RailsConf 2014 - Day 4

Part 4 of 4

How To Be a Boss without the B-S

Jessie Link (Twitter)


Why you should consider management

  • take your founded companay to next level
  • new different challenges
  • personal growth
  • driver's seat
  • impact on others
  • new perspective

What makes a good boss

  • like people
  • don't fear conflict
  • be adaptable
  • be confident
  • be humble
  • be empathetic
  • have integrity (budget, hiring, firing, promotions)

What skills you need

  • communication - most important
    • two-way street - be an active listener
  • delegation - your job is to get the team to get the work done, not to do it yourself
    • you cannot make success, you can only put in place the conditions to allow it to happen
    • let employees fail on their own
  • coaching - vince lombarti
    • your job is to make sure your people continue to grow
    • build up, don't tear down
  • courage
    • own failure
    • have vision and believe in it
    • do not fear change
    • cultivate culture where honesty is treasured, even when painful

Project Management

  • track the work
  • manage risk
  • report status
  • like process... but don't love it


  • budgeting
    • colors of money
    • salary
  • hiring, retention, firing
    • hiring is expensive, so retention is important
  • educate yourself on laws et cetera

Moving into management

  • find a mentor
  • try before you buy - mentor and lead smaller teams
  • think company-wide
  • find your leadership style and practice

Building An OSS-Centric Company (And Why You Want To)

Leah Silber (Twitter)

If you want to do something successfully, you have to love it. Otherwise, as a sane person, you'll quit.

Benefits to being involved in an open source project as a company

  • in-house expertise
  • influence and access
  • recruiting
  • good will


  • funding
  • symbiotic relationship
    • basecamp <=> rails

Funding things that do not work

  • venture capital
  • donations - at least not exclusively
  • selling support - better for large scale, not so good for small to medium size business
    • too expensive to justify the value
    • large overhead
    • adds stress
    • negative incentive - conflict between making money and improving product to not need support

Funding things that do work

  • consulting
    • do consulting for people who are using the open source product
  • training - small, high-priced groups with individual support
  • events
    • community
    • some revenue
    • sponsorship
    • workshops
  • sustainability


  • emotional ups and downs
    • set realistic expectations
    • let people help - build community big enough to allow others to make money too
    • track the successes
    • meet people
    • stay above the fray - be the better person, stay objective
    • take time away
  • being frugal versus being cheap
    • sponsor big bug fixes
    • swag and branding opportunities - NOT CRAP
    • user groups and smaller events
  • avoid being the corporate overload
  • survive while you're gone
    • build leaders, not just community
    • give up some control
  • putting too much of yourself into the product
    • include the needs of others
  • symbiotic relationship

Test Drive a Browser Game With JavaScript

Zach Briggs
Todd Kaufman


Lightning Talks

Liana Leahy (Twitter)

The first lightning talk was the only one that really mattered. Liana Leahy rewrote the lyrics to Frozen's "Let It Go" and gave an amazing performance.

"Let Me Code" (Lyrics)

Closing Remarks

Aaron Patterson (Twitter)

Super fantastic talk. One of the best talks of the conference.