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Brain Science Brain Science #21

The power of story

Researchers have examined the power of story and discovered the way in which stories provide a framework that has the capacity to transcend language for universal understanding. According to Joe Lazauskas, “Stories illuminate the city of our mind…stories make us remember and they make us care.” In this episode we dive deep into the power of story to explore the ways in which stories play a role in our emotions and in our relationships with others.

Lea Verou lea.verou.me

Today’s JavaScript, from an outsider’s perspective

Lea Verou shared this story of using Javascript for the first time…

Today I tried to help a friend who is a great computer scientist, but not a JS person use a JS module he found on Github. Since for the past 6 years my day job is doing usability research & teaching at MIT, I couldn’t help but cringe at the slog that this was. Lo and behold, a pile of unnecessary error conditions, cryptic errors, and lack of proper feedback. And I don’t feel I did a good job communicating the frustration he went through in the one hour or so until he gave up.

It went a bit like this…

Tobias Lütke Twitter

"Office centricity is over."

This thread from Tobias Lütke (CEO of Shopify) on Twitter…talks about digital by default, a unified work experience, WFH setup, empathy, company culture, change, and silver linings.

As of today, Shopify is a digital by default company. We will keep our offices closed until 2021 so that we can rework them for this new reality. And after that, most will permanently work remotely. Office centricity is over.

Until recently, work happened in the office. We’ve always had some people remote, but they used the internet as a bridge to the office. This will reverse now. The future of the office is to act as an on-ramp to the same digital workplace that you can access from your #WFH setup.

He goes on to say…

We haven’t figured this whole thing out. There is a lot of change ahead, but that is what we’re good at. “Thrive on change” is written on our (now digital) walls for a reason.

Saagar Jha saagarjha.com

Why we at $FAMOUS_COMPANY Switched to $HYPED_TECHNOLOGY

The best satire hits close to $HOME:

As we’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, the $FAMOUS_COMPANY backend has historically been developed in $UNREMARKABLE_LANGUAGE and architected on top of $PRACTICAL_OPEN_SOURCE_FRAMEWORK. To suit our unique needs, we designed and open-sourced $AN_ENGINEER_TOOK_A_MYTHOLOGY_CLASS, a highly-available, just-in-time compiler for $UNREMARKABLE_LANGUAGE.

Pairs nicely with this tweet of ours from a few months back.

Brain Science Brain Science #20

Navigating perfectionism

High expectations for performance in both life and work are common, but what do you do when you get stuck and you’re not able to achieve the results you desire? In this episode, Mireille and Adam talk through the different aspects of perfectionism and ways in which is can be adaptive and helpful and other ways in which it poses additional challenges. What happens when we avoid the possibility of failure as opposed to simply having high standards for our performance? How can we begin to focus on healthy striving as opposed to reaching for perfection?

Opensource.com Icon Opensource.com

How to find new maintainers for your open source project

A smooth hand-off of your open source project is no easy feat. To help others succeed in this arena, Paul Götze build Adoptoposs.org:

I found that, on GitHub alone, there were more than 36,000 issues asking “Is this project abandoned?”, I thought about how to tackle this problem. More than 15,000 of these were open issues. So, lots of projects need help with their maintenance.

Culture danielmiessler.com

It's time to get back into RSS

Some of us never left, but for those who did… it is most definitely time to return to the good ole’ days. Why is it more important now than ever? Disintermediation, that’s why.

It was a direct connection between creators and consumers. By adding someone’s feed to your RSS reader you were saying, “Yes, I’d like to subscribe to your interpretation of reality.”

By curating the feeds in your reader, you were curating your view of the world. And that was made up of hundreds or thousands of individual voices.

Sid Sijbrandij changelog.com/posts

Family and friends first, work second

Behind the scenes we heard about Sid’s idea of “family and friends first,” so we asked him to share the idea with our audience and how it’s being embraced at GitLab. Stay tuned for an upcoming episode of Founders Talk with Sid. I’m sure we’ll touch on this idea and more._

Even at GitLab, we’ve seen increased productivity as the number of merge requests for both March and April exceeded February’s numbers. But as company leader, I don’t see this as something to tout. This new normal is anything but normal, and we shouldn’t treat it as such. Even though GitLab has always been remote and experienced less of a transition than most other companies, our team members are not immune to the stressors of quarantine. Overworking or maintaining the status quo during a crisis is not a badge of honor. In fact, I would be prouder if more employees were taking time off to reset and refresh or spend time adjusting to this “new normal” with their families.

Brain Science Brain Science #19

Step away to get unstuck

In this episode, Mireille and Adam talk through the challenge of problem solving. It’s all to common to utilize the “try harder” approach when things aren’t working out the way you’d like. While that kind of effort is valuable, this approach is often wrought with further frustration, wasted time and less than desirable results. This episode offers you an alternative perspective and ways that you can practice getting unstuck and utilize more of the resources of your unconscious mind.

Maarten Claes mcls.io

Encouraging a culture of written communication

Are you striving to create a culture of written comms? Maarten Claes writes…

More and more people are being exposed to working remotely. One of the key factors for success in a remote workplace is a culture of written communication. It’s not always obvious how to create such a culture, and it takes at least some level of discipline from the people involved to make it a habit.

I’ve worked with mostly remote teams over the past three years. Here are a few of my observations on what helped cultivate such a culture.

Brain Science Brain Science #18

Building resiliency

In this episode, Mireille and Adam discuss the importance of building resiliency and how we can build skills to navigate unexpected and unwanted adversities. Fundamentally, we are designed to adapt out of a place of survival. Given that, we have to learn how to manage our fear while building awareness of the perceptions we have so that we can learn how to be both flexible and calm. Not surprising, we also talk about the way in which our relationships with others help us buffer the challenges better so that we are able to remain calmer and henceforth, see the opportunities within the obstacles.

WFH taskade.com

How to foster remote workplace camaraderie

This article argues that workplace camaraderie is possible when teams:

  • 🛶 Paddle in the same direction
  • 🎯 Share similar goals and values
  • 🤔 Have meaningful, focused conversations

But what does ‘camaraderie’ even mean in the workplace context?

Workplace camaraderie means loyalty towards your employer and colleagues. It’s a sense of belonging and commitment that binds a seemingly unrelated bunch of people. It’s the glue that keeps businesses and organizations together.

There are challenges to generating and sustaining camaraderie when people are in the same physical space. It’s even harder when they are not. The linked article has some good advice in that regard, as well.

Dan Luu danluu.com

How (some) good corporate engineering blogs are written

For those out there that lead or contribute to a corporate engineering blog, Dan Luu interviewed folks at Cloudflare, Heap, and Segment, as well as folks at three different companies with “lame corporate engineering blogs” to get a sense of what makes them interesting or lame.

I’ve been comparing notes with people who run corporate engineering blogs and one thing that I think is curious is that it’s pretty common for my personal blog to get more traffic than the entire corp eng blog for a company with a nine to ten figure valuation and it’s not uncommon for my blog to get an order of magnitude more traffic.

In order to have a boring blog, the corporation has to actively stop engineers from putting interesting content out there. Unfortunately, it appears that the natural state of large corporations tends towards risk aversion and blocking people from writing, just in case it causes a legal or PR or other problem.

Todd Kulesza blog.golang.org

Go developer survey 2019 results

Good news! For 2019 there were 10,975 responses to the survey — that’s almost twice as many as last year. Here are few major findings from the results, but of course, you should dig in because they make it really easy to scan and grok the details.

  • The demographics of our respondents are similar to Stack Overflow’s survey respondents, which increases our confidence that these results are representative of the larger Go developer audience.
  • A majority of respondents use Go every day, and this number has been trending up each year.
  • Respondents are using Go to solve similar problems, particularly building API/RPC services and CLIs, regardless of the size of organization they work at.
  • Most teams try to update to the latest Go release quickly; when third-party providers are late to support the current Go release, this creates an adoption blocker for developers.
  • Almost everyone in the Go ecosystem is now using modules, but some confusion around package management remains.
  • VS Code and GoLand have continued to see increased use; they’re now preferred by 3 out of 4 respondents.

Drew Devault drewdevault.com

How to store data forever

It’s certainly interesting to ponder how to store data for as long as you possibly can, which Drew highlights very well. But I really enjoyed the questions at the end on “actually storing data forever”…

Let’s say you’ve managed to keep your data around. But will you still know how to interpret that data in the future? Is it in a file format which requires specialized software to use? Will that software still be relevant in the future? Is that software open-source, so you can update it yourself? Will it still compile and run correctly on newer operating systems and hardware? Will the storage medium still be compatible with new computers?

Brain Science Brain Science #17

Start with gratitude

It’s been said that happy people are thankful, but maybe it’s the other way around. Thankful people are happy. In this episode we discuss the value of and the way that practicing gratitude can improve your overall outlook and mental health. Mireille and Adam talk through some of the underlying neuropsychological aspects of this habit including the key brain structures and neurotransmitters that are affected by practicing this routinely. This is one show that will pay–over and over again–that is, if you’re willing to put the knowledge into practice. Just how “happy” do you want to feel?

Eduards Sizovs sizovs.net

Developers don't need ping-pong tables

Some of the particulars in this article don’t feel relevant during the coronavirus-lockdown phase of history, but the overarching message is solid:

Companies waste millions on building the environment they think makes developers happy, without understanding what actually makes developers tick.

What does make developers tick? What motivates us? The answers aren’t always the same, but they often aren’t all that different either. Eduards argues that autonomy, mastery, and purpose are at the heart of it.

JavaScript dutzi.party

Userscripts are fun and are still very much relevant

I couldn’t agree more with this sentiment! Customizing your web experience is what the web is all about. Who remember Greasemonkey?! ✋

Here’s the quick how to for today:

Creating a simple Userscript is pretty simple, you simply install ViolentMonkey (on Chrome, use TamperMonkey for other browsers), hit the Create Userscript button and you will be preseneted with a pretty decent code editor showing a userscript template.

Brain Science Brain Science #16

Developing a mental framework

The quality of your thinking depends on your mental framework. To become a better thinker you need to have an understanding of this mental framework and how you view the world. But, what exactly is a mental framework? How have we all been programmed throughout our lives? In what ways have you been programed that you like, don’t like, or want to change? Join us as we explore and examine the key components of developing a mental framework.

Luca Florio florio.dev

A letter to myself as a fresh software engineer

This “letter to self” from Luca Florio is a great example putting down in writing what you’re optimizing for and front loading (which we talk about on Brain Science) so that future you can make choices more easily.

Dear Self,

You just graduated and you are ready to start your career in the IT field. I cannot spoiler anything, but I assure you it will be an interesting ride. I’m writing you this letter because I want to give you some advice that will help you be a better professional. Nothing you won’t learn by yourself in the next few years, but it is something that I wish someone had told me when I started my career. They are not ordered by any means and are all equally important.

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