September 25, 2019
Reading Time: about 3 minutes


I’m lucky to work on a topic I’m passionate about with intelligent people willing to mentor me at a company that treats me well. This situation has pushed me to have strong opinions about how companies should operate and what employees should be free to do.


Optics are when people explicitly stay longer or come in earlier to demonstrate to others that they’re working an adequate amount. This makes no sense. The amount of time spent at work has minimal relation to the actual amount of work being done, and the ‘day to day impressions’ of random people on your floor should be minimally impactful (read: not AT ALL) on your performance rating, which should be the sole determinant of promotion.

Other easy examples are artificially increasing the number of relevant team members to make a task seem bigger than it is. Represent your work accurately, and difficult/valuable work will be naturally rewarded.


Be clear and coherent about your preferences. Give helful feedback when necessary and be open to receiving feedback in turn. Seek to listen then explain, so everyone can understand others’ points of view. Only by understanding the other pov can you successfully negotiate and/or engage their sympathy.

This might not be as drastic as the Bridgewater dot system, but in all honesty I support that as well.


Companies shouldn’t allow current managers to block their subordinates’ movements. Transfers should be solely dependent on the consent of the new team and the moving employee in question. This prevents employees from being fucked over by their managers and prevents people from working in toxic environments. Even if this may leave a team short-handed, any sufficiently important team should have capable management and adequate resources.

People should feel comfortable talking to their managers and vice versa. They should be on the same “team” against the world.

My old manager told me this:

My priorities are as follows. You, the team, the org, the company, the world.

This means that if something is advantageous only to me and not the team, he’ll still support it. If there’s an alternative that’s equally advantageous to me but also benefits the team, then he’ll push for that, and so on/so forth. This is fantastic because it allows me to trust that the manager will always want what’s best for me, regardless of how it may impact the team. LinkedIn also has this ingrained in their core culture. “I know that you won’t always be here, but I’ll help you get where you want and you give me good work in the meantime”.

Performance Reviews

People’s performance reviews should be dependent on an objective view of their work. Unfortuantely, work is often difficult to quantify, but we can get a reasonable understanding by asking coworkers and subject matter experts. These (and hard metrics from an employee’s projects) should be the only determinants for a promotion. Promotions shouldn’t have to be “fought for” by a manager; the work should speak for itself and be able to be represented by anyone equally.


Salary data should be public. Companies buy massive datasets of what other companies pay, and can select by region, field, role, growth stage, etc. This works against the employees. Employees should know how much they’re worth and how much more/less they could be making, as opposed to being forced to interview to re-negotiate for a higher salary each time.

Subject Matter

Find an area where you’re curious or passionate about. This allows you to worry more about how to solve the problems. Provided sufficient mentorship/intelligence/time, solid results should follow regardless.