We're back after a couple-week break! Don and Randy discuss the ever-debated strategy of building versus buying your software solutions. But they up the ante by discussing how existing workflows and processes are perhaps a bigger consideration than SaaS fees or software development costs
Don's firm recently underwent its first major platform upgrade and we discuss the various ways they prepared, tested, and worked through the changes, all the way up to the dreaded "point of no return."
Pulled from the media, Don and Randy discuss Elon Musk's interview regarding the personal toll that his attempt to run three companies, perhaps poorly, is taking upon himself. Moreso, they talk about what it means to be in a leadership position and how leading-by-extremes can take a toll on the whole team (or company). Oh, yeah, they also bring in a discussion about college football coaches, Urban Meyer, Nick Saban, and even Mark Richt. And for that, they sincerely apologize to those of you who can not care less about sports.
Don runs into a problem with a podcast app as he launches a new podcast of his own, Friday Night Stripes, and wants to deploy his show on Overcast. The issue? Don is not an iOS user and cannot find a way to sign into the Overcast website, which . . . disappoints . . . him. As a happy iOS user, Randy doesn't feel Don's pain and congratulates Marco Arment on making millions of dollars while also ticking off Android folks.
Covering everything from Rails for Zombies to Code School to Vue Mastery, we talk with one of the original online tutorial creators, Gregg Pollack, and how he decided to invest in the Vue.js community and a new front-end open source project. Gregg also throws in a number of great suggestions for folks that have thought about creating their own tutorials and why CTOs might choose Vue JS among the frameworks out there.
We discuss the inevitable issue of bosses, owners, managers, and clients not listening to every bit of advice we offer up. From ignoring the frustration, the psychological reaction, and avoiding a passive-aggressive response, to the maturation of our process and quitting of the pointing fingers and getting stuff done. We talk about why every decision doesn't need to come from you. But never forget: We told you so!
How do you get things back on track when everything from the engine to the caboose is falling off? We discuss steps to take when everything and anything is spiraling downward on a tech project.
We discuss the various types of stakeholders that a technology leader may need to deal as being part of a company or a particular product. We discuss the various motivations and communication techniques necessary across Executives, Investors, Regulators, Managers, Engineers, Current Users, and Potential Users.
We speak with Griffin Caprio of Dante32 about his experiences building trust and psychological safety, accepting failure in a positive way, and creating a learning-based culture on teams from the top-down.
We lament about the recent GDPR hullabaloo, our initial reactions to the new regulations, and how we approach projects that we don't have any business handling in the first place, but still fall onto our shoulders.
April Wensel started a company named Compassionate Coding, which aims to "humanize the tech industry." We discuss why she started the firm and how she goes about making the tech industry a better place to work. We also learn that using the term "soft skills" is not the right way to talk about the people side of things if you want to earn buy-in towards change.
We talk about meetings, the negative vibe the tech industry has taken against them, how to best run meetings, or finding ways to communicate without wasting so much time.
Would you hire Kanye West if he was a great programmer, despite his social media presence? This week, we talk about social media quality control, public personas, and the challenge of being inclusive while trying to maintain a steady team dynamic. We also somehow bring up Pink, Tim Tebow, and James Damore into the conversation.
Having a strong network makes for a huge advantage for career opportunities and learning how to lead. We discuss how to push past shyness and introverted tendencies to grow your own network of relationships.
There are a lot of factors tech managers need to consider when inheriting or choosing a technology stack. We talk about how we chose specific stacks in the past (or didn't) and why we're using a brand new one for a side project.
With hacking, data security, and privacy as huge issues in the press, we discuss how we approach identity management on both products and across our teams.
Where do you draw the line on ethics? How do you take a stand when you want to keep your job? This week, we discuss ethical behavior and the responsibility people have regarding it.
Should you sign non-compete or non-disclosure agreements? Are these kinds of contracts binding? Are they even useful for your business? We discuss everything from saying "heck, no," to turning the ask into an initial business agreement test.
We discuss our history with in-office and remote work, why junior devs might reconsider working outside the office, and how requiring folks to work in your proximity is a trait of managerial vanity.
We speak with our first guest, Mark Thompson of Trilogy Education, about his approach to creating a productive learning environment both on the job and in a classroom setting. Mark is also working on a side project named Totally Strong, which is pushing his own limits about learning to code while building an MVP (and raising a newborn!).
Randy and Don found themselves stranded, mid-ride on the Expedition Everest roller coaster at Disney World's Animal Kingdom. Following their rescue, and during an in-person recording from Orlando, they talk about how a tech manager should handle technical downtime, service interruptions, and critical alerts for users, executives, and investors that depend on services.
Are code challenges or quizzes a legitimate practice for hiring developers? We debate whether the method of filtering candidates via whiteboarding or code games is plain lazy or a necessary part of the recruiting process for engineers.
If a junior developer is looking at the fork in a technology career path of software engineering or management, what kinds of skills do they need for the leadership side?
Is the call for "developer focus" a selfish complaint from precious snowflake employees? What right do developers have to ruin the design trend of great-looking open offices where collaboration magically happens? This week, we discuss how we feel about the need for managers to talk to employees at all times vs the need for folks to get work done without interruption.
How do you choose the best hosting options for your product or firm? This week, we discuss the thinking in a choice between self-hosting, managed hosting, cloud options, and the new buzz word: "serverless".
We discuss the importance of a work-life or non-tech balance for someone building a career in technology. Do folks need to set aside a specific amount of time, or any at all, not working on things related to their job?
Randy is a CTO that codes almost daily. Don has found it difficult to string together multiple days where he's able to code for his current roles. Today, we tackle the topic of whether a CTO or technical manager needs to be able to code to be effective at their job.
Don brings up the subject of chaos, based on a book he's been reading, Antifragile, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. We discuss the merits of test driven development, unpredictability, and how technical managers can work towards a more resilient product in the face of inevitable failures.
Randy and Don discuss an item ripped from the headlines: What should a technical manager do about the recent Meltdown and Spectre exploits? They move into the CTO modes of research, understanding, translation, preparation, upgrading, monitoring, and, most of all, not freaking out. Randy requests a bobblehead or plush toy of the Spectre logo.
Don faced an issue at his education tech firm: When should you slow down forward progress on new features in order to spend time on festering technical issues?
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