Joining Calm.

January 21, 2020. Filed under career 20calm 1

Today is a particularly exciting day because I can finally stop telling folks that I’m joining a new role, and instead say that I’ve started a new role, and in particular that I’ve joined Calm to serve as their CTO. I’ve written a few words here, will update my Twitter and LinkedIn profiles, and then it’s time to get to work on my first ninety days.

2019 in review.

December 26, 2019. Filed under career 20blog 14

This has been a really special year for me personally, enough so that even though I won’t get into full detail about the two things (one professional, one personal) I’m most excited about (more in a month or two), writing a year-in-review still fills me with gratitude.

You only learn when you reflect.

November 14, 2019. Filed under management 127career 20

Early in your career, the majority of problems you work on are difficult because they are _new_ for _you_. You’ve never done it before, and it’s challenging to do good work on problems you’ve never encountered before. However, the good news is that there are other folks on your team who’ve done it before and are already experienced with its in’s and out’s.

A forty year career.

October 8, 2019. Filed under career 20

The Silicon Valley narrative centers on entrepreneurial protagonists who are poised one predestined step away from changing the world. A decade ago they were heroes, and more recently they’ve become villains, but either way they are absolutely the protagonists. Working within the industry, I’ve worked with quite a few non-protagonists who experience their time in technology differently: a period of obligatory toil required to pry open the gate to the American Dream.

Some career advice.

June 22, 2019. Filed under career 20

One unexpected perk of publishing a book is that folks start to ask you questions about all sorts of loosely related things. One pretty common thread has been around career advice, I’ve written up most of my advice for easier reusability. Some of the ideas are a bit contradictory, which I suspect is the nature of all useful advice: you’ll have to work through the conflicts and details yourself.

Path to engineering manager of managers.

June 15, 2019. Filed under management 127career 20

Once your company gets large enough to roll out a formal career ladder, it becomes the foundation of most discussions about performance and promotion. All ladders have certain requirements that have to be met in order to advance, but typically the resources required to fulfill thoes requirements aren't scarce. As you get more senior, scarcity starts to creep in.

Growing with your company's complexity.

January 29, 2019. Filed under management 127career 20

When finishing up a difficult project, sometimes I pause to dream about how it'll extend [my career](/career-narratives/). If I bundle this project with a few others, mix in supporting a healthy and impactful team, add a dash of time for the flavor to deepen, and undoubtedly this will get me to the next level.

Meeting people.

January 26, 2019. Filed under management 127career 20

In the earliest bits of my career, I spent a lot of time worrying that my lack of pedigree was holding me back. How much easier things would have be for me, I imagined, if only I'd attended a feeder school like Stanford or started out at a prestigious company like Google. Memories of that angst bubbled up when I was chatting with someone at a recent conference, and they asked how I knew so many of the people nearby. My first reaction was that I don't know very many folks, but it's also the case that I know meaningfully more folks today than I did just a few years ago, and that change isn't entirely accidental.

Career narratives.

September 26, 2018. Filed under management 127career 20

A peculiar challenge of management is trying to invest in someone's career development when they themselves are uncertain about their goals. As a manager, you may have more experience and more access to opportunities within the company, but that represents a small slice of their career possibilities. Our schooling often rewards us for being methodical, linear thinkers, but that approach is less effective outside the intentionally constrained possibility spaces.

Roles over rocket ships, and why hypergrowth is a weak predictor of personal growth.

January 2, 2018. Filed under management 127career 20

How often have we read or been pitched that we should find a rocket ship and get onboard? I think that advice is generally only true for folks going into leveraged roles, and most roles aren't. This post explores a few common hiring and career tropes, and provides a perspective.