Why be a manager?

Why would anyone want to transition from individual contributor work to management?

Make everyone else look brilliant

“We’re all making it up as we go, and the more you make those around you look good, the more you’ll shine, too.”

Death to kind-of-working

I have a bad habit of half-working. Half working means I’m also half not-working, so I’m doing neither one well.

The power of the back-channel buddy

The first thing I look for at a new job is a back-channel buddy. I need someone to BS with on Slack throughout the day. It makes me feel at home.

Keep a laugh list

It’s like a brag book but with added funny.

Ridicule is my love language

I feel loved when someone jokingly gives me crap. I show love by jokingly giving other people crap.

To change your culture, change your performance reviews

Performance reviews are where the rubber meets the road. You can talk all day about how you value this or that, but if you aren’t promoting the people who do those things then it’s all BS.

What are you optimizing for?

This is quickly becoming one of my favorite coaching questions. It works in almost any situation, and there’s no wrong answer.

The board of advisors BINGO card

When forming your mental board of advisors, use this BINGO card to make sure all your bases are covered.

Polished MVPs are not oxymorons

Engineers sometimes resist building an MVP because it has come to mean “low quality rush job that we end up maintaining forever.”

Growth is goopy

On reverting to a primordial state.

Attia’s rule of exercise

On why getting our exercise house in order should come before nearly anything else.

Six word memoirs

The idea originated from Hemingway (asked to describe his life in six words), who wrote: “for sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

Death to unexpressed emotions

I started a weekly experiment: every day, pick one unexpressed emotion and express it.

Intense teams, not tense teams

Tension isn’t just too-much-intensity like I used to believe. It’s a totally different scale.

Who (or what) is on your mental board of advisors?

“The Mental Board of Advisors is a group of 3-4 people (dead or alive) who you admire, and who you know well enough to be able to ask ‘what would [Naval / The Rock / Malala] do in this position?’”

Don’t procrastinate generosity

“Whenever a generous impulse arises in your mind – to give money, check in on a friend, send an email praising someone’s work – act on the impulse right away, rather than putting it off until later.”

Legacy code can’t help but suck

Best practices change. Standard dependencies become old school. Linters and quality checks get added. Newer language versions add syntactic sugar. None of that is the legacy code’s fault.

Thinking in calories

I’ve been thinking a lot about how everything comes down to survival instincts.

Your mom is my management philosophy

People sometimes ask me what my management philosophy is. I don’t know the answer. It feels like asking “what do you think about people?” or “how do you live your life?” It’s too broad.

Invert your questions

“The mental habit of thinking backward forces objectivity…”

Money can buy happiness

If money doesn’t make you happy then you probably aren’t spending it right.

Frogs won’t willingly be boiled

The legend says that if you put a frog in water and raise the temperature really really slowly, it won’t notice and it’ll eventually be boiled alive. Luckily for frogs, that’s nonsense.

Want feedback? Demand it.

If you’re not getting enough feedback, DM someone this and see what happens.

Why I write this blog

Here are all of the reasons I’ve kept up with this stupid blog: To remember the things I learn and think That’s it. I have a target audience of one: future me.

Audit your friendships

As the saying goes, “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” That concept takes a lot of heat, but I think there’s at least some truth there. I think “five” is actually too low.

Pomodoros don’t work for me

After years of trying Pomodoro to get crap done, I’m chalking it up as a failure. Here’s why it doesn’t work for me…


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