In late 2018, GitPrime interviewed me about the onboarding program we developed here at Drift. I discuss the strategy and value of the program, and share some secrets about how to execute it successfully.

This is their content, and I have marked their URL as the canonical original for SEO purposes. Contact me at if you’d like me to remove this story.

Image for post
Image for post

That’s because setting up their laptops, while critical, isn’t contributing to the team. So by early afternoon on their first day, they’ve completed all the no-op stuff. …

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Josue Isai Ramos Figueroa

Hi, I’m Pete, and I’m sharing this because everything I needed to know was spread all over the place. Hopefully this helps you out.

Why? Parity with production pays off.

btw — the use case that started me down this path was local cookie testing, if you must know 🤷

The tech used here includes OSX, OpenSSL, Node.js + Express, JavaScript + React (via create-react-app), and Nginx. This may not match your specific tools, but hopefully the concepts + config are useful.

To keep this from being a full blown foobar example, I’ll use… a natural history museum as an…

Hands photo by Perry Grone on Unsplash
Hands photo by Perry Grone on Unsplash

In engineering management you end up with 3 kinds of leaders.

  1. The kind that are ruinously empathetic and over-index on people management.
  2. Battle-tested senior engineers fire-fighting in strategic/leadership roles
  3. The rare leader who balances #1 and #2

I’ve had the privilege of working with top-notch software engineers who are interested in leadership. In the interest of helping them see success in an engineering management role, I recommend three books.

The Engineering Manager EQ Trifecta

These three are the non-negotiables. I recommend them to every new manager. The applicable lessons and mental models therein are priceless.

No surprises here. This book is at the top of…

Learn how to leave a review that affects real change

Full disclosure: this isn’t about destroying employers. It’s about making a difference instead of venting online.

Image for post
Image for post

If you’re being abused, harassed, or bullied at work, please stop reading, and look for options on, the US EEOC, or the US CIS.

I get it. You feel a TON of resentment, and probably also feel like your direct manager is PART of the problem. Talking with them directly is NOT an option.

If your experiences have been anything like mine, there may have been a build up of irritation over time, like a slow burn. …

Image for post
Image for post

Finding new ways to solve problems is tough. As an engineer, we’re fed a lot of resources for becoming better technologists. Unfortunately, we aren’t trained to become more persuasive.

As you grow into senior roles, you’ll have to do more wrangling. You’ll be expected to persuade people to work together, to challenge themselves, and to make the team successful (which can require personal sacrifice).

I found inspiration in sales. Specifically, I looked at how sales trainers turned salespeople into successful persuaders.

Authors Jeffrey Gitomer, Stephen Covey, Zig Ziglar, and Jeb Blount have published numerous books on the subject of persuasion…

How engineers & product management work together

I joined a few of my teammates at Drift to break down how product and engineering can work together most efficiently (which means breaking through the perception that engineers should be wholly removed from the customer).

Give it a listen! There are some gems for PM and Engineers alike!

Read more on or watch the interview above!

Originally published at on January 6, 2019.

Image for post
Image for post

Here’s the thing: you should be reading. A lot. Especially if you’re a technical lead or trying to level up your engineering role.

It’s easy to focus only on the daily grind. After all, software engineering is a challenging job, and you worked hard to get to where you are. You’re basing your day-to-day work on everything you’ve learned over your career.

This isn’t a bad thing.

If you’re lucky, you have a great technical mentor who sometimes drops wisdom on you, but they’re not always available. You’ve only learned from your work, little by little, every day.

Your implementations…

Image for post
Image for post
Matt Bilotti, Sr. PM & Dimitri Kennedy, Sr. SWE at Drift

This is something people ask me a lot. They say “Pete, how do I get promoted? I’ve been an engineer for a year or two now, and I’m ready for the next level.”

The best way, without fail, is to learn from the successful seniors at your company. There is no rubric which works for everyone. Every company is different and to succeed, you must adapt to your culture.

I have been in jobs where I barely grew over the course of a year. I was waiting for the company to lay out the groundwork that would allow me to…

Image for post
Image for post

A Relaxed Look at Getting Engineers up to Speed in a High Performance Organization

I’m writing this having recently onboarded a dozen new engineers at Drift. Folks varied in level from Intern to Senior Tech Lead, and they were ready to see what Drift was all about.

These are my learnings, and you can bet this is a work in progress. Here goes!

Before I jump into methods, let’s talk outcomes.

The worst outcome would be a group of overwhelmed programmers, fully dependent on others for instruction. They wouldn’t know their role in their team or their department, and they wouldn’t be able to connect their day-to-day work with the success of the company…

Image for post
Image for post

“We ship fast, and we focus on things that are useful” is what we say to engineering candidates. It isn’t until their first week at Drift that they understand what we mean by fast.

Teams here consist of two engineers (frontend & backend), a designer, a product manager, and a tech lead.

Each team focuses on meeting the needs of several related jobs to be done (JTBD). Teams are autonomous, but not without accountability. Each are expected to show visible progress every week (if not daily). It’s not unusual for folks to go the extra mile to ship particularly thoughtful…

Pete Karl II

Professional typist — retired dungeon master 🐉— 👨🏻❤️🍕 — podcast about books at

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store