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”

Is Revenue Model More Important than Culture?

HN Discussion Here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24543510 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 aboutContinue 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”

Our hiring process is what we can get away with

Here’s why Google hires the way it does but you shouldn’t. Every month or so on HackerNews, there’s a thread about how interviewing is broken which usually devolves into “Google (and the rest of the FAANGs) suck at interviewing”. Last year, I spent a few months working on The Holloway Guide to Technical Hiring andContinue reading “Our hiring process is what we can get away with”

The Software Over-specification Death Spiral

I see a common pattern with startups and teams I’ve advised or been a part of. I call it the Software Over-specification Death Spiral, or SODS for short. It looks like this: Product Manager (or CEO, Engineering Manager, etc) drafts up some sort of specifications or requirements for a new feature or product. Product ManagerContinue reading “The Software Over-specification Death Spiral”