The Ben Carlsson User Guide

May 2021

This page describes my working and communication styles [1].

We are all different and each have our preferences. The below points are not demands, but ways to reduce friction with me. Use or ignore at your discretion :)

  1. Be concise. Most ideas can fit in a tweet. Most specs can fit on a page. I dump my unfiltered thoughts into my keyboard then spend most of my "writing" time deleting. For example, this bullet's first draft was three paragraphs. More, even more
  2. Prefer sharing vision over coordinating. Coordination is slow. If we sync on where we're going rather than on how to get there, we will each be empowered to make decisions while in motion, instead of being blocked. And if we are good about sharing what we've learned in nonblocking ways like demos and email blasts, we can spread knowledge all the same [2].
  3. Prefer non-interruptive communication. A five-second Slack conversation can set my brain back 30 minutes. Similarly, the best time to schedule a meeting with me is immediately before or after another meeting. More
  4. Prefer talking in the ticket. As a forgetful person I love single-origin paper trails.
  5. Think in customer problems. Even if <product> "feels right" be prepared for me to ask what customer problem it solves. The one exception is tech debt, since we all know how it impacts customers.
  6. Know when it's time to schedule a meeting. Antithetical to many of the above, async communication sometimes doesn't fit [3]. If things are getting heated, misunderstood, or blocked, throw a meeting on my calendar or pop in.
  7. Give me feedback! I love feedback. We all feel it's a little bit awkward to give feedback and I think that is dumb and you should help me break that norm.