Issue #50, 1st November 2013

This Week's Favorite


Why Big Opportunities Crush Small Companies
4 minutes read.

I love this post by Dharmesh Shah. When I started Software Lead Weekly, I preferred to focus on culture and leadership, even though it's a much smaller niche than "startups" or "engineering" (which is my vast experience). I met with amazingly passionate people, got generous feedback and suggestions, and above all - I am able to stay focused without changing my entire life to deliver this weekly email. Read this wonderful advice by Dharmesh and see if you can apply it to your product or side-project. Highly recommended!

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Culture


Why Moz’s $12,000 Bounty Program for New Engineers Didn’t Work
4 minutes read.

Interesting and honest lesson learned from Rand Fishkin (CEO of Moz). Also enjoyed reading the comments. Bounty programs are simply not a good fit for what engineers look for today. There is a huge demand for engineers in almost every market, so money by itself cannot be the best way to attract top talent. I believe we should always ask ourselves if we can invest these dollars in building a better brand today to drive better candidates in the future. We should treat our recruiting brand just like we treat our product marketing. Can we invest money to fly someone to talk at some big tech conference? Can we use that money to arrange a crazy hacking competition with geeky rewards? Can we invest in writing answers on StackOverflow/Quora during work hours ("losing money" as we are not investing in immediate features).

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Culture Is a Decision Framework (video)
2 minutes read.

Cyriac Roeding with an incredibly smart speech on how he grasps culture. You should watch this one, it's right on the money.

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What Happens When You Interrupt Someone's Flow (image)
1 minutes read.

This one will put a smile on your face (hey, it's weekend after all!). Share it at the office, hang it on the door, cut down some meetings. Let it flow.

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Peopleware


Why Write Good Code? (In a Simple Way)
5 minutes read.

Incredible important post if you manage engineers. From my experience, we tend to focus too much of our time in the details while most of the gain exists in our teammates' behaviors. I wrote a few years ago that I believe great code enables the following: (1) easy to add new features, (2) easy to change existing features and (3) new teammate can become productive very quickly. How to get there and which practices to apply are set of details and tradeoffs. They are important, but they are means to an end.

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Is GitHub’s Self-Assignment of Tasks a Myth?
5 minutes read.

This post is by yours truly. As some of you figured out by now, I find GitHub's culture to be radical and inspiring. They give pushing the envelope. After listening to Scott Chacon talks about their self-assignment principle, I kind of wondered how they manage to pull it off. This post covers the risks and benefits I see with self-assignment of tasks.

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How to Deliver the Best Speech of Your Life
5 minutes read.

Brian Halligan shares his story for how he got prepared to speak at Inbound conference this year. His tip on "get to know the tricolon" is great; it reminds me of the advice I heard before from Roy Osherove on having my own special thing (Roy plays the guitar and sings some funny songs on Continuous Integration or Unit Testing).

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Coding for Interviews
1 minutes read.

Brian Jordan has a great weekly email that would help you to continuously improve your coding skills. Send it to your teammates, it's a great way to learn something new every week and to share different solutions with the team. I know that some may feel it would encourage people to leave, but being afraid of losing your teammates is actually a healthy sign. Instead of fighting it, embrace it - keep inspiring them and teaching them.

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Inspiring Tweets


@azolotov: Best Slide Ever! #Bos2013 http://pic.twitter.com/pzAWqXFjya

@emilyolson: Building Your Vision Comes Down to Sequence and Focus. The Right Things in the Right Order.

- 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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