How to start a startup without ruining your life How to start a startup without ruining your life
For 6 years of my professional life, I worked only at startups. I saw myself as “the coder” – the guy that the brave hired to turn their ideas into real businesses. I never had the inclination to start my own? why would I risk a fairly comfortable life to pursue an idea that may not work? But then two years ago, I dived headfirst into running a startup – a code school in London – without really knowing what would happen. It was a fascinating, stressful and occasionally scary journey. In a few weeks time, I’ll be doing it all over again with a brand new startup.

Harvard Business Review: Your Scarcest Resource – Time, Wasted in Meetings

Harvard Business Review: Your Scarcest Resource – Time, Wasted in Meetings
Simplify the organization.The more management layers between the CEO and the frontline worker, the slower the information flows and decision making. All managers know this, even if many fail to act on their understanding. What they often don’t realize is that every additional supervisor adds costs well beyond his or her salary. Supervisors schedule meetings; those meetings require content that some people must generate and others must review; and each meeting typically spawns even more meetings. We have found that on average, adding a manager to an organization creates about 1.5 full-time-equivalent employees’ worth of new work—that is, his own plus 50% of another employee’s—and every additional senior vice president creates more than 2.6. The “caravan” of resources accompanying a manager or a senior executive, which may include an executive assistant or a chief of staff, adds further work and costs. (See the exhibit “The True Cost of Your Next Manager.”) As the work piles up, time gr

Incentive Pay Considered Harmful – Joel on Software

Incentive Pay Considered Harmful – Joel on Software
And herein lies the rub. Most people think that they do pretty good work (even if they don’t). It’s just a little trick our minds play on us to keep life bearable. So if everybody thinks they do good work, and the reviews are merely correct (which is not very easy to achieve), then most people will be disappointed by their reviews. The cost of this in morale is hard to understate. On teams where performance reviews are done honestly, they tend to result in a week or so of depressed morale, moping, and some resignations. They tend to drive wedges between team members, often because the poorly-rated are jealous of the highly-rated, in a process that DeMarco and Lister call teamicide: the inadvertent destruction of jelled teams.

Joel on Software: Things You Should Never Do, Part I

Joel on Software: Things You Should Never Do, Part I
We’re programmers. Programmers are, in their hearts, architects, and the first thing they want to do when they get to a site is to bulldoze the place flat and build something grand. We’re not excited by incremental renovation: tinkering, improving, planting flower beds. There’s a subtle reason that programmers always want to throw away the code and start over. The reason is that they think the old code is a mess. And here is the interesting observation: they are probably wrong. The reason that they think the old code is a mess is because of a cardinal, fundamental law of programming: It’s harder to read code than to write it. This is why code reuse is so hard. This is why everybody on your team has a different function they like to use for splitting strings into arrays of strings. They write their own function because it’s easier and more fun than figuring out how the old function works.