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How GitHub (no longer) Works

78b475797a14c84799063c7cd073962f?s=47 Zach Holman
November 14, 2013

How GitHub (no longer) Works

A lot of my talks like How GitHub Uses GitHub to Build GitHub and posts like How GitHub Works are great, but they represent a snapshot of the company when we were 30-75 employees. We're 217 today, and things inevitably changed to grow the company to that scale. This talk is retrospective: it takes a closer look at specific things that I've said over the last two years, and then details the adjustments that were made as we've grown.

78b475797a14c84799063c7cd073962f?s=128

Zach Holman

November 14, 2013
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Transcript

  1. WORKS NO LONGER HOW GITHUB ( )

  2. None
  3. BUILDING A STARTUP

  4. HIRE TRENDY ROCK STARS STEP #1

  5. STEP #2 BE SUPER TRANSPARENT

  6. WRITE TECH POSTS STEP #3

  7. STEP #4 SPEAK AT CONFERENCES

  8. STEP #5 ROLL AROUND IN MONEY

  9. STEP #6 HIRE LOTS OF PEOPLE

  10. STEP #7 NEVER SPEAK AGAIN

  11. STEP #8 IGNORE THE COMMUNITY

  12. STEP #9 CASH OUT

  13. STEP #10 START ANOTHER COMPANY

  14. THIS IS STUPID

  15. None
  16. MILLIONS OF TALKS ABOUT 1-PERSON COMPANIES

  17. THOUSANDS OF TALKS ABOUT 10-PERSON COMPANIES

  18. HUNDREDS OF TALKS ABOUT 100-PERSON COMPANIES

  19. HARDLY ANY TALKS ABOUT 1000-PERSON COMPANIES

  20. GITHUB AIN’T NO SECRETIVE JERK COMPANY

  21. None
  22. ZACHHOLMAN

  23. GITHUBBER FOR ALMOST FOUR YEARS

  24. I’VE TALKED GITHUB FOR TWO YEARS

  25. None
  26. None
  27. None
  28. None
  29. TALKS CIRCA 30-75 EMPLOYEES

  30. WE’RE
 NOW 217

  31. None
  32. DUNBAR’S NUMBER

  33. DUNBAR’S NUMBER AN IMAGINARY EMPLOYEE NUMBER THAT HACKER NEWS FETISHIZES

    WILL KILL YOUR COMPANY
  34. DUNBAR’S NUMBER PROPOSED MAXIMUM LIMIT OF RELATIONSHIPS A HUMAN CAN

    MEANINGFULLY MAINTAIN
  35. DUNBAR’S NUMBER 150-ISH

  36. 150 CHANGES THINGS

  37. HOW GITHUB WORKED

  38. HOW GITHUB WORKS

  39. None
  40. THE PARTS THAT CHANGED ARE FASCINATING

  41. THE PARTS THAT CHANGED ARE FASCINATING

  42. None
  43. TWO-MINUTE RECAP

  44. 60% REMOTE GITHUB IS

  45. ASYNCHRONOUS GITHUB IS

  46. GITHUB HAS NO MANAGERS

  47. None
  48. DEPLOYS

  49. None
  50. DEPLOYMENTS GOT SIMPLER

  51. RARELY DEPLOY TO INDIVIDUAL SERVERS OR SUBSETS

  52. PRODUCTION A STAFF SERVER IN PRODUCTION OR

  53. STAGING ENVIRONMENTS ARE THE FIRST TO DECAY

  54. FEWER DEPLOYMENT TARGETS LEAD TO SIMPLER DEPLOY LINES

  55. HUBOT WHERE CAN I DEPLOY

  56. HUBOT WHERE CAN I DEPLOY PRODUCTION: UNLOCKED LOCKED BY MDO

    42 MINUTES AGO STAFF1: STAFF2: UNLOCKED STAFF3: UNLOCKED STAFF4: LOCKED BY MUAN 5 MINUTES AGO
  57. None
  58. DEPLOYMENTS GOT WAYYYYY MORE STAFF-SHIPPED

  59. MOST FEATURES ARE STAFF-SHIPPED FOR WEEKS OR MONTHS

  60. WE MOSTLY STOPPED USING EXTERNAL BETA TESTERS

  61. MORE TEAM-SHIPPING VS. STAFF-SHIPPING

  62. MORE TEAM-SHIPPING VS. STAFF-SHIPPING (2FA SHIPS TO @GITHUB/2FA FIRST, ETC.)

  63. None
  64. PEOPLE

  65. None
  66. None
  67. GET IN THEIR WAY MORE

  68. KEEP INFORMATION ACCESSIBLE BUT INDOCTRINATE LONGER

  69. HARDER TO ACCLIMATE TO LARGER COMPANIES

  70. YOU STILL HAVE A BUDDY YOUR FIRST WEEK

  71. WE’RE EXPLORING LONGER BUDDY RELATIONSHIPS

  72. None
  73. THIS LET PEOPLE FOCUS ON WORK

  74. THE DRAWBACK? REDUCED FEEDBACK.

  75. IMPOSTOR SYNDROME

  76. EVEN HARDER FOR REMOTE WORKERS

  77. LONGER BUDDYING, MORE HANGOUTS, MORE MEATSPACE VISITS

  78. None
  79. MADE IT TO 199

  80. PEOPLE LEAVE, BUT MINIMIZING IS STILL SUPER IMPORTANT

  81. None
  82. None
  83. None
  84. None
  85. MONEY

  86. FUNDING SOMEHOW LENDS LEGITIMACY

  87. SUDDENLY BIG MEDIA COVERED US

  88. SUDDENLY TECHCRUNCH HAD A GITHUB WRITER

  89. SUDDENLY IT WAS EASIER TO LEASE OFFICE SPACE

  90. THE TECH INDUSTRY IS CRAZY

  91. BOOTSTRAPPING WAS THE KEY FOUNDATION

  92. None
  93. ORGANIZATION

  94. None
  95. TEAMS BECAME MORE IMPORTANT

  96. EVERYONE HAS OPINIONS

  97. DRIVE-BY OPINIONS ARE LESS VALUABLE

  98. TEAM MENTIONS ARE GREAT FILTERS

  99. @GITHUB/DESIGN

  100. @GITHUB/OPS

  101. @GITHUB/TECHNO

  102. PEOPLE LEAVE TEAMS IF THEY AREN’T ACTIVE

  103. SAME RATIONALE TO TEAM-SHIP VS. STAFF-SHIP

  104. PROTECTS AGAINST NEGATIVE FEEDBACK

  105. None
  106. NOW HAVE 153 CHAT ROOMS

  107. ROOMS ARE CHEAP

  108. MORE ROOMS, HIGHER SIGNAL TO NOISE

  109. ( I IDLE IN 5 )

  110. None
  111. STILL NO MANAGERS, STILL EVERYONE A MANAGER

  112. SOME TEAMS HAVE A PRP (PRIMARILY RESPONSIBLE PERSON)

  113. PROVIDES VISION WHILE STILL FOCUSED ON CODE

  114. PREFERENCE TOWARDS SMALLER TEAMS

  115. 1-2 DEVELOPERS 1-2 DESIGNERS

  116. None
  117. MORE RESOURCES FOR REMOTE EXPERIENCES

  118. DINKY LITTLE
 ARDUINO MOTION- TRACKING KINECT
 VIDEO CAPTURE THREE-PERSON TEAM

    DEDICATED TO STREAMING AND SERVING VIDEO CONTENT
  119. None
  120. REMOTE WORK REQUIRES MORE WORK

  121. FORMAL EVENTS ARE EASY

  122. INFORMAL CONVERSATIONS ARE HARD

  123. EXPERIMENTING WITH MORE INFORMAL APPROACHES

  124. ROBOT IPADS, FACELETTE, PERSISTENT 2-WAY STREAMS

  125. None
  126. HINDSIGHT

  127. BUILD WEBSITES LIKE IT’S 2005 “

  128. OUR TECH STACK SHRINKS AS WE AGE

  129. FEWER TRENDY LANGUAGES AND DATABASES

  130. YOUR PRODUCT SHOULD BE CUTTING EDGE, NOT YOUR TECH

  131. STABILITY IS SEXY

  132. RESIST DOING SHIT JUST TO DO SHIT

  133. WE’VE DONE A GOOD JOB AT REMAINING SKEPTICAL

  134. “WE’RE BIG NOW SO I GUESS WE SHOULD ADD TEAMS”

  135. TEAMS TOOK ALMOST A YEAR TO FINALLY WORK

  136. THAT’S COOL

  137. None
  138. YOUR COMPANY SHOULD CHANGE, DAMMIT

  139. YOUR VALUES SHOULDN’T

  140. THINK ON WHAT NEEDS TO CHANGE

  141. None