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Becoming A Force Multiplier

with Cal Henderson & Maria Kazandjieva

January 17, 2023


Cal Henderson (@iamcal) is the co-founder and CTO of Slack. He oversees Slack’s world-class engineering team and sets the technical vision for the company.

In 2019, he was named a Fortune 40 Under 40 honoree and recognized by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader.

Previously, Cal built and led the engineering teams at Flickr, through its acquisition by Yahoo. An experienced technology leader and a popular speaker on engineering scalability, he authored the best-selling O’Reilly Media book Building Scalable Websites. Cal was also a pioneer in the use of web APIs, and created the basis for OAuth and oEmbed, now used by YouTube, Twitter and many others.

Cal was involved in London’s early online network through his work with digital creative communities and the blogosphere. He has a BS in Computer Science and has received an Honorary Doctorate from Birmingham City University. He now resides in San Francisco.

"What every leader needs to do is recognize when the things that you are spending your time on aren't aligned with what's really important or what's the most value that you can get out of your time. I think it's very easy to fall into the trap of having a very full calendar, feeling very busy, feeling like there's so many things to do and the things that you do don't move the needle in any way.”

- Cal Henderson   


Maria (@stranger_quark) is a co-founder and an engineering leader at Graft, an early-stage AI startup. Prior to that, Maria worked at Netflix, where her team earned two Emmy awards for technical achievement. She holds a PhD in Computer Science from Stanford University. Outside of work, you can find Maria kickboxing & trail running, baking & eating carbs, or relaxing with a non-fiction book and her two feline supurrvisors, Foosball and Gemma.

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  • Cal describes the early days & founding of Slack (2:24)
  • The many hats an eng leader wears during a company’s early stages (4:20)
  • How Cal identified key inflection points as Slack evolved (6:31)
  • Essential frameworks for successful reorgs (8:31)
  • Tips for getting more comfortable with delegating (10:49)
  • Why you should spend time & resources on developer productivity (13:31)
  • Defining the leadership version of dev tools (16:52)
  • Strategies for quickly aligning organizations through periods of change (20:04)
  • How to align your calendar with what is most important as an eng leader (22:01)
  • Cal and Maria’s tips for personal retrospectives on where you invest your time (24:54)
  • Audience Q&As: why Cal no longer codes for Slack (25:56)
  • Questions to help you identify opportunities to be a force multiplier (27:20)
  • How to measure the success of developer productivity (30:58)
  • Tips for handling force multiplier “killers” (34:33)
  • Why the most brilliant engineers are not only individually productive but also inspire productivity in others (36:50)
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Becoming a Force Multiplier
Dec 22nd, 2022 Views 347