Issue #107, 12th December 2014

This Week's Favorite


Killing the Crunch Mode Antipattern
5 minutes read.

This sentence is so important: "Maybe the most addictive feature of Crunch Mode is it’s the easiest way to see a team really click... Unfortunately it’s difficult (not impossible) to work this way all the time, so we’re tempted to activate Crunch Mode on occasion just to feel this way again." - The best way I found for fighting Crunch Mode is to proactively figuring out the rhythm the team can commit based on empirical data (capacity planning) and by writing our goals down, explaining each goal in my own words: why they're important, which risk do I see, how I believe success will look like and what do I need in order to get there. This act of writing our goals down helps me to validate we're working on the most important things by sharing it with others and getting as much feedback as I can, as early as possible.

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Culture


Multithreaded Programming - Theory and Practice (photo)
1 minutes read.

As always, something to start the weekend with a huge smile on your face. Oh, it also has puppies, so you know, there is that too.

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An Inside Look at a Flat Organization That Serves Millions
10 minutes read.

I love Gumroad and use their product to sell everything I do (e.g. my book). Sahil Lavingia started Gumroad when he was only 19 years old, and it is amazing to see how mature and wise this guy is (just google video interviews with him). My favorite sections: "Know What Management Is and Isn't" and "The Challenge of Scale"

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From Open (Unlimited) to Minimum Vacation Policy
5 minutes read.

Mathias Meyer of Travis CI explains why their unlimited vacation policy was a complete failure, and their decision to apply minimum vacation policy. It's inspiring to see how founders can build a company that aims to provide value, build a sustainable business and invest a lot of time and energy in the way they want their company to execute. "it dawned on me how wrong we've approached our internal vacation policy... People take less time off, and it's celebrated as a success of giving people more responsibility."

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How We’re Spending $55,930.08 a Year on SaaS Products
4 minutes read.

I'm a sucker for brave cultural ideas (such as radical transparency). The team at Muck Rack decided to share the exact numbers they spend on other SaaS products, hoping that more companies will follow.

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How to Get Engineers to Work for You Instead of Facebook or Google
6 minutes read.

Pete Soderling shares some of his lessons learned on how to attract great talent to your company. I'm a big believer in "Put your best and brightest engineers on public display", or as I call it "Help your teammates build their own brand". It is only long-term thinking and execution that can help you build a sustainable pipeline of great candidates. I've seen companies delay this kind of efforts because they're not yet recruiting or they're afraid to commit their time. The problem is that there is no magic button you can click when you "suddenly" need to grow.

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Peopleware


Legacy
52 minutes read.

Chad Fowler with an eye-opening lecture on why he actually want to build legacy software ("legacy" gets a bad rap. In most other contexts, it has a positive meaning), and what we can take from biology when we design our systems. Designing a system, where "cells" (services) are immutable and can kill themselves without killing the system, is an interesting approach to building scalable and resilient systems. With tools such as Apache Mesos, Docker and others I can see more and more companies taking advantage of this thinking.

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Your Job Is Not to Write Code
4 minutes read.

Laura Klein puts the customer first, reminding us that writing code is only small part of our job: "I am lucky enough to work with a small team of fantastic engineers who truly care about their customers. If you are not that lucky, this letter is for you to share with your engineering team."

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My Board Fired Me – Here's What I Learned
3 minutes read.

This lesson is so important, I had to include it in this week's email: "Ask for stories, not advice. Every piece of advice has a more memorable and interesting story behind it. In Silicon Valley, there’s no shortage of smart, successful people wanting to give you advice and, as a first time CEO, I didn’t have the experience yet to distinguish smart advice from empty advice."

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Inspiring Tweets


@davemacboston: "Danger of Taking Too Much $ Early On: You Solve Problems W/ Cash That You Should Solve W/ Culture." -- @Hunterwalk

@pashabitz: Yeah So Basically Margaret Hamilton Wrote the Code That Landed Apollo on the Moon When She Was 31. You and I Are Debugging Facebook Connect.

- 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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