Issue #134, 19th June 2015

This Week's Favorite


Bureaucracy Isn’t Inevitable — Here’s How Airbnb Beat It
12 minutes read.

Solid advices from Mike Curtis, the VP Engineering at Airbnb, on how to scale your engineering team without slowing down individual's productivity. Figuring out a path where the productivity of each engineer in the team doesn't decreases as the company scales is one of the hardest challenges many companies are facing. This observation by Mike is golden: "I have a theory that the only way you can affect cultural change on an organization is through positive reinforcement and social pressure." -- great read, with many gems in it. Highly recommended!

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Culture


The Evolution of Software Architecture With an Italian Food Perspective
1 minutes read.

As always, my humble effort to help you start the weekend with a smile on your face.

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Inside Obama's Stealth Startup
15 minutes read.

This is what happens when you have a visionary, charismatic leader that can pull together amazing talent for a great cause. While not the regular culture post, it's a great view into how Healthcare.gov is being transformed.

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Entrepreneurial Gap
3 minutes read.

Brilliant post by Camille Fournier: "Organizational alignment is important because it lets you successfully ask more from people than the resources they have at hand. Without organizational alignment, you get political maneuvering." -- Probably the biggest lesson I've learned as a leader. Getting alignment can be really hard, as people will often have different agenda. It must be done though. It has to be explicit, clear, and eventually agreed by all once they step out of the room.

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Subtle Mid-Stage Startup Pitfalls
10 minutes read.

Jessica Livingston from Y Combinator shares some dangerous pitfalls startups should worry about: "We’ve now funded more than 800 startups. One advantage of having so much data is that we can recognize patterns pretty clearly. Every one of these traps is one we've seen startup after startup fall into." -- My favorite parts were about "You are going to have to become a recruiter" and "You [founders] will have to become a manager". It's so easy to take it for granted, but honestly startups have to be amazingly great at both in order to scale successfully. It's about keeping vision, focus and talent aligned.

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Peopleware


The Manager’s Crisis
5 minutes read.

Do you want to be a manager at some point? If you can relate to this paragraph, you're 50% there: "I will say, though, that the best managers I’ve encountered all have that nagging voice [Am I doing a good job?]. They all worry about whether or not they’re being as supportive as they could be, whether or not the people they manage are happy and freed up to do their best work. These managers default to openness, honesty and trust, because they realize they need the same thing from their teams. These managers are the fastest to adapt when things go sideways, recognize their own shortcomings and evolve their approach."

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Peacetime CEO/Wartime CEO
4 minutes read.

This post by Ben explains the important distinction of how leaders should act during "war time", where things are too critical that you cannot afford to lose focus even for a second, and "peace time", where you need to create enough space for others to grow. Really old post, and it made me wonder how come I haven't shared it before because I read it at least 5 times in the past 4 years. If you haven't read the book "The Hard Thing About Hard Things" by Ben Horowitz, do yourself a favor and purchase a copy now. I bought an audio version and found it to be one of the best leadership books in our industry.

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Don’t Be the Bottleneck
7 minutes read.

Words of wisdom for early-stage engineers by Edmond Lau. I've seen it happens many times, and this is a real struggle for many as you kind of afraid to lose that feeling everyone are dependent on you (i.e. feeling important and needed). To push your career in the right direction, you constantly need to learn the skill of making yourself obsolete. This skill require you to constantly ask deeper questions on your role, your expectations from yourself and your thoughts on how to get better at it. Delegating and teaching others will allow you to take more responsibilities, move between projects and overall make your teammates and company better. There are really few people who are excellent at it, so this can be your unfair advantage.

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Inspiring Tweets


@thereaIbanksy: Don't Make Permanent Decisions Based on Temporary Feelings

@feministy: Weekend Goals: Become Sloth, Lead Sloth Revolution, Nap.

- 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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