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Being Geek

Book Description

Is it time to become a manager? Join that start-up? Resign in disgust? As a software engineer, at some point you realize there's much more to your career than dealing with code. Author Michael Lopp recalls his own make-or-break moments with Apple, Borland, Netscape, and Symantec in Being Geek -- the insightful and entertaining book that may help you make better decisions about your career.

Table of Contents

  1. Praise for Being Geek
  2. Dedication
  3. Special Upgrade Offer
  4. Preface
    1. How to Contact Us
    2. Safari® Books Online
    3. Acknowledgments
  5. I. A CAREER PLAYBOOK
    1. 1. How to Win
      1. A System Thinker
      2. People Are Messy
      3. A System of Improvisation
      4. A Career Blueprint
      5. A Collection of Moments
    2. 2. A List of Three
      1. Technical Direction
      2. Growth
      3. Delivery
      4. Simplifying the Infinite
    3. 3. The Itch
      1. Are You Answering the Phone?
        1. The Pissed Itch
        2. Early Warning Signs of Doom
          1. Engagement
          2. Wanderlust
        3. The Contradiction List
          1. Who are you leaving behind?
            1. The reality is:
          2. Are you done?
            1. The reality is:
          3. What itch are you trying to scratch?
            1. The reality is:
      2. Bright and Shiny
    4. 4. The Sanity Check
      1. Stalk Your Future Job
      2. Initial Tuning
        1. Can We Communicate?
        2. One More Softball
        3. No More Softballs
        4. Your Turn
      3. The Close
        1. Long, Awkward Pauses
        2. Adversarial Interactions
        3. How’d It Feel?
        4. Specific Next Steps
    5. 5. The Nerves
      1. Question Types
      2. The Answer Process
      3. The Confidence of Knowing a Thing
    6. 6. The Button
      1. Creatures and Structure
      2. Interview Creatures
        1. Pissed Off Pete
        2. Chatty Patty
        3. The Poet
        4. Gotcha Greg
        5. Slick Steve
        6. Silent Bob
        7. The CEO
      3. A Fresh Perspective
    7. 7. The Business
      1. You Are the Business
      2. Pre-Game
        1. How Am I Doing?
      3. The Swag
        1. Base Salary
        2. Title
        3. Sign-on Bonus
        4. Stock
      4. Negotiating Roles
        1. Offer Compromise
          1. Lower base salary
          2. But it’s OK, here’s a bonus
          3. Even better, here’s a pile of stock
          4. And this is our final offer
      5. Meh
  6. II. DECONSTRUCTING MANAGEMENT
    1. 8. The Culture Chart
      1. Ninety Days
      2. Bridge
      3. Detecting Culture
      4. Culture Definers
      5. Game Over
    2. 9. Managing Managers
      1. A Management Assessment
        1. Is There a 1:1?
        2. Is a Staff Meeting a Casual or Structured Affair?
        3. Are There Status Reports?
        4. What Meetings Does He Schedule?
        5. How Often Is His Hand in the Cookie Jar?
      2. The Essential Elements
      3. The Loop
    3. 10. The Issue with the Doof
      1. On Experience
      2. Up
      3. Partial Information
      4. Beware the Doof
      5. Everything
    4. 11. The Leaper
      1. On Excuses
      2. On Delivery
      3. Say Something Real
    5. 12. The Enemy
      1. Management Transformations
        1. The Interrogator
        2. The Prioritizer
        3. The Randomizer
        4. The Illuminator
        5. The Enemy
      2. The M Word
    6. 13. The Impossible
      1. A Hint of an Insane Plan
      2. Skin in the Game
      3. The Importance of Respect
      4. What He Really Wants
    7. 14. Knee Jerks
      1. One Eighth of a Second
      2. The Jerks
        1. Dr. No
        2. Raging Bull
        3. Still Water
        4. Distiller
        5. The Handler
        6. My Bad
        7. We’re Doomed
        8. I Quit
      3. Stages of Jerk
    8. 15. A Deep Breath
      1. Sigh
        1. Three Meetings
          1. 1:1s with my staff
          2. Staff
          3. “Look What We Built” meeting
        2. Invest in the Boring
    9. 16. Gaming the System
      1. An Entertaining System
        1. Discovery: From Confusion to Control
        2. Optimization, Repetition, and Win: A Paradox and a Warning
        3. Achievement: Who Cares if You Win by Yourself?
        4. The Rules of the Game
          1. The rules need to be clear.
          2. The rules must be inviolable.
          3. The playing of the game must be inclusive, visible, and broadcasted.
          4. Use money as a reward only as a last resort.
          5. It’s not a game.
      2. The Whiteboard Game
    10. 17. Managing Werewolves
      1. A Dangerous Scenario
      2. People Lie, Some Are Evil, Others Just Want to Screw You
      3. This Isn’t Role Playing; This Is Life or Death
      4. We Can’t Let the Werewolves Win
    11. 18. BAB
      1. On the Topic of Trust
        1. BAB
          1. In BAB, you talk shit.
          2. In BAB, you learn things unintentionally.
          3. In BAB, you’re having work experiences without the work.
      2. The Second Staff Meeting
    12. 19. Your People
      1. Share What You Build
      2. You Tell Stories
    13. 20. Wanted
      1. The Requisition Situation
        1. Spend an Hour a Day on Each Req You Have
        2. I Found Them! I’m Done!
      2. Deliberate Want
      3. Hire for Your Career
    14. 21. The Toxic Paradox
      1. Big Fat Toxic Assumptions
      2. Go Team!
      3. A Toxic Paradox
      4. Everyone Is an Adjustment
    15. 22. The Pond
      1. The Unspoken Royal We
      2. Do You Mean It?
        1. The Personality
          1. Are they eloquent in email?
          2. Are they self-directed?
          3. How detail-oriented are they?
          4. How well do they know the Pond?
          5. Do they need the Pond?
          6. Are they reliable?
        2. The Right Job
        3. The Culture
        4. Friction Detection
      3. Another Pond
  7. III. YOUR DAILY TOOLKIT
    1. 23. The Nerd Handbook
      1. Understanding Your Nerd
        1. Understand Your Nerd’s Relation to the Computer
        2. Your Nerd Has Control Issues
        3. Your Nerd Has Built Himself a Cave
        4. Your Nerd Loves Toys and Puzzles
        5. Nerds Are Fucking Funny
        6. Your Nerd Has an Amazing Appetite for Information
        7. Your Nerd Has Built an Annoyingly Efficient Relevancy Engine in His Head
        8. Your Nerd Might Come Off as Not Liking People
      2. Advanced Nerd Tweakage
        1. Map the Things He’s Bad at to the Things He Loves
        2. Make It a Project
        3. People Are the Most Interesting Content out There
      3. The Next High
    2. 24. The Taste of the Day
      1. The New Gig
      2. The Taste of the Day
        1. The Morning Scrub
        2. Practice Productivity Minimalism
        3. The Evening
    3. 25. The Trickle List
      1. Trickle Creation
      2. The Trickle Process
      3. Structured Improvisation
    4. 26. The Crisis and the Creative
      1. A Spectrum for Everything
        1. The Crisis
        2. The Creative
      2. A Personal Model
    5. 27. The Foamy Rules for Rabid Tools
      1. The Foamy Rules
        1. My Tools Appear Deceptively Simple
        2. My Tools Do Not Care Where My Work Is
        3. My Tools Are Designed to Remove Repetitive Motion
        4. My Tools Do Only What I’ve Told Them to Do
        5. My Tools Are My Tools
      2. An Evolving Foaminess
    6. 28. Up to Nothing
      1. An Essential Exercise in Inactivity
      2. Up to Nothing
      3. Don’t Look for It
    7. 29. How to Not Throw Up
      1. Not Throwing Up Is a Two-Phase Process
        1. Phase 1: Practice Endlessly
        2. Phase 2: Throw-up Avoidance
          1. Improvise
      2. Fret
    8. 30. Out Loud
      1. Presentation or Speech?
      2. The Unforgivable Mistake
      3. The Disaster
      4. Reduction
      5. Presentation Punctuation
      6. Something for Their Pocket
    9. 31. Bits, Features, and Truth
      1. That Damned Triangle
        1. Bits, Features, and Truth
          1. Bits
          2. Features
          3. Truth
        2. Circle of Comfort
        3. Circle Analysis
          1. Bits and Features are the same.
          2. Truth is the same as Features.
      2. Let the Negotiation Begin; It’s About the Debate
    10. 32. The Reveal
      1. Three Phases
      2. Three Alphas
        1. Alpha Nothing: “I’m saying absolutely nothing.”
        2. Alpha Game: “I’m game, but you drive.”
        3. Alpha Drive: “I’ll drive.”
      3. The Holy Shit Event Horizon
  8. IV. YOUR NEXT GIG
    1. 33. The Screw-Me Scenario
      1. You Might Be Lying
      2. A Rubber Stamp Affair
      3. No Guilt, No Doubts, No Fear
      4. Game On
      5. The Unforgivable Spin
      6. A Screw-Me Detection Policy
    2. 34. No Surprises
      1. Show Me the Money
        1. Measures Versus Content
        2. A Review Is a Conversation
        3. Surprise!
      2. The Permanence of the Written
    3. 35. A Deliberate Career
      1. Three Choices
        1. Question #1: Start-up or Established?
          1. Start-up
          2. Established
        2. Question #2: Industry and Brand
        3. Question #3: Management or Development?
          1. Why would anyone want to be a manager?
      2. A Complete Opportunity Move
    4. 36. The Curse of the Silicon Valley
      1. Apprenticeship
      2. On Language
        1. Everyone Hates Engineering
          1. No one knows what we actually do to build the software, so they assume it’s easy
          2. We take our work personally and believe no else does
          3. Our relationship is with the bits
      3. The Curse
      4. Geeks Gone Mainstream
    5. 37. A Disclosure
      1. Management Is a Total Career Restart
      2. You Go to a Lot of Meetings
      3. You Are a Communication Hub
      4. Abstraction and Filtering
      5. You Will Be a Multilingual Translator
      6. Drama Everywhere
      7. Context Switcher
      8. Say No
      9. Say Yes
      10. Trust So You Can Scale
    6. 38. Mind the Gap
      1. The Gaps
        1. Knowledge and Ability: “Alpha Knowledge”
        2. Power and Influence: “Maestro”
        3. Network and Communication: “The Insider”
      2. A Matter of Perspective
    7. 39. The Exodus
      1. This Sucks
        1. Two Threads
          1. Tactical
          2. Strategic
        2. The First Wave
          1. Where does this exodus begin?
          2. Why are they leaving?
          3. Why are they letting them go?
        3. The Second Wave
          1. Approach #1: Wait it out
          2. Approach #2: Stem the tide
        4. The Third Wave
      2. Which Wave?
    8. 40. Bad News About Your Bright Future
      1. What’s Next
      2. Biased by the Now
      3. An Uncomfortable Ending
    9. A. Hurry
      1. You’re in a Hurry
    10. B. The Rules of Back Alley Bridge
      1. Preparing for Back Alley Bridge
      2. Rules of Play
  9. Index
  10. About the Author
  11. Colophon
  12. Special Upgrade Offer
  13. Copyright