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Caveat that I might be completely off, but if, say, 10 bn people tried once a nanosecond since the inception of the universe, you'd still have only 10^10 * 2^86 ≈ 2^33 * 2^86 = 2^119 attempts, that still only cover's 2^-9 (i.e. 1/512th) of the total addressable 2^128 space, i.e. still fairly unlikely that you'll have hit that specific number.

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Not to discard your comment, but wrt Stockholm: Build higher! Urbanize areas outside of the core inner city. Lots to do in planning and building to not create artificial social policy.

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Has been done in many European cities in the 60's and 70's. Those are now places nobody wants to live anymore, and many of them have been torn down.

The only people who want to live "higher" are the people who want high end apartments in the inner city. And those are the places where height restrictions are there to protect the historical nature of the inner city.

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I think it's a mistake to compare Le Corbusier-style "areas for living" with modern urbanised zones. The big issue there is that – sure – there's highrises, but no urbanisation. Usually because they are either lacking commercial space on ground floors or the density is too low, on aggregate, or the areas are too spaced out to support vibrant commercial centers. Look at stockholm, you have city, greenery, suburb, greenery, suburb. No urban connection, not enough density.

I've lived in areas like this myself, and I agree they're not nice. However, I have to think it's not only locality to city center that makes central areas good, it's also that they are self sustaining burrows. There's ample housing, parks, jobs, retail, restaurants, bars, etc.

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I'm subjective, but I think Spotify uses slightly innovative ways of organising. See: * https://labs.spotify.com/2014/03/27/spotify-engineering-cult... * https://labs.spotify.com/2014/09/20/spotify-engineering-cult...

Happy to answer questions.

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Thanks for making it clear that you work at Spotify. Transparency is good start :-)

I just watched both videos. Thanks so much for doing these ! Or maybe thank Henrik when you see him, haha :-)

I have a lot of questions.

From what I understand, Spotify squads each focus on one area and each squad has very different members so it can stay autonomous. Is that right? What happens if sysadmin / developer / designer from squad X gets hit by a bus ? I'm actually talking about the bus factor [1] here, I hope you are all well :-)

How often do you change squads ? What about tribes ? The second video mentions "guild unconferences". What is that ? Can squads work remotely ?

How does code review work at Spotify ? For the last 2 weeks, we've been using pull requests on Github, which I've found to be a very good way of doing code review. Since the reviewer is the one to merge, eventually his/her name is on the commit too, which in my case makes me focus even more before hitting the "Merge" button. Merging creates an explicit merge commit, which makes reverting things easy if needed. And discussion in the comments allow for efficient, asynchronous discussion.

The video talks about how important trusting employees is to Spotify. That makes me wonder: do employees sign such things as non disclosure or non compete agreements ? what do you (or what does Spotify) think of such agreement ?

For the last few months, I've been reading the Groove blog [2]. Recently, Alex, Groove's CEO, talked about how much time he was spending talking to customers. How much do you (devs, sysadmins, marketers, designers, etc) communicate with users ?

How do gradual rollouts work ? Do you use a third party service for that ? Would love to learn more.

Thanks again.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bus_factor

[2] https://www.groovehq.com/

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Hey! Thanks for the long question. I'll pass on your regards to Henrik :-)

> From what I understand, Spotify squads each focus on one area and each squad has very different members so it can stay autonomous. Is that right? What happens if sysadmin / developer / designer from squad X gets hit by a bus ? I'm actually talking about the bus factor [1] here, I hope you are all well :-)

It's not always easy of course. I think the notion of T/M-shaped people apply. E.g. if only one person in a squad can do iPhone development, better spend time training some of the other people to do it as well. It also creates collaboration opportunities, which are highly important to actually make a team work. Then of course there is a lot of fluidity between squads. If squad X needs design help but are out of a designer, squad Y might lend their assistance.

> How often do you change squads ? What about tribes ? The second video mentions "guild unconferences". What is that ? Can squads work remotely ?

It varies. Some people have been in the same squad for two years, others are in new ones every six months. And generally, you change squads and if a tribe move has to happen, that'll happen as part of that. Squads are generally co-located though, so not many squads are remote-composed. A guild unconference is simply an unconference (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unconference) on a certain area, e.g. Machine Learning, Web, Mobile, Backend etc. So all the people who are interested in that get together for a day and debate the future of that area.

> How does code review work at Spotify ? For the last 2 weeks, we've been using pull requests on Github, which I've found to be a very good way of doing code review. Since the reviewer is the one to merge, eventually his/her name is on the commit too, which in my case makes me focus even more before hitting the "Merge" button. Merging creates an explicit merge commit, which makes reverting things easy if needed. And discussion in the comments allow for efficient, asynchronous discussion.

We use GitHub as well. Roughly the same model.

> The video talks about how important trusting employees is to Spotify. That makes me wonder: do employees sign such things as non disclosure or non compete agreements ? what do you (or what does Spotify) think of such agreement ?

We think trust is highly important, and embodied in what we share internally and how open we generally are. Not sure I can comment on the legal aspects of that though.

> For the last few months, I've been reading the Groove blog [2]. Recently, Alex, Groove's CEO, talked about how much time he was spending talking to customers. How much do you (devs, sysadmins, marketers, designers, etc) communicate with users ?

Never enough :-) We do spend a lot of time with user research, both structured via our research team but also Starbucks testing, when a few devs go down to the local coffee shop and test features. Then we have community outreach teams that keep us honest and makes sure to push the customer voice inside the company. Also, a ton of engineers hang around on e.g. /r/reddit and asks questions. And when users blog about or voice their concerns, it does make the round on internal lists.

> How do gradual rollouts work ? Do you use a third party service for that ? Would love to learn more.

Mostly custom built, and it varies a bit between the backend and the front end. It's all the usual jazz though, deploying per machine or percentages of users or localized to markets etc.

> Thanks again.

Hope I at least answered some of the questions.

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Thanks for your input Marcus. Had never heard of "Starbucks testing". Sounds good though! :-)

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How does accountability work at Spotify? It looks like your squads have a specific goal (and maybe a leader?) but when you get up to the tribe level it wasn't clear if one person is in charge of a tribe, or if a product, design and tech lead all share authority. If that is true, do you guys not suffer from the tyranny of structurelessness? How do you do strategic planning/coordination?

How do teams that are not engineering focused get stuff done? For instance a customer support team or marketing team - would it have its own engineers and engineering management?

Edit: finally, how long have you worked at Spotify with this culture?

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Sorry for late answers here but thanks for asking questions!

> How does accountability work at Spotify? It looks like your squads have a specific goal (and maybe a leader?) but when you get up to the tribe level it wasn't clear if one person is in charge of a tribe, or if a product, design and tech lead all share authority. If that is true, do you guys not suffer from the tyranny of structurelessness? How do you do strategic planning/coordination?

Squads don't have leaders, but they do have product owners who ultimately owns the roadmap of the product owned by that squad. A tribe is lead by a trio of engineering, product and design. Responsibility for the various facets of the tribes output is divided between the three roles.

> How do teams that are not engineering focused get stuff done? For instance a customer support team or marketing team - would it have its own engineers and engineering management?

Yeah, the tech/product side of that have homes in tribes as well.

> Edit: finally, how long have you worked at Spotify with this culture?

I've been here 2.5 years. This structure has been in place for roughly three years, maybe a bit more.

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I recently spoke to a recruiter at Skyscanner, and he mentioned that they have also adopted a similar model to Spotify. He called the model "Squads and tribes".

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I work for Skyscanner, and can confirm this. It's a very effective model for managing a business this size, and IMHO fosters innovation within the business. Very basic description of the model as it is at Skyscanner:

Tribes - High level products (hotels, flights, car hire)

Chapters - "Departments"; areas of expertise (data acquisition, front end)

Squads - Autonomous project units (New features, development of an existing feature)

Guilds - Informal interest groups (Linux, Python, agile development)

Everyone is in a Tribe and a Chapter relating to their "department", and area of expertise; Squads are formed to work on projects, then disbanded once the project is finished; anyone can join and participate in Guilds, which serve as interest/support groups for technologies/strategies/methodologies.

Edit: Corrected my brainfart. Thanks ssabev! Can't believe I did it twice...

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I suppose the difficult thing to gauge is whether using these cool-sounding names has any effect.

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That's a good question. I think about it as a way to distinguish from e.g. departments, projects etc and set the connotation that these are different things. If you use them to mean a 1:1 mapping to e.g. projects, then it falls apart. The terms aren't important per se.

In other words – you can't make a race horse by painting a pig brown.

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Cool to hear our model is getting adopted. A big difference here is that chapters at Spotify aren't departments, they are usually fairly small (5-10 people), and that squads are long lived, rather than project focused.

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Just a minor correction :)

Guilds - Informal interest groups (Linux, Python, agile development)

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Yes, here is a video explaining some of it.

http://vimeo.com/85490944

Never worked at Spotify but they seem very innovative (and they already let me rock out for eight hours everyday), so hey, nothing to bad say on my end.

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Very impressed by Spotify. Do they have deadlines?

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Sometimes. But as a general principle, we ship on quality, not time.

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thank you for sharing marcus! i use spotify everday and know i like it even more. also: great videos. you've got a talented graphic facilitator there

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Great to hear. And yeah, Henrik is teaching wizard. I'm sure he'll be happy to hear though :-)

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Dropbox?

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I'd say Google Drive, because the web app is so complete and nice that for simple purposes, you wouldn't mind not installing the desktop client, especially since you edit the files on the web anyway. So off-site storage + collaborative editing = Google Drive. Dropbox, on the other hand, is mostly a file syncing service; they may have some photo features on their web app, but that's it outside of file syncing.

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Can't disagree with GDrive being awesome. However, I was responding to the parent's suggestion that the parent's parent's quote was negated by e.g. GDrive.

With less double negatives: File syncing has actually turned out to be a pretty big thing, it just took (and this might be a bad list, but off the top of my head) 1. mobile adoption, 2. higher avg bandwidth and 3. someone getting it right. GDrive/Evernote/… does not negate that there is a demand for Dropbox.

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I like the Henrik Kniberg definition of culture, 'culture is the stuff people do without thinking about it'. E.g. you could codify most things as processes (which is basically the entire point of things like value stream maps), but a company culture is infuses the kind of things you don't need to make explicit, because they become self-evident.

Think Netflix travel policy ("be responsible") vs more traditional companies with rules and travel agents for implicit vs explicit, or cultural vs process driven.

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You actually brought up an interesting point that I was going to address: Netflix also has a legendary policy of expedient, rapid termination (see: The presentation that circulates around every so often).

The caveat to my statement was that you can keep that kind of culture at scale if you're brutal about either ensuring people are good cultural fits, whether that's by stringent hiring processes or swift termination.

Not that I think Netflix necessarily has the wrong approach here - it's a tradeoff to avoid having these explicit processes. But it's food for thought, nonetheless.

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> There's not much point comparing working conditions between Europe and the US when one of these places has widespread unemployment and there is literally rioting on the streets, as was the case not very long ago.

Which continent are you talking about now? Sounds like both?

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The situations in the US vs. the European nations that have been in serious trouble recently are barely comparable.

Even in the past year or so, with fears of further recession fading and growth returning to the PIIGS group, Greek unemployment is still running at over 27%, while the US is running at under 7%.

Similarly, while the US and elsewhere saw significant protests as part of the Occupy movement, they were mostly peaceful in nature. The violence seen on the streets of Greece around 2010-2012 as severe austerity measures were taken was on a different scale entirely.

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What I took offence to was comparing Europe as a whole to America. It doesn't necessarily make sense given the different make-up of the continents.

I have to volt-face that a bit though in that I was a bit surprised at both unemployment rate and labor force participation rates between EU and US. I.e. this graph didn't look like what I was prejudiced to think: http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SL.TLF.CACT.ZS/countries...

It's crazy listening to US rhetoric about the job market given your relatively low unemployment, high labor force participation and relatively high average salaries.

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But isn't that exactly a result of trying to be more "USA" (by having an economic union)? Besides, comparing US with a single European country is pretty pointless. One could easily turn the table around by choosing Norway instead of Greece.

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Stockholm, Sweden, has a fairly unregulated taxi market in that pricing is set independently. This causes massive issues, specifically for tourists who have no idea what to pick. They end up paying $500 USD to go from the airport to town, a ride that is usually closer to $60-70 USD.

I guess what I'm saying is judgement is contextual.

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That's why old regulations were good in old times but now that app can help you choose the best taxi at the best price this is not necessary.

Technology changes, people change so regulations must change with it.

We should version control all laws and regulations and we should debug them when we see people taking advantage of them in unexpected ways.

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*can help you choose the best taxi [registered through that app] at the best price [available through the app].

Do not forget that Uber, TaxiMagic, etc. are still closed and managed environments -- they are simply more opaque, as a corporation is choosing the makeup of that market instead of a government entity.

Laws are already version controlled and debugged when necessary, where does that come from? Laws are amended and repealed all the time, in every level of legislation.

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You can have multiple apps on your phone however i know very few people who would ask every taxi parked there how much they charge.

Plus the first one is a market place the second is just one taxi.

Hell I wouldn't mind if a government entity launched an app that did the same thing.

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Hey ho! That ending was unnecessarily rude. I don't think he planned his post as a personal attack on you or your values, so I don't think the hostility is necessary.

For some people it's easier than for others. I work with a ton of people who've migrated to Sweden. I think they find 1 and 2 fairly easy -- not trivial, mind you, but not hard enough that they can't be overcome. The third problem varies from person to person and what stage in life they're at. We have many people who have moved here with kids, and it seems to work out well. So it's certainly not unsurmountable, but yes, not easy either.

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Yes - re-reading that now. It came off as rude that was NOT my intention. Sorry - I apologize. (probably best not to edit it, and hope they see this follow-up?)

It was my desperate attempt to implore them (and people in general) to think through their responses before hitting Submit.

Opinion is great, but we're all too trigger happy to post our own view. Often its best if we didn't contribute on matters we are not well versed in.

I'm guilty of this myself. Not implying I'm not.

Its a futile exercise I'm sure, but somethings I feel like I have to try.

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> In the Balkans, you have rich gypsies throwing money on women at their weddings and carrying more bling on them than you will ever have in your lifetime.

From my understanding, the throwing of money during a wedding is a tradition in some cultures. It's either used to pay for the wedding, or the money goes around and is used in another wedding.

I've given money at weddings, in an envelope instead of throwing it, but I wouldn't call that a display of wealth. Not if spending YOUR money on YOUR wedding isn't, at least.

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So the pragmatists question is then naturally, how do you teach it? How do you shard the curriculum if not by subject? It seems a bit overbearing to ask each teacher to have the proper renaissance man's education of knowing a bit of everything.

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To me, a teacher's proper role isn't having knowledge and dumping it into someone's brain. It's knowing where to find that knowledge. My three Rs are "reading, research, and reflection": a teacher's job is to (1) provide useful material to consume, via lecture or homework or whatnot, (2) point towards larger resources for further exploration, and (3) guide thought processes to make useful conclusions.

A teacher's job is not to teach. It's to provide a space in which a student can learn. A focus is useful for this, but the focus doesn't need to be an abstract subject. It's a MacGuffin; it can be anything.

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Classes are already discrete, and can thus be taught by different teachers.

As I understand, classifying classes into "disciplines" is for the convenience of administrative systems, like university deans. This classification is not a law of the universe, nor of the human mind. One can imagine the negatives of fitting learning into hierarchical administrative models.

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