Edmond Lau Quotes

Who is Edmond Lau?

Edmond Lau is a software engineer who worked at some of the top technology companies in Silicon Valley, including Google, Ooyala, Quora, and Quip.

Lau is also the author of the book 'The Effective Engineer: How to Leverage Your Efforts in Software Engineering to Make a Disproportionate and Meaningful Impact'.

Books by Edmond Lau


Best 20 Quotes by Edmond Lau

The Effective Engineer Quotes

“Another way of thinking about leverage is the commonly-mentioned Pareto principle, or 80–20 rule — the notion that for many activities, 80% of the impact comes from 20% of the work.”

Edmond Lau
The Effective Engineer

“Constantly keep one lesson in mind: focus on high-leverage activities. This is the single most valuable lesson that I’ve learned in my professional life.”

Edmond Lau
The Effective Engineer

“Effective engineers aren’t the ones trying to get more things done by working more hours. They’re the ones who get things done efficiently—and who focus their limited time on the tasks that produce the most value.”

Edmond Lau
The Effective Engineer

“Find ways to get an activity done more quickly, to increase the impact of an activity, or to shift to activities with higher leverage.”

Edmond Lau
The Effective Engineer

“Focus on what generates the highest return on investment for your time spent.”

Edmond Lau
The Effective Engineer

“For any given activity, there are three approaches you can take to increase the leverage of your time spent. When you successfully shorten the time required for an activity, increase its impact, or shift to a higher-leverage activity, you become a more effective engineer.”

Edmond Lau
The Effective Engineer

“In his book High Output Management, Former Intel CEO Andrew Grove explains that by definition, your overall leverage—the amount of value that you produce per unit time—can only be increased in three ways:

1. By reducing the time it takes to complete a certain activity.
2. By increasing the output of a particular activity.
3. By shifting to higher-leverage activities.

These three ways naturally translate into three questions we can ask ourselves about any activity we’re working on:

1. How can I complete this activity in a shorter amount of time?
2. How can I increase the value produced by this activity?
3. Is there something else that I could spend my time on that would produce more value?”

Edmond Lau
The Effective Engineer

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“It can be hard to move a huge boulder by yourself, but with a powerful enough lever, you can move almost anything. High-leverage activities behave similarly, letting you amplify your limited time and effort to produce much more impact.”

Edmond Lau
The Effective Engineer

“Leverage is critical because time is your most limited resource.”

Edmond Lau
The Effective Engineer

“Leverage, therefore, is the yardstick for measuring how effective your activities are.”

Edmond Lau
The Effective Engineer

“No matter who you are, at some point in your career you’ll realize that there’s more work to be done than time available, and you’ll need to start prioritizing.”

Edmond Lau
The Effective Engineer

“Once strong people joined the company, however, it became easier to attract more strong people.”

Edmond Lau
The Effective Engineer

“The limitations of time are inescapable, regardless of your goals.”

Edmond Lau
The Effective Engineer

“Thinking early in your career about how to help your co-workers succeed instills the right habits that in turn will lead to your own success.”

Edmond Lau
The Effective Engineer

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“Time is your most limited asset. Identify the habits that produce disproportionately high impact for the time you invest.”

Edmond Lau
The Effective Engineer

“To be effective engineers, we need to be able to identify which activities produce more impact with smaller time investments.”

Edmond Lau
The Effective Engineer

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“To be effective engineers, we need to be able to identify which activities produce more impact with smaller time investments. Not all work is created equal. Not all efforts, however well-intentioned, translate into impact.”

Edmond Lau
The Effective Engineer

“Unlike other resources, time cannot be stored, extended, or replaced.”

Edmond Lau
The Effective Engineer

“We have a limited amount of time and a large number of possible activities.”

Edmond Lau
The Effective Engineer

“Working extra hours can hurt team dynamics. Not everyone on the team will have the flexibility to pitch in the extra hours. Perhaps one team member has children at home whom he has to take care of. Maybe someone else has a 2-week trip planned in the upcoming months, or she has to commute a long distance and can't work as many hours. Whereas once the team jelled together and everyone worked fairly and equally, now those who work more hours have to carry the weight of those who can't or don't. The result can be bitterness or resentment between members of a formerly-happy team.”

Edmond Lau
The Effective Engineer