Issue #86, 18th July 2014

This Week's Favorite


When You Can’t Win
4 minutes read.

Inspirational post by the wondeful Justin Jackson. Great way to start your weekend!

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Culture


MadLib(tm) Feedback
8 minutes read.

Interesting look at how the team at Medium running their performance and peer reviews. Using the MadLibs game (a template driven input) is an extremely smart move, something I've never seen before. It reduces the need to write complete paragraphs and emphasis on the essance. Also, pay attention to building a story from it. Most performance reviews use only the last one as a reference. The idea is to track your journey and optimize for the long run. Share it with your management team (and HR), it could be an interesting experiment for your next review.

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The Dinner Party Metaphor
4 minutes read.

"What it’s like being at a company as it scales its workforce from dozens to thousands" - Love this story by Lindsay Schauer, until recently a Twitter employee. I think that her dinner party metaphor is spot on in how the culture shift and change as more people join in. It's about keeping the culture fun and engaging, not keeping it exactly the same as it was before.

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Peopleware


Recruit for Simplicity
3 minutes read.

Drew Dillon (Head of Product and Engineering at AnyPerk) explains why simplicity is what you should optimize for. Hiring people who could simplify problems, or come up with the simplest soulution to validate an hypothesis, could help reducing both Technical and Product debt. Ask yourself which questions you can ask on your next interview to look for such skills. Having a baselines (using the same question over time), can make it easier to decide who to hire as a PM or as an Engineer.

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How to Go From Working 60 Hours a Week to 40 by Sending 2 Emails a Week
5 minutes read.

Planning a week in advance may sound hard (too many unexpected issues, right?), but I believe this could radically help keep burnout to minimum. You can always plan for unexpected issues, aka "buffer", but avoiding any plan at all will constantly keep you stressed out. Reply to this email if you're doing it today, I'd love to know what worked best for you.

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Do You Feel Pressure or Do You Apply Pressure?
5 minutes read.

Ben Horowitz with a great insight for leaders: "If you are feeling overwhelmed and under competent, then you are very likely not applying enough pressure." How many times you've told yourself "I wish there were more people here to help me carry on this giant effort?" - this post is for you.

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Why SCRUM Sprints Slow You Down
4 minutes read.

Thomas Schranz claims that sprints slow you down. This is an important read for anyone who follows SCRUM by the book. I think the biggest mistake of using sprints is tying them to both planning and delivery. Sprints should be used as a timeframe for planning your work, while there should be no correlation to how many times you deploy your product. I used to work in a 2 weeks sprint, planning what goes inside it (and allowing change as we go) and releasing multiple times a week, as features were ready. Planning can reduce that feeling of stress and putting off fires.

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Inspiring Tweets


@Harris_Bryan: Want More Business? Teach Publicly

@dorkitude: A Company Should Be a Platform for Self-Actualization for All Its People.

@housecor: If You Can't Inspire Others With Your Ideas, It Doesn't Matter How Good Your Ideas Are.

- 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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