Issue #218, 27th January 2017

This Week's Favorite


How Do You Measure Leadership?
6 minutes read.

"Great leaders spend hours preparing their internal communications. They don’t just wing it, no matter how naturally talented they are as communicators" -- I feel that being a great leader can be measured, very much like a great infrastructure team, when things go south. This is when you can look into their habits, processes and attitude. The effort is often hidden (for most), but never take it for granted. Also, understanding that building trust is one of the key challenges of a great leader is something we don't talk enough in our industry: "Great leaders treat these challenges as opportunities to build trust. They ask themselves which course of action and which style of communication will increase the trust that employees have in them. When faced with a difficult challenge, they optimize for trust."

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Culture


Git Commit -M "Fixed Issue With Fan"
1 minutes read.

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

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Our Unique DIY Approach to Learning & Development
4 minutes read.

Great two internal initiatives by Culture Amp to get people to invest in themselves without forcing it. When salaries are the biggest part of your budget, every $ you can put as investment to empower and educate your team can potentially save you the need to hire more people to compensate for things like lack of trust (e.g. "we should hire 2 more QA, now that we added 6 more engineers. We don't want engineers to run the wild and break everything, right?") or effective collaboration.

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How Much Does Employee Turnover Really Cost?
7 minutes read.

The time taking to gain proper context in order to be effective at work is measured by months, and that by itself is tens of thousands of dollars. Jack Altman's "How to calculate your own cost of turnover" can be used as a good framework. An interesting question to notice is "When people need to acquire new skills to advance their careers, what does your company do to help them?” — by “company", this is us.

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A Deficit of Leadership
7 minutes read.

"Young engineers who want to be successful on a macro-scale should understand that leadership is a skill to which they must aspire — however fuzzy a concept" -- increasing our awareness, investing time and energy in growing strong leaders is not limited to the Silicon Valley. Important post by Joe Lonsdale and a fantastic list of books at the end that you can read and share.

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Peopleware


Finding Your Way From Maker to Manager
5 minutes read.

"As a manager, these icebergs are all around you. It certainly didn’t help that my engineering skills were getting rusty, and my development environments needed to be cajoled back into life, lying relatively idle most of the time." -- I personally feel every word in this statement. It's hard to get yourself effective when you're not investing a good portion of your time in it. You have to feel comfortable with this feeling, getting your feeling of accomplishment in other areas. Brian Scanlan (Engineering Manager at Intercom) shares the pains and his tips to deal with these transitions.

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“How” Ages Faster Than “Why”
4 minutes read.

Please share this post with junior software engineers who try to figure out their path, growing and improving their craft. I often interview people with 5+ years of experience in the market, where it shows - they lack the basic understanding of why things were built (what was the pain), why they were implemented in a certain way (pros & cons) etc. They rushed to imitate the how, instead of asking more questions about the why.

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A Better Way to Interview Software Engineers
4 minutes read.

Using code-reviews to interview software engineers sounds like a solid way to guarantee a strong match, both technically and also testing for culture fit. It can be a fun, educational and good approximation of working together side-by-side. Worth trying in your company, next time you hire software engineers.

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Inspiring Tweets


@brucel: Breaking: Programmer Accused of Writing Unreadable Code Refuses to Comment.

@avivby: That Feeling When You're Not Sure About Something and End Up Reading Your Own Blog Post From 3 Years Ago to Make Sure.

- 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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