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Susan Fowler to lead Stripe’s new engineering tips publication

The techie who became famous for her blog about the sorry state of Uber will run Increment.

Engineer Susan Fowler has a new gig.

Susan Fowler — the engineer who became famous in Silicon Valley for her devastating blog post that chronicled pervasive sexism and sexual harassment at Uber — is getting a new online publication to run that will be about and also aimed at coders.

The good ones, this time.

Launching this morning and backed by Stripe (where she has been working since she left Uber), Increment is described as a “collection of insider tips cultivated from inside Silicon Valley’s largest and most influential companies and entrepreneurs.”

While there are lots of places online that talk about the intricacies of writing code, at Fowler’s pub — her title is editor in chief — the quarterly publication will be chock full of long-form technical writing “that unearths how the most secretive and highest-performing engineering teams build and operate software systems at scale.”

It will include opinion pieces, expert interviews, how-to guides. The first iteration will be about on-call and incident response techniques.

In other words, it’s like the New Yorker for geeks.

Such an effort might seem unusual for Stripe, a payments software company. But it recently bought Indie Hackers, a knowledge-sharing platform for entrepreneurs, and also runs the Stripe Atlas Forum, which the company calls an “invite-only community for founders to swap challenges and solutions.”

Fowler herself might seem like an unusual choice for this too, given she is a techie. But if you consider the book she has written titled “Production-Ready Microservices: Building Standardized Systems Across an Engineering Organization,” you get it.

She is also a very well-known and adept blogger and accessible writer, given the complex tech topics she handles. It is an especially hard thing to pull off since she covers things like The Ops Identity Crisis and So You Want to Learn Physics....

Of course, it was her explosive and perfectly executed Reflecting on one very, very strange year at Uber that really put her writing on the map. Its publication has led to a full-scale meltdown at the massively funded car-hailing company.

As she wrote in the first paragraph of the most elegant takedown of bro tech culture that I have ever seen: “As most of you know, I left Uber in December and joined Stripe in January. I've gotten a lot of questions over the past couple of months about why I left and what my time at Uber was like. It's a strange, fascinating, and slightly horrifying story that deserves to be told while it is still fresh in my mind, so here we go.”

Since then, Uber has been dealing with a troubling executive exodus and is in the midst of an investigation of the heinous practices Fowler outlined so clearly. (If a Pulitzer could go to a techie, Susan probably deserves one here given the huge impact of her post.)

Not surprisingly, Fowler could not talk to me about Uber, given the controversy and also ongoing legal issues there. And, let’s be honest, she also does not want that mess to soil the new effort at Increment, which seems like a pretty promising idea.

In a statement, she said: “The decision to join Stripe and run Increment was a pretty easy one for me: It was an opportunity to be impactful, to collect and share best practices from the most effective engineering teams in the world. Increment is a step toward flattening the distance between the Silicon Valley elite and developers everywhere.”

Stripe CEO and co-founder Patrick Collison also weighed in about why he backed such a publication. “As software becomes more important in the world, the practice and art of software engineering becomes more important too. Increment aims to illuminate the most sophisticated practices from the best companies in the world,” he said. “Our hope is that Increment can help surface the institutional wisdom and practices of the most effective software engineering organizations in the world so that the industry as a whole can make faster progress.”

Here is a gander at the first issue:


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