Issue #303, 14th September 2018

This Week's Favorite


Notes to Myself on Software Engineering: A Laundry List of Personal Reminders
8 minutes read.

François Chollet with a fantastic list of his lessons learned (so far). My favorite takeaways: "Code isn’t just meant to be executed. Code is also a means of communication across a team, a way to describe to others the solution to a problem", "Keep a bias towards simplicity" and "When we find ourselves in a conflict, it’s a good idea to pause to acknowledge our shared values and our shared goals, and remind ourselves that we are, almost certainly, on the same side."

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Culture


I See Nothing Wrong Here
1 minutes read.

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

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Growing a Feature Team Using Lanes
8 minutes read.

Vivian Pennel and Benjamin Davy share their journey at Teads, growing the company and trying out an interesting approach of development lanes. I always read this kind posts with a few questions in mind: "what are they trying to optimize for?" and "when would I use it to solve which challenges and at which point in the lifecycle of a product/company?" -- I'd love to hear from you what you took from it? Would you use it in your company (assuming relevant size & challenges)? Share it with us on the SWLW Slack channel.

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On Decision Making—and Key Reason Why Startups Can Beat Incumbents (Thread)
4 minutes read.

Creating an environment where "YES" is a possible answer when information and risk are not fully understood is a sign of a healthy organization. Having a framework where one can set probabilities, and offer mitigation plans (capping risk) is critical to allow experimentation as the company scales. It's not to say that everything should be YES, as organizations often need to do less than committed to, but people expect to have a way to provide ideas without feeling that they'll be shut down without clear reasoning.

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How to Tell Your Team That Organizational Change Is Coming
5 minutes read.

Refactoring your organization is as vital as refactoring your code, or leveling-up the UX of the product. Liz Kislika's advice on "Personalize both the impact and the resolution" is spot on, as people have to understand how their day to day and personal growth is going to be affected by it. Before communicating these changes to others, take a few hours and write down your strategy for how to announce each team or individual, what are the key points to communicate, when it should be done etc.

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Peopleware


Advice for a New Executive
7 minutes read.

Chad Dickerson's tips for Lara Hogan, as a new VP Engineering at Kickstarter at the time, can help anyone out there who's thinking about taking an executive role (or serving at such now). These two lessons took me many years to learn: "Realize the impact your mood and demeanor has on people" and "Partner absurdly closely with product and make sure you understand priorities, and the head of product understands tradeoffs" -- This helped me focus on what's right the for the company, while being able to argue on priorities and tradeoffs without sacrificing my relationships with the VP of Product. Same applies to how well you communicate, having this one as a red flag: "if you hear “what are all these engineers doing?” then you have [communication] work to do."

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How to Learn
5 minutes read.

One of the first questions I ask candidates during an interview is "How do you learn a new subject?", looking to better understand their learning framework and how they validate the quality of the material they're reading. Logan McDonald shares her framework, and I highly recommend watching her light talk as well. You can see her passion and clear thinking, implementing a strong Growth Mindset. Share it with your team, and try to see if you can pick up a few tools to improve the way you learn new topics.

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Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds
7 minutes read.

"Most people argue to win, not to learn. As Julia Galef so aptly puts it: people often act like soldiers rather than scouts" -- this is a critical takeaway by James Clear, as you understand that nurturing the company's culture can help set an environment where people want to learn from each other and grow together.

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Inspiring Tweets


@jewelia: At Fast Growing Companies There Is Often a Lot of Rapid Change. As a Leader You're Constantly Making Trade-Offs on How Much Change Management Process to Inject vs YOLO/figure It Out on the Fly. One Thing I've Learned: Never YOLO the Communications Plan. Never.

@Johnny_Uzan: Information - So Abundant It's Worth Practically Nothing. Knowledge - Scarce Enough to Be Worth $, Price Determined by Supply & Demand, Distribution Follows a Bell Curve. Insight - So Rare It Could Be Worth a Fortune, Distribution Is Fat-Tailed and the Black Swan Rules.

- 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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