Issue #67, 28th February 2014

This Week's Favorite


Testing at Airbnb
12 minutes read.

What I loved most about this post is the cultural change Lou Kosak is taking us through. Building an optimistic, fast-paced organization is mostly about nurturing the right attitude, and reducing complexity by investing the time in the right tools. I can only imagine the challenges Airbnb were facing in trying to automatically test their payment processing. Great post and great inspiration for all of us to push harder - "The bar to writing tests should be “so low you can trip over it.”"

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Culture


Everyone in SaaS Needs to Do Customer Support. At Least Until You Have 50 Employees. But Ideally, Forever.
5 minutes read.

Jason Lemkin is spot on! The power of reading how customer describe your product, use your features and suffer from your bugs (or poor UX) is one of the best way, for any employee, to improve her or his craft. Having engineers too far from your product makes it almost impossible for them to emotionally connect to their work and deliveries. So if your team is not the user or customer of your product, what can you do to still connect them to the product they're building? Support is a great solution and excellent first step to make that connection. How are you going to take it from here?

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The Inexplicable Rise of Open Floor Plans in Tech Companies
6 minutes read.

Nathan Marz (the creator of Storm and ex-Twitter employee) challenge the trend of open floor offices. Maybe what we should focus on is asking our people what works best for them and being agile enough not only to change our process but also to change our environment.

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Microsoft's New CEO: This Is the Big Culture Change We Need
5 minutes read.

Satya Nadella, Microsoft's new CEO is obviously under a huge amount of stress these days. It's great to see how Satya looks at his next challenge at Microsoft as an innovation problem, rather than "adding more money" to increase the value for stake holders. It will force Staya to make hard decisions, and forcing the organization to lean toward breaking the norm. Microsoft has to shift hard, and people both inside and outside the company will resist. I hope they'll make it, our industry needs healthy competition and strong leadership to inspire us all.

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Peopleware


My Management Lessons From Three Failed Startups, Google, Apple, Dropbox, Twitter and Square
14 minutes read.

"The hardest lesson about giving a damn — about management — may be that it doesn’t scale. And that’s okay." Kim Scott with great insights! If you care about people, take the time and read this post, it's packed with great advices you could actually use. The section I loved most is "Cruel Empathy", it's something also Dick Costolo (Twitter's CEO) talked about before, putting to focus on the employee instead of the image you want to build for yourself.

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The Myth of the Bell Curve
10 minutes read.

Interesting read on how employees' performance distribution really looks like. Even if you're short on time, I highly recommend reading "How the Bell Curve Model Hurts Performance" section. Having a personal growth plan is not something you can avoid or delay, even if you're a 10 people startup. Our unfair advantage will always be our people, our attitude and our culture. Invest your time to help people become hyper-performers instead of focusing on how to conduct performance reviews to go along with your bonus plan.

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Entrepreneurs Math: (.9)^10 = 1
3 minutes read.

If you're an entrepreneur at heart, or working with people who are, this post by Brad Feld will make you smile. I'm going to use it as an explanation to some of my own quirks, I just hope that my wife will find it as amusing as I did.

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Inspiring Tweets


@erickoester: The Best Thing You Can Do for Your Startup Is Force Constraints. It Makes You Make the Hard Choices (Rather Than Having Them Made for You).

@jeffsussna: Prod Is No Longer Just Prod. It's Prod Plus Everything Needed to Deliver Change to Prod. #Devops

- 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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