Itamar Berger

R&D Manager @Autodesk

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Mentoring Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurship is all about making the right decision at the right time out of endless opportunities. How to make a good decision? by not repeating others mistakes, how? by following smart people’s advice - people from the industry, who seen everything, been there, done that. The advises you’ll get from those people will be right to 99% of entrepreneurs. But in startup it’s all about going against the odds, against predictability. Good ideas are not just waiting for someone to pickup, good ideas are buried under tons on skepticism and irrationality.

Entrepreneurship is about taking part of a long unpredictable journey.
I see mentoring an entrepreneurs more like mentoring artists rather than developers (yes, I do see art in coding). If you learn everything about software development, you’ll probably be a good developer, maybe even a great one. If you’ll learn everything about...

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Why Managing Cultural Bias Is The Key For Scaling Teams?

Cultural debt occur when we decide to act not according to what we perceive as part of the team culture, usually it’s the things we don’t sleep at well after making them - recruiting someone with different personality to what we are used to, promoting someone while many deserve it, changing managers, stealthy processes, merging teams with different cultures and so on. Those decisions would be the right thing to do for the business, product or development needs, but they create potential cultural debts. Our reactions and decisions are highly correlated with previous experiences and choices we did in the past, and this create a bias to anything new, that’s why teams need to manage it, just like bugs / features - using excel, Trello, Jira whatever works.

So why tracking cultural debts is important?

  1. Learning to appreciate the small decisions and trade offs that define the culture
  2. Adapting...

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Opening my Schrödinger Dream Box

A few months ago I finally opened my long-awaited Schrodinger dream box - my passion to start my own startup. Anyone who desire to achieve something big, will eventually need to face reality. As long as there is some risk and ambiguity, it is “reasonable” that by opening the box, you would discover something you wasn’t ready for. It doesn’t matter how much time you invest in preparation for filling your backpack for this journey by reading books, going to meetups, talking to people, gathering founders..

The option of not opening the box is quite attractive, right…? After all, every dream hypothetically sounds great, amazing, promising (and I’m not talking about people who gave up on having a dream box, too many people, in my humble opinion). In the past, I set myself a goal to present my research at the most important computer graphics conference in front of 3,000 people. I was...

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The Creation Process - Rethinking on MVP

Minimum, Viable, Product. So simple, yet so hard. I admit that only recently I learnt to appreciate the efforts to establish it. MVP is being misused a lot, by everyone. It is mainly about learning and iterating, as quickly as possible, however it usually treated as the first release, without acually any questions that will make it an effective learning process, on the contrary, it is minimal in a way that it can be delivered fast enough to meet the manager’s expectations, and it is viable because the PM thinks it is viable, and it is a product because… it has a logo?

Reaching a true MVP is hard, some teams can work months or maybe even years without reaching an MVP. There are startups that got acquired without having any viable product. it can be a tech preview to get additional resources to develop something viable.

“P” - A creation is a product only if it is available to use for...

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The magic ingredient that brings powerful experience to life. Harmony is the quality of forming a pleasing and consistent whole. Building amazing experiences requires having harmony between designers and developers. The designer approach to problems and the developer approach to solutions is different, and to bring innovation to life, design and dev teams must radically collaborate. When teams work in harmony, they can create experiences that defeat any technical barrier and achieve any designer’s desire. Doing real innovative design or functionality is hard if the developer arrive too late in the design process. Teams need to embed design in their DNA - mixing the design and engineering teams is not a process - it’s a culture.

Blur the barriers between designers and developers, let them sit together, teach designers to code and developers to design. Hire multidiscipline people who are...

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Tools for Gaining a Positive Momentum When Reaching Inflection Points

A Crisis is a point on the timeline where a sequence of events are happening not as we expected them to happen, and it can feel sucks, but it can actually be a good thing. Crises are the inflection points that define a function in time. They usually happened after a trend that was not treated appropriately. This is the point where things become unstable - by definition. The function is changing and at this point, there is enough emotional mass, so if we set the velocity in the right direction, skilled leaders can build a positive momentum and turn crises into opportunities.

Tennis is one of the best examples for a sports game where everything is based on momentum. You can see the beauty of momentum when players comeback from unbelievable situations. In Basketball, one player can unite the team and do an act that brings back momentum or kill the momentum. Players skills which are based...

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Being Incentivized For Impact

Working on what’s really matter. This sentence can be so powerful for teams who are eager to scale up their business and grow. But how teams can learn what’s really matter? Don’t expect to get instructions manual for the things that matter, only by trial and error teams can learn what’s make an impact. This is why culture should incentivize teams that create an actual impact on the company, a real one. This is the feedback tool for all teams to learn and align accordingly. Sometimes one team failure will make a good impact due to the valuable learning inputs, so it is actually a success since it pushes the business forward. On the other way, a local success can be meaningless if it doesn’t matter.

When you are part of a big team, sometimes it’s hard to know what impact you make. When I worked as a full-time developer, I was passionate to put analytics everywhere to see how users react...

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“Mark Said”

Let’s assume that Mark is a dominant persona in the company. It can be the Architect, the Team Leader, the Product Manager, the VP or even the CEO. When Mark says something, people align - line by line.

How many times you said in a discussion something like: “but Mark said…”, “that’s not what Mark want…”, “according to Mark…” - Explicitly mentioning the person first name, so everything you say now make much more sense, this is the clarity the discussion needed. But the discussion never ends because people are interpreting differently what Mark think, but Mark is not in the room to answer (he is busy managing a 40B$ company..), and we have no other intelligent Joker to pull off, so where should we go on from here? Is that how Mark want us to work?

What if instead of using the “but Mark said” Joker, we will treat the role of that person. If Mark is the highest rank business persona, we...

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Creative Minds Are Starving To Create, This Is Why Managing Creative People Is Just Different.

While it’s obvious that innovative teams need creative people, it is less clear that once they are part of your team, they will expect to be able to express their creativity and create, they will expect to take initiatives, they will look for a purpose and meaning.

Creative people expect for a direction and guidances, this is why handling ambiguity is not so easy when you are that eager to create something. On the other hand, they defiantly don’t want to be limited and constrained by the problem itself and are looking to explore new ideas.

Motivated employees are important to the company success more than ever, and it is worth working hard to keep your employees happy. Creative people that are too limited in their ability to create will eventually loose their motivation. Why limited? It can be that the team is too much into bug fixing, the process is limiting them, the product manager...

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X-Factors Roles: Out Of The Box Team Hiring

A common dev manager trait is to repeat that it is lacking of people and that the team must scale up in order to deliver the endless list of requirements (this trait is common at all management levels). Assuming that the manager gets approval to hire and expand the team, the manager will probably start looking for more developers. But, is hiring more developers is really what’s missing?

Try understanding the problem that the company is trying to solve by hiring. Is it the execution that appeared to be slow? or are there too many features that “needs” to be done? It is possible that the developers are developing in void and they actually need more direction and knowledge in order to work on the right features and focus so they can design a better architecture. Do less things - better, but how do we determine what less things to do? This is where untraditional x-factors roles may come...

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