Issue #137, 10th July 2015

This Week's Favorite


Minimum Viable Bureaucracy (slides)
7 minutes read.

So many gems in these slides by Laura Thomson (Engineering Manager at Mozilla). Highly recommending looking up her talk (on Mozilla's site) if you want the full edition. My favorite takeaways: "evidence > gut feelings", "write/record more things" and "come with code". Remote teams have an unfair advantage in this area, where people are forced to write more often. Working in a company where most of us working together, I still struggle to think of good ways to maintain and spread knowledge as we scale the team.

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Culture


The Most Suitable Hours to Work in an Open Space
1 minutes read.

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

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How SoundCloud Keeps Communication Flowing Across 4 Offices in 4 Time Zones
17 minutes read.

One of the hardest challenges as companies scale is to keep the process evolving, asking difficult question on whether or not things currently work and experiment with different formats. SoundCloud's story is a powerful example for how it can be done, transforming internal communication at scale: "We would have an All Hands where we opened the floor for questions, and no one would ask anything. I thought, 'Whoa, this is brutal.'"

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Why Hiring for "Culture Fit" Hurts Your Culture
4 minutes read.

Powerful words by the remarkable Mathias Meyer (of Travis CI): "Culture is how you write and phrase your job ads. Culture is whether you're looking for rock stars or want to build a great team and help people grow. Culture is how you pay your people. Culture is how a CEO behaves towards their team and in public. Culture is how leadership fosters and drives change. Culture is how you treat your customers. Culture is how you treat your team. Culture is how open you are to changing the status quo. Culture is a team that only consists of white dudes in their late twenties."

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The Hard Part About Creating New Teams Within an Engineering Organization
4 minutes read.

Would you place new hires to work on new projects, or old projects? How would you treat existing employees? Finding that balance is interesting, as you want to bring in new people to learn the culture and stack, but also to bring innovation and hopefully new ways of thinking to solve various problems. Eric Richard (HubSpot's VP Eng) stroke a chord here: "This is a tricky one (and why things can get hard), but our migration decisions should be driven by what is good for the individual and for the company, and less by the team itself. Optimizing for the individual allows us to keep growing and giving people new opportunities to stretch and grow. Optimizing for EV ensures that we are continually driving the business forward. Optimizing for the team can lead to calcification and can actually hurt both EV and individuals."

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Peopleware


The Hiring Post
10 minutes read.

"Epiphany: the talent is out there, but you can’t find it on a resume." -- just loved reading this post. It will make you rethink of your interview process. In our industry, that's a really good thing.

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5 Leadership Lessons Learned From Jeff Weiner (LinkedIn's CEO)
4 minutes read.

There are many lessons you can apply if you want to take your leadership to the next level, but from my own experience these five lessons are really at the top of the list. For Engineering Managers, the lesson of "The importance of repetition" might sounds like an anti-pattern, as we're thought the DRY (don't repeat principle) at young age. Forget about it. When it comes to people, it's keeping the context fresh that helps to push everything forward.

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Giving Up Control: Leadership in the Digital Era (TED Talk)
10 minutes read.

Charlene Li urges you to let go and become more transparent as a leader. Make the context clear and available, make expectations explicit and well explained, create a process where people hold the context and actively manage the tasks and prioritization they are responsible for.

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Inspiring Tweets


@ValaAfshar: "You Likely Have to Get Management Approval for a $500 Expense ... But You Can Call a 1 Hour Meeting With 20 People and No One Notices."

@rabois: The Most Difficult Aspect of a Startup to Alter Is the Operating Tempo.

- 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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