WWW: Jonk

Where we Work (WWW) is a series looking at the modern day workplace, and the many new and innovative workspaces that today’s companies are using to inspire brilliance in their employees. Today we meet Jonk, a gluten-free on-demand pet-grooming service in London

Welcome to Jonk! Please don’t stand on ceremony with us, come right in. We operate a “door always open” policy here, so people are always coming and going; we think it adds a real energy to the place.

I see you’re admiring the glass windows, I’d love to take the credit for them, but they were put in well before we arrived. They do really help us keep in touch with the community, right on Silicon Roundabout.

And yes, your nose is not deceiving you, that is indeed an in-house barista in the corner. Very “East London Startup”, we do hate to conform to cliche, but I just love a cup of joe. I’m afraid you will have to pay though, we’re still bootstrapping round here! Two flat whites please, easy on the white, heavy on the sugar, careful with the joe, Joe. Ha! What am I like, his name isn’t even Joe. Thanks Jay.

I’m afraid I don’t have a private office, that’s sort of the point – it would really hinder the open, collaborative atmosphere that we try and cultivate here at Jonk. It’s important that I’m always accessible to the team. So much so that the whole organisation hot-desks, and it can be a nightmare getting a spot sometimes! We’re happy to be patient at Jonk though – when we wait we meditate. You’d think that CEO I should be able to pull rank, but I’d hate to cultivate that sort of atmosphere. Plus I don’t even recognise some of these people, which I suppose is the problem with meteoric growth!

There’s a spot – standing desks, at the bar, looking out the window. Great. And do log onto the wifi, free of charge! It’s mostly pretty good, but sometimes it struggles; I guess that’s what happens when you’ve got so much industrious coding going on. We live on Wifi here, too – no wired internet round here. That’s not the Jonk way, that and smooth Jazz, which you’ll hear playing on loop in the background. So soothing!

So yes! Thanks for coming down, and if anyone else wants to visit (or wants a job?), come on down to Jonk, off Old Street roundabout – glass windows, and the door says Starbucks. You can’t miss it – Jonk!

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Business Interest: US Rates Rise

Breaking News from our colleagues in the US, as interest rates rise for the first time since 2008, increasing by 0.25%. Janet Yellen of the US Federal Reserve reported the increase, saying that the public’s interest in business was “improving well and expected to continue to strengthen.”

This development is expected to have implications across the world, as international consumers inevitably follow US trends. Interest in business and the economy could well be the next Game of Thrones, as water coolers around the globe reverberate with the latest EBITDA gossip.

Meanwhile some commentators have connected the increase in US interest with the recent return this week of a noted online blog-type business site, after more than a year of absence. Coincidence? Your correspondent could not possibly comment.

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Why things cause other things

We live in a data-driven world. Where the heroes of distant and more recent antiquity were exalted for their leadership instinct on the field of battle or in the boardroom, today’s bespectacled Masters of the Universe draw upon their skills of deduction and data analysis to make business decisions. The oft-discussed Big Data revolution should therefore have been a panacea, but has in fact muddied the waters, with as much signal as noise accumulating in countless server-farms across the world.

As a result one of the fundamental questions of business decision-making remains unanswered, namely what it is that underlies causation (“the causal relationship between conduct and result”). What fundamentally connects an input with an output? What thread connects and unites the two?

To answer this question, we turned to Search Giant Google’s publicly available search data, in the form of Google Trends. We began looking for search terms which were searched in a similar fashion to the term “causation”, reasoning that if people are searching for things in a similar way, there must be a fundamental connection between the two.

Our initial attempts were frustrating, with early favourite “insight” yielding little relationship, while “synergy” and “connection” met similar fates.

imageWe were on the edge of giving up, when our MBA intern, Jay, discovered an answer in an underrated outsider:


Correlation. Of course! With an R-squared of 0.82, we had our best match – correlation underlies causation. It made perfect sense, that the means we were using to investigate causation should underlie its very essence. After all, if one thing always happens at the same time as another thing, it stands to reason that the first thing is causing the second thing. That’s just common sense!

Jay later built on this finding to demonstrate that ice-creams cause sunburn, as if I needed another reason to stay off the Magnums!

Seriously though, I encourage your Data Analysts to build this fundamental shift into their day-to-day work, to better unpick what is really driving your business.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Reliability – does it consistently do the job it’s required to do?

Durability – is it likely to last a long time?

Appearance – is it easily identifiable?

Brand – is it from a reputable manufacturer?

Shear strength – is it resilient while twisting?

Compatability – does it match the lock?

Turnability – is it easily turned or does it sort of stick and require wiggling about?

Master – all hail the master key

Don’t call it a comeback

It is highly unlikely that this untended corner of the internet has caught anyone’s notice of late. If we were to mix our metaphors, we would say that the gardener fell asleep at the wheel last summer, and has somewhat taken their eye off the ball ever since.

If we were being more straightforward, we would say that we became rather busy and lost the habit.

Hopefully today will be something of a renaissance. Perhaps not a great fairytale comeback (no Jobsian delusions here, as fetching as we look in a black turtleneck). More the workmanlike return from sabbatical of the toiling professional.

Expect short pieces of variable quality, likely with even more variable regularity.

And mostly be kind.

Because we feel very out of practice

CEO upset by PowerPoint Presentation

The CEO of a major FMCG company has been left underwhelmed by the end result of a 6-month long consulting project. Hastings Products hired Asco Partners to carry out an analysis on their product portfolio, and to make recommendations for growth. The project culminated on Friday in a 3 hour long Powerpoint presentation and discussion.

“It just wasn’t up to scratch, to be honest,” explains CEO Henry Fick. “I was mainly disappointed that they couldn’t do a more professional job.”

The source of Fick’s angst is quite specific. “I have absolutely no problem with the analysis done, and actually found the recommendations very insightful,” he relates. “My problem was more with the PowerPoint presentation. I am no slideshow expert, but it was just so boring. The font was just the default setting, Arial. Even I know how to do Papyrus, and I’d even have been ok with Comic Sans. It’s like they weren’t even trying!”

He continues: “It was just so bland, chart this and chart that. Where’s the Clip Art? Where’s the ‘underwater’ background? And even my 11-year-old can do that spinny animation thing when you click. What was I even paying for?”

The slides in question were made in Powerpoint by analyst Jane Williams, who insists that they were “in line with Asco standard presentation.” However Mr Fick is not convinced. “When you’re spending $1M on a consulting project, you want more than the standard, you want premium. And I won’t be satisfied until the Hastings logo bounces across the screen unexpectedly.”

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Client contact

We live in the era of connectivity. The entire world, from CEOs to world leaders, is only a button click (or several) away; people are closer to one another than they have ever been.

Which is all very well – I am as keen as the next man to get in touch with the POTUS – but for the everyday businessman, what has really changed is the way in which we can communicate with our clients.

In this article, we will look at the best in class methodologies in a modern-day businessman’s armoury.

Gotomeeting – your computer screen is your business hub, and with Gotomeeting you can show your clients what’s what. Whether it’s a slideshow or product demonstration, it’s like being in the same room

Skype – only the fool pays airline ticket prices these days, with Skype you can be in the same room as your clients with nothing but an internet connection. Plus sometimes it will freeze and they’ll be pulling silly faces

gChat – it’s instant, it’s immediate and it’s just right there. Longform is dead, long live gChat

Whatsapp – see gChat, plus excellent photo-sharing capabilities, because clients love to see your snaps on the go

Twitter – because #businessneedsmorehashtags

Snapchat – best for those illicit conversations off the record. If you’re trading inside, Snapchat is the place to be

Tinder – on second thoughts maybe not

Email – the ‘90’s called, they want their mode of communication back

Telephone – what?

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The Business Alphabet

Always Be Closing

Don’t Entertain Failure

Generate Huge Innovation

Just Kill Laziness

Make Numerous Opportunities

Produce Qualified Recommendations

Synergy Triumphs Unilaterally

Value Wins Xtra



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Business is Awesome: Mad Men

Have you seen Mad Men? I love Mad Men. Don Draper is such a cool guy, and boy can he pull off a suit.

What if I told you that you could be just like Don Draper, every single day? You’ve guessed right, I’m talking about business. In business, you are required, nay obliged to wear a suit every day. Just like Mad Men! And a tie too.

Of course other features prevalent in Mad Men, such as day-drinking, institutional sexism, and indoor-smoking are less encouraged in a business setting. But from a sartorial standpoint, Business = suits = Mad Men. Isn’t business awesome?

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Business travel is glamorous

I often read reports from my fellow business people on the travails of business travel, bemoaning that it is “not as glamorous as it used to be”.

I, for one, could not disagree more. Traveling for business is one of the ultimate joys for the modern businessperson, and anyone who disagrees is doing it wrong.

Let me start, if I may, on a Sunday evening. The weekend has dragged on long enough, and you are chomping at the bit for the workweek ahead. What better way to end a Sunday, than by leaving your loved ones and boarding the Heathrow Express? The world is still napping, but you are on the move.

The airport greets you like a familiar friend, your well-worn BA card breezing you through security to the Lounge, no check-in required because it’s hand-luggage all the way. A lukewarm chicken curry greets you for dinner – what bliss! You didn’t want a delicious home-cooked meal anyway.

But not for long, because you only arrived in the very nick of time – you are a business traveler, after all. It is time to board the sterile tube, alongside fellow business nomads, to you’re not even sure where. All you know is that you have an excellent series of miniature drinks to look forward to, accompanied by many tiny pretzel snacks. Make it a double G&T, easy on the T, because you’re having such a great time.

On arrival, what better way to spend one’s time than in miscellaneous airport queues? What is the purpose of your visit sir, business or pleasure? You know it’s hard to tell sometimes, what with all the fun you’re having, but business I suppose.

You know the word for taxi in a thousand languages, which is less impressive given that it’s ‘taxi’ in most of them. You climb into the back of one, indicate the address on your work Blackberry, and roll towards the hotel. Accumulated currencies of all denominations spill out of your wallet, throw a thousand Nudges at the taxi driver and hope that that will do. Just get the receipt though, or it’ll never get through expenses.

The hotel could be anywhere, but it feels like nowhere, red carpets and faux marble bestride the world. It’s so nice to fall asleep in the comfort of a bed you’ve never stayed in before. Woken by the dulcet tones of the receptionist, this is your 7am wake-up call. I defy you to find a better way to start the day.

And you’re off, filled to the brim with continental breakfast, to a nondescript conference room, where the only thing worse than the coffee is the wi-fi. The agenda seems like gibberish, but you plough on ahead, language barriers be-damned. The hours under fluorescent lamps do wonders for your skin, let alone your frame of mind.

Then you stumble out, and hail a taxi, or taksi, or teksi or taxi, and it’s back to the airport. Back to the BA lounge. Lather, rinse, and repeat, until the week is out.

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