What I Learned From Craig Federighi’s Talk at Berkeley

Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, recently gave a great talk at Berkeley.

Craig Federighi-967236574
Image: Wired

Here’s what I learned from Craig:

  1. Do what you love!
  2. Work with people whose work you admire.
  3. Pay attention.  (use a notebook and take handwritten notes)
  4. Never stop acting like the new one on the team.  Ask stupid questions.
  5. Team > Self.  Do all that you can do to help the mission of the team.
  6. Commit, Focus, Reassess.  Set yourself a deadline, say 1-4 years from now, to assess where you’re at and figure out what you want to do next.
  7. Follow your heart.  Trust your gut feelings on big and small decisions.

Beyond these points, he also mentioned:

  • Expertise comes with solving real problems.  (my own example: HackerRank vs. c0d3.com)
  • Become good at communicating, both via the written word and verbally.  Craig’s early experience being a DJ at a pirate (?) radio station helped him with this.
  • Don’t read from a script.  If there’s something you’re excited about, just tell that story.  Know what you want to get across.  Be yourself and tell the story.
  • Put yourself in the mindset of the customer.  Translate their needs to the team.
  • Get the right amount of sleep.
  • Avoid burnout by having a diversity of problems that you’re working on.
  • Have a hunger to learn.  Come up with a project and constantly be learning.
  • Focus your main efforts on helping solve the right problems for the team.  If you have a broader concern for the project, you can help manage it.

I loved listening to what Craig had to say and will use many of these tips going forward.

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