February 25, 2021.
Last year I read "Weinberg on Writing," and I’ve been thinking about its ideas a lot since. It focuses on the concept of "The Fieldstone Method" of writing, which I’d summarize as (1) writing things that energize you and (2) approaching writing organically rather than linearly. Lose the excitement for your current project? Work on something else for a while. Find a fantastic idea that doesn’t fit into this article? Add it to a pile of related concepts to come back to later.
February 17, 2021.
After I published An Elegant Puzzle, I consolidated my notes into 'What I learned writing a book.' That was my first book writing and publishing experience, and I learned a great deal. When I started working on Staff Engineer, I sort of knew what I wanted to do, but because I ended up self-publishing I ended up learning at least as much as with my first book.
February 16, 2021.
Another great question on Staff Engineer that I recieved recently was about the mechanics of deciding and rolling out new engineering strategies and other controversial documents.
February 15, 2021.
A great question on Staff Engineer that I recieved recently focused on creating a culture of good documents rather than a culture of perfect documents. Here are my quick thoughts.
February 9, 2021.
Over the past year, most of my writing time went into "Staff Engineer", and I’ve accumulated a long backlog of topics that I didn’t find time to write about. Staring down that list of topics, I looked for something that inspired some energy and would be quick to write. My list of topics to write about is mostly just titles, occasionally with a supporting sentence to decode my forgotten intentions.
February 5, 2021.
After a bit of a lead up, so deeply excited that the "Staff Engineer: Leadership beyond the management track" book is done!
February 1, 2021.
I'm in the process of releasing Staff Engineer, and a really great question I've gotten a few times recently has been, "Are you planning to create a Slack or Discord server focused on creating a Staff-plus engineering community?" The answer is no, but the logner answer is more interesting.
January 30, 2021.
In a one-on-one before the holidays, a coworker expressed an interest in being more influential outside of the company and wanted my advice. There’s a similar email I get semi-regularly asking whether folks looking to advance their career should start blogging, write a book, or whatnot. Although few folks meaningfully influence the industry through content creation, a vast number of folks further their careers by creating content. Create a small number of meaningful pieces, develop a distribution plan for each piece, keep doing it until a piece gets lucky with distribution, then stop; that’s all you need to do for job searches and hiring to be a bit easier.
January 2, 2021.
Have you presented to company executives about a key engineering initiative, walking into the room excited and leaving defeated? Maybe you only made it to your second slide before unrelated questions derailed the discussion. Maybe you worked through your entire presentation only to have folks say, “Great job,” and leave without any useful debate. Afterward, you’re not quite sure what happened, but you know it didn’t go well.
January 1, 2021.
For much of 2020, I worked on the StaffEng project, collecting stories from folks about their experience reaching a Staff-plus engineering role, and synthesizing those stories with my own experience into a career guide. Behind the scenes, I’ve also been shaping that content in a book. You can now preorder the Early Edition, coming on January 31st, 2021.