Issue #70, 21st March 2014

This Week's Favorite


Where I Failed to Lead
6 minutes read.

If you're leading others (or an aspiring manager), you have to read this post by Markus Gärtner. I tried to think what I liked most about this post. An impossible task. This post is going to be one of those rare few posts I'm going to refer to, if someone asks me for great leadership reading material. Share it with at the office, so others could learn from Markus's wonderful insights.

Read it later via Pocket or Instapaper.
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Culture


Coconut Headphones: Why Agile Has Failed
5 minutes read.

"If your role is simply asking for estimates and enforcing the agile rituals: stand-ups, fortnightly sprints, retrospectives; then you are an impediment rather than an asset to delivery." What a post by Mike Hadlow. I highly recommend using the points Mike provides at the end of his point to measure your organizational strength. If you had to score each point, what would you give your team? Your company? How could you improve each point in the next 6 months? Great read!

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Do Not Copy Silicon Valley, We Can Do Better! (Video)
27 minutes read.

Peter Halacsy, Prezi's CTO and co-founder, with a great talk you should watch this weekend. I had the pleasure to meet Peter at Strech Conference last year and it was great to see how humble he is, and how comfortable you feel when you talk with him. I enjoyed this talk as you can see how passionate Peter is about this subject (Prezei is Budapest-based startup). What I loved most is his take on "Fixed versus Growth mindset". Such a powerful lesson we can all apply both at home and at work.

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When Does Establishing a Good Startup Culture Outweigh Being Cheap?
4 minutes read.

Short and to the point. While it's not always about the money, having a solid working station, comfortable chair and nice-looking office is important to keep your people happy for the long run. If you think about it, even if you spend an extra (one-time) $1000 per employee, assuming a $10K/m investment on her (or his) salary, the return on that investment would be almost immediate. Reminds me of a story that I remember Patrick Collison (Stripe's CEO) said, that they found out that investing some money in better lighting completely changed the mood at the office. I hate to see great money spent on nonsense "startup perks" BS, so come up with things that really matters most: great computer and screens, comfortable chair, beautiful office (at least internally, even if the building is old), clean kitchen, some beverages and healthy snacks/fruits.

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Peopleware


How Our Startup Beat Burnout
6 minutes read.

The team at Groove are doing an amazing work. Not only in the way they build their product, but also in the way they build their company and share their journey. I've been watching them for the past 6 months and highly impressed with their attention to building a scalable team, one that wouldn't break due to the typical startup stress. You simply have to read "Making Not Working Work" - flagging each feature as URGENT or CRITICAL is a safest way to burnout and kill trust with your team - "Growth that’s achieved at an unsustainable workload is just that: unsustainable."

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Facebook VP of Engineering on Solving Hard Things Early
7 minutes read.

Like people, companies' personality is set very early on. Setting purpose, building communication, delegation of work, deciding who and when to praise or fire someone. Hundreds if not thousands of small decisions. What makes your company different? Why should someone join you? What is your biggest strength? Are you selling that point to new candidates? Don't wait too long, don't be passive. Having a great culture will take just as much attention as building a great product and business. Choose wisely. “Management is not about who is who’s boss. Management is the opportunity to explicitly choose tradeoffs.”

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Sharing Knowledge for Fun and Profit
5 minutes read.

Leo Polovets, a Software Engineer that worked at Microsoft, Google, LinkedIn and now serves as a VC with a great reminder on the power of sharing knowledge. One of the great things I see in Israel in the last 2-3 years is the community built around technology, open-source and culture. Huge exists such as Waze (to Google) or IPOs (Wix.com) are great fuel to push this industry forward. What can you share with the rest of us to help us grow and learn? Are you doing enough to convince your teammates to go out there and share their lesson learned? Sharing knowledge is probably the cheapest, most effective way to retain talent and attract great candidates to your company. It's never too late to start.

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Inspiring Tweets


@hnshah: People With a Growth Mindset Are More Resilient to Challenges Related to Their Abilities and Performance Than Those With a Fixed Mindset.

@mahnve: OH: "The Value of Ideas Is Greatly Overestimated by People Who Don't Actually Build Stuff"

@dcancel: "Your Customers Aren’t Units of Revenue. Your Team Isn’t Units of Production." - Dave Ramsey

- 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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