I am Mitchell Hashimoto, Founder and CTO of HashiCorp. Ask me anything!

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What are the single important habit(s) that separates the top software engineers to the bottom ones?

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Easy: communication. 100%.

This isn't just person-to-person communication, it is the ability more broadly to convey thoughts and accept feedback. The best engineers I've ever worked with create and move information efficiently and effectively.

So, concretely this is being able to plan with a team, writing design documents, breaking down work for review into small tasks, making pragmatic decisions by understand the needs of the company (requires some good listening), etc.