Lessons from 10 Years with Sabre

I joined Sabre May 16, 2011, with the goal of learning mobile web programming. Along the way I accomplished that, and much more. You're probably wondering what collected wisdom I can offer you.

Time for a thread 👇

Being Helpful

My belief that grit, determination, focus, and vision are crucial to life is confirmed. Hard work pays off, and I'm still practicing all of those qualities in search of success.

Sensing opportunities to help is a key skill. I mean finding bright people that need to deliver some work and asking how I can help.

I've found it pays to be useful in practical ways, generally open to change, and friendly.

Top-10 Things

Reflecting back, my career is improved from a large group of positive people encouraging me to try new things. Here are the Top 10 that come to mind.

1. Practicing Writing

Writing sharpens my knowledge about a subject.Write in places like:

  • Team reports
  • Social posts
  • Your company blog
  • Industry news sites
  • Books

Writing helps me know what I think. If I don't know what to write it's a sign to read and listen more.

2. Public Speaking

I was coached to submit a talk to SXSW. I didn't think I was accomplished enough. I ended up presenting three times.

"Don't worry about what other people think", is a good general rule. Unless it's someone you admire, and they think you're ready to go for it.

3. Talking to Customers

Programmers like me were taught how to interact with computers. It took me a while to realize programs are digital tools for other people to use.

Watching humans use your software helps you better think and act like customers.

Make things people want.

4. Becoming Intentional

I can be careless about my opinions and offer them too quickly. It's worth finding ways to coach people if they're open to it. Be helpful. Raise their game.

Choose how you want to make other people feel when they're around you.

When in doubt, be kind.

5. Owning my Career

What do I want to accomplish? What skills? With whom? I should write it down and aim for my goals.

Don't worry if your career isn't heading in a perfectly straight line. Make little adjustments. Keep getting better every day.

Better, by your own measure.

6. Considering APIs

Switching from frontend techlead to focus on APIs stressed me out. The right kind of stress. I focused, listened, wrote, met people, and gained experiences.

The right change with the right risk will heighten your senses and increase meaningful performance.

7. Inviting Others to Join

When you get to a certain place in your career people will be curious about the things you're curious about.

Work in public. Show what you're learning. Inspire.

Ask colleagues if they want to help. This might slow you down but it'll accelerate them.

8. Product Management

Being a computer programmer is the best job in the world for me. Getting transferred to a new organization didn't delete the previous me.

Bring along the best stuff from your lived history. You don't need to lose yourself.

Add old skills with new ones. They don't just add up, they multiply.

9. Interacting with Media

I never expected to:

  • Work with corp comm
  • Attend offsite events
  • Speak with reporters

Invites like these are rare. Seize them - even if it's a stretch. Represent your team, your company, and yourself well.

Be thoughtful and interesting.

10. Hackathons

I found out I love a competition of ideas.

A small team of smart folks can quickly build something awesome. From blank screen to working demo.

Consider doing personal projects. Learn a new tech. Create a new product. Be in charge. Make decisions. Explore.

Side projects are low risk/high reward.

Becoming Possible

Experiences that seemed very improbable became entirely possible.

The overthinking that I tend to do that stops me from taking a risk because of how other people will react is completely made up and in my head. Everyone else has their own things to worry about.

I wonder what you want to do now that feels unlikely, but will soon be made real?


I think the most powerfully important coaching I received came before my official start date. It happened during my interview where I was encouraged: Share.

I've not forgotten that advice and it motivates me a decade later.

If you like this article, please share it some friends. 👍

I appreciate you for sticking around to the end. Good luck and have fun! 😀

Share on X (Twitter) ➚

Ending logo Mark for this article