A User Guide to Me

Inspired by this article published by Inc. in 2014 and How to Rands.

Hey, I’m Mindaugas Mozūras, and I lead Engineering at Vinted. Welcome to my user guide to working with me. The faster we get to know each other and how we work, the stronger our relationship will be, and the more we’ll accomplish together.

Average Week

We’ll have a 1:1 every week for at least 30 minutes. I usually start it with How Are You?. The goal of this 1:1 is to discuss topics of substance.

Don’t wait until our 1:1 with an urgent issue/opportunity. If you need me, I will make myself available.

I prefer to receive status updates asynchronously. To that end, I’ll sometimes ping you with a question over Slack.

We’ll have a staff meeting with you and your peers every week for 60 minutes. We have a Slack channel, where we capture agenda topics. The goal is to discuss topics of substance and to solve problems that affect us.

If you need me to respond quickly, call me or SMS me. I usually respond slowly to written communication. I value focus. Slack and work email doesn’t exist on my phone. If you’ll email me or Slack me during non-working hours, you usually won’t receive an answer until I am at work.

I work a bit on the weekends. I don’t expect you to do the same. Really, the opposite. My first assumption will be that something is wrong if you or your team are working late hours or on the weekend.

Values

People first. I see my primary objective of building a healthy team/ organization. I believe that happy, informed, and productive people create great things.

Autonomy. I believe that people closest to the problem should make decisions. I see my job as building a robust, capable team. I will try not to get involved in making technical decisions.

Systems. I think in systems. A big part of my job is to understand our organization as a system and improve it to function better. I’ll need your help for both - understand and improving.

Positivity. Most people are good and have positive intentions. I assume you are too. I try to understand why people act the way they do, not brushing away behaviors as stupid or evil.

Openness. I default to openness. My calendar is publicly visible. If you ask me a question, I’ll do my best to give a straight answer. There are rare exceptions, and I’ll explain later why I couldn’t share something. I also need to learn to be better at being proactively open.

Feedback

I will help you grow in your role. I want you to perform and feel fulfilled.

I believe constant feedback is key to growth and building a healthy relationship. I commit to providing direct feedback.

In addition to constant feedback, we’ll formally exchange feedback and review your performance/goals quarterly. We’ll discuss and agree on new professional growth goals.

I am flawed. I know that. Some of my flaws are listed under “quirks” further below. I will make mistakes and will openly admit to those mistakes.

I respond well to feedback. I prefer to receive it 1:1 and without filters. I don’t like yes-people.

I want you to be transparent with me on how I can work best for you. That includes how to best give you feedback.

I do skip 1:1s. I talk with your reports once in a while to find out how they’re doing and what problems they see in the organization. Sometimes things I’ll find out will translate into feedback to you.

Quirks

I am an introvert. Exposure to humans exhausts me. I spend time alone to recharge my batteries. I can be quiet during meetings involving more than six people, but that does not mean I’m not engaged.

I am reserved. I don’t express my emotions strongly. Knowing this, I try to put those emotions into words.

I am curious. This will sometimes affect our conversations. If you and I don’t know something, I might jump immediately to my phone to find it out.

I love reading. If I came early to a meeting and you find me looking at my phone, I’m probably reading a book on the Kindle app. I might want to finish the paragraph before turning my complete attention to you.

I care about people. Sometimes too much. I’ve made decisions in the past driven primarily by how someone will feel. I’ve regretted some of those decisions. I work at becoming better at making decisions.

Kuyashii: the best way to get me to do something is to tell me that I can’t do it. I will work hard to prove to myself that I can do it.

The worst way to get me to do something is to tell me to do it without explaining the context. Even if you’ve described the context, don’t push me to commit immediately. I need time to process new information. I commit deliberately. If you want me to commit during a meeting, send me data beforehand.

Stating opinions as facts is a trigger for me.

Broad generalizations are a trigger for me.

This is a living document that will change as I learn more about myself and how we can best support each other.