Hi! I'm Edmond Lau. I wrote and self-published The Effective Engineer. I'm an engineer who loves to learn, travel, and explore. I view life as a big adventure.
Hi! I'm Jean Hsu. I'm a writer, coach, and software engineer. I aspire to be a daring surfer in life, though I've never surfed in real life. I don't miss writing code, but I do miss deleting it.
We're two software engineers who became leadership coaches, after working for a decade in Silicon Valley. We left our full-time engineering jobs and joined forces to redefine what it means to be a leader in tech.
At Co Leadership, we're focused on filling the gaps in leadership development that we've noticed in the tech industry. We're co-designing and hosting leadership experiences and programs, sharing lessons in online writing, and building courses to help you grow into a trusted leader.
Technology has empowered us all with so much leverage and influence over our world. We build products that grow exponentially and radically transform people's lives. It's important that we step up as leaders to take responsibility for the impact that we have.
And, it turns out that when you're a trusted leader, many hard things become easy.
You can clearly communicate in a way that creates the impact you want.
You can build alignment with your peers, reports, and managers to break through team friction and get everyone on the same page.
You can explicitly design how you work with others so that your co-workers become your allies.
When you invest in yourself in becoming a more trusted leader, you can more easily deliver the results that you and your team needs to succeed.
We didn't always think this way.
Here's where we've been.
A few years ago, I went on a two-year adventure, interviewing engineers and leaders across Silicon Valley, to write my book The Effective Engineer. It was the culmination of my career up to that point. And when I wrote it, I thought that effectiveness in always tackling the highest-leverage activity was the way to career success as an engineer.
Since then, I've realized that being an effective engineer is good but not enough to become a great leader. Leadership requires building trust with the people around you, and the default patterns we've traditionally learned aren't enough. I want to empower people with the mindsets, frameworks, and tools they need to create the impact they're capable of.
For the past ten years, I've led, managed, and coached teams at companies including Google, Medium, and Pulse. Before I became a manager, I used to spend time waiting for people to recognize my potential, to launch me into a high-growth and successful career. Hard work and technical knowledge worked well in school and early in my professional career.
It took me years to realize that at a certain point, if I just kept doing what I was doing well, I would keep doing the same things for the rest of my career. It was up to me take ownership, to notice and fill the gaps that I saw around me, and to lead even without authority. It's important to me to empower people with the skills and confidence to drive their own destiny.
After each spending over a decade at tech companies — from scrappy startups to big companies — we both independently made an investment in training to become leadership coaches. We saw the potential for engineering-and-tech-specific leadership development.
From our combined experience at startups, we've seen how intelligent, resourceful engineers can sometimes feel uncertainty and apprehension when dealing with “softer skills” — like people development and communication.
We've seen others move into tech lead or engineering management positions with little training and support.
In coaching 100+ tech leads, managers, directors, engineering VPs, and CTOs in the past year, we saw the impact of making engineering organizations higher-functioning and more pleasant and humane places to work.
And in the process, we discovered that becoming a trusted engineering leader doesn't have to be limited to people who are “good with people.” It's a learnable skill that everyone can acquire.
So at the end of 2017, we worked together on a small project around teaching trust — and we discovered that together, we pushed each other to dream bigger. What we were able to achieve together far surpassed what either of us could have done on our own. And so we combined forces full-time to found Co Leadership.
In talking with hundreds of engineers and leaders who work in open offices — seemingly connected with each other through Slack, Quip, or other collaboration tools — we learned that they felt lonely and under-prepared for the leadership challenges that they wanted to rise to.
That they will go to work feeling supported by their managers, tech leads, peers, and product managers. That they won't have to choose between a supportive manager, meaningful work, and a great team. We believe that focusing on the people first is by far the best way to get the best results on product and engineering.