Issue #324, 8th February 2019

This Week's Favorite


Reflecting on My Failure to Build a Billion-Dollar Company
12 minutes read.

Gumroad is one of my favorite tools and without it, I don't know how I'd be able to sell my book and courses so easily. Sahil Lavingia shares his story of the many ups & downs he had in the past 8 years - helping the community of creators while dealing with the constant pressure of finding hyper-growth due to VC-backed expectations. I'm a huge fan of Sahil and his work at Gumroad, and above all - his ability to remain vulnerable and open to this hard journey.

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Culture


Client-Side Validation
1 minutes read.

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

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Why We Re-Designed Our Engineering Career Paths at CircleCI
9 minutes read.

Lena Reinhard from CircleCI with a framework for how Software Engineers can grow and improve. This is useful to share with all of your engineering team, and management team, as it can create much better Feedback Reviews and 1:1s, covering deep and meaningful areas of improvement.

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A Tiny Thread, Celebrating How Great #Design Solves Problems. #Nudge
3 minutes read.

I think this thread will inspire you to think about your office design, and potentially of your tools (e.g. UI/UX of internal systems), so you could take them to the next level. While most of the thread is about how to stop a bad habit, my mind (obviously? :)) was racing, thinking how to get good habits to start in my team, e.g. maybe inject into open Pull-Requests a book or a blog post URL to read around the subject of the PR?

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Executing a (product) Sunset
4 minutes read.

Rachana Kumar from Etsy shares the process they took to sunset 3 customer-facing projects. The method (announcement, feature flags, "purchase draining", how to clean the code etc.) is useful, and more so - the culture of knowing to say goodbye to things that don't move the needle - is what makes Etsy a special company. Being brave to share that and how they approached it is something very companies do.

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Peopleware


A Framework for R&D
8 minutes read.

Matt Aimonetti did something that made me stop and think about how I'd define a useful R&D framework, probably for the various stages of the company (I like Kent Beck's Explore, Expand, Extract). Having such a framework can help to align people around common goals and stories (e.g. how success would look/feel like) so try it yourself. How would you define your R&D framework? What would you try to optimize for?

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Managing Founder Stress
12 minutes read.

"I learned the hard way that failing to have a pacing strategy can lead to disaster. We should stop treating our businesses like short sprints. Move fast; don’t break you." -- I found Dr. Sherry Walling's tips relevant not only for founders but for anyone with a desire to create a massive impact in the company. I see many people switch jobs to deal with burnout, instead of learning to pace themselves and increase their overall impact on the company they are today. I highly recommend reading this post to find some new strategies and tactics to operate within healthy limits, and buying the book The Upside of Stress by Kelly McGonigal.

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Understanding Complexity
4 minutes read.

"In chaotic systems, cause and effect are always unclear. Chaos is the realm of crisis and panic. [...] To some extent, complexity can, therefore, be managed through the acquisition of knowledge, surfacing of new data, or by decomposing a system into constituent parts which are more easy to reason about. [...] But in the workplace, no matter what you do, you are dealing with people. And humans are inherently complex. " -- Dan Pupius with an inspirational post for the weekend, that made me read a bit more about Cynefin framework (e.g. google Cynefin for Developers) and thinking about the decisioning framework I use today.

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Inspiring Tweets


@auren: The Best Improvement Strategy Is to Focus Not Just on Your Strengths … but on Just 1 or 2 Strengths. Focus, Focus, Focus on Making Your Strongest Traits Even Stronger. (Especially Once You Are Over 30 and You Have More of a Clear Assessment of Your Skills and Abilities.)

@usefyi: “Good Management Is the Art of Making Problems So Interesting and Their Solutions So Constructive That Everyone Wants to Get to Work and Deal With Them.” Paul Hawken

- 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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