The Old Guard

Dunbar’s Number is a favorite blunt diagnosis for the pains that affect rapidly growing teams. The number, which is somewhere between 100 and 250 describes a point at which a group of people can no longer effectively maintain social connections in their respective heads. What was simple from a communication perspective becomes costly. What was… More

The Wolf

You’ve heard of the 10x engineer, but I am here to tell you about the Wolf. They are an engineer and they consistently exhibit the following characteristics: They appear to exist outside of the well-defined process that we’ve defined to get things done, but they appear to suffer no consequences for not following these rules.… More

The Diving Save

Angela quit. She walked in on a Monday morning, went straight into Alex’s office, resignation letter in hand, and said, “I have a great offer from another company that I’ve accepted. My last day is a week from Friday.” Alex reacted. After listening to Angela’s resignation, he told her simply and clearly, “I know you… More

Context Reports

I’ve been hating on status reports for a long time and it comes from my first knee-jerk reaction when my manager asked for one. My unspoken thought was, “Why, wait, what?” I didn’t understand big companies, I didn’t understand politics and bureaucracy, all I understood was that it felt like a waste of time to… More

Inbox Reboot

At some point in the last year there was too much email. I’ve considered myself a competent manager of email and to-dos for much of my career, but the quantity of email that needed my attention exceeded a heretofore unknown ceiling and I began to understand how the smallest parts of my inbox policy could… More

Tear It Down

When I do speaking gigs, I open with a few questions to get to know the audience. I’m looking for a couple of key demographic numbers to gauge how much to focus on and tune different themes in any given talk. I ask: How many self-identified Apple people? (Typography jokes = ok.) How many engineers?… More

The Codename Rules

A long time ago, there was a big fight between Engineering and Marketing regarding the name of a new 1.0 product. I was not there, but the fight went something like this: Engineering: “So what are we going to call the product?” Marketing: “We’re not sure yet. The focus group data isn’t complete.” Engineering: “A… More