Languages, culture & side projects don’t make real

I long for the days of real programmers. Not the sorry excuses for programmers we have nowadays that need things like IDE’s, GUI’s, and API’s, but programmers that knew how to code like true geeks wrangling 1’s and 0’s or living in vi and Emacs. They certainly did not write in so-called interpreted languages like JavaScript, Ruby, or Python. No way! Real programmers compile code that they write in real languages like C++, Java, and Haskell.

These avocado toast eating, cold brew coffee drinking wannabe hackers are nothing but a bunch of script kiddies with standing desks and natural light…

The secret is in how fast you fail, learn, and iterate

You cannot actually see the Great Wall of China from space. For a long time, this myth was floating around that the wall is so significant, that you could see it from the moon. Alas, even from low Earth orbit, a person could not spot the Great Wall with the unaided eye.

What is remarkable about this seventh wonder of the modern world is that it has existed for over 2,600 years. Started somewhere between 700 and 600 BC in small sections, it progressively became more significant with the Emperor Qin around 220 BC with construction continuing off and on…

For making better decisions, foster the safety to fail

John Lewis was a portrait in courage. Already weathered by his experiences standing up to hatred and racism across the Southern US, he faced his hardest test yet on March 7, 1965 before the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. He stood with 600 others on a march to Montgomery when the marchers were attacked by state police. Lewis sustained a skull fracture and many others were injured in an incident to be later known as “Bloody Sunday”.

Edmund Pettus Bridge Bloody Sunday John Lewis
Edmund Pettus Bridge Bloody Sunday John Lewis

Recently I watched a documentary about the life of John Lewis. He never stopped fighting the good fight, even up till his…

The importance of stepping away from work in times of stress

You may have heard the news about a rather popular but controversial app being banned by multiple platform providers. One of those providers said in a statement, “AWS does not pre-screen its customers, but it does have terms of service that must be followed…that use of the content you supply does not violate this policy and will not cause injury to any person or entity.”

While you might think I am referring to Parler, the quote above was from ten years ago in reference to Wikileaks. This was the organization that published large troves of classified documents and became infamous…

The written word is your best tool for enabling change

We all make typos, but have you ever made a typo that cost $150 million dollars? In 1962, NASA launched their first-ever probe to explore Venus, the Mariner 1. About 90 seconds after launch, problems arose. With navigational controls compromised, a destructive abort command was issued, and the craft was destroyed near the five-minute mark.

Many theories arose for the reason of the failure. The famed science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke called it, “The most expensive hyphen in history.” He was right about a typo, but it was more nuanced than that. …

What we learned in 2020, and the innovations ahead for 2021

I want to try an experiment with you. Think about one thing that you are most proud of accomplishing this year. Then share that one thing as a comment to a post I started on LinkedIn (click the link or the button below).

📣Share One Thing👏

If we do not cherish the good things, we can easily fall into depression. The global pandemic hurt many of us whether through job losses, decreased business, more work, delayed plans, or even the passing of loved ones. …

What 25 years since the dot com rise shows us about the future

Earlier this year marked the 25th anniversary of Netscape going public. Few noticed given how 2020 has gone. Nonetheless, it was an important date in the technology timeline. On August 9th, Netscape placed 5 million shares on NASDAQ at $28 per share. It opened at $71 and closed at $58.25 per share. The age of the Internet had arrived.

The success of Netscape created a frenzy in Silicon Valley. The following spring saw IPO’s for Yahoo and Excite. New companies were being funded daily. VC’s were throwing money at any and all ideas. I jumped into the frenzy in 1997…

What is moving the needle for startups at AWS?

It seems like eons ago when I attended a huge conference. In fact, it was over a year ago in Singapore attending the Singapore FinTech Festival and SWITCH when over 60,000 attendees came together to learn all about the latest in FinTech innovation and meet with rising startups. I thought it was too big at the time, but now I would give anything to be among a huge throng of random people pushing their way through the crowds to attend sessions.

I have never been to AWS re:Invent, but I have heard it is the same vibe. The biggest difference…

Tony Hsieh, re:Invent, Nicolas Cage and building great companies

If you need to take your mind off of 2020, watch the movie Leaving Las Vegas. This movie from 1995 features Nicolas Cage in his last (and perhaps only) outstanding performance. After watching his character progressively drink himself to death, I can assure you 2020 will not seem so depressing.

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Las Vegas has been on my mind for another reason of late. Tony Hsieh, founder of LinkExchange and Zappos and all-around good human, passed away over the weekend from injures sustained in a house fire. He was 46 years old.

Over a decade ago, a friend of mine suggested a…

Or how not to Stack Overflow your way through your career

When is a developer considered a senior developer? I asked this of a friend a few weeks ago when a related topic bubbled up on Twitter.

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His answer was surprising:

“You become a senior developer when you use Stack Overflow and stop caring about it.”

I remember when I was first picking up Ruby on Rails, I was regularly on Stack Overflow. A year later and I was still using Stack Overflow every day. I was looking up some of the same dumb syntax stuff I could not remember, but I was also looking up more complex questions. …


Thoughts on developers, digital transformation, enterprise agility, community building & software engineering culture. Author 👉

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