Curated Content September 2022

A few pieces of content I thought were worthwhile in the month of September.


The Hierarchy is Bullshit (And Bad For Business)

The Hierarchy Is Bullshit (And Bad For Business)
My friend Molly has had an impressive career. She got a job as a software engineer after graduating from college, and after kicking ass for a year or so she was offered a promotion to management, w…

Another great one from Charity Majors. In this one, the bits about conflating social status and dominance in hierarchy, are interesting, but the parts that really shine to me are the bits on transparency towards the end.

Most people who go in to management don’t do it out of a burning desire to write performance reviews. They do it because they are fed the fuck up with being out of the loop, or not having a say in decisions over their own work.

And more specifically actionable, something I want to take away for my organization:

At Honeycomb, we present the full board deck after every board meeting in our all hands, and take questions. When we’re facing financial uncertainty, we say so, along with our working plan for dealing with it. We also do org-level updates in all hands, once per quarter per org. Each org presents a snapshot to the company of how they are doing, but we ask that no more than 2/3 of the presentation be about their successes and triumphs, and 1/3 of their material be about their failures and misses. Normalize talking about failure.

Time Till Open Source Alternative

André Staltz - Time Till Open Source Alternative
Open Source Freelancer

A compelling idea from André Staltz, with some interesting data around the fact that software will continue to become more difficult to monetize in the future as the time to a viable open source alternative is available decreases, which means that monetization strategies for technology companies have to change.


Inspired - Marty Cagan

An excellent book on product management. Marty gives a number of high quality, concrete, actionable suggestions about using the right tool for the job of product management, and how the product manager role is one of the most critical in the organization.

Conference Talks

ElixirConf 2022 - Chris Grainger - The Future AI Stack

In my mind one of the highlights of ElixirConf 2022. Chris showcased that Elixir was much more mature for a machine learning and AI stack currently than I thought, and with a bit of work has everything in place to unseat Python as the de facto stack for production-izing machine learning.


No podcasts to recommend this month.


If you haven't read through it, Hillel's Crossover project is very much worth the read. He goes into experiences of former traditional engineering practitioners who had moved into software development and what lessons we can learn from them/how software is and isn't similar.

Here he suggests a few other professions that could have additional useful insights. Sharing in the hope that it will inspire folks to investigate this and explore the topic further to advance the field of software engineering.

I agree with both Dare here, that you need to write things down, especially in a remote context, and Gergely, that many modern teams have taken towards not doing any planning at all, and that negatively impacts them as well. There's a lot to unpack in each, but for the time being I'll leave that as an exercise for the reader.

Maybe I'll follow both of these trains of thought with a blog post at some point.

An excellent thread from Cedric Chin on how Amazon uses Weekly Business Reviews in order to manage processes and the ways to meet a target, in order to ensure it improves the system.

A highlight from the thread from Donald Wheeler:

When people are pressured to meet a target value there are three ways they can proceed:
1. They can work to improve the system
2. They can distort the system
3. Or they can distort the data