Startup Restructuring 101
If you need that, here: “I worked with Founders, CEOs and funds to save 7 companies from bankruptcy.”. Many specific tips, E.g. “Case 1: Software startups who have not yet proven Product x Market Fit: Immediately scale back to a nimble and scrappy A-team that can fit in a We Work meeting room around the Founders. […]” - and many more useful strategies to survive.
What are Executive Off-Sites Good For? A fundamental topic. The article mostly wraps up some other articles on goals and roadmap and then has some points on how to conduct an offsite. I have been to many offsites, good and bad. The good ones explain the why (why an offsite) and not just use it as a ritual. The good ones have a clear owner and moderator. The good ones focus. The good ones are about alignment. The bad ones are team-building exercises and a waste of time for everyone. MY mini-format: First look back, then learn what worked and what didn’t - be brutal here! - then align on what to do in the next quarter. But the article also has some good points.
Just Say No
Another one on saying no. We seem to get somewhere at last. Saying “yes” just moves the conflict into the future. Saying no is clear for everyone and makes people focus on the right things. The spin on this article is how saying “yes” leads to burnout and connects two important topics.
To infinity and beyond: enabling the future of GitHub’s REST API with API versioning
Versioning APIs is an important topic and gets more important if you have more customers. Most startups just break the API or do some versioning but then give up, leading to customer loss or unhappiness. Let’s see how the big boys do it “To enable us to continue evolving the API for the next decade (and beyond!), we’re introducing calendar-based versioning for the REST API. […] Versions will be named based on the date when they were released. For example, if we release a new version on December 25, 2025, we would call that version 2025-12-25.” I haven’t heard about that one, sounds interesting.
Computers are for Girls
A very interesting article on the topic, which is one of the core problems our industry hasn’t solved yet - or our society. In the last decade I’ve championed diversity and put a lot of effort into it - but it’s an uphill battle (I have some tricks today, puh!). The article has many pictures (!) of computer ads with insights about girls in those 80s ads. Also, a lot to be learned about writing the right job ads (people forget why they are called ads, well they are ads!).
Awesome CTO Resources List
So. Much. Stuff.
I/O is no longer the bottleneck
“As you can see, the disk I/O in the simple Go version takes only 14% of the running time. “ Writing this on a Desktop with a 7000Mb/sec SSD I do agree. The jump from hard disk to SSD and from PCI3 to 4 and 5 has not been reflected in the minds of engineers. The same goes for database I/O and network performance. Must read article for every engineer on your team.
Parasite gives wolves what it takes to be pack leaders
Mind blown. A new take on leadership and entrepreneurship “Wolves infected with a common parasite are more likely than uninfected animals to lead a pack, according to an analysis of more than 200 North American wolves1. Infected animals are also more likely to leave their home packs and strike out on their own.”
Questions for our first 1:1
Why would you need questions for your first 1:1, you have been doing them for years with your direct reports. You haven’t? Start today. Like now. I love the questions, you can learn from them. Just keep in mind, 1:1 are for the employee not for your status needs. Status updates should be in emails, not 1:1s.
A Few Examples of Lisp Code Typography
I’m no longer a fan of Lisp (have I ever been?) but I did enjoy the different style of formatting Lisp. It looks like art. And I have a deep suspicion it is.
Oldest software system in continuous use
I have written code just to discover it’s still used ten years later (in the early days of the internet it was easy to add a URL for /stephan somewhere, which I did to see years later if the software was still the one I wrote - take that code reviews and commit log - whom am I kidding this was before RCS all you kids). Not to spoil it, the oldest system seems to be from 1960 or 1962 and still running. This is the main difference from marketing. Marketing screws up a campaign, well there is a new one. You screw up the architecture, and 60 years later there is still pain. This is the main problem why the CEO does not understand the CTO. “Why don’t you just hire someone and get going? Marketing seems to have no problem with hiring!” Ah yes.
GitHub’s CTO on Architecting Engineering Teams That Scale
Scaling, Scaling, scaling! Sometimes it feels like we don’t do anything else. 12 points and I agree 12/12. And there are additional “Dos and Don’ts” like “Worry about too many programming languages and frameworks.” The dreaded tech zoo. I have seen CTOs quit because they were overwhelmed by the animals of that zoo. And those ships off the shoulder of Orion. I have seen things. But I digress. Print it out and put it next to your bed.
The Need to Read
A Paul Graham. Is it only me or do they get more meta all the time? Is that age? Should I become more meta? But a short good read.
Tax filing websites have been sending users’ financial information to Facebook
Do you know what your marketing is sending with the Facebook pixel? Exactly.
Bullshit Software Projects
“This was my introduction to busy work: work to be done for no other reason than to keep yourself looking busy” A kind of funny read. Do you do real work or busy work? Most startups I’ve looked into mostly do busy work and then demand 60h weeks. The inmates are running the asylum.
The Perks of a High-Documentation, Low-Meeting Work Culture
Yes radically cut meetings. Most of them are just so someone feels in control. Just let go of control. There!
How can you not be romantic about programming?
🤓 So you’re using a weird language 🧠
“Before you embark on your Project In A Weird Language, ask yourself: How much do I need this to actually ship or finish? […]\ If the answers to those are “a lot” and “yes,” I strongly encourage you to pick Java” Perhaps not Java but you get the idea. But the article is about making 🤓 weird languages work and has some great tips from someone who has done a lot of them.
You’re right where you’re supposed to be
“Then, he dug around in his bag and produced a chart that listed the stages of company growth broken down by number of employees and revenue” And the article contains that chart and is useful just because of it. Too many of the startups I see don’t know where they are.