User Guide

This page is in the form of Abby Falik's user guide and inspired by Dina Levitan's user guide.

Below is what I value at work. This is descriptive of me, not prescriptive to you; treat it as a set of FYIs, not requirements. Use or ignore at your discretion, and share your own guide with me!


I have a unique history with communication. Ask me about it some time.

Here are the cliffs notes.

1. I work best with coordinated *why*s and uncoordinated *how*s.

Coordination is slow. As long as we share a common vision, I trust you to make two-way door decisions in motion without blocking on consensus. I ask that you trust me to do the same. We can continue to share progress in nonblocking ways1. More

2. I prefer asynchrony.

Social interaction costs me brainpower so I am more helpful and better at problem-solving when writing than when speaking. In either case I'll understand your words better when given time to digest.

3. I don't handle interruptions well.

Notifications for my Slack and email are often off, even for DMs. A thirty second conversation sets my brain back 15 minutes, so this is how I protect my productivity. I'll see the red badge in my dock when I come up for air. If it's urgent, use the oncall flow. More, even more

4. I prefer tickets to Slack.

I'm forgetful. I curb this with external brain tricks, but I can more easily (re)gain context when discussion is concentrated in one place.

I practice inbox zero so you won't have to ping me about something already in my email, like code reviews or ticket comments.

I have a one-business-day SLA on anything in my email inbox.

5. I focus on customer problems.

Even if a solution "feels right" be prepared for me to ask what customer problem it solves.

6. [Don't say hello](

See 2 and 3.


I'm always working on myself, but some dimensions are tougher to crack than others. Beware the following.

A. I go rogue.

Sometimes I'm so passionate about fixing or building something that I'll do it without tracking because the overheadā€”or its emotional burdenā€” is bigger than the job itself. Some adored features have come out of having the freedom to do this; see #1 above.

B. I work weird hours.

Motivation strikes me randomlyā€”sometimes during a workday, but also sometimes on a Sunday, or at 4 AM, or for 16 hours straight. To counterbalance, I shorten my workdays and the math roughly works out. If you see emails or commits from me with unhealthy-feeling timestamps, keep in mind my default workday is at ~70% capacity.

  1. To be clear I don't mean "don't do code reviews". I mean don't call team meetings for approval at every small-to-medium fork in the road. I trust you to do the research and make the call, then share your findings async.