chadfowler.com Archives - 05 September 2015, Saturday

  • Valueless Software - Chad Fowler

    chadfowler.com 30 Aug '15, 5pm

    Today, Dave questioned the emphasis on nouns over verbs in software development. This hit a nerve. The thought that most stands out to me is: Once I started thinking about this as a pattern, it started to change the way I look at many of the other artifacts we produce (including the d...

  • The Wrong Story - Chad Fowler

    chadfowler.com 07 Aug '15, 10am

    Seth Godin , on the weblog for his new book, All Marketers Are Liars , tells a story that is heavily relevant to software developers today. He talks about how Home Depot, having conquered the mom and pop hardware shops, has been struggling to grow. The problem, says Seth, is that Home...

  • No More Projects - Chad Fowler

    chadfowler.com 09 Jun '15, 2pm

    As a young self-taught software developer, one of the first books I remember reading was Steve McConnell’s Software Project Survival Guide: How to Be Sure Your First Important Project Isn’t Your Last . Who knows why I picked that one of all the possible books but I somehow knew I want...

  • Leaving a Legacy…System - Chad Fowler

    chadfowler.com 11 Jan '15, 12pm

    Leaving a Legacy…System 2011.03.17 12:00 am Ever since reading David Heinemeir Hansson’s post Enterprise Is the New Legacy over five years ago, I’ve been chewing on something. The gist of the post was that “enterprise” is and should be a bad word, just like “legacy”. But why is “legac...

  • Michael Moritz on Being a World-Class Entrepreneur - Chad Fowler

    chadfowler.com 26 Dec '14, 2pm

    Semil Shah did a nice job of pulling highlights from a recent interview with Sir Michael Moritz in Foreign Affairs. This one struck me as a particularily useful checklist for would-be entrepreneurs. What makes a world-class entrepreneur? Michael Moritz says: Clarity of thought. The ab...

  • Do You Give Energy or Take Energy? - Chad Fowler

    chadfowler.com 15 Dec '14, 9am

    As you interact with other people in the world, you either generate energy or you deplete it. In a team environment, there are people who always bring the team’s energy level up. When they are absent, you miss it. They somehow direct the flow of conversation and events from dead ends ...

  • The Curse of a Name: How to Kill a Good Idea - Chad Fowler

    chadfowler.com 29 Nov '14, 4pm

    What do the following have in common? Agile Software Development Six Sigma Behavior Driven Development Software Craftsmanship DevOps Each of these represents a good idea that a group of well-meaning people tried (and succeeded) to spread into the world. Each is generally poorly define...

  • Go Ahead and Complain - Chad Fowler

    chadfowler.com 29 Aug '14, 2pm

    Go Ahead and Complain 2008.12.17 Twitter is an excellent service for allowing people to vent. I’d guess a large percentage of the messages that pump through the site are complaints about something (technology, airlines, restaurants, etc.). I know I’ve posted my share of complaints. A ...

  • 23 travel tips to make long trips more enjoyable - Chad Fowler

    chadfowler.com 09 Jul '14, 10am

    Always carry a power strip in your suitcase. Great for international trips to avoid having to buy multiple adapters. But even in your home country, hotels can be really bad about providing enough outlets. I have one of these which fits nicely in a suitcase or laptop bag without taking...

  • How Learning a Second Language Changed My Life - An old one I was reminded of today.

    How Learning a Second Language Changed My Life - Chad Fowler

    chadfowler.com 08 Jul '14, 1pm

    While in India, we were fearless. We walked the back streets of Bangalore where westerners don’t go. We weren’t afraid to find our own transportation or do our own business anywhere, despite the huge cultural differences and language barriers. And when we went up North where everyone ...

  • Automation and Outsourcing

    Automation and Outsourcing - Chad Fowler

    chadfowler.com 13 May '14, 9pm

    What’s the difference between automation and outsourcing? I don’t know if it’s the same everywhere, but here in the USA we’re deluged with fear-driven “news” reporting, decrying the theft or export of our jobs to low cost, less skilled, offshore labor. Or even onshore “illegal” labor....

  • On Being 40 - Chad Fowler

    chadfowler.com 11 May '14, 10am

    40 is a confusing age. Old enough to not be a kid anymore by any reasonable definition. Still young, inexperienced, and stupid enough to feel like one anyway. Maybe that last bit never goes away. Maybe it only intensifies. One feature of my version of me at 40 is that I have gradually...

  • Writing APIs to Wrap APIs - Chad Fowler

    chadfowler.com 05 May '14, 10am

    It may seem like a nitpick, but as a Ruby programmer I want to use APIs that look like Ruby code. “fbsession.users_getInfo()” looks like PHP code to my eyes. It’s no surprise. Facebook is written in PHP , and its HTTP /XML API was designed by the same PHP programmers that created Face...

  • The South Indian Monkey Trap - Chad Fowler

    chadfowler.com 04 Apr '14, 7pm

    For example, it’s easy to get hung up on technology choices. This is especially true when our technology of choice is the underdog. We love the technology so much and place such a high value on defending it as a choice for adoption that we see every opportunity as a battle worth fight...

  • The Eight-Hour Burn - Chad Fowler

    chadfowler.com 30 Mar '14, 3pm

    The Eight-Hour Burn 2013.07.09 One of the many sources of controversy around the Extreme Programming movement is its initial assertion that team members should work no more than forty hours per week. This kind of talk really upsets slave-driving managers who want to squeeze as much pr...

  • The Magic of strace - Chad Fowler

    chadfowler.com 31 Jan '14, 7am

    Early in my career, a co-worker and I were flown from Memphis to Orlando to try to help end a multi-day outage of our company’s corporate Lotus Domino server. The team in Orlando had been fire-fighting for days and had gotten nowhere. I’m not sure why they thought my co-worker and I c...

  • Killing the Crunch Mode Antipattern - Chad Fowler

    chadfowler.com 23 Jan '14, 5pm

    It makes us stupid . The more I work, the less relevant my years of experience become. I constantly make rookie mistakes. I break things in production. I leave messes behind. I waste hours going down the wrong train of thought. It burns people out, sometimes permanently. They burn up ...

  • Killing the Crunch Mode Antipattern - Chad Fowler

    chadfowler.com 23 Jan '14, 6am

    It makes us stupid . The more I work, the less relevant my years of experience become. I constantly make rookie mistakes. I break things in production. I leave messes behind. I waste hours going down the wrong train of thought. It burns people out, sometimes permanently. They burn up ...

  • Your most important skill: Empathy - Chad Fowler

    chadfowler.com 22 Jan '14, 1pm

    TL;DR - Empathy is the most important skill you can practice. It will lead to greater success personally and professionally and will allow you to become happier the more you practice. I’ve never considered myself a real programmer. I know at this point it’s probably silly to say, but ...

  • On Having Something to Say - Chad Fowler

    chadfowler.com 21 Jan '14, 9am

    The first time I was invited to give a keynote speech, I thought “Why would they want me? I have nothing to say.” The second time was a few months later. Same thing. What should I talk about? What’s worth listening to? Previously I had been asked by my favorite publisher to write a bo...

  • Rule One of Management: First, Do No Harm - Chad Fowler

    chadfowler.com 20 Jan '14, 3pm

    Primum non nocere, or “first, do no harm” is a universal principle among healthcare professionals worldwide. It essentially means this: given a (bad) situation, your first priority is to not make it worse through your actions. Doctors hold a position of power over their patients. Most...

  • Your most important skill: Empathy - Chad Fowler

    chadfowler.com 19 Jan '14, 1pm

    TL;DR - Empathy is the most important skill you can practice. It will lead to greater success personally and professionally and will allow you to become happier the more you practice. I’ve never considered myself a real programmer. I know at this point it’s probably silly to say, but ...

  • What would you rather be doing? - Chad Fowler

    chadfowler.com 03 Jan '14, 6am

    For the first several years of my career in IT, I spent a lot of time thinking about what I’d rather be doing while at work. I might be in a meeting, talking about how to improve the uptime of a billing system. Or putting together time cards for a weekly report. Or programming in a la...

  • Dead-End Jobs: Are You Suffering From Stockholm Syndrome? - Chad Fowler

    chadfowler.com 04 Dec '13, 11pm

    Have you heard of Stockholm Syndrome? It’s a name given to the condition wherein hostages develop positive feelings toward their captors despite being held in negative, unfavorable and even life-threatening conditions. Victims of Stockholm Syndrome will even inexplicably stay with the...

  • about - Chad Fowler

    chadfowler.com 01 Dec '13, 1pm

    I’m Chad Fowler. I write books , write and play music , write software (currently for 6Wunderkinder, in Berlin ), speak , teach , learn, organize conferences, etc. I started and co-organized a couple of Ruby-related conferences including The International Ruby Conference and RailsConf...

  • The art/craft/commodity continuum - Chad Fowler

    chadfowler.com 10 Nov '13, 2pm

    When you create art, the purpose is self-expression. When you create software, the purpose is rarely self-expression. When you create software, someone somewhere wants it to perform a set of functions and has a stake in how well those functions are implemented. The definition of “well...

  • Don't Put All Your Eggs in Someone Else's Basket - Chad Fowler

    chadfowler.com 13 Aug '13, 6am

    Don't Put All Your Eggs in Someone Else's Basket 2013.07.09 (Excerpt from The Passionate Programmer: Creating a Remarkable Career in Software Development) While managing an application development group, I once asked one of my employees, “What do you want to do with your career? What ...

  • Don't Panic - Chad Fowler

    chadfowler.com 27 Jul '13, 6pm

    (Excerpt from The Passionate Programmer: Creating a Remarkable Career in Software Development) I started my career as a computer programmer because of video games. Since the days of loading games from tape on my Commodore 64, I’ve been hooked by their immersive, interactive experience...

  • How Not to Panic - Passionate Programmer Excerpt - Chad Fowler

    chadfowler.com 23 Jul '13, 3pm

    As I mentioned last week, I’m releasing chapters of The Passionate Programmer every(ish) week until they’ve all been posted. This week’s chapter is one I actually re-read myself sometimes as a reminder. It’s about how to stay calm and focused in the face of stress. It’s one of the mos...

  • My Six Years of Ignorance - Chad Fowler

    chadfowler.com 22 Jul '13, 3pm

    Six years ago, I gave up a bad habit. Since 1999 I had been using RSS then Atom as my interesting-stuff changelog. I eventually amassed a subscription collection of hundreds of feeds with subjects ranging from the obvious (tech news and software development) to religion, philosophy, l...