It can be really tempting to add layers of “chalky substance” in most organizations especially as they scale in size. There are a lot of justifications for these additions, some better than others, but I believe most of them are unwarranted and ridiculous.
I think this is especially important in the context of a startup where organizational charts are nothing more of ego-driven titling rather than functional and additive.
I consider myself a “hacker” and I’m generally fond of the term. For many, though, the word is still a bit taboo and holds a negative connotation soliciting thoughts around dark and creepy computer geeks sitting in their creepy homes performing illegal activities on the internets.
Too bad as it’s really not about that at all and I hope, in time, the word takes on a much broader and more rich understanding in the still generally computer-illiterate world.
I think that being a hacker is a really good thing to be and a great skill to have. I think it’s a good philosophy and a really effective and functional way of thinking through problem solving. Although I’m not a super-fan of Mark Zuckerberg I am a fan of his perspective:
It’s tough to stay focused when you’re a developer. Heck, it’s tough to stay focused doing most anything for that matter. The cost of not being focused is greatly excused and at times overlooked.
In fact, many of us live our lives in a completely un-focused state. Consequently, we will never know what it’s like to give your all to one thing entirely.
There are a number of small changes that I’ve made to the latest Alpha build that I’m quite pleased with and that should bring some value to those writers and digital publishers that demand a lot from their publishing apps.
Handling images is “tricky business” and doing it right and well is a challenge. But if you can pull it off right then I think your users will reward you with their simple thanks (e.g. publishing blog posts).
I know the temptation that every manager has to micromanage and repeat the obvious “just to make sure” but I have learned that I can do a much better job of simply getting out of the way and letting the great people that I have trusted to do great work do just that: Do great work.
All companies will inevitably walk through the process of relieving someone of their role within the company. Whether this is a part of the natural order of a company being acquired and being streamlined for resources or a breach of contract or simply natural attrition as your staff finds that it’s time to leave for the next adventure, it is inevitable.
I think leaving well (and ending well in the larger scheme) is vitally important for the employee and the organization. The chief motive for an exit interview is simply this as it is an opportunity for the ex-employee and the organization to create one final and explicit moment of critical learning.
I’m sorry to say this but most of my previous “motherships” were not kind to me and so I must confess that I do not love nor miss them. Besides, I don’t expect that they’d remember me anyways.
But, I want to say that I appreciated you, you previous motherships, at the time, for who you were when I said “Yes” to the opportunity. Things changed and our relationship status couldn’t weather the inevitable shifts that occurred. It wasn’t anyone’s fault (or at least in a few circumstances…) – it is just what was (and is).
It can be difficult, at times, to know exactly what one should do with one’s time when in leadership. Sure, there are the global mission-critical functions that each role has but those can often be more strategic in nature and less tactical.
This is especially challenging for the software programmer who is now faced with executive leadership. It is worth repeating that not all software programmers should look to find themselves in management (see this classic startup sin here).
I can’t remember where I first heard these (it may have been from the founders of Linux and/or Red Hat…) but I’ve been thinking about them recently as I’ve been coaching a number of new startups that we’ve invested in as well as more than a handful of young entrepreneurs through local programs like Endevvr.
Here as three fundamental theories in the IT industry:
- It all happened by accident
- It was done by amateurs
- Nothing has really changed
Out of the blue my oldest asked me a very simple question as we were finishing up dinner last night:
Appa, what makes your job so special?
I told her that that was a really easy question to answer and I gave her these three reasons (she was specifically talking about The Iron Yard):