Chasing impact, personal CRM, career frameworks for small teams 💡
Monday Ideas — Edition #54
Hey, Luca here! Welcome to the Monday 3-2-1 💡
Every Monday I will send you an email like this with 3 short ideas about making great software and working with humans.
You will also receive a long-form, original article on Thursday, like the last one:
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Locofy.ai is a sponsor of Refactoring 🙏 here is how we run sponsorships.
1) 🪴 Grow your career by chasing impact
What do you need to grow your career?
While some specific skills may depend on your role, at a high level, most people get promoted by displaying impact. This is widely acknowledged for managers, but it is largely the same for ICs, too. Your tech skills are only useful as long as they create value for the business.
Having good impact expands your influence. In turn, influence and trust enable you to take on bigger responsibilities, which in turn enable higher impact, in a virtuous cycle.
I believe that chasing impact is a healthy mental model for your career. For two main reasons:
🏃♂️ It challenges your comfort zone — higher impact usually means more ambitious initiatives. As long as you go after bigger things, it is less likely to stagnate.
🎯 It treats your skills as a means to an end — skills are meant to increase your leverage. As long as you frame them this way, you will likely make the right calls about what you want to learn. E.g. you will likely embrace AI (to chase higher leverage) instead of being afraid of it.
We discussed more ideas about shaping great careers in this recent interview with Thiago 👇
2) 🔨 I built a CRM in Notion for my friends
I believe in checking-in regularly with people you care about. You don’t need specific reasons — most of the time I just say hi, tell the other person what I am up to, and ask them the same.
With close friends this isn’t hard to do. They are few and I talk with them every week. But how does this scale with people I am not as close to? Those I would be happy to connect with, say, once a month, or once a quarter?
To do it reliably, I built a small CRM in Notion.
I do daily journaling on Notion. I write down the main things that happen during my days, including meaningful conversations with people.
I don’t write everything down. Only what I think I may want to remember / search for in the future.
I also use Notion as a lightweight CRM, so I have a separate view of people I've met or talked with in the past.
For people I actively want to stay in touch with (a small minority) I have a column where I write how frequently I want to do so, as a number of days. For example, if I write 30, that means at least once a month.
On my Notion homepage, I have a view that displays all the people that have passed that threshold, so I can see at a glance who I should write to.
This process has been in place for 3 years now, and over time I refined it and removed parts that weren’t useful. For example, I don’t put tags on people related to their jobs, skills, or whatever. I did in the past but I never really used them, so I flushed them!
Now the process is simple enough that I can comfortably follow it, without being a burden. You can find the Notion template + an explainer below 👇
3) 🧐 Single career tracks in tech?
Even though people talk about two career tracks all the time — managers vs ICs — there are situations where a single track makes sense.
If you are a small team, say under 20 people, you may not need full-time managers and you may conflate the management + tech leadership duties on the same people.
In such a scenario, senior engineers can only be promoted into managers.
I know, outrageous!
But in small companies there might be no way for an IC to progress further, because you simply don’t have the kind of work for which you need Staff+ Engineers.
Will all the people want to turn into managers? No!
Are you providing equal growth opportunities to people who want to stay ICs? No!
And that’s fine — not all opportunities exist everywhere at a given time. Just be transparent about what exists in your company and what not.
More advice about designing career frameworks in this double article 👇
⏰ Heads up! Refactoring price is increasing in 3 days
A few days ago I published a special edition of Refactoring to announce three main things:
🖼️ New Logo — an updated, yet familiar identity.
✍️ Guides, Interviews, and Books — three new types of articles that mix text with video, and theory with real-world stories.
💳 Pricing update — I am updating the price for new subscribers to $15/month or $150/year (nothing changes if you are already on a paid plan).
This is a heads up to remind you that you are still able to subscribe with the old, $12/month price, until Thursday — that is, you have three days!
More info here 👇
And that’s it for today! I wish you a great week! ☀️