Issue #305, 28th September 2018

This Week's Favorite


The Lies We Tell Ourselves
7 minutes read.

"To create cognitive harmony, we usually engage in self-deceptive strategies." -- accepting this is the first step in improving the way you make decisions or judge a given situation. An absolute must read by Jessica Katz if you care about your career.

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Culture


Wish Everyone Had the Same Passion as Drinks Guy
1 minutes read.

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

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Engineering Productivity
4 minutes read.

"So while you’re learning how to have good 1–1s, listen to people, create psychologically safe teams, and think about people’s careers, don’t forget that if your team isn’t shipping, you’re not doing your job." -- Camille Fournier is spot on. Are you helping your team to be as effective as they can? Are you creating clear outcomes? Making sure the team is doing the right thing, and no more than that (e.g., remove nice-to-have requirements)? Are you creating alignment with other groups to assist if they’re a dependency? Do you build momentum and maintain a high-level of energy? Ask yourself these questions on a weekly basis by capturing 30 minutes in the calendar (first day of the week?), and act on the above.

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I’ve Been Doing a Lot of Mentoring Sessions With Early Stage Entrepreneurs, and I Tend to Ask the Same Questions Every Time. I’ll Post Them Here, in Case It Helps Others. (Thread)
3 minutes read.

Stephanie Hurlburt's mentoring questions, at least most of them, can help you in your 1:1s, or if you're considering building and promoting an internal tool or launching a side-project. In a way, almost everything you build inside a company can be looked at as a small startup with customers, employees (your teammates) and money to raise (budget request). So applying Stephanie's questions by replacing the word "business" with "product" can cover also internal tools and products. My favorites: "How will you introduce yourself to others? Work on making it an intro that counters bias and is confident. What’s your product pitch? Keep in mind pitching is HARD. Work at it." and "Where are you at right now with your business? What work have you done? What roadblocks are you facing?" ‏

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Redefining Dilution
5 minutes read.

״Dilution is a function of your burn rate relative to your accretion of value. It is often measured in financing events, but it actually plays out every day in the choices the startup makes and the work the startup accomplishes. Simply put, if you are accreting more value than you burn, there is no dilution. If you’re burning more cash than you’re accreting value, then there is dilution. Put another way, you’re not being diluted because a VC decrees it; you’re being diluted because you spent money building features that your customers didn’t want, instead of the ones that they need. You’re being diluted because you kept scaling up an ineffective sales process because you didn’t want growth to slow." -- ‏This is such an important post to read by every employee working for a startup. Ask about users or customers growth, about revenues (if relevant) and strategy going forward. If you own a piece of the pie, it's your responsibility to ask questions so you could help improve the business.

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Peopleware


Augmenting Long-Term Memory
17 minutes read.

"[T]he essay is a distillation of informal, ad hoc observations and rules of thumb about how personal memory systems work" -- Michael Nielsen with an essay that got me hooked, as it offers not only practical learning frameworks but also relevant context and the history behind them. If you like to read and learn (which you probably do, as a subscriber) - you'll find it fascinating.

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The Downside
5 minutes read.

Cap Watkins shares a personal story of his Performance Review at the time, a story that I feel many of us can connect to (I know I did). Becoming more aware of our strength and weaknesses is how we should look at Feedback Loops. Asking your teammates that explicitly can provide you a lot of insights into why people act in a certain way around you, or as Cap wrote: "I had to learn how to mitigate my propensity to treat every conversation as the most important one I was having that day, and really try to understand how important it was to me and what value, if any, my opinions were adding."

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How to Be a True Autodidact
5 minutes read.

I'd skip the beginning and jump directly to "Create your own system" section. My favorite part in this post by Thomas J Bevan, by far, was "Don't just read a book – Argue with the book" - I'd apply it to everything I read or listen to.

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Inspiring Tweets


@omervk: To Be Truly Agile, Teams Should Be Able to Refactor Their Work Spaces With the Same Freedom as They Do Their Codebases.

@mmay3r: Big Business Mistake That Seems Common Today: Optimizing Something Easy to Measure at the Expense of Something Hard/Impossible to Measure That’s More Important.

- 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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