Learning is the tool that enables adapting to change. Execution is the art of building value. Communication is foundational to effective leadership and notably to modeling how we care for people. These principles guide my approach to both technical and organizational leadership.
There is no talent shortage; there is a shortage of learning organizations investing in their people.
Intellectual Curiosity unlocks Intellectual Horsepower
- We are artisans that take pride in and pursue mastery of our craft.
- Great engineers have an insatiable appetite for learning how and why things work.
- First principles matter.
Expect Failure; Don't Accept It
- Expect and design both systems and processes for failure, but it is essential to learn from and overcome failures.
- Post-mortem culture defines the resiliency of both systems and organizations (by extension of Conway's law).
- Post-mortems must be transparent, blameless, and result in action.
All else equal, hire the candidate who writes more effectively; it demonstrates a higher level thought and communication.
- Say what you mean, but don't mistake candor for "brutal honesty" (an excuse to be cruel).
- Be direct, be thoughtful, but know your audience, and be human.
Strong Opinions; Weakly Held
- Have enough passion to care and enough humility to embrace competing opinions.
- Pick your battles judiciously, but be willing to stake your reputation on the battles you do pick.
- Weakly held opinions are overturned by better reasoning, not louder voices nor squeaky wheels.
Persuade through Listening
- Effective communication starts with active listening.
- Disagreements usually stem from different context. Persuasion and alignment are most achievable once the contextual differences are clear.
- Understand tradeoffs. Do not settle for mediocre compromise. Seek solutions that exist in the creative tension of tradeoffs.
- The power to make decisions comes with the requirement to solicit and genuinely consider feedback.
- Once a perspective is heard and understood, reiterating it is "squeaky wheel" politicking. Cut it out.
- "I was right, but nobody listened to me" means "I failed to persuade anybody."
Great execution on a mediocre idea is better than mediocre execution of a great idea.
Empower People; Expect Accountability
- Teams have far more aggregate capacity then their leaders; leaders must be multipliers, not "plus ones".
- Empowering people starts with individual competence and organizational clarity.
- With greater empowerment comes greater responsibility and accountability.
- Leaders give credit and take blame - "buck stops here" mentality.
Move Forward; Expect to Adapt
- Perfect solutions are rarely achievable under real-world constraints.
- Make constant, incremental progress.
- "Fire and Motion": Move forward with your own mission, or get pinned in by competition.
- Focus on challenges that need solved now; leave options for adapting later when context and knowledge increase.
- Change is constant. A great solution last year may be entirely inadequate today.
Sustainable, High Performance
- Work-life balance is not an enemy of startup or high-performance culture.
- Work hard, and play hard. Personal lives affect work performance; proactive personal care is imperative and expected.
- We run a marathon; we run it to win, not just for the sake of running it.
- Value results, not effort. Reward sustainable delivery of value, not burnout-inducing heroics.
- Drive toward outcomes, not merely completion.
- Win together: avoid zero-sum thinking with peers and partners.
- Compete to win: no competitor should beat us in our mission
- Never compromise on ethics. It may be harder to win ethically than to win "at any cost", but that will neither be a justification for compromising on ethics nor for not winning.