Get my email lessons on how you can build a tech team you can depend on.

Where do software engineers want to work?

What if we set out to create a place that software engineers want to work?

Where might we begin?

We might begin with constructing the most beautiful building and providing unlimited, top of the line equipment.

We might begin with a problem previously thought impossible to solve.

We might begin with an idea so important it would improve the world for every living person, and their children.

We might begin with the opportunity for them to become rich beyond our wildest dreams.

We might begin by giving them control over what tools and languages they use and how, when and where they work

We might begin by providing generous salaries, unlimited vacation, flexible schedules, catered lunches, and on-site massages.

If we do this, they might line up around the block for a chance to join, enduring days of testing, group interviews, whiteboard exercises, and intense pressure.

All this might create a place they want to work, but it won’t create a place they want to stay.

My core thesis

Lately, I’ve been spending time working about my “core thesis.”

My focus is on helping you become a great leader and build great dev teams where your programmers stay and thrive.

But that’s my mission – the desired outcome.

The question remains: “What creates a place programmers want to stay at?”

Thus far here’s what I’ve hammered out:

“A place programmers want to stay at requires a person they love working for. A person they love working for has built a special relationship between them. Both parties contribute to the special relationship, and both benefit from it.”

It’s not that the first ideas don’t matter; it’s that they don’t matter enough to prevent someone from leaving if they don’t enjoy working for their boss.

I dunno, what do you think? What part of this sounds right, and what part do I need to develop more?

I’m looking forward to your thoughts as I work through this.

Thanks in advance,


About Marcus Blankenship

Where other technical coaches focus on process or tools, I focus on the human aspects of your Programmer to Manager transition. I help you hire the right people, create the right culture, and setup the right process which achieves your goals. Managing your team isn't something you learned in college. In fact, my clients often tell me "I never prepared for this role, I always focused on doing the work". If you're ready to improve your leadership, process and team, find out how I can help you.

1 Comment

  1. J on April 4, 2019 at 2:16 pm

    I lead a dev team at a small/medium startup that hires almost entirely remote. There are a few people that happen to live near the office and sometimes work there. Offering in-office amenities like the ones you mentioned are not great perks for hiring and would only serve to disenfranchise the majority of the employees. Sure, allowances could be setup for meals and massages for each employee, but that is a cost-prohibitive approach at our company’s size (because of bulk discounts that naturally apply to catering, etc).

    We offer perks like a flexible work schedule, unlimited time off, a laptop plus other personal office equipment allowance, and a co-working space allowance. Applicants are always interested to hear about these perks and employees certainly take advantage of them, but it’s hard to say whether or not they’re keeping people around. We’ve had several people leave to pursue jobs at places that are more relevant to their own interests or that offer a high level of pedigree (such as Google).

    My intuition makes me think that your thesis is probably right, but that can certainly be confirmation bias talking. Running even an informal survey could lend credibility to the idea and identify deeper causes. I don’t know how large your readership is, but perhaps this already exists (at least in part) in other surveys (such as Stack Overflow’s yearly survey).

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This