March 06, 2023

Accessibility Thinking

Accessibility in tech has, for as long as I can remember, been associated with disability inclusion. For most people, the word accessible is associated with blind or hard-of-hearing people. But there’s so much more to it! Accessibility has a broad [...]

May 16, 2022

Collaboration vs. Coordination: Why aren’t you achieving as much as you could?

The word collaboration gives the warm and fuzzies to people. If you see it in a job description, you are more likely to apply. When you hear an exec talking about it, you go, “Yes! Let’s collaborate more!” Collaboration makes [...]

January 21, 2021

The 5 stages of CTO & the CTO Career Chasm

Unsurprisingly, there are different types of CTOs for the various stages of a startup. What makes a CTO strong in one stage might turn into a weakness two stages later, and vice versa. I’ve been a CTO for the last [...]

January 19, 2021

Badass (Presenting) Presentations — 24 ways to avoid messing up while presenting

I had my fair share of bad presentations. I gave terrible presentations. I watched slow-moving train wreck presentations. The vast majority of advice and tips you get about presentations are stylistic. There is nothing wrong with that. However, have you [...]

January 12, 2021

Badass Email — How to conquer your Inbox forever

Let me guess: You are struggling with your email situation. Did I get this right? Maybe you are on the brink of declaring Inbox bankruptcy. Maybe you feel you are falling behind at work. Maybe you are putting in an [...]

January 05, 2021

Badass Meetings — 23 tips on how to tackle the “too many meetings” problem

Meetings are an essential artifact of getting work done – the right work done. Worse than having too many meetings is having too few meetings that result in the getting the wrong work done. Likely, you are here because you [...]

December 14, 2020

Budget your software initiatives, don’t estimate them

For more than a decade, I stopped using estimations for features and projects. I *budget* them. The more I do it this way, the more I realize this is the right way to build agile software. When Estimating Software projects [...]

July 16, 2020

17 reasons why becoming an engineering manager is not what you thought it will be

I often find myself giving career advice to software engineers who want to become a manager. I also mentor and coach many managers who’ve made the transition, some more successfully than others. These activities happen inside and outside of my [...]

June 08, 2020

Interviewing: Ask them to show, not tell!

Picture this. You are taking a Calculus test in High School. Instead of a written assessment, it’s a different type of evaluation. It’s an oral test. Huh? And, instead of asking to solve Calculus problems, the test is about how [...]

May 16, 2020

11 Reasons Why WFH Is Not All Unicorn amp; Rainbows

(Originally published on GeekWire) In the midst of the ongoing pandemic, there is an awakening among CEOs that employees are capable of doing work and being productive from home. This week, Twitter announced that employees can work from home indefinitely, [...]

February 12, 2020

Not all problems/opportunities are created equal

It’s easy for builders to get down on a tactical level and lose sight of the big picture and, sometimes, lose sight of something’s original purpose. As far as I observed, this is a symptom that affects most employees in [...]

November 12, 2019

The 10-step skill ladder for you to achieve awesomeness

What does it mean to be the best software engineer possible? What does it mean to be the best designer? Or the best dentist, CEO, carpenter, recruiter, product manager? A decade ago I heard Jeff Atwood, the founder of Stack [...]

September 09, 2019

What does it take to succeed at a tech startup?

Let’s level set first. This post is not about what it takes for a startup to be successful. There is plenty of (good and bad) advice about it already. It’s also not about what it takes for you to make [...]

May 07, 2019

The subtle difference between a terrible and amazing software architect is…

The subtle difference between a terrible and amazing software architect is…Clairvoyance! Even a junior software engineer can architect a service or app. Quickly, they learn they’ve made a mess on how they created the boundaries of presentation, logic, and storage. [...]

September 06, 2018

The unintended consequences of trying to do it all

On my first job as a manager at Microsoft, the software developers on my team were spending too much time documenting code. They were writing architectural documents, design docs (design docs for devs are not about graphic design but code [...]

September 03, 2018

The most important thing I learned about Startups

Almost 13 years ago I met a VC to pitch my first* startup. It was as unsophisticated as a pitch can be and I was a rookie. He was impressed enough by what I’ve built that I’ve got invited back [...]

May 30, 2018

The three-thirds executive

Over the last decade, as a startup executive, I’ve made countless mistakes. As a computer scientist, my brain tries to abstract the problem to a class of problems. Fixing the symptoms, although it might be the right thing to do [...]

May 11, 2018

How fast can you hire?

Five years ago, when Amazon started its hyper-growth employee count, I wonder how fast a company could hire new employees without causing more harm than good. No matter what kind of business you have, hiring too fast can hinder growth. [...]

April 26, 2018

A journey of four Marathons: Chicago, New York, Paris, and London.

Last Sunday, I finished my fourth Marathon, London. It was my personal record at 4:21. It was also the most beautiful course of all races I’ve done. And, it was by far, the most beautiful finish place just in front [...]

March 25, 2018

A 12-step program to eliminate Facebook from your life.

[UPDATE: Dec/2019 — I deactivated my Facebook account] Despite Facebook run-ins with Privacy, I believe most people don’t care (yes, those who care are loud but they are in the minority). However, people care about their needs, and more and more people [...]