Most software founders, particularly in B2B, need to get radically better at sales. @Steli , who is the best person for explaining the scrappy stages in the beginning and then building out a team with scripts and processes, wrote a guide to:
Unlike most sales reps, founders can credibly promise tight feedback loops for product.
"If you go with BigCo, you can call them at 3 AM. Someone will listen to you politely, explain they have no solution, and open a ticket. If you call at 3 PM, same answer."
Many, many technical founders of my acquaintance want to offload this to someone ASAP. I've never seen this work: you need to have a deep understanding of your market and customers to arm that first non-founder salesperson. It is gained by doing.
These folks are capable of writing their own ticket and then, by construction, getting folks to buy it.
Sophisticated, mature processes for marketing to pass leads over to sales for qualification.
Steli is so effective at sales he has closed deals he wasn't even a party to. My favorite anecdote about this:
"Hey apropos of nothing: do you know Steli?"
"Oh yeah he's great."
"He is. Steli wouldn't let me leave lunch...
"He wouldn't, would he."
"OK then; we will."
"Great! Email me and we'll figure out logistics."
More from Patrick McKenzie
On a serious note, it's interesting to observe that you can build a decent business charging $20 - $50 per month for something that any good developer can set up. This is one of those micro-saas sweet spots between "easy for me to build" and "tedious for others to build"— Jon Yongfook (@yongfook) September 5, 2019
Every year at MicroConf I get surprised-not-surprised by the number of people I meet who are running "Does one thing reasonably well, ranks well for it, pulls down a full-time dev salary" out of a fun side project which obviates a frequent 1~5 engineer-day sprint horizontally.
"Who is the prototypical client here?"
A consulting shop delivering a $X00k engagement for an internal system, a SaaS company doing something custom for a large client or internally facing or deeply non-core to their business, etc.
(I feel like many of these businesses are good answers to the "how would you monetize OSS to make it sustainable?" fashion, since they often wrap a core OSS offering in the assorted infrastructure which makes it easily consumable.)
"But don't the customers get subscription fatigue?"
I think subscription fatigue is far more reported by people who are embarrassed to charge money for software than it is experienced by for-profit businesses, who don't seem to have gotten pay-biweekly-for-services fatigue.
Maybe more geeks need to meet someone who says “My job is teleporting value across time and space.”
Financial engineering is sort of a squishy term. I don’t primarily mean payments infrastructure or financial rails, although both of those involve substantial engineering.
I mean more “We took a thing and performed some alchemy, and now have a new thing.”
Except instead of alchemy it is generally quite a bit of math, a huge amount of contract law and due diligence, often an impressive amount of ops work, and a dusting of technology that web devs would recognize as such.
I love the aesthetics of this category and they’re under remarked upon.
I think people underestimate QSRs in terms of social utility, but Sukiya et al describe themselves as mission-oriented enterprises. I believe this is largely sincere, and goes back to the 60s and 70s, when the clientele was primarily manual laborers who had migrated to work.
Japan was not a rich nation at the time, and day laborers in particular were both unlikely to be able to cook for themselves and unlikely to have much of a food budget, and so the chains sprung up offering an honest-to-goodness cooked meal delivered in under a minute for cheap.
This heritage continued over the years, even after Japan became a much more wealthy nation, and these chains function as social support and dignity for folks in diminished circumstances.
They also are a wee bit of a cartel, and I appreciate the aesthetics of the cartel:
Back when I was first in Japan, in the mid 2000s, there was an increase in the price of beef.
And the heads of the three chains got together, and decided that the price of the basic beef bowl needed to increase, but given the economic circumstances how could they hold the line.
If everyone was holding bitcoin on the old x86 in their parents basement, we would be finding a price bottom. The problem is the risk is all pooled at a few brokerages and a network of rotten exchanges with counter party risk that makes AIG circa 2008 look like a good credit.— Greg Wester (@gwestr) November 25, 2018
The benign product is sovereign programmable money, which is historically a niche interest of folks with a relatively clustered set of beliefs about the state, the literary merit of Snow Crash, and the utility of gold to the modern economy.
This product has narrow appeal and, accordingly, is worth about as much as everything else on a 486 sitting in someone's basement is worth.
The other product is investment scams, which have approximately the best product market fit of anything produced by humans. In no age, in no country, in no city, at no level of sophistication do people consistently say "Actually I would prefer not to get money for nothing."
This product needs the exchanges like they need oxygen, because the value of it is directly tied to having payment rails to move real currency into the ecosystem and some jurisdictional and regulatory legerdemain to stay one step ahead of the banhammer.
Fun going down this list and thinking: "Hmm, plausible at a well-run modern software shop", "Hmm, possible, but requires implausible tradeoffs", "Literally disallowed by languages", and "If you were to attempt doing that our test suite wouldn't let you merge."
I think we as an industry celebrate (not quite the right word) failure too much and don't celebrate success nearly enough. There is no DailyWTF for competent execution, word of which generally stays pretty local to the source while incompetence passes into legend.
Alrighty let me try to thread the needle on being the change I want to see in the world while not giving away anything that will get me in trouble:
Ruby has wonderful developer ergonomics. Typed languages are easier for machines to guarantee the correctness of. We built a type checker for Ruby (and I believe it is slated for OSS release sometime).
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The PageRank algorithm gives each page a rating of its
importance, which is a recursively defined measure of importance, based on if important pages link to it.
It's recursive because the importance of a page refers back to the importance of other pages that link to it
Here's how it works in practice:
1⃣ We start with some pages and crawl them for links
2⃣ Each page has 1/N points (where N as the total number of pages)
3⃣ Add points to each page for the amount of links to it, divided by the number
of links emanating from the sources of these links
You are interviewed for multiple skills simultaneously. Cognitive skills, communication, leadership are a few to name. If the point is not finding a solution, then what is it? Let me explain.
Your interviewers try to understand what it feels like to work with you on a daily basis. An interview question is just a tool in achieving that, it is not there to specifically measure your skills on a topic but a tool to understand the depth of your thinking.
Before the interview starts, ask them what they want to get out of this interview. Good interviewers should already have a plan and a set of expectations. Ask them what you should do. Don't start coding yet. Ask them you should produce. Discussion, diagrams, pseudo code, code?
Then, start cracking the question. List whatever questions you think it is important to solve this question, ask your edge cases. Get to a point where you are discussing about pros/cons of the solutions. These steps are critical. Don't just start coding. Have a consensus first.
There’s nothing in the Agile Manifesto or Principles that states you should never have any idea what you’re trying to build.
You’re allowed to think about a desired outcome from the beginning.
It’s not Big Design Up Front if you do in-depth research to understand the user’s problem.
It’s not BDUF if you spend detailed time learning who needs this thing and why they need it.
It’s not BDUF if you help every team member know what success looks like.
Agile is about reducing risk.
It’s not Agile if you increase risk by starting your sprints with complete ignorance.
It’s not Agile if you don’t research.
Don’t make the mistake of shutting down critical understanding by labeling it Bg Design Up Front.
It would be a mistake to assume this research should only be done by designers and researchers.
Product management and developers also need to be out with the team, conducting the research.
Shared Understanding is the key objective
I\u2019d recommend that the devs participate directly in the research.— Jared Spool (@jmspool) November 18, 2018
If the devs go into the first sprint with a thorough understanding of the user\u2019s problems, they are far more likely to solve it well.
Big Design Up Front is a thing to avoid.
Defining all the functionality before coding is BDUF.
Drawing every screen and every pixel is BDUF.
Promising functionality (or delivery dates) to customers before development starts is BDUF.
These things shouldn’t happen in Agile.
The feature doesn't care what the link contains, it just hashes the URL, including any query params, and returns a shortened code.
More recently, around Christmas time, I added another feature where I can click a button to send a template notification to a charity that their new listing has been reviewed and published. I call it a next-steps email.
For the past few weeks, its all been working well. Its nice to keep automating things that previously were done by hand.
Fast forward to today.
A new opportunity listing is posted by a charity.
I review and publish it, tweet about it, then click a button to send the charity an emailed notification of next steps.
1. Equity is something Big Tech and high-growth companies award to software engineers at all levels. The more senior you are, the bigger the ratio can be:
2. Vesting, cliffs, refreshers, and sign-on clawbacks.
If you get awarded equity, you'll want to understand vesting and cliffs. A 1-year cliff is pretty common in most places that award equity.
Read more in this blog post I wrote: https://t.co/WxQ9pQh2mY
3. Stock options / ESOPs.
The most common form of equity compensation at early-stage startups that are high-growth.
And there are *so* many pitfalls you'll want to be aware of. You need to do your research on this: I can't do justice in a tweet.
4. RSUs (Restricted Stock Units)
A common form of equity compensation for publicly traded companies and Big Tech. One of the easier types of equity to understand: https://t.co/a5xU1H9IHP
5. Double-trigger RSUs. Typically RSUs for pre-IPO companies. I got these at Uber.
6. ESPP: a (typically) amazing employee perk at publicly traded companies. There's always risk, but this plan can typically offer good upsides.
7. Phantom shares. An interesting setup similar to RSUs... but you don't own stocks. Not frequent, but e.g. Adyen goes with this plan.
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I've been a @23andMe customer for a while, and have followed their ancestry updates closely.
All is more or less as expected....except for this bit about Native American.
The family is almost completely composed of Spanish peasants (from various regions) who emigrated, along with a massive wave in the late 19th-cent./early 20th-cent., to Cuba back when it was a booming economy (richer than Spain's) and worth emigrating to (Communism killed that).
Also, the native population of Cuba was annihilated early on---was the first place the Spanish colonized after all. Having a native background in Cuba would be like having the same in, say, Massachusetts, particularly if you're (say) mostly Irish. Just really, really unlikely.
(Note: the North African/Arab background is less mysterious. The Iberian peninsula was part of the Muslim world for centuries. It would be odd *not* to have some Arab/Middle Eastern background coming from Spain. Given the family is mostly from Northern Spain, it's small though.)
I have a Spanish passport, have been back to the ancestral villages in Spain, seen the church where my grandmother was baptized, my grandfather told me stories about growing up as the child of Spanish colonists in rural Cuba. The native bit just clashes with all the family lore.
Glorious Vedic Architecture and Temple
Architecture in India was an extremely rich form of expression and highly developed science, with a deep heritage of spirituality in it. #FreeHinduTemple
The centre of all architectural development was the temple and temple or Mandir was the earthly home of God, and like the launching pad for the devotee’s consciousness to soar toward the Divine and the spiritual world.
The murti or deity of the Divine would be placed in the temple sanctum, around which all temple activity would revolve.
Such buildings were often elaborately decorated with stone, wood, plaster, etc. and carved or cut to depict the stories from the Puranas or other sacred texts
Temples were always the centre of religious, social and educational activities, practically more so in
ancient times than today.
During a span of more than two thousand years, various dynasties were known for constructing glorious temples,
some of which include the Mauryan, Ashoka, Gupta, Satavahana, Chedi, Chandella, Chalukya, Solanki, Pallava, Shola, Hoysala, Vijayanagar, and others.
Many of these temples remain beautiful architectural wonders today.
So after my marketing agency closed I started freelancing again. A marketing company that wanted to work with me only hires freelance writers through @Upwork. So I signed up. I wasn't thrilled about it, but that's who they contract with and it's their marketing company.
I've been receiving regular assignments from this company, thru @Upwork, for over a month now. I've written dozens of articles for them. My work has been exemplary. I've been handling repeated rush jobs and delivering. The client was and is very happy. That's coming from them.
While I was wrapping up several assignments this week I was contacted by the marketing company. They asked if I had taken a new full-time job and wasn't available anymore. It seems @Upwork's talent group told them I was no longer available to take assignments.
I was very surprised. Nothing had changed on my end. I still needed the freelance work very much. I told them so. So the marketing company pressed @Upwork and were told there were "compliance" issues that were preventing the marketing company from giving me any more work.
Here's how I'd measure the health of any tech company:— Jeff Atwood (@codinghorror) October 25, 2018
How long, as measured from the inception of idea to the modified software arriving in the user's hands, does it take to roll out a *1 word copy change* in your primary product?
How long does it take, measured from initial expression of interest through offer of employment signed, for a typical candidate cold inbounding to the company?
What is the *theoretical minimum* for *any* candidate?
How long does it take, as a developer newly hired at the company:
* To get a fully credentialed machine issued to you
* To get a fully functional development environment on that machine which could push code to production immediately
* To solo ship one material quanta of work
How long does it take, from first idea floated to "It's on the Internet", to create a piece of marketing collateral.
(For bonus points: break down by ambitiousness / form factor.)
How many people have to say yes to do something which is clearly worth doing which costs $5,000 / $15,000 / $250,000 and has never been done before.
Know the role of Naga Sadhus
One of the most underrated empires to ever grace India is the kingdom of Bhurshut from central Bengal.
A medieval powerhouse this kingdom stood firm against the Pathan invasion from Orissa twice, and with each time devastating the enemy forces.
Along with this, we also have to note that this was the time when the empire was under the reign of a widowed queen named Bhavashankari.
She wasn’t even born in a royal family and yet she achieved what most of the kings couldn’t do
This begs the question, why does no one remember this great kingdom?
Bhurshut empire thrived from 15th century till late 18th century as an independent kingdom while acting as tributary state with full autonomy.
What’s even more puzzling is that no one knows about the great queen Bhavanshakari who thrashed the Pathans single handedly without the aid of their allies.