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“Well, He’s Not Going to Get Very Far” (moz.com)
244 points by jennita on May 1, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 84 comments



What a perfect example of the benefits of open communication. Sarah was a skilled enough boss to make Zach feel comfortable challenging her. Zach was an engaged enough employee to actually discuss something that was bothering him. There are so many ways that this could not have happened.

This makes me really want to work with that team.


Really, its all about trust. People need to trust that what they say won't be twisted around and used against them.

The challenge is that the percentage of people from the population of people who want management responsibility that are willing to manipulate the situation for their own gain, is higher than the control population. Which means that people get exposed to them as managers more often than is ideal (in the ideal case they are managed to understand that 'winning' is a high level of trust on their team, but that doesn't happen often enough)

Just one of the ways that sociopaths have made life less enjoyable.


That reminds me of a stupid thing I said once.

At a sprint retrospective, I said something to the effect of “I realize that I could stand to get faster at coding and using the editor shortcuts”.

I was fired the next day. Reason given: coding skill.


That may have been the worst thing a manager could possibly do, in that situation.

nobody is ever going to trust that company enough to expose themselves and no improvement Ida going to happen.


I doubt that there was a strict causal link between your statement and your termination. (That no one was considering it, then you made that statement, then suddenly you're let go the next day.) If there was, and you're the type to read HN, you are better off anyway, even if it felt otherwise at the time.


No, I don't mean to imply that it was as simple as that.

This was a place where programmers pair all the time. If you're working by yourself, and you don't have things like quick editor navigation down, nobody cares. If you're pairing with someone who does, and they sigh and roll their eyes at the few seconds it takes you to do some basic tasks, it sucks. I could see and feel them gradually losing respect for me. In technical conversations, my opinion ceased to feel welcome.

Honestly, I probably would have been let go anyway. They were probably having conversations to this effect among themselves. It's pretty crappy to feel you're persona non grata without it being explicitly spelled out for you (yet). And I really was working on studying up and building these skills.

Bringing this up at a retrospective was saying, in effect, “I know this is an issue, I am working on it, and if you have any constructive feedback I welcome it”.

What I should have been doing, looking back on it, was actively looking for my next job. Saying this publicly to the team gave me less time to do that.


How was your next job? Better? Worse?


Better, but only slightly. At the extreme other end from pairing, I worked very independently. I had a nice system worked out for how I like to organize repositories, data, logs, installations etc. That takes some setup work but it pays off for me if I'm able to organize things this way up front.

I was thrilled at the hands off treatment I was getting, as I read documentation and integrated each new piece of the system into my development environment. I would have occasional questions when I ran into something that seemed off, like incorrect documentation or a broken script. I methodically fixed these things as I went, and soon had an automated build that could set up all the pieces on a fresh computer.

Then I hit a snag. I had trouble running the tests. I had little experience with the tool in question and, as has been my habit, took that as an opportunity to dive in and learn the tool. The manager saw this and was not happy. “Just make it work”, he said. “That's not a tool to learn, it's one to get working and then forget about”. I wasn't sure how to act on this. I've fought with code before, randomly trying things until something improves and I find it stressful and unrewarding. I tried to skim more and try things quickly but I still ended up with a lot of documentation tabs open and a lot of material to read and absorb.

The manager became more involved. He found a sample project online where somebody got this combination of tools working together, and sent it to me as I was driving home. He also suggested the probable heart of the matter. I tried it as soon as I got home, and his suggestion was indeed the right one.

I had flailed for a couple days on this, even considering switching to a different tool (an idea first rejected, then later embraced, by this manager and the other developer on the project). For a while, I was dealing with issues myself as they came up, but now with this issue, the things I was reading and trying were being closely watched, and I felt pulled back and forth between different avenues to pursue.

The following morning I was integrating the manager's solution, getting ready to commit. He was already continuing the online exchange. The thing he found was in the comments on the project's home page. It was one of the first things I should have found and tried, and I had missed it. He didn't need to say this; it came through loud and clear in his tone. My stock was falling fast.

The next workday I got an email from an upper manager: please meet this afternoon. At that meeting, I was let go.

I'll never know for sure, but I believe at least part of this was about personality. After spending some time and effort learning a tool, and considering switching tools, he decided I wasn't the pragmatic fast-mover he wanted. I didn't change direction fast enough based on his early comments about how I should approach snags I ran into.

Honestly, if I had seen this happen to the guy next to me, rather than been the target myself, I would have been walking on eggshells afterward.

Sigh, time to go try and be perfect again.


Good managers give their employees either advice and oversight or autonomy and empowerment recognizing when each is needed to get the job done as quickly as possible.

Truly excellent managers do so in such a way that the employee develops and improves.

Hopefully you'll get a manager like that. Oh, and stop trying to be perfect: it doesn't work. http://moz.com/rand/expectation-of-100-percent/


I'm thinking now of how nice a time the person replacing me at that last job is going to have. They'll try the documented way to start services and run tests, and those things will work on the first try. You're welcome, whoever you are :)


The open communication does last long (: The problem is the following: the existing managers will move on, the new manager will come, the new employee will come in, ... So... you eventually end up in the same place as in any other company.


The trick is not hiring too fast. If you bring employees in one at a time and wait for them to acclimate, you won't have a culture shift. Most companies go downhill when they try to grow too big, too fast.


Me as well. The post just gave me the warm fuzzies.


How many companies that tout flexible work schedules actually allow them? In my mind, a flexible work schedule should mean somewhere in the realm of 35-40 hours a week, with those expected occasional 41-60 hr spikes before a deadline.

When I talked to a recruiter recently, though, I asked them about their flexible work schedule. What they said was kind of horrifying: "Oh yeah, we're TOTALLY flexible! When there's a deadline due, we all work 60+ hours, but there are SOME weeks when we literally struggle to make our required 40."

Like, what? A flexible work schedule now means choosing between unpaid overtime and MORE unpaid overtime? GEE THANKS!


>When I talked to a recruiter recently, though, I asked them about their flexible work schedule.

I have /never/ talked to a recruiter who knew anything about how the actual company worked.

And how would they? In my experience? how many hours you are expected to work is a complex negotiation that depends a lot on how important you are to the team, and how effective you are perceived as being.

This changes dynamically, too. get something really cool done during the slow times? yeah, slack for a week; nobody will whine. Screw it up during crunch time? you better show up before the boss and leave after the boss for a few weeks.

(the second one can be dangerous... I mean, if you are screwing up due to overwork, then having you work more.... but that's the way it is.)


Sorry, recruiter was the wrong word. This person was recruiting people, but they were a developer on the web team talking about their experience in the workplace.


Paying an hourly rate solves these problems.

Our project managers discourage long work weeks because they add cost without delivering proportional value. Work weeks tend to be in the 20-25 hour range. We compensate by hiring about 30% more devs than average.

The main disadvantage comes when a dev (often with a unique skillset) "owns" a particularly challenging piece of the project. Otherwise it works well.


If you're working for a new company, this might be true. However, many established companies (like the one I work for now) have fewer benefits for hourly employees, not to mention the pay ceilings are much lower than salary.

Paying hourly also has a lot of annoying caveats to it. Should I be clocked in for work-related functions? What about ones where I'm expected to be there but it's from 6pm-8pm at a restaurant (and I'm already working 40+ hours with my boss getting hounded for excessive overtime pay)? Does this party at 1pm count as my government mandated lunch break? How closely am I being watched to make sure I'm working "efficiently"?

Point being, hourlies usually end up being treated as second-class citizens one way or another, and it becomes even more apparent when hourly employees and salaried employees work together.


Being treated with respect as a human being is a strange way to describe being treated as a second class citizen (Been there done that, on both sides of the argument BTW, and hourly was much more professional, much more humane)

The answer to your questions BTW are yes, yes, yes if optional no if not, and depends solely on how paranoid the boss is and has nothing whatsoever to do with how finance pays you. The first three questions are pretty simple to figure out on your own. Did the boss tell you to do it, and will it show up on your review if you don't complete that requirement? Then you get paid, duh.

I would agree with your last line, when I was hourly they treated salaried coworkers literally worse than slaves, not even as well as property is treated. Horrific.


It would seem that we've had different experiences.


Ya - this sort of thing only makes sense if its part of a general worker-focused culture. We're also not paying wages, but hourly credits towards profit sharing. The whole context is important.


> The answer to your questions BTW are yes, yes, yes if optional no if not

Oh come on. Did you write that comment with the intent of it being read?


There are some hourly people who make more than salaries employers ("consultants" vs. "contractors", i.e. people hired for particular skill or experience vs. to fill a role, generally). There are some places where pretty much everyone but the very top management is some kind of hourly-billed contractor or consultant, which seems weird.

In practice there are usually client and contracting firm cultural solutions to the ambiguous billing situations. Generally the thing to avoid is giving people unaccounted-for discounts; it's better to bill for more time but then give an explicit discount, or at least to make it clear you're not billing for something, vs. just silently not charging for things -- otherwise it is taken for granted and expected.


I am hourly, and I often find myself shaving my hours if I am unhappy with my output, and other times I can't help myself and I end up working for sixty hours and not put down the overtime. I don't think that this is unusual, it's how you keep a job in a down economy.


I ended up working at a call center as a temporary job, and was given a lot of responsibilities during a major transition to another location; they gave me a monthly bonus on top of the hourly pay (I'm a salaried analyst now). The company I work for would have immediately fired me for going either way with hours, and if my boss knew, they'd probably have fired him as well (huge violation of company policy. Not saying that makes you a terrible person or anything. Just relating how it can be complicated.

I also did a few business trips while I was hourly, which started out odd, but really didn't end up being that bad. I was basically filling in for my supervisor and the management structure seemed to think the return value was worth a pretty decent chunk of overtime logged.

The bonus thing was weird, because I was basically half-salaried and half hourly. Anyone else have experience with that? My income was relatively stable as long as I stayed in the 35 - 45 hour range, and even a bit outside of that, but past that I could pretty substantially alter it. I also had a really good relationship with my boss, so like any other job, if I had started working 15 hours a week they would have had a problem. My work quality and production were solid, though, and I felt secure in the position. Interesting period of time.


As a consultant, it's better to say "I worked 60h but am giving you a 50% discount", I think. Maybe it's different if you're hourly staff.


I've experienced similar, but only when working hourly from home. I guess I feel responsible for distractions in my own house, but when I'm in the office I have no second thoughts about billing for the time where I did my best in the environment provided.


That's actually the situation I am in. I also feel like any time that I spend researching a solution (reading Blogs, Articles, Building POCs) isn't something that I should bill for. If I had done the same, but I had to go to an office, I wouldn't hesitate to report those hours. I guess it's because the former doesn't "feel" like work.


I'd generally take half my normal on-site rate to work from home. Although I'd also take a discounted rate to go to interesting places (assuming travel paid, but even then, it might be a discount), or a surcharge to go somewhere uninteresting and on short notice.

I'd absolutely do IT/satellite stuff in Antarctica if I had nothing else I had to be doing, just for the experience (although I think it also pays decently, like $80k for a season with no other expenses...)


In a heartbeat! I would do it for 20, but I find the idea of living in Antarctica pretty exciting.


I'd pay 20k to do it.


I truly believe Programmers should never get a "job". If you are not skilled at all they are really overpaying you and if you have any skill at all, they are really underpaying you. I wish a day when all programmers just work as consultants and paid of every hour they work. Programmers should be treated more like artists or actors.


There is more value to programming than what it puts in your bank account though. If you wish to build and be part of a truly engaging product, you have to engage for the long haul with a codebase, on the order of years. That means either (A) you make your own product (and are responsible for your own business strategy, accounting and sales), or (B) you get into a fixed contract with some employer (where due to the long term relationship they will be careful to restrict what they pay).

In scenario (A) you will not spend all your day programming. You will have to care about the business parts. If you're not cut out for those parts, even if you end up making lots of money, you will probably not be happy.

In scenario (B) you are more likely to be able to spend more time programming, with less overhead to worry about, but this depends heavily on the employer, so you may end up performing several false starts or walking away from an employer/employee relationship. If an employer accepts you, you will most likely not be paid what your time is worth, but this is a willing exchange for not having to care about the non-technical parts of the story.

Is there a scenario C? If there is I've not yet discovered it.


Yes, there is. I've worked as a paid-by-the-hour contractor for a single client for years at a time. I've done this for three different clients - for 4 years, 2 and 1/2 years, and (my current client) 3 and 1/2 years. In my current role, I serve as dev lead and have significant input with regard to strategic direction of the project. I might be an outlier and my experience may not be shared by many, but I'm evidence that scenario C exists.


Consultants absolutely do not get paid for every hour they work.

Time spent finding new clients, for example, is totally unpaid. And most consultants need to spend a fair amount of time doing this.

Ongoing training and education time are also totally unpaid. Clients hire you to solve problems and go away--they won't invest in you like they would an employee.


A culture where everyone has to be in the perfect 1%, or where everyone is informing on everyone, or where people are very actively competing for status and territory, is also one where nobody will show vulnerability or speak up or tell the truth, except as it seems strategic to do so.


Which shows the perfect meaninglessness of the netflix slide, the cognitive dissonance of it. "We fire all B performers regardless of effort".

Think about that. Pretend you don't know what netflix does. I hope nuclear reactors are run by people like that. Oh that sounds like a good slogan for an open heart surgeon. Secret service agents? No, you say? Hmm how about space shuttle tile installation specialist? I've got it, sounds like people who guide tin cans full of thousands of gallons of flammable fuel and hundreds of vulnerable human beings, miles above the earth at just under the speed of sound in incredibly crowded skies and they almost never make a mistake. Umm are they the people we trust our youth to, to mold and train their minds, or at the other end, the people we trust to care for our elders? Nope none of the above... dude, they rent videos. No.... you're kidding me! Really? Thats all?

Every corporate mythology has some kind of self congratulatory mythos about being the elite of the elite, perfection on earth. Lots of kool-aid get drunk at these proclamations. It sounds absolutely hilarious to realistic outsiders not drunk on the kool-aid.

I know this is HN where only binary thinking is allowed therefore making fun of them for not being the 1% elite means I'm implying they must be the bottom 1%. Nope. Not at all. They're probably good average people doing good average things, just like every other average company out there. Key word being average. Dude... they rent videos... I hope to god for the survival of our species that the intellectual elite of our civilization are doing something slightly more important. And I think they are.


There's a benefit to making a ridiculous statement like that, though: it makes firing decisions a lot easier. Have you ever worked with that employee--the one that, sigh, they do an OK job, but wow, you have to explain everything to them 700 different ways until you get on the same page. The same mistakes keep popping up over and over. You sit them down and explain what's up. They say they're trying and they're overwhelmed. You believe them and understand that yes, our company has a lot of stuff going on and it can be tough to get your bearings.

Months pass, and the employee is skating slightly below to just above the point of causing you more work. You've corrected some of the recurring mistakes they made when they first started, but now new ones are coming up. You make notes of the employee's progress and give honest feedback. They continue to improve. Slowly. Improving just enough so that HR has strong reservations about starting the termination process. You're stuck with a dud employee that, yeah, they're not absolutely horrible, but you know that you'd be much better off with an employee that could at least get things right the second time instead of the 20th.

"You shouldn't have hired them," I hear you say. It's not always the case that you hire them. I've "inherited" bad employees from predecessors in the past and have even had my boss transfer employees into my department that were doing even worse in other departments.

So yeah, if our company had any kind of policy like the one at Netflix, this entire process wouldn't even be a conversation. I just send the mediocre employee off riding into the sunset and hire someone that's a better fit with none of the fuss and BS.


I believe there could some some grade inflation going on. That sounds like a "D-" or "F+" situation. You're talking about the far extreme left corner of the population bell curve, whereas the stated policy is all about the far right corner.

The B guy getting fired scenario would sound a lot like "he came in late once last quarter, he was responsible for one software bug (the A level guys are perfect of course), he didn't get awarded any honorary doctorates in CS last year unlike some of the A level guys (hey, Linus has a few), he claims to be publishing a textbook on the language we use but he's behind schedule, and he only taught his coworkers one new programming paradigm last year"


Yes, been there done that. Especially - I think - in coding, there are people who put in negative performance by messing up the things theyre assigned to do so others have to come in later and clean up their bugs. Terrible decision to let somebody go but best to cut your losses early.


Couldn't agree more. Every little startup and bigcorp think they need the Ninja Rockstar Astronaut Millionaire Cowboy 1% Hacker, while in fact they're just looking for someone to crank out some standard js or ruby for some social networking web app.


Oh, they might need a minority of "A" level players for a couple of the really tough jobs. Whoever runs netflix routing and NAS gets a total tip of my hat to them and at least some of them must be "A" level. I bet they've got some guys who know a few things about video codecs too. On the other hand, the dude who files expense reports in the correct filing cabinet most of the time, well, lets be polite and claim its hard to say. Describing the entire corporate culture as "A" level is just laughable.


>Describing the entire corporate culture as "A" level is just laughable.

And it is an excellent means to cover up bad management. When expectations are unrealistic, then everyone is probably failing. It just boils down to office politics about who avoids blame.

It is a nice idea to always be A-level or work towards there -- that requires a significant investment in recruiting and training that few companies are actually interested in. But a company that cannot make good use of B-level work in most places surely has incompetent management.


Yep its like making all the bug fixes priority 1


<wince> You speak as if we worked together in a previous life.

"Hey, you guys never fix the P2 or P3 bugs!" Remember him?


There's an easy solution to this behavior: If all the bugs are P1, you the developer get to choose what order they go in.


Well to be fair, you have to compare the guy filing expense reports to his peers. He may be the best damn expense report filer in North America.


True as an example its unfair to pick on one dude. BUT... if he's a "A" level hero 1% astronaut then statistics indicate at least 10 of his coworkers are just joe average, maybe 100.

See, here's the problem. You can get one, maybe two geniuses to found a company. Maybe even a couple peppering the whole company... But wikipedia claims they have over 2000 employees.

Can you have an organization full of geniuses? Sure, although its rare. Think of the institute for advanced studies in its glory days. Or Bell Labs in the good old days. If you twist definitions and turn the Manhattan Project into one org and only count the top physicists and not the rank and file, sure. A two thousand person video rental company, um, no, I don't think so.

Now the Kool-Aid drinkers could proclaim that they only hire personnel with Nobel Prizes in Physics. But 2000+ prizes have not been issued yet, and quite a few of those people are dead or otherwise unavailable, most (all?) of the early 20th century winners for example. Even worse the whole industry also claims in public they also only hire Nobel Laureates.

I guarantee that NFLX does not fire all B and below performers because there is not enough talent to pull it off industry wide especially with everyone else having the same ridiculous demand.

Frankly that's good. Who wants to work in an industry where 99% of the graduates are permanently unemployed and only 1% ever get to work? Or even worse, a society with 99% unemployment rate?


I want to work in [some forms of] a society with 99% unemployment rate, owing to advances in automation.

It may be realistic in such a society to expect that the 1% still 'working' are going to be very good at their jobs, and doing it primarily for self-satisfaction.... such as Nobel Laureates. I suspect that people who aren't really good at their job don't want to do the job at all. They want the income, but probably not the job itself.

"Work if you want to eat" produces organizations rife with mediocrity.

With a sustainable population, mincome and a (continued) increase in automation, its not hard to imagine a world where everyone working wants to be there, and thus most of the people working are indeed A-players.

99% unemployment rate could be pretty good for both workers and non-workers.


I think HR would have a huge headache separating the self-satisfaction people who coincidentally have huge talent from pathological control freaks, and fame seekers, and pathological types who just want to see the world burn, and probably other weirdos. If HR fails then the nuts might wreak havoc on the normal workers and the rest of the world.

I don't think NFLX will make it to that historical era. And appearing somewhat delusional doesn't help their odds.


It is worth noting that that presentation was from a few years ago. According to someone I knew that worked there at the time but doesn't now, the culture went downhill after.


"Welp, I guess that means everybody who currently works here is an A-player, great going everybody! Let's go get some beers for the next couple of years."


Every startup that plans on being successful must have at least one person on the team that is smart and driven far beyond the median. It's usually at least one of the founders. Then you can hire B people and maybe still succeed (but of course your chances are diminished).

Most frequently, I startups seeking out these one-percenters due to their own massive organizational ignorance - which, incidentally, makes getting one or more people with extreme clue onto the team a requisite for any success whatsoever, if only insofar as they will keep the ship from hitting an obvious iceberg.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that when dumb startups say they need this, they are frequently so dumb as to be right. (That person (often me) will be miserable there, though.)


They then want you to spend your time teaching them to be A-players.

10-15 years ago the "smart and driven" person was called a "visionary" in the dotcom world. Check Wired backissues, they probably bought out the entire late-90s inventory of the word.


Think about it this way: no matter how low you put the dividing line between A-level and B-level performers, you will always have people that fall below the line.

So, set your line appropriately, but fire people below the line, no matter how "hard" they work / how much time they spend "ass-in-chair".


I think you might be reading a little much into the slide. I think it's obvious that the point is you get no credit for effort expended: you either deliver what is expected of you or you don't.

Also, I'm not sure what hellish grading system you're used to where "A" means "1% elite". In most contexts, it means "competent": A student at most educational institutions in the US can expect an A if they grasped the class material and didn't flub the tests and assignments.

There are places where consistent, well intentioned sub-competence is sufficient, a high-availability, technically complicated, ultra high volume paid service running on retail margins is not one of them.


It's interesting to hear that "A" means "competent" in the USA. I'm assuming that you aren't just making an off the cuff statement of course, and if you aren't I'd like to share some Australian context.

Most people get a "C" or passing grade only in Secondary and Tertiary education. As an Aussie trying to impress American employers (in the past) with my credentials, this goes some way to explaining why they list "GPA 4.0" as required. I know practically nobody with a 4.0 GPA in Sydney.

Here is some more reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academic_grading_in_Australia


A does not mean "competent" in the US. Grades are curved so that only a few students get A's. It has nothing at all to do with what the student knows either. Hell, I remember some university classes explicitly assigning grades this way: a a measure of you relative to your peers. People generally don't get 4.0's either.


depends on the university. Many universitys do not use a curve for grading. Almost every class i went to on the very first day you get a syllabus that states the total number of available 'points' that you can get for the various parts of the class, and then states how many points you need to acquire the various grades of A B or C.


I had a professional development class in college where A, B and C players were defined. "A player" meant you would shoot-for-the-moon, process be damned. You would be a constant source of disruption. That can work in the short term, but a sustainable business is not build with only "A players". Building products and services, and especially supporting them, takes work that "A players" don't want to do. You need "B players" for day-to-day work. They can range from excellent at their work to just competent. "C players" are the ones who nobody wants, incompetent and/or interpersonal disasters.

The Netflix stance of only hiring "A" people is obviously does not work with this definition. If you get 2000 "A players" together for more than a short time, your organization will fall apart. Everyone would try to get to the top and make the company follow their vision. If they can't, they will move on sooner than later.


The things you see as obvious are equally "read into" the slide, just from a different perspective.


Aren't you attacking the wrong thing here? The expectation is performance, not necessarily brilliance. I'm personally tired of the perception that performance is even correlated with hours worked, let alone causative.


The thing is you need I be an A performer for your role. This could also be summarized as avoid the Peter principle.


That's where you run into the bell curve problem where you demand 5% of the area under the curve be hired, yet claim that magically they all came from the 1% right edge. In an industry where everyone claims to do the same thing. That's not going to work mathematically.

Other ways to handle it other than massive underemployment are grade inflation and redefining an "A" into a participation trophy or redefine "A" performance as brown nosing the boss or whatever. Or redefine earning a "A" as we don't plan to fire you this year... at least at this time.

There is a lesson to this situation for ALL startups. A genius can found a company. Maybe a couple geniuses can found a company. Maybe the first hire, or some of the first hires can be genius level. HOWEVER... Somewhere on the path to being a real, scaled, grown up company, you're going to start to hire from the general population. It doesn't matter if you admit it or not. As a management issue it probably helps to be aware of it rather than delusional about it, aside from the obvious "people laughing at you" thing. You can push against reality for awhile if you're the richest search company that ever existed, or if you can get the .gov to pay any sum you ask for, or the most prestigious .edu or thinktank in the world. But almost all startups are not like that, and that's another "better to understand reality than live in a delusion" scenario.


Is the distribution of ability levels really a bell curve? I would expect it to be roughly trimodal, with a large group at "generally competent", a small but sizable group at "incompetent and painful to work with", and another small group at "creative innovator that raises the productivity of everyone around them".

I'd also expect that everybody wants to think of themselves as being in the last group, and so the companies all advertise for that. But realistically, very few people actually want to hire creative innovators and even fewer still will listen to them once they do, so companies are really gunning for that middle group. It's quite possible to parcel out that middle group into 5% chunks.


And I could go into any company in the world and make an A performer a B just by using their procedures.


That's a quite uncharitable reading of the Netflix slide (I assumes that's what you're referring to).

Your "A-game" is your best, not the best in the world. Your "B-game", by extension, is something less. The way I read it, is that as long as you're doing the best work you can, it doesn't matter when you work. If you're doing less than your best work, well, you should stop.


> Your "A-game" is your best, not the best in the world....

Hmm, that doesn't jibe with the idea of not rewarding mere effort, which is how I read it as well; we reward results, and "punish" lack of results. This isn't necessarily a bad thing; applicants know what they are getting into and can self select out if they don't feel up to it.


Well, your best has to be good enough to get good results. I just did not get the vibe "you must be a top 1% astronaut rockstar" from that slide that the GP seemed to.


I refer you to Celine's Laws, #2: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celines_laws

"Communication is only possible between equals". Equality is a perception, but the one with the power to punish inevitably decides who is equal, and who isn't. The safe bet if you're in the inferior position is to assume that rocking the boat will get you in trouble.

That's why everyone hates when bosses make jokes about firing them. It's only funny if you know it's a joke, but employees can never be sure.



Values and culture are defined by actions. If a company has to spend a lot of time telling its employees that they are valued, that usually indicates that the message is trying to counteract some stronger implicit message based on actions. It's like hearing "we value your business" while you're on hold for support. If they actually valued your business they would take the effort to provide better support. When I file a ticket with my VPS provider there is communication going on almost instantly and typically the issue is resolved within a matter of minutes, they don't have to tell me that they value my business, they show it. And I spend less money with them than I do with my mobile provider or my ISP.


>understand how little faith and trust people have in us when we stand up at a meeting and say “we believe in our culture”

Because time and again employees have to read bs that makes their eyes bleed and keep a straight face. The netflix "we are the A++ team" slide is another example.

No doubt they are a great team, but all of their workforce deliver a perfect A score over all the worklife, no matter if they get ill, have children or broken hearts?


Reminds me of "are we an effective team" from Oblivion :-;


What is TAGFEE? Is that some SEOmoz-specific term? I found other places they'd used it but no actual description in 2 seconds of googling.


Following the link in the upper right-hand corner, I find a page which talks about being Transparent, Authentic, Generous, Fun, Empathetic, and Exceptional.

http://www.seomoz.org/blog/what-we-believe-why-seomozs-tagfe...


Weird, the design of sites (other than this one) has caused me to be totally blind to content in the margin like that; it's usually some kind of social media sharing widget or something.


It's a bad idea to put a photograph of keys on-line, particularly in such a way that they can be matched up with a real-world identity. And the higher-profile you are, the worse an idea it is, I imagine.

http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2011/07/duplicating_ph...

http://www.news.com.au/national-news/killer-escaped-prison-a...


For god's sake, have an opinion that wasn't on the front page of HN last week.


Yikes. Is the hostility needed?


Next question: Why did Sarah have Kenny's keys?


"Assumption is the mother of all screwups"; and yet it is so natural to all of us.

Salute to Sarah for building an excellent open culture and Zach's courage to speak out. And yes, 'trust' is critical in organizations. Good story.


Nice story, but moz.com really needs to "body { color: black }" with that background of theirs.


Moz circle jerk.




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