Issue #111, 9th January 2015

This Week's Favorite


A Mile Wide, an Inch Deep
8 minutes read.

How do you measure your company's success? Do you follow your own hype, or do you care about the impact of your product, and how it serves your users? Ev Williams explains why he believes Twitter shouldn't be compared to Instagram based on the attention (i.e. number of users) it gets, but rather the impact on society (to him: sharing ideas vs images). He also explains why they picked Total-Time-Reading (TTR) as their most important metric to follow on his new startup, Medium, and why TTR is also a misleading metric. Important read for any of you who try to figure out how to measure their progress and success, may it leading a team, a product or an entire company.

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Culture


Steve Ballmer With the Early Nomination for "Dance of 2015"
1 minutes read.

As always, something to start the weekend with a huge smile on your face. This time, Steve Ballmer with the early nomination for "Dance of 2015". If only he had the courage to take 1% of his craziness and invest it in Microsoft's products, when he served as the CEO...

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Improving the Quality of Your Company’s Thinking
4 minutes read.

For those of you who've been reading about Jeff Bezos and Amazon, this practice of spending time writing your thoughts down won't come as a surprise. The hidden benefit of improving others ability to think and articulate their goals is still undervalued by many. I believe this is an area I need to improve at, mostly setting an example to others and helping them to get there. Many people fear from it, as it feels like a lot of work that they can simply express verbally. What they miss is how they overestimate their ability to deliver on the spot. They avoid the work and fail at building confidence in their delivery and leadership skills. This process, of writing our thoughts as clearly as possible, scales much better than anything else I can think of. Are you willing to try something new this year?

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Why Remote Engineering Is So Difficult!?
8 minutes read.

What I enjoyed most about this post by Steven Sinofsky, is not only why it's hard to build a remote team, but the tactics he shares on how you can approach it (alignment around date/API/architecture/code). There is never one easy solution, but I believe that remote teams need to understand how they compensate around working in different hours (less peer pressure, better communication skills), and truly commit to finding a method (methods?) that works for them. It's harder because we try to apply what we learned from working in a co-location to working remotely. It just doesn't work that way. We need to approach it differently (e.g. need to consider who they want to hire and how to test for it).

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There Are No B Players
5 minutes read.

The more I think of it, the more I agree with this statement: "Anyone who thrives in the environment you’ve built for your company, and wants and is able to contribute to something important to your company, will be by definition an A player" - the question is, whether or not the people you hire will fit this environment and enjoy it. What are the core values in the environment you've built? How'd you know if a new hire will enjoy being part of it? What can you ask?

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Peopleware


Why I Got Fired From Facebook (A $100 Million Dollar Lesson)
5 minutes read.

While old, this post by Noah Kagan (now CEO at AppSumo) is still a wonderful read, on how and why he was fired from Facebook. Noah's writing is always very honest. He manages to bring it down in a way that you can ask yourself questions about your role in your company, and how you'd like to act to best serve the team and your own career. Note his distinction on the different type of employees needed in every phase of the company (Grower, Show-er and Veteran). While I believe some mix is needed at every phase, it can help you to understand your own strengths and who do you need to hire next to help scale your company.

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Sacrificial Architecture
5 minutes read.

Really important read as we tend to fall in love with our solutions, instead of the problems we're trying to solve. Martin Fowler with an important reminder: "For many people throwing away a code base is a sign of failure, perhaps understandable given the inherent exploratory nature of software development, but still failure. [...] One thing that's easily missed when it comes to handling this problem is accounting. Yes, really — we've run into situations where people have been reluctant to replace a clearly unviable system because of the way they were amortizing the codebase."

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A Dozen Things I’ve Learned From Reid Hoffman
10 minutes read.

Reid Hoffman (Paypal, LinkedIn) is a source of inspiration for me. A great entrepreneur and even better teacher. I still remember many of his quotes and being in my 4th startup (3 of them as an employee), Reid's ideas always challenge my own thinking. My favorites from the list: 3, 7, 9 and 10. The last one (#12) is a great summary for the career path you want for yourself.

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Inspiring Tweets


@destraynor: "Vim" Growth Hack: Make Quitting Your App So Obscure & Undiscoverable That by the Time Users Work It Out, Stockholm Syndrome Has Kicked In

@rbarroca: Practice Is the Only True Way to Master a New Skill. Be Patient With Yourself While You Learn Something New. #2015

- 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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