Jeff Lawson, developer turned CEO of Twilio (one of Bloomberg Businessweek's Top 50 Companies to Watch in 2021), creates a new playbook for unleashing the full potential of software developers in any organization, showing how to help management utilize this coveted and valuable workforce to enable growth, solve a wide range of business problems, and drive digital transformation.
From banking and retail to insurance and finance, every industry is turning digital, and every company needs the best software to win the hearts and minds of customers. The landscape has shifted from the classic build vs. buy question, to one of build vs. die. Companies have to get this right to survive. But how do they make this transition?
Software developers are sought after, highly paid, and desperately needed to compete in the modern, digital economy. Yet most companies treat them like digital factory workers without really understanding how to unleash their full potential. Lawson argues that developers are the creative workforce who can solve major business problems and create hit products for customers—not just grind through rote tasks. From Google and Amazon, to one-person online software companies—companies that bring software developers in as partners are winning. Lawson shows how leaders who build industry changing software products consistently do three things well. First, they understand why software developers matter more than ever. Second, they understand developers and know how to motivate them. And third, they invest in their developers' success.
As a software developer and public company CEO, Lawson uses his unique position to bridge the language and tools executives use with the unique culture of high performing, creative software developers. Ask Your Developer is a toolkit to help business leaders, product managers, technical leaders, software developers, and executives achieve their common goal—building great digital products and experiences.
How to compete in the digital economy? In short: Ask Your Developer.
The DNA of Innovation
This book completely encapsulates the frustrations I have seen over my entire consulting career in trying to demonstrate a vision of how to innovate. It also details a better roadmap for showing others how to achieve breakthroughs and the tools to do so. Namely, by creating a culture of experimentation and creativity from the onset.
I am a big believer in the concept of the “Aggregation of Marginal Gains.” A core tenant of this philosophy is tweaking little things to get 1% improvements that compound when put together. To identify these one percent improvements, you need to be creative and willing to experiment, a lot. You also have to be ok with things not working out. These “failures” should be learning opportunities and not blame sessions.
Those two key principles are what was missing from the conference room in a lot of my customer engagements. Jeff Lawson does a great job of showing how the old top down, failure is not option, big business approach is getting eaten alive by startups who do the opposite. Especially, when it comes to giving developers the space to creatively solve problems through experimentation and not requirements documents.