Engineering Managing and Leadership with Camille Fournier

Camille FournierCamille Fournier is the head of Platform Engineering at Two Sigma, a financial company in New York City. Prior to joining Two Sigma she was the Chief Technology Officer of Rent the Runway, a transformative brand that offers unprecedented access to designer fashion, disrupting the way millions of women get dressed.

She is an open source contributor and project committee member for both Apache ZooKeeper and the Dropwizard web framework. Prior to working for Rent the Runway, Camille served as a software engineer at Microsoft, and most recently, spent several years as a technical specialist at Goldman Sachs, creating distributed systems for managing risk analysis and firm-wide infrastructure.

She has a BS in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University and an MS in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Camille is a well-respected voice within the tech community, speaking on a variety of topics such as engineering leadership, distributed systems, scaling teams, and technical architecture. In 2017 she released her book, “The Manager’s Path: A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change.”

Contact Info:

Twitter: @skamille

Medium: https://medium.com/@skamille 

Camille Talk: http://www.camilletalk.com/

Show Notes:

Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well

Harvard Business Review

Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders

What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful

The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Read Full Transcript

Christian Mccarrick:
[0:03] Good morning Camille welcome to the show.

Camille Fournier:
[0:05] Thank you for having me.

Christian Mccarrick:
[0:08] Absolutely it’s it’s definitely might my pleasure and where you calling from today.

Camille Fournier:
[0:12] I’m calling in from lovely Manhattan New York City.

Christian Mccarrick:
[0:18] Excellent I’ve had a number of guests coming in from New York recently and it’s going to do to my heart and I actually grew up there so it’s good to be able to reconnect with people that are calling from my hometown.

[0:29] A question I
how to say but I’m sure that a number of my listeners here I have have heard of you they’ve either seen some of your talks
potentially even even read your book which might have been mentioned one or two times on my podcast in the past
but forgot about you just give some listeners to you if you could give me a brief background a little bit of the Journey of the important steps of where you got you to where you are today.

Camille Fournier:
[0:57] Sure so so I you know I have had in some ways a very stereotypical Tech Career I was you know in two computers as a kid.
I went to college for computer science I went to Carnegie Mellon for my undergraduate degree.
I worked at Microsoft for a hot second decided I wasn’t ready to be a grown up yet.
For a couple of years decided I didn’t want to get a PhD and also decided that I wanted to move to New York City so I left,
and moved to New York City and got a job at Goldman Sachs obviously everyone nowadays has heard of Goldman Sachs.
Believe it or not when I joined I had never heard of the company before it was long before the.
Vampire squid days.

[1:55] And so I moved to New York and I spent about six and a half years working at Goldman on a bunch of different things I just had a really good.
Experience working there that was where I first got into open source so I started working on the Apache zookeeper project.
While I was there my last couple of years and you know.
I had a nice would have grew up there as a tech lead and you know senior individual contributor I get a lot of likes on a staff engineer level.
Level work on some management but I decided about you know six and a half years in that I didn’t know that I really wanted to like.

[2:35] You know really continue to invest in like the rest of my life at this big big company I wasn’t sure that I wanted to stay,
you know focus on finance for the rest of my career and I wanted more leadership opportunities and the startup scene in New York was really kind of.
Starting to take off at that point it’s nothing like a dozen San Francisco but.
You know that there were definitely like a lot of interesting companies and I had a bunch of friends that had started to work at startup on so I ended up getting a job offer at a company called Rent the Runway.
How much is a start-up that rents women’s designer dresses and accessories and I got a job offer to be their director of the title that we gave me was.

[3:20] I really liked the idea of the company I thought the business side of it was really smart. All the people,
that I talk to you on the business side clearly really knew what they were they had a clear idea of what they wanted and more importantly,
one of those in a start-up ideas where when you explain it to anyone and the Target demographic in this case whenever I just have to,
and immediately got it that’s a good idea which I really you know
there are a lot of businesses you go to and it’s like I’m building a database and most people have no idea,
you know what does that mean why would I use that why would I care you know it so it was it was cool that it felt like a good idea for a business that they had gotten some traction it was
around surf series B time frame so it wasn’t the very very beginning and the text side was kind of a disaster.

[4:17] They had about 15 people you know I think they they they the company haven’t started by non-technical Founders and.
Yeah I definitely had technical advising and they’ve they’ve had people running engineering and that they had electric even during the time they had a hard time really like.
Pulling together a clearance team that had kind of a vision and I didn’t know in the beginning how much technology would it would really require to make that we need to.
Make the technology better here we need to let you know the engineering.
Component is actually holding us back from this building from this business being successful and I felt like alright I can help fix that
so I went to Rent the Runway and you know that’s really where I really managed to have a great 4 years of.

[5:10] Of intense growth for both the company and for myself personally as a leader you know I went from.
Director of engineering in a that you know they came that she Protec I became of the.
Somewhat rapid succession over the time that I was there and I took over the team about a year and ended up growing it from about 15 people to about 65 and I left.

[5:36] So it was a pretty you know it was a very intense four years of experience I like to say to people,
it’s business my phone works better with women you know
getting birth fast means that you’re done quickly but it’s very painful and it sort of the similarly with growing in the leadership role
you know that they’re painful no matter how long they take but doing it quickly is cool in some ways but it definitely means that it’s a very very very intense
experience and growing in a growing from from you know my,
my first really important Engineering Management job to becoming the CT only having to tell him to lead a big team having to be an executive the morning how to be an executive in a very short period of time out of top of the company was.
Was intense but it was great I learned a lot and so I left that job after about four years I decided,
but I had done what I came to do which was make the technology team much more stable you know grow it make it so that technology was not the bottleneck in the business anymore.
When I felt like I had accomplished so I decided to leave and you know figure out what I want to do next in my life.

[6:52] And that’s when I wrote the book by the manager pass which I publish for the Riley about little more than a year ago,
and you know since then I wrote the book I did that that scared of time I tried my hand at various.
Little start-up ideas that I had but never really got anywhere with much much of that I did a bunch of speaking and teaching and now I work for a company called two Sigma and I run.
Their platform engineering division.

Christian Mccarrick:
[7:22] Excellent no I’ve been fantastic
fantastic I should have grocery in background for for you there how much it I’m curious you you went from Goldman Sachs which it was actually interesting for me to hear you kind of got into open source well at Goldman Sachs say I was headed to Vision I think some people do that
so she’s coming to San Angelo Services firm you know it might not have been something that was really happening at those companies but you you say that you kind of really got into it while you’re at Goldman Sachs.

Camille Fournier:
[7:50] Yeah you know I am.

[7:55] I suppose one of the one of the things about me is that I’m not afraid to to bend the rules if I think it’s the right thing to do for the company so I got involved so I was working on a project using Zoom.

[8:09] And calm I didn’t really have the very very clear rules about working with open source,
and there were certain places where they had a lot of like sanctioned interaction on open source projects where you know like some debris Linux Goldman is actually always been very heavily involved in the job,
community in Smyrna Java steering groups but you know I’m using this project product and its you know zookeeper is.
I mean still a very very widely used product I’m going to have a fairly small group of people who keep it running and a small group of turtles vocal.
Users I’m so you know I was using your numbers building out a system that needed to be.
Infrastructure for the firm in my opinion and you know in finance.

[9:03] Available secured in various ways and I you know just found some problems with it right nothing major but you know I found some missing features I found some bugs and you know I figured look was part of my job is.
Making you know making sure that this product that were were basing this foundation on infrastructure on is good,
then part of my job is working on this on this piece of software that happens to be open source in so I started you know.
Asking questions and answering questions on mailing lists and you know I contributed some bug fixes and I.
You know I did some some deep debugging on some some problems and you know.

[9:46] I wasn’t forbidden but I wasn’t exactly blessed either I kind of just was going to say you know what this is ambiguous but I feel you know I feel strongly that I’m doing the right thing for this company,
by participating companies like Goldman are much more,
are much clearer policies on doing this kind of stuff and they,
embrace it and encourage it a lot more and at the time I just would have took his hennage of the ambiguity of the situation feeling like I was doing the right thing.

Christian Mccarrick:
[10:18] Yeah no I mean that that’s great I think some cases a biased towards action would not right is definitely I think that the way to go Sushi and startups and in your case I also at Goldman Sachs
how to transition a bit into it when you’re at I think Rent the Runway you got an interesting anecdote about
you’re when you you came in as that that’s Rector but then there was interesting story about how you kind of became kind of leading the team ride with a bit someone leaves and then you kind of said raise your hand and said hey let me do it said that I had it when I think I remember seeing that when you’re talk.

Camille Fournier:
[12:45] Yes it’s so you know I joined as a director of engineering and my for about the first
[10:10] or someone said I was there and I worked for the SUV of engineering retired me
but you know he didn’t end up working out at the company and so when he left and when it when it came out he said he was going to leave
I was wrong and I was like well you know what there’s nobody else that is obvious to run this team and so I put my hand up and I said.
Into the CEO like you know hey boss put me in let me give me a chance at.

[13:26] Running the team and her you know I think her response immediately was like well I guess I don’t have a choice right now.
So whether or not she thought it was a good idea,
immediately she kind of didn’t have a choice and you know we didn’t look for other people and we looked and interviewed a lot of candidates for potential you know that sweetie have engineering or C T O type folks.
But I think you know overtime what happened was I stepped into the role and it was a lot harder than I expected it to be stressful but I could do it you know it took some,
it took a lot of gross and a lot of you know I had to learn a lot the company actually ended up getting getting someone and who acted like a part-time interim CTO for a while and then he transition,
into being a CTO coach for me and.

[14:25] You know I think part of what he did was evaluate me essentially as can this person do this job and,
thankfully he decided yes I could and provided a lot of support as I was learning the ropes for it but you know this is this is really part of the reason why I went to a startup but I didn’t I didn’t go to a startup
to make a you know a bajillion dollars and.
Necessarily really to change the world’s I mean you know when I left I left Goldman Sachs frankly they were like you know if you stay here you can,
you can make a lot of money right I was already in a well-paying career.
I want to start ups because I wanted to challenge myself and I wanted to see what I could accomplish I wanted to see you know without the safety net of a big company.
You know who could I be in could I what kind of leader could I be and so this ended up being you know being a great chance and opportunity for me to learn that about myself in the show that I could do it so I’m glad I took that opportunity.

Christian Mccarrick:
[15:28] You’re awesome and I think it can I goes back into a little bit of you know you had a quote I think in one of your.

[15:36] You’re one of your talks are your thing about you know it’s choosing your your manager
is an incredibly important piece of your serve career trajectory but if you take that a step up I think even choosing the company you join is equally if not more important and it’s in a very beginning about the kind of exactly that you could have and what you can learn.

Camille Fournier:
[18:53] Yeah absolutely you know I think I think part of the reason I left Goldman when I did was that I didn’t.
I didn’t think that I had a total I don’t think of the values that I had for myself and for my career we’re totally aligned with the values that.
Camille Aiko Manhattan that started to mean more than washing there I became.
You know Goldman is a finance company and it and it has a finance culture which means that.
The people who you know make decisions are not check people for the most part right and it doesn’t affect you as much when you are,
earlier in your career when you’re very heads down at your hand and interesting project it’s great but you know as I became more more senior I really value
transparency I really value you know engineering approaches to problems and I didn’t feel like the company at the time at least
had those same values right I mean but I worked on that open source stuff at Golden then I was sort of breaking the rule and.

[19:59] You know that was I think that was the right thing for the company and that’s why I did it but I didn’t really want to work for a company where I felt like being.
Doing the right thing for the company because it revolves a transparency with you know.
Would an open source project would be breaking the rules right I wanted I wanted something a little bit more more transparent,
and and so that’s part of why I left a part of why I chose not the runway was I felt like,
you know it was much more of that start-up environment there’s just a lot more that everybody can do to impact the company there’s a lot more that I could do to shape the culture of the company I’m in it felt like it was more line to what I needed,
for myself at the time of like giving me more responsibilities you know without having to be.
The top of the food chain right so even though I didn’t come in you know running the whole team I was getting a lot of responsibility and that was kind of what I want one of those those opportunities and those chances and I think that’s really,
I think it’s a really important thing to consider when you go to start ups or even a bigger company,
are you really going to be happy in the with the kind of restrictions that accompanies going to bring on you or the kind of expectations and culture that they’re going to want from you.

Christian Mccarrick:
[21:12] Yeah awesome know it to switch up a little bit here
you’re not only are you an experienced and successful engineering leader you can show me back to the computer d by writing in your blog
speaking of conferences you know your member of the cloud native Foundation
and you’re also the author of the manager’s past and I’ve mentioned it before and it’s a book that is Far and Away the most recommended book by any single one of my best guess my podcast by like a factor of 10 and.
You know the question a lot of people ask me to Minnesota see someone like yourself is your how can you do it already is that it’s a kind of question but lights were frame that a bit.
And ask you to give some of your best advice on time management other software managers and leaders or listen to the show that really kind of want to be able to accomplish more maybe they want to get back to open source maybe that you know they want to write more in blogs or participate in,
in conference is what are some of the tips you have for those people to be able to quote on quote you will do it all or be able to do more.

Camille Fournier:
[22:12] So the thing about me is that I say it this way I say that I’m very lazy.
And that sacrilege clothing not entirely true,
given all the things that I do but what it what it really means is that I hate to waste my own time and I hate to waste.
My own energy and so I’m kind of constantly in a process of asking myself is what I’m working on important.
Is what I’m working on I think that needs to be done by me is what I’m working on something that gives value
to me to the people around me to the World At Large or am I just doing this to feel like I’m I’m busy and accomplishing something.
And I think I have a particularly well-honed sense of of kind of impatience for for that that actually helps me get a lot done.
Because you know I don’t take on things that I’m not interested in unnecessarily and.

[23:19] Hold on to them for a long time you know I do take my commitments extremely seriously so you know I am still.
Involved forgettable in the Apache zookeeper Community not very heavily you know I am certainly not spending you know.
Hours and hours a week or frankly even a month you know I I kind of I kind of recognize that I’m very busy and,
and I’m not it’s never going to be I don’t have the time right now or the focus in my career to like make that one of my top priorities but I remain involved in that because I think occasionally I can call you
and it’s and I don’t feel bad about not having to be involved all the time
make a note at work for example what I see a lot of people do what other managers are Icees or anyone I just see a lot of people work on things up just aren’t that important and I think that.

[24:16] What is important to work on and what is something that you know that you’re doing just because you want to look busy.
You know I think a lot of people like look for it I feel like I need to know details or or sort of work on things
I just have stopped using a lot of value to themselves and people around them and that distracts from them going after the next big thing.

[24:46] It’s a part of being part of being lazy a little bit is it really jealous Lee guarding your time and it’s also it also means that sometimes I get bored which is actually good.
Because when I get bored is when I have the time to say alright when was the last time I thought about the big picture for
myself or my team you know if I’m bored this is a chance for me to say okay
what is the next 6 12 18 months for my team look like that I haven’t thought about you know where are the areas where we don’t have a good strategy where are the areas where people are spinning their wheels on something that,
is probably not actually going to be important so that I can save them time on and save them the work of doing something that actually probably isn’t really.
Going anywhere like I really do think that that.
The things that make me effective,
I’m in this are a jealous guarding of my time are that you know I don’t want to do too much work on any one thing that I don’t think is important I,
that I have a good Cena have a well-honed sense
overtime of figuring out what actually is in Port what actually is valuable you know which opportunities are worth pursuing and which opportunities you know are worth saying you know what this is just not.

[26:12] I’m not going to enjoy this and it’s not going to give back that much to anyone it’s not going to do that much for me or you or the company or.
You know the community-at-large and so you know let’s let’s skip that breakfast or let’s skip that you’re not going to participate in that committee.

Christian Mccarrick:
[26:28] Sure well I’m glad you’re able to participate in this podcast on that privatization think so thank you for that but I think you know you make a good point it circles back to point you made around Utah
when your Rent the Runway and then leaving you should have mentioned your after 4 years I had accomplished all the things that I really wanted to, should I and I left it in a good State and now it’s time to move on,
trying to take it kind of goes back into your point prioritization and always looking at am I doing now what’s still the most important thing for me and for the next 18 months.

Camille Fournier:
[26:59] Yeah I am not I am certainly not miss organized like.
Yeah I am not the person who’s like carrying around an amazing to do list and just knows exactly what the next.
Important thing I just I think that really I think they’re really I’m just very impatient and I’m very impatient.
And I am and that you know I kind of just don’t have a lot of tolerance for for doing work that I don’t take matters.
You know obviously I have a very loose definition of matters if I work for Goldman Sachs for a long time right and you know I’m not saving the world and talking about like
you know am I do I feel like I’m I’m learning a lot and I’m or I’m teaching a lot you know I’m
I’m building something that I’m proud of you know I’m.
I’m focused on on interesting stuff and that’s that’s always what I’m just I’m just optimizing for all the time you know is just like am I am I focused is this interesting is this going to bring.
Some value to someone is this is this a good bet anyway that was going to bring some values.

Christian Mccarrick:
[28:15] Sure you know part of the reason why I ask these questions why I have this podcast my ask so my gas to kind of pull back the curtain a little bit is because I think at the end of the day we’re all
if your VP of engineering or have engineering or your first time manager maybe both started from the service same place and we’re not
super special right in any way we don’t have super powers right in the fact that you know you don’t have this.

[28:40] If you couldn’t necessarily identifiable this is the reason why success was 100 point plan to follow on a day-to-day basis I think kind of gives a little bit of encouragement to some of the listeners out there who want to a teen
you know to be head of engineering somewhere I want to give Carmen stocks that you know what is possible right and we’re all human and kind of figure out what works the best for you.

Camille Fournier:
[29:00] No I need to look I will also say that I worked with a personal coach I still do on enough for you know years and years and years.
And that was also very helpful for me you know paying someone to.
You know she she she helps me but be a better manager and executive.
But you know it was also like a person that I that I paid to help keep me accountable for some of these things like giving conference talks or writing blog posts you know I was terrified to start writing when I try to remember the first like,
blog post that I posted that I was like just terrified to post now of course like you know probably 50 people read it and it didn’t.

[29:46] Oh boy and putting it out there in the world was really really scary for me when I started doing a 10 and I am nowadays.
Is there still a little bit of Terror when you put
something out there that you’ve made you know when I give talks I still get nervous when I click post on a on a blog post but you have gotten used to it at this point but I needed a car and I needed another person
saying you can do this you know don’t listen to those fears like you know this is this is this is something you say you want so let’s help you get through your fears like to get it done.

Christian Mccarrick:
[30:24] Sure now excellent point neckties into one of the concepts in your book that I wanted to bring up and it’s something I really try to convey to my teams and specially when I’m doing a coaching and mentoring is the concept of you are responsible for yourself.
And it wouldn’t you go into that a little bit know what do you mean by that and why do you think that is so important.

Camille Fournier:
[30:46] Yeah you know I think I would think it’s it’s a fine it’s a fine line to walk right so.

[30:56] I’m a woman attack and I am very aware that.
You know we all work in an ecosystem that is more unless fair to each of us.
And you know I do and what I don’t want people to take away from.
From is like you know everybody is a self-made person and you got to pull yourself up by your bootstraps because I certainly don’t think.
That you know I did that I don’t I don’t think that’s a realistic I don’t think it’s a realistic thing to expect from people.
You do have a role play in your career and in your life and that,
you know you’re not totally a passive victim of circumstance is important I think it again I didn’t get helps people.

[31:47] To realize that.
You know they are not totally disempowered by the circumstances of the world around them but there’s a lot of stuff that you can do that will probably make your situation,
better will probably get you closer to the goals that you have I can’t promise anything right you know bad luck lightning strikes things happen but.
Setting for most people you know that I also found some people who can be very passive about.
You know their careers for example I make sure to expect that their manager is going to get them promoted and their manager is going to you know give them the thing to work on that’s going to make,
you know it’s going to going to justify the promotion that’s going to get them to the next level and then you know they just have to let you know.

[32:34] Sit back and kind of wait for their manager to do this for them and it’s just not realistic,
you don’t even a great manager even if you have you know if you work for a great company the reality is that at some point.
You’ve got to be on the lookout for those opportunities and you’ve got to let you know you got to be willing to have some of those hard conversations where it’s like I want to get promoted.
Help me think about the things that I can do you know I want what what do you want in a voice saying what you want.
Helps your manager know how to get out get you promoted to manager know that they should be looking out for this for you and so I think that you know,
I think that it is important for people to realize that you know the only constant in their lives as themselves and that.
Means that there is you know you have some role to play or you’re not just a passive passive audience in your own life in the more than people realize that.

[33:33] I don’t want you to blame yourself everything that goes wrong either but I do want I do want everybody to realize that like your manager is not a mind reader.
Remind me to your friends aren’t that the more that you can be clear with yourself about what you want and then Express that clearly to other people the more than they can help you get where you want to go.

Christian Mccarrick:
[33:55] That’s good point and a circle back to the economy before and that you also made about choosing your manager wisely how can.
You know choosing a manager help you on the path of helping yourself what are the things to look for if your
you’re looking in a roll to choose at manager that would complement your inability or help you along the way that you want to get to write what are the things to look for if you’re if you’re a manager or an icy and you have the opportunity to go in a new team what should you look for for the signs of how to choose that manager.

Camille Fournier:
[34:26] So one thing that I would say to Isis now and this is probably I’m not sure that this is anything I’ve ever said before but I would be a little bit cautious of managers who.

[34:39] 2 / cell on how much they are going to make your life.

[34:45] Amazing what I have noticed you no more and more over the last few years is that there is a there’s a particular type of manager,
is very good at managing down and those nice people to work for you know they
they say they care about you as a person they will
you know they will they will pay great lip service to caring about developing your career and sometimes it’s a good person to work for but what I often see is that managers like that,
don’t actually run very effective teams because I have a hard time having hard conversations with people they will tell you good things and they will tell you about how much they care and they will do
team bonding exercises and and all this stuff but you know you also need a manager he’s going to tell you hard things.
You’ll see me in a minute I was going to tell you you know what this project isn’t going well or you haven’t really finish the work on this thing and you know.
As a result you haven’t quite proven that you can do XYZ right we are not delivering what we have what we what we said we would deliver to our customers or you know hey the way that you’ve been behaving in this meeting.
You know actually holding you back you’re being you know you’re being abrasive you’re interrupting people you are you know you’re not listening what whatever right you know or you’re not speaking up in that case.

[36:12] So I think that you know I think that if you are anything cuz you’re a very ambitious person.

[36:19] One of the things you should look for is a manager who really does seem to have accomplished a lot.
And who seems to who may not be like.

[36:29] I’m perfectly nice I should be at when I work for someone who’s a total you know total egotistical only wants you to like lick their boots or you know is is right.
You want somebody who who you think of is actually very effective and that you respect their effectiveness because those people,
tend to be ghetto effective people can teach you how to be affected another should one of the things that most people need help to learn how to do whether you are an Icee order manager.
Being on a team where you’re getting things done in your feel effect the first of all it feels great that is why I really think that the best.
The best jobs of my life are places where I had I have been able to get a lot done and where I felt very effective.
You really feel that you really able to grow and see the impact of your work and so
you’re looking beyond the start of lip service at a manager might pay to you know caring about you as a person,
that’s that’s good stuff I also like is this person actually also effective also for your career especially if you’re at a bigger company,
you want an effective manager because that manager is going to grow and good managers who are effective in grow tent to bring people along.

[37:53] And so if you were working for someone who is successful and you do good work for them they will probably make you successful and you know that’s just.
You know that’s just.
Good sense you know it’s so so those are some of the things that I think are are good to look for right you know you don’t want to over.
Over optimized for niceness necessarily although it is you know it is important you don’t want a manager who’s going to yell at you or abuse you or otherwise.
You know those managers of definitely exist I have worked for those managers and it it can be very hard to get over that experience but at the same time you also.
You want someone who’s going to push you.
And who’s going to ask for the best from you that he’s going to get the best from the people around them and that you feel like you can learn something from.
So you know those are some of the things I think you know I think people would do I will try thank you.
Is over optimizing for a manager that they think is technically Savvy and like assertive look for this.
A certain version of smart and I have definitely made this mistake and you know one of the worst managers I worked for was great as an engineer.

[39:11] He was just not a good manager and I liked him as a person I like him as a person to this day I think he’s a smart guy that she was really ineffective and it made our whole team ineffective.
Edit and ultimately really frustrated me because I kind of realize that you know what like.
I respected this guy or what as an engineer and I thought he was you know on that regard I could not complain that all I had chosen to work for him because he was super smart but.
You know he ran in Orcutt was much less powerful and effective than it could be because you just refuse to play,
text Frank let you know you refused to the system that he was in and he never could be as effective and therefore we could ever be.
And you know that was a powerful lesson for me that I don’t just know you don’t just want to work for someone
that you think is a super smart engineer you need to work for someone who can get things done and who knows how to work within the organization that you’re at,
was an idiot but where was really good at managing off I would hate that.
Even if that person really affected by probably still hate that but you know you do you do want to be careful not to not to overvalue text.

Christian Mccarrick:
[40:27] Yeah that’s it that’s really awesome point that I’ve seen throughout my career as well we’re the kind of the engineers of the respect the the people who have the
best technical chops mr. W the politics and and self-promotion and all the other things has he knows fluff types of things but
the necessary evil in a situation those someone being good at that and being good at technical you can actually as you point out make you more affected like make the whole team or fact they might be able to get you the more Engineers metal to get you the things that you need,
so you’re asking for that if they didn’t be able to.
Portable play those politics games you know you can’t get what you want right and how do you even how you do that sucks really good point one thing
to talk about you for maybe the manager is listening right now that’s listening maybe I am a little too nice you know I do all those things you mentioned
you know how would you know you want to talk about feedback and how important is your how would you what kind of advice would you give to this matter today to to work on may be having some of those tough conversations and giving some more of that good feedback.

Camille Fournier:
[41:31] Yeah I mean I think that so let’s see.
Personal practice nobody nobody is born good at giving good feedback.

[41:48] I don’t think I’m sure some people are naturally a little bit better at it but like so you know.
I would I started out and probably to this day I are on too harsh with my feedback.
So I took your even though I will always be blunt with you I might be too blunt and that is harmful.
And I’ve had to learn over time how to give feedback that people actually listen to,
and you know how do I do that I practice frankly you know if I’m going to if I knew I had to get someone hard feedback I think about spend time thinking about and writing down what I might want to say.
And you know preparing myself for that conversation.

[42:33] You know if you were the opposite it mean frankly you’re going to do the same thing but you need to you need to practice think about what you want to say.

[42:42] And you don’t want one way to approach this that I that I talked about is is all about being curious.

[42:51] You know it’s it’s getting curious about.

[42:56] What’s going on in the situation so if you know you need to get someone to be back up there cuz you know something’s going wrong and you may be very uncomfortable,
being judgmental or you know it you would be uncomfortable being negative and if you’re if you’re able to kind of open up and and be sort of curious and ask them honestly how they think of situations how big are there perceiving,
the things that you’re perceiving and point out your observations and it have a have a really open conversation that can be nicer way to ease in to giving hard feedback to someone helps on both sides it helps if you
and to be overly harsh like I have in the past where you know what you what you really need to do is,
where and how to soften your feedback and you know by being curious by by starting with a asking a lot of questions and giving them,
space to talk about and come to the conclusion of the feedback that you’re giving maybe with some,
was some not judging helps but if you’re also afraid of getting feedback I think also that Curiosity help said you know I just stating things that you’re observing and and asking what they think of them as why do they think these things are going on in that can you into perhaps giving that.
That harder conversation the book thanks for the feedback is fantastic.

[44:17] So you know if we if your audience is not read that and even if you’re good at feedback on Sat I read that book this year or maybe like early or late late last year for the first time and I thought it was 10 years ago
be back in and getting hopefully better at it though and I think if I can learn something from that book,
probably anybody can learn something from up as a really excellent book at,
you know thinking about how how feedback happens in a friendly taking you back yourself as well as giving back to people.

Christian Mccarrick:
[44:49] Yeah I think that was and I was in an awesome book also for my my listeners I’ll put that on the show notes I put it in before but thanks for the feedback in the point you make there is it’s not just about.
Giving feedback right it really helps you with receiving that feedback which is equally if not more important a part of the part of the book.

[45:08] And you know if I’m not mistaken I think I saw a picture of you somewhere if you had gotten any was it a Thor hammer or something about you and your feedback skills at a previous company is that right.

Camille Fournier:
[45:19] Well I have my nickname at Rent the Runway I guess behind my back was the hammer you know this is not just my feedbacks cuz this is really my I’m I am very direct and,
and the bird or tonight and I can be like I said like I said earlier in this in this conversation. I am impatient I know that about myself.
You know when you get a person who is direct and patience,
and you know has it has a rather forceful personality which I also have you know that they can come across hard and you know so so definitely like.
I had to learn how to soften it but clearly I you know I did get a get the nickname the hammer and they a lovely gigantic Fitness Hammer as a as a parting gift from my team red the runway.

[46:14] Giving my love I mean you know what I think nobody likes to be on the nobody likes to be on the end of the hammer.

[46:22] And I try it again I try not to do that as much as I maybe have in the past but I do think I guess you know one thing nobody can ever say about me is that I’m afraid of.
You know sort of setting a very clear direction or making it very clear to and you know.

[46:40] And being very decisive which I think is good.

[46:46] You know some of the time but you know it’s bad when it means that you’re at your kind of shutting people down and not listening.

Christian Mccarrick:
[46:53] Now you’ve mentioned
if this is part of the show Rask people search recommendations and pretty much they all say your book matter just passed so you’ve mentioned
D thanks for the feedback you can give a plus one for yourself before your own book but are there any other books are resources blogs or videos everything that that you have read all so long the way,
Edison have been instrumental in helping you kind of grow it in your engineering career.

Camille Fournier:
[47:21] Yeah so I mean I think some of the things that I wrote so I still read Harvard Business review.

[47:29] I like I like I just think it’s a well-written thing you know it’s kind of pleasant or they got lots of stuff it’s in a well edited you know I’m not agree with everything they have but it’s it’s probably you know what it comes to like.
You know blogs and articles about business and leadership topics it’s by far the best thing out there.

[47:50] You know I’ve heard I read a lot of books and.
In my path I let you know I think turn the ship around is a classic that really resonates a lot with engineers.
That that I enjoyed you know I really I really like the book what got you here won’t get you there so particularly if you are.

[48:13] Officially as you go to be more that more senior leadership levels.
I’m realizing that the things that make you were really affected by sea or even to make you a really effective line manager or definitely not the same things that make you a really effective executive or a really effective being a manager of managers.
And you know that.
That you have to be paying attention to the gaps in your so skillset and not just continuing to double down on the couple of things that you’re really good at so I am very much enjoyed that book.
And you know I don’t know I’m a meditator so I’ve also found you know if you happen to be like me in a little bit aggressive than and impatient I have found in a having a meditation practice.
Has really helped a lot in teaching me how to pause and be a little bit less.
You Know lesson just like you know about barreling train you know kind of coming up all the time.
I not you. When when I first started out with that I listen to a lot of Tara Brach has a has Deseret you know kind of weekly.
I got kind of a weekly you know not sermon is not the right word but you know talk and that gets recorded and you can listen to some of those,
and obviously your mileage might bury in that regard so you guys are some of the things that I really like the effective executive which is a classic.

[49:41] Classic book on executive level management again not probably not super relevant for people who are not in.

[49:49] You know an executive team positions necessarily I think there’s a lot of there’s a lot of management literature so as a great book that is recommended a lot.
I don’t know how relevant that book is if you’re not at the executive
so I’m not I’m not totally convinced that first team thinking for example work super well if you are a line manager or maybe even one step removed from,
managing ice use directly.
Yeah I think people can kind of get over overly enamored of these sort of big executive thinking ideas I truly have in my my path I guess I will say I have and and what you kind of realize that actually like
sometimes your job really is to effectively make your team execute and like.
You’re not be constantly like looking sideways and up and you know if you if you start to get this idea that you should be always thinking sideways enough when you’re not really quite at that point in your career.

[50:50] So you know I do think there’s I didn’t go there are some books that are good for every level of management but there are a lot of things that are great if you were you know,
if you’re at a new manager or great if you’re an executive already know
great if you’re managing like a big old stage organization or greater for managing a devops team that just don’t translate that well across so you know feel free to let you know if you read a book in your like this is a cool idea but I don’t see how this actually applies to my life
images made out of your life right now.

Christian Mccarrick:
[51:21] Yeah. Silly great and know what what are some of the best ways that people can reach out to you Twitter or your blog.

Camille Fournier:
[51:32] Yeah you know this my Twitter handle is Camille as kamille and you know I.
I treat a lot some of it is political so you are warned if you if you don’t like political stuff you might turn off retweets for me for example you know I have a Blog.
I should have crossed with everything that I have a medium account but I also have a Blog of that sat.

[51:59] That’s a while false. Com I should have.
I have a bunch of different domain name so I can never remember where I am now they say Camille talk is like goes to has a bunch of links.
For my things if you go to Camille talk.com that link so much of my talks and then it has links to my blog.
Alright so a lot of branches is is the blog.
It out it’s there’s there’s various ways to to get in touch with me but Twitter probably the easiest way if you want to you know try to reach out you know you can’t ride that mean I can’t promise to respond but,
I do try to make time for me.

Christian Mccarrick:
[52:41] Sure will and I appreciate you making time for myself and for all of the listeners on my podcast today who I’m sure will really appreciate some of the topics that we discussed today and
thank you for taking your time I really enjoyed getting to the sort of had this conversation with you and thank you very much.

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