Issue #135, 26th June 2015

This Week's Favorite


What Goes Wrong
8 minutes read.

Building a company is a real struggle. It's so easy to meet with friends and say that things are going up and to the right, and all is pretty awesome, but it's rarely the case. When it does take off though, it's great to see the impact such companies have on our world, and on our industry, looking at these entrepreneurs as superstars and inspiration for others to try. Some practical and inspiring advices by Jessica Livingston on the challenges founders are facing, trying to build great products and companies: "Y Combinator got rejected when we first started back in Cambridge, MA in the summer of '05... even our own lawyers tried to talk us out of it."

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Culture


The Expert (Short Comedy Sketch)
7 minutes read.

As always, my humble effort to help you start the weekend with a smile on your face. As an engineer, I approve this message.

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How Pairing Powers Remote Teams
5 minutes read.

There isn't a lot of conversation around how to do synchronous work in remote teams, so I thought it would be great to touch that point with how pair programming can work in such setup. The section about "Reducing Latency" is key, I believe, to make sure people manage to get their work to meet real users. My team is using pull requests to conduct async code reviews, and I can see sometimes how it increases latency of features reaching production. Figuring out an effective balance between async communication, that cause context switches, and short execution loops (i.e. it's not done until it's in production) is always a struggle.

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What Would a New Paradigm of HR Look Like?
3 minutes read.

Auren Hoffman is spot on: "Unfortunately in most organizations managers are, at best, indifferent to HR... The very best HR organizations are huge catalysts for company growth. The very best HR people are some of the most impressive people in a company." -- Having a great HR team will have a drastic impact on the support managers get in the organization. Specifically for Engineers Managers, who usually lack some people skills, having someone who can help guiding them can reduce a lot of the stress. Also, if you haven't seen the Netflix slides (or HubSpot's) on their culture, I highly recommend them both.

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Erik Meijer: AGILE Must Be Destroyed, Once and for All
5 minutes read.

Controversial idea, but something I'm so happy to see someone say aloud, to at least start a much needed conversation. When I see people focus so much of their energy on following strict process (e.g. "managers shouldn't be allowed to be also scrum masters!"), regardless of its impact or match for the team, it's time to rethink Agile: “The word 'agile' has been subverted to the point where it is effectively meaningless, and what passes for an agile community seems to be largely an arena for consultants and vendors to hawk services and products.”

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Peopleware


21 Management Things I Learned at Imgur
4 minutes read.

So many gems here, worth every minute of your time. Really loved Sam's mantra “we were lucky but now is the time to be good” -- it's a powerful reminder that we also have a lot to go, and much to improve.

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Mikey Dickerson’s 10 Tips for Dealing With Bureaucracy
5 minutes read.

Great talk (20 minutes long) by Mikey Dickerson, but even if you're short on time, I highly recommend reading some of Mikey's quotes. This one is brilliant, maybe even more so as I live in Israel and enjoy very predictable weather (it's going to be hot today!): “If you say you work in an office with no office politics, that’s like telling me you live in a place with no weather. The strongest possible true statement you could be making is that you live in a place where the weather is very predictable and doesn’t affect your life very much.”

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How to Cheat at Creating Great Presentations for Tech & Marketing Audiences
10 minutes read.

When it comes to giving a talk that will be remembered, Rand Fishkin is probably as good as it can get. His talks, just like his famous "Whiteboard Friday" videos, are always funny, packed with a lot of value and easy to follow. Just steal everything he suggests, it's golden.

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Inspiring Tweets


@shl: Good Reminder > Good Leadership Is Hard to Measure on a Daily Basis Which Is Why So Many Default to Doing What's Easy to Measure Instead.

@StartupLJackson: Done Is Better, Then Perfect.

- 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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