Since reading ‘High Growth Handbook’ by Elad Gil, the value of writing a ‘Working with’ document became crystal clear to me. I am sharing mine externally to inspire other founders and leaders to reflect and write down their own working styles. These documents are incredibly beneficial, especially in a multi-timezone, remote setting like we have at RevenueCat.
I’ve spent some time fine-tuning mine, and this is the updated version.
Welcome to your go-to manual for understanding how to collaborate effectively with me.
My Mindset: Logic-Driven, Plan-Oriented
I’m a logical thinker, much like a computer. If A implies B and we have A, I’ll typically conclude B. Sticking to plans and predictability is my comfort zone, yet I value reactivity, especially when customer-related issues arise and are solvable.
This company isn’t just a job for me; it’s my life’s work. I’m deeply invested in everything here — our technology, culture, team, and customers. I get inspired and energized by hard-working coworkers who believe in our mission even more than me.
As a co-founder, I can offer a wealth of institutional knowledge and guidance. While I may not have all the answers, I’m usually good at pointing you in the right direction. RevenueCat is only a sum of it’s parts. Our teammates drive our culture and I want to make sure we are building a place that people want to be. If you have a suggestion on how to make RevenueCat an even cooler place to work for our teammates I’m always here to talk about it.
How We’ll Operate
- Regular Check-ins: For my direct reports, expect weekly or bi-weekly one-on-one meetings. To make our discussions more focused, I prefer that we establish an agenda before our scheduled time together.
- Communication Protocols: My schedule doesn’t allow much room for impromptu calls. If something urgent pops up, message me on Slack first. Should it require a call, schedule it through Susannah, please never bypass her.
- Meeting Preparation: Come to meetings with an agenda to ensure productivity. Without one, I might dominate the conversation, potentially missing your crucial points. Let’s both be responsible for following up on action items.
- Team Support: I’m open to joining other team meetings, but please share the agenda in advance and mark my attendance as optional unless crucial.
- Problem-Solving Approach: My engineering background means I love tackling complex problems using a divide and conquer approach: by breaking them down into smaller, manageable chunks, solving each piece, and then combining them for a final solution. If we can improve a completely broken system to 90% functionality, that’s significant progress in my book!
- Note-Taking: While I take meticulous notes, my current preferred tool doesn’t support sharing. If you wish to access these notes, it’s on you to set up a shared document in Google Docs, Notion, or Lattice.
- Information Filtering: I prefer having complete transparency and the ability to filter out unnecessary details myself. Always explicitly state if you need input from me, or else I’ll assume it’s for my information only.
- Cut to the Chase: When you need a decision from me, start with the TL;DR. I will read through lengthy email threads or detailed Linear tickets if necessary, but having a brief summary from the get-go will make decision making a lot easier for me.
- Feedback Style: Expect direct feedback from me. I’ll clearly differentiate between areas for improvement and significant performance concerns.
- Trust Dynamics: Consider my trust like a metaphorical ‘bucket’ that starts half-full for everyone and adjusts based on your actions. The more you fill this bucket, the more autonomy you’ll have.
- Transparency in Challenges: Startups are always broken one way or another. I prefer to hear any bad news about a project or a team member directly from you. Working together through challenges can strengthen our trust and working relationship.
- Progress and Concerns: During our 1:1’s, I’ll inquire about your team dynamics and direct reports’ progress. I encourage you to include any details in our 1:1 agenda and lead the conversation to address any performance concerns, project delays or notable achievements .
- Feedback Dynamics: I recognize the weight of my title. To avoid unnecessary tension, I prefer to provide critical feedback about your reports directly to you so you can address privately. On the other hand, if there is any commendable achievement by your team I will do my best to praise publicly. If you feel there is someone on your team that I should connect with or praise, please let me know. Encouraging our team and recognizing their strengths is something that is very important to me.
Preferences and Pet Peeves
What I like
- Doing your homework: No question is stupid, but always do your initial research before distracting the team.
- Being resolutive: Getting things done, unblocking yourself.
- Readable and consistent code.
- Proven, boring technology over that unproven open source project that is trending on Hacker News.
- Proactivity: See a problem? Fix it right away before anyone notices. Made a mistake? Build systems to prevent anyone else making the same one again.
- Double checking your work: Give your work (documents, presentations, pull requests) a quick self-review before presenting it to the team.
- Transparency: In a multi-tz, remote environment, over-communication is better than miscommunication.
- Healthy discussions. When there is a decision to make that is not clear, it’s because all the different approaches have pros and cons. Together we will be able to calibrate and choose the lesser evil.
- A short call (or loom) is preferred over constant Slack interruptions.
What I don’t like
- Gossip and rumors: They destroy the culture. Be upfront.
- Cargo cult: Let’s not do something just because BIG CO does it. That’s the beauty of building something from scratch.
- Unnecessary blockers. You’re all pretty smart here! Always try to unblock yourself first.
- Lack of context in questions, emails, and discussions.
- Not speaking up when something isn’t clear.
- Recurrent mistakes or questions: One time, it’s totally expected. Two times, hmm. Three times, nah. Learn, document, and build systems.
- Complaining without taking any action to improve the situation.
- Sarcasm or other ways of communication violence during disagreements: When somebody wins an argument, most of the time, the whole team loses.
Acknowledging My Flaws
- Overcommitment: I tend to take on more than I should, which inevitably affects my focus. While I’m working on this, please understand if I occasionally get sidetracked by emergencies.
- Communication while Debugging: When addressing issues, I might share unvalidated hypotheses, which can be confusing. I’m learning to communicate more clearly and only after verifying my thoughts.
- Problem-Solving Obsession: Unsolved problems keep me up at night, which isn’t ideal for my well-being. It’s a habit I’m aware of and trying to balance.
- Pessimistic Tendencies: In evaluating problems, I often veer towards catastrophic thinking rather than optimism, a trait I’m mindful of and trying to moderate.
To maximize my availability given my tight schedule, I’ve introduced ‘office hours.’ This time is open for anyone to schedule a 15-minute chat with me about any concerns or ideas you might have. Reach out to Susannah for scheduling details.
Thanks for sticking with me till the end! These are my personal preferences, not commandments carved in stone. I’m stoked to collaborate, build awesome stuff, and, above all, have fun together!
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