Version: 1.1 (September 12, 2020)

I was so inspired by Isaac Hepworth having his own “Working with Isaac” document, that I had to create my own. It’s a useful tool to set expectations with your coworkers and partners. This is in no way something that I am requiring others to read or try to enforce every single bullet point; it’s a document that provides context on how I personally operate - I do not expect anyone to adjust to my style, but rather consider it as they make their decisions.

Principles

Humans come first

We deliver a product through collaboration with the smartest people on Earth. My goal is to empower these people to be productive and achieve their goals - technology comes and goes, but people remain at the core of everything that we do. I try not to lose sight of that.

Feedback helps everyone be better

Without feedback, it’s very easy to fall back into one’s comfort zone, or be unaware of weaknesses or issues. I ask for performance feedback, and more than happy to provide it.

Leadership and knowledge sees no level boundaries

Looking at titles to determine whether the person is knowledgeable or has the right perspectives is counterproductive. Instead, I treat everyone as someone who is extremely smart, passionate, knows more than I do, and is looking to make our products and experiences better.

Bias for action

I prefer us setting up an A/B test or look at data instead of debating what’s right in a meeting. When there are resource constraints, I look at ways to get around those constraints by leveraging my skills and the skills of those around me.

A great product is the goal

I don’t believe in having separate “turfs” or “areas of influence” - we are all in this to build a great product. If I can help with an area outside my comfort zone, I will gladly do so - just ask. If I can help a partner be unblocked, I will do so to make sure that they can move forward, while also being cognizant of our product priorities and vision.

Notes

  • I work 8:00AM to 5:30PM PST. The time after, as well as on weekends, is reserved for family and personal projects. I am not on company e-mail or IM during that time.
  • I generally don’t answer e-mails after hours or on weekends, with a few and ocassional exceptions, that are just that - exception.
  • I do not answer emails or attend meetings during vacation time. I strongly believe that this time is crucial to recharging and focusing on my family. I encourage my peers to do the same.
  • The corrolary to the statement above is that I don’t expect anyone to answer my emails or IMs when they are on vacation - it can be done once you’re back and refreshed.
  • If you get an email from me at odd times, you do not need to respond to it that moment. Do it at your own time. If it would be urgent, I would reach out to you in a different way that is not e-mail.
  • I am remote, therefore documentation takes precedence over in-person communication. Let’s write things down and have a conversation in the document/work item before setting up meetings or starting another long email thread. If something is not documented, it might as well not exist.
  • Despite being remote, I strongly believe in the value of face-to-face communication. It’s important to regularly meet with the people I work with to discuss how I can help and plug in better into the existing projects.
  • I write more than I talk. Writing allows one to better flesh out their thoughts before sharing them broadly. Send me your comments in the document!
  • Email threads that need narrative or long explanations should be documents.
  • Instant messages that need long explanations should be documents.
  • I set up meetings to hash out ideas and/or build partnerships. I do not set up meetings for status updates - that can be done asynchronously.
  • Before setting up a meeting, ask - “Can I write this down/will this be useful for others?
  • Most email is not urgent. If there is truly an urgent matter, please reach out to me during work hours or through means other than email.
  • I am pretty serious about having focus time - that’s when I get the most impactful work done. If I haven’t answered your email or IM, I will do so within a reasonable timeframe; I triage those requests at the start and end of day, and tend to get to “Inbox Zero” weekly.
  • I have no issues with my work being seen by other partners/teams - I tend to be fairly transparent about the documents and presentations I write. Want to know about something I work on? Ask and I will point you to the document or work item where that is outlined!
  • Instead of sending status emails, I update work items and have written, internally accessible artifacts that you can refer to for the latest update on a project.
  • Ocassionally you will get emails from me that announce new features or capabilities. Those will be infrequent.
  • I like to stick to the top-right corner of the Impact/Effort matrix.
  • I value honesty, inclusiveness and directness - if you feel like I am missing the mark on anything, please call me out on it.
  • My metaphorical “door” (remember, I am remote?) is always open. Blocked? Need clarification? Have a question? Ask me! I will always be happy to chat.
  • Time for self-development is critical. I book regular times to do it, and encourage others to do the same.