Freshly Picked: Top 30 Links of 2016

December 30, 2016

Every week here on the FreshBooks blog, we round up the best links we’ve clicked on. As the weeks pass, there are some links that keep coming up in conversation. I find myself sharing them with my larger circle of colleagues, friends and family, or raising an insight gleaned in some meeting. And while perhaps less thought-provoking, some of these links have just been incredibly resourceful — handy information to have at my fingertips.

So for this week’s roundup, here’s the best of the best, in no particular order: The top 30 links that informed, shaped and resonated far beyond a weekly hit of inspiration.

Wishing you all a thriving 2017 from the Content Team at FreshBooks!

Drift: Customer Feedback: Why It Matters, How to Ask for It, & What to Do With It
“The problem that many companies are facing right now, however, is that they simply don’t how to do customer feedback. They don’t know where to start. They don’t know how to flip that switch and begin the process of continually collecting and prioritizing what customers are telling them.” (read)

UXDesign on Medium: The dangers of delightful design
“Delightful details give you an opportunity to express your brand’s voice. They give life to your product. But if you’re not careful, delightful details can get in the way.” (read)

Farnam Street: Carol Dweck on Creating a Growth Mindset in the Workplace
“Remember, people can be independent thinkers and team players at the same time. Help them fill both roles.” (read)

Backchannel on Medium: How Meetup Ditched Its Boys Club
“By the time founders are on steady ground and ready to think about building a diverse leadership team, they’ve already cemented a culture of sameness.” (read)

Vox: Why we need to plan for a future without jobs
“Fifty percent of Americans say they don’t believe in the American dream, and they’re justified in believing that. People with college degrees are not making anywhere near the kind of progress that their parents made, and that’s not their fault. The possibility that you can end up with job security and retirement attached to it is statistically diminishing over time.” (read)

Time Well Spent: Distracted? Let’s build a movement for technology designed to help us spend time well.
“Either we connect, but constantly get sucked in. Or we unplug, but lose all the benefits of technology completely. We’ve had enough. We need to restore choice. We believe in a new kind of design, that lets us connect without getting sucked in. And disconnect, without missing something important.” (read)

Athena Talks on Medium: 100 Women in Tech and Founders to Follow on Twitter
“…if you want to help solve the world’s toughest problems facing our communities nationally and globally, only listening and interacting with other influential men in your network gives you a severely limited perspective.” (read)

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99U: The Many, Many Problems With “Follow Your Passion”
“One of the most glaring things we’ve discovered is that trying to pursue some preordained “passion” is entirely the wrong way to find a career you enjoy that makes a big difference to the world. Why? Well for starters, most people’s passions just don’t fit well with the world of work.” (read)

Jennifer E. Snyder: The (Seemingly) Lost Art of Running a Business Like a Human Being
“Sadly, there seems to be an enhanced (and sometimes aggressive) focus on cutting humanity out of business, altogether. So much of what we see in this strange, amazing, creative world of entrepreneurship has to do with building a perfect brand.” (read)

Startup Grind on Medium: SEO is Not Hard — A step-by-step SEO Tutorial for beginners that will get you ranked every single time
“SEO is simply not as hard as people pretend like it is; you can get 95% of the effort with 5% of the work, and you absolutely do not need to hire a professional SEO to do it, nor will it be hard to start ranking for well-picked key terms.” (read)

The Next Web: 7 mental models you should know for smarter decision making
“Whether it’s trying to figure out which job you should take, deciding to quit your job to start a business, move to a new city — these decisions are never easy.Yet there are people who make highly impactful decisions on a regular basis, and they’ve developed mental models to help them make smarter decisions.” (read)

Buffer: Take Back Your Time With These 10 Ready-Made Spreadsheet Templates (And Our Top Tips and Time-Savers)
“spreadsheets are not always easy. Finding or building the right ones and figuring out how best to use them can be time-consuming tasks. We’d love to help.” (read)

James Clear: Motivation is Overvalued. Environment Often Matters More.
“Environment is the invisible hand that shapes human behavior. We tend to believe our habits are a product of our motivation, talent, and effort. Certainly, these qualities matter. But the surprising thing is, especially over a long time period, your personal characteristics tend to get overpowered by your environment.” (read)

GetResponse: A Beginner’s Guide To Reddit – The “Front Page Of the Internet”
“users literally have control over what appears on the front page of Reddit at any given time. But it also means that content creators can get a real-time feel for what type of content is well-received, and what isn’t.” (read)

Buffer on Medium: People Don’t Buy Products, They Buy Better Versions of Themselves
“A feature is what your product does; a benefit is what the customer can do with your product.” (read)

Contently: The State of Freelancing in 2016
“76 percent of freelancers do it by choice. Despite the inherent complexities of freelancing—wage instability, lack of benefits, tax complications, and so on—creatives largely go freelance because they want to, not because they need to.” (read)

Quartz: If you want to be a better person, find something to do outside of work
“Our hobbies tell a great deal about us and our world: about how we choose to present our lives to others; about the burdensome, expectation-freighted nature of free time; about our slippery relationship with the exigencies of productivity in late-capitalist society. Hobbies are a corner of our existence over which we have the impression of control, a sphere in which we feel we can achieve a kind of mastery usually denied to us in our wider personal and professional lives.” (read)

NYMag: Going Freelance Won’t Solve All Your Problems
“Entrepreneurs are portrayed as having everything that struggling women in the white-collar workforce lack: autonomy, flexibility, creativity. Set your own hours. Chart your own career path. Stop counting on a boss to raise your salary once a year. Flex the skills your managers have ignored for so long. These things sound appealing to a lot of men, too. But for women, whose salaried jobs come with a particularly tough set of challenges, self-employment is even easier to idealize.” (read)

Digital Doughnut: What’s missing from your marketing… Emotion
“we don’t always recall exactly what our friends said to us on an occasion but we do remember how they made us feel and that feeling lasts long after the moment has passed. That’s why as a smart marketer you need to start focussing your marketing and communication strategies at the customers emotions, not their rational logical brain.” (read)

Nautilus: Retiring Retirement
“We’re going to see something we’ve never seen before—people in their 60s, 70s and 80s who want to continue working and remain connected.” (read)

Crew: How finding the right community can help your creativity
“Real creativity is innovative. It’s disruptive. It challenges and changes the way we think about established ideas. But to get to that point, you need feedback. You need criticism.” (read)

Thomas Oppong on Medium: How to Prepare Yourself for the Future of Work
“So far, humans are vastly superior at any work that relies on creativity, entrepreneurialism, interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence.” (read)

Help Scout: The Psychological Benefits of Writing
“Laziness with words creates difficulty in describing feelings, sharing experiences, and communicating with others. Being able to flesh out thoughts in your mind only to have them come stumbling out when you speak is supremely frustrating. Fortunately, regular writing seems to offer some reprieve.” (read)

Feedly: It’s not just you: Trends are moving faster than ever
“Ninety percent of the world’s data has been generated in the last two years, according to one study. Google publishes 20 petabytes of information every day, according to Promodo in 2013. To put it in perspective, there have been 5000 petabytes of information created from the dawn of civilization to 2003.” (read)

Mark Manson: Why You Can’t Trust Yourself
“I’ve hammered on the importance of becoming comfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity, in questioning all of your most cherished beliefs and dreams, on practicing skepticism, and doubting everything, most importantly yourself. Throughout these posts, I’ve hinted at the fact that our brains are fundamentally unreliable… But I’ve never given concrete examples or explanations. Well, here they are.” (read)

Buffer on Medium: 30+ Ultimate Headline Formulas for Tweets, Posts, Articles, and Emails
“On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy.” (read)

Fast Company: Three Ways To Reinvent Your Career For The New Economy
“More and more in the years ahead, modern workers will have a series of careers and will constantly have to find new ways to stay relevant in the job market.” (read)

Naytev: What Networks Does BuzzFeed Actually Use?
If you think content is a “build it and they will come” proposition, this is a wake up call. Even Buzzfeed doesn’t think that way: the vast majority is distributed through channels other than their website. (read)

Erica Berger on Medium: Peak Content
“Much of our attention has gone from the analog world to the digital world. Often times, it can feel like an assault on our emotional and intellectual state, being wed to our devices, our social networks, and especially our email, messaging apps, and SMS.” (read)

Srinivas Rao on Medium: Why Momentum is the Lifeblood of a Startup or Any Creative Endeavor
“Momentum is the rocket fuel of creative and entrepreneurial success. The loss of it is the nemesis of that success.” (read)

about the author

Content Director, FreshBooks Jane Flanagan is the Content Director at FreshBooks. Follow her on Twitter @seenandsaid.