Issue #136, 3rd July 2015

This Week's Favorite


Innovating at Scale: The Companies That Don't Let Size Slow Them Down
13 minutes read.

“If we don't create the thing that kills Facebook, someone else will.” -- this attitude is how you avoid being crushed by the Innovator’s Dilemma after you grow to a certain scale. Fascinating read by Arjun Sethi (a serial entrepreneur and now Growth and Emerging Products at Yahoo), explaining the different solutions a company can take, such as "Family of brands" (e.g. Facebook, Amazon) and "Eating your own products" (e.g. Netflix, Apple). It requires founders and leaders inside of the organization who are comfortable with handling short term stress, may it come from their board or share holders, in order to go big with their long term strategy.

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Culture


Creation Schedule
1 minutes read.

As always, my humble effort to help you start the weekend with a smile on your face. It's never easy to meet the schedule, regardless of what you're trying to achieve or who you are...

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The People Behind Tech Unicorns: Slack, Houzz and Stripe CEOs Share Their Personal Stories
49 minutes read.

Simple advice: listen to the interview on your commute to work. It's always inspiring to hear how some of the best entrepreneurs grasp the first principles of building scalable companies and challenging the incumbents. But listening to them talk about their early days and how it all came to be is even more fascinating. The amount of determination, passion and brain power involved is phenomenal.

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High-Performing Teams Need Flexible Leaders
4 minutes read.

Srikar Doddi reminds us that in order to build great teams, we need to have leaders who are okay with constantly challenging the status quo. Figuring out the current state of the team, and the leadership model (i.e. tactics) needed is invaluable skill to master. It requires leaders who care more about pushing their teammates and organization forward than for them to be loved or take the center of the stage. Two more tips I'd add to Srikar's advices: always be explicit with how you expect each individual in the team to behave and the results you'd like them to achieve and hold everyone accountable. That starts with you, and the example you set to everyone else. Having a well articulated vision and expectation will enable flexibility of style and methods to reach a highly performant execution.

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Agile Development and Pluralistic Management: Why Scrum Fails
4 minutes read.

The first post people with aspiration to become managers need to read. Acknowledging the fact that you're serving your company and teammates, rather than the opposite way around is a good start to figure out a path for excellence. This view should take lead when asking for what needs to change in order to move the needle for the business, and how each individual in the team can play to their strength to take these steps forward.

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Peopleware


The Ten Commandments of Egoless Programming
5 minutes read.

Share this post with other engineers in your organization. Great points here. My favorites: "You are not your code", "The only true authority stems from knowledge, not from position" and "Fight for what you believe, but gracefully accept defeat".

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Maker to Manager: What a Startup Founder Does
5 minutes read.

I've been following Josh Pigford's journey with Baremetrics for the last year or so, from a single founder who bootstrapped the all thing, to crossing some remarkable MRR, raising money and building a team. It's great to read his thoughts on how his role has shifted from a maker to a manager, as it's (as always) genuine and helpful for other people who face similar dilemmas and challenges.

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5 Ways to Help a Decision Maker Decide
4 minutes read.

I often see highly technical people failing to get their ideas implemented. There is never a doubt that they know their craft, but it's the way they tell the story that causes the organization to halt when it comes to follow on their suggestions. This post provides some great ideas on how to change the dynamics when it happens, things that I've practiced occasionally such as "Provide a Clear Path Forward" and "Make it Reversible" which can reduce a lot of anxiety for the decision maker.

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Inspiring Tweets


@danmartell: My Early "Mentors" Were Books.

@StartupLJackson: Silicon Valley, Where Gen Xers Who've Hopped Jobs Every 2 Years Criticize Millennials for Hopping Jobs Every 12 Months. Kids These Days…

- 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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