Issue #126, 24th April 2015

This Week's Favorite


The Cult of Work You Never Meant to Join
12 minutes read.

Been there, done that: "The Overkill Cult is a cultural delusion that working 60+ hours each week — at the expense of everything else in our lives — is not only a necessary part of success, but that doing so is somehow honorable." -- Still, what worries me is amount of talk there is around work-life balance instead of how to create a sense of urgency and mission. If you want people to be effective, the talk shouldn't be around "work less" but rather on giving them tools to understand how they can work on what's important, and make a plan they want to follow (given a healthy rhythm). Without that, from my experience, the organization anxiety will only get worse, regardless of the hours you put in.

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Culture


L.A.F.A.B.L.E: Large Agile Framework Appropriate for Big, Lumbering Enterprises
1 minutes read.

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

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Argument Cultures and Unregulated Aggression
8 minutes read.

This lesson is too important to miss out. It's our responsibility to build a culture that will not tolerate bullies: "engineering environments are the wild, unregulated west. Without strict rules around the use of arguing and designated referees, people can use arguments to assert authority over coworkers... Arguments work well in our society as a form of regulated verbal competition for courtrooms and debates, but unregulated arguments in the workplace promote aggression and the use of social stereotypes as weapons."

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Google Got It Wrong. The Open-Office Trend Is Destroying the Workplace.
4 minutes read.

I've worked in companies with open-space, long tables setup and also in rooms of 3-4 people. I've seen them both work well, but it was always intentional. The worst thing you can do is force a solution without making sure people respect each others' time, privacy and focus. Should you allow people to listen to music without headsets? Is it okay to talk over the phone? Do you want people to have a heated technical discussion in the middle of the room? As long as people can kindly ask people to take it to somewhere else, and have enough private places for such activities, it's just a matter of taste.

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A Culture That Attracts Quality Candidates
10 minutes read.

Great writing by Josh Rivers. This post should be used as a comprehensive guide to building an attractive culture. Share it with others in the company who cares about the kind of communication you're trying to encourage at work.

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Peopleware


From Building a Marketplace to Building Teams (Slides)
5 minutes read.

Wonderful slides from Mike Brittain (of Etsy), packed with gems on where to focus when leading a team. Still waiting for the video version, but even a quick navigation between the slides will give you a few things to think about. My favorites: leading a team may feel lonely, but only if you allow it (work on building a network) and focus on how the team will work together in the future. This helps to better understand how hiring should be like, how your culture really looks like etc.

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VP of Engineering vs. CTO – The Difference and Why It Matters
4 minutes read.

This question keeps coming back to me, both from my own looking inside into my understanding of the VP Engineering role and from others who reach out to me occasionally asking for advice. I think it's a good summary of the differences. I'm just thankful that I'm working with an amazing CTO that inspires and complements me, making it very clear where I should put my energy and focus at.

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How Does Your Small Team Produce as Much Software as It Does?
6 minutes read.

Here is a suggestion: take a few minutes and try to write why you believe your team is (or should be) able to stay effective. I love how Wixel set up a very explicit environment to keep their team lean and effective.

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Inspiring Tweets


@kenegozi: Today I Told My Son He Does Not Have to Like His Sister's Pretend Play, but That He Could Pretend to Like It. Getting Him Corporate Ready.

@dorkitude: The Clearest Path to Longterm Value Is to Do Business Exclusively With People Who Possess a Long View, Even if It Costs You More Short-Term.

- 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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