We’re excited to unveil early access for Bennu.

After talking to hundreds of individual contributors, managers, and executives, we heard one thing over and over again: the landscape of leadership has shifted, but the tools have not.

Nowadays, employees don’t want a supervisor; they want a coach, a manager, a leader. At the same time, managers want to cultivate teams that deliver effectively, while growing and learning together, too.

From continuous integration and delivery, we’ve already learned that the right mix of workflows and software tooling can dramatically accelerate the pace of delivery, collaboration, and innovation. …

The last time I wrote on Medium, I said goodbye to Software Engineering at Slack and hello to a new adventure with my startup Guanyin.

At the time, my original idea was an enterprise learning and development platform.

But before I wrote a single line of code, I asked over 100 HR professionals in different functions, leadership levels, industries, and company sizes: “What are your biggest challenges?” and “How are you measuring your progress?”

The second question was universally difficult to answer. That’s when I knew I had stumbled upon something important.

As I dug deeper, I realized why the…

Have you ever brought an exciting new idea to a meeting, only to have it shot down? I can think of a time in my career when this was happening over and over again. It felt like a perpetual cycle of disappointment and frustration. “I don’t think that’s a good idea,” said a more senior member of the team, and I bristled. “We’ll never do things that way”, said a manager, and I sank into a pit of self-doubt.

Sure, there’s a lot to discuss about team dynamics and communication, but I’m not going to write about that. Instead, I’m…

Melissa Khuat (right) was an intern at Slack in 2016 and now works there full-time as a software engineer.

I taught myself to code in 2013, because I wanted to build products and companies that improve the human experience. I wanted to start a company eventually, so I decided to build my software engineering skills first. I became a Senior UI Developer at Macys.com, then a Staff Engineer at Slack. Through both of these experiences, I learned how to iterate on product ideas, plus how to design and scale software.

“Find a problem you can’t stop thinking about.”

Last year, I got some incredible entrepreneurship advice from Aileen Lee of Cowboy Ventures: “Find a problem you can’t stop thinking…

After 3.25 years, I’m leaving Slack to start Guanyin Labs, a company whose mission is to help people reach their full potential at work.

“PudgyCat” sticker designed by Michael Kappeler

I can’t tell you how hard it is to say goodbye. Slack is a place filled with talented people who care about the impact they’re making in the world. It’s the place where I met the co-authors of my first book, learned to lead with influence instead of authority, and became a Board Member of Girl Develop It.

And yet, after I created Crush Your Summer Internship to help interns maximize their experience, I knew I…


A free 12-week program

There’s a lot of clichéd advice like “dress professionally” and “show up on time”. But let’s get real — this isn’t middle school orchestra. You’re an adult, and this is the beginning of your career. You’ll need to develop professional skills that are expected, but unspoken. You’ll need to understand performance criteria, how to execute effectively, how to talk to your manager, and how to advocate for yourself.

My name is Brenda Jin, and I taught myself to code in 2013. Within 5 years, I’ve become one of the highest-ranking engineers at Slack. I got here by developing skills like…

Throughout the tech industry, women engineers are often told that they are simply “not technical enough”. Ouch! What should you do if you get this feedback from your manager? Step 0: Don’t panic! Keep reading for 3 tips for turning vague feedback into actionable insights for your career.

1. Guide the conversation

This type of feedback is really tough to hear. It’s too vague to be actionable. What’s worse, it can trigger stereotype threat, reinforcing ideas that you are inherently not good at “technical” work, which in turn can negatively impact your performance. But before you react, take a moment to step back. What…

A few years ago, my manager told me that my coworkers thought I was “negative”. Words can’t describe how disappointed I felt. I’m an action-oriented person and don’t think of myself as negative at all! This feedback was especially painful, because it was the “double bind” — a situation where women are perceived poorly if they speak up, but perceived even more poorly if they don’t. When I spoke up, people felt that I had come in “guns blazing”, but if I didn’t say anything, I was not going to be perceived as a competent leader.

Fast forward to now…

You know how to design a good API, but how do you evolve that API when it’s time to make changes? We’ve faced this with each major feature release here at Slack over the past few years, most recently while working on the highly anticipated Shared Channels feature. Using shared channels, two organizations connect directly in Slack and work together from the comfort of their own workspaces.

The Individual Contributor path begins with Leading Self

Before I became a software engineer, I thought that the most important part of the job would be coding. I was wrong. The most important (and hardest) part of software engineering is working well with other humans.

“I’ll never become a manager!” I told myself, “That way, I can focus all my attention on computers!” I thought that I could ignore the difficult human parts of my job if I stayed on the technical individual contributor (IC) track for the rest of my career.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Brenda Jin

Founder at Bennu. Board Member at Girl Develop It. All about empowerment and transformation.

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