Issue #346, 12th July 2019

This Week's Favorite


Shape Up: Stop Running in Circles and Ship Work That Matters
60 minutes read.

Ryan Singer and the team at Basecamp with a short and free online book that you'll enjoy. It was very pleasant to read, with my favorites chapters "Bets, Not Backlogs" (reminded me of Joel's Software Inventory post), "Hand Over Responsibility" and "Show Progress" that I believe you'll enjoy.

Read it later via Pocket or Instapaper.
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Culture


This Is Tik Tok’s Final Boss
1 minutes read.

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

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Scaling the Small-Startup-Get-Things-Done Mentality
7 minutes read.

I think that pods (and guilds) are an interesting organizational structure more companies should play with, but they have to read Yuval Kaminka's lessons learned about training and hiring, and do some in-depth research on how to get it right. To me, this structure optimizes for (a) optimizing for the company rather than the team, and (b) create autonomous groups who can deliver the full experience. There are other alternatives to achieve that, but like any other tool, you need to understand the tradeoffs you're making and how it would affect the people you have (and your future employees). Iterate and learn, get your team to understand the motivations behind it and participate in this learning.

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Stand-Up Meetings– Daily, Weekly, or Non-Existent?
5 minutes read.

I don't think there is one format that people would like when it comes to meetings. I assume that people will tend to choose (or optimize) for short term productivity over long term context, yet given enough time they will miss that context to know what's going on around them may it be business or tech. We recently made a change where we set weekly context meetings with the entire group, and daily meetings for each team or group of teams (as they see fit). Like everything else, there are only tradeoffs and goals to optimize for. Know what you aim for and be ready to explain it.

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The Inside Story of How This Startup Turned a 216-Word Pitch Email Into a $2.6 Billion Acquisition
17 minutes read.

I love reading about companies' journey, even more so if it's a long read that covers many areas. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and try to find ideas you can try out in your company. For example, their habit of letting everyone listen to sales call and learn from them brings the employees closer to the customer. The same about how quickly you call out on bad behavior: "I remember once at an offsite, an engineer made fun of someone else for not knowing something. I pulled that person aside and said, ‘You can't do that.’ Since then, I've watched that person pull other people aside the very same way."

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Peopleware


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

James Clear with a bias we should be aware of as people who care about how to organization works: "We don't always believe things because they are correct. Sometimes we believe things because they make us look good to the people we care about." -- follow your curiosity if you want to learn from others, starting with who they are and how they operate and think, before you dive into a specific set of believes: "Facts don't change our minds. Friendship does... Be kind first, be right later."

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Emotional Fitness Tip for Any Relationship: Don’t Ask. Just Help. “Let Me Know What I Can Do...” Is Well-Intentioned but Not Helpful. Do the Extra 4 Minutes of Work to Think of Something That Would Be Helpful, and Then Do It. Below Are Some Ideas...what Are Others? (Thread)
3 minutes read.

"Do the extra 4 minutes of work to think of something that would be helpful, and then do it." -- Dr. Emily Anhalt with a thread I want to try to do more of myself. Offering to help is cheap, taking the extra effort is where we should aim for.

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Managers Should Get Their Hands Dirty
3 minutes read.

Jason Crawford shares pains and lessons learned about transitioning from a software engineer to a first-line engineering manager: "In retrospect, I was taking as my model a high-level executive, and trying to apply it to a team lead of three engineers. But just as a startup is not a smaller version of a large company, a team lead is not a scaled-down version of an exec."

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Inspiring Tweets


@zackkanter: Two Lessons I Learned When Building My First Business: 1. You Only Get Value Out of Projects That You Finish. 2. Brilliant New Ideas Are Often Defensive Mechanisms Against the Fear of Failing to Finish the Last Project.

@r00k: My New Consulting Engagement: You Pay Me $10,000 and I Delete Your Project’s Backlog While Explaining That Nothing of Value Has Been Lost.

- 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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