Hi, I’m Carter!

If you’re reading this, you’re probably working with me or wondering what it would be like to work with me! The purpose of this doc is to give you some context on what I’m like as a coworker and as a person.

This was inspired by the trend of manager READMEs that was floating around hacker news a while back. I’m writing this in the hopes that the trend takes off more broadly – I’d love to have a little guide to the working styles of everyone you work closely with!

Note that this doc is W.I.P. (and so am I)! It’s a list of strong preferences weakly held. Don’t worry if our preferred working styles don’t mesh at face value - knowing that will only help us figure out how best to work together. Nothing in here is etched in stone. 🙂

Professional Interests

  • I like backend work. I particularly like getting closer and closer to the machine, and I geek for systems level development. Conversely, I don’t like working on the front end (and more specifically, I balk at UI implementation tasks).

  • Within my domain, I prefer generalization over specialization. I love being thrown into new parts of the product; sign me up to work on data, automation (devops-y stuff is right up my alley), infrastructure, or just about any part of the codebase I’m unfamiliar with.

  • One level higher, I focus on software development, but I like to be involved in product decisions too! Help me help you at your job, even if it means me branching out of the typical software development role.

Communication Style

  • I don’t like meetings - I find them flow disrupting[1]. The meetings that I do like tend to have: (1) a well-defined purpose, (2) a strict agenda and cutoff time, and (3) documentation of the meeting’s contents by publicly-available notes. I’m happy to be the designated note-taker!

  • An important class of exception to my “I-don’t-like-meetings” mantra is 1:1s - periodic opportunities for one-on-one chats. I find 1:1s to be the best opportunities for getting to know each other, for giving and getting feedback, and for taking stock of how we’re feeling about the work we’re doing. If we work closely together and don’t have a regular 1:1 cadence, that’s a problem. Let’s fix it!

  • I default to asynchronous workflows – instead of having a meeting about a decision, I’d rather write a Google Doc and invite people to comment. Instead of grabbing me by the water cooler to chat about something, I’d rather you started a thread in a public slack channel. This preserves conversations and thought processes for our coworkers and for ourselves. At some point we’ll ask “why the %&@# did we make that decision?!”

Working Culture

  • I value transparency. I like to be involved in (or at least aware of) decisions that affect my work life.

  • I value empathy. I don’t want to work in a hostile workplace where anyone feels uncomfortable or unsupported. If I see you doing something that makes me or one of our coworkers uncomfortable, I’m likely to bring it up with you in a 1:1. If I do something that makes you uncomfortable, I hope you feel ok letting me know directly, but if not, please do tell someone who can let me know.

  • I value feedback. Feedback is a gift, and I would encourage you to let me know as soon as you have feedback for me (negative or positive). Early, direct, and consistent feedback makes great work possible! And let’s be real; everyone thrives on a little bit of validation.

  • I value work-life balance. I think your well-being as a person should always come first. And even from a business perspective, happy and well-balanced people do the best work[2].

  • I value remote-first culture. I think that remote work is the future of the workplace, and I strive to help every team I’m on be as remote-friendly as possible. If we work together, I’m all for you working from outside the office as much as is comfortable - I will likely be doing the same.

Personal Interests

  • I’m big into music. I play the keyboard, and I love math rock, jazz, and hip hop. I used to want to be a concert pianist!

  • My favorite author is David Foster Wallace. A close second is Tim Ferriss. Let’s talk linguistics or life hacks.

  • I love cats. I have a wonderful little kitten named Pepe Silvia[3].

  • I don’t watch a lot of movies, but I watch way too much TV to compensate.

  • My favorite meme is surprised pikachu. Don’t @ me. Surprised Pikachu

Miscellaneous Quirks

  • I am a pretty emoji-heavy writer. 🤷 I think you can tell a lot about a company by their library of custom slack emojis[4].

  • Certain office spaces make me hella uncomfortable. I get panic-y in closed office spaces, assigned desks, and cubicles. I like working more in spaces that are open and have constant background noise.

  • I work best in coffee shops. If I’m not in the office, I’m probably at Starbucks.

  • I tend to work from about 7:30am-3:30pm PST. If I’m in the zone, I probably won’t stop for lunch. In that case, I’ll probably take lunch at the end of the day instead and sign off a bit early[5].

  • Even if I’m not actively working, I try to remain reachable via slack from 7am-7pm PST. If you need anything from me urgently, ping me!

Let’s make something awesome together,


[1] If you are a manager (or any non-developer) and you’re irked by my demonization of meetings, Paul Graham’s Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule expresses why I find meetings disruptive far better than I could.

[2] Also, sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health and happiness. Reading Matthew Walkers Why We Sleep was (ironically) eye opening.

[3] But doggos are also good bois and deserve pets.

[4] Case in point: Khan Academy’s slack library was where I found :dab_squidward:, which is now featured as the favicon for this blog.

[5] I can be pretty flexible on when I work (especially when external factors are at play), but I value the ability to set my own schedule.

As an aside, I don’t believe that long hours actually increase productivity or throughput. In my experience, 6 hours of fully-immersed, heads-down development in a single day is where I start running out of chakra[6]. After that, my brain starts to break and I have to switch to less concentration-intensive tasks (meetings, creative brainstorming, planning, organization, etc.).

[6] I just made a Naruto metaphor. Oh nooo. Someone needs to revoke my writing license.