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Yahoo’s new logo and weekend work

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Plenty of opinions have been written about the new Yahoo! logo. Personally, I think the most interesting thing about it is something Marissa Mayer, the Yahoo! CEO, wrote on her blog.

Before we get to that: I’m inclined to like Mayer. Yahoo! is racking up accomplishments under her leadership, such as their great new weather app, their ambitious redesign of Flickr, and the acquisition of Tumblr. Mayer herself oversaw the creation of the new logo—but in an unusual way. Here’s what she said about it on her Tumblr blog:

So, one weekend this summer, I rolled up my sleeves and dove into the trenches with our logo design team: Bob Stohrer, Marc DeBartolomeis, Russ Khaydarov, and our intern Max Ma.  We spent the majority of Saturday and Sunday designing the logo from start to finish, and we had a ton of fun weighing every minute detail.

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Coming from a CEO, this sends a message: I expect you all to be working weekends.

You can see how we got here. In tech, media and marketing, it’s easy to end up with a schedule that’s jammed all week with day-to-day chores. All during work hours, interruptions are expected. Getting into a state of creative flow is impossible. There is no room for the sustained work it takes to accomplish an ambitious creative project.

In an environment like that, how do you channel your energy into the great stuff that deserves extra effort? You devote your free time to it. Goodbye weekends.

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Is weekend work how we get things done these days?

No. That’s not how it’s supposed to work. We have weekends off for a reason.

An executive—someone who has agreed to work extremely hard and assume extreme risk in exchange for extreme pay—can be expected to work weekends. But she shouldn’t send a signal to her team that everyone is expected to do the same.

Do not resign yourself to a new reality of nonstop work. Take your weekends. Enjoy them. (I’m writing this blog on a weekend—it’s a personal project I enjoy.)

Then take control of your workweek and find time for the ambitious project you want to accomplish—the one you know you’re the best person to do. Insist on the time. Work from home for a day. Camp out in a coffee shop for the morning. Find a creative partner or two and lock yourselves in the conference room for half a day. Put away your phone, close your browser, and do the work.

The trick is making sure your boss knows that in exchange for being allowed to go off the grid temporarily, you will deliver something great.

Easier said than done. But it’s doable. You’re a creative person—be creative.

Update: In an earlier version of this post I had Marissa Mayer’s last name incorrectly spelled “Mayr” because I copied it from her Tumblr. Ha ha. Cute.

— By Daryl Lang. Filed under Logos, Marketing

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