The Real 10x Developer

I watched this video shortly after it was published, but I’m generally bad about single-tasking while watching videos and missed this brilliant section. I recently stumbled upon the transcript and … 👀

Jason Lengstorf: What If The Real 10X Developer Is The Friends We Made Along The Way?

We also have to focus on setting the right example. As leaders, whether we’re just the most senior person on the team or whether we’re the VP of engineering, we are going to be in positions where other people are looking at what we do, and they’re going to model after that behavior.

If you are in a community, if you are on Twitter, if you are writing an email, if you’re talking to someone on your team, the way that you talk, the way that you act, the actions you take, the way you write code, the way you treat people, all of those things are subtle indicators for the way things are at this company, on this team when dealing with me.

If I’m living the values that I want everyone to have, it’s that much easier for people to have and adopt those values. That is so important when we’re talking about trust and safety because the worst thing in the world is to have somebody who says, “Oh, I really value this,” and then they do something that completely undercuts that.

You want to go someplace where the behavior is backing up the words, or even better, the behavior is speaking so loud that you don’t need the words. That’s the kind of thing that we have to start. We are the ones who get to make these decisions if we are in any position of authority.

Even if it’s just one person on our team who looks up to us, we can be the person who starts that ball moving. We can be the ones who look around to the rest of the team and say, “Hey, let’s be better. We can start the idea. We can bring pair programming. We can bring a better code review process. We can talk about how we can build more trust on the team.”

That’s how we set this example. That’s how we go out, push these things forward, and make the difference so that everyone on our team feels that trust, feels that security, and has the ability to progress, build, and work in a company that is extremely functional and getting those amazing outcomes.

We all want to be on one of those teams that blows people away, but we have to remember those teams weren’t hired. Those teams were grown. People who come into teams look around, look at how people are treated, and look at how people act. That’s who they become. You can hire somebody and show them a great company, and they will become an excellent member of an excellent company.

Or, you can hire somebody great, bring them into a toxic culture, and then reinforce that toxic culture. You’re going to either lose them, or they’re going to become just as bad. If you can’t hire away company problems, you have to work within the team to build the team you want and then bring more people who are going to help drive that culture into an already-changing, already-healthy culture.

This isn’t a problem you solve with money. It’s not a problem you solve with hiring. It’s certainly not a problem you solve by going out and hiring somebody whose job is to make the company healthy. You have to live and bring these values. If you want a company that’s not built on, protective and…

Like, “I write all the code. Nobody touched my code.” You want companies that are full of people who get it, who are interested, who are engaged to have autonomy, who feel excited to work, who feel trusted to do great work every day, and who – because of all of that – have the ability to grow, excel, and then hire more people who they can teach to grow and excel.

That is what a truly 10x company looks like. If you want to be a 10x developer, you need to be driving that change.