mark cerqueira well-rounded nerd

Manager Reads - Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win

It’s been a while since my last Manager Reads post as Octopath Traveler cut into my reading time but I’m back to report on my latest managerial read: Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by decorated former U.S. Navy SEALs Jocko Willink and Leif Babin.

Who recommended the book? This book is highly regarded by our Ads leader here at Twitch, Mike Minton. My manager – Ravi – picked it up and also really enjoyed it so he pushed for it at the most recent meeting of the Twitch Manager Book Guild as the next book for us to dive into.

Judge the book by its cover, font, page quality? The cover is a simple black cover with a high impact title in large font featuring the SEAL Trident and a large red banner that screams #1 New York Times Bestseller. Can’t blame anyone here: if I was a #1 New York Times Bestseller I’d slap it prominently on my book as well! The paper inside this book is nice and thick with very, very little highlighter ink bleeding through. The font, point size, and leading inside also pleased my not-very-strict eye. Overall, 👍 across the board.

Thoughts on the book and the big take-aways? Extreme Ownership was a very worthwhile read. The authors posit that “leadership is simple, but not easy.” Why? Because “leaders must own everything in their world. There is no one else to blame.” A simple statement for sure but executing on owning everything in your world isn’t easy. But don’t fret! The book walks through strategies for living Extreme Ownership and how to achieve victory in whatever you may be working on. The major strategies I took away from my read:

  • Check the Ego - Always check your ego, operate with humility, and never get complacent. Ego drives successful people but don’t let it become destructive!
  • Decentralized Command - An effective team will be able to function with their leader absent because that team will have many leaders on the team capable of taking the reigns as needed.
  • Believe - A leader needs to truly believe in the mission if they ever hope to convince their team to also believe in the mission.
  • Decisiveness Amid Uncertainty - We will never be certain about what’s the right decision so leaders must be able to make a decision within this uncertainty and course-correct as more information reveals itself.

And that is only 4 out of 12 principles the book covers! 😲

Favorite quote from the book? “Leaders must be free to move to where they are most needed, which changes throughout the course of an operation.”

Elevator pitch for suggesting (or not suggesting) the book? I started reading this book on Friday night and was done by Sunday night; it’s a pleaure to read and will positively transform your view of leadership.

Notes in Evernote? My notes don’t capture the battle narratives and business examples that serve as real-world models of the principles covered in Extreme Ownership, but feel free to review my notes on 🐘.

Enjoyed this episode of Manager Reads? Check out more in the Manager Reads corner!

Patreon - Solving JRPG Memory Loss

For JRPG fans, JRPG memory loss is a terrible affliction. Once you’ve played even a few it’s hard to keep the nuances of these oftentimes hundred hour sagas straight. Fortunately it’s 2018 so every problem can be solved if you happen to stumble upon the right place on the Internet.

In this case, the Patreon page of Oni Black Mage solved my woes. He produces a bunch of different videos but the ones I enjoy the most are the RECAPitation videos which provide in-depth recaps to story-heavy games. Sign me up!

I’ve been a patron of Oni Black Mage for a while now and it was finally my turn to pick the game for his next recap. He had already covered a bunch of my favorites but there was one gem that I felt needed to get some love: Skies of Arcadia. Originally launched on the Dreamcast and later on the Gamecube this game featured sky pirates, flying ship battles, and town building. In short: an amazing game… but I couldn’t really remember the story.

Oni Black Mage to the rescue!

Suffering from JRPG memory loss too? Check out Oni Black Mage on Patreon and YouTube.

Thanks, Oni Black Mage!

Kotlin at Twitch

A little over a year ago, Kotlin was announced as an official language for Android at Google I/O 2017. Adoption of new technologies in existing ecosystems can be challenging: sometimes intertia-filled engineers resist the changing times, sometimes leadership believe so strongly in a “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mentality, and sometimes the build processes just make adopting new stuff incredibly impractical.

The Twitch Android team bucked those challenges and started shipping Kotlin as soon as Kotlin became a first-class citizen on Android. A few weeks ago our codebase sailed smoothly into becoming a majority Kotlin codebase!


In under a year we’ve leveraged Kotlin to refactor and reduce technical debt, reduce the number of null-checks, eliminate NullPointerExceptions (but introducing some Intrinsics.checkParameterIsNotNull), write a Kotlin DSL-based UI testing framework, marvel in awe of how few Kotlin lines one needs to do things that take many in Java, and increase the quality of our app for us – the developers – and our customers.

It’s also worth noting that, a year ago, everyone on the team considered themselves Kotlin newbies. Our success with Kotlin was not an accident. Our successful adoption was a result of a combination of Jetbrains being amazing at building IDEs and programming languages, helpful developer tools (all hail Code -> Convert Java File to Kotlin File and Kotlinify code), an already thriving developer community that quickly dove into Kotlin. Most (cheesily) importantly it required some patience and trust amongst the team to take on something new, unknown, and exciting.

Excited by the power of memes and helping us close in on the mythical Android codebase with no Java? Twitch is hiring! Is dealing with subpar IDEs like Xcode more of your flavor? We’re also hiring for our iOS team that is well on its way to being a majority Swift codebase! My Twitter DMs are open; slide on into them!

Mistakes Have Been Made

I have made two notable mistakes recently.

  1. I thought the third season of Boku no Hero Academia was a single cour. With anime I normally wait for the entire season to finish and then binge watch it. Mistakes were made because the third season is actually two cours. On the bright side, I am now a proud citizen of the UNITED STATES OF SMASH!

  2. A friend on Facebook posted about yet another remake of the Hana Yori Dango manga: Meteor Garden. I told Tina about it, Tina watched some episodes, Tina got addicted to it, I watched some episodes, and now I’m addicted to it. The six episodes Netflix is releasing weekly is great but is no panacea for the Meteor Fever we are now afflicted with.

Mistakes have been made but I have no regrets… And that has made all the difference.

Cooking with Oil Made Easy

After a recent weekend getaway to New Orleans, Tina and I returned beignet addicts. Fortunately it’s not too hard to make beignets especially since we brought back some boxes of beignet mix: add some water to the mix and deep fry the dough.

A large pan of oil over heat is something that should be respected. Not surprising, one can make their life a lot easier with a thermometer. I’m a fan of the Polder 362-90 Thermometer:

Pick the right oil – normally an oil that has a smoke point above what the recipe calls for – and then use the thermometer to steer clear of making the oil hit that temperature. From here working with the oil should be smooth and safe. So smooth that my first attempt at homemade beignets ended pretty successfully! 😀

To give these beignets a light and beautiful finish, throw some powdered sugar in tea infuser (in top right of picture) and gently tap the infuser over the beignets. Bon appétit!

P.S. Relevant hot take: Cafe Beignet on Royal Street makes the best beignets in all of New Orleans.