Elephants, dead fish & vomit

Elephants, dead fish & vomit

This blog post is all about three particular kinds of issues Airbnb focused on when declaring their way to fix problems in their company culture; why its important to name such issues explicitly; what happens if you ignore them & why it's so important not to do so.Disclaimer: the concept presented in this article is not mine, hereby I take no credit neither for the naming nor the idea itself. The terms come from Airbnb's CPO Joe Gebbia & I've read about them in "The Airbnb Story". I just think they are cool (& useful) enough to get you…

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Too few motherf$%kers on board

Too few motherf$%kers on board

This blog post is all about: why (& how) your workmates are not your families (and not even your friends - first), what's an unwritten "protocol of co-operation", why we're ruining good teams with empathy (& leave disappointed afterwards), how does mutual admiration society apply to professional scenarios.Disclaimer: Before we get into the topic, please consider getting familiar with few of my older posts first, this will help in getting my point (& justify some bold words I'll use to back it up ;P):Praise for Radical CandorScoundrel Leadership: an unexpected (?) praise ofIf you think Agile is not about…

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When does a "start-up" lose its label?

When does a "start-up" lose its label?

This blog post is all about: Google's 20th birthday, that missionaries do not have to be founders, how does start-up compare to the plane, what does Jack Ma say about the day after tomorrow, what happens when survival is not the only focus anymore ...Google has just turned 20. Amazing, isn't it? At the moment of writing these words: Facebook is 14, Uber is 9, Instagram is 8. Eight or nine years is already quite a long period of time, isn't it? Yet, these companies are notoriously categorised as ... "start-ups". They are worth billions (or multitudes of billions ...), rock-solid, they…

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It's not about people, it's about the RIGHT people

It's not about people, it's about the RIGHT people

In this article you'll read about: cost of desperation in IT recruitment, what's one of key requirements if you want to move "from good to great", what does Kent Beck think about bad programmers, why "just letting her/him go" is much more a big deal than one may think and what the word "recruitment" truly stands for. I've actually planned to publish something completely different today, but we all know them - stubborn, relentless thoughts that just won't let you go until you share them with the wider public. So, here it is,…

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Principles ARE important (& useful)

Principles ARE important (& useful)

By reading this article you'll learn that: not everything that appears as pep talk is a brainwash, you can be a Moses (& carve some stone tablets) for your team, why 10 commandments are better than "Chairman's Mao Little Red Book", where's the border between good & bad principles, where do the values come from (& whether they can be imposed) ... Utterly pragmatic creatures known as engineers are by definition allergic to any kind of activities they classify as "brainwash". This category is quite wide: all sorts of pep talks, motivational speeches, noble ideas/values behind…

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1. Sell the dream; 2. Manage the disappointment

1. Sell the dream; 2. Manage the disappointment

TL;DR It's 2018 & for majority of developers speaking to a business person (/stakeholder /user /sponsor) is still a grand rarity. We explicitly ask for "layers" of intermediaries who can translate business to tech & back. And once it gets to crafting the actual solution we either reduce ourselves to purely subservient automatons ("I do what I'm asked to, so where does this button go?") or follow the other extreme ("Provide written requrements until 10th, then we'll make something out of it & let you know"). We feel too comfortable in "secluded…

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Bozo Effect - from greatness to mediocrity

Bozo Effect - from greatness to mediocrity

Disclaimer: Some (over)sensitive readers may find this post offensive. Arrogant. Elitist. Oh well. Bozo effect (aka Bozo explosion) - gradual descent of (once unequivocally high) average employee's competence level (overall: skillwise, intellectual, attitude, etc.), usually due to lowered recruitment standards, departure of key people or general organisation culture degradation. Bozo effect is usually accompanied by ignorance - subjects lack the awareness of the downfall. The past glory is still alive & vivid in bozos' life (even if they didn't contribute to it themselves) - in fact they completely miss their present mediocrity as they've made themselves believe they keep…

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Dashing through the swamp

Dashing through the swamp

Let's start with a short quote from the book I'm reading at the moment (recommended, good stuff): "In good organizations, people can focus on their work and have confidence that if they get their work done, good things will happen for both the company and them personally. (...) In a poor organization, on the other hand, people spend too much of their time fighting organizational boundaries, infighting & broken processes. They are not even clear on what their jobs are, so there is no way to know if they are getting the job done or not." Ben Horowitz, "…

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