Issue #69, 14th March 2014

This Week's Favorite


The Do’s and Don’ts of Rapid Scaling for Startups
10 minutes read.

“Push until things crack, but not until they break.” Really enjoyed reading this one. One of the points Sutton raised that resonates well with me is that feeling of ownership - Great people feel that the company is part of them, just as much as they are part of the company. We take ownership because we care, not because we're forced to. I remember multiple meetings I've participated in the past where temper got high, and I felt the urge to say "I know that some of you feel strange to hear this tone during a meeting (as voices are getting louder). It shows me that we care about this subject, let's continue and trust one another that eventually the people in charge for each area will make the best decisions she or he believes is right. We'll help them succeed no matter if we agree with them or not. Now, don't hold back with what you feel is right." - scaling the company doesn't mean becoming numb. This passion, this willing to make an impact should not die as the company grows. It's hard to balance, and it's hard to fire assholes (who both yell, do not offer ways to help out and eventually blame for failures,) but it's our job as leaders to enable such an environment.

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Culture


How Facebook and Twitter Built the Best Employee Training Programs in Silicon Valley
5 minutes read.

If you want to be able to hire and promote leadership from inside your company, or to leverage your company's technical building blocks, you need to put in the effort. As your company scales, these things will be the first to break: organizational pressure and size will start to create silos, both technical and managerial. The best companies out there are investing the time to teach. They are not afraid of setting expectations. I wish I had the chance to attend one of Dick Costolo's leadership classes at Twitter, probably a good enough reason by itself to join them. Find your own secret weapon to scale your company without losing your DNA.

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Refactoring Organizations: Two Ways to Increase Your Impact
5 minutes read.

Jade Rubick (of New Relic) takes programming concepts such as DRY (don't repeat yourself) and pull-requests and explain how he uses it in his management style. Do yourself a huge favor and read his part of DRY, it's golden. The idea of breaking your challenges and assign people to own it is the first step to understand how your team should operate and which roles you're missing (hence need to hire). When you assign ownership to different areas, let these people lead the effort and make the best decisions they can. Ask them to also train their teammates and share knowledge, ownership doesn't mean having a team built of multiple bottlenecks. Great post!

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“When Are You Going to Start Your Own Company?”
4 minutes read.

Tracy Chou (Pinterest engineer) talks about one of those questions people tend to ask all the time. Really important read if you want to keep people such as Tracy at your company, so you could understand the motivations and drives exceptional people are looking for. If you're thinking of starting your own company, Tracy's perspective is a great checklist to some of the points you'll miss. I am going to refer some of my friends to this post, as some reading material figuring out their journey going forward. Highly recommended read!

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Peopleware


The Manager Who Lost the North
5 minutes read.

"Robb Stark is a classic example of poor strategy and execution" - Sean Rose with great observations on the mistakes Robb Stark (Game of Thrones) and what we can learn from that. Beautifully written piece. My favorite part is "Set Your People Up For Success" - our goal as leaders is to amplify our teammates and as such, we need to be able to envision what success would look like for them, even if they cannot see it yet. It has to be challenging enough to keep them engaged. It has to be uncomfortable to keep them humble. It has to be about them, not about our ego. Do you have such a plan for each of your teammates? Are you setting them up for success?

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Your Bad Boss Is Your Problem and It's Your Job to Fix It
8 minutes read.

This is an important post. The sad reality is that some of us will work for a bad boss, no matter where we will work, the size of the company or our role. It's important because there are A LOT of things we can do in order to improve our environment and our relationship with our boss. My advice is to share how you feel about things before you jump to offer suggestions. People relate better to emotions and context than to concrete ideas that people drop out of nowhere. Try to share your pains with a few of your teammates, listen to how they grasp this situation. It would teach you a lot about how to address it when talking with your boss. If you're tight on time, read "You are responsible for your career" section.

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CTO or GTFO: Does Stepping Down From the C-Suite == Failure?
5 minutes read.

Making that transition myself, from a Director of Engineering to an Engineer in a young startup, I could easily understand this concern of "going backwards". I'm always trying to put myself in places where I believe the company is in the right place to become highly successful. I honestly care more about learning new things from smart people, than the answer I'll need to come up with when someone asks me "What do you do these days?" Love your job, love your team, learn, try things. The rest is just ego, and your ego cares more about the world than about yourself. Don't let it stop you. Oh, and if you worry about your compensation, don't be. Great people are rare, and our industry is willing to pay good money to hire and retain talent.

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Inspiring Tweets


@patio11: Shipping Working Software Is a Superpower.

@estherderby: If Someone Appears "Unmotivated" Check the Environment Before Assuming a Character Flaw.

- 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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