Issue #277, 16th March 2018

This Week's Favorite


Prattfalls: Better Communication
4 minutes read.

I cannot recommend enough this post by Roy Rapoport. Regardless of your role, do yourself a favor and read it. Use this concept when you need to have a difficult conversation with someone else: "Communication only exists as a mutation of someone else’s internal state."

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Culture


When the Frontend Dev Spots a Bug and Opens the Browser Devtools 🎨🖌️
1 minutes read.

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

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A Guide to Building a High Functioning Data Science Department
8 minutes read.

"Engineers should not write ETL. For the love of everything sacred and holy in the profession, this should not be a dedicated or specialized role. There is nothing more soul-sucking than writing, maintaining, modifying, and supporting ETL to produce data that you yourself never get to use or consume." -- this attitude reminds me a lot of the “DevOps movement,” where you try to optimize for autonomous teams, sometimes at the immediate expense of having efficient teams, to gain the long-term value.

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The Next Feature Fallacy: The Fallacy That the Next New Feature Will Suddenly Make People Use Your Product
6 minutes read.

The power of inertia is so strong -- "if only we will have [X] we will win!" -- It impacts the product we build, but also this state of mind often creeps into the way engineers build infrastructure. This takeaway by Andrew Chen can be applied to product and infrastructure: "This means [...] onboarding sequence, and the initial out-of-box product experience are critical, and usually don’t get enough attention."

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A Counterintuitive Way to Increase Diversity in Tech
6 minutes read.

"Ok, so what CAN you do to help improve diversity in tech? Glad you asked! It’s simple: get into management... You can make diversity a company goal, point out other managers’ biases as a peer, create an inviting team where people can do their best work and launch successful careers from said experience. You can back employees when they have complaints. And you can leverage your position." -- Rachel Nabors writes a post that we should all read. Change is slow; we need to be consistent in playing the long-term game.

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Peopleware


How to Prioritize Using These 9 Mental Models
9 minutes read.

Learning different frameworks (mental models) for decision making and prioritization is a critical effort for leaders to pick up. To increase your effectiveness, you need to learn to do less (and be okay with that), not more. Try to put it to practice: Next time you decide to do something, try to explain your thought process to someone else. Explain alternative costs, run different scenarios (assign probabilities) and have various plans to deal with each situation. Write down your decision criteria, and agree on that before you start writing a single line of code.

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Ideas That Changed My Life
4 minutes read.

Morgan Housel's post made me think a lot on my commute to work on how my set of beliefs changed over time. Being aware of this bias can help you maintain a Beginner's Mindset when it comes to personal growth: "Your personal experiences make up maybe 0.00000001% of what’s happened in the world but maybe 80% of how you think the world works."

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How to Make Better Use of Everything You Read
5 minutes read.

Good tips on how to increase your "extended memory" (e.g. using IFTTT and searching via google or Evernote), applying concepts that reminded me of Tim Ferriss's advice on Just-in-time reading vs. Just-in-case reading. One more tip I'd add, is when you start reading a book, try asking yourself "which questions I hope this book would answer?" -- This should help put your mind into focus mode, seeking to digest the information to extract insights.

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Inspiring Tweets


@lhochstein: Abstractions Reduce Development Time at a Cost of Increasing Debugging Time.

@joshkaufman: In Practice, the Most Useful Productivity Techniques Are 10% Task Management / 90% Coming to Terms With Living in a Finite Universe.

- 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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