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Lessons Learned: The hacker's lament
‘there's no way to hire just genius hackers. You need a diversity of skills and backgrounds. Suddenly, things slow down a little bit. To me, this is the critical moment, when startups either accept that “process = bureaucracy” or reject that thinking to realize that “process = discipline.” … whenever groups of people assemble for a common purpose, they adopt process and create culture. If nobody is thinking about it, you're rolling the dice on how they turn out.’
2008 
24 days ago
Push Hands
“This is one of the hardest thing to learn in push hands because it is tied up in your emotional response to the push. If you are at all competitive, you won’t want to be pushed off balance and will be tempted to resist. If you are strong enough and your partner is not particularly skillful this may keep you from being pushed off balance. But you have missed an important chance to learn.”
26 days ago
Taste
“what about the human feelings? How can we write code that allows life to “flourish, openly, in freedom”? The Gang of Four patterns don’t have much to say about that. But I think we can draw a deeper parallel between software and architecture if we think of the code we work on as a kind of environment in which we live.”
26 days ago
Does Culture Eat Strategy for Lunch?
“the lesson here isn’t that “culture eats strategy for lunch.” The lesson is that culture is what allows you to double down on a successful strategy. You still need the non-cultural parts of strategy to create an opening. You will not be able to double down on all openings.”
2012 
4 weeks ago
Passing Current 29: The overload
“If the adversary’s goal is exhaustion, burnout, an inescapable negotiation with no alternatives to his terms, there’s some value in keeping the before, the after, and the everywhere else in mind.”
5 weeks ago
How to see through the cloud
“Every time you open a website, you're visiting a place where that data is stored. This tutorial will show you how to find some of those places.”
5 weeks ago
Kurt Vonnegut term paper assignment from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
“Do not do so as an academic critic, nor as a person drunk on art, nor as a barbarian in the literary market place. Do so as a sensitive person who has a few practical hunches about how stories can succeed or fail.”
2012 
5 weeks ago
Sticker Accessibility • furbo.org
‘What would you expect to hear VoiceOver say with this configuration? Congratulations if you said “Bacon P-N-G Accessibility Label”.’
5 weeks ago
Let’s stop copying C / fuzzy notepad
‘Perhaps one of the worst misfeatures of C is the ease with which responsibility for problems can be shifted to the person who wrote the code. “Oh, you segfaulted? I guess you forgot to check for NULL.” If only I had a computer to take care of such tedium for me!’
5 weeks ago
One Thing – Rands in Repose
“By constraining the list to 10 little rocks, I am asking you to make hard trade-off decisions regarding what you can and can’t do within a finite list of items. When the list is five times the size, this prioritization is an impossible task because you can’t keep relative priority of 49 other items in your head.”
6 weeks ago
How to Recruit – Rands in Repose
‘While they are getting peppered with skill qualification questions, they are also wondering, “Who is this engineering team?,” “What do they value?,” and “Where are they headed?” …ask a random engineer who is a part of your interview loops the three questions I asked above. Done? Ok, do it with another engineer. How do the answers compare? Is it the same narrative? Is it a compelling narrative?’

‘ Nothing in this letter should be news. In fact, if there are any surprises in this note, there was a screw-up up somewhere in the funnel. The purpose of this letter is to acknowledge that we are done with the business of hiring, and we are now beginning the craft of the work.’
6 weeks ago
Five Leadership Hacks – Rands in Repose
“you are actively demonstrating being a leader. _I understand the compounding awesomeness of continually fixing small broken things._”
6 weeks ago
The Joy Of The Unsold Book – MORNING, COMPUTER
“I would never have been able to afford books without those places. I would never have discovered the books that were in fact the most formative in my development as a writer and as a human without those places.  Those places are second, third and fourth chances for the right person to find the right book in the right moment.”
6 weeks ago
Because that's not what we started the company to do. See how this works? Yes: w... – tptacek @ Hacker News
“But pretty much every time Starfighter actually came up on HN, I just wanted to hide under a rock. Even when the site is civil, it's still committed to grind away any joy you take either in accomplishing something near or even in just sharing something interesting you learned.”
8 weeks ago
It's true that not all developers make positive contributions, however, I think ... – hibikir @ Hacker News
“All of those negative value developers could probably be very valuable in very specific conditions, and they'd look just fine in a tough job interview. They were still terrible hires. In my experience, if anything, a harder process that demands people to appear smarter or work faster in an interview have the opposite effect of what I'd want: They end up selecting for people that think less and do more quickly, building debt faster.”
2016 
8 weeks ago
I can relate to this, but I can also relate to the other side of the question. S... – ChuckMcM @ Hacker News
“you can hire someone who gets stuff done, but if getting stuff done in your organization requires them to be an asshole, and they aren't up for that, well they aren't going to be nearly as successful as you would like them to be.”
2011 
8 weeks ago
For those who work inside Google, it's well worth it to look at Jeff & Sanjay's commit history… – nostrademons @ Hacker News
“The SWE3 may spend his time writing a bunch of unit tests that catch bugs that wouldn't really have happened anyway, or migrating from one system to another that isn't really a large improvement, or going down an architectural dead end that'll just have to be rewritten later. Jeff or Sanjay (or any of the other folks operating at that level) will spend their time running a proposed API by clients to ensure it meets their needs, or measuring the performance of subsystems so they fully understand their building blocks, or mentally simulating the operation of the system before building it so they rapidly test out alternatives.”
2013 
8 weeks ago
The way I prefer to think of it is: it is not your job to protect people (partic... – nostrademons @ Hacker News
“None of this would've happened if people had just heroically fallen on their own sword and burnt out doing work nobody cared about. Sometimes it takes highly visible consequences before people with decision-making power realize there's a problem and start correcting it.”
2014 
8 weeks ago
Been there, done that, got the perf review to prove it :-) A small anecdote. An... – ChuckMcM @ Hacker News
“The point is that one of the very important jobs of managers is to make sure that people who work for them are contributing as much positive to the company as they can, and when they are being held back from that contribution by people who are oblivious, willful or otherwise, they jump in and fix that.”
2013 
8 weeks ago
I felt obliged to comment because I feel I know what you are talking about and I... – Jonathan Blow @ Hacker News
“I don't use the phrase ‘crushing your soul’ lightly. When it happens slowly, as it does in these cases, it is hard to see the scale of what is happening. But this is a very serious situation and if left unchecked it may damage the potential for you to do good work for the rest of your life.”

“Treat burnout like a physical injury. I burned myself out once and it took at least 12 years to regain full productivity. Don't do it.”
2014 
8 weeks ago
Parable of the Polygons - a playable post on the shape of society
“Small individual bias can lead to large collective bias.”
8 weeks ago
What “Worse is Better vs The Right Thing” is really about
“If evolution is in the center of your worldview, if you think about viability as more important than perfection in any area, then you'll tend to design in a Worse Is Better style.”

“I suddenly started thinking, ‘This is not going to work, this type of thing. With this attitude, if you want it all, consistency, completeness, correctness – you'll get *nothing*, because you will *fail*, completely. … You have to *choose*, you're not going to get it all so you better decide what you want the most and aim at that.’”
2012 
8 weeks ago
Do company names actually matter?
“(Indeed one way in which organizations die, IMO, is through the continuous departure of people with authority that are not succeeded by anyone with comparable authority. Gradually, in more and more areas, things operate by inertia without adapting to changes.)”
2014 
8 weeks ago
We only hire the best means we only hire the trendiest
“every team I’ve worked on has had glaring deficiencies that are technically trivial (but sometimes culturally difficult) to fix. When I was at Google, we had really bad communication problems between the two halves of our team that were in different locations. My fix was brain-dead simple: I started typing up meeting notes for all of our local meetings and discussions and taking questions from the remote team about things that surprised them in our notes. That’s something anyone could have done, and it was a huge productivity improvement for the entire team. I’ve literally never found an environment where you can’t massively improve productivity with something that trivial.”
8 weeks ago
Developer hiring and the market for lemons
“Joel’s model implicitly assumes that, proportionally, there are many more dysfunctional developers than dysfunctional work environments.”
8 weeks ago
HN: the good parts
“Maybe the answer is that people come to HN for the same reason people come to Silicon Valley – despite all the downsides, there’s a relatively large concentration of experts there across a wide variety of CS-related disciplines. If that’s true, and it’s a combination of path dependence on network effects, that’s pretty depressing since that’s not replicable.”
8 weeks ago
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