How To Survive & Thrive In A Big Company

These are my tips on getting by in a large organization. They’re intended for people who are working in less than ideal circumstances – you know, there’s no leaked “culture deck” or well-stocked snacks. Check out the slides as well.

Abstract

If you work at a small, cool company, you can skip this talk. The rest of us in large, slow moving companies that rely on meetings, email, and inbox 2,000 to get the daily work done need some therapy and advice for thriving in big, “dumb” companies. I’ve worked in such companies and figured out how to thrive in the “back to back meetings” world we’re taught to avoid. I’ll tell you my tactics. Ideally, you’d adapt the no manager GitHub dream, adapt the Spotify and Netflix cultures of awesomeness. Indeed. However, oftentimes there are good reasons to stay in the relatively dysfunctional companies you’re at. They’re big, slow moving, and seem to use Microsoft Office as their core innovation engine. If people at your work always talk about “aircraft carriers” this is the talk for you. For whatever reasons you’re there, why not make the best of it and learn how to get along and even thrive instead of letting your head explode in rage. This talk will go over what I’ve learned working in large companies from my strange adventure working with a bunch of MBAs in corporate strategy at Dell, to working with large companies as an industry analyst, to working with marketing and product people at large companies.

Recommended more’s

Want something shorter?

Check out the 5 minute recording of me giving this talk at DevOpsDays Seattle, and slides.

Better ways of developing software or, coding like a unicorn, government edition

I’m often asked to come speak on, well, the topic of “tell us about the new, interesting stuff out there that makes software development better…but don’t be pitching me anything.” This is my most recent cut at that kind of talk.

You can check out the slides as well.

See these slides and the government edition of them too. This presentation changes slightly each time I give it. Here’s the first, rehearsal run of it as well.

http://www.parleys.com/share.html#play/514892280364bc17fc56c04f

Pragmatic Cloud Computing, or, Dealing with Morlocks, or, Agile Infrastructure – a talk I gave at Devoxx 2010, pleasantly early in cloud, DevOps, and such to be nice and squishy. See slides here as well.