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Englishman in California. Father, engineer, photographer. Recovering adrenaline junky. Founder @ www.range.co. Previously: Medium, Google.

Bread and salt for remote teams

There’s something archetypal about the giving and sharing of food — welcoming guests with bread and salt is after all common in many cultures.

When I used to work in an office, I’d occasionally bring donuts to share. Others would make cookies, banana bread, or a loaf of homemade- artisanal-sourdough. It was a way to congregate, give and receive, and taps into some of those base needs for community and belonging.

In a fully remote world this of course is not something that can happen. A fun alternative we’ve been doing at Range is a “snack attack treasure hunt”.

About…


Sleep deprived musings

We talk about teams being the core unit of work in the post-industrial era, but a “team” is a somewhat abstract concept. What is a team really?

In terms of gestalt principles, we often use the law of proximity (frontend, backend, product, design). But those categorizations rarely reflect how we actually work day to day. More often than not, the true team is better defined by a closure. It’s a product of the interactions and goals of the actors.

In modern organizations it seems increasingly likely that the real team is not represented by the org chart. …


Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

Guidelines for reviewers, reviewees, and eng managers

I was recently asked to share the code review policy I maintained when working with Medium Engineering. I thought it could be useful to others, so sharing here publicly.

Rules

  1. All code — with the below exceptions — should be reviewed by at least one other engineer before it is merged into the main branch of a repository.
  2. Code reviews should be responded to as promptly as possible.

Exceptions:

  • Config changes that only affect development and staging environments do not require a code review.
  • Changes that are purely lint fixes do not require a code review.
  • Copy changes should be reviewed…


Photo by Kevin Ku on Unsplash

Stress is a fact of modern life, but the last year has been something else. When stress is unavoidable, what are we to do?

Nearly everyone has been enduring chronic stress of unimaginable levels. And like many, last year I started to feel the pressure physically.

The stress of a newborn, stress of figuring out school for a kindergartner, stress of running a startup, stress of political unrest and being gaslit by the government, stress of wildfire smoke streaming into our apartment, stress of living 5,000 miles from my family during a global pandemic… And while I didn’t have to worry about where we’d get food or whether we’d have a roof over our heads, my blood pressure rose to unhealthy levels.

Stress is…


Thoughts on the post-COVID workplace and how hybrid teams will become the new normal.

When we pitched Range in 2017 we didn’t even talk about remote work. It was part of the thesis, but we quickly found that investors were skeptical about the efficacy of remote teams, and didn’t see the market potential. Instead, we focused on other changes affecting the workplace: the need for more decentralization and more humanity in our tools.

Fast-forward to 2021 and the COVID-19 pandemic has forced millions of people to experience remote work first hand. It hasn’t been “normal” remote work for sure, but after a year, companies have had to figure out how to make it work…


Hoping for a great sea-change

Since 2014 I’ve published a Year In Review post on New Year’s Day. They’ve always been rose-tinted reflections; an instagram-filtered look at the year.

But as I sit down to summarize 2020 I have a sense of cognitive dissonance. Trying to reflect on the positive moments during this hardest of years risks trivializing the pain and suffering so many have experienced. Explaining my own challenges and struggles isn’t aligned with the purpose of these posts, and risks invoking the trap of comparative suffering.

I’ll simply state that this was a really hard year. But at the same time we are…


Keep on moving

I’ve been publishing these Year In Review posts since 2014. They started as a way to reflect on the things that happened outside of work, mostly for myself, but also for family and friends.

This year I feel like I should be reflecting on the decade — or on having recently turned 40 — but life has been so hectic I haven’t had the time or space to properly process it all.

Saying work was busy this year would be an understatement. Progress is never a straight line, but things at Range are going well and the work has been…


A collection of essential books that meaningfully affected our team

The team here at Range are notorious book worms and we regularly get asked for recommendations.

Below I’ve shared some of our favorites, intended for people interested in becoming a better leader, improving team effectiveness, and learning how to make work more humane.

Fundamentals

Leadership is its own craft, not simply an extension of other crafts. While every situation will provide a unique combination of challenges, there are commonalities that every leader will struggle through. These books provide a great starting point.

One caveat, while High Output Management is a classic, some of it is starting to feel a little dated…


Understanding how cognitive biases affect us in the workplace

This article originally appeared on the Range Blog.

Our brains are energy hungry and responsible for processing huge amounts of data. As such, they are constantly looking for shortcuts. They seek heuristics and abstractions to speed up decision making and reduce the amount of energy spent thinking.

Most of the time these heuristics are useful and the reason we’re able to get on with our daily lives. But when they break down, they lead to irrationality, a distorted perspective on reality, and inaccurate judgement.

Even the smartest people are susceptible to faulty thinking.

There are dozens of well-known mental shortcuts…


A short primer on why complex systems require different ways of acting and making decisions

A few years ago, as I was managing a growing team, I set out to try and understand why traditional forms of management didn’t feel appropriate. I went deep on group dynamics, psychology, and human development theory, and started to piece together different parts of what felt like a very big puzzle.

Throughout my reading, the concept of complexity kept coming up. On the surface, it made sense: everything pertaining to the evolution of the human experience is tangled up in a web of cause-and-effect; resulting from — and leading to — increases in complexity.

Hunter-gatherer tribes became early civilizations…

Dan Pupius

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