Issue #55, 6th December 2013

This Week's Favorite


When Smart People Are Bad Employees
7 minutes read.

Ben Horowitz shares his experience as CEO managing the most talented and difficult people in his company. Also, I really enjoyed the observations from Phil Jackson and John Madden - if you have this crazy guy or gal at your company that is worth the trouble, make sure you've got only one of them. The challenge, as leaders, is how to convince the rest of the team to appreciate that individual and accept his unique attitude and value to the company. Highly recommended!

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Culture


My Retrospective About My Retrospective
8 minutes read.

This post by Avi Etzioni is inspiring in multiple ways - first, it's a great way to conduct an effective team's retrospective. But what I found really interesting is how they managed to distribute their retrospection between their teammates, so everyone in the team would have a chance to conduct a retrospective the way she or he wishes. Can you encourage your teammates to own retrospectives? Can you encourage them to write about their lessons learnt from this experience?

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How to Keep Fighting in the Face of Failure
5 minutes read.

Poker is a great way to quickly learn from your own mistakes and try them again on the next game. James Chin, a professional poker player, explains how to deal with failures and how to break errors from trials. I believe that this distinction is important, as it allows you to judge the situation without beating yourself of the outcome. This idea, of trying again and again on short intervals, in many ways, is like building software. Every feature, is a small unit of value that you can measure yourself and learn from your own mistakes. The hard part, is to get up and keep on fighting even if some of our work is not as valuable as we expected.

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You Make What You Measure
8 minutes read.

If you heard many talks about how important it is to monitor your core KPIs but you never really got an advice on how to address it in an actionable way, read this post by Tom Blomfield! Share it with your teammates.

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Peopleware


How to Deal With Pure Recruiting Mistakes
7 minutes read.

Recruiting mistakes are painful, we all know and heard that many times. This post by Mark Suster is interesting because it offers a way to deal with it, even if it's not conventional in some places - having a “temporary contractor period” signed (prenup for geeks?). Also recommend reading the comments, they're very insightful as people have strong emotions on this solution.

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What's the Best Technical Talk You've Heard?
5 minutes read.

Well, it's not the typical post I normally share, but this is just a gold mine for interesting technical talks, based on awesome people from HackerNews. My personal favorite lecture that I saw based on others recommendation was "Simple Made Easy", which is truly inspiring way to look at the way we build software.

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What to Look for in Team Communication
5 minutes read.

Shanley with another wonderful and pragmatic post on team communication. My advice: use her 5 questions to judge your team's communication dynamics and figure out what you need to adjust. I'd use it as a template and give scores (1-5, where 5 is "it's great" and 1 is "a complete disaster"). Then, I'd set a monthly reminder in my calendar to review how we're doing over time.

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Inspiring Tweets


@mavcunha: Despite Current Believe, Google Can Trace a Path to Continuous Delivery and It Takes About 30 Hours. http://pic.twitter.com/dmn7jhdM4c

@destraynor: Design Decisions and Product Assumptions Are Perishable. You Have to Re-Stock Every Now and Then.

- 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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