Money-Mouth Distance

A funny thing about cognitive dissonance is that we all tend to be a lot better when it comes to spotting it in others. When someone else comments on their values or productivity habits, for example, you’ll easily quip to yourself, “Yeah, right,” if that person, in fact, doesn’t adhere to what’s stated. But when […]

Embracing Common Sense

I don’t know if it is still common, but “back in my day,” there was a distinct stage in an engineer’s career: the complexification. That was when one would first find out about some topic, often the phenomenal Design Patterns book, and go into a frenzy trying to force one’s newfound knowledge into use. It’s […]

My Tech Exec Interview Checklist

While the vast majority of my work nowadays is advisory work for CTOs and CEOs, I sometimes help companies bring in a new tech executive. This week, I thought it might be interesting to share what are the things that I look for when I participate in these interviews. Even if you’re not looking for […]

Aiming for Longer Tenures

The average tenure for software engineers and other tech professions has been around two years for a while now. We seem to have accepted this as an axiom, but I beg to differ. If you’re looking to create world-class teams with an incredible impact-per-engineer, you need a strategic effort to make your tech people’s average […]

Instilling Urgency

Leaders of teams of all sizes often find it problematic to make their people operate with urgency. By “urgency,” I don’t mean stress, nervousness, or anxiety, but a general sense of striving to achieve their goals earlier rather than later. While it is commonly attributed to growth—more people means that things move slower—I’ve seen this […]

Catching Your Breath

Many managers and leaders have become addicted to productivity porn. Everywhere I look, I see teams discussing time wasted, optimizing processes, and squeezing out some more time to work (remember Soylent?). As someone who regularly talks about tripling impact-per-engineer, I want to stress the difference between chasing productivity and focusing on efficacy. You cannot create […]

Processing

There are two scenarios that are frequent in my day-to-day. The first is where a company approaches me because its leaders feel like they do not have enough processes in place to accommodate their growth. The second is the opposite: an executive might feel like things are slowly grinding to a halt because too many […]

The Case for Fewer Engineers

The current “way of doing things” in startup-land seems to revolve around hiring engineers in droves the second the company has secured funding. However, just because it has become a norm doesn’t mean it makes sense. Could you be actually doing better with smaller teams around? First, I’ll state that this is chiefly directed at […]

Where Are You Headed?

Tech executives often come to me and share their disappointment about the role they seem to be taking in their companies. They feel that they are not being utilized correctly or are not viewed as real executives. I’d say that more often than not, when someone feels like this, it’s true. Nevertheless, the real question […]

What Do You Do?

As a tech exec advisor, I’ve had the pleasure of working with people with all sorts of titles. The most common tech exec titles include CTO, CIO, VP Engineering, VP R&D, and Head of Engineering. These are a bunch of titles, and if you’re just making your first steps in leadership roles, you might be […]