Why Are Discussions about Hiring Being Broken So Broken?

Another day, another HackerNews discussion about hiring being broken. The most recent one I saw was triggered by a blog post by the formidable Aline Lerner (disclaimer: Aline is a friend and we collaborated on a hiring book last year). Now, I 100% agree that hiring is broken, and Aline’s post is really thoughtful. InContinue reading “Why Are Discussions about Hiring Being Broken So Broken?”

Taxonomies of technical debt

The term technical debt is so common that you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone in the software world that hasn’t heard of it. But what is technical debt? There are a few frameworks out there, so I’ll list them quickly, but I’d like to present one I’ve found especially useful with the teams I workContinue reading “Taxonomies of technical debt”

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”

Code is a liability, not an asset

I loved this quote from the book Software Engineering at Google. Found it a helpful reminder. Earlier we made the assertion that “code is a liability, not an asset.” If that is true, why have we spent most of this book discussing the most efficient way to build software systems that can live for decades?Continue reading “Code is a liability, not an asset”

You Should Write More—Here’s How

Of all the advice I’ve gotten in my career, the one I wish I’d gotten (and heeded) earlier was to just write more. Up until two years ago, I had barely written much at all. In the past two years, I went from writing answers on Quora, to writing several articles featured on the frontContinue reading “You Should Write More—Here’s How”

Is Revenue Model More Important than Culture?

I always loved getting problems of the type “What is the limit as x approaches infinity” type in high-school/college. You’re given an equation (of the classic y=x format), and asked to derive what the value of y will be as x grows to infinity. One thing you learn pretty quickly about these types of problemsContinue reading “Is Revenue Model More Important than Culture?”

Disrespectful Design—Users aren’t stupid or lazy

It’s a common narrative in tech to design products with the assumption that users are stupid and lazy. I think that is both disrespectful and wrong. The idea is rooted in a lot of research around product usability, but it has been bastardized. Think of it as a perversion of the Don’t Make Me ThinkContinue reading “Disrespectful Design—Users aren’t stupid or lazy”

Data is Not a Substitute For Good Judgment

The tech industry prides itself on being “data-driven”. We’re so data-driven, in fact, that there are hundreds of startups building analytics tools (Segment alone lists over 100) and A/B testing tools (~30). We both laugh at but also secretly admire stories like Google A/B testing 40 shades of blue for its links. A typical consumer-productContinue reading “Data is Not a Substitute For Good Judgment”

Write a Design Doc—even if no one else will read it

I often write design documents even if no one will read them. There are a lot of resources out there on how to write good design documents. There are also many different ways to define what constitutes a design doc—what it includes, how long it is, how formal it is, etc. For my purposes, aContinue reading “Write a Design Doc—even if no one else will read it”