I recently finished the excellent book Kochland. This isn't my first interest in Koch—I read The Science of Success by Charles Koch himself a couple of years ago.
Charles Koch inherited a tiny company in 1967 and turned it into one of the world's largest ones.
This is a blog post originally featured on the Better engineering blog. If you want to link to this article or share it, please go to the original post URL! Separately, I'm sorry it's been so long with no posts on this blog.
When I started building up a tech team for Better, I made a very conscious decision to pay at the high end to get people. I thought this made more sense: they cost a bit more money to hire, but output usually more than compensates for it.
Ok, so I have to first preface this whole blog post by a few things:
I really struggle with the term microservices. I can't put my finger on exactly why. Maybe because the term is hopelessly ill-defined, maybe because it's gotten picked up by the hype train.
There are often close relationships between top level business metrics. For instance, it's well known that retention has a super strong impact on the valuation of a subscription business. Or that the % of occupied seats is super important for an airline.
How hard can it be to compute conversion rate? Take the total number of users that converted and divide them with the total number of users. Done. Except… it's a lot more complicated when you have any sort of significant time lag.
I just realized last Thursday that I have spent two full years at Better, incidentally on the same day as we announced a $15M round led by Kleiner Perkins. So it was a good point to reflect a bit and think back – what the F led me to abandon my role managing the machine learning team at Spotify?
I do a lot of recruiting and have given maybe 50 offers in my career. Although many companies do, I never put a deadline on any of them. Unfortunately, I've often ended up competing with other companies who do, and I feel really bad that this usually tricks younger developers into signing offers.
Here's a conclusion I've made building consumer products for many years: the speed at which a company innovates is limited by its iteration speed.
I don't even mean throughput here. I just mean the cycle time.
The easiest way to be a 10x engineer is to make 10 other engineers 2x more efficient. Someone can be a 10x engineer if they do nothing for 364 days then convinces the team to change programming language to a 2x more productive language.