Issue #265, 22nd December 2017

This Week's Favorite


Learning to Embrace Conflict as a Part of Startup Culture
5 minutes read.

Most of my time as a VP Engineering is to deal with conflicts, guiding my team on how to leverage them rather than avoiding them. Framing it into "a search for the truth" is powerful as it focuses on the data you seek to find to validate an assumption. Any manager in the organization has to be equipped with tools that will leverage conflicts. Founders should explicitly talk about it, so people will know that (effective) debates are desired: "The best ideas can come from anywhere in the organization, from the CEO to the most junior team members, and everyone should be speaking truth to power at a startup" -- This post by Eric Paley is a very good start.

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Culture


I Heard You Like Escape Rooms
1 minutes read.

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

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Knowns vs Unknowns — Are You Building a Successful Company or Just Typing?
4 minutes read.

"If you’ve hired people that care more about the programming languages/frameworks and not the KPIs of your product, you’ll constantly have this internal battle. Remind them that writing software is the easy part. Building a company that scales isn’t." -- Leaders have to understand what are the current Known Unknowns and focus their energy there. This includes Engineering Managers who need to remind their teammates to keep their eyes on the problems, not the existing solutions.

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Care and Feeding of Burnout
4 minutes read.

I'd use the questions under "Catching Burnout early" to see you feel about your job and to better understand others around you. I've seen it happen a few times, and in most cases, it ended with losing those people due to lack of attention. Jessica Rose offers the guiding questions and how to deal with these situations when they happen. Take care of yourself, take care of your team.

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How We Design Enterprise Software
10 minutes read.

Lee Munroe covers an area that I don't see often discussed: how to construct the team and the interactions between different roles when building a product, focusing on the product, design & front-end work involved. It's too easy to let inertia lead the path when developing products for end-user: building more and more features without measuring the qualitative value and quantitative usage of each element.

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Peopleware


The Science of Speaking Is the Art of Being Heard
14 minutes read.

Khalid Halim's Communication Meta Models are useful when you're trying to analyze which kind of communication is effective for you: both when others talk with you and when you talk with others. I framed it in my own words while writing it in my notes, and tried to use it in my discussions with others this week.

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Let's Play Good Manager, Bad Manager (Thread)
3 minutes read.

"A good manager encourages you to reach beyond what you think you can accomplish. A bad manager creates/cultivates your impostor syndrome by placing a glass ceiling above you, explaining why your current win is circumstantial and cannot be reproduced elsewhere." -- What would you add to Karen Cohen's (brilliant as always) thread?

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How to Navigate the First 90 Days as the First HR Hire at a Startup
7 minutes read.

This is where People Ops should aim for: "[Heather] Doshay positioned herself early as a coach and strategic partner to senior leadership and continues to do so rather than as an administrative burden. Likewise, she positions herself to the team as a resource rather than a policing agent. She likes to offer one-on-one coaching sessions and career workshops, making herself available to help any employee." -- The KPIs should be around enablement of leaders to adjust to new challenges (e.g. tools to handle conflicts, 1:1s, feedback), to measure retention and hiring quality (e.g. diversity, investment to hire, measure the effectiveness of processes) etc.

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Inspiring Tweets


@APompliano: Look at Your Last 5 Phone Calls. Look at Your Last 5 Text Conversations. Look at the Last 5 Books You Read. Look at the Last 5 Events on Your Calendar. Look at the Last 5 Podcasts You Listened To. Are You Putting in the Work to Become the Person You Want to Be?

@PicardTips: Remember What You Liked to Play With as a Child. Identify the Larger, Grown-Up Versions of Those Toys at Work.

- 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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