Felix Crux

Technology & Miscellanea


These are some of the links from all over the Web that I enjoyed the most this month:

Irrational Exuberance - Writing an engineering strategy. This applies to more than just executives, and it’s not even just engineering-specific. The key insight is really originally from the book Good Strategy/Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt, and it’s that a strategy can’t just be a wishlist, but rather has to start with a diagnosis of your current situation, and from there propose a policy or philosophy for how you want to overcome the current problems, and a set of concrete actions to make that happen. The rest of the post goes into the practicalities of publishing and implementing the strategy, and it’s good stuff too!

The Atlantic - Permission-Slip Culture is Hurting America. Subtitle: “Why should anyone need a license to braid hair?”. Indeed. As Adam Smith said: “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”

Nikita Popov - 3 things you’re doing wrong in 1:1 meetings. Good advice. Beyond the specifics of the article, the big idea to take from it is your manager ought to be a resource to help you and to fix things (obviously not all of them are — apply this advice contextually). Use them! That requires talking directly about what you need and what’s bothering you. They can’t necessarily always fix everything or get you everything you want, but they’ll make a heck of a lot more progress if they know there’s a problem in the first place and if they know what you’re striving for.

Email explained from first principles. I wouldn’t really say any of it is “from first principles”, but it’s a wonderful resource because of how comprehensive it is. In your mind, rename it to “Every component, tangentially-related technology that is now mandatory because of spam filtering, flaw, quirk, and historical wart of email explained to a reasonable degree in one place” and enjoy learning about all the various odds and ends you might have heard the name of in passing but never really looked into until now.