Monthly Digest β€” May πŸ“Œ

6000 subscribers, building a second brain, three articles, a kitten, and more resources!

Hi there! May is almost over and it's time for our monthly digest.

For all new people who joined recently, this is a special issue I write at the end of each month. I use it to recap the recent articles and share some great resources.

I also share personal news and updates about Refactoring itself β€” I tell you what happened in the last weeks and give you preview of what will happen next.

Let's start! πŸ‘‡

πŸ€— 6000 Subscribers

First of all, welcome to the 2000+ new subscribers who joined in May! We are growing steadily month over month and I couldn't be happier about it.

I regularly have great conversations with many of you over Twitter and Linkedin. Feel free to reach out and let me know how I can make Refactoring better for you, or any topic you would like me cover!

🧠 Building a Second Brain

If you have been reading Refactoring for a while you might know I am sucker for note taking and the whole personal knowledge management space.

I believe that with some discipline we can easily become 10x more effective at building and retaining our digital knowledge, with incredible effects on our life and projects.

The works that have influenced my thinking the most on this are:

I have always wanted to spend more time on this so a few weeks ago I took the leap and joined the 12th cohort of the full Building a Second Brain course, from Tiago itself.

The course has been amazing so far β€” I have been reflecting on my process and trying to improve the way I write every week (which is public). I will keep you posted about my learnings!

πŸ‘‘ The Life of a Startup CTO

Two weeks ago I was invited to hold a class about the role and responsibilities of a startup CTO, within the Digital Entrepreneurship course at the University of Rome.

In the class I tried to break down how you should think about tech and process based on the stage of your startup.

The event wasn’t recorded but you can find the presentation here.

🐱 Pepe

We took a kitten! It is called Pepe (Italian for pepper), and is a 3-months old Birman cat.

During the first days it insisted on walking on my laptop β€” now it has settled with sleeping beside it!

✍️ Articles

Finally, here is a roundup of the new articles I published this month:

πŸ”‹ When Should You Have a Meeting?

In the whole β€œAsync vs Sync” feud, one of the big questions is: how do you decide when something requires a meeting – vs it is ok to handle it async?

I have tried to work this out and build a simple framework, starting from first principles. In the article I discuss:

  • πŸ•°οΈ Async over Sync

  • ✍️ Written over Verbal

  • πŸ”„ Meetings – your most powerful weapon

  • β˜• The C.U.P. Rule for Good Meetings

  • πŸ“‘ Building a Written Default

πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘¦ Mixing Seniority in Engineering Teams

I believe mixing Junior and Senior devs is key to make people grow and create healthy team dynamics.

This is somewhat counterintuitive. If you can afford them, why shouldn’t you just hire the best engineers I can?

This article provides a better look at Senior and Junior devs, what they bring to the table and how they differ on a few key aspects:

  • πŸ”¨ Skills

  • πŸƒ Processes

  • 🀝 Hiring

  • πŸ“ˆ Growth

⚑ How Shipping Fast Changes Your Life

Your team’s behaviour vastly changes based on how fast and often you are able to release in production.

This is truly one of the major areas that separate elite engineering teams from average and poor ones.

  • ⬆️ High performing teams β€” spend time delivering features and moving the business forward.

  • ⬇️ Low performing teams β€” spend time fixing things, waiting for things (code reviews, deploys, each other) and fighting with things (infrastructure, their tools, each other).

In the article I wrote more about it, including:

  • ⏱️ How teams change when releases take 1 minute, 10 minutes, 1 hour, or 1 day.

  • πŸ’Έ Why being slow costs real money

  • 🚚 Why you should invest in a solid CI / CD pipeline

πŸ“š Resources

These are other articles I have read this month that I particularly enjoyed:

  • The Rise of Cohort-based Courses β€” by Tiago Forte. The future of education is one of my favourite topics, and cohort-based courses have constantly provided the best online experience I could find. This article explains how education is headed in that direction, and why.

  • How to Run a Quarterly Product Strategy Meeting β€” by Gibson Biddle. This article is one of those rare gems that takes a really complex process and guides you step by step through the way you should handle it. Though it is told through the lense of a big company, learnings can be easily applied in any context, down to a small startup.

  • Superpowers: skills that help you succeed at anything β€” by Gagan Biyani. There are personal skills and mental models that lay the foundations for anything you want to achieve in life. This is a great thread by the founder of Udemy and Maven.

And that's it for today! See you next week with a new article. In the meantime, feel free to reach out here in the comments, via email, Twitter or Linkedin! I read and reply to everyone πŸ“¬