Start Here

There are the posts that are good introductions to the things that I write about.

Engineering Leadership

Delivering Performance Reviews: Assembling the data, Evaluating the data and writing the review, Making a raise recommendation, Delivering the review

A four-part series on performance reviews in engineering teams.

Becoming a CTO

Some things I’ve learned along the way on my journey to being a CTO.

A diversity challenge: tech start-ups have a great opportunity

Large technology companies should still work consistently to improve their diversity, but startups are much better suited to solve the diversity problem for the industry as a whole.

The Spotify model: how to create, dissolve, and remix teams to be more dynamic and more innovative

One of the most challenging parts of managing a traditional, hierarchical, organization is being responsive to new opportunities; especially those that require leveraging skillsets outside your own team. At Spotify, our organizational model allows us to create, dissolve, and remix teams with a minimal disruption to individuals or managers. This gives us tremendous abilities to address both temporary and long term opportunities.

Building a technical career path at SpotifySpotify Technology Career StepsThings We Learned Creating Technology Career Steps

A collection of three posts detailing the creation of a career pathing framework at Spotify.

The Myth of the Startup in a Large Company

That notion, of working like you are in a startup, but being part of a much larger organization, is a myth. Anyone who says it is naive, disingenuous or just plain wrong. Large companies that try to build those kinds of teams, be it “innovation lab”, “startup experiment” or “corporate startup incubator” usually fail to achieve the innovation or energy they sought and instead result in a whole bunch of wasted money and angry employees who felt like they were promised a bill of goods.

Protecting your team from layoffs

Itss that time of year again; when my inbox and social media feeds fill with news of former coworkers who got caught in their company’s yearly layoff exercise.

The challenge of top-down change and the Microsoft lay-offs

Almost every time I advocate this bottom-up approach, I get a question asking if top-down change can also be effective. Sometimes this comes from a senior executive looking to lead change in the organization. Often this question comes because there are two high-profile large companies in the industry trying to change their cultures in very public ways: Yahoo and Microsoft.

Thoughts on emulating Spotify’s matrix organization in other companies

I was in San Francisco in December for a conference. While I was there, I ended up connecting with a couple different companies who have been inspired by Henrik Kniberg’s whitepaper on Scaling Agile at Spotify, and who have been trying to do implement some of those ideas in their own companies.

What do I look for when hiring an engineer?

I don’t spend much time on Quora, but I was reading a different thread and I came across the question: What Makes a Software Engineer Good? Now anyone who has worked with me can tell you that I am pretty opinionated about this subject. So since there wasn’t already someone saying what I would have, I decided to post an answer. Here is that answer…

Did a mock technical interview event tonight at UW (more tips for college CS students looking for a job)

There were a couple pieces of advice I offered to all three candidates. Most of this is only relevant for recent college grads, but some may apply to others as well.

I just read 200 undergrad and graduate student resumes

My eyes are killing me.


Another MASSIVE ISSUE with iTunes 11.1

I had thought that the problems with Podcasts in iTunes 11.1 (and 11.1.1) were insane and painful, but I had found work-arounds and had been able to soldier on, until I did a sync of my iPhone today after installing 11.1.1. I got an error that many of my music files couldn’t be synced because they couldn’t be found.

Server-based DRM solutions are hostile to consumers

When I first learned about the DRM mechanism where the player would “phone home” periodically to make sure that you were still licensed to the content, I immediately realized that this was a really fragile way to license media.

Your Software Will Fail You

The software I use every day today is different from the software I used every day a few years ago. The software I use in a few years will be different than the software I use today. Through decades of computer usage, I’ve realized that I can’t depend on my software, and that relying on it to exist and to work is folly. As we move towards subscription models for software, this will be ever more the case.

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