Leslie Lamport, the famed computer scientist who did seminal work in distributed computing, once said that thinking doesn’t guarantee that we won’t make mistakes, but not thinking guarantees that we will.
A specific behavior in engineering at Life360 we want to continue to encourage as we grow in size is: Think before you code. In the early days of our company, we would build software quickly and fix problems as they came and that was the right thing to do. However with millions of users and impressive scale now, we need to put even more thought in how we craft our software. More often than not, it means talking to other engineers and peer reviewing your design, like a pre-code review. There are several engineers who already do that here, but we want to continue to incentivize this good behavior.
Changing habits is hard and as leaders we need to find ways to help change the collective cultural norms and improve them. We could punish someone for failing to do something, but we all know that those tactics seldom work or create a lasting change. The best way is to reward the good behavior. For instance, to encourage good behavior (Be a good person is one of our company values), we have an internal high five system. It has been a very successful tool of peer recognition for celebrating good behavior. High fives can be about anything. You stepped up to help build charts, you get a high five. You helped someone who was stuck on something, you get a high five. High fives are easy to give and there is no limit to how many you can give or receive. They may be small packets of appreciation but they bring a lot of recognition and pride as they add up.
We are going to do something unique that borrows on this but apply it towards always rewarding good software design. As an engineer, before you code, if you preview your design with an open feedback session with other engineers, we will reward you with a small equity grant. While each grant may seem small, just like high fives, they will add up and we hope that we can incentivize engineers to do the right thing.
Why equity grants? Two reasons. First, investing and sharing design shows a complete ownership of your work, which is in itself ownership of the company, thus the equity grants are a logical extension of this — You demonstrate that you take ownership of the company’s IP, the company responds by granting you literal ownership. Second, if we truly believe that good software design pays for itself, we should put our money where our mouth is. Just like good design, equity hopefully grows better over time. Some might argue, isn’t this what a good engineer is supposed to do anyways? Why reward something that should be the default? There are plenty of good engineers who may be good at design and think before they code but the act of sharing it and educating others is what this reward is for. The leadership team is proud to support this initiative and it’s just one more thing that makes Life360 a unique place to work at.
Come join us.
Life360 is creating the largest membership service for families by developing technology that helps managing family life easier and safer. There is so much more to do as we get there and we’re looking for talented people to join the team: check out our jobs page.