Issue #199, 16th September 2016

This Week's Favorite


Marc Andreessen's Guide to Personal Productivity
7 minutes read.

Marc Andreessen is the guy behind Netscape, and now one of the top investors in the world at a16z. There are so many gems in this post, I'm not sure where to start with. Without a doubt, my favorites were: "Structured Procrastination", "Hide in an IPod" and "Only agree to new commitments when both your head and your heart say yes". If you have some more time, I highly recommend going over the entire list of essays at the top.

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Culture


Carry Yourself With the Confidence of a Girl Holding a Massive Owl.
1 minutes read.

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

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How Much Your Engineering Time Is Worth?
4 minutes read.

I love this initiative by David Trejo. It makes it super easy to see how much money you're spending on meetings, maintenance, 1:1s, hiring and above all -- it provides an eye-opening understanding that your team's efficiency is critical.

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Who's on Call?
7 minutes read.

Susan Fowler (SRE at Uber) with a great post on the different perspectives when it comes to handling the operation side of your applications, or - "who should be on-call?". I think Susan's observation on the stability of the system as a parameter is important when it comes to figuring out the different trade-offs between letting the development team to handle on-call versus letting external operation team to handle it. Above all, this is golden: "Good software engineering is about responsibility. It's about making mistakes, taking responsibility for those mistakes, and learning from them. It's about ownership."

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Flexible Working Is Making Us Work Longer
4 minutes read.

There is little surprise here, and we see similar numbers when it comes to "limitless vacation days" some startups are applying. We should focus more on figuring out which work is critical, get it done and go home. I'd like to see more companies write blog posts about "what we're not going to do this year" and share it with their employees and media. This takes more courage.

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Peopleware


Three Unconventional Interview Questions
3 minutes read.

Matt Haughey shares great questions you can use when interviewing a candidate. "What’s a personal opinion you’ve had and changed in the last year?" can teach you so much about critical thinking, their ability to grow and the type of energy they can add to your team.

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Stop Guessing, Use Data to Estimate Better!
10 minutes read.

Lunar Logic have an interesting process to estimate their projects. I know that FogBugz uses something similar called "Evidence Based Scheduling" and I can see how it's useful, at least when you're doing non-research related tasks (or writing/using a completely new infrastructure). Good food for thought for the weekend.

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The Trouble With Trying to Win at Everything
4 minutes read.

I've seen too many conversations between software engineers taking forever just as both sides tried to convince rather than teach. When you aim to explain tradeoffs, risks and put aside personal style or beliefs, you can make a real impact. This is without a doubt one of my biggest challenges mentoring Senior Software Engineers in my team. Argue for the sake of teaching each other and getting to know each other. There is only one owner in every conversation, respect that and help them win, i.e. in-case of disagreement, always disagree and commit.

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Inspiring Tweets


@bendystraw: My Best Technical Skill Isn't Coding, It's a Willingness to Ask Questions, in Front of Everyone, About What I Don't Understand

@holman: There Are Only Two Hard Problems in Computer Science: 1. People 2. People

- 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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