The Year Without Pants

On work

Like most other events that change the world, it didn't seem interesting to anyone except the people willing to do the work. loc. 703

There is no actual work being done. Instead it's all metawork, or discussions about future work. loc. 1120

The only way you learn is by doing things where you don't know the outcome. loc. 1304

The best way to learn is to do—to think (but not for too long), make decisions, learn from what happens, and repeat. loc. 1406


On management

It's a sea of abstraction. The nonmakers are in charge of the makers and insist on spending the off-site not making anything. loc. 1121

The more an event is driven by the people in power, the more it will reinforce the status quo. This is why these big meetings start with promises of growth and innovation and end with a vague sense of disappointment. loc. 1130

I believe I can manage anyone making anything provided two things are true: clarity and trust. If there is clarity between us on the goal and how we'll know when we're done, then we can speak the same language about what we need to do to get there. loc. 1673


On passion

Truths are discovered by breaking rules: you need to break some to learn which are just for show and which ones matter. loc. 1716

We all imagine an angel will fly down from the sky and let us know it's time to make that change we've had on our minds for far too long. loc. 3723

Defensive management is blind to recognizing how obsessing about preventing bad things also prevents good things from happening or sometimes even prevents anything from happening at all. loc. 1917

Safeguards don't make you safe; they make you lazy. loc. 1953


On plans

The only sane way to work is to let the project define the plan. Only a fool chooses tools before studying the job to be done. loc. 2361


On openness

How and where do issues get reported? Who responds? How long does it take? Who decides what issues are worked on first (triage)? Who decides how the thing will be fixed? Who does the actual work? Who checks to make sure it was done properly? loc. 1731


On leadership

The burden of deciding when to launch something is on the maker, not a marketer. loc. 1143

The fundamental mistake companies that talk about innovation make is keeping barriers to entry high. They make it hard to even try out ideas, blind to how much experimentation you need to sort the good ideas from the bad. loc. 1181

Even programmers who are good at this often dislike it. Being a good lead is all about switching hats: knowing which level of abstraction to work at to solve a problem. It's rarely a question of intelligence; instead, it's picking the right perspective to use on a particular challenge. loc. 1702

Patience is a manifestation of trust. It conveys to the other person that he or she is worth the time. loc. 1706

Many teams have leaders who've never experienced clarity in their entire lives: they don't know what to look for, much less what to do when they find it. Thinking clearly, as trite as it sounds, was my strength. loc. 1677

I tried to remember Mullenweg's attitude of letting that which did not matter, not matter. loc. 1772

They [Leaders] have answered many important questions the working world is afraid even to ask. loc. 3800

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