Issue #101, 31st October 2014

This Week's Favorite


The Importance of Donuts
3 minutes read.

Capturing and celebrating your achievements, even if they're only a tiny step forward in the right direction, is how you build momentum. One small hack I used in every company I've been so far, is to keep a gmail label "Journey" and archive emails, photos and videos of those moments I thought were interesting part of our journey as a team and company. It may be an email from our first happy customer, or an email with some crazy photos to celebrate a milestone or welcoming a new member to the team. Looking back at it a few years later brings back a lot of those magic moments I was so proud being apart of. Lara Hogan has a unique way to capture those moments in her career in a way that I can only envy her. Well done!

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Culture


The Problem With Bullshit
1 minutes read.

As always, something to start the weekend with a huge smile on your face.

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Company Culture and Building a Team (Video)
50 minutes read.

Alfred Lin (ex-COO at Zappos) and Brian Chesky (Airbnb) know a thing or two on how to build a multi-billion business with a great team and a strong culture. This talk, as part of YC's Startup Class, is a great opportunity to listen and learn how they see their role in building their companies. Worth every minute of your time.

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This Is Why People Leave Your Company
7 minutes read.

Hiring ninja/superstar employees gets a lot of attention, but employees churn can really kill your company's morale and ability to execute. I highly recommend reading the parts on why ReadyForce look for hilarious people, and how Carly Guthrie recommends addressing working from home policy. I think that more companies should try and experiment with letting their employees work out of the office, even if it's only for a day or two a week. It can create an interesting discussion and adjustments within the team on the level of trust you need to have, how you measure progress and how well do you communicate with each other.

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How Are Sprints & Episodes at Asana Structured and How Do They Work?
5 minutes read.

Dustin Moskovitz shares how the team at Asana plan and execute their work using Episodes and Sprints. Worth delving deeper and read how they integrated a lot of long-term thinking processes into their Episodes (4 months period), things such as Polish Week and Roadmap Week. This allows the team to align around big goals, have enough time to get stuff done and also kill Technical Debt.

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Fast Delivery (Slides)
5 minutes read.

Even without the video (you can find it online, but the quality is pretty low), there are a lot of great insights here by Adrian Cockcroft, based on his experience at Netflix. Check out slides 8-15, 48-65 as they hold a lot of great points to take from. Lastly, check slide 88. Bingo!

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Peopleware


#Define CTO
8 minutes read.

Greg Brockman with a very open post on the evolution of his role at Stripe, from an early employee to the CTO of a company with over 175 people. Figuring out when to hire Marc as VP Engineering and how to move some of Greg's responsibilities, such as having 1:1 with each employee, or how to make sure they're aligned, can really get you to think on how it works in your company. I really appreciate Greg's honesty, trying to define his role, seeking for advices and being so open about some of the things that he still tries to figure out. I also recommend looking for the Hacker News discussion around this post, it has a great open discussion there.

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Why I Am Leaving the Best Job I Ever Had
4 minutes read.

Max Schireson, until recently the CEO of MongoDB, shares why he decided to leave his position and invest his time in things that our industry is almost blind to. Family. This one sentence by Max holds an entire perception we should fix: "Friends and colleagues often ask my wife how she balances her job and motherhood. Somehow, the same people don’t ask me."

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Startups: Stop Using Generic Form Letters When You Tell a Candidate 'No'
4 minutes read.

It's pretty amazing why startups try to behave bigger than they are, instead of using their size as a strength. Brandon Ballinger hits the nail on the head. Don't let HR send a letter or make the call. Own it. Don't say the same "no" to every candidate your turn down. Be kind enough to explain why, or at least make an honest attempt. Everything you do is part of your brand as a company.

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Inspiring Tweets


@paulocoelho: A Very Dangerous Sentence: " but We've Always Done It This Way!"

@dorkitude: This Century Will Be Dominated by Companies Who Treat Their Employees Like Potential Superheroes Instead of Like Cogs in a Machine.

- Oren

P.S. Can you share this email? I'd love for more people to experiment and improve their company's culture.

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