SWLW #508: Reject the algorithm, Rituals for engineering teams, and more.

A weekly newsletter by Oren Ellenbogen with the best content I found around people, culture and leadership in tech. You can also read this issue online and recommend this newsletter to your teammates for a great discussion.

Heya,

As always, below you can read my best findings for the week. If you want to support my work or join our SWLW community in Slack - scroll down to the bottom of the email to see how.
 

This Week's Favorite


​​Reject the Algorithm
4 minutes read.

"Because quality never goes out of style. And when you focus on quality, you don’t have to play by the rules of the algorithm at all. You can reject the algorithm altogether and create success in your own way." -- Nick Maggiulli is spot on. This is why I like focusing on goals and habits I can do for decades and be proud of when I'll be older. It reminds me of Jeff Bezos's framing for decision-making: "What's not going to change in the next 10-20 years?"

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Culture


Fastest Wheel Change on a Moving Car
1 minute read.

My humble effort to help you start the weekend with a smile on your face. Don't try this at home but also you can probably do more than you think is possible.

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Rituals for Engineering Teams
5 minutes read.

Which rituals are you using to have fun and create a sense of belonging for your team? I admit I don't put enough thought into that, and it feels like a great exercise to think of at home and work. "Work hard, play hard" is easier said than done, as working hard can easily expand to 100% of our time.

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Bill Gurley on Surviving Downturns (Video)
15 minutes read.

Bill Gurley is among the best investors today, so learning from his experience during a downturn like today is invaluable. This is important as a founder and an employee as it gives you better clarity of being part of a VC-backed company, or choosing a different path - bootstrapping a business or raising money carefully to allow a $30M-$70M acquisition.

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Being-Doing Balance Over Work-Life Balance
4 minutes read.

So many people are trying to understand how to operate in this new world in tech, where people work in hybrid mode: some time for the office, some time from home, some completely remote. If I want flexibility and choose to work at 11 PM, and now I write a message over Slack to someone who finished working at 6 PM, does it pressure them to work 24-7? Maybe. Probably. Do we want flexibility but are too attached to the signals of the old world? I think the framing of being vs. doing or work vs. life will make us miserable. We're different. I wonder if we should focus on being engaged in a way that drives us, whatever that means, and being explicit about how we want to work with others while also demanding it from others.

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Jobs [sponsored]



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 Looking to hire for your team? Promote your open positions on SWLW! 



Peopleware


Why Developers Are Building So Many Side Projects
5 minutes read.

Launching small projects is a great way to continuously learn new skills and understand what people need (versus what you think they'll use). In the past five years, I've launched four small projects where I work (Forter) and three more as a maker in my free time. Ben Stokes will inspire you to play more and launch things out there.

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Transitioning From CTO (employee) to Founder
5 minutes read.

Arnaud Porterie shares his journey moving from an executive employee (CTO) managing 600 engineers to a founder of a young company. "running a large organization forces you to constantly censor your thoughts, and you may not always have room to share things transparently." -- This is why it's essential to find a community to join or start something of your own. This is why I built downleft.com for myself and then opened it to others.

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Walters' Lever of Improvement
4 minutes read.

The drawing of the lever and prioritized efforts by Daniel Walters is a beautiful way to capture the leadership role. Do you agree with the priorities? Something you'd change? Write it down and share it on your 1:1 with a peer to see how they think about it.

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And finally, inspiring tweets...


@paulg: Mistakes become very hard to fix once they're embodied in jobs. The people whose jobs they are become highly motivated advocates for the continuance of the mistake.

@_idan_levin: Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago



p.s. if you're interested in joining SWLW's Slack channel, simply reply to this email and let me know. If you're leading a team, consider writing your Manager README (it's free) or getting my e-book and interviews Leading Snowflakes: The New Engineering Manager's Handbook. You can also support me by becoming a SWLW Patron. Thank you ❤️




Keep reading, keep learning.
-- Oren Ellenbogen.

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