Week 22, 2024 - Craft

Week 22, 2024 - Craft
Inside and outside of the amazing venue of Craft Conf - the Hungarian Railway Museum

I write this newsletter sitting in a slowly filling auditorium just before the second day of the tenth Craft Conference is about to begin. I haven’t been to a professional event this big since the pandemic, and it’s great to see the scene buzzing like nothing happened. It was probably the case last year too, maybe the one before, I just didn't realize how much I enjoy live events. The random encounters, meeting with old friends, discovering an amazing speaker by chance on a small stage, making new connections while queuing for food... I missed this weird mixture of a music festival and an educational experience.

📋 What I learned this week

We published with Péter Batiz the longest (so far!) episode of the Get Hired as an Engineering Manager series about searching for jobs and applying for them. This time I went a bit more personal, including examples of my past job searches. It’s an unintentional level of transparency, but sharing a cover letter I used years ago helped illustrate what I write about. A small benefit of being a recovering(?) data-hoarder is to have cover letters used years ago, neatly saved, and easy to find.

We had a smooth podcast episode with Jeremy discussing job hunting for Engineering Managers, AI tips, managing team performance, and why The Retrospective website - our home for this podcast - was down for days. Head over to YouTube to catch up if you missed it.

🎯 What I want to try next week

This week I set out to optimize the sign-up flow for my site because I don’t like the experience of an aggressive pop-up without much content asking for a name and email address. After some research, I learned that this pop-up is hard to customize, but I can create a dedicated page with a custom sign-up form, so this is the route I’ll explore next week.

I’ll also write about Craft, there were a lot of interesting talks — and we should continue our Get Hired as an EM series with the Interviewing article.

🤔 Articles that made me think

Gaming as Management Training

Mark lists a lot of good arguments for why DOTA, a team-based multiplayer game is great to grow management skills like communication, feedback, planning, and leadership in general. I’m not a gamer anymore, though I have my weekly backgammon evenings with a friend, running strong for 8 years now. While I don’t think it’s a game to help management skills much, I did improve a bit my leadership tools thanks to backgammon, things like accepting and embracing the role of luck, how to continuously assess my situation objectively, and adapt my strategy swiftly to new information, without getting too attached to a good-looking plan. Anyway, this is a good article about DOTA, be sure to check the comments too.

On Making Mistakes

I wrote about Celebrating Failure, which I think is a good start to understand the theory – this blog post is a nice next step to get some tips on the practice. I liked Michał’s ideas, especially the anecdote about the F1-winning team’s principal starting every meeting by talking about his mistakes, lowering the bar for others to embrace failure, and creating a safe environment.

🎧 Something cool: Ethical Internet Consumption

I was catching up on my podcasts when I found this episode of the Search Engine from March: “How do we survive the media apocalypse?”. I loved PJ’s work since the TLDR / Reply All podcasts, so I listen to everything he’s putting out, which means I build up a backlog from time to time. In this episode he has another favorite of mine as a guest: Ezra Klein. The topic they discuss is starting on the current online media landscape, which was very interesting to hear for someone who spent more than a decade in this industry. Then Ezra explains his theory about our responsibility in the age of AI in shaping this media landscape, which was the most interesting part for me. Go have a listen if you care about how content is created and consumed today, and how it impacts our future.

That’s it for today, have a festive weekend,


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