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Culture

Beliefs, behavioral patterns, thoughts, and institutions of the developer community.
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Gene Kim itrevolution.com

Love letter to Clojure (part 1)

Gene Kim shared part 1 of a “love letter to Clojure” inspired by Bryan Cantrell’s amazing “I’m falling in love with Rust” blog post in September 2018 In this blog post, I will explain how learning the Clojure programming language three years ago changed my life. It led to a series of revelations about all the invisible structures that are required to enable developers to be productive. … Without doubt, Clojure was one of the most difficult things I’ve learned professionally, but it has also been one of the most rewarding. It brought the joy of programming back into my life. For the first time in my career, as I’m nearing fifty years old, I’m finally able to write programs that do what I want them to do, and am able to build upon them for years without them collapsing like a house of cards, as has been my normal experience.

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Matt Mullenweg ma.tt

Debating OSS with DHH

Want to hear two of the top leaders in open source talk about their differing philosophies on open source and the modern web? The other week I ended up going back and forth in tweets with David Heinemeier Hansson, it wasn’t going anywhere but he graciously invited me to their podcast and we were able to expand the discussion in a way I found really refreshing and mind-opening. DHH and I have philosophies around work and open source that I believe overlap 95% or more, so… Here’s the Twitter conversation that started this debate on the Rework podcast.

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Harvard Business Review Icon Harvard Business Review

Entrepreneurs who sleep more are better at spotting good ideas

While this study was focused on “entrepreneurs”, I would say the function of sleep applies to all humans and can be expended to “creators” at large — or anyone who is in an position of trading sleep for progress. We’re exploring this very topic on an upcoming episode of Brain Science. Subscribe if you haven’t already! In our paper we investigated fundamental functions required of a founder in the early stages of a new venture’s lifecycle: the generation of new venture ideas and the formation of beliefs about a new venture’s potential. In a series of three interrelated studies, we show that entrepreneurs who shortchange sleep analyze business opportunities differently than their well-rested counterparts, and even differently than their well-rested selves.

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Test Double Icon Test Double

Deconstructing the bike shed

A thought-provoking piece by Joshua Wehner on Test Double’s blog: For the metaphor to work, at all, we have to have a shared understanding of what’s important and what’s trivial. Kamp is saying (1) color does not matter, and (2) the topic they are debating matters as little as if they were debating color. For decades, software developers have been fine with this. And yet… Color is an amazingly deep topic! There are books on the history of color. There are fascinating stories about how colors got their names, how they were made, how they impact fashion, how they tell stories… until software emits smells, color will be one of the most important aspects for developers to understand when considering how human beings will interact with our software. I never thought that color doesn’t matter, just that for the purpose of the metaphor color doesn’t matter in the context of a bike shed. This thought leads Joshua to another one: Software developers—and other professionals who are oriented around quantitative thinking—have a tendency to dismiss more qualitative disciplines such as design, marketing, or management—which also turn out to be exactly the disciplines best-suited to mitigating the kinds of dead-end discussions the bike shed legend is supposedly built to address. This I’ve 💯% seen in the wild. In conference rooms and in online discussions, I frequently seen software developers deploy the bike shed myth as an attempt to minimize a topic they see as unimportant and to label that discussion as a trivial distraction. I need to stop or I’ll end up quoting the entire article. Like I said, lots of thoughts being provoked here. A must-read, even if you end up disagreeing with his conclusions.

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Rich Archbold Medium

My engineering standards

In this post, Rich Archbold touches on something we discussed on a recent episode of The Changelog. Specifically, in the episode, we talked about contentment being the enemy of progress and how that might effect our industry psychologically — at-large. But when is what we’re working on ever good enough? Rich has this to say… Software can never be perfect, it can only ever be “good enough”…beyond a certain size and rate of change — it’s always going to contain bugs and experience outages. So how do you know if your software is good enough? … My opinion and approach is to codify your beliefs around what constitutes software that is “good enough” into a small set of engineering principles and build a culture, organization, and set of processes that reinforce them.

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Stanisław Pitucha github.com

Questions to ask a company during your interview

This repo gained 3,100+ stars in the first day and topped the charts of Changelog Nightly! This is a list of questions which may be interesting to a tech job applicant. The points are not ordered and many may not apply to a given position, or work type. It was started as my personal list of questions, which grew over time to include both things I’d like to see more of and red flags which I’d like to avoid. I’ve also noticed how few questions were asked by people I interviewed and I think those were missed opportunities. PRs are welcome!

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Marty Cagan svpg.com

Product teams vs feature teams

Marty Cagan is certain to upset many people product-people with this article. Read at your own risk. This article is certain to upset many people. I’m sorry for that, but the degree of ongoing noise and confusion surrounding the role of product at tech companies is only getting worse. Moreover, I see the issues and problematic behaviors getting institutionalized in conference talks, training programs and so-called certification programs for product people. So while this article might be painful to read, if you’ve been frustrated with the contradictory and confusing messaging from people in the product world, if you bear with me here, I am hopeful that this will provide some much needed clarity. BTW, Marty and his book INSPIRED was talked about in this recent episode of The Changelog featuring Ryan Singer talking about Basecamp’s new book Shape Up.

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Naomi Saphra nsaphra.github.io

What does a coder do if they can't type?

Naomi Saphra: In August of 2015, my hands stopped working. I could still control them, but every movement accumulated more pain, so every motion came with a cost: getting dressed in the morning, sending a text, lifting a glass. I was interning at Google that summer about to begin a PhD in Scotland, but coding all day would have left me in agony. File under things-I-take-for-granted-but-totally-shouldn’t

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Stack Overflow arp242.net

Tired of Stack Overflow

this post is something of a rant, and uses strong and emotional language. It’s born out of a years-long frustration with seeing almost every single suggestion to make Stack Overflow a friendlier place not just rejected, but met with hostility. I couldn’t help but nod along in agreement as I read this rant. Something’s not well at SO, and it’s been festering for years.

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Andrew Zaleski Medium

Slow mornings could be your secret weapon

It’s hard to imagine life before the iPhone changed everything about being mobile. We weren’t as connected as we are now, but we also didn’t have as many distraction opportunities in our lives or a device to become addicted to. From the very moment we wake up, a large majority of you reading this will admit to checking your phone as one of the first things you do when you wake up. So how do we take back our mornings and attention to ease into the day without the potential jolt of stress kicking us into high gear? “When I wake up, I am stretching instead of scrolling,” says Hancock, 35. “While I’m not up at the crack of dawn, I do consciously plan my mornings to avoid the chaos of the digital world for at least the first 30 to 45 minutes.” The slow morning movement is one strategy used among people exhausted by their tech-heavy lives to establish a sense of focus for the rest of the day. Some people exercise, while others enjoy some time alone. The point is to create a lack of technological distraction. A slow morning is supposed to be an antidote to the frenetic pace of 24/7 digital alerts. You should subscribe to Brain Science — we’ll be covering this topic in a future episode.

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Claire Lew knowyourteam.com

How to manage up effectively

Claire Lew, the CEO of Know Your Team, shares 5 not-so-often-shared ways to manage up and have a better relationship with your boss. You want to manage up – but what you really mean is that you simply want to work well with your boss. Who doesn’t? Especially when your boss is pestering you with questions via Slack after work-hours, or failing to give you enough time to complete projects… Based on research we’ve done over the past five years with hundreds of managers and employees, and the insights shared in our online leadership community, The Watercooler, here are the 5 distinct ways you can manage up to have a better relationship with your boss.

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Gergely Orosz blog.pragmaticengineer.com

Developers mentoring other developers

What, exactly, is mentoring? How does it work? Better yet, how does it work well? In this post Gergely Orosz, Engineering Manager at Uber, shares his perspective and the practices he’s seen work well. Mentorship has been the best things that’s sped up my growth and others engineers around me. This post discusses mentorship practices that work well engineer-to-engineer. The practices come from my own experience, observations I’ve made people mentoring each other and from conversations I’ve had with half a dozen mentors in my network and on Coding Coach.

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Joel Marcey Medium

Hello, I am a Developer Advocate

Joel Marcey shares his story and some background on what a developer advocate is and how to be success as a developer advocate. I am a believer in the pop-culture version of Occam’s razor, or the law of simplicity, where the simplest explanation is usually the right one. A developer advocate is exactly what its title implies — an advocate for developers. A successful developer advocate can go both deep and broad. They can own a technology stack but also run programs that span an entire open source program office… A successful developer advocate is able to quickly ramp up on new technologies, sometimes with no background in the space previously, and be able to understand how those technologies may fit into the overall open source ecosystem.

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freeCodeCamp Icon freeCodeCamp

Focus and deep work — secret weapons to becoming a 10x developer

Focus was the topic of this and this episode of Founders Talk, but from a different angle than presented in this post from Bar Franek on freeCodeCamp. It doesn’t matter if you’re working on a side hustle or if you’re a junior developer wanting to get noticed and promoted. It doesn’t matter if you’re a lead developer looking for a change of pace, from a corporate gig to a start-up or the other way around. It doesn’t matter if you’re jobless out of college. As long as you’re a programmer, no skill is more important to your success than focused, deep work.

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Kitze Medium

GitHub stars won’t pay your rent

Kitze shared this somewhat controversial story of Sizzy — from struggling open source project to successful product launch and charging money. It’s important to hear more stories like this because not all of the roads of open source are paved with gold. Honestly, it felt kind of shitty to delete the repository and unpin the project from my profile. I hated the feeling but I had to shrug it off. I had to convince myself that I’m not doing anything wrong. The app was serving a lot of people for 2.5 years, and I rarely got any contributions. It was time to get real and think about what matters. Oh, here we go… I’m gonna mention the M word and lose a ton of readers at this point. Money. Money matters. Kitze also made an appearance on JS Party #72: LIVE from React Amsterdam.

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Joseph Cox vice.com

This legit-looking iPhone lightning cable will hijack your computer

It looks like a legit cable from Apple. It works like a legit cable from Apple. BUT…. Joseph Cox writing for Vice Motherboard: I plugged the Apple lightning cable into my iPod and connected it to my Mac, just as I normally would. My iPod started charging, iTunes detected the device, and my iPod produced the pop-up asking if I wanted to trust this computer. All expected behaviour. But this cable was hiding a secret. A short while later, a hacker remotely opened a terminal on my Mac’s screen, letting them run commands on my computer as they saw fit. This is because this wasn’t a regular cable. Instead, it had been modified to include an implant; extra components placed inside the cable letting the hacker remotely connect to the computer.

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Jonas Van Schoote madewithlove.be

The different skills needed to be a successful CTO

What does it take to be successful as a CTO? The stories of founder/CEO transitions is plentiful, but what about the evolution of a company and the need for a CTO who has a vision of how to do things and the team and skills needed to make it happen? A CTO at this point still needs to mainly look inward and know how to code, know the structure of the application and infrastructure, but the focus is shifting towards managing a team, establishing a culture and processes to be able to grow quickly. Growing also means hiring but also making sure that every hire is an effective team member as soon as possible.

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Tim Kadlec timkadlec.com

Web performance as exclusion?

Tim Kadlec writes about “The ethics of web performance” and the idea of web performance having ethical ramifications. When you look at the evidence, it’s hard to see one could argue performance doesn’t have ethical ramifications. So clearly, folks who have built a heavy site are bad, unethical people, right? Here’s the thing. I have never in my career met a single person who set out to make a site perform poorly. Not once. People want to do good work. But a lot of folks are in situations where that’s very difficult. The business models that support much of the content on the web don’t favor better performance. Nor does the culture of many organizations who end up prioritizing the next feature over improving things like performance or accessibility or security. I would argue the other angle, “Web performance as compassion” to show how you can show compassion for the users of your software through performance.

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Laurence Bradford Forbes

Burnout in the tech industry (and why we need to talk about it)

How common is burnout in tech? According to this survey from Blind, nearly 60% of surveyed tech workers are burnt out. Blind is an anonymous, work email-verified, social networking platform for professionals… …used by 40,000 Microsoft employees, 25,000 from Amazon, 10,000 from Google, 7,000 from Uber, 6,000 from Facebook, and thousands from other tech companies, so there is wide representation in their survey results. This one-question survey had a simple yes/no answer: “Are you currently suffering from job burnout?” And over half of respondents (57.16%, to be exact) answered yes. So, are you currently suffering from job burnout?

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