Exec on the Desk

The Story Behind Exec on the Desk

How this all began: The (official) backstory of Exec on the Desk.

They keep saying if you want serendipity, you have to go to the office. Maybe all it takes is having a little fun with friends.

Exec on the Desk all started with a Slack message. A group of former, mostly marketing co-workers all regularly keep up with each other over a shared Slack instance.

One morning I shared a screenshot of a job posting from an Atlanta-based company that, while little known, makes a remarkably well-known Christmas product — i.e. magical, shelf-sitting elves that keep an eye on little boys and girls for Santa. These elves get up to all sorts of hijinks around the house, which kids love, and some parents love and others hate. (If you know you know.)

I shared this job posting over Slack, and a friend quickly responded with what he imagined it’d be like to work there:

“They will install an elf in your home office to report back your daily deeds to their Purity Board of Appropriate Behaviors”

That’s when an absurd idea was born, the “Exec on the Desk”—a micro manager for knowledge workers everywhere, loyal to companies, always there to keep you productive and on task, in or out of the office. 😳

Next thing, another friend creatively mocked up a “manager doll” in Midjourney.

The synapses were firing. The muse was at work. That’s serendipity.

From these humble but quick beginnings, Exec on the Desk was born. By midmorning, we’d joked about how the little Execs would work:

👉 “Add that extra ‘fun’ to work-from-home with a mini boss permanently scrutinizing your every action. Complete with the typical furrowed brow and canned corporate phrases.”

👉 “Can’t get time to talk over a tricky problem with your manager? Just tell the Exec on the Desk! Raise issues—complain all day long!—the Exec on the Desk will listen to it all and not do a damn thing about it!”

Soon I’d grabbed domains, imagining how to play out this silly little idea. All of this happened 90 days ago now. And truth be told, I didn’t have the chance to do much of anything after that first day, being the last day of school and the beginning of summer break … until a month later.

And that’s when I drafted the story, putting words to digital paper, going from idea to publication of a book in less than 90 days—with the bulk of that done in 57.

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