Issue #249, 1st September 2017

This Week's Favorite


Your Company Should Be Your Best Product (Video)
72 minutes read.

Jason Fried (Basecamp's CEO) with an excellent talk going over a lot of the practices done at Basecamp. I'm not sure I'd enjoy working there, but I truly admire the attention they gave to building a sustainable company, with a very distinct culture. If you're short on time, I'd check the parts around "Context" and "Pitching Ideas".

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Culture


Trying to Code When Chat's Open
1 minutes read.

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

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Making Engineering Team Communication Clearer, Faster, Better
11 minutes read.

Technical Design Reviews is one of the best ways for engineering teams to teach and learn from each other. It's a good way to practice team work, to get people aligned (even if it requires "disagree and commit") and to avoid big mistakes early on. Derek Parham provides some tips on how to lead Design Reviews (including templates & examples) that I believe every engineering organization should embrace.

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That's Not Our Code
3 minutes read.

Figuring out ownership over code (or service/application/component) is always challenging in a company with more than 3 engineers. It becomes even harder when teams emerge. Norberto Herz shares how you can create a hybrid model: "We should be more strict when working on something planned (like our roadmap) and more flexible for unplanned situations (like emerging bugs)." -- I believe this model can work well. It requires strong leadership (individual contributors and managers) that do not let people point fingers, calling code "ours" and "theirs."

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Lessons Learned From Setting Up Instagram’s New York Team
5 minutes read.

Read this if you're thinking of opening another office, as Instagram's preparations and takeaways can save you serious pain. My biggest takeaways to think about: "So before making the investment in NYC, we went through the most significant re-structuring to date on our engineering team, instead organizing ourselves by product vertical — Explore, Feed, Search, Content Creation. This meant we could consider much more atomic units of teams..." and "we wanted to kick things off with a base of people who had been at Instagram in California for a while and could be the culture-carrying pioneers. Specifically, we wanted to move tech leads and senior engineers, rather than managers, first."

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Peopleware


Collaboration at Scale
8 minutes read.

Ranganathan Balashanmugam covers a lot of interesting models that successful companies out there are practicing to collaborate at scale. Keep this in mind when interviewing candidates for your team: "It is better to hire people who believe in your style of collaboration."

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My New Calendar System
5 minutes read.

Most calendar apps try to optimize for setting time with others. There is a big gap for optimizing for self-usage. Phin Barnes with tips on how to refactor your calendar to help you boost your productivity: "I made this change because I was frustrated with the product I was putting in the market. I felt busy but not productive. I was waking up every day to a bunch of meetings that did not feel like the best use of my time or the highest value for the people who were giving me their time."

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I've Spoken at a Lot of Tech Confs Over the Years, and There Are Things That Are Normal Now That Really Threw Me Off as a 1st-Time Speaker. (Thread)
3 minutes read.

Anyone who wants to practice public speaking, even if it's for a small crowd of teammates at the office, can gain a lot from this tweetstorm. Short and packed with helpful advice, bookmark it.

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Inspiring Tweets


@aurynn: I Really Hate the Term “soft Skills”. It Frames Them as Less Meaningful or Important. They Are Core Skills. You Can’t Do Things Without Them

@lg: When Angry at Someone, Talk to Them in Person -- Trust Me That the Email You Were Going to Send Will Only Make Things Worse

- 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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