On exceeding capacity

We completed performance evaluations in January, and one of the conversations I’ve been having with my team members is, “what can you do to be a star in 2017?” It’s an important discussion to have, for a couple of reasons. First off, most people haven’t even considered the question. They have the idea that stardom is some […]

Management competencies

It’s been a couple months since I got back to TripAdvisor, and while in some ways it’s been as comfortable as slipping on an old shoe, my time in startup-land has given me a new perspective, especially with respect to my own role. What, after all, does a middle manager do? I’m not the player/coach I was at […]

How to make an introduction

Most people think of networking as something to do when they need a favor – they’re looking for a new job, mentor, advice, etc., so, time to start sending out the emails. This is the worst method, of course – people like to be treated like people, not favor dispensers. Good networkers are always trying to keep up with professional […]

Hiring Engineers

Every engineering hire is a miracle. – Etsy CTO Kellan Elliott-McCrea on the Craft of Hiring Engineers When you’ve reached a certain scale, hiring entry-level engineers becomes a fairly deterministic process – you go to university career fairs, gather resumes, schedule interviews, and hire N members of the graduating class. Yes, it’s a huge oversimplification, and I’ve […]

Managing rapid growth

As I look back on my time at TripAdvisor and HelloShopper, and think about conversations I’ve had with various startups, one of the recurring themes has involved building and managing engineering organizations, particularly during rapid growth phases. From five to fifteen, to twenty five, to seventy five, to a hundred fifty, and so on. Each of these ramps […]

On not knowing

Some people are hard to read. Some situations are complicated, with pieces moving behind the scenes in a Rube Goldberg mess of not-quite interlocking puzzle pieces. Sometimes people intentionally withhold information – maybe they were told in confidence, or perhaps there’s an HR reason for keeping a secret. Sometimes it’s none of your business. Or it is, […]