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Product/Culture Duality

At many startups, culture happens organically. It’s just built around the personalities and values of the founders and early team. But anyone who has built a company before learns a pretty vital lesson: culture is important, and when something is that important you have to be intentional about it. We wanted to build a companyContinue reading “Product/Culture Duality”

Organizational Psychologist vs. Organizational Mechanic

When a team or company is not functioning as it should, two types of problem-solvers often emerge. The organizational psychologist tries to debug the culture. The organizational mechanic tries to debug the process. The mechanic asks what meetings or what documentation is missing. Organizational mechanics love “reviews” (meetings that force decisions to be made). WhenContinue reading “Organizational Psychologist vs. Organizational Mechanic”

A Small Difference in Developer Productivity Can Amplify Over Time

Small differences in the productivity of software developers on a team can easily magnify themselves over time. On many software teams, one engineer seems significantly faster than the others. Now, in some cases, it’s because that engineer is cutting corners left and right. They get stuff done, but they cause damage. They’re a tactical tornado.Continue reading “A Small Difference in Developer Productivity Can Amplify Over Time”

Mission Tactics: When Under-Specifying is Good

On my product engineering teams, I under-specify product requirements by design. That is, the work that engineers are asked to do is always left a little ambiguous. I used to have a very naive view of how militaries made decisions. You had a formal chain-of-command, and detailed instructions were passed down that chain and implemented,Continue reading “Mission Tactics: When Under-Specifying is Good”

Hire people you believe in—believe in the people you hire

I was reading an amazing Twitter thread about Bill Grundfest, founder of The Comedy Cellar and the guy who discovered some of the most famous comedians. In the thread, which includes stories of Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, and Ray Romano, the pattern is essentially: Bill is able to detect talent, even early on in people’sContinue reading “Hire people you believe in—believe in the people you hire”

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