A log of articles, blog posts, and podcasts, that I've read and listened to in recent month.


I liked the following podcast most:

What I didn't enjoy as much as I expected:

  • Soft Skills Engineering: Ep. 212 - Turnover and self-inflicted complexity

React Native Radio: Ep. 176 - React Native Final Steps With Gant Laborde

What are the final steps you should do before launching a new React Native app? Gant Laborde, co-owner & CIO of Infinite Red, joins the podcast to talk about his recent article about this topic.

React Native Radio: Ep. 177 - Challenges of Building RN Apps in iOS vs Android

In today's episode, we explore the challenges of building cross-platform apps in React Native and look at the differences between the two main platforms, iOS and Android.

React Native Radio: Ep. 156 - Progressive Web Apps versus React Native

The panel dives into the pros and cons of writing PWAs versus writing React Native applications. We work out the definition (sort of) of a PWA and having a web application that works well on mobile and the availability and complexity tradeoffs between the two solutions.

React Native Radio: Ep. 138 - Startup Mindset with Calvin Yu

In this episode of React Native Radio, Josh Justice interviews Calvin Yu. Calvin is a consultant mostly working with Ruby on Rails but also works with React Native and mobile development. He has quite the history of working with startups, all varying in size. Calvin shares what it was like working with startup companies. Calvin explains what you have to change mentally to work in a startup. First, you have to realize that you don’t have all the answers and that it takes a commitment. He also explains that because you don’t have all the answers you will make a mistake, which means you need to be able to learn from it and move on.

Lessons of Greatness: Distribution, Distribution, Distribution

Many say that in real estate, the key to success is location, location, location. A key lesson of greatness from Reid Hoffman is that for consumer products and network effects businesses, a key to success is distribution, distribution, distribution. In this Lesson of Greatness, Mike Maples Jr of Floodgate builds on this by outlining specific strategies founders can learn from Reid Hoffman to get distribution for their startup ideas.

Stack Overflow Podcast: Ep. 267 - Metric is magic, micro frontends, and breaking leases in Silicon Valley

Temperature, time, and space. Metric makes it easy to relate them all. Now that's excellent API design.

Every experienced software engineer can tell you a story about a standardization effort that ended up causing more problems than it solved. Queen Elizabeth’s decree adding 280 feet to each mile made it easy to divide up acres, but has haunted those of us stuck with Imperial units ever since. Sara dives into micro frontend services and how they can help to add agility to a modern development team. There is a nice article on the topic here, and Sara found it through the Thought Works Tech Radar. Pinterest paid just under $90 million dollars to break its lease in San Francisco. Paul and Sara are hearing about lots of developers who are fleeing major cities, and it seems clear that Pinterest won’t be the last company to abandon expansion plans or ditch fancy corporate offices for at least the next few years. Our lifeboat badge of the week the week goes to Sravya Nagumalli, who explained why Angular is associated with the Single Page App and just what an SPA is anyway. Thanks for sharing some knowledge, Sravya!

The art of Product: Ep. 118 - Reliability and Minimalism

Ben’s back from Tuple’s ski trip retreat, where survey responses were reviewed for strategic planning purposes. Turns out that those who value pair programming actively use Tuple. What’s Tuple doing well? Latency and low friction. What can be added, changed, or improved? Free text, and make the basics a bit more stable and reliable. Ben knows it’s expensive and annoying to run tests all the time, but it’s also possible to mess something up that’s good.

From building Level, Derrick understands how minor deviations to features can become major annoyances for customers. However, he’s still on track with his goal to be intentional with the material he consumes by reading Digital Minimalism. Derrick’s feeling zen and reaping the benefits of dumbing down his devices but not getting sucked back in. Plus, he continues to make progress with StaticKit and has moved from prototype to production. Stay tuned!

Software Engineering Radio: Ep. 377 - Heidi Howard on Distributed Consensus

Heidi Howard, a researcher in the field of distributed systems, discusses distributed consensus. Heidi explains when we need it, when we don’t need and the algorithms we use to achieve it. Adam Gordon Bell spoke with Heidi about the history of distributed consensus, paxos and variations on it, such as raft and flexible paxos, performance and scaling of distributed consensus, CAP Theorem, scaling consensus, TLA+, important papers in the field, what algorithms are used by real world systems like zookeeper and etcd and the verification of these algorithms. Heidi also discusses what it is like to be a researcher in the field of distributed systems, how algorithms are verified and how she got into the field.

Software Engineering Radio: Ep. 428 - Matt Lacey on Mobile App Usability

Matt Lacey, author of the Usability Matters book discusses what mobile app usability is and why it can make or break an app destined for consumers, business users or in-house users. Host Gavin Henry spoke with Lacey about the “Six components of great App experiences”, “Things every app should do”, native apps, password managers, accessibility, feedback, telemetry, locations, non-mobile, example good and bad apps, whether the app is actually needed, testing, connectivity, automation of testing, gettings users involved at the start of development as well as what the most important thing to do as a software engineer is in relation to mobile apps.

Software Engineering Radio: Ep. 419 - John Ellithorpe on the Role of a CTO

John Ellithorpe, currently EVP & Chief Product Officer @DNAnexus discusses the role of a CTO based on his unique perspective of having been in that role and having that role report into him. From the book “Book CTO’s at work” – There is no one way to define the CTO role. “CTO's are managers, researchers, visionaries, entrepreneurs, developers, deployers, project leaders, advisors, and administrators all rolled into one. However, there are similarities and overlaps among these characteristics; the primary one being that they are innovators who look to meet the needs of their customers through the use of the technologies they control. Host Kanchan Shringi spoke with Ellithorpe about defining the core essence of the CTO role, the skills that are key for success in the role, how to gain these skills and mentor others.

Startups for the Rest of Us: Ep.515 - Finding a Co-Founder, Getting Better at Sales, and More Listener Questions

Rob is joined by Anthony Eden from DNSimple as they answer your listener questions. They cover topics ranging from tax liabilities with contractors, getting feedback on a prototype, and finding a technical cofounder.

Soft Skills Engineering: Ep. 212 - Turnover and self-inflicted complexity

I’ve been working at a big software company for two years. Since joining, 10 people have left my team, which is more than 50% of my team. Usually it’s the experienced developers who leave either for a different team, a different role or a different company altogether. The latest departure of a peer who I’ve been looking up to as a brilliant developer has been affecting my mood quite strongly. On one hand, I should be glad that I’m becoming a more pivotal member of the team, having moved up in the “seniority chain”. On the other hand, I’ve always believed the saying: “If you’re the smartest person in the room, then you’re in the wrong room”. Should I be concerned about this turnover rate? Is it considered normal? Why am I feeling different about this last departure than all of the previous ones?

I am the tech lead on a team at a large tech company. One of the developers on our team has consistently struggled to meet deadlines and project deliverables. He frequently seems to invent his way into impossibly complex software problems. Additionally, he also seems to lack the ability to focus on a single thread, and tries to tackle diverse kinds of work in parallel. I’ve tried to help mentor and coach him, advising him to stick to one problem at a time and try to raise his hand and has for help before he backs himself into a hermeneutically sealed NP-hard problem — but I haven’t had much success. I wanted to see if you guys had any advice. Thanks a million!!!

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