SWLW #604: GenAI is not going to build your Engineering team, Async PR are choking your company’s throughput, 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.

Like always, sharing my best findings for the week. 

 

This Week's Favorite


Being Who You Are, While Becoming Better
7 minutes read.

What do you do when your inner engine keeps pushing you to get better while the two voices in your head whisper, "Does it matter?" and "Will it break me?". I like Jason's framing for it: "I’ve decided to continue to the fight, because I know something else about “who I am”—I’m a person who strives. [...] But neither should you stop striving, improving, learning, and developing who you are. Feed your motor."

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Culture


Animate Even the Most Collectors Memes 😊
1 minute read.

My humble effort to help you start the weekend with a smile on your face.

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Generative AI Is Not Going to Build Your Engineering Team for You
11 minutes read.

"Let’s start here: hiring engineers is not a process of “picking the best person for the job”. Hiring engineers is about composing teams. The smallest unit of software ownership is not the individual, it’s the team. Only teams can own, build, and maintain a corpus of software. It is inherently a collaborative, cooperative activity. [...] The best teams are ones where no one is bored, because every single person is working on something that challenges them and pushes their boundaries. The only way you can get this is by having a range of skill levels on the team." -- Charity Majors is spot on. The problem I see often with hiring for Junior Engineers is that we don't know how to check for potential and drive. We hire someone with no experience (obviously) but also with no hunch on their learning curve, no expectation setting, and then create a full picture based on that, "we shouldn't even bothered hiring them, we need Senior engineers."

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Andrej Karpathy, Who Worked Directly Under Elon, Explains 4 Ways Elon Runs His Companies Differently
4 minutes read.

The entire thread is fascinating and unique in our industry. Many of us will agree and even think, "Yes, we're doing the same," but it's often hard to act on that. "We have so much work to do, how can we let go of someone now?" or "It will take me months to replace them, so maybe it's good enough." But this is my favorite: "A company usually goes through tons of exercises and documented procedures to solve an issue. But when Elon learns of them, he tries to solve immediately."

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Async Code Reviews Are Choking Your Company’s Throughput (Video)
72 minutes read.

Fascinating talk by Dragan Stepanovic. Co-creation process (e.g. Pair programming) can improve the team's effectiveness around challenging projects. If you plan and work on a project with someone else, set tasks you should do together due to the complexity or context required. The most important thing is to ensure that the number of projects the team is working on simultaneously is smaller than team size / 2.

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Peopleware


How to Maximize 10x Work and Avoid Thoughtless Daily 1x Work Routines
7 minutes read.

Constantly looking at and removing low-quality outcomes (meetings with a low value) while seeking asymmetric upside can help you look at your calendar and work environment and spot opportunities. "The problem with 10x work is that it’s often unclear it’s happening until it happens. You often don’t know that a moment is important until you connect the lines after the fact, because it might be a chance idea that spawns a new project that then reinvents the company. [...] However, I’m convinced that you can create an environment where 10x work is more likely to come up. That’s because at its core, 10x work thrives on agency, serendipity, and new information."

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Balance
6 minutes read.

Combining activities is a great approach to benefit on multiple dimensions, e.g., Working out (health) with a friend (relationships) or working (business) with people you admire and want to be around (relationships). Shaan Puri with one of the best posts I've seen on how to think about (and plan) your life in all aspects.

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The Accountability Experiment
5 minutes read.

Ryan Hoover shares an experiment he did that I found both inspiring (doing them and learning from it) and actionable. We all need to have some network we can lean on for advice or create initial momentum: "An outside party that doesn’t have a direct stake in the success of the business can serve as an outlet for honest conversations and unique perspective."

Read it later via Pocket or Instapaper.
Share it via Twitter or email.



And finally, inspiring tweets...


@noahkagan: The 3 stages of career development: 1. I want to be in the meeting 2. I want to run the meeting 3. I want to avoid meetings

@eugeneyan: The first rule of machine learning: Start without machine learning


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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Older messages

SWLW #603: The most dangerous phrase, The documentation tradeoff, and more.

Friday, June 14, 2024

Weekly articles & videos about people, culture and leadership: everything you need to design the org that makes the product. A weekly newsletter by Oren Ellenbogen with the best content I found

SWLW #602: The confrontation obligation, Dream in decades, and more.

Friday, June 7, 2024

Weekly articles & videos about people, culture and leadership: everything you need to design the org that makes the product. A weekly newsletter by Oren Ellenbogen with the best content I found

SWLW #600: Hacking hard-work, Communication structures, and more.

Monday, June 3, 2024

Weekly articles & videos about people, culture and leadership: everything you need to design the org that makes the product. A weekly newsletter by Oren Ellenbogen with the best content I found

SWLW #601: How might we learn, Building Engineering Strategy, and more.

Monday, June 3, 2024

Weekly articles & videos about people, culture and leadership: everything you need to design the org that makes the product. A weekly newsletter by Oren Ellenbogen with the best content I found

SWLW #599: Surfing through trade-offs, How to do hard things, and more.

Friday, May 17, 2024

Weekly articles & videos about people, culture and leadership: everything you need to design the org that makes the product. A weekly newsletter by Oren Ellenbogen with the best content I found

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