Ask yourself: Why are we working on this project? Photo via Shutterstock.

Why are we working on this?

You’re a recent grad from a top engineering school. You come to a hot startup, and in your second week, you volunteer to implement an ambitious new feature. You slave away at it for a week, burning the midnight oil, trying to impress your new colleagues. You’re brilliant: you find an ingenious algo that solves… Read More

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HR advice: Hire for velocity of learning

Let’s say you have an opening on your technology team: An urgent need for engineer that will expand your application written on top of the Spring Framework in Java. You use Puppet for deployment, and Jenkins for managing your builds. So naturally, you craft a job description that says “must know Spring, Jenkins, and Puppet.”… Read More

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Dogfooding: Find a way to be your own customer

In early ‘90s, while working on Windows NT, Microsoft popularized an idea to make everyone on the team use early builds of their own software. Back then, it was quite a painful request — imagine developing an operating system on a box prone to crashes, where your basic tools don’t quite work right. This setup… Read More

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Hackathons at startups: Creative ‘fresh air’

Every now and again, we hear about hackathons: Startup Weekend, Facebook’s famed all-nighters, Hack Week at Dropbox. However, in a startup, it’s so difficult to imagine how organizing a hackathon can be anything but harmful: “What do you mean, take a couple work days and drop what we’re doing? We’re in a race with competitors!… Read More

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Facebook: The personalization engine for all of the Web

Facebook and its third-party applications today know a hell of a lot about each us: what content we read (Washington Post Social Reader); what music we listen to (Spotify); what movies we watch (Netflix). Facebook opened up a green field for the game creators, too: games with friends are just so much more engaging. However,… Read More