Week 07, 2024 - One-on-Ones and free art

Week 07, 2024 - One-on-Ones and free art

We had a great mid-week hike in the eastern part of Hungary. I'm trekking along the National Blue Trail, the country's longest and most popular path. At 1170 kilometers, it winds through the most scenic parts of Hungary. In three and a half years I’ve managed to complete 58% of that, but progress requires more logistics now that all segments near Budapest are checked off.

📋 What I learned this week

Lots of bits and pieces on the technical side of the blog: I managed to get Ghost themes build locally, so I can test changes before pushing them live. I also replaced Google Analytics with Umami, hosted on PikaPods, like the blog itself. It seems like a great analytics alternative that’s much more respectful of users' privacy. Super simple, but advanced enough to provide basic insights into visitor data. A quick tip to save you some Googling: if you run Umami and want to exclude your own data, just add this variable to your browser's Local Storage:


On the content side, I finished what I can advise to First-time Remote Engineering Leaders (part 1, part 2). I think the sync/async aspect is an important differentiator, and it’s critical to understand where your company is to be efficient. But besides that, the article turned out to be a random list of tips and tricks, as I haven’t found another structure to tie these to. Lesson learned: don’t over-promise sequels before being confident in their content.

I’m more proud of the second article from this week, having found some nice structures there. I wanted to explore how best to utilize One-on-One meetings. I realized that the meaningfulness of these discussions have a dependency on each-other, and there’s a hierarchy in there. The second realization came after jotting down this hierarchy: topics higher up have the potential for greater long-term positive impact, and this impact extends beyond the individual to the team and the entire organization.

Once you understand how these layers build upon each-other, you'll become more efficient in your One-on-Ones, improving your effectiveness as an Engineering Leader too.

💥 What I want to try next week

I wanted to look into the topic of engineering team metrics. My goal is to select a shortlist of “must-haves”, something that any team even in a smaller organization can start with if they are new to metrics-based decision making. Drop me a line at hello@peterszasz.com or below in the comments if you have one favourite metric to follow!

On the tech side, I received feedback that the current blog design can be overwhelming for users running everything in dark mode. Therefore, I want to explore the feasibility of a simple dark mode switch. I also want to look into how I could optimize the two kinds of content I publish: random professional articles, and the more personal weekly newsletter. I’m sure there’s an overlap in the audiences, but the current experience can be frustrating for some.

🖼️ Something cool: Artvee

Maybe I’ll explain it in a later post better, but I find the current trend of AI-illustrated tech articles overwhelming and off-putting. When I started the blog, I wanted to avoid the cliché of these highly saturated, sometimes even grotesque, overcrowded visuals, and as an experiment, asked my daughters to do some illustrations for me. While it worked well (granted, I'm not objective), it’s obviously not scalable, so I looked for public domain images, and discovered Artvee.

Their proposition is simple:

Almost all of the downloadable images on the site are sourced from institutions around the globe that have adopted an open access policy to the public domain images in their collections, making them available to be used freely for any purpose, including commercial.

They offer book illustrations, paintings, posters, and similar artwork for free through a keyword- and artist-based search engine. A Pro subscription is available for accessing full-resolution images.

Artvee and Fortepan, a Hungarian copyright-free and community-based photo archive helped me find illustrations for my articles this week. Spend some time browsing through these archives even if you don’t have any content needs, it’s great to be lost in visual history.

Have a peaceful weekend,


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