September 11, 2013 (Justin’s Table)

(Thanks to Colin Dabritz for taking notes)


Misogyny + Bigotry in tech

  • lots of incidents recently
  • maybe some of this crossover from video games?
  • lack of professionalism in general
  • Are parts of the culture perpetuating a lack of professionalism?
  • Casual culture, you feel less ‘accountable’ but you are representing a company, profession
  • profession is young, no liscensure to revoke (e.g. you can’t be disbarred for unethical behavior)
  • Youth culture contributes


How much prediction making do you do?

  • Agile, so many unknowns can’t predict, so don’t. Manage and move.
  • Sales need targets, sometimes hard deadlines.
  • lost of people forget, can adjust schedule or features
  • Mcconnel estimation (book)
  • This is an exploration, research, not mechanized process
  • Predictions are dangerous, can become constraints
  • Predictions can be important to coordinate, can cause issues, why not buffer?
  • Just make the development team as productive as possible
  • Making predictions is natural, making promises


What kind of interruptions do you allow? How do you manage them?

  • git stash – temporarily ‘stash’ work
  • Kanban – focusing on the thing  you are doing
  • Feel about – “oh great, I’m accumulating inventory in my warehouse that’s costing me money”
  • (who fights fires this week?)
  • allow? can’t choose interruptions, distractions
  • (context switching is expensive)
  • (understanding management vs maker schedule)
  • (true fires, understand the cost)
  • (have a good product manager, prioritize properly)


How do you manage your brain?

  • Problems in work and life don’t always give you a choice
  • Do what you want to be good at, e.g. if you switch to managing that’s a shift, you will lose some dev ability.
  • Learning, practicing
  • Taking breaks (pacing)
  • Managing stress
  • Learn your rhythms, 90 mis is a magic number for me, give yourself time, find others who can handle your rhythm
  • Be mindful of the things you put into your brain (e.g. sources of news, how they make you feel)
  • your environment, habbits
  • surround with smart[er] people, choose your work, environments
  • exercise, diet, socialization
  • Space – space where it’s easy to access healthy things, exercise, standing desks
  •      – Avoid stress, ability to move and adjust, eat good food
  • Competitive can be stressful, but can also be positive, pushing you.
  • Stress spectrum, can be different kinds
  • autonomy, mastery, purpose
  • too comfortable, not exploring new things
  • sharpen the saw, be attentive, prioritize yourself and your brain, get coaching


Forward thinking companies

  • Have you heard of OKCupid? Was it because of the service, or the blog posts with data?
  • How is this measured?
  • Being trusted experts. (Unbounce)
  • Who do you think of as forward thinking? Company providing fungus that acts like styrofoam
  • Cellular level mechanism, nanotechnology, nano power generation in clothing
  • SpaceX
  • Used to think of google as a forward thinking company
  • Challenging norms
  • Code schools
  • Connecting
  • trying new things
  • Try to solve a problem that doesn’t affect just the privilege of the bay area
  • Companies that measure
  • Watsi
  • Do VCs and the startup industry promote this?
  • Pharmacutical companies, make or break on FDA approval


What’s hard or challenging?

  • Simple – to make or do simple things, always harder than the compacted.
  • e.g. quitting smoking. Very simple, very challenging.
  • Changing habits
  • Software – making it simple, elegant is hard.
  • Understanding the problem
  • Quick feedback loop makes things easier, long or complex feedback loop is much harder
  • People issues are a long feedback loop
  • People are hard
  • Department has “solutions” in the name, but uninterested in the solutions, much more interested in the problems
  • The problem is you don’t understand the problem
  • Starting with the wrong question, finding the right question
  • Exploring the landscape
  • Follow up, follow through, ideals
  • Doing the RIGHT thing now, vs the fast easy thing
  • Working in teams
  • Others perspective, doing the right thing for everyone
  • Being ethical for all stakeholders
  • The unknown unknowns
  • Missing pieces, missing requirements
  • Communicating ideas, sharing vision
  • (Vulnerability, taking real personal risk)


Learning Center

  • making a space where learning happens
  • Where existing engineers can mentor, and improve their own skills
  • Book: The quick start guide to the five years of accelerated learning Willem + Diana Larsen
  • First thing you do is take care of peoples basic needs (comfortable, fed, relaxed, welcome)
  • Mix between – solid, things aren’t moving, not a good environment. gas – chaotic, moving too much. Liquid – move enough
  • Zone of proximal development
  • Whiteboards – Whiteboard paint (“winking”)
  • What makes a learning environment welcoming?
  • What motivates people to learn?
  • Parents sense of expectation was a big driving force in undergrad
  • Suddenly having to come up with intrinsic motivation was hard
  • Book: “Confessions of a buccaneer scholar”


Programers are to sysadmins as doctors are to surgeons

(missed notes here)


Vacation – do you check-in or not?

  • “what is a ‘Vacation'”? (sarcasm)
  • What types of responsibilities does your job have?
  • If you’re at a job/company
  • (lost notes)