Scaling Spotify guilds: good for onboarding and culture transformation

So, do we recommend other companies to establish CoPs or guilds? The importance of implementing such parallel structures has been debated, and they do typically occupy the backseat in agile transformations and agile method implementations. However, Spotify experience shows that domain-specific, professional guilds is an important support for the squads and squad members. Guilds help new engineers get up to speed more quickly saving time for their colleagues. Guilds provide forums to tackle shared, emerging problems and opportunities with response times much shorter than individual experts would be able to provide. Besides, guilds' yearly events connect people across locations that would otherwise never meet. Therefore, we do recommend others consider cultivating participation culture in general and CoPs/guilds in particular.

Original source: Spotify Guilds

Food, we can all agree on food

In the last year there’s been so much travel, so much overscheduling, that lately I think I’ve forgotten what I like to eat. So I’m trying to do tiny little things to find joy.


I very much feel now like I’m the product. It’s a weird thing to come to terms with. It’s been important for me to learn how to trust that what an audience wants is just me being me, that who I really am is something that they can relate to. It requires that I be very honest about whatever it is that I’m saying, that I really mean it. Because I’ve noticed that, if I fib a little, or exaggerate my feelings about something, people then are, like, “I love that thing, too!” And that feels terrible. So one thing that I’ve realized is ultra-important is making sure I’m surrounded by, and that I work for and with, people who are going to protect me from the forces that threaten the honesty and threaten the realness—wanting to be liked, wanting to be successful. Sometimes I’m that threatening force! So I need to have people I can trust to protect me from my own sick brain.


> I was always very aware that I was different, and I didn’t fit in, but I was also always trying very hard to fit in by being the nicest, the smartest, the most polite—whatever it is you need from me so that you and your people will accept me. I don’t regret that it’s how I coped with things, because it’s what makes me able to be available for all people—it’s a superpower. But I do feel like I’ve always been asking the world, “See me, see me, please.” And now I’m, like, “Don’t see me!”

Original source: “I Fail Almost Every Day”: An Interview with Samin Nosrat

# Socratic questioning

First, the method and it's good intentions:

Socratic questioning—Here, you leave people to draw their own conclusions by simply asking a set of helpful questions to take them to the realization that there’s an issue (and the hope is that they’ll then ask you for a solution or even stumble on your solution and offer it up as if it were their own). This, we’re told, increases ownership of the issue because the other person—the person needing to change—came up with the idea himself.

Then, how it often doesn't work out as exploration, more as pointing to an existing point:

Socratic questioning—This one is trickier, because it often looks open and curious. You’re asking questions, so aren’t you already doing what this different-questions approach suggests? Our experience is that generally people who use this approach are not actually curious about something new they might learn from the other person. (This lack of curiosity starts, we’re sorry to point out, with the great Socrates himself, who was a smart fellow who might be forgiven for thinking he had the solution concealed inside his cloak.) Instead, the questioner leads the person down a familiar path (designed by the questioner) and entirely inside familiar (to the questioner) territory. We can spot this in our videos with leaders because they will generally ignore any new information that comes their way and continue their set of questions. When someone gives an unexpected answer to the question, the leader looks more exasperated than confused—because the other person is missing the point. The leader is using questions to search for particular answers, not to get more information on the table.

I always want Socrates to just tell me what he wants the conclusion to be and work backwards. Plato needed an editor, perhaps. But chopped down, Socrates proofs wouldn't have seemed proofs.

Both quotes from Simple Habits for Complex Times.

Finishing books is overrated

They are often very pretty to look at. You also feel you can read them in small bites, or you can read only a single chapter or section. The compulsion to finish is relatively weak, a good thing. You can feel you have consumed them without reading them at all, a true liberation, which in turns means you will read them as you wish to.

Tyler here is one the biggest proponents of not finishing books if you don’t find it valuable. This notion is so different than the usual upbringing, what I’ve had, at least. It also raises concerns of FOMO, and lost money in those pages not read. I think it would work best with physical books: it’s still very hard to scan and flip pages in Kindles (perhaps a skill I need to build).

Original source: In praise of art books