Influence, Stocks, and Onboarding
Hey everyone 👋🏽 Today we’ll cover:
Building influence across orgs as a Software Engineer
Engineers and the stock market
For engineers on a new team: our next live event Saturday, October 29
Building influence as a Software Engineer
We got great feedback from the session last week by Cat Chen (Staff+ engineer at Robinhood, Facebook, Baidu). It’s available now in Taro (our next premium session is with a Staff Eng at DoorDash).
Cat led the effort within Facebook to launch Android apps on 10+ non-Google app stores to expand distribution. This turns out to be less of an engineering challenge and more of a policy/legal challenge, but Cat built enough relationships across the org to get the job done.
When a team or individual pushes back, understand the “why” behind their answer.
Re-emphasize your objective, and be candid about your desire for feedback. (“I’m a noob, and I’d love your perspective”)
At very senior levels, you don’t need to write code to have impact.
Engineers And The Market
My recent post went viral on LinkedIn.
In 2017, I received 2 senior engineering offers: Snapchat and Facebook. I chose Facebook, but that didn’t stop me from checking each company’s stock price every day. Who else does this? 🙋🏽
Over the next 5 years, the stock for each company swung wildly, and so did my emotions. At one point, in 2018, Snapchat sunk to an all-time low. In late 2020, Snapchat stock hit its all time high, more than 13x from trough to peak.
I could have been a millionaire multiple times over. Facebook went through similar swings, but at different times. Now, both companies are doing poorly, far below the 2017 levels when I would have joined.
Underlying our compulsion to check stocks everyday is the question “what if? What if I picked the wrong company, or what if I need to sell because the stock went up?
Here’s the reality: you can’t undo decisions, and you can’t do much to change the stock price of your current company.
Why would you pin your happiness on something you can’t control? If you focus on becoming more valuable to your company, that will have the biggest impact on your overall career + finances over the long term.
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The Refactoring Newsletter
I want to take a moment to recommend a newsletter by a friend of Taro, Luca Rossi.
The Refactoring newsletter helps you become a better tech leader by sharing weekly, practical advice about your work. It’s read by 20K+ subscribers every week.
Our readers get a special 33% discount for the paid plan, valid until Monday (Oct 31st — Happy Halloween!). Here is what paid subscribers receive:
A new original essay every week ✍🏽
Access to a curated library of essays and resources (250+) 📚
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Learn more about Refactoring here!
Next live event
Our next live session is about succeeding as the new software engineer in a team or company, happening October 29 at 10am PT. This is huge topic, relevant for all engineers:
Engineers frequently switch teams or companies, which means effective onboarding is critical to their success.
Even if you’re not onboarding, you’ll work with people who are new (and therefore onboarding). This session will help you understand what these people need to succeed.
Hope to see many of you there!