Calibrate SF 2018 Notes and Takeaways

B1b15a8df73879b1d5eb247fee2028eb?s=47 Richa
September 06, 2018

Calibrate SF 2018 Notes and Takeaways



September 06, 2018


  1. Calibrate SF 2018 Notes and Takeaways Richa Khandelwal

  2. Highlights • Single track, very focused. • Really great speakers.

    • High quality talks. • Very useful topics for new managers. • Good lunch with lots of vegetarian options! • Great chance to network with other managers in other companies.
  3. Lowlights • Venue was Golden Gate club, about 30 mins

    Uber ride from Caltrain station. • Not a lot of opportunity to network with speakers. • I was the only person who attended from Coursera, would love to attend next year with other managers to share insights and takeaways.
  4. Talks and Summary

  5. How to follow this presentation? • The topics are presented

    as they were organized in the conference. • Slides to the talks are linked in the title slide. • Videos of all the talks will be available shortly. I will link them in the slide once available. • For most of the talks, I have shared my notes and thoughts. • Only for few talks, I have captured ideas that stood out to me through slides from those talks. • If you like any particular topic, do explore the slides, and then the video later when it becomes available. • I have rated each of the talks based on the content of the talk, speaker and takeaways for me.
  6. Management that sparks new leaders Nick Caldwell, CPO, Looker Link

    to the slides here
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  20. My Thoughts • This was my BEST talk to the

    day. • Nick has been a manager and leader in the industry for almost 20 years. • The talk was very high quality, Nick spoke very well and held the audience spellbound throughout the talk. • The main focus of the talk was to show that management is very different from leadership. • In the latter half of the talk, Nick tried to prove why it is important to have leaders in an organizations. • He tried to share a playbook to the audience for creating leaders in their teams and company. It will be a great learning experience to use his playbook and adapt it in the context of Coursera.
  21. How to Rands Michael Lopp, VP Engg, Slack Link to

    the slides here
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  24. My Thoughts • The talk was structured for listeners to

    understand their leadership/management style and share as README. • If you did not know, Manager README is the modern way to share management philosophy with peers and direct reports. • After reading through the slides, it will be clear how Michael thinks of his leadership style. • Exercise: Copy the slides and fill them in with your leadership style under each category. Can you compile this into a README which you can share with you peers?
  25. Communicate Like a Boss Kathryn Koehler, Dir. Engg, Chan Zuckerberg

    Initiative Link to the slides here
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  28. My Thoughts • This was again a very good talk

    and very well delivered. • Even though it was a 45 min talk, I was able to follow it very closely, Kathryn did a great job delivering the talk and keeping the audience entertained. • I started reading the book Kathryn recommended, a good read for both parenting and managing, agree with her a 100%. • Keywords for me - Empathy, feedback, delegation, problem-solving. • Takeaways ◦ Give feelings a name ◦ Give their wishes in fantasy ◦ Feedback should be sincere, timely, accurate, description with appreciation ◦ With all things, assume good intent. Hanlon’s Razor.
  29. How to hire your dream team Chris Winn, CTO, Creative

    Market Link to the slides here
  30. My Thoughts • Again a great talk, and very well

    delivered. • In terms of content, most of the things are pretty well known to new managers. • Things that I found insightful ◦ Hiring a new person in the engineering team is like fitting pieces in a puzzle. ◦ Think about stakeholders, what do they value? ◦ If you end up hiring the candidate, your interview was actually your first 1:1 ◦ Bias towards reference checks from previous managers, when possible. ◦ Hiring is hard until it’s easy, and then it’s hard all over again! • I did ask a question about Chris’ view on performance based hiring. He mentioned he finds it confusing atm, he thinks it might be effective if it starts with a job description and goes all the way to performance management.
  31. Building Inclusive Engineering Teams Mekka Okereke, Engg Dir, Google Slides

    not available yet
  32. My Thoughts • Well laid out and entertaining talk. •

    Key takeaways ◦ When a peer/direct report makes an inadvertent discriminatory comment, don’t be scathing, be kind. ◦ Incorporate diversity in the top of the funnel, give equal opportunity to everyone progressing through each stage of the hiring/career progression funnel. ◦ Watch out for unconscious bias in you and against you. Look for ways to correct gently and kindly, but persistently. ◦ Try to fix problems affecting critical mass proportionately, this may end up affecting diversity/inclusion disproportionately. • I really appreciated the fact that Mekka went out of his way to stay around and chat with other attendees during all the breaks and answering questions.
  33. How to avoid “Manager Gameface” Katie Womersley, Dir of Engg,

    Buffer Link to the slides here
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  37. My Thoughts • This seemed like Katie’s first time giving

    a talk, for a first timer on stage, she did quite well. • The key point of the talk was how to act more like a human, your authentic self, rather than trying to fit the description of a Manager and acting robotic. • Katie emphasized the idea of writing a Manager README, to share your working style with direct reports. Maybe I will give it a shot too, if anyone else is onboard, I can collaborate to review.
  38. How to scale yourself as a first time leader Poornima

    Vijayashankar, Founder, Femgineer Link to the slides here
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  42. My thoughts • The talk delivery and style could have

    been better and more engaging. • Poornima talked about some of the challenges most new managers face, with real life examples ◦ Whether to code or not to code? ◦ How to lead by influence rather than authority? ◦ How to delegate? ◦ How to create a culture of retrospection and improvement? ◦ How to facilitate conflict resolution in the team rather than mediate? • I liked her examples a lot and could relate to some of them. Some of the examples dragged out for too long though.
  43. Your VC secret decoder ring Marcy Swenson, Executive Coach, Startup

    Happiness Link to the slides here
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  45. My Thoughts • This was my second best talk of

    the day and found it very enlightening. • All the slides in this talk are really informative, rather than pasting them all here, I highly recommend going through them. • If I am ever faced with these questions, I now know how to find answers to them ◦ Why is my CEO asking for more and faster revenue and users? ◦ Why is my CEO asking me to ignore tech debt and hack together features? ◦ Why is my CEO asking me to cut costs while building more features? ◦ Why is my CEO asking me to “make it social”? (Why is my CEO asking me to “make it AI/ML”?) ◦ Why am I spending cycles on integration with this partner? ◦ How do I explain all this to MY team? • Sometimes the survival of a startup depends on being on one side of this question rather than the other!
  46. Final Thoughts • I would love to return next year

    to attend again. • It’s a great conference for startups with limited time and resources to train new managers. Most of the managers I met transitioned into their roles in the last 6 months to an year. Some are still in the transition period. • The organizers put a lot of effort into the conference and things ran smoothly. • Videos from past years are online, and this year’s videos will be all online soon, I love to go to conferences which let me review the past talks easily. • I learned a lot and came back with a few strategies to try and learn from. • If others end up watching the talks, I would love to discuss their thoughts in 1:1s or as a group.