Issue #143, 21st August 2015

This Week's Favorite


An Amazonian's Response to "Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace"
16 minutes read.

There was a huge debate this week with New York Times's article criticizing pretty much every aspect of working at Amazon. The amount of reactions it got was incredible. Obviously, reality is always hard to capture due to the many nuances and subjective opinions, but I truly enjoyed reading Nick Ciubotariu's response to it. Nick is working at Amazon, and his words just moved me. I don't know if Amazon is a bad company to work for or not, and that's not the point. With over 1M views to his reaction, I think that while it probably captures just one view, it will get you to think more about the way you work, where you are working and what truly matters to you. Put Amazon aside, figure out your own taste for the company and team you're trying to build.

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Culture


What Startups Are Made of vs. What Academics Think Startups Are Made Of
1 minutes read.

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

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The Lie I Tell New Hires
4 minutes read.

We often confuse where we are now and where we want to be, so we often lie, sharing a process that is not really yet in place as if it's already working flawlessly, or as if we already figured it out. Go big, but always be honest about the path in front of you, and how they can help you get there.

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Work Hard, Live Well
5 minutes read.

There was a time in my life where working for many hours every day made me so happy, that I still look back at that time as one of the best in my career and in my personal life. I had the good fortune working on a very interesting problem with great people around me. But it's obviously not sustainable or desired as a policy. We're so bad at figuring out what's really important, saying no to irrelevant requests, that we compensate with working more hours. If you're in a position where you can and should set an example, make sure you build an environment where priorities are clear, where risk is being dealt with early, where responsibilities are spread and decisions can be made by many. It's always easier said than done, but this is where we should strive to.

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Practical Advice for New Software Engineers
5 minutes read.

New engineers: focus on learning. Focus on understanding the system, figuring out how to debug a certain flow in the system, how to write a test and get it to pass. "In your first day you'll deploy a change to production" sounds awesome, but I think it also sends the wrong signal to new engineers. If you don't help them move forward in their learning curve, helping them build a solid baseline, don't be surprised that 4 years later they still copy&paste most of their code, without knowing how things actually work.

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Peopleware


Managing Development – 5 Things I Learned
5 minutes read.

Eran Kampf shares his lessons learned becoming a leader for his team. Pay extra attention to "Run Efficient Meetings", it's something I feel we should always strive to do better. Trying to provide a way for people to sync before the meeting is really interesting. It made me think of maybe using Slack to sync my team with summarization of events, decisions and overall progress.

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The Class I'd Like to Teach
2 minutes read.

If Jason Fried would teach this class at some point, I'd be the first one to join. I feel such an amateur when it comes to writing, but that's also the point I believe: just keep practicing.

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How to Give and Receive Effective Feedback
5 minutes read.

Communication is undervalued skill in our industry. It's not only communicating your plan and progress, but also delivering and receiving feedback to your teammates, peers and your boss. Being thoughtful and honest, looking for ways to improve your craft, learning how to tell a story and align people around an idea, all of it is crucial if we want to get better at our job. Great points by Lisa Nielsen: "Receiving feedback on your actual impact allows you to narrow the delta between intention and impact and increase your effectiveness."

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Inspiring Tweets


@supershabam: Renaming "Sprints" to "Quests" Has Increased Productivity 9001 Percent

@spolsky: At This Rate, by the Time I Retire, I'll Be Spending 40% of the Day Logging on to Websites Thanks to 2FA, Unique Per Site Passwords, Etc

- 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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