Like many aspects of work, negotiating a contract can trigger strong emotions. Those thrilling early courtship discussions turn serious once the lawyers get involved, and the mood can be tense, bitter, even nasty. Why don’t they understand that 90-day payment terms will kill our cash flow? Are they trying to strong-arm us on indemnity? Why did they reject all our redlines?! Ugh, when will this be over?!?

These emotions are completely normal. We want to get along with our partners. We want to get things done and move on to the next challenge. And most of all, we don’t want…

I never met Paul Baran. But he and my dad were friends. And he invented some things that are fundamental to how you’re reading this right now. For example, packet switching. He later founded some important organizations. It’s not a stretch to say that his efforts and foresight had a major impact on the evolution of modern digital communications.

But that’s not how I came to know him… My introduction to Paul was courtesy of one of those goofy forwarded emails that were such a big part of internet culture back in the late 80s and early 90s. I had…

I’ve gotten this question quite a few times over the years, either because:

A) I’ve asked an engineer to take on a management role for a team; or,

B) An engineer has asked me if they could take on a management role.

Case A) is the easy one — if I didn’t think they were ready, I wouldn’t have asked. Typically, I can answer with 3 or 4 things they’ve done that showed a natural aptitude for managing people.

Case B) is a little trickier. Sometimes it indicates the person in question has the wrong motivations, like a desire for…

by Alexander Grosse and David Loftesness

Fast-growing engineering teams face a host of challenges. The leaders of those teams need to anticipate those challenges and adjust appropriately. So, we’re writing a book about it. Scaling Teams will be published by O’Reilly Media next year. Follow the Scaling Teams publication for previews and updates.

The Backstory

Between the two of us, we’ve experienced a range of high-growth scenarios at tech companies large and small. During Alex’s tenure at SoundCloud, he helped build the engineering team from 20 to 100, spanning four offices worldwide. Similarly, Dave started with a team of three at Twitter…

David Loftesness

Head of Software Engineering at eero, author of “Scaling Teams”. Formerly at Twitter, Xmarks, A9, Amazon, Blue Mug, Geoworks.

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