Words of wisdom from the folks at GitHub

This morning I stumbled upon a 37 Signals interview with GitHub co-founder Chris Wanstrath (hat tip to Greg Linch for linking me to the post). A few notable bits of wisdom from the interview:

On "shipping now and fixing later"

You can’t always be right and nothing’s ever going to be perfect – embracing this is a huge competitive advantage. Shipping early and often lets you see how people are actually using your site and allows you to react accordingly. Does that feature you shelved even matter? Is a feature you didn’t think of sorely needed? Has anyone even hit that bug you were worried about? It’s very easy to get too close to something and get a bit myopic.

On management by committee

I found this particularly interesting because it goes against the general assumption I've made that any type of managerial groupthink is unproductive for actually executing ideas:

We don’t have managers, instead we decide as a company what features or ideas are priorities. Whoever is the most interested in a feature ends up implementing and owning it.

It might sound crazy, but it works out really well. It’s a great way to make sure people are interested in what they’re working on, and that as a company we’re working on things that matter. If it’s lame, no one’s gonna do it. We all use the site so everyone has a pretty good idea of what’s missing or not working. We’re also friends with many of our customers, which helps when deciding what is and isn’t a priority.

I think the key there is that after the initial groupthink process, an individual takes ownership of the idea/feature/goal.  This is a step that tends to get lost, in my experience, after a group brainstorming session; the implementation never happens because there is not one person in charge.

And finally, I love this vision of the "company goal"

This attitude is awesome.

In five years I want to love my job and love the people I work with. We do want to keep growing, and make more money, and hire more people, and make something our customers love, but the most important thing is we keep having fun. I hope GitHub is forever an awesome place to work and an awesome website to use.

As long as we have really great people who are passionate about what they do and enjoy their jobs, we’re going to continue to provide a really great service for our customers (and ourselves).

You can read more nuggets of wisdom in the full post.