“I am successful if I’m saying the right “No”s to my manager. If the ICs that report to my manager end up feeling like “I told you so” or “We knew this was a bad idea” and that wasn’t surfaced for a discussion, that’s on me.”

“I confidently trade on my manager’s authority in ways my teammates may struggle with. Because of my time and my deeper involvement in the technical details being discussed, it is my responsibility to step in and deescalate if a technical conversation is starting to circle the drain.”

I really like this explanation of the variety of things that a staff engineer can do (and does).


It sounds very familiar here that the mark of a senior is to have continuous pressure against getting anything done and then still getting stuff done.

One part of it is that if you’re capable in a platform, you should be able to get out the same amount of code in a fraction of the time.

I’d add glibly: if you’re getting stuff done, maybe you’re not a senior?


“The technology is not the hard part. It’s already invented, but we have to pay ourselves to install it fast. So, again, that’s an economic question, and it doesn’t work in capitalism. We have the means right now to arrange for everybody alive today to have adequate food, water, shelter, clothing, education, and healthcare, within the biosphere’s carrying capacity.”

A market of some sort may always exist, because we need to trade, but it could be so sharply regulated that it could exist on what economists call the margin, suitable for the toys, but not for the necessities of life, which should all be public utilities and part of a job guarantee and a living wage.

KSR talking about the fight ahead.