Showing posts from January, 2024

4 Mistakes We Make About Culture

I wrote this a few years back, before the height of the tech-hiring frenzy. For some reason, I never published it - not sure why. After reviewing it against the current backdrop, I think it's somehow more relevant today. Companies & teams want a great culture but I'm seeing trends in what they often get wrong. Here's my list of 4 things along with what leadership can do about it, based on things I'd implemented with my own teams. Policy ≠ Culture Staying late until the problem is solved, constructive disagreements, being accountable to own another, team lunches, unlimited PTO - those aren't culture things. Those are policies. I read blogs or hear people talk about their culture in these terms - and it's misguided.  Take the first one - staying late. Setting aside whether it's good policy or not, it can only work as a policy, not culture. As a policy, it sets an expectation. It avoids a trap of employees having to figure out what the "right thing to

Raiders of the Lost Code

You know you've been hanging around compilers too long when you can look at someone's code and carbon date it just by looking how they iterate over a dataset: pre-2005: Standard For loops, no shorthand. 2005-2010: Foreach loops 2010-2015: Linq statements 2015-2023: Dynamic variables, shorthand notation 2023+: Well-written Copilot-generated code with sufficient whitespace for coder to process their AI-induced anxiety attack.

Order of Operations

I've noticed something in my emails: My second sentence is often a much better first sentence, and my first sentence is a better supporting statement. I need to try this when I'm talking... say the first sentence in my head, the second aloud, and then repeat the first sentence.

Grocery Baskets

I'm a terrible grocery shopper. I walk in to buy one thing, and end up leaving with 12. I briskly walk right past the shopping carts and baskets - with the intention to be in and out. Then, somewhere along the way, I start to meander. I reminisce of long-forgotten meals. I think of things I ate as a child, or something I'd always wanted to try - and before I know it I have more things in my hands than I'd accounted for. Sometimes I'll buy things I've never intended to buy - determined that today's the day I'll find out whether vegemite and marmite are the same thing. I'll romanticize Rye bread. I've never particularly liked it - but maybe because I've never tried the right kind of Rye bread? I hum the American Pie chorus as I grab a loaf as I realize, for the first time, the lyrics have nothing to do with Rye bread.  Drinking whiskey and rye...   why did I always imagine people eating slices of rye bread at a bar?   Maybe I need to find a good ch

Radiate Intent

As a follow-up to my post about aphorisms , I think I've found my new maxim for 2024 - inspired by Elizabeth Ayer : Don't ask forgiveness, radiate intent. A play on the 'don't ask for permission, ask for forgiveness,' phrase that gets used a lot. I landed across this phrase while watching a video about effective backlog prioritization, and it lead me to Elizabeth's article on Medium which does a great job breaking down why radiating intent is so important. In a nutshell, announce, telegraph, share, inform others of what you are intending to do. This gives others the opportunity to intervene, or at the very least be informed. It builds trust with them while building your own confidence. It also gets away from the troubling phrasing of 'permission.'      Even though I've taken this approach naturally for some time, I think it's valuable to ground myself to this maxim. It makes it all the more  intentional  (don't pardon the pun, but relish it)


Let's Clear Up The Ambiguity!

Work Experience vs Professional Experience

FAQs for a Software Engineering Hiring Manager

7 Steps to Writing an Amazing Resume

7 Steps to Building your Portfolio MVP