Here's one thing they don't tell you about perf reviews, career ladders, promos, etc.

Do everything by the book, tie yourself in knots to get the work done _and_ check all the boxes, and all you get is a marginal increase in comp.
However, if you're lucky enough to work in tech and you reached ~staff, then you're better off ignoring the cookie-cutter career ladder. Aim for convex payoffs instead.

What are convex payoffs?
Many of us in tech don't realize our payoff curve is dominated by factors outside intrinsic skill.

Tech people in Romania (where I grew up), work just as hard & smart, but they can't get the $1M comp package, the equity, perks, the 5x IPO, because of market and location.
Even if you're in SV, there's a huge payoff variance across industries, and across companies within an industry.

If you have friends who joined the right company at the right time 💸 you know what I mean. The payoff diff is not because they knew React and you didn't.
Once you think of payoff as a stochastic process, in which intrinsic skill is just one factor, then you start to understand what nudges the process in the right direction, and what doesn't make a difference.
Things with convex payoffs:
- Reputation that puts you on the radar of smart people
- Strong network
- Valuable information flow
- Starting companies
- Joining fast-growing companies early
- Expertise in high-growth industries
- Trying new things and cutting losses
- Integrity
Things with marginal payoff:
- "Meeting" vs "exceeding" 2021 Q1 perf expectations
- Getting a bonus
- Jockeying for favorable peer reviews
- Pleasing your peers, manager, execs
- Mastering idiosyncratic bureaucracy and processes
- Learning a new language, framework, stack, etc.

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