If you've spent countless hours planting virtual crops on Facebook, you have Chicago native Sizhao "Zao" Yang to thank. Though the creator of Farmville (Zynga's legendary time-suck) is proud to help you fritter away your time, he'd prefer you think of him as the guy who gave your company culture a boost.
That's why he co-founded BetterWorks, a Los Angeles-based startup that provides customizable incentives programs to small- and medium-sized companies. By creating a caring and respectful workplace, Yang contends that employees will respond with higher levels of productivity -- barring the occasional Farmville session, of course.
But even Yang needs an inspirational pick-me-up sometimes. Here are his top five Twitter feeds for company culture:
Washington, D.C., resident Daniel Pink is a best-selling author and contributing editor at Wired magazine. In his latest work, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us (Penguin Group, 2011), Pink analyzes 50 years of behavioral science to gain insight into human motivation and higher performance triggers. Pink's Twitter feed is chockfull of tidbits and advice aimed at improving how we live and do business.
Sample tweet: RT@HarvardBiz: How Teddy Bears Can Make Your Company More Ethical - Video http://s.hbr.org/qPSd7Q
At his Chicago-based Web-apps maker, 37signals, one of Jason Fried's main goals is to help entrepreneurs and freelancers boost productivity. One of his better known productivity enhancing technologies is Basecamp, collaboration software that connects far-flung co-workers. Fried also understands that sometimes a small business can benefit by sneaking a peek at its peers. To this end, his tweets feature motivational looks at what other entrepreneurs are up to.
Sample tweet: http://devour.com is one of the best-designed sites on the web.
Tony Hsieh, isn't just the CEO of the Henderson, Nev.-based online footwear behemoth Zappos.com, he's arguably made a bigger name for himself soap boxing strong team-building and the power of a vibrant company culture. He even wrote a bestseller about it called, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose (Hachette Book Group, 2010). When Hsieh isn't raising his own employees' morale, he tweets about anything and everything that could make other companies happier, too.
Sample tweet: Want happiness? Don't buy more stuff - go on vacation! Time Magazine article: http://ti.me/oJTbCR
As the editor of the HR Examiner, John Sumser of Bodega Bay, Calif., wants your staff to work: harder, better and more efficiently. By featuring articles from human resource pros that demonstrate how to bolster and motivate star players while trimming the fat of "toxic employees," Sumser aims to help businesses build strong, dedicated teams. His tweets are designed to direct you to the best HR advice on the Internet.
Sample tweet: TalentMinded - Get inside the mind of your talent. http://bit.ly/ovTmq0
What is Liz Strauss's definition of fun? Pair a brilliant strategy with high returns and connects customers in a meaningful way. She achieves this "fun" primarily through Chicago's Successful Online Business Conference, or SOBCon, which she co-founded in 2007 to bring entrepreneurs together to discover the strengths and weaknesses of their businesses. She often tweets about leadership and creative ways to connect with customers.
Sample tweet: NEW! Let Your Human Out: Build Connections With Your Small Business Marketing http://bit.ly/netYXj
What Twitter feeds do you follow to keep up with company culture? Leave a comment and let us know.