Issue #329, 15th March 2019

This Week's Favorite


A Model That’s Mental
4 minutes read.

This is what keeps me pushing for the past 6 years, writing this newsletter every Friday and still doing it with the same level of energy and excitement as I started: "But maybe… no not maybe… definitely… yes definitely… make sure to look back from time to time and see what you already achieved. All the steps you did, all the fears you faced, all the anxiety you felt and embraced and then learned to love; all of it became the excitement you needed. Then when you are done with looking back, look forward again, smile and keep trying harder. Keep challenging yourself." -- Andreas Klinger's words and mental model about dealing with anxiety resonated well with me this week.

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Culture


“This Technical Debt Can Wait. I Have a Feature to Deliver!”
1 minutes read.

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

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Stressed at Work? Mentoring a Colleague Could Help
5 minutes read.

"Senior officers described feeling separated from the daily policing work of junior colleagues. [...] As trust grew between them, so did the opportunities for sharing aspirations. By devising career and personal plans together and reviewing how they unfolded, the mentors and mentees’ interactions became increasingly valuable." -- This entire post is so relevant in software development as well. You create a more empathic organization, where people are trying to optimize for the company rather than their own resume.

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Engineering Meets Data Science- How to Balance the Tension Between Data Science and Agile
7 minutes read.

Anat Rapoport with fascinating points and takeaways on a similar path we both took in our companies. I've recently started leading our Data Science group in addition to the Engineering group, and I asked myself "How can I better understand their challenges, and appreciate their unique strength?" (as someone with no DS background) and "How can I help them increase their impact on the company?" -- from there, using 1:1 meetings, things became clearer in terms of setting mutual expectations both with managers and individual contributors. One tip that worked for me is to think about organization work as a system, figuring out the flow of information, how bottlenecks look like, where trust is missing (data is not flowing correctly), where incentives are misaligned (changing the wrong place to try and impact the overall output) etc.

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How to Onboard a Junior Designer
5 minutes read.

Irene Alegre with a post that is relevant for hiring junior employees, with a focus on hiring junior Designers, although I found it useful for other roles as well. Irene's point on "Get everyone on the team onboard" is something that caught me by surprise on how useful this tip is and how so often we overlook it. Did you ask your team before you opened the job description? Did you verify the bandwidth to support a new junior employee is there? Is there at least one more person other than the manager who's willing to take care of that employee as a significant part of their role (first 6 months)?

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Peopleware


Anger Management and Team Tools
5 minutes read.

Paying attention to our emotions, deciding on how we want to act and rearranging our day to better fit our mental energies are all powerful tools to keep us in control. This is true at work and at home. It starts with us, as our energy level will quickly reflect on others. Allison McMillan shares a personal story that I can relate to (been going through a similar workshop), and her tips (read about "primary emotions") are useful to you even if you don't have kids.

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The Key to Getting Things Done in a Mid-Sized (100-1200) Company, Especially One That's Grown a Lot Recently, Is Your Willingness to See Things Through to the End and Internal Refusal to Be Blocked. (Thread)
4 minutes read.

Cannot agree more with this thread, especially this part: "A lot of people throw their hands up at friction on principle. "Why doesn't anyone see that this improves everyone's life?!" Then they stop caring or burn out. Push through that friction. Slack messages/emails might not work; you might have to go to (many) peoples desks."

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Happiness: My Interview With Neville Medhora (Podcast)
42 minutes read.

Noah Kagan and Neville Medhora in a podcast conversation that is both inspirational and funny to listen to. Surround yourself with people like Neville and be that person for others.

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Inspiring Tweets


@BrianNorgard: Good Startup Hygiene: (1) Set a Small Number of Specific Cultural Values From Inception (2) Define a Mission (3) Declare War on Gossip (4) Lionize Cross Function Problem Solvers (5) Encourage Action (6) Abstain From Meetings (7) Hold Something Sacred (Product, Tech, Sales) (8) Protect Your Secret

@daisyowl: Engineers on a Normal Work Day: "Hmm, Anyone Know How to Open a Folder? Ugh I'll Just Google It." Engineers Interviewing Other Engineers: "How Is the Geodesic Distance Between Quaternions Defined and What Are the Implications for Complex Rotations in Non-Euclidean 4-Space?"

- 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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