Issue #139, 24th July 2015

This Week's Favorite


What Happens When You Talk About Salaries at Google
8 minutes read.

Erica Joy, ex-Googler and now at Slack, shares her story of what happened when she started to spread the notion of transparent salaries and bonuses inside of Google. That one spreadsheet she shared internally caught some amazing momentum (5% of the company's employees filled their data there) and now opened a debate outside of Google. There is no doubt that incumbents will need to adjust to today's movement of radical transparency. Amazing story to follow. Transparency is coming.

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Culture


First High Resolution Image of Pluto Causes Concern
1 minutes read.

As always, my humble effort to help you start the weekend with a smile on your face. I probably need to stop with these geeky jokes. I'll put it in my todo list immediately after sending this email.

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Welcome to the Unicorn Club, 2015: Learning From Billion-Dollar Companies
14 minutes read.

Aileen Lee with another brilliant analysis, a year after her famous learning from The Unicorn Club 2014. Just like last year, tremendous amount of little gems that can teach us a lot about those unicorns such as "83% of companies are working on their original product vision" and "Most founding CEOs are scaling through the journey: 74% of companies are still led by their founding CEO".

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Anti-Fragile and Feedback: Trying to Make Up for the Failures of "Agile" (video)
47 minutes read.

Andy Hunt, the writer of The Pragmatic Programmer which is one of my favorite books, with some constructive feedback on how we can and should align engineering around learning and adjusting, rather than following ceremonies (e.g. "it's not Agile because it's not in the books"). Share it with your teammates. Have a discussion around how you can utilize the agile/growth mindset as Andy describes it (GROWS model), and take it to the next level.

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New Employee Onboarding: Best Practices for New Hires
4 minutes read.

Here is something you can copy now, and adjust it to your needs. The template Trello Board the team at Trello (surprise!) is using is pretty great starting point, if you want to improve the onboarding process for new employees. I love the visual you can create with the product. It can help to put a face next to each teammate, so new employees won't be embarrassed if they forget a name or two.

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Peopleware


Three Hundred Programming Interviews in Thirty Days
6 minutes read.

Busting some interesting myths on hiring software engineers: "The one I liked the most was having candidates talk us through a technical project, including looking at source code...As soon as we started doing them however, I saw a problem. Almost everyone was passing. Our filter was not filtering." -- eventually it's really about finding a few challenges candidates should solve, may it be fixing a bug in existing system or writing something from scratch. Make sure you talk about each exercise internally, and ask yourself "what this exercise really shows? how good code will look like in that case? how bad code will look like?." I'd always start though with culture fit, as no matter how strong the candidate is, if there is a strong mismatch of values, people won't enjoy working with them. Make sure that you have some culture fit questions with you as well.

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The Secret Ingredient of the Successful Team
5 minutes read.

"Talented people can make for a good organization. Talented, caring people can make for a great one." -- wonderful read by Hagai Levin on the importance of figuring out a way to have people caring about each other and the customers they are trying to serve. Are you doing enough in your hiring process to figure out if the candidate cares about their previous teammates? What about the product they've built? Very much like using the famous "hack" of building happy culture by hiring happy people, make sure you bring along people who cares. This is the DNA you should have embedded.

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What Does a Startup COO Actually Do?
6 minutes read.

Andy Sparks from Mattermark shares his journey, and how his role changed over time as the company faced new challenges. It's incredible to have people with you who can quickly learn new areas and create a process where the company bleeds money or suffers from poor execution. Highly recommend the reading list at the end of the post as well, if you ever considered such role in your journey, and wanted to get some strong sense of what makes good or bad COO (great debates there).

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Inspiring Tweets


@sarahmei: I Hadn't Thought, Until Recently, About How Many Meetings & Emails Pair Programming Obviates.

@jessitron: A Rhino Can Run 30 Mph, but Can Only See 30 Feet Ahead. Sometimes I Feel Like That When I'm Coding. (A Group of Rhinos Is "A Crash.")

- 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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