Curated Content January 2023

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

Curated Content January 2023
Photo by Jamie Fenn / Unsplash


Internal comms for executives

Internal comms for executives.
Whenever an executive joins a new company, there is an awkward merger between the executive’s preferred communication style and the norms that organization has already established. I remember a recently joined executive complaining that engineers weren’t reading his emails. He “solved” that problem…

A great article from Will Larson on how to ensure communication is maintained between executives and their organizations.

This is especially important for remote organizations where this communication cadence is likely the primary way folks receive information from the executive team.

That said, in a sufficiently large organization either the hierarchy or the span of control becomes deep or wide enough that for the individual it might as well be considered remote and so this is incredibly important there as well.

Chelsea Troy's Series on Remote Async Communications

Submitting Pull Requests

Submitting Pull Requests
In May, I showed you an AMA I had done in a Slack community. My reputation in that community comes chiefly from blogging, and a lot of the group has read the remote work series. So it wasn’t …

Submitting a PR with an eye for the archeological record is important. It allows folks to easily review, and, if done to the level of excellence that Chelsea shows here, it would allow someone to pick up an otherwise orphaned project and quickly become productive.

Pairs extremely well with Chelsea's article on reviewing pull requests, which done well, are quite intense.

Sharing Context on Slack (or similar)

Sharing Context on Slack (or similar)
This is the fourth post in a series about asynchronous collaboration. By asynchronous, I mean that people on the team don’t always work at the exact same time. It’s common on distributed teams, esp…

A baseline of good practices for using Slack as a tool for your organization. This helps ensure remote teams share written context well, with minimal redundancy.

Pairs extremely well with Chelsea's article on handling communication in a remote environment, when you can't tap folks on the shoulder.

Storing Context in Commit Messages

Storing Context in Commit Messages
This is the third post in a series about asynchronous collaboration. By asynchronous, I mean that people on the team don’t always work at the exact same time. It’s common on distributed teams, espe…

Commit messages are an area that I've personally seen as hypothetically useful for folks to preserve the history of a project, but often isn't done well, and many commit logs become something akin to:

commit 9d4c7c2bb11ecc28c5e9d9ba513f215f34b0ad0d
Author: Almost Every Commit Author
Date:   Fourth

send help

commit 8d4c7c2bb11ecc28c5e9d9ba513f215f34b0ad0c
Author: Almost Every Commit Author
Date:   Third

hopefully fix...

commit 7d4c7c2bb11ecc28c5e9d9ba513f215f34b0ad0b
Author: Almost Every Commit Author
Date:   Second

Less detailed description of a fix for the first commit.

commit 6d4c7c2bb11ecc28c5e9d9ba513f215f34b0ad0a
Author: Almost Every Commit Author
Date:   First

Super detailed message about what we're doing and why.

Chelsea's suggestions help remedy this, not just by giving you a set of better practices, but also a set of different types of commit messages to use in different contexts.

No Deadlines for You! Software Development Without Estimates, Specs, or Other Lies

No Deadlines for You! Software Development Without Estimates, Specs, or Other Lies
How to write great software for very happy business owners without telling them how long it will take you to do just about anything

The post's clickbait title almost turned me off of reading it entirely.

While I want to do better with deadlines and specs, I believe the spirit of this article ought to be the foundation of how you operate a technology organization.

Your job is to solve real problems by real business deadlines, and often specs and estimation is not the primary driver of value there.

It's trust that you all are rowing in the same direction and working to solve the same problems given the same constraints.

Overall, this approach means you will constantly be adjusting your understanding of the most valuable way to spend your time and constantly keeping the business folks in the loop + offering them meaningful choices. This is not, in any way, “we don’t need no stinking estimates; we’re code cowboys. Just trust in the full force of our awesomeness.” It’s turning the entire software dev process into an ongoing conversation with the rest of the business — where information is quickly getting into the hands of people who can make decisions about it. And, where “information” means things you know/have learned and an understanding of what you don’t yet know — i.e., important risks.

Engineering Levels (Runn)

Engineering Levels
Come work with us! Runn provides a rewarding and challenging workplace to grow and improve the work lives of thousands. We support remote and part-time work, strong leave benefits, and continuous growth.

While not perfect, this is one of the leveling templates that resonates with me and my needs as an early stage CTO. It's quite similar to Basecamp's.

It's likely not going to be structured enough in order to actually facilitate growth in a larger organization, especially given much higher levels of specialization necessary.


No books to recommend this month in the vein of advancing your career in technology.

A Memory Called Empire

A Memory Called Empire — Arkady Martine

If you'd like some fiction though, I really enjoyed the Hugo Award winner for Best Novel A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine. It's a great piece of science fiction. (Obviously, or it wouldn't have won a Hugo.)

Conference Talks

While I listened to a few conference talks during the month of January, none made the cut of being worth adding to the curated content list.


I didn't listen to many podcasts during January, so I come empty handed with recommendations for them this month.


I'm sure I had more tweets that were worthwhile, but I failed to keep track of them well this month, so we've just got the single funny one.