develop a framework for giving better feedback at work. No matter what stage of your career you’re in, I’d highly suggest taking the time to read her framework.

(We also had the pleasure of having Kim Scott on The Growth Show. If you’re interested in hearing more about her perspective on leadership, listen to her episode below.)

5) CareerLark

Speaking of feedback: While you’re putting all the advice from all of these books, blogs, podcasts, and frameworks into practice, don’t you wish someone would give you feedback on how you’re doing? 

Enter CareerLark, a Slack bot that helps you seek out on-the-fly advice on skills you’re most interested in improving.

Here’s how it works. Let’s say the skill you’d like to get better at is public speaking. You could use CareerLark to ping your boss after your next big presentation to get real-time feedback on how it went — all through Slack. 

Micro-feedback in real-time? Great for your skill development (and great practice for your boss, too). 

6) Advice From Real People

Sometimes, getting feedback from someone who isn’t in your company or industry can be the most enlightening. If you’re looking to step outside your bubble, here are a few apps to help: 

  • RealTalk: This app features interviews and advice from real people in tons of different industries. Learn what it’s really like to be in a job — it could help you better benchmark your own experiences and uncover new ways of thinking. 
  • Advice.vc: Even if you’re not in a startup, turning to a venture capitalist (VC) for advice could get you through the trickier situations at work. For $20 (which gets donated to charity, not pocketed), ask a VC expert about a problem you’re facing, and get help finding a solution.
  • Glassbreakers: If you’re a woman struggling to find a mentor in your industry, check out this tool. It’ll match you with another brilliant woman in your space who could give you great advice about developing your leadership skills.

7) Online Courses

So far, the leadership resources largely have to do with management and communication … but that’s not the only way to level up in your career. 

Sometimes, it’s about becoming really, really good at a certain part of your job (or a skill that you want to be part of your job one day). For that to happen, you just need to hunker down and learn it. 

An online course can be a great way to do just that. While where you find an online class differs greatly by the skill you’re looking to develop, here are a few places I’d recommend checking out if you want to improve your marketing-related skills:

  • Inbound Certification: If you want a deep dive into some of the most important aspects of marketing today, check out our free certification. 
  • Design Lab: Want to up your design skills? Check out Design Labs. You’ll be given real assignments to build your knowledge — and a mentor to help you through each one.
  • Codecademy: Learn to code — for free — at Codecademy. This is especially helpful if you’re the type of person who learns best through lots of hands-on experience.
  • Lynda’s Excel Courses: If you’re interested in advancing your data analysis skills, you’re gonna have to learn how to use Excel. Period. Check out Lynda’s Excel courses for more help. 

8) Industry-Specific Slack Communities

Many of us are on Slack all day to communicate with our coworkers, but there are lots of opportunities to use the platform to connect and learn from folks outside our company. In fact, many industries have Slack groups you can join to talk about the latest trends and get advice on problems you’re facing. (Or lurk in the background like I do to absorb as much information as possible.)

To find a community to join, I’d recommend checking out these two resources: 

9) The Next Five 

Maybe the resources above haven’t appealed to you. Maybe you’re at a loss for what kind of skills you want to develop. Maybe you’re not even convinced you want to be a leader in your field at all … but you aren’t sure what to do next. 

If you’re already doing a little soul searching, you should take a few minutes to check out The Next Five. It’s a free assessment that can help you identify the next step in your career.

Bonus: Your “diagnosis” will come with looooots more resources to help you make meaningful progress toward that new goal. (Because the only thing better than nine leadership resources is tailored resources to your specific situation … am I right?)

What are some of the most helpful leadership resources you’ve come across? Share your favorites in the comments. 

Mar

30

2016

What Happened to Our Metrics After We Stopped Sending So Much Email

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Last fall, my teammate, Pamela Vaughan, and I made a terrifying and exciting decision. We were on a big mission to reduce our graymail, and we decided to do something drastic. 

We created a workflow that initially unsubscribed 250,000 people from our emails — which was roughly half of our list — and would continue to unsubscribe unengaged people over time. Plus, we completely eliminated the option to receive instant notification emails from us. 

Though we had done some preliminary number crunching to estimate the impact of these changes, we weren’t 100% sure how it would go. Soon after we announced the changes, we got some great pieces of qualitative feedback, such as:

You’re fabulous. Thanks for giving me some breathing room. And yes, I can use it.”

And this:

I think this is a good move. I like HubSpot, and think that you provide a great product/service, but I’m feeling very bombarded by you guys to be honest.”

But only time would tell how this whole plan would affect our numbers. 

So we waited. And waited. 

Today, the waiting is over. Today, we have our answer.

Quick Refresher: A Visual Recap of What Changed

Before we enacted these changes, here’s roughly how our blog email subscriptions worked. 

You signed up to get email notifications from us on an instant, daily, or weekly cadence. We’d send you those emails until you decided to manually unsubscribe. The end. 

old-marketing-blog-subscription-emails.png

We did this for years. So our list was big … but had a large portion of old email addresses that didn’t work anymore and overwhelmed subscribers who simply just tuned us out. Not only is that a really bad experience for our subscribers, but it’s also not good news for the health of our email deliverability. 

Now, here’s how it works. 

You sign up to get email notifications from us on a daily or weekly cadence. We send you emails for six months. If you click on an email in those six months, you stay subscribed. If you don’t, we send you an email letting you know we’re going to unsubscribe you. No harm, no foul. (And any time in this process, you can also manually unsubscribe from our emails.)

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The goal with the changes was to reduce our graymail and stop bombarding our subscribers with emails. But it turns out, this new strategy had a big impact on our metrics, too. 

What Happened to Our Metrics After We Stopped Sending So Much Email

1) Traffic from our email notifications increased.

Despite sending fewer emails, traffic from our email notifications went through the roof — views grew by 21% between October 2015 (a record traffic month for us and the month before we implemented the changes) and Jan 2016 (when traffic is usually back to normal after the holidays).

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This means our emails are working better, right?

Well … kind of. Traffic to the blog from our email notifications gives us an indication of how these emails are doing, but it’s not a full picture of how well our emails themselves are doing.

For that full picture, we had to turn to opens and clicks (and their corresponding rates) for our blog notification emails.

2) Our blog email notification opens, clicks, open rates, and clickthrough rates (mostly) increased.

To gauge the health of our blog notification emails, I pulled the following numbers for all daily and weekly emails sent between October and February:

  • Opens per email send
  • Clicks per email send
  • Open rate (opens/delivered) per email send
  • CTR (clicks/delivered) per email send
  • The number of emails delivered

To reduce the variability in the day of the week that the daily emails are sent, I averaged all the stats for the daily emails in a given week. (The weekly email subscriptions didn’t need the same treatment — they’re sent the same day every week.)

Then, I compared the stats of daily and weekly emails sent in early October to those sent in early February. Here’s what we found. 

Note: In the graphs below, I’ve added the dotted line at the date we implemented those changes so you can better gauge the effects.

For the daily email notifications, our opens, open rates, clicks, CTRs, and emails delivered all went up. 

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  • Number of Emails Delivered: +6.9%
  • Number of Opens: +24.1%
  • Number of Clicks: +43.4%
  • Open Rate: +16.1%
  • CTR: +34%

Our weekly emails’ metrics, on the other hand, experienced some mixed results. The number of emails delivered and opened went down, but the rest were much higher than before (especially our CTR).

delivered_opened_clicked_weekly_emails.png

open_rate_and_ctr_of_weekly_emails-1.png

  • Number of Emails Delivered: -48.2%
  • Opens: -18.8%
  • Clicks: +45.7%
  • Open Rate: +57.4%
  • CTR: +177.3%

So what do these metrics tell us? Did this strategy actually work? 

Is This Strategy Is Working?

In short: yes

Most of our metrics are up and to the right, but I’d like to draw your attention to two of the most important: Clicks and CTR.

Because both of these metrics are higher than before for both email types, we’re doing something right here. If we only increased CTR, it could simply be because we’re delivering to fewer people. Seeing that the volume of clicks also grows between October and February despite having way smaller list sizes than before means that we’re sending the right people the right content at the right cadence. 

No longer are we padding our metrics with vain, inflated subscribers who ultimately harm our deliverability and email performance. Instead, we’re keeping our email list smaller, but way healthier and more effective. 

But I know what you’re thinking: What about the huge drops in opens and delivers on the weekly email subscription? Aren’t you worried about that? 

Truthfully … I’m not. 

Delivers is down because we unsubscribed way more people from this list when the workflow first kicked off. And the reason why we unsubscribed more people from this list is because the way most people become subscribers is through a checkbox on our landing pages. It’s effective at acquiring new subscribers, but may not be great at acquiring engaged subscribers. 

As for opens, I also attribute that to the unsubscribe campaign, too. We used clicks as a way to measure engagement (it’s more reliably tracked than opens), so it’s very possible we unsubscribed people who opened our emails but never clicked on them.

All of those things considered, I am optimistic that this new approach is better — but as always, we’re going to keep an eye on this and make changes if necessary. We’ll keep you posted. 😉

What’s Next?

The unsubscribe workflows are here to stay, and our instant list is going to stay firmly in the trash.

That said, we aren’t going to stop trying to find better ways to keep our subscribers in the loop on what’s been published. These changes are only the beginning to building a smarter, more lovable blog subscription strategy.

learn how to get 100,000 blog readers

Mar

2

2016

12 Tools That’ll Keep You Productive Morning, Noon & Night

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When I need to have a very productive day, I tell myself it’s going to be easy.

I’ll just wake up early, grab a big cup of coffee, and then begin powering through my to-do list. Maybe I’ll break for a meal, or a stretch, or a quick conversation with a coworker. But I’ll truck on, energy unwavering until bedtime, where I’ll promptly fall asleep for eight, wonderful, uninterrupted hours of sleep. 

Cool fantasy, self. Real life rarely (if ever) is that picture-perfect. Our bodies aren’t designed to operate at a constant 100% efficiency level.

So if you want to be more productive throughout the day, you’re better off relegating certain activities to certain times, and devoting yourself to doing those activities at those times.

And to make sure you get the right things done at the right times of day, you can lean on a plethora of different free or relatively cheap apps and tools. (After all, some things are better together.)

Below, I’ve collected some of the highest-rated and often-recommended productivity apps for each part of the day. Check ’em out, and find your “and.”

12 Tools That’ll Keep You Productive Morning, Noon & Night

Morning

1) Headspace

Price: Free, with subscriptions available on iPhone, Android, Web

Starting your day off with a quick meditation session can be a great way to gear up for the day — even scientists say so. According to a 2012 study, people who mediated “stayed on tasks longer and made fewer task switches, as well as reporting less negative feedback after task performance.” 

Sold … but not sure how to get started? I’d highly recommend downloading Headspace. It gives you 10 free guided meditation sessions, and if you end up getting hooked, you can sign up for a monthly subscription.

2) Prompts or Writing Challenge

Price: Prompts is $2.99 on iPhone; Writing Challenge is $1.89 on Android

You may have heard about the benefits of writing something — anything — in the morning. But actually making morning freewriting a reality can be a challenge. How do you actually find something to write about when you’ve barely had time to make your coffee?

Why, by downloading a writing prompts app, of course. Prompts and Writing Challenge are both great options. They give you a jumping-off point for a piece, and then let you dive right into writing. Prompts is especially cool for folks who like to track their habits to stay motivated because it offers some basic analytics for you to analyze your writing habit progress.

3) Todoist

Price: Free, with premium subscriptions available on iPhone, Android, Web

You don’t have to actually write your to-do lists in the morning, but you should definitely take a look at them before you dive into your work. And if your to-do list is cluttered and confusing, you’ll end up losing precious time to reorganizing and reprioritizing it. 

To prevent that from happening, I’d highly suggest a tool like Todoist. My teammate Lindsay Kolowich recently introduced me to it, and it’s completely transformed the way I keep track of what I need to accomplish. It allows you to add deadlines and labels to each list item, and then automatically sorts your whole to-do list by what you have to accomplish that day. This helps you keep you on top of what you need to accomplish in a given day, and prevents you from getting sidetracked by down-the-road projects.

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4) Jell

Price: Free, with premium subscriptions available on iPhone, Android, Web

After you set your own to-do list, chances are, you’ll need to check in with your teammates about what’s on their plate for the day. One super easy way to do this — especially when you have a remote team — is by using an app called Jell. 

Instead of calling a 30-minute meeting to debrief on what everyone’s doing, you simply fill out a form in Jell and it gets sent to the rest of your team. (If you’re using Slack, it has a handy integration to have these messages posted in there, too.)

This way, you can quickly get on the same page with your team, and then move on to the most important work of your day.

Afternoon

5) Do

Price: $10/month on iPhone and Web; Android coming soon

Fast-forward a few hours, and chances are, you’ll have a block of meetings on your plate. (That is, after all, the best time of day to have them.) But if you’re going to take time out of your day for meetings, they’d better be productive. There’s nothing worse than wasting a bunch of people’s time on something that could be handled over email.

Yep, a tool can help you with that too. Do can help you keep yours more organized and actionable — that way, no one’s wasting time sitting in unnecessary meetings. If you’re looking for a free option, Solid (available on Web only) is a great choice.

6) Stormboard

Price: Free, with premium subscriptions available on Web

When your attention starts to wane, it can be hard to get things done. For many people, that tends to happen in the afternoon.

Turns out, this can be a good thing: When you’re less focused, you have more room to be creative. So the afternoon is a great time for brainstorming, collaboration, and breaking through cognitive barriers. 

If you and your team are feeling particularly creative one afternoon, a great tool to consider using is Stormboard. It allows everyone to easily brainstorm and collaborate — even if they aren’t in the same room. Then, you can prioritize the best ideas to be put in action at a later date.

7) Unstuck

Price: Free on iPhone, Android, Web

But what if you’re not focused or feeling creative? You’ve got to get work done, but you’re feeling … stuck. 

Unstuck can help. It’s an app that acts like an in-the-moment personal coach. It’ll ask you a series of questions to unearth what exactly is blocking you, and then give you steps to get through that block. Having this “outside” perspective can be a game-changer to breaking through some seriously inhibiting time-sucks. 

8) Quartz or Inside

Price: Quartz is free on iPhone; Inside is free on iPhone, Android, Web

When you’ve been in the weeds all day getting important projects done, it can be tempting to take some time to catch up on what you missed in the news. 

The trouble is, those reading breaks can sometimes get unruly. That 15 minutes you thought would be enough turns into 45 minutes of reading, and you’re suddenly late for your train home. 

To feel in-the-know about the day without breaking your productivity streak, try catching up via your favorite news summary app. Mine is from Quartz: It’s a chat-themed news summary app that’s quickly become a staple of my phone’s home screen. A few quick clicks, and I’m on my way to catching a ride home.

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Night

9) 7 Minute Workout

Price: Free on iPhone, Android

Everyone has their favorite time of day to work out, but science says that your lung function peaks around 5 p.m. So if you want to squeeze in a quick workout sometime in your day, right before dinner might be the trick.

If you don’t have a regular routine or are just trying to do something fast, I’d recommend checking out J&J’s 7 Minute Workout app. You can pick from their programs or design one of your own, and all can be done in less than 30 minutes. 

10) Podcasts or Stitcher

Price: Podcasts is free on iPhone; Sticher is free on iPhone, Android, Web

Chances are, you’ll have spent most of your day looking at things. Reading on the computer. Watching slides on the projector. Scanning news on your phone. So when you leave work, you should strengthen one of your other senses, such as your listening comprehension. It’s an underdeveloped skill — especially in adults — but it can have huge a huge on our professional and personal lives. 

If you want to strengthen your listening skills, try playing a few podcast episodes on your phone on your commute home. If you have an iPhone, you have a Podcasts app already built in. Otherwise, you can access them through Stitcher. 

Want some show recommendations? Read this blog post for a few of our favorite business-related podcasts to listen to.

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11) Grid Diary or Journey

Price: Free with premium options on iPhone; Journey is Free on Android, Chrome App

Many might think that journaling is just a teenage pastime … but it has many benefits for people of any age.

If you don’t love the idea of actually penning your ideas and experiences to paper, you can use Grid Diary or Journey. Both allow you to not only capture written recaps of your day, but also add photos to your entries. Plus, they both have built-in prompts — so even on the most hectic of days, you can distill some insights for your future self. 

12) Sleep Genius

Price: $4.99 on iPhone; Free with in-app purchases on Android

Finally. You’ve made it through the day and kept yourself productive all the way through. You take a moment to celebrate … but then realize that tomorrow’s to-do list is already jam-packed. You need a good night’s sleep, and you need it now. 

Sleep Genius might be the cure. The app has built-in relaxation techniques and gentle alarms to wake you up at a natural moment in your sleep cycle, helping make sure you feel rested come morning.

After all, if you’re feeling sluggish the next day, even the best apps might not be effective. (But that cup of coffee might do the trick.)

What are your favorite productivity tools for different times of day? Share with us in the comments.

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Mar

2

2016

Patagonia’s Rick Ridgeway: Eye-Opening Lessons for Working (and Living) Adventurously [Podcast]

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Transparency isn’t convenient. You can’t just openly share the good news — you’ve got to share the bad news, too. 

At least, that’s how Patagonia views it. “Transparency is telling the good and the bad,” says Rick Ridgeway, Patagonia’s VP of Environmental Affairs, on this episode of The Growth Show. “It’s having the moxie to openly tell our customers and other external stakeholders about the harm that we are doing.”

In this episode, Rick doesn’t just explain what corporate transparency is; he also shares real examples of sticky situations that have cropped up at Patagonia — and how they actually dealt with them.

Not only that, but he also shared with us some refreshing and eye-opening advice about life. Recently, he was in an accident with his longtime friend, Doug Tompkins (the Founder of The North Face), and on this episode, Rick shares some of the life lessons he’s learned in the aftermath.

To listen to the episode, click “play” in the player below, or download the episode on iTunes.

Check out the latest recaps of The Growth Show episodes by clicking here.

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Feb

29

2016

66 Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts to Help You Photoshop Like a Pro

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Raise your hand if you’ve ever wasted time in Photoshop.

I know the feeling: You know what you want to do — like crop a photo, select a certain tool, or change the size of the canvas — but you’re not quite sure which buttons to press to make that happen.

I’ve spent what’s felt like hours trolling through the Photoshop menu, hoping to stumble on the button I need. Wouldn’t it be much easier if you could just press a button and magically make it happen?

Download 195 free visual design templates here to make do-it-yourself design even easier. 

I have good news for you: Photoshop has a wealth of nifty keyboard shortcuts that work just like that — minus the magic. By pressing a few keys on your computer keyboard at the same time, you can select tools, manipulate images and layers, and even make adjustments to your project’s canvas. 

To be honest, Photoshop has way too many shortcuts to remember if you’re just starting out with the software. It’s really hard to track of them all. So, if you’re a beginner at Photoshop who’s looking to save some time, check out the following shortcuts.

Note: All of these shortcuts can be accessed on PC and Mac, so we’ve included both types below. Mac instructions appear in italicized parentheses if the shortcuts are different on each platform. Also, unless the plus sign is a command (like in the “Zoom in” example), do not press the plus sign between commands.

If you can memorize them all, go for it. Otherwise, feel free to bookmark this page and come back again and again. We won’t mind. 😉

66 Photoshop Shortcut Keys to Save You Time 

Got something specific in mind? Click on a section below to jump to that section.

Getting Set Up

You’d think setting up your content in Photoshop would be second nature; but oftentimes, the shortcuts to change the background size or zoom in to your project aren’t what you think. Here are some of the most crucial shortcuts to know:

Control + Alt + i ( Command + Option + i ) = Change the image size.

Control + Alt + c ( Command + Option + c ) = Change canvas size.

Control + + ( Command + + ) = Zoom in. 

Control + – ( Command + – ) = Zoom out.

Control + ; ( Command + ; ) = Show guides, the custom-placed single straight lines that help you align objects to one another.

Control + ‘ ( Command ‘ ) = Show grid, the automatically generated horizontal and vertical lines that help align objects to the canvas.

Choosing the Right Tools

These shortcuts will activate the previously selected tool in the group of tools. For example, if you have last used the Magic Wand tool under the selection tools, the “w” shortcut enables the Magic Wand tool — even though it’s not the default selection tool. But, if you haven’t used any tool in the group, it will enable the default tool. Make sense? 

Note: To cycle through tools that share the same shortcut, press Shift + the shortcut key. Or, hold Alt (Option on a Mac) and manually click on the tool in the toolbar.

v = Pointer, a.k.a. Move Tool pointer-tool.png (Also: Artboard)

w = Magic Wand magic-wand-tool.png (Also: Quick Selection)

m = Rectangular Marquee, a.k.a. the Select Tool marquee-tool-1.png (Also: Elliptical Marquee, Single Row Marquee, Single Column Marquee)

l = Lasso lasso-tool.png (Also: Polygonal Lasso, Magnetic Lasso)

i = Eyedropper eyedropper-tool.png (Also: Color Sampler, Ruler, Note, Count)

c = Crop crop-tool.png (Also: Slice, Slice Select)

e = Eraser eraser-tool.png (Also: Background Eraser, Magic Eraser)

u = Rectangle rectangle-tool.png (Also: Rounded Rectangle, Ellipse, Polygon, Line, Custom Shape)

t = Horizontal Type text-tool.png (Also: Vertical Type, Horizontal Type Mask, Vertical Type Mask)

b = Brush brush-tool-1.png (Also: Pencil, Color Replacement, Mixer Brush)

h = History Brush history-brush-tool.png (Also: Art History Brush)

j = Spot Healing Brush spot-healing-tool.png (Also: Healing Brush, Patch, Red Eye)

g = Gradient gradient-tool.png (Also: Paint Bucket)

p = Path Selection path-selection-tool.png (Also: Direct Selection)

h = Hand hand-tool.png

r = Rotate View rotate-view-tool.png

p = Pen pen-tool.png (Also: Freeform Pen)

c = Clone Stamp clone-stamp-tool.png (Also: Pattern Stamp)

o = Dodge dodge-tool.png (Also: Burn, Sponge)

z = Zoom Tool zoom-tool.png

k = Enable 3D Object Tools (in Photoshop Extended only) 

n = Enable 3D Camera Tools (in Photoshop Extended only) 

Using the Brush Tool

With the brush settings, you can change the size, shape, and transparency of your brush strokes to achieve a number of different visual effects. (Learn more about the brush tool here.)

To use these keyboard shortcuts, first select the Brush tool by pressing bbrush-tool.png

, or . = Select previous or next brush style.

Shift + , or . = Select first or last brush style used.

Caps Lock or Shift + Caps Lock ( Caps Lock ) = Display precise cross hair for brushes.

Shift + Alt + p ( Shift + Option + p ) = Toggle airbrush option.

Using the Marquee Tool (for Slicing/Selecting)

When used correctly, the marquee (or “select”) tool will let you select individual elements, entire graphics, and determines what is copied, cut, and pasted into your graphics. (Learn more about the marquee tool here.)

To use these keyboard shortcuts, first select the Marquee tool by pressing mmarquee-tool-2.png

Control ( Command ) = Toggle between Slice tool and Slice Selection tool.

Shift-drag = Draw square slice.

select-square.png

Alt-drag ( Option-drag ) = Draw from center outward.

Spacebar-drag = Reposition the slice while creating the slice.

Using Different Blending Options

Blending options include quite a number of features to enhance the look or your graphic. Blending options are located in the top menu bar under Layer > Layer Style > Blending Options, or you can double-click any layer to bring up the options for that particular layer. (Learn more about blending options here.)

Once you open blending options, you can cycle through blending modes manually by selecting them from the toolbar on the right-hand side of your screen above the layers panel.

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Or, you could use keyboard shortcuts to select them without moving your mouse.

To use these keyboard shortcuts, select the Move tool and then select the layer you’d like to use the blending options on.

Shift + + or – = Cycle through blending modes.

Shift + Alt + n ( Shift + Option + n ) = Normal

Shift + Alt + i ( Shift + Option + i ) = Dissolve

Shift + Alt + k ( Shift + Option + k ) = Darken

Shift + Alt + g ( Shift + Option + g ) = Lighten

Shift + Alt + m ( Shift + Option + m ) = Multiply

Shift + Alt + o ( Shift + Option + o ) = Overlay

Shift + Alt + u ( Shift + Option + u ) = Hue

Shift + Alt + t ( Shift + Option + t ) = Saturation

Shift + Alt + y ( Shift + Option + y ) = Luminosity

(For even more blending shortcuts, click here.)

Manipulating Layers & Objects

If you want to modify an object or get complex with multiple layers, here are several shortcuts you should know:

Control + a ( Command +) = Select all objects

Control + d ( Command + d )  = Deselect all objects

Shift + Control + i ( ShiftCommand + ) = Select the inverse of the selected objects

Control + Alt + a ( Command + Option + a ) = Select all layers

Control + Shift + E ( Command + Shift + e ) = Merge all layers

Alt + . ( Option + . ) = Select top layer

Alt + , ( Option + , ) = Select bottom layer

(Note: In the following three commands, the brackets [ ] are the keystrokes in the command, and the word “or” refers to the word — as in press one bracket OR the other — not the letters “o” and “r.”)

Alt + [ or ] ( Option + [ or ] ) = Select next layer down or up

Control + [ or ] ( Command + [ or ] ) = Move target layer down or up

Control + Shift + [ or ] ( Command + Shift + [ or ] ) = Move layer to the bottom or top

Shift + Control + ShiftCommand + ) = Create a new layer

Control + g ( Command + g ) = Group selected layers

Control + Shift + g ( Command + Shift + = Ungroup selected layers

Control + e ( Command + ) = Merge and flatten selected layers

Control + Shift + Alt + e ( Command + Shift + Option + ) = Combine all layers into a new layer on top of the other layers

(This means that you’ll have one combined layer and all the elements of that layer in separate layers below, unlike a traditional merge and flatten layers command.)

d = Return the colors in your color picker back to default (black and white)

color-picker-black-and-white.png

x = Switch foreground and background colors in the color picker

color-picker-black-and-white.png color-picker-switched-1.png

Control + t ( Command + ) = Transform your object, which includes resizing and rotating

Saving Your Work for Later

So you’ve finished working on your project and now you want to share it with the world. Save time saving your project by using these simple shortcuts:

Control + Shifts ( Command + Shift + = Save your work as

Control + Shift + Alt + Command + Shift + Option + = Save for web and devices

Do you have any Photoshop shortcuts up your sleeve? Share them with the rest of us in the comments below.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2013 and has been updated and for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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Feb

25

2016

Can Computers Teach Us How to Write? How WriteLab Developed an Algorithm for Better Writing [Podcast]

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Most of us know that learning to write can be a painful process.

You spend hours honing a piece that you hope and pray will be good. You get it to a point where you think it’s passable, and then pass it off to a friend or colleague for editing and feedback help. 

They send back their comments. (Sometimes, they’re harsh … but you know it’ll make you a better writer.) You make changes to your piece. Then, you rinse and repeat with new pieces until you’re consistently producing high quality work.

This whole process isn’t easy — nor is it quick. But what if technology could speed it up — without sacrificing the quality of feedback needed to grow as a writer?

That’s precisely what WriteLab is trying to build. Using algorithms and machine learning, their tool analyzes someone’s writing and gives the writer tips on how to improve it.

On this episode of The Growth Show, WriteLab’s Co-Founder & CEO Matthew Ramirez joins HubSpot’s CMO Kipp Bodnar to talk about the lessons and challenges his company has encountered when addressing such an audacious — and important — problem.

To listen to the episode, click “play” in the player below, or download the episode on iTunes:

Check out the latest recaps of The Growth Show episodes by clicking here.

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Feb

19

2016

The Power of Saying “No”: 3 Leaders Discuss How They Handled Their Most Difficult Career Decisions [Podcast]

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Some things in life are easy to turn down.

Offered a boiling cup of coffee in the middle of the summer? That’s an easy thing to pass on. 

But some decisions in life aren’t so clear-cut. That shiny new opportunity you’re offered might not be all good or all bad.

So when you’re confronted with those tough calls, what should you do?

In this episode of The Growth Show, we hear about the most difficult situations three of our past guests have been presented with in their careers — and why they walked away from them. Then, our hosts Kipp Bodnar, HubSpot’s CMO, and Meghan Keaney Anderson, HubSpot’s VP of Marketing, will unpack lessons from the stories for us all.

You’ll hear from:

  • Wistia’s Co-Founder Chris Savage on turning down a deal from HBO very early on in his company’s history
  • Everlane’s Founder Michael Preysman on his approach to forming partnerships
  • Radical Candor‘s Author Kim Scott on building a family and a career

To listen to the episode, click “play” in the player below, or download the episode on iTunes:

Check out the latest recaps of The Growth Show episodes by clicking here.

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Feb

12

2016

How ChefSteps Plans to Make You Fall in Love With Cooking Again [Podcast]

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For many people (myself is included), cooking is a chore.

After a long day of work, the last thing you want to do is spend a ton of time putting together a dinner — even if the end result will be delicious. Instead, you whip up something that’s easy to make and healthy enough, and promptly wolf it down. Then, you’re on to your next activity of the day: time with family, mountains of emails, or a quick episode of How I Met Your Mother before you hit the hay.

ChefSteps wants to change all that.

With an engaged community, a huge backlog of creative recipes, and most recently, a shiny new piece of hardware called Joule, the company wants to help regular people have more fun in the kitchen again.

In this episode of The Growth Show, ChefSteps Co-Founder Chris Young joins us to talk about his path to building the cooking startup — and what he’s learned along the way. 

To listen to this episode in your browser, click the play button below, or click here to listen in your iTunes app.

Check out the latest recaps of The Growth Show episodes by clicking here.

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Feb

10

2016

How to Write a Review in iTunes [Quick Tip]

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Every time I subscribe to a new podcast or download a new app I have a moment of panic. 

Is this show or app really going to be worth my time? I’m giving up valuable space in my phone for this. Do I really need this in my life?

When that moment of worry sets in, I turn to one thing, and one thing only: the show or app’s reviews. If it’s passed the litmus test of countless other people, I’m sure I’ll be fine. 

Fast-forward a few months. That podcast or app I worried about? It’s now a favorite of mine. I talk about it over cocktails with coworkers … yet never actually write a review to help someone else make the “to download or not to download” decision. 

If you’re like me — the review-seeker but never the review-maker — this post is for you. Turns out, writing a review isn’t that hard — you just have to follow a few specific steps.

Check the post out to see just how easy it is to write review on your Mac/PC or your iPhone — and then go on over to your favorite show or app and put your newfound knowledge to work. Not only will you be giving other users valuable information on which to make better decisions, but you’ll also be giving the creator valuable feedback on which to iterate. Win-win, amirite? 

Note: I’ll be using our podcast, The Growth Show, as an example throughout the post, but the same principles will apply regardless of what you’re reviewing. 

How to Write an iTunes Review on a Mac or PC

1) Open up the iTunes Store.

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2) In the search box, type in the name of the podcast, show, movie, TV show, book, or app you’d like to review. 

search_for_your_item.png

3) Click on the correct item in the search results to be taken to its iTunes page. 

search_results.png

4) On the item’s iTunes page, choose “Ratings and Reviews” from the top navigation. 

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5) Click the button, “Write a Review.”

If you’re not signed in yet, Apple will prompt you to sign in. 

write_a_review.png

6) Write your review.

A few things Apple suggests you keep in mind:

  • Reviews are limited to 300 words. 
  • Apple does not edit reviews, so triple check your spelling and grammar before submitting them. 
  • Avoid the following things:
    • Single-word reviews
    • Bad language
    • Contact information (email addresses, phone numbers, etc.)
    • URLs
    • Time-sensitive material
    • Alternative ordering information
    • Comments about non-product related issues such as service and support, resellers, shipping, sales policies, other Apple partners or Apple topics not directly related to the product’s features or functionality.

your_review.png

7) Hit “Submit.”

Note that you probably won’t see your review appear right away. According to Apple, “Your review might need to be approved before it’s published, so it might not appear immediately.”

How to Write an iTunes Review on an iPhone

1) Open up the right app for what you want to review.

Unlike on Desktop, you can’t just review your podcasts, shows, albums, and apps through the iTunes Store. Instead, you have to navigate to certain apps first. Here’s where you need to navigate depending on what you want to review:

  • Review a Podcast = Podcasts App
  • Review an App = App Store
  • Review Music, Movies & TV Shows = iTunes Store
  • Review a Book = Books App

2) Tap the “Search” button in the bottom navigation.

home_screen_mobile.png

3) Type in the name of the item you’d like to review, and select it from the search results.

search_mobile.png

4) On the item’s listing page, tap “Reviews.”

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5) Tap “Write a Review.” 

If you’re not signed in yet, Apple will prompt you to sign in. 

reviews_page_mobile.png

7) Write your review. 

A few things Apple suggests you keep in mind:

  • Your review must be under 300 words.
  • Apple doesn’t edit reviews, so make sure your grammar and spelling is correct before submitting.
  • Avoid the following things:
    • Single-word reviews
    • Bad language
    • Contact information (email addresses, phone numbers, etc.)
    • URLs
    • Time-sensitive material
    • Alternative ordering information
    • Comments about non-product related issues such as service and support, resellers, shipping, sales policies, other Apple partners or Apple topics not directly related to the product’s features or functionality.

write_review_mobile.png

8) Hit “Send.”

Note that your review may take a few hours to show up in iTunes.

And that’s it! In just a few minutes you can help your fellow fans make better decisions about what they listen to, watch, and play — and help your favorite podcasts, shows, and artists get the info they need to improve. 

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Feb

4

2016

Snow for Sale? How One Couple Built a Booming Side Business From Boston’s Biggest Blizzard [Podcast]

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It was snowing. A lot. Boston was in the midst of a blizzard — the biggest one in recorded history.

Kyle and Jessica Waring were cooped up in their apartment, and getting a little stir-crazy. They needed to do something productive … but what?

Then, they landed on an idea. What if they sold snow from the blizzard outside and shipped it to anyone in the country? It’d be pretty funny — and could actually be a good business opportunity.

So, they started Ship Snow, Yo, and soon after, their business went viral. Orders were piling up. Famous media outlets were covering their business. And Kyle and Jessica were having an incredible time.

A year later, the fun hasn’t stopped. They’ve launched several other lines of business shipping foliage and coal — all while working their day jobs.

Check out this episode of The Growth Show to hear Kyle and Jessica’s story about launching Ship Snow, Yo, and the challenges they’ve faced along the way.

To listen to this episode in your browser, click the play button below, or click here to listen in your iTunes app.

Check out the latest recaps of The Growth Show episodes by clicking here.

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Jan

28

2016

Overcoming Growth Obstacles: ClassPass’ Founder on Building One of the Hottest Fitness Startups [Podcast]

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When Payal Kadakia quit her job at Warner Music Group, she didn’t have a backup plan. All she knew was she wasn’t happy in her current job — and she needed to do something about it. 

She spent several weeks trying to figure out what that something would be. After much soul-searching, she finally landed on her big idea: a fitness search engine that would surface new classes in your area. 

Unfortunately, it wasn’t all smooth sailing from there. Her original idea didn’t quite pan out — she couldn’t get the traction she needed to grow it into a scalable business. 

But Payal didn’t give up. Three years and several pivots later, she has landed on a business model that works. Her company, now called ClassPass, is valued at over $400 million and has expanded to 36 cities and 3 countries worldwide.

In this episode of The Growth Show, Payal walks us through the twists and turns of building ClassPass — and what she’s learned along the way.

To listen to this episode in your browser, click the play button below, or click here to listen in your iTunes app.

Check out the latest recaps of The Growth Show episodes by clicking here.

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Jan

26

2016

International Communication Tips: How to Have Better Conversations With People All Over the World [SlideShare]

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Today, the world is more connected than ever before. If you need to quickly reach someone who isn’t nearby, you simply fire off an email, instant message, or social post, and you’ll likely receive a response within minutes. 

That’s where things might get tough. Even though we can reach each others quickly and easily, you may still face some communication challenges.

For example, you might notice a few discrepancies between your communication styles. Maybe the other person likes to cut to the chase, while you prefer to build rapport first. Or maybe the other person expects several rounds in the negotiation process, while you want to get to realistic discussions right away.

Want a few good jumping-off points for communicating better with people in 23 countries around the world? Flip through the SlideShare below. 

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Jan

25

2016

How Much Money Should You Be Making? [Infographic]

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We’ve all wondered it before. Maybe we’ve Googled in hope of finding an answer. Maybe we’ve asked someone for help. Maybe we’ve just worried in silence. 

How much should I be paid for my job?

It’s a tricky question to answer. Even if you know all the factors to consider, it can be hard to uncover the right data you need to come to a solid conclusion. (And even if you knew them all, calculating your answer is tricky.)

A few months ago, we released a tool called Salary Grader to help marketers uncover the average salaries in their areas for different levels of experience. If you put in a salary and answer a few questions about your background, we spit out a rough estimation of how you stack up against similar people in similar situations. 

After collecting over five thousand responses, we were able to uncover some nationwide salary trends. And thanks to our friends at ColumnFive, we’ve compiled our results in the infographic below. So if you’re curious about what kind of salaries marketers make all over the U.S., keep on reading. (And if you want to assess your own salary, you can click here to head on over to Salary Grader.)

SalaryGrader_infographic_FINAL.png

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Jan

22

2016

How to Work With Difficult People [Infographic]

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When people think about becoming managers, many assume it’s going to be all sunshine and roses.

They’ll have more responsibility! They’ll get to help people grow! They’ll get to shape the future of their company! They might even get a raise!

But when they actually become managers, reality can be shocking. They might find themselves suddenly confronted with managing difficult people and situations — and lost for how to address them. 

While a manager’s recourse greatly depends on the problems and people they’re dealing with, there are a few tips they can follow to better address them. In the infographic below, the folks at Wrike have put together helpful advice for managing difficult team members. Even if you’re not encountering any of these issues today or you’re not currently managing someone, the tips are good to keep in mind.

difficult-team-members.jpg

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Jan

21

2016

What Great Bosses Do Differently [Podcast]

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When was the last time you avoided giving valuable feedback because you didn’t want to come across as mean?

We’ve all done it. We think we’re being kind and merciful.

But, we aren’t.

Turns out, this behavior can have drastic consequences at the office — especially when you’re managing a team.

In this episode of The Growth Show, Kim Scott, an author who’s previously worked with companies like Twitter, Apple, Google, and Dropbox, dives into her framework for radical candor, and explains why it can build better companies. She also gives tips for making a change in your own management style to have a happier, more successful team.

To listen to this episode in your browser, click the play button below, or click here to listen in your iTunes app.

Check out the latest recaps of The Growth Show episodes by clicking here.

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Jan

18

2016

20 Essential Books, Podcasts, TED Talks & Blog Posts for Every Stage of Your Career

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How many times a week do you hear the phrase, “Oh, you have to check out that blog post/podcast/book/TED Talk. It’s the best!”

I’m a low-stakes betting person (not the billion-dollar-Powerball-jackpot type), but I’d put good money on the fact that you probably hear that a lot.

The problem? You’re busy. You don’t have time to check out every single thing someone sends your way. You’ve got actual work to do and people to manage. If you’re going to make time for reading, watching, and listening, you want it to be relevant to what you’re currently working on. But, you don’t know whether something is worthwhile until you do it. 

With this in mind, I polled the rest of HubSpot’s content team, pulled some recommendations from an internal wiki page by my colleagues Rebecca Corliss and Andrew Rodwin, and did a little old-fashioned digging of my own to find the best blog posts, books, TED Talks, and podcast for every stage of your career. 

While I’ve tried to bucket each of my recommendations by a stage of your career, it’s by no means meant to be restrictive. Borrow recommendations from other categories — you never know what you might learn. 

Want to jump to a certain category? Click one of the following links:

Fresh Face to Your Industry

1) Book: So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love, Cal Newport

We’ve all heard the refrain, “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” We’ve probably all questioned its validity, too. 

Cal Newport’s whole book is about questioning that saying. In his book, Cal uncovers how passion fuels hard work and success — and vice versa. 

For anyone who’s struggling to choose a career (or just wondering whether the career you chose is the right one for you), this book will give you the advice you’ve been craving.

2) Blog Post: Any Post on Your CEO’s Blog

Yes, I know this isn’t a specific blog post, but I wanted to include this generic recommendation because I think it’s solid: Find where your CEO/CMO/COO/manager blogs — and read it. Not only will it prevent you from struggling to make small talk in the hallway, but it will also give you a window into how your boss (or your boss’ boss, or your boss’ boss’ boss) thinks. And the latter is especially important — especially as you’re hoping to move up at your company.

If your CEO doesn’t blog yet, find another CEO/boss who you admire, and follow their writing. Need a suggestion for someone to follow? I’m biased, but my CEO wrote a very smart and interesting piece on our blog, ReadThink, recently. Check it out.

3) Podcast: Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!

When you’re getting started in your career, you spend a lot of time absorbing your domain knowledge. If you’re new to marketing, for example, you’ll probably read a ton of content on how to blog, how to create landing page, how to measure the effectiveness of your marketing, etc. And with only so much time in the day, you might ignore learning about current events. 

The thing is, knowing about the world around you can unlock creative ideas about your work … and you know, just make you a more informed person in general. That’s where the podcast Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me! comes in. It’s a quiz-style show from NPR that helps you catch up on current events in a totally fun way.

4) TED Talk: “The Power of Introverts,” Susan Cain

It can be tempting to feel like you have to be gregarious to be successful in business, but that might not be the best way for you to get ahead. Turns out, introverts can be just as successful as extraverts. For a reminder that there’s no reason for you to contort your typical demeanor to fit into either end of the personality spectrum, I’d highly recommend watching the following TED Talk from Susan Cain.

Developing Individual Contributor

5) Book: Think Like a Leader, Act Like a LeaderHerminia Ibarra

There’s no one way to be a great leader. Some people are loud extraverts, some set quiet examples for their team, and others may find some sort of middle ground. 

When you’re a little ways into your career and thinking about your next steps, you’re going to need to start developing your own leadership style. This book will come in handy to help you find a unique style that helps you succeed in your career.

6) Blog Post: “Do You Have a Manager’s Mindset?”

This time in your career is one where you might be asking yourself one question almost every day, “What’s next?” 

Many people will wonder if management is the next step. But how can you figure out whether you want to be a manager before you actually make the switch? While you certainly should chat with managers at your company, research roles and responsibilities, and do some soul-searching, I’d highly recommend starting with this article. It’ll give you a good overview of what life as a manager looks like. 

7) Podcast: Freakanomics

At this stage, you’ve learned a ton. You’ve got some years of experience under your belt. You’ve had some big wins. Maybe you’ve gotten knocked down once or twice, but you still retain that bouncy pep in your step you did right out of school. 

As you grow, you need to maintain that balance of humility and confidence. And what better way to fuel that than by listening to a podcast that’s all about challenging common assumptions? Freakanomics will make you think critically about what you believe, and challenge you to continue to think differently. 

8) TED Talk: “5 Ways to Listen Better,” Julian Treasure

Listening is crucial to any stage of your growth, but it’s especially essential to this stage of your career. Though you’ve learned a ton so far, you still have a long career filled with learning (and listening) ahead of you. So use this TED talk to get some tips for making your listening skills better.

Mid-Level Manager

9) Book: Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t, Simon Sinek

Not every boss is great. Some are okay. Some are just … bad. And when you’re the boss, you don’t want to be in the latter camps. You want to be the amazing manager, the one your team goes home and gushes about at the dinner table. 

If you want to make sure you’re on the right path to becoming an amazing boss, I’d recommend starting with this book. It gives you a great framework to build off, regardless of where you work.

10) Blog Post: “What Amazing Bosses Do Differently

This blog post is a great complement to the book above. It’ll give you some solid advice for building and growing a team that people love to be on. Plus, it’s way shorter than a book, so you’ll have time to read this on your lunch break. 

11) Podcast: Startup

Before Startup, I had a rule for the podcasts I listened to: None should be about business. I wanted to keep work at work, you know?

But then I heard how great Startup was, and finally decided to listen to an episode. 

It is hands-down one of the best podcasts I’ve listened to. It’s open, honest, and frank about the struggles of building a team. And when you’re a new(ish) manager, it’ll be refreshing to commiserate with someone about these things (even if that someone is a host of a podcast and doesn’t know you’re commiserating with them). 

12) TED Talk: “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are,” Amy Cuddy

Up until this point, your tangible work has probably shaped the majority of your success. That blog post that generated thousands of views, for example? That showed how well you understood your audience. 

But now, as a manager, your body language can have a big impact on how well your feedback is getting received. And because feedback is so crucial to your team’s growth (and thus, your success as a manager), you can’t afford to mess this up. 

So, use this TED Talk to get a lesson in adjusting your body language. Bonus: It can help you in non-management situations, too. 

Accomplished Individual Contributor

13) Book: Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative, Austin Kleon

So, you’ve advanced up the career ladder and gotten lots of experience in your field. At this point, you’ve probably built some great habits that’ll help you uncover your next big ideas. 

But what if you’re struggling? What if you hit a creative rut, and need to get unstuck?

This book can help. It’ll give you some great advice on being more creative, and hopefully get you on your way to tackling your next big idea.

14) Blog Post: “Nobody Cares How Hard You Work” 

It can feel like the only way to make progress in your career is to put your head down and grind away at work. After all, hard work is the most important — and effective — way to get things done. Right?

Not exactly. In this article, author Oliver Burkeman explains why hard work isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Reading it might inspire you to think differently about how you’re approaching your work — and make changes that’ll benefit both you and your team. 

15) Podcast: Mystery Show

Let’s be honest: At this stage in your career, you need a little mystery in your life. 

This quirky podcast is made by the folks who are behind Startup, so you know it’s got to be good. The show uncovers answers to questions you didn’t even know you had (e.g. How tall is Jake Gyllenhaal?), and is entertaining to boot. The host has some awesome tactics for getting to the bottom of a story that just might come in handy in your work. At the very least, you’ll learn exactly how tall Jake is. 

16) TED Talk: “Got a Wicked Problem? First, Tell Me How You Make Toast,” Tom Wujec

When you’re this advanced, you’re going to start running into problems no one has ever solved before. Everyone will look to you and assume you know how to do it. (Or, they’ll assume you can figure it out.)

But maybe you’re worried you can’t tackle it. The problem is really big, after all. 

If you’ve ever had that twinge of doubt, this TED Talk will be the welcome antidote. 

Experienced Executive

17) Book: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, Greg McKeown

When you’re an executive, you get pulled in lots of different directions. Budgets! Hiring! Strategy! Seating plans! Happy hours! Just 15 minutes to pick your brain!

The thing is, less can often be more. In this book, author Greg McKeown talks about the idea of removing the unimportant things in your life to be even more effective at what you do (and happier to boot). 

18) Blog Post: “Radical Candor — The Surprising Secret to Being a Good Boss”

As an executive, your job is to make sure your team stays on track to hit the goals and fulfill the vision you have set out. The way to make sure that happens? You’ve got to give great feedback. 

This post outlines an easy-to-understand framework for giving feedback that’s actually helpful to your team, regardless of how long they’ve been in business or what level they are in your company. This framework can also be applied to you, so you can get even better feedback from your team. Win-win, if you ask me. 

19) Podcast: The Growth Show

Last moment of bias, I promise. 

Here at HubSpot, we have a podcast that uncovers interesting stories and advice from every corner of the business world. One week, you can hear about how Mozilla’s CMO identifies the next big thing for his team to tackle, and the next, leadership advice from a classical musician-turned-engineer-turned-entrepreneur. Taking 30 minutes to learn from someone outside your industry can help you step up your game immensely. 

20) TED Talk: “Why the Best Hire Might Not Have the Best Resume,” Regina Hartley

While you may not be in the trenches every day, you are responsible for hiring people who are in the trenches every day. 

That’s a tough job. If you make the wrong call, you drag down your team. But if you make the right call, your team’s productivity and success can skyrocket. 

How do you make sure you’re hiring the right person? In this TED Talk, Regina Hartley argues that you should ignore their resume. Watch the video below to learn why you might want to rethink your hiring practices in favor of landing smart, talented people.

What other books, blog posts, podcasts, and TED Talks would you recommend?

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Jan

6

2016

How to Disrupt the Fashion Industry: Inside Everlane’s Branding & Growth Strategy [Podcast]

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Everlane isn’t like many other contemporary fashion brands.

While others’ pricing and supply chain information is shrouded in mystery, Everlane’s is completely transparent. On their website, you can see exactly how much money it takes to produce each of their products — and how much money they’re profiting. The fashion startup even devotes a whole section of the website to showcase detailed information and photos of their factories. 

Everlane also embraces cutting-edge marketing tactics to reach their customers. For example, they’re experimenting with Facebook Messenger to communicate order details for customers and Snapchat Stories to engage it’s already vibrant community.

How’d the company build such a different brand — and how is their brand fueling their growth?

In this episode of The Growth Show, our host, Kipp Bodnar, gets behind the scenes with Everlane’s Founder, Michael Preysman.

To listen to this episode in your browser, click the play button below, or click here to listen in your iTunes app.

Check out the latest recaps of The Growth Show episodes by clicking here.

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Dec

24

2015

The Realities of Scaling a Startup: Inside Wistia’s 10-Year Path to 200K Customers [Podcast]

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In the beginning, Wistia had just a few guys working out of an apartment in Cambridge, Massachusetts. YouTube had recently launched, and the Wistia co-founders, Chris and Brendan, were determined to capitalize on the rising popularity of video. 

Growth was a little slower than they anticipated. It took them a year to make their first dollar, and then another year to sign on 10 customers.

But the folks at Wistia never gave up.

Nearly 10 years later, the company’s persistence has paid off handsomely. They have 200,000 customers using their video marketing platform. They’ve moved out of their apartment into a huge office. And their team has grown to nearly 60 people. 

In a world where only overnight success stories get most of the media’s attention, Wistia’s slower, determined path to success is one that doesn’t often get told.

Check out the following episode to hear from Wistia’s co-founder, Chris Savage, on what it’s really like to build a successful company. To listen in your browser, click the play button below, or subscribe on iTunes to download episodes directly to your phone:

Check out the latest recaps of The Growth Show episodes by clicking here.

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Dec

17

2015

Confessions of a HubSpot Editor: 11 Editing Tips From the Trenches

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When I first started editing pieces for HubSpot’s Marketing blog, I was really, really scared. 

I had spent the previous months as a full-time writer, soaking up as much feedback as I could to write the best pieces possible. Then, the tables were turned. Suddenly, I had to be the expert on what we should be publishing, how to fix incoming pieces, and how to give feedback to people who had decades more experience than I in marketing. 

I was terrified. 

Two years later, I realize that I was right to be scared. Editing is one of the hardest parts of creating quality content and scaling that across your organization. You’re in charge of establishing and maintaining The Quality Bar — an oft-lauded but squishy, intangible concept that no one can actually define for you. And you better do that while growing your audience, training new writers to meet The Quality Bar, and getting buy-in for your content across your organization. 

The good news is your fear goes away after a while. After editing hundreds of pieces, training two full-time writers, and making plenty of mistakes, I’ve uncovered a few tips that I’d recommend to any editor looking to up their game. And I want to share some of these hard-learned lessons with you, too. 

How to Be a Better Editor: 11 Tips From the Trenches

1) Question every fact, stat, name, and example.

As The Defender of The Quality Bar, your job is to be the ultimate devil’s advocate. You need to wonder whether Oscar Wilde really said that quote … or it’s just another platitude someone stamped his name on. You need to see whether that stat you’re using to back up the crux of your piece really means what the writer said it means … or whether the original study said something different entirely. You need to second-guess whether your main source’s name is spelled properly … or you need an extra ‘n’ at the end. 

The only way you’re going to uncover these mistakes is to question everything. So make it a habit.

2) Zoom in and zoom out to uncover adjacent ideas. 

Even the best editors get stuck when thinking of new ideas. You block off time to fill out your editorial calendar for the next month, and then … nothing. 

I’ve picked up a really handy trick that’ll help unlock lots of new ideas — I call it The Zoom In, Zoom Out Method. Here’s how it works: 

  1. Think of one idea. Yes, just one. It doesn’t have to be good — it just has to be something concrete. I’ll use this as my idea for this example: “10 Tips for Writing Blog Posts Faster.”
  2. Then, zoom in on your idea. Are there sub-sections of your idea that you could turn into a whole post? Can you narrow your topic to make it more appealing to certain audiences? If I want to zoom in on “10 Tips for Writing Blog Posts Faster,” I can uncover lots of other topics, such as “10 Tips for Writing Titles Faster” or “10 Tips for Writing List Posts Faster.” In each of those titles, I’m just taking my first topic … and making my world a little smaller. 
  3. Then you go the opposite way — zoom out from your topic. In this step, you’re increasing the scope of your post and focusing less on the very small details. For example, when I zoom out on “10 Tips for Writing Blog Posts Faster,” I could uncover “10 Tips for Writing and Designing Content Faster,” or “The Science of Being More Efficient.” Both of these latter titles are related to the initial idea, but they’re broader in scope. 
  4. You can continue this process over and over and over until you build out a huge backlog of ideas. 

So next time you think you can’t think of any new ideas, think again. Little tweaks can uncover a plethora of successful ideas.  

3) Recognize your own boredom. 

This advice is something I recently learned from an episode of the podcast Startup — but it’s probably one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in the past two years. In this episode, Alex Blumberg shares their entire process for creating some of the most compelling podcasts on the market today. 

His biggest tip when working with producers to edit episodes? Recognize when you’re getting bored — it’s your brain telling you that some serious editing needs to happen.

So when you’re assessing a piece, keep part of your mind on the task at hand and part of your mind on your own emotions. If you find yourself pulling up your Facebook feed for the tenth time to escape from reading the piece, stop.

Look inward. Why are you bored? Is it the topic? Is the way the argument is presented? Is it the way the piece is designed?

Then, think about ways to solve those problems. Add formatting? Rewrite the intro? Design a supporting visual? Rework the thesis? Abandon the piece altogether? 

Being more attuned to your emotions — especially once you’ve had a few months of editing under your belt — will help you better assess pieces and give feedback. 

4) If you’re not sure what’s wrong with a piece, zoom into the details, and then zoom out to uncover larger themes.

I know what you’re thinking. What if you’re bored and you can’t figure out what the heck is wrong with the piece? I’ve got a solution for you, my friends. 

When this happens to me, I like to dive into the details of the feedback. I’ll write up an email with suggestions like, “In this paragraph, add a sentence about XYZ to strengthen your point,” or “Can you add an image here?” But before I hit send, I take a second to zoom out of my feedback: Can I pull out any patterns within the specifics to speak to higher-level problems? 

This reflection process allows me to get to the crux of the piece’s problem, even when there are lots of competing issues. 

5) Know when your feedback should be super detailed — and when it shouldn’t. 

It can be tempting to send writers feedback that includes line-by-line changes. In fact, it’s absolutely needed when a writer is brand new to your team and is learning the ropes about your brand’s voice, style, and Quality Bar. 

But once they’ve progressed beyond the point where you need to tell them that yes, your style guide dictates “real-time” when used as an adjective and “real time” when it’s a noun, you need to change strategies. You want the writer to be able to uncover weak parts of their pieces without you having to spoon-feed them every time. 

In that stage, your feedback should become less detailed. It should still be specific — i.e. “You tend to use passive voice,” not “Your writing sounds weak.” — but you shouldn’t be pointing out line-by-line changes. When you’re too specific with your feedback after your writers have achieved a certain level of expertise, they’ll by psyched that you spent time pointing out mistakes … but may not generalize those mistakes to other situations. 

So don’t shy away from detailed feedback, but realize that specific, less-detailed feedback can also be useful when training writers. 

6) Decide which mistakes are non-negotiable — and never make them.  

When you’re the one upholding The Quality Bar, it can be easy to obsess over every. single. detail. to make sure you’re not making any mistakes. 

The truth is, that obsession can be unhealthy. It can make you reread a post over and over and over, hoping and praying you haven’t missed anything. It can wake you up at 5:45 in the morning wondering if you actually misspelled the title of your morning’s blog post. It can paralyze you, make you afraid to hit publish.

And even when you’ve done everything you can possibly do, you’ll still have a commenter point out that you misspelled something in your introduction. 

Your goal shouldn’t be to avoid making any mistake ever — it should be to never make mistakes that matter. 

So that its/it’s mix-up in your sixth section? That’s an easily fixable mistake that doesn’t really have an impact on your overall piece’s success. 

The typo in your title, however? That’s a non-negotiable mistake. 

Figure out what mistakes you absolutely can’t make, and make sure every piece you edit and approve doesn’t make any of them. This will save you from many sleepless nights while also preserving your Quality Bar.  

7) Keep a list of mistakes you make, and then “Find and Replace” them before publishing a piece.

Confession: One of my recent pet peeves when editing is using plural pronouns when referencing groups or companies … but it’s also one of the things I’m most guilty of when writing. 

Knowing that, I make sure to do a “Find and Replace” before I publish a piece to make sure I have all of my pronouns straight. 

Identify what writing and editing weaknesses you have, and then search for them in each post before you schedule it. It’s as simple as hitting Control + F on a PC or Command + F on a Mac, typing in your problem word or phrase, letting your browser take you to the word or phrase in your piece, and then swapping it out with the right thing. 

This simple tip will help you polish pieces in just a few minutes. 

8) “Find and Replace” HTML snippets to quickly clean up a post’s formatting. 

This same tip works when you’re trying to clean up a post’s formatting. Instead of opening up your source code and manually stripping out problem areas, you can simply Find the problem code and leave the Replace box blank. Once you hit “All,” the problem code snippets will disappear completely. You can use this trick to swap out tags, too. 

This tip really is about using technology to find shortcuts to time-consuming problems. It’ll free up your time to focus on more important matters. 

9) Lean on Google and Word to prevent spelling and grammatical errors.  

Even if you’re the most knowledgeable editor, it can be easy to forget if you need a comma in that sentence or if that word should be capitalized or not. When in doubt, don’t brush past your concerns — Google them. You will find an answer from folks who are way more experienced with writing and editing than you are (and learn more in the process). 

I also recommend using Word to help you do a final spell and grammar check. While Word won’t catch all of your mistakes, it can help you catch any last glaring errors. 

So before you schedule a post, make sure to copy all of your text and paste it in a Word document. And give the document a few extra seconds to process your piece once you’ve pasted it in there — Word takes a little longer to “read” your piece and uncover any mistakes. You’ll know it’s done when you see a little red X at the bottom of your document window:

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10) Realize each piece shouldn’t sound like you wrote it. 

There is such a thing as overediting. 

If every piece you edit ends up sounding like you wrote it, you’ve overedited it. 

Your job, as an editor, is to preserve the voice of your writer while making sure they are meeting your Quality Bar. So if they crack a joke that’s not funny, you have a right to take it out. But if the joke is cute and you’re just reworking it to sound like something you’d say, you’re taking it too far. 

After you edit each section of a piece, make sure you look back and ask yourself the toughest questions of all: Did I really make that section better? Am I just saying what they said, but in my own voice? If so, you should go back and work their voice back in. Re-integrate some phrases they use. Keep that pun. Let one of their interesting word choices stand. 

11) Make peace with not knowing everything. 

Editing is filled with gray areas — gray areas you are not always going to know how to deal with.

Is that title really that much better than this title? Is that metaphor really the best way to explain a complex issue? Is this section really going to offend someone?

Even though you are The Defender of The Quality Bar, you don’t, can’t, and won’t know everything. Question everything — including yourself — and ask people for help when you need it.

Challenging your own knowledge and assumptions doesn’t mean you’re bad at your job. It just means you’re experienced enough to know you don’t know everything.

And when you get to this point, I promise you one thing: You won’t be scared of editing anymore. 

What are your favorite editing tips? Share them in the comments section below.

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Dec

17

2015

How to Balance Innovation and Competition: Growth Secrets From Lyft’s CMO [Podcast]

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If you’ve ever taken a Lyft, you know the ride’s been a little different than those with other ride-sharing apps.

Your car is adorned with a bright pink mustache. You sit right up front next to the driver. You may even give them a fist bump.

These quirks help differentiate Lyft as the friendly, human option in an uber-competitive industry … and it seems to be working.

The startup is one of the fastest-growing ride-sharing apps on the market.

Want to hear how Lyft’s been able to grow so fast?

Listen to this week’s episode of The Growth Show to hear from Lyft CMO Kira Wampler about surviving (and thriving) in an insanely competitive industry. Some episode highlights include:

  • How Lyft thinks about the balance of innovation and competition 
  • Why Wampler loves to hire player-coaches
  • How Lyft has scaled non-scalable parts of its culture
  • How Wampler explains marketing to her kids

Click the play button below to listen to this episode in your browser, or subscribe on iTunes to download episodes directly to your phone:

Check out the latest recaps of The Growth Show episodes by clicking here.

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