Issue #140, 31st July 2015

This Week's Favorite


Get Ready for the Future
14 minutes read.

Eric Elliott with a brilliant essay. It's 12:39AM and I'm finding myself nodding and smiling as I read it. One paragraph that stroke a chord was "Compassion is Key". Even inside our team, looking closely on how people react to our creation may help us improve our craft. How many times have you found yourself building something that other people simply don't want to use? I've bookmarked This time-capsule by Eric so I could give my baby boy to read it in a few years. He'll probably laugh at his old man, but this is exactly the spirit I'd like to see more in our industry.

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Culture


True Story: Fixing a Self-DDoS
1 minutes read.

As always, my humble effort to help you start the weekend with a smile on your face. Good thing we now have the cloud to save us all from stupidity.

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Don’t Try to Fake the Language
4 minutes read.

This post by Brad Feld is an important reminder for us all, to keep the conversation honest and true. After all, it's easy to say everything is great, that you're hiring non-stop and the business is growing fast, but how much of it is drinking your own Kool-Aid? There is a real need in the startup phase for that optimistic view of the world, there is no doubt, but always remember that people can feel when you're faking it.

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Sick Systems: How to Keep Someone With You Forever
12 minutes read.

Old, but immortal. Terrifying, but not unfamiliar. Are you building a sick system? Are you trapped in one? This is how bad culture smells like.

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How Performance Reviews Are Being Reinvented, Refined and Perfected
14 minutes read.

Amazing gathering of stories, taking you thru some new methods to conduct Performance Reviews. The most important aspect of providing feedback is to be helpful. To make someone else better thanks to some external observation, or better understanding of the expectations the manager or organization have from them. The real challenge is actually to review the manager who provide that feedback, and make sure they know how to do that. Not only how to provide feedback, which is extremely hard, but also how to look further than "it's fine, but it can be better". How to demand excellence, and provide clear set of expectations and process to help people get there.

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Peopleware


Technical Onboarding at HootSuite
7 minutes read.

How can you adjust your culture as you scale from 19 to 78 engineers, without compromising your unique DNA, your values? HootSuite went thru these challenges, and it took them a lot of effort and time to get it working. Noel Pullen explains every step in the way, and suggests a lot of great ideas you can implement in your company to improve your onboarding experience.

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Blunt, Effective Feedback, in 3 Stories
5 minutes read.

I wish someone would have sent me this post when I only started my transition to an Engineering Management role. Providing feedback that actually makes a difference to the better is so hard to achieve. Steal these tips by Justin Rosenstein (Co-Founder of Asana), they're golden.

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Ask the CTO: Going Rogue
4 minutes read.

Camille Fournier answers a hard question: "what to do when a senior engineer in the team decides to rewrite a system instead of adding a requested feature to it?" -- while the process may be too rigid for you, the fact that expectations are set clearly can reduce a lot of the tension in the team. It reminds me that Chad Fowler allows people to add new languages and services as long as it's small in size (imagine him showing "this big" with his hands) and have a clear way to deploy, test and monitor it. This way people can still bring new things to the table, but they also take the responsibility of doing so while keeping the team highly effective.

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Inspiring Tweets


@b0rk: "Machine Learning Is Spending 3 Weeks Generating Features, 30 Minutes Doing Math, and 4 Months Finding Out if It Worked"

@stephhippo: If You Think Employee Turnover Is Expensive, Imagine How Expensive It Is to Keep the Employees That Are Driving the Other Employees Out.

- 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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