Ryan Holmes talks about the tech job no one talks about

Hootsuite’s Ryan Holmes:

Mention “tech jobs” and thoughts typically turn to developers — the programmers and engineers who translate great ideas into working technology and keep the platforms we all use humming along.

But the reality is that it’s impossible to scale and sustain most software platforms today without a highly capable, highly trained sales team. Indeed, at many of the most successful cloud software companies, the sales squads are just as big as the technical teams.

I’ll repeat this for clarity: the current innovation boom hasn’t just created an outsized demand for IT pros; it’s created an equal — if not greater — demand for salespeople.

For Canadian-based companies like my own, this translates into tremendous challenges and tremendous potential. For all of the strengths that Canada’s burgeoning tech scene has — from great universities to growing investment and thriving regional hubs — senior sales talent is not one of them. According to a 2016 survey by Wilfrid Laurier University’s Lazaridis Institute, seven out of ten high-growth tech companies here struggle to obtain executive-level sales and marketing talent. A 2018 Randstad report shows that sales rep is the second most in-demand job in Canada, with extreme demand for B2B reps.

Nor is this just a Canadian problem. Worldwide, sales talent — from entry-level to senior-executive — ranks among the top three hardest skills to find, according to Manpower’s latest Talent Shortage Survey.

To me, this represents a classic bad news-good news situation. The bad news is that there’s a huge, unfilled demand for sales talent among Canadian tech companies. Hamstrung by a deficit of sales leadership — experienced people who have guided large teams at fast-growing startups — companies are forced to recruit from abroad, relocate or (worst-case scenario) sell to buyers in other places better equipped to scale their vision.

But the good news is also that there’s a huge, unfilled demand for sales talent among Canadian tech companies. These are high-growth, well-paying jobs in a sector that’s only poised to expand — and you don’t need an engineering degree to apply. It’s no exaggeration to say that for a generation of ambitious Canadians — fed up with gig work and facing downsizing from AI and automation — these could literally represent some of the jobs of the future.

But first, we need to find a way to connect the right candidates with the right roles.

Read the rest of Ryan’s piece.

Source: https://betakit.com/hootsuites-ryan-holmes-on-the-high-demand-tech-job-no-one-talks-about/

Learning by fixing

Learning by fixing

Drago Crnjac:

Breaking things and fixing them again is one of the best ways to learn. I learned this lesson early, thanks to my younger sister and her Japanese robotic toy dog. Somehow, I convinced her to let me take apart her robodog so I could see how it works.

“I’ll put it back together. Don’t be such a baby!”

How wrong was I? It would probably have been easier to put back together a Volkswagen Beetle than this toy dog. There I was, sitting clueless on the floor, surrounded with plastic parts and electronics. My sister was crying and I was sweating, trying to fix everything before our parents returned home. In the end, just in time, the dog was put back together (albeit with some mysterious spare parts hidden in the bin).

Fixing things and building things are very different to one other

Still, I learned a lot that day. I learned that engineering is hard. I learned that breaking things feels bad. I learned that trying to fix things can be stressful. I learned that fixing things and building things are very different to one other. But above all, I learned that trying to fix things is actually a great way to learn.

I often think of that incident because I’ve found many of those lessons resonate with the way we do things at Intercom, particularly in the way we separate the different processes of building and fixing.

Triage Engineering is an interesting approach and Drago’s article was a nice way to introduce the process.

Source: https://blog.intercom.com/learning-fixing-value-triage-engineers/

Steve Jobs’ Secret for Eliciting Questions

Andy Raskin:

Last month, I was enjoying the remarkably good crab cake and poached eggs at Just for You Café in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood, when I overheard a mentoring session taking place at the next table. I recognized the mentor as the famous, fifty-something ex-CEO of a household-brand Internet company; the mentee, I pieced together, was the twenty-something CEO of an app on my phone that had raised over $70 million in VC cash.

“My leadership team just gave me anonymous feedback,” Young CEO told Famous CEO. “One thing they said was that I’m not open to being questioned.”

“Are you?” Famous CEO asked.

“Yes!” Young CEO insisted. “After every conversation with my team and every all-hands, I always ask if there are any questions or concerns.”

“Let me guess,” Famous CEO said. “No one ever has any.”

“Right,” the mentee reflected. “Maybe I should hold office hours where people can raise concerns privately?”

“I used to do that,” Famous CEO said. “But here’s what happens. People come in, they talk to you about some important issue, and you give your thoughts. Then they go back to their teams and say, ‘The CEO said ___,’ and they lord your words over colleagues as a weapon. So I stopped doing that.”

“So what should I do?”

By this point, the mentee wasn’t the only one interested in the answer. In my work with CEOs and executive teams around strategic narrative, I often have a similar need—as anyone does who leads groups—to quickly take the pulse in the room.

“Take notes on this,” Famous CEO said. “Because I’m going to tell you what Steve Jobs did, which was related to me by the late [Apple board member] Bill Campbell.”


“In the early 2000s,” Famous CEO said, “Jobs was splitting his time between Apple and Pixar. He would spend most days at Apple, but then he would parachute into Pixar. He would have to figure out where his attention was needed really fast, so he would arrange sessions with all the different teams—the Cars team, the technology team, whatever—so there were a dozen or so people in each one. Then he would point to one person in each session and say:

Tell me what’s not working at Pixar.

Famous CEO continued: “That person might offer something like, ‘The design team isn’t open to new technology we’re building.’ Jobs would ask others if they agreed. He would then choose someone else and say:

Tell me what’s working at Pixar.

According to Famous CEO, Jobs would alternate between the two questions until he felt like he had a handle on what was going on.

Famous CEO said he ran sessions like these with his own teams every few months. He advised Young CEO to “never invite VPs” (i.e., team leaders) to the sessions, since subordinates might feel intimidated and share less freely. Instead, Famous CEO would commit, after collecting issues, to discussing them with the VP in charge, who would be responsible for following up.

Source: https://medium.com/the-mission/steve-jobs-secret-for-eliciting-questions-overheard-at-a-san-francisco-cafe-80b1af67433

The Little Trade-Offs

Claire Lew:

I was running a leadership training a few months ago, when a CEO said this to me…

“I think I know why it’s so easy to become a bad manager, even when we don’t mean to be: It’s because of the little trade-offs.”

I nodded and smiled. I knew exactly what he meant by “the little trade-offs.” I’d made so many myself as a leader, across my own career.

The little trade-offs are the moments when we succumb to what feels most pressing in front of us, at the expense of what our company needs down the road to be successful. We swap “The Thing That Will Help The Team in the Long-Run” for “The Thing That Needs To Be Done Right Now.”

As a leader, we make a dozen of these little trade-offs every week (if not every day!) We negotiate in our heads: “I need to finish this critical project, so I’ll postpone my one-on-one meeting with this employee. We can talk next quarter.” Or, “I need to be heads down on selling to this new client, so I don’t have time to explain the recent company changes. We can announce them later.”

“Next quarter.” “Later.”

In the moment, the little trade-off seems like the right one make. Executing on “The Thing That Needs To Be Done Right Now” feels like the top priority. It’s what will pay the most dividends. And when it’s such a little trade-off, how much does it really matter?

Well, here’s the rub: Little trade-offs are not so little. You might make just one or two, in the beginning. But when you’re stressed, busy, and operating on tight timelines, the frequency of those little trade-offs inevitably increases. The little trade-offs you make as a leader become big trade-offs over time.

Source: https://m.signalvnoise.com/the-little-trade-offs-7b31043b8584

A Spring Cleaning

It’s spring, so we’re making a updates to our home page and blog.

First thing you may notice, we’ve brought our blog inside our main site.

Where the blog was originally reachable at https://blog.flybase.io, it is now https://flybase.io/blog/.

We decided to do this to make everything more unified, it seemed fitting.

We’ve been hard at work on several updates over the past month, and this is the first of a number of updates that will be getting pushed out.

This site will also be seeing a few more minor updates as well.

Clark Kent’s shoes

Seth Godin:

Back when Superman used to change into his outfit in a phone booth, the question was: where does he put Clark’s shoes? Because even if he could compress them with his super strength, they’d be ruined.

Organizations that need to adopt different personas often get into trouble.

On one hand, most of the time, they’re invisible. They’re a boring bureaucracy, optimized for stable jobs, predictable if not low-cost processes, mediocre customer service and average (or below average) user interface design. They’re a monopoly and they act like one.

But then, when things break, they’re expected to act like heroes, like people who truly care. They are expected to hustle, to find the edge of the performance curve, to really step up.

Unfortunately, their shoes don’t compress very well.

We know it can be done. We see heroic organizations do great work.

Small businesses sometimes wrestle with the opposite. They get their accounts by acting like heroes, performing miracles on an emergency basis. But when it comes time to regularly do the work, to show up and show up and show up, they don’t have the resources or the patience to do so.

The opportunity is to choose. To truly embrace one and buy precisely the right kind of shoes.

Source: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2018/03/clark-kents-shoes.html

3 Marketing Techniques Every Startup Must Master

3 Marketing Techniques Every Startup Must Master

Remember Pokémon GO? Of course you do because it was all you heard about for a few quick months in the summer of 2016. With millions of people downloading and playing the game, retailers and restaurants leapt at the opportunity to sponsor in-game experiences. Players flocked from location to location to virtually battle one another or to catch new Pokémon, and numerous companies were able to cash in on quick marketing wins.

There’s a lesson here, though. It’s most likely been a while since Pokémon GO was part of a recent conversation. Chances are that businesses are also no longer investing a significant portion of their marketing budget into the app’s in-game advertising opportunities. Short-term wins absolutely exist, but instead of spending time and money searching for them, early-stage companies should formulate repeatable, scalable marketing techniques.

Source: https://www.startups.co/articles/marketing-techniques-every-startup-must-master

CSS Naming Conventions that Will Save You Hours of Debugging

Ohans Emmanuel:

I have heard lots of developers say they hate CSS. In my experience, this comes as a result of not taking the time to learn CSS.

CSS isn’t the prettiest ‘language,’ but it has successfully powered the styling of the web for over 20 years now. Not doing too badly, huh?

However, as you write more CSS, you quickly see one big downside.

It is darn difficult to maintain CSS.

Poorly written CSS will quickly turn into a nightmare.

Ohans makes some interesting points about about CSS conventions such as the use of BEM naming convention (Body, Elements, Modifiers).

Definitely worth a share and a read and a few claps.

Source: https://medium.freecodecamp.org/css-naming-conventions-that-will-save-you-hours-of-debugging-35cea737d849

We’re not giving browsers enough credit…

Christian Heilmann:

A browser needs to enable people of all different abilities to reach what they came for. And ability isn’t a fixed state but fluctuates with environment and external influences.

We don’t give browser makers enough credit for this amazing experience, as it is — like all good UX — invisible.

Christian gives us a good example of all browsers do, they do get underestimated as the main tool that is open every day.

Source: https://medium.com/@codepo8/were-not-giving-browsers-enough-credit-5c7e7359109

Let’s bury the hussle

Let's bury the hussle

I love Gary Vaynerchuk dearly. So much of his message about patience and perseverance is completely in line with how I view the world. But I can’t take any more odes to “the hustle”. Like most banners, it either dies in obscurity or lives long enough to become perverted.

In the early days, I chose to interpret “the hustle” as a way for those with very little to outsmart those with a lot through clever steps. Finding leverage where you had none. Doing things that weren’t supposed to scale or even work, and making it happen.

But even if my original interpretation was once connected to the term, I can no longer pretend that it is. The hustle has become synonymous with the grind. Pushing through pain and exhaustion in the chase of a bigger carrot. Sacrificing the choice bits of the human experience to climb some arbitrary ladder of success. I can’t connect with any of that.

The grind doesn’t just feel apt because it’s hard on an individual level, but because it chews people up and spits ’em out in bulk. Against the tiny minority that somehow finds what they’re looking for in that grind, there are legions who end up broken, wasted, and burned out with nothing to show. And for what?

Even more insidious about the concept of the hustle and its grind is how it places the failure of achievement squarely at the feet of the individual. Since it’s possible to “make it” by working yourself to the bone, it’s essentially your own damn fault if you don’t, and you deserve what pittance you may be left with.

It’s origin from a dog-eat-dog world has been turned from a cautionary tale into an inspirational one. It’s not that you need to hustle to survive, it’s that you seek the hustle to thrive, and still at the expense of yourself and others.

Now this opposition mainly comes from a lens focused on the world of creative people. The writers, the programmers, the designers, the makers, the product people. There are manual labor domains where greater input does equal greater output, at least for a time.

But I rarely hear about people working three low-end jobs out of necessity wear that grind on their popped collar out of pride. It’s only the pretenders, those who aren’t exactly struggling for subsistence, who feel the need to brag with bravado about their beat.

It’s the modern curse of having enough time to try to find a meaning to it all. And when an easy answer isn’t forthcoming through shallow inquiry, you just start running from the void. But you can’t outwork existential angst. At best, you can postpone it. Or temporarily burrow it. But it doesn’t go away.

The truth is you’re going to die, and it’ll be sooner rather than later, the more feverishly you devote your existence to the hustle and its grind. Life is tragically short that way.

What really gets my goat, though, is that it doesn’t even work. You’re not very likely to find that key insight or breakthrough idea north of the 14th hour. Creativity, progress, and impact does not yield easily or commonly to brute force.

You want to be more productive? That’s great. First, of course, figure out what you’re actually trying to be productive at, and whether that’s something truly worth doing well. But if you have, here’s my cheat sheet and counter to the hustle

We’ve all been there, getting stuck in the hussle, that’s what I wanted to share this post from David.

Source: https://m.signalvnoise.com/lets-bury-the-hustle-9d8aee8ffe1a