Issue #172, 11th March 2016

This Week's Favorite


What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team
10 minutes read.

Last week, a couple of days after releasing Issue 171, I had 5 readers from SWLW community reaching out to me recommending this post, so it just shows how well it connected to people who read it. I'll use Joe Goldberg's (a SWLW reader) thoughts, as I felt it represented my take on it and to give him the proper credit (thanks Joe!): Great teams create a "safe space" where everyone can contribute equally, and where team members are attuned to the emotional states of others. this is more important than "clear goals", "dependability", and "team members know how their work fits into the larger mission" (which are still important).

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Culture


If Company Slogans Were Honest
1 minutes read.

My humble effort to help you start the weekend with a smile on your face.

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How Coinbase Ships Product
5 minutes read.

Are we building a positive momentum when delivering our product? Are we working on the right things? What is the driver behind our decisions? It always feels that we're not moving fast enough, but this is a dangerous approach. Work generates more work. Without purpose and goals people can understand and align around, it's impossible to build a positive momentum. I love how the team at Coinbase plan their work and build a process that puts the customer first, and drive work from things that has the potential to move the needle.

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Everything You Need to Know to Create an Effective Employee Onboarding Program
11 minutes read.

Pretty much everything you need in order to build a great onboarding experience for new employees by Nick Lucs (also packed with great links inside to additional resources). I believe that once you reach a certain size (~10 people from my experience), the tax you pay for not having an effective onboarding process can be too high.

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Management and Organization at Medium
5 minutes read.

While I saw a lot of people trashing Holacracy, and Medium's attempt of applying it, I read this post and commend Medium's willingness to explicitly define roles and responsibilities (something that most companies never do), and willing to iterate every time they feel that process holds the team back instead of pushing them forward. Take a look at their 6 principles to organize and manage the company, it's golden. My favorites: "Ownership is accountability, not control" and "Good decision-making implies alignment, not consensus."

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Peopleware


Hitting the Right Level of Communication Abstraction
6 minutes read.

Tom Bartel with another great post on how to choose the right level of abstraction when communicating with others. A must read for leaders of any kind (technical or not), so I'll add nothing to it but stop whatever you're doing an read it. Also worth sharing with others, if you'd like to help them grow and improve their communication skills as well.

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Communication Usually Fails, Except by Accident
2 minutes read.

As my company grows, keeping communication effective is without a doubt one of our most difficult challenges "[...] Anytime there are two people conversing, there are actually six people in the conversation" -- This is why it's not enough to communicate often, but also to build trust among your teammates to make these messages and thoughts feel as they are worth paying attention to.

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The Rewards From Acts of Simplicity
3 minutes read.

An important reminder to the power of doing simple chores, and gain some relief to let your brain cool down: "If you feel anxious, had a burnout or other sources of stress, start simple again. Stop reading all these motivational articles, the 24 things you should really really really know about your craft or whatever society expects from you. Stop reading all the motivational crap that everybody writes to justify their own anxious thoughts."

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Inspiring Tweets


@extraordinaire: We First Learn by Playing, Then We Learn the Mechanics.

@jewelia: Important Lesson I Learned in 2015: When You Interview Someone, Always Know What a Good Answer Looks Like Before Ask a Question.

- 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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