May 3rd 2014
Accountability is key. I am writing this memo to my colleagues at Chain.com in hopes that they will hold me accountable in our endeavours to create a world class company. I have learned technical leadership from both great and horrible examples. I have made mistakes which cost my workmates time and money. As I progress in my career, I am hyper aware of my personal growth. I want to have 10 years of experience. I do not want ten 1 year experiences.
Therefore, I have outlined several known knowns which will require attention. I will also follow up the areas of concern with some personal values; which, when upheld, will help me overcome my trepidations.
There have been times when I have taken ownership of technical problems in isolation. This ultimately stems from a desire to receive full credit for the solution. I believe that this line of reasoning is foolishness. One guiding principle I use to combat this problem is described with a quote:
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
At this point in my life, I am not interested in going fast. I want to be working on problems whose solutions will impact millions of people. A fast approach will not work for large scale problems.
Unfortunately I have spent time being a big fish in little ponds. This had set me on a dangerous path with respect to my interaction with colleagues. Not succeeding decisions when appropriate breads ineffectiveness. Furthermore it pushes bright people in opposite directions. I have learnt, and am still learning, how to accept humility. I accept that there are heaps of engineers who are much brighter than I am and as such it is in my best interest to understand how to work effectively with those engineers.
Being honest with myself in my abilities. Being honest in every conversation I have with: teammates, customers, investors, competitors.
The best thing I can do for myself is providing the people around me with the best possible work experience. This can be manifested in the code I write, the emails I send, and the conversations I engage in.
In high school I treated my body poorly. At that time one of my best friends helped me exercise by running with me. He used to make up famous quotes as inspiration. Once such fictional quote was:
When you feel like dying, keep on going. -Muhammad Ali
It is silly, but I can still see Justin’s face as he jokingly gave me this quote. I was running up a hill and I wanted so badly to quit and walk. I now realize that a successful life will involve doing hard things. So even if I am ill-equipped to handle the hard things, like being a fat kid trying to run up a hill, I can’t give up. I must persevere in order to be equipped for the next time.
Loving people is the single greatest motivating factor for my existence. I build products because I love people and want them to have nice things. I curate teams because I love the people I work with and I want them to have the best possible work experience. If I ever lose the love, I will just quit working and figure out some other direction for my life.