Issue #144, 28th August 2015

This Week's Favorite


How I Structured Engineering Teams at LinkedIn and AdMob for Success
8 minutes read.

Great insights by Kevin Scott on how to build great engineering teams that help your company win the market. Many gems inside, my favorite were this great take on focusing on the business "If you lead a team of engineers, it’s better to take a CEO’s perspective. Your job is to figure out what it is that your company, your business, your marketplace, your competitive environment needs. Apply that to your engineering team in order for your company to win." and Kevin's focus on writing down your engineering manifesto. It gave me a lot of good ideas to think about this weekend.

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Culture


An Honest Guide to the San Francisco Startup Life
8 minutes read.

This post is hilarious! Go ahead, read it, laugh and thank me later. Share it with your teammates, geek-ish friends, entrepreneurs you hang out with and your cat to win that "oh wow, good one!" look.

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Share it via Twitter or email.


Ethical and Sustainable On-Call
7 minutes read.

Rarely this topic of how to distribute on-call between your engineers, is being covered with so many great ideas and concrete advices. This is how you can avoid burnout while also create a culture of shared ownership. Figuring out how to build a robust system, starts with the people who needs to operate it and support it, and how to make sure it's not compromising their nights, weekends and vacations. Epic slides by Jon Daniel of LivingSocial.

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The Post Y Combinator Slump
5 minutes read.

The most difficult aspect of building a company is keeping the momentum going. I still remember the daily struggles I had when working on my own startup with my partner. It can easily cause you to lose track, focusing on the wrong sides of the business or faking yet another task just to end the day with that feeling of progress. Great advice by Sam Altman on how to keep yourself accountable so you won't lose momentum as your startup grows.

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The Story Behind How Pocket Hit 20M Users With 20 People
15 minutes read.

Nate Weiner's story on handling Pocket's growth with almost non-existing team is remarkable. For four years (out of 8), Nate was the only employee, building the apps, APIs and doing all of the support as a one-man-show. We're talking about millions of users at that time, so if that doesn't inspire you to think how you better utilize your time (and your teammates' time), nothing will. What an inspiring story.

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Peopleware


The Pull Request Hack
4 minutes read.

Learning how to build a decentralized system, where you have to trust certain people to act with the same attitude and quality as you can be a differentiator for your project or company. Felix Geisendörfer shares his lessons learned from letting others to commit to his open source projects (which are great, we use some of them at work!), and what he believe you should take from it to your own projects.

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Games of Gangs
3 minutes read.

Wix structure is very similar to Spotify's squads and tribes. Figuring out a fun yet pragmatic way to invest in your organizational productivity as the company scales is always a challenge. Wix's "games of gangs" is something you can try in your company, if you're looking for more creative ways to reach that balance.

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Sharing Our Work: Testing and Feedback in Design
5 minutes read.

Jessica Harllee from Etsy explains the process of sharing her work as a designer, and how the company is focusing on getting that feedback early, to allow fast iterations and less waste. This process has to be in place for every aspect of the business. This notion of not falling in-love with our solution but rather with the problem we're trying to solve is often part of gaining that experience, witnessing our shiny solution being thrown away as we discover it's not solving any meaningful problem. Encourage people to share, and pay extra attention to the way people criticize ideas or how they provide feedback to others.

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Share it via Twitter or email.


Inspiring Tweets


@KentBeck: Alternative to Estimates: Do the Most Important Thing Until Either It Ships or It Is No Longer the Most Important Thing

@kenegozi: OH: It Was Just Working, Then I Did Some Git Stuff, Now It's Gone

- 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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