The Most Effective People Care a Lot

Those who care a great deal are the most effective people in any pursuit. It’s difficult to imagine the opposite being true, someone who doesn’t really care about what they are doing being the most effective at their job. Caring is a low-level characteristic that is difficult (or impossible) to fake and does not have any preconditions (caring seems to be a behavioral default not everyone has). It has a large impact on the quality of work and depth of contribution (effectiveness).

See also:

  • Favor Full Time Employees over Part Time Contractors

    In the early days of a startup, hiring the early team is one of the biggest challenges. It can be tempting to hire contractors and part-time workers to get some help in the short term.

  • How to Live an Asymmetric Life (Literature Notes)

    In How to Live an Asymmetric Life, Graham Weaver talks about how to confront fear and get the most out of your life to a class of soon-to-be business school graduates.

  • Do Everyone’s Job First

    At an early stage startup (less than 10 people), it’s a big advantage to do everyone’s job first. That doesn’t mean you don’t scale or hire other people, but doing their job first gives the most understanding about what the job actually entails and the knowledge of how it works.

  • Topgrading Reduces Mis-Hire Rate

    In a study of companies that implemented a topgrading interview methodology, the mis-hire rate fell from 69.3% to 10.5%.

  • Working Hard Is Required to Do Great Work

    Although it sounds like a truism, working hard is required to do great work. In practice, it is difficult to apply because one must recognize the quality of the work they are doing, the effort they are putting in, and being honest with oneself about the results they are getting.

  • Use the Product

    Improving product quality requires consistent and ongoing attention. You will simply miss all of the details that contribute to low product quality if you don’t use your product every day.

  • Building Compliance Products Is Like Reading Kafka but You Get to Fix It

    Many people don’t find compliance to be a particularly interesting area to work on. For some, it’s an incredibly rewarding experience to take a bureaucratic nightmare and make it simple for anyone. Working on compliance products is like reading Kafka but you get to fix it.

  • Mission Beats Culture

    Having a meaningful mission that draw people in and compels them to do their best work together is more powerful than good culture alone. A company might have a distinctive culture of how they work together and other behaviors but if it’s in service of something trivial, there is a natural ceiling to how connected someone will be.

  • One Pull Request Per Day

    Productive engineers should write one pull request per day. One pull request per day creates forward momentum. Forward momentum leads to progress. Progress is how teams overcomes their biggest challenges.

  • Permission to Build New Products Is Earned

    The right to build something new needs to be earned from existing customers. If they’re not happy with your core offering (most businesses start with a single product) they will worry that existing issues will make their way into the new product category. If people love your product they will naturally pull the company into other categories to solve more of their problems.

  • The Dispassionate Developer

    Being all consumed by engineering (writing blogs, contributing to open source, giving away your time) is not good because it leads to burnout and perpetuates more people to do the same. Open source for example, is co-opted by large corporations to exploit passionate developers that provide high quality code for free and putting the training burden on the person rather than corporation.

  • Schlep Blindness Is a Moat

    Founders that are willing to take on problem areas that are unappealing because it seems like a lot of work is a moat. Schlep blindness, as Paul Graham calls it, is mostly subconscious and causes hackers to choose easier, but more competitive areas. This explains why you see thousands of todo list apps, but not a thousand employment compliance companies.

  • Do the Hard Thing Perfectly That No One Wants to Do

    A tried and true way to build a large business is to do something that is difficult really well that no one wants to do.