Hello there! My name is Luca and I spent over 15 years working in the software engineering industry. After a decade of being an IC, I switched to the management track and I'm currently a Sr Engineering Manager @ Uber (Payments). Folks on this platform often ask me, "Why do you mentor? What's in it for you?" Well, two things really. First and foremost, I find it incredibly satisfying to see people grow, both personally and professionally. So if there's anything I can do to support someone in their journey for improvement, I'm super happy to be a part of that. Furthermore, it's amazing to me how much I can learn from the people I mentor - whether it's insights into their industry or new ways of seeing through a problem/opportunity. These are the main reasons why I do offer a slice of my time and a peak into my own experience (so far). If you want to connect, please book a time slot via Calendly and let's chat soon!

My Mentoring Topics

  • personal growth
  • engineering best practices
  • leadership & management
  • agile practices
  • effective processes
  • thinking in principles
I.
22.May 2024

A high quality mentoring session: very useful insight into growth options and possible actions in my tech career, honest, friendly and clear.

L.
18.October 2023

Luca is a very knowledgeable person, and his insights really valuable. It was a great pleasure talking to him, and learning from his experience.

C.
14.July 2023

Luca and I had a great discussion about leadership methods and best practices for Engineering Managers. I felt Luca was present and ready to re-direct the discussion in the direction I needed. Thank you for the great talk!

F.
29.July 2022

My session with Luca was very useful. We spoke about my career change and how to position myself for success. He had great control of the session and together we dug a layer deeper into my motivations and goals. I now know what to do next. Thanks Luca!

S.
25.February 2022

I really loved chatting with you and it helped me gain new insights into my problems and ways of tackling them. I am so glad I have been able to find a mentor like you and really looking forward to continuing to learn from you.

S.
16.November 2021

Great chat, it's clear Luca knows what he is talking about. I will definitely try and book more sessions in the future.

A.
30.August 2021

The session was indeed helpful. Luca guided me on various aspects of the role of senior engineer and above.

Thinking in Systems - International Bestseller
Donella Meadows

Key Facts and Insights from "Thinking in Systems" Systems thinking is a holistic approach that focuses on the interactions and relationships among system components rather than the components themselves. The Structure of a system determines its behavior. System structure is the key to understanding why a system behaves the way it does. Feedback loops play a crucial role in systems. They regulate and control the system and are responsible for its adaptability and resilience. Resilience is a measure of a system's ability to survive and persist within a variable environment. The more diverse and complex the system, the higher its resilience. Systems do not function in isolation; they exist within larger systems (or systems of systems), each with its own function and purpose. Delays in feedback can destabilize a system or can provide essential time to adjust to new situations. Nonlinear relationships are common in systems. Small changes can produce big results—the hallmark of a leverage point. Leverage points are places within a system's structure where a solution to a specific problem can be found. System traps are behavior characteristics of systems that can lead to failure if not understood and avoided. Behavior over time graphs can be used to track the changes in the variables of a system over time. Modeling is a tool that can be used to understand systems and simulate different scenarios. It provides an opportunity to experiment in a safe environment. An In-Depth Analysis of "Thinking in Systems" Donella Meadows' "Thinking in Systems" is a groundbreaking book that pushes us to view the world through the lens of systems. She presents an array of concepts that have profound implications for how we view and interact with the world around us. The book's central theme is the concept of systems thinking, a methodology that focuses on the relationships and interactions among various components of a system rather than the components themselves. This perspective is fundamental to understanding why systems behave the way they do and provides the foundation for the subsequent concepts discussed in the book. Meadows emphasizes the role of system structure in determining system behavior. This is a critical insight as it underscores the importance of understanding the underlying structure of a system when trying to predict or influence its behavior. It's akin to the saying, "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts." Understanding the relationships, interdependencies, and arrangements of system components is key to understanding the system itself. Among the essential elements of system structure are feedback loops. These are chains of cause and effect that can either stabilize a system (negative feedback) or amplify some effects within it (positive feedback). Feedback loops are vital to a system’s adaptability and resilience. They allow a system to adjust and respond to changes, ensuring its survival and continuity. Speaking of resilience, this is another key concept in the book. Resilience is the ability of a system to withstand shocks and continue functioning. The more diverse and complex the system, the higher its resilience. This is a critical characteristic for any system that operates within a dynamic and unpredictable environment. Meadows also discusses the concept of delays within feedback. Delays can destabilize a system, causing oscillations, but they can also provide essential time to adjust to new situations, allowing for system resilience and adaptation. One of the more fascinating insights from the book is the idea of nonlinearity within systems. In many systems, relationships between elements are not simple or direct. Small changes can produce disproportionately large effects, a phenomenon known as leverage points. These are points in a system where a small shift can lead to significant changes in behavior, making them potential targets for intervention in a system. However, leverage points can also lead to system traps, which are behavioral characteristics of systems that can lead to failure if not understood and avoided. System traps can be caused by policy resistance, tragedy of the commons, drift to low performance, escalation, success to successful, shifting the burden, and rule beating. Throughout the book, Meadows emphasizes the importance of behavior over time graphs and modeling. These tools provide a means of tracking changes in system variables over time and simulating different scenarios. By creating a model of a system, we can experiment with different changes and see potential outcomes, providing a safe environment to test interventions before implementing them in the real world. In conclusion, "Thinking in Systems" is a transformative book that challenges our traditional ways of looking at the world. It equips us with the tools and concepts needed to understand, design, and manage systems more effectively. As we navigate an increasingly complex world, the ability to think in systems is becoming ever more crucial.

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Good Strategy/Bad Strategy - The difference and why it matters
Richard Rumelt

Key Facts or Insights from "Good Strategy/Bad Strategy" Good strategy is not just a goal or vision: It is a coherent mix of policy and action designed to overcome a high-stakes challenge. Bad strategy is often characterized by fluff: It uses high-sounding words and phrases to hide the absence of thought. The kernel of a good strategy: It contains three elements - a diagnosis of the situation, a guiding policy for dealing with the challenge, and a set of coherent actions designed to carry out the policy. The importance of analysis: Good strategy is grounded in deep, nuanced understanding of the situation. Strategy as a hypothesis: A good strategy is a hypothesis that needs to be tested and adapted over time. Good strategy leverages advantage: It identifies and exploits existing advantages, and looks for ways to create new ones. Strategic coordination: Good strategy involves creating coordination among resources and actions. Bad strategy avoids complexity: Instead of facing challenging issues, bad strategy avoids them and often substitutes vague goals for clear objectives. Good strategy is dynamic: It evolves with the changing circumstances and constantly seeks to improve. The role of the leader: A good strategist needs to be a good leader, able to inspire others and to make tough decisions. An In-Depth Analysis of "Good Strategy/Bad Strategy" Richard Rumelt's "Good Strategy/Bad Strategy" is a compelling exploration of what constitutes effective strategy and the pitfalls of poorly conceived strategies. Rumelt opens with an essential premise - a good strategy is not merely a lofty goal or vision, but a practical approach to overcoming a difficult challenge. This is the kernel of good strategy, which comprises three elements: a diagnosis of the situation, a guiding policy to tackle the challenge, and a set of coherent actions to execute the policy. This approach underlines the importance of analysis in strategy formulation. Superficial understanding or oversimplification of the situation can lead to bad strategy. The author stresses that a good strategy is grounded in a deep, nuanced understanding of the challenge at hand. He advocates for a realistic appraisal of the situation, even if it means confronting uncomfortable truths. One of the most insightful aspects of Rumelt's work is his view of strategy as a hypothesis. As in scientific research, a good strategy needs to be tested, validated, and modified in response to feedback and changing circumstances. This perspective underscores the dynamic nature of good strategy and the need for ongoing learning and adaptation. Another key insight from Rumelt's work is the role of advantage in good strategy. He argues that a good strategy identifies and exploits existing advantages and looks for ways to create new ones. This can be a unique resource, a favorable position, or a coherent set of actions that differentiate an organization from its competitors. Rumelt also discusses the importance of strategic coordination, which involves creating harmony among resources and actions. This can mean coordinating different parts of an organization, aligning resources with objectives, or integrating various actions to create a powerful cumulative effect. On the other hand, bad strategy is characterized by fluff, a tendency to use high-sounding words and phrases to hide the absence of thought. Bad strategy also often avoids complexity and substitutes vague goals for clear objectives. This avoidance of hard choices and the failure to clearly define and confront challenges is a hallmark of bad strategy. Lastly, Rumelt emphasises the role of the leader in strategy formulation. A good strategist needs to be a good leader, able to inspire others with a vision, make tough decisions, and guide the organization through the complexities and uncertainties of its strategic journey. In conclusion, "Good Strategy/Bad Strategy" provides a clear, practical roadmap for strategy formulation and execution. It emphasises the importance of deep understanding, strategic coordination, continuous learning and adaptation, and strong leadership in crafting good strategy. At the same time, it warns against the dangers of fluff, avoidance of complexity, and lack of clear objectives in bad strategy. The insights and lessons from this book are invaluable for anyone involved in strategic decision-making.

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The Manager's Path - A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change
Camille Fournier

Key Facts and Insights from "The Manager's Path - A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change" Management is a skill that can be learned and improved upon, just like any technical skill. Good leaders are not born, they are made - through experience, learning, and continuous self-improvement. Leadership in tech is not just about technology, but also about understanding people and organizational dynamics. Effective management involves a balance of technical skills, people skills, and business acumen. Transitioning from an individual contributor to a manager requires a significant shift in mindset and responsibilities. Team management requires strategic thinking, clear communication, and the ability to inspire and motivate others. Leadership at higher levels involves influencing the broader organization and industry, not just your immediate team. Successful tech leaders foster a culture of learning, innovation, and accountability within their teams. Handling growth and change effectively is a crucial aspect of tech leadership. Continuous learning and adaptation are key to staying relevant and effective as a tech leader. An In-depth Analysis of the Book's Contents "The Manager's Path - A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change" by Camille Fournier serves as a comprehensive guidebook for individuals in the tech industry who are stepping or looking to step into leadership roles. At its core, the book emphasizes the idea that management, like any technical skill, can be learned and honed. It challenges the common notion that good leaders are born, not made, and argues instead that effective leadership is the result of continuous learning, experience, and self-improvement. This perspective is crucial in an industry that often mistakenly equates technical expertise with leadership potential. The book also underscores the fact that leadership in tech is not solely about understanding and applying technology. It's equally about understanding people and the dynamics of an organization. This requires a balance of technical skills, people skills, and business acumen. Fournier emphasizes that this balance is critical for success and effectiveness as a leader. The transition from an individual contributor to a manager is another important topic in the book. This transition involves a significant shift in responsibilities and mindset. Instead of focusing solely on one's own technical work, a manager must consider the broader picture, including team dynamics, strategic planning, and organizational goals. The book provides valuable guidance on navigating this shift. The text goes on to delve into the specifics of team management, highlighting the importance of strategic thinking, clear communication, and the ability to inspire and motivate others. These skills are essential for creating an environment in which team members can thrive and produce their best work. As leaders move up the ladder, their role becomes less about managing people and more about influencing the broader organization and industry. This insight is particularly relevant in the fast-paced tech industry, where leaders must constantly navigate change and drive innovation. Another noteworthy point made in the book is the importance of fostering a culture of learning, innovation, and accountability within teams. According to Fournier, successful tech leaders are those who encourage their team members to continuously learn, innovate, and take ownership of their work. This fosters a high-performing, adaptable team that can successfully navigate the rapid changes in the tech industry. Finally, the book discusses the crucial aspect of handling growth and change effectively. This involves being able to adapt to new technologies, market trends, and organizational changes. Continuous learning and adaptation are key to staying relevant and effective as a tech leader. In conclusion, "The Manager's Path - A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change" provides a comprehensive, insightful guide for individuals aspiring to become tech leaders. It offers valuable insights and practical advice on a wide range of topics, from the basics of management to the complexities of leading at higher levels. It emphasizes continuous learning, adaptability, and a balanced skill set as crucial qualities of successful tech leaders.

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7 Powers - The Foundations of Business Strategy
Hamilton Helmer

Key Facts and Insights from "7 Powers - The Foundations of Business Strategy" 1. The book provides a structural and systematic approach to business strategy, outlining seven distinct 'Powers' that can drive a company's long-term success. 2. These powers include: Scale Economies, Network Economies, Counter Positioning, Switching Costs, Branding, Cornered Resource, and Process Power. 3. Each power is a unique strategy that can provide a business with a durable competitive advantage. 4. The book emphasizes that a company should focus on one power at a time to maximize effectiveness and avoid diffusing their resources. 5. The author, Hamilton Helmer, uses case studies from successful companies like Netflix, Apple, and IKEA to illustrate these powers in action. 6. The book is not a step-by-step guide but a conceptual framework that encourages critical thinking and analysis. 7. The author argues that understanding these powers can help businesses avoid common strategy pitfalls and build a sustainable competitive advantage. 8. The powers are interconnected, meaning that the success of one can influence the effectiveness of others. 9. The book is geared towards business leaders and entrepreneurs, but its concepts can be beneficial for anyone interested in strategy, economics, or business. 10. The author's writing style is clear and concise, making complex strategic concepts accessible to a wide audience. 11. The book challenges conventional wisdom on business strategy, encouraging readers to think more deeply about what drives long-term success. Analysis of "7 Powers - The Foundations of Business Strategy" "7 Powers - The Foundations of Business Strategy" is a paradigm-shifting book that challenges the reader to rethink conventional notions of business strategy. Drawing on his extensive experience in the field, Hamilton Helmer has distilled the complexities of strategic planning into seven distinct powers that can provide a durable competitive advantage. Central to the book's thesis is the concept of 'Power'. In this context, 'Power' refers to a strategic condition that enables a company to generate and sustain profits above its cost of capital. The seven Powers Helmer identifies include Scale Economies, Network Economies, Counter Positioning, Switching Costs, Branding, Cornered Resource, and Process Power. Each of these represents a unique strategy that a company can employ to secure a competitive advantage. Scale Economies and Network Economies refer to the benefits gained by a company as it expands. A company with Scale Economies can reduce per-unit costs as it grows, while a company with Network Economies sees the value of its product or service increase with each new user. Counter Positioning involves a newcomer in a market adopting a new, superior business model that incumbents cannot mimic without damaging their existing operations. Switching Costs refers to the obstacles that prevent a customer from switching to a competitor's product or service. Branding is a Power that allows a company to charge higher prices for its products or services based on perceived value. A Cornered Resource is a unique asset or capability that cannot be replicated by competitors. Process Power refers to unique capabilities embedded in a company’s processes that competitors cannot replicate. Helmer's work stands out for its systematic and structural approach to strategy. Instead of offering a step-by-step guide, the book provides a conceptual framework that encourages critical thinking and analysis. This is particularly useful for business leaders and entrepreneurs, who must navigate an ever-changing business landscape and adapt their strategies accordingly. The book also shines in its use of real-world case studies to illustrate the Powers in action. By examining successful companies like Netflix, Apple, and IKEA, Helmer brings his concepts to life and demonstrates their practical applications. However, the book is not without its limitations. The Powers are interconnected, and the success of one can influence the effectiveness of others. This creates a complex web of strategic considerations that may be overwhelming for some readers. Despite this, Helmer's clear and concise writing style makes these complex strategic concepts accessible to a wide audience. In conclusion, "7 Powers - The Foundations of Business Strategy" provides a fresh perspective on business strategy. By focusing on the seven Powers, companies can avoid common strategic pitfalls and build a sustainable competitive advantage. Whether you're a business leader, an entrepreneur, or a student of strategy, this book is a valuable resource that will challenge you to think more deeply about what drives long-term success.

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An Elegant Puzzle - Systems of Engineering Management
Will Larson

Key Insights from "An Elegant Puzzle - Systems of Engineering Management" The importance of leadership in the engineering management field. The role of systems and processes in managing the engineering function. Decision-making strategies and the concept of trade-offs in engineering projects. Resource allocation and its impact on the success of engineering projects. The importance of communication for effective engineering management. Managing and mitigating risk in engineering projects. The role of motivation and team dynamics in the success of engineering projects. The concept of incremental and iterative progress in engineering management. Techniques for problem-solving and troubleshooting in the engineering field. The importance of continuous learning and improvement in engineering management. An In-Depth Analysis of the Book "An Elegant Puzzle - Systems of Engineering Management" by Will Larson presents a comprehensive view of engineering management, a critical field in today's technologically-driven world. Larson's perspective, shaped by his extensive experience in the field, provides readers with a unique, in-depth understanding of the various systems, processes, and strategies used in engineering management. Leadership is a central theme in Larson's book. He asserts that effective leadership is crucial in managing engineering projects. Leaders should not only possess technical expertise but also need to be adept at managing people, fostering teamwork, and facilitating communication. The book offers insights into various leadership styles and their effectiveness, emphasizing the need for leaders to adapt their approach based on the situation and team dynamics. The book also dives into the importance of systems and processes in engineering management. Larson suggests that well-designed systems and processes can significantly enhance efficiency and productivity, reducing the likelihood of errors and oversights. He provides practical advice on how to design and implement these systems, highlighting the need for flexibility and continuous improvement. Larson emphasizes the importance of decision-making strategies and the concept of trade-offs in engineering projects. He posits that every decision in engineering projects involves trade-offs between different factors, such as cost, time, quality, and risk. He offers strategies for making informed decisions and managing these trade-offs effectively. Resource allocation is another crucial aspect discussed in the book. Larson argues that the success of engineering projects largely depends on how resources – human, financial, and material – are allocated. He provides guidelines on how to allocate resources efficiently and effectively, considering factors such as project requirements, timelines, and constraints. Communication is highlighted as a critical factor for effective engineering management. Larson emphasizes that clear, concise, and timely communication can prevent misunderstandings, facilitate collaboration, and enhance productivity. He offers tips on how to communicate effectively in different situations, such as team meetings, project updates, and crisis management. Larson also discusses the importance of managing and mitigating risk in engineering projects. He suggests that risk management should be an integral part of the planning and execution of engineering projects. He provides strategies for identifying potential risks, assessing their impact, and developing contingency plans to mitigate them. The book also explores the role of motivation and team dynamics in the success of engineering projects. Larson believes that motivated and cohesive teams can significantly enhance productivity and the quality of work. He provides insights into how to foster a positive team culture, motivate team members, and manage team dynamics effectively. Larson also underscores the concept of incremental and iterative progress in engineering management. He suggests that breaking down complex projects into smaller, manageable tasks and making incremental progress can lead to more effective management and better outcomes. He also emphasizes the importance of learning from each iteration and continuously improving. The book delves into techniques for problem-solving and troubleshooting in the engineering field. Larson offers practical advice on how to identify and address problems effectively, leveraging logical reasoning, creativity, and technical expertise. Lastly, Larson underscores the importance of continuous learning and improvement in engineering management. He argues that in a rapidly evolving field like engineering, continuous learning and improvement are essential for staying relevant and competitive. He provides strategies for fostering a culture of learning and improvement, encouraging innovation, and promoting personal and professional growth. In conclusion, "An Elegant Puzzle - Systems of Engineering Management" is a valuable resource for anyone involved in managing engineering projects. It provides a comprehensive understanding of the different aspects of engineering management, offering practical advice and insights based on Larson's extensive experience in the field. The book is not only informative but also thought-provoking, challenging readers to rethink their approach to engineering management and strive for excellence.

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