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Antifragility

According to essayist and statistician, Nassim Taleb, “Antifragility is a property of companies that increase in their capability to thrive after experiencing stressors, volatility, and hardships”. 

There is a difference between resilience in times of hardship and the concept of antifragility. The resilient companies resist shock and stay the same. Antifragile businesses actually improve and increase in value during periods of disorder. Zoom, Slack, and Atlassian are great examples of tech companies that are stronger during these strange times. 

What are the common threads that tie these companies together? In each situation, the creator of these tools built this software to satisfy a need for themselves. Eric Yuan created Zoom so he could talk to his long-distance girlfriend in real-time. Stewart Butterfield made Slack to internally communicate while creating an MMOG (massively multiplayer online game). 

Atlassian’s Jira got its name from the word ‘Gojira’ – which means Godzilla. They invented the software because they needed something better than the premier issue tracking software at the time (which was Bugzilla). 

In each case, they solved their own problems. If you’re experiencing a specific problem, chances are that thousands of other people struggle with this exact same problem. Congratulations! This is how you’re introduced to your target market. Businesses that solve actual problems have created something antifragile because they still satisfy a need during this difficult time. In fact, they satisfy the need more now than ever.

So what steps can you take to ensure your business is antifragile during this challenging time? Well, most WFH setups inspired by a pandemic aren’t likely to be methodically pre-planned out and organized. So how can your business adapt, even thrive, in its new remote setup?

If your team is new to WFH, they’ll likely try to stay busy – sending Slack gifs, checking LinkedIn every hour, suggesting Zoom calls. But this brand of busyness is often a guise for avoiding the few vital things a business needs to do. These tools increase our ability to communicate – but how we use the tools deserves a closer examination. Just because we use Slack and Zoom, it doesn’t mean we’re using them productively.

Steve McConnell, the Chief Software Engineer at Construx Software Builders once said, “Communication flows more easily on small teams than large teams. If you’re the only person on a project, communication is simple. The only communication path is between you and the customer. As the number of people on a project increases, however, so does the number of communication paths. It doesn’t increase additively, as the number of people increases, it increases multiplicatively, proportional to the square of the number of people”.

With Slack, utilize the top-rated tools and integrations to manage big teams. If Fortune 500 companies are doing it and seeing success, why aren’t you? If you’re using Zoom, try to limit the number of people on a call. Don’t have a video call if your message can be properly explained via Slack. If your team is using Jira, make sure it’s a comprehensive effort. Things can’t afford to slip through the cracks right now. 

If your team is struggling with productivity, it’s understandable given our situation. But what else can we do to take action? 

Think about Pareto’s 80/20 Principle. The internal mechanisms, clients, and projects that are responsible for 80% of our work come from just 20% of our effort. If you can correctly label these points for your business and ensure they are handled with care, you’re already separating yourself from the competition.

The questions we’re asking today seem wildly different than the questions we asked just last month. If you need to re-evaluate how your business approaches remote productivity, we’d be happy to introduce you to our remote work toolbox.

Logan Vantrease

Customer Success Manager at Nextup.ai