Startups on Hard Mode

We’ve all heard the advice to “do things that don’t scale” at the early stages of startups. I quite agree with it. Unfortunately, as with many pithy sayings, it can be overused or abused. When we fail to understand the logic that drives it and where the same approach doesn’t apply, we are bound to […]

The Founder vs. Hired Executive Gap

Miscommunication is an odd thing. When you are used to writing a lot every day—but in code, not prose—you get used to thinking that words are easy. You write something and the compiler understands precisely that (unless you have a bug, of course). If only things were as easy when we have to talk to […]


Here’s a nice story that I found out about as I was writing my book: Hermit crabs have to get new and larger shells as they grow. Moving to a new shell requires a leap of faith, as they are vulnerable while trying on the new shells. This danger is unavoidable: the other option is […]

The Origin of Innovation

When I talk about the concept of making innovation habitual in R&D organizations, many tech executives recoil at first. It might sound daunting or as if it would require even more time from their already-too-busy teams. Some think it might cause chaos where each engineer can do as she pleases. In this article, I will […]

Using Executive Leverage

Humans are sometimes very simple beings. We see a problem, and we rush to try and solve it. I’ve written in the past about the tendency to solve problems for our teams, instead of learning to provide them with guidelines, and it’s a big part in helping your organization gain autonomy, as I describe in […]

Foster Executives

When I first started thinking about this topic, I felt that I was exaggerating how common it is. However, with time, I realized that this is somewhat of a natural phenomenon. There are two typical scenarios where I notice executives that seem to be in limbo. They are not taking the initiative when it comes […]

Generating Effective Chutzpah

In a famous Sherlock Holmes tale, the fabled detective cracks the case by realizing that the dog didn’t bark at midnight as the crime happened. Therefore, he concluded that it was elementary: the dog knew the perpetrator. I regularly train my clients to be attuned to the quietness around them. Every post-mortem should include the […]

Management as a Profession

A recurring theme I’ve heard a lot lately from tech executives in unicorns is that their management team is their weakest link. You feel like you—as the one running the show—have your act together and that your ICs are great. If only you could get your managers to do things correctly, you’d be thriving. Right? […]

The Demise of Coaching

We’re all pretty fatigued about “learnings from COVID,” but there’s one thing that I saw happening prior, and over the course of the last year, I believe it created a noticeable chasm between those who get leadership and those who don’t. I think that the pandemic, whether it made your team move to work-from-home or […]

Don’t Cultivate Snowflake Engineers

I’m going to allow myself to talk about this problem because I was once one of these precious snowflake engineers. Acting like a snowflake hurts everyone involved. In my work with tech executives, I see this originating from sympathizing too much with your staff or a tendency to put your people on a pedestal because […]