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Offbeat

This subsection of the Need to Know newsletter offers news and ideas from unusual sources or other industries beyond journalism.

‘How to set goals like you’re Google (even if you’re not)’

“When I talk with any startup — Google scale or not — my easiest recommendation in brainstorming and goal-setting is to not get caught up in just local optimizations, not to stay exclusively in the land of reasonable, but devote some time to 10x Impact conversations,” writes Hunter Walk. That means asking yourself the questions: […]

Twitter says its timeline algorithm has improved engagement in key areas, but it won’t say by how much

According to Twitter, the company’s shift from a chronological to algorithmic timeline has been a success, improving engagement in areas including likes and retweets. But Twitter also won’t say how much those metrics have improved by. “This reticence suggests that the effects, while positive, are not yet impressive enough to comfort the company’s restless investors,” […]

Twitter may have committed itself to a ‘live’ strategy last year, but it’s still offering essentially the same product it was when it launched in 2006

A year ago, Twitter said in a letter to its shareholders that it was committing itself to a “live” strategy, trying to make itself a place where people would talk about events as they were happening in real-time. But thinking about that statement in the context of Sunday night’s Oscars mistake “highlights what I and […]

Private Facebook groups offer an alternative to algorithm-driven public Facebook pages

Facebook pages are subject to the whims of Facebook’s algorithm, but Sujan Patel writes that there’s a way around this: Private Facebook groups. Personal posts and posts from Facebook pages alike are shown to users based on the algorithm, but users in private groups receive notifications when there’s a new post in a group. Those […]

Only 2 percent of app installs lead to purchases, data from AppsFlyer shows

According to data from analytics firm AppsFlyer, app developers and publishers alike have trouble converting users who download apps into paying customers. AppsFlyer’s data shows that in the third quarter of 2016, less than 2 percent of app installers worldwide turned into buyers. BI Intelligence explains that this is likely to due to several factors: […]

Slack hacks to keep you productive instead of distracted

Slack can be a powerful tool to keep your team productive, but like most communication tools, it can also often be a source of distraction. Matthew Guay offers five tips for how to use Slack and stay productive: Catch up on what you missed while you were away with the “all unreads” feature and read […]

How to reduce bias in the hiring process: Stick to a script during interviews and check that your decisions are made against the right criteria

“Why is it that many of the world’s most advanced companies struggle to create diversified workforces, despite spending hundreds of millions of dollars on diversity training and recruitment?,” NYU psychology professors Jay Van Bavel and Tessa West ask. Part of the problem, Van Bavel and West argue, may be implicit bias (“the idea that even […]

You can now post jobs on Facebook, but Facebook isn’t going after the same market as LinkedIn

By adding the ability for businesses to post job openings, Facebook is going after a much bigger job market than what’s on LinkedIn, Alison Griswold writes. “LinkedIn caters to the mid- to high-skilled job market,” Griswold explains, with the site featuring prominent “influencers” who are often successful entrepreneurs and 17 percent of its revenue coming […]

Snapchat’s user growth is stalling, but it’s pointing to a new trend in digital: Engagement is more important than pure growth

As Snapchat’s parent Snap Inc. prepares for an IPO, data from mobile analytics firm Apptopia shows that Snapchat’s user base has essentially stopped growing.“But before anyone freaks out, it’s important to note that digital media as a whole seems focused principally on engagement, rather than raw audience size,” Max Willens writes. “[Snap Inc. CEO Evan] […]

When implementing business changes, consider the underlying value assumptions

When a major organizational change fails, Markus Spiegel, Theresa Schmiedel and Jan vom Brocke suggest that research shows a common theme: “Organizations often don’t consider that the management practices and methods they are about to introduce come with underlying values and assumptions about how things should get done.” Their research calls this a company’s “embedded […]

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