Issue #87, 25th July 2014

This Week's Favorite


A Remarkable, 10-Year-Old Email From Tony Hsieh on Zappos Company Culture
8 minutes read.

A letter from Tony Hsieh, the legendary CEO of Zappos yet relatively unknown back at 2005, on the importance of investing the time and effort in nurturing the company's culture as they scale the company - "But it’s not the numbers that are the most exciting… It’s the opportunity to build a company culture and consumer brand that is centered around the service, not the shoes or the handbags... We are now at the point where, with our rapid growth (more than doubling year over year, every year), we risk losing our service-focused culture if we don’t do a good job of actively managing it."

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Culture


How to Ruin Your Company With One Bad Process
7 minutes read.

Ben Horowitz shares how a single bad process (hint: lack of budget limitations and other global constraints) can feed the political beast hidden in every growing company. In his situation, it almost got his company (Loudcloud) to bankruptcy. I think that many people can thrive given a set of limitations, as long as they are aligned to the company's best interest rather than their own local maxima (team or department).

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The Bystander Effect: Why Companies Fail to Change
5 minutes read.

I've seen The Bystander Effect in action at various companies in my history. This situation, where multiple people are passive while facing a challenge, waiting for the other person to fix it, probably happened to most of you. Other than acknowledging the existence of this behavior, I think that setting an explicit expectation from your leadership and technical leads could help to reduce the possible implications. Every time I heard a Technical Lead in our team complains about the quality of the code, I said "well, what are you going to do with it? See, it's not really a code problem, it's a people problem. We need to fix the latter first. This is your responsibility as a Technical Lead."

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Manufacturing the Talent Shortage
9 minutes read.

Last year I've attended a talk by Andrew Clay Shafer on “There Is No Talent Shortage,” and it completely changed my mind regarding the way we approach hiring and cultivating talent. This post by Dimas Guardado takes it a step forward, offering a new way to think of what makes a great hire. Important read.

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Peopleware


Shit Bad Scrum Masters Say
3 minutes read.

This is a great way to start the weekend. Hilarious video by Adam Weisbart. Share it at the office, should be fun.

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Coaches, Not Managers
3 minutes read.

Kevin Lamping wrote the post that I always wanted to write on how raw talent at the right hands can become an unstoppable force. The inspiration came from waking up to see the NBA finales at 3AM, looking at Kawhi Leonard becoming a superstar and rightfully earning both the championship and the MVP award. What's interesting to notice though, is Kawhi's passion for the game, his hunger to learn and his humility to listen. Having that personality is as important as his talent for the game.

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How to Work With Designers
6 minutes read.

One of the most pragmatic posts I've read on how to not only work with designers, but also make them engaged and excited about their work as part of a team. As usual, Julie Zhuo (of Facebook) is spot on.

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Share it via Twitter or email.


Inspiring Tweets


@bhalligan: I Like Employees Who Say What They Think, Regardless of the Prevailing View and Regardless of Hierarchy.

@ourfounder: Teams Are Made of People. If Your Process Focuses on Teams and Ignores Individuals It Will Fail.

- 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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