Hi welcome to the team.

This document is designed to help you understand how I think and work, and to accelerate our working relationship. It is not intended to replace the organic mutual understanding I hope to build as we work together. This is a living document; it will change as I grow.

My Role As A Manager

I am here to help you. You were hired for your experience and skills, and I am not going to tell you how to do your job. My goal is to maximize your performance and to help you grow as a professional. When you need help, you should ask for it without hesitation.

Provide context. Most of my day is spent identifying new trends, reframing existing concepts, and sharing that information with team members. These conversations will help you build and maintain a global perspective across our products and projects.

Cheer! No achievement is too small to celebrate. I believe in leading with positive reinforcement, and rewarding both individual and team successes.

I also write a lot of code.

My Principles & Vision

I believe we are the universe experiencing itself, that life is neither the destination nor the journey. It is important to me that people are treated fairly, and I prioritize human experiences over systems and profit. Profit is merely a consequence of our actions, the building blocks of our legacy.

If a company's persona is a reflection of its leadership, Nefarious Laboratories is a rebel. We seek to challenge and subvert the status quo (domestic surveillance, corporate greed, military contracts, closed source, anti-patterns, negligence, apathy) by uniting people to build better solutions. We value altruistic "troublemakers" and radical innovators with divergent interests.

I was nearly kicked out of my MBA for asking the Chairman of a Fortune 500 company how he could justify laying off 125 employees while the CEO received a $9 million raise the same year. When a toy company asked me to work on a project adding cameras and microphones to their toys, I refused. These actions and their consequences, more than mere words, define my adherence to my ethical principles.

I heavily bias toward action, and have little patience for unnecessary deliberation or indifference. Debating potential directions are often valuable, but I believe starting is the best way to find failure, growth, and mastery.

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." - Robert Heinlein

Our Average Week

We'll have a 1:1 meeting every week for at least 1 hour no matter what. These meetings are for you, and should cover topics of substance as well as your needs and feelings.

You can contact me 24 hours a day. I try to respond quickly, and I appreciate when you do too. I often work at night, including weekends. This is my choice. I do not expect you to work or respond to my messages during these hours. Unless a message is urgent, it can wait until you return to work.

Here's how I rank communication methods in order of preference: in person, phone call, text message, email. If your preferences differ, it is up to you to let me know.

My Expectations

Do amazing work. Let your intellectual curiosity and hunger drive you. Let me know if there is something preventing you from accomplishing this. When your task feels poorly defined, you should ask me for both context and clarification.

I never want to be the smartest person in the room. I'm ok with that and you should be too. The best solutions are often born from ideological diversity and healthy debate. You're expected to challenge assumptions and biases, not individuals.

Operate as a Directly Responsible Individual (you own your work). I believe failure is productive. If you feel you made a mistake, own up to it immediately so we can find a solution together, learn from it, and move forward.

Tell me when I screw up. I don't always recognize when I've screwed up. If I don't know what I did wrong, I'll very likely do it again.

When you need me to do something, ask me. I respond well to, "Ethan, I need X, can you help?" and poorly to, "Ethan, do X."

Published September 01, 2017

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