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Hello, Startup: A Programmer’s Guide to Building Products, Technologies, and Teams by Yevgeniy Brikman
Date Finished: September 13th, 2017
Reading Time: A week
What’s special about Hello, Startup is how thoroughly the author is dedicated to his craft. Jim’s insights into software engineering as a lifelong pursuit and the dynamics of small team building reveal a level of clairvoyance extending beyond the trope of the ‘pragmatic programmer’. The writing itself is flawless and reinforces much of the philosophy advocated in Chapter 12.
I often thought back to Soft Skills, which is of the same length with a similarly broad assortment of content (and even some overlap). This book was so much sharper and more genuine. Where Soft Skills’ author was filling pages with fluff while highlighting how he fills a daily content quota (quite ironic- and irritating), Jim was sharpening his mastery of the English language while translating his work experiences to sagely advice. There is no fluff, filler, or overreaching as far as the author’s own knowledge goes.
As with any book that casts a wide net, it contains chapters that correspond to full books. The closest mappings are Chapter 6 (Clean Code) – Clean Code, The Pragmatic Programmer; Chapter 8 (Software Delivery) – Continuous Delivery; Chapter 9 (Startup Culture) – Zero to One; Chapter 3 (Product Design) – The Lean Startup. If you’re intimately familiar with a topic covered in the book, chapters can be skipped with little consequence, however, I really appreciated the unique spin Jim was able to put on each topic and I think that you will, too.
While you might assume that this book is written for those looking to found The Next Facebook, it’s actually more of a warning and fairly balanced analysis of all aspects of startup life. I found the lessons applicable to my role as an engineer at a small company and my day-to-day when consulting to startups.