Educators in Residence and the Remote Work Utopia
💌 Roundup // 030
👋 Welcome to the latest issue of The Jungle Gym – the newsletter that helps you build a more fulfilling career by integrating your work and life.
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I’ve got to start off by saying, thank you.
This past week, The Jungle Gym passed 4,000 subscribers.
While big round numbers are gratifying, this milestone feels particularly meaningful.
As I’ve transitioned into a state of independence, it’s been weird not having a company brand to legitimize my work. Fortunately, this newsletter has consistently served as a ballast for my professional identity . That’s only possible because all of you give me permission to drop into your inboxes week after week.
It means the world to me that so many of you take the time to read these emails and share your comments and feedback.
So, thank you.
Okay, let’s get into it. In this issue of the Roundup, I’ll be riffing on:
📝 Writing in public, inside your company
🧱 Making unique individuals interchangeable
🤩 The perils of fame as a service
🧠 Educators in residence
🌅 The remote work utopia
And, for those of you who consider yourself web3-curious, make sure to scroll all the way down to the bottom 👽
Riffs & Recommendations
20-minute read by Brie Wolfson
As work shifts from physical to virtual spaces, writing has become a critical skill for knowledge workers. To collaborate asynchronously, it’s more important than ever that employees can coherently convey the state of projects they are working on and articulate problems they are facing.
I loved how ex-Stripe employee Brie Wolfson explained the different types of writing that are most useful to master in the context of a growing company:
Writing shows up within a company in two primary ways: papertrails and curations. Papertrails are documented accounts of what happened, typically produced in the run of work while it’s happening. Meeting notes are the most obvious example. Curations are artifacts of work produced to contribute to the system of shared knowledge. These are typically editorialized summaries of work that has already happened or an outlook on work that will happen soon. The audience for curations is those who might not naturally encounter the work, but might benefit from knowing or understanding more about it. A 6-Page Narrative at Amazon would fall into this bucket.
7-minute read by Dror Poleg
Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) have captured the imagination of knowledge workers by introducing a new vision of work. Rather than the rigidity of traditional employment, DAOs offer contributors full autonomy over how to create value.
This may sound impractical, but it already works this way in many open source projects: There is a list of open tasks, and anyone can come in and complete a task (code a specific "section" of an app, write marketing copy for a site, etc.). The work is merged into the overall project once approved by more experienced contributors or automatically by an algorithm that validates the code.
But unlike traditional open-source, DAOs tie together ownership and participation. This means that anyone who contributes to the organization receives shares or tokens that can be converted into cash and/or used to vote on important decisions.
While this arrangement seems like it might elevate the role of individual workers it may end up doing the opposite.
The modular work structure means that every task can be theoretically picked up by anyone who can handle it. This makes DAOs efficient at making unique individuals interchangeable.
As the DAOs increasingly challenge traditional companies, it will be interesting to watch whether workers ultimately gain or lose power.
8-minute read by Chris Hayes
Ask a group of pre-teens about their professional ambitions and you’re more likely to hear the word Youtuber than astronaut. As internet creators rise to prominence, fame is increasingly becoming the primary aspiration of younger generations.
Social media has made this fantasy more accessible than ever by giving everyone a megaphone to broadcast their thoughts and gather followers. But, is this access to fame good for our psyche?
Ever since there have been famous people, there have been people driven mad by fame. In the modern era, it’s a cliché: the rock star, comedian, or starlet who succumbs to addiction, alienation, depression, and self-destruction under the glare of the spotlight. Being known by strangers, and, even more dangerously, seeking their approval, is an existential trap. And right now, the condition of contemporary life is to shepherd entire generations into this spiritual quicksand.
8-minute read by Howard Gray
The L&D function has so much untapped potential.
Think about it– humans love learning. We are voracious consumers of content and will spend thousands of dollars to attend cohort-based courses, conferences, and fellowships. Yet, I rarely hear about exciting or innovative learning experiences coming out of corporate L&D departments.
Perhaps to realize its full potential, L&D teams need to deploy free agents who are unencumbered by the day-to-day reality of human resources. That’s what I like about Howard Gray’s concept of an Educator in Residence.
The Educator in Residence’s core mission is to help an organization learn and evolve as a whole.
This flavor of EIR may have less execution focus than a traditional Entrepreneur in Residence, but they’re still more than happy to get stuck in on marketing, strategy, code, or operations.
And while they possess undoubted skills as a facilitator, teacher or learning designer, they’re equally comfortable in a business-facing role as they are an internal educator.
The Educator in Residence is seen as a commercially-aware coach and connector who can seamlessly operate across the spectrum of a business: from making company-wide organizational improvements; to working with specific individuals to upskill them; or playing a key role in launching new commercial projects.
I’m excited to see whether roles like this actually start to appear in the wild.
Recently, I’ve changed my perspective on time management. While I still view time as my most precious resource, I don’t necessarily believe that managing time is a sensible goal. Instead, I’ve started to focus on spending my time in ways that elevate my energy.
The key difference is that I’m not always ruthlessly editing out activities that don’t energize me. Sometimes I’m just trying to change how I show up to them in order to improve the experience for everyone.
I appreciated Hiten and James’ discussion on this topic and definitely recommend you give the whole episode a listen.
Friends of the Newsletter
Here is some of the exciting work from friends of the Jungle Gym:
Approachable Design (from Nate Kadlac) is a 2-day cohort-based workshop that will help you create your own personal design system. I was lucky enough to attend the first cohort, which was fantastic. Nate is opening up a new cohort in early November.
👽 One more thing 👽
Several of you were curious about the “web3 education project” that I teased in the last issue of the newsletter.
We’re getting close to launching, but we wanted to offer something special to readers of this newsletter.
If you’re curious about web3, NFTs, or learning communities, drop your info below, to learn more and get early access to a special opportunity.
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Until next time,