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Ditching Wordpress vs Free-time Driven Development

The show begins discussing setting up a product roadmap for AspirEdu, but things devolve when Don mentions he is considering swapping Wordpress for the marketing website with a static site builder. Randy thinks adding more developer dependencies is a bad idea and coins the term "Free-time Driven Development" (tm) and can't wait to make T-Shirts and Medium posts promoting the brand.

From Hands-on Dev to CTO: Jess Szmajda, CTO of Axios

We have an exceptional guest for our 50th episode in Jess Szmajda, CTO of Axios, and we cover a whole lotta ground: From building "horrible PHP sites", to constructing retail tech teams from scratch, we then tackle the subject of taking on the role of CTO of a fast-growing media firm, being a trans CTO, and promoting a more diverse community in technology. Whew! We start out discussing the difference between a CTO and Director/VP of Engineering, title creep, and whether the idea of a "software architect" has any relevance at all. We then cover wider ground with managing small vs large teams, the adoption of Spotify squads/pods in team management, and adding new business (TV) that is vastly different than the core company product (online publishing). The subject matter covers a vast amount of ground, but it's all valuable in today's tech community.

Stages of the CTO Lifecycle

This week we review an old, but good, blog post by Andy Skipper named "Looking at the life of the CTO through the stages." We discuss our own experiences across these stages and the ones we haven't reached, yet. Randy also continues his rant on tech developer/manager hiring practices, so no surprise there!

Benefits of Continuous Integration

Over the past two decades of working in tech, the use of Continuous Integration (or CI) has become a mainstream approach to product development. Randy and Don discuss the systems they used before (or lack thereof), what they use now, and why Continuous Integration meets the hype.

Business Metrics and the Lack of Context

We discuss business metrics, reporting, statistics, and how many of the numbers, without context, lack much value. Can your business deliver the Five Nines? Does it even need to? What kind of performance can you guarantee when upstream providers are involved?

Writing a Job Description for a Non-specific Job

Don's firm is looking to hire a non-senior Python developer to help spread the workload of the engineering team. We discuss how he's writing up the job description, who he's really looking for in the role, and what kinds of skills the person must have to be effective in the role.

Customer Perspectives and Managing Expectations

A customer claims the service provided didn't meet expectations despite them choosing the more “economical” solution. Another client’s manager felt a contractor “yelled” at them, but the contractor felt they barely raised their voice. This week we talk about the human side of handling different opinions and trying to prevent problems like these in the first place.

Hiring Good Consultants

This week we talk about how we’ve hired consultants in the past, where we’ve failed, and the perspective of consultants that might help tech leaders understand who they’re hiring.

CTO, CIO, CDO, WTH?

This week we discuss the various C-Level titles in the tech world: CTO vs CIO vs CDO vs others. What do folks with those titles tend to do and do the titles really matter? Also, Randy talks about his newest hobby: Kitten pictures!

When a Third-Party Service Fails

Don's company ran into problems when their email provider, Mandrill, suffered a significant outage. Randy and Don discuss how they handle outages, prepare for switching to other providers (before or after failures), and how to go about communicating those issues to clients. Don debates whether using a scooter rental requires a helmet and Randy tells him to ignore his mother's advice. References are made to Matthew McConaughey, and we apologize, in advance.

Pushing Your Team and Self to the Limits

Following up on another Elon Musk communication, we discuss the side effects of working too many hours, burning out, and how you might be guilty of causing extra-hour angst with only a simple email sent after work.

Setting Goals for your Team

Don is setting up goals for AspirEdu for 2019, which takes us into a discussion about how to set up big projects and campaigns for small firms that have lots of small tasks to get done at the same time. How do you get executive buy-in, maintain momentum, and prevent project goals from fading away amongst other distractions?

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