Issue #133, 12th June 2015

This Week's Favorite


Why One of Silicon Valley's Top Investors Says Don't Follow Your Passion
17 minutes read.

Don't follow your passion. Instead, follow what your'e good at, follow your contributions to the world. Let it lead you as you grow, learn and figuring out your own little quirks. Always inspiring (and funny) to hear Ben Horowitz give a talk. Highly recommended!

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Culture


It’s the Future
5 minutes read.

Warning: engineering jokes inside that would make you laugh so hard to a point you'll start making some funny noises. Share it with other engineers in your company, and yes, you can thank me later. As always, my humble effort to help you start the weekend with a smile on your face.

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The Catch-22 of Being “Too Junior”
4 minutes read.

I appreciate Jenn's courage to share how she was fired for being "too junior", and learned a lot from her advices about hiring junior engineers. Some things that worked well for me: try to carefully explain how'd you want them to approach others with questions when they're stuck. How much should they try on their own? Make it explicit. Be clear when you say that they should write what they've learned, so they'd be able to pull themselves out of situations they were in before. Explain that you'd measure there success by looking at their growth curve rather on immediate results.

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What Kind of Leadership Is Needed at Flat Hierarchies?
6 minutes read.

We have a flat engineering team currently in my company, with 15 highly versatile engineers and devops, and it's a real challenge to make sure people both feel productive on their day-to-day work, while also feel that someone is helping them with their long-term career planning. It requires me to bring up a lot of conscious questions and decisions, trying to clearly explain how I want us to work together as we scale the team. How should the daily standup be like? How should Design Reviews be? How to take ownership of their time, and make their work more transparent to others? Which tools do we need to in order to make code, deployments and monitoring a team's ownership rather than a single person's ownership? This one is key: "When there are technically no titles and no bosses, everyone needs to step up and be the leader." -- just make sure that people enjoy this process, and that you hire people who fit this kind of dynamics. I'm not sure we'll remain flat for the long run, but we will figure out a process that will best fit our needs as a company and a group of people who enjoy doing things in a certain way. After all, it's people over process.

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Why I Believe in Intentional Efforts to Increase Diversity
12 minutes read.

Tough topic. I feel that every time someone picks up this topic and dares to open their mouth, they get attacked for even trying. I'm glad that Rand Fishkin (of MOZ) shared his views, and how they made some non trivial changes at MOZ along the years. Where do you stand? How do you think we can make it better? Have a discussion at work over lunch, maybe you could make a difference.

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Peopleware


Four Things I Wish I Knew When I Became a Tech Lead
5 minutes read.

Great insights from Emil Sit (HubSpot). I highly recommend reading Emil's thoughts on "Leadership Style Should Reflect the Team, Not the Leader" and "Lean On People Smarter Than You". It took me years to understand how to put my ego aside, learn to set clear expectations and do everything within my power to lean on (and hire more of them!) smarter people around me.

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No More Projects
2 minutes read.

Old post, but really stroke a chord with me as I'm trying to look at some of the things I'm trying to play with on my weekend projects. This takeaway by Chad Fowler is just great: "If I do something really quickly, it’s not likely to be less valuable than something that takes me a long time to do."

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On Conferencing While Introverted
5 minutes read.

While I do really enjoy giving a talk on subjects I'm truly passionate about, I'm as introvert as it can get when attending a conference. I feel awkward starting a conversation with someone else, as I feel that I don't want to bother anyone, or being rude. So I tend to stay in my comfort zone and talk with that one or two person that I know in the conference and enjoy the talks. Katherine (from Etsy) with great observations that made me nod my head as I read every line. If you're an introvert who enjoys going to conferences to learn and improve your craft while also meeting (some) new people, this one is for you.

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Inspiring Tweets


@KentBeck: When You're the Senior in Junior/Senior Pair Programming, the Measure of Your Success Is How Much the Junior Learns

@brynary: By Default, Your Inbox Is a TODO List That Anyone Can Write To. Change the Default.

- 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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