And how it reduces the odds you frustrate your team to the brink of leaving

Waaaaay back, when I was a freelance web design/dev, I made a website for a water filtration company. Super exciting right? I was young, and to be honest didn’t even know what they did.

The CEO and I were on the same page at the start: they just wanted a cool website. So did I — and I went off and made it. Fuelled by my passion for the latest design trends and the most up-to-date dev standards I came up with three amazing options. Masterpieces, in my head.

And then it happened, right near the end, every designer’s worst…

Engineering leaders… Your one-size-fits-all approach to management won’t work.

We just interviewed eight engineers to learn how they view and approach one-on-one meetings. We asked them how they prepare, what stresses them out and what they expect from their managers… and I wanted to share that with you…

BUT — I’ve been finding Medium to be less and less about sharing free thought… and more and more about sharing paid thought. 💰

That’s not really what I want. So I’ve moved this back to our own domain!

Please check it out and share on twitter instead of clapping 👇 👇 👇

Founders: stop sending engagement/pulse surveys.

There’s something I’ve been saying since SoapBox was first born: employee surveys are dumb. They’re really, frustratingly dumb. They’re not the solution to the employee engagement crisis. They’re part of the problem.

So stop filing them out — and if anyone gives you grief, send them this article.

Here are five reasons why employee engagement surveys need to go extinct.

Thinking of launching a freemium app? Here’s what I learned.

After 5 years of building an enterprise app, we launched our freemium version at the start of 2018 🎉 And so, here are the 8 lessons I learned from launching SoapBox as a freemium app — and we’re still just getting started.

After all, freemium isn’t easy: giving away your product for free, and then trying to entice users to upgrade to value-added features means a lot of planning, hard work and risk. But here we are! 😅

1. It will take a long time (a REALLY long time) 📆

I thought it would take three months to build our beta, three for our paid plan, and maybe another three to six…

A behind-the-scenes look at the annual SoapBox retreat

A few weeks ago we finished another company retreat. It was our best one yet.

I’m sad to see it come to an end, but also breathe a sigh of relief — After all, a lot of time goes into 48h of pure company bonding time.

I thought I’d share a bit about why (and how) we do an annual company retreat at SoapBox. Then I decided to dig deeper and do you one better: a retreat tell-all.

And yes, we’re still a startup.

When you’re first starting out, everything is a mistake. Everything is a failure and life sucks. But, the mistakes are actually a personal godsend, because you learn from them. You overcome challenges. You make a better thing, or service, because you made mistakes that helped you to grow.

Earlier this summer, SoapBox celebrated its eighth birthday — even though, because of some of these mistakes we had to reboot the company. So with that, here are eight mistakes we made in my startup’s first eight years. 😖

1. We Invented. We didn’t Innovate. Oops. Never again.

People want to invent something. We wanted to invent something. But in reality…

or Nine podcasts I wish I was listening to when I was founding SoapBox

Startups are hard. As a first-time founder myself, I feel like I can tell you that. (In fact, it’s my rule to tell you…) For me, I love the process and the grind. It’s the learning and growing that motivates me. So, I’m always looking to learn from cool, smart leaders — and podcasts make that infinitely easier. I get all their worldly wisdom, and I don’t even need to buy them a beer! 🍻

With that, here are nine awesome podcasts I wish had been around when I was founding SoapBox.

1. StartUp

This podcast has gone through a number of…

This time from Facebook, Google, and more, more more!

Wow! My last post on 12 Manager READMEs went nuts. Like 10–15x more views than anything else I’ve written in a while.

So much so, that twitter was ablaze with people sending me their READMEs and other ones they had seen before. Hackernews had a healthy debate on the merits of writing one. It was fun for me.

Why enjoy all of that extra fun myself? We compiled all the new READMEs that were created for you! Enjoy 👇👇👇

What does tech management at Slack, HubSpot, Netflix, Etsy, Shopify, InVision, and more have in common? A lot, apparently!

When we launched our first SoapBox hero I was surprised to discover a document used to introduce her working style to her team. I had never seen that before and it was awesome!

Did others have these? I needed to know. Eventually, I found a treasure trove of examples by Engineering Leaders from companies with some of the best culture in tech.

They called them Manager READMEs, or Manager User Manuals. And they’ve graciously let me share them with you.

Click the images to read their READMEs.

Based on data from our slack bot (Bonus: the most avoided Q)

My team meeting is crucial. I get everyone in a room and get everything I need out of them — with the added bonus of the team getting in sync, right? Wrong. Turns out, managers are blind to how crucial that meeting is to others. Only 4–9% of problems are known to managers... *gulp*

That’s one of the reasons we built the SoapBox bot — a bot to help people have more productive 1:1 and team meetings.

Brennan McEachran 👨‍🚀

CEO, Co-Founder of @SoapBoxHQ. I split my time between the Business, the Tech, and @mrsmceachran

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