Week 23, 2024 - Destroying and Creating

Week 23, 2024 - Destroying and Creating
The Danube close to flooding near Esztergom, Hungary

I’ve got the perfect timebox for this week’s newsletter: I took my daughter to soccer practice, and she finishes in an hour.


📋 What I learned this week

I distilled my notes from Craft Conference and finally chose a listicle format: 10 takeaways from the 10th Craft Conference. I hesitated a bit with the title, I remember the amount of mindless crap Buzzfeed and their copycat sites unleashed on the web with their “7 Mind-Blowing Facts About Avocados That Will Change Your Life” kind of clickbait. But finally, I decided that the format suits these random bits of notes that I wanted to save for myself and share with others. I also finished an article for HWSW in Hungarian about the conference that’s not live yet. I focused on what’s different in 2024, why, and what software engineers and leaders can do to succeed in this era, as this was an overarching topic in many talks.

I took most of Friday off for some cycling, so I haven’t progressed with the signup flow optimizations, and also the next part of the Get Hired as an EM article will be worked on next week. Progressing with our podcast, we recorded episode #5, talking about innovation, AI- and other search engines, ethical internet consumption, the Engineering Manager job market, Craft Conference, and hyperlocal websites. It was fun!

🎯 What I want to try next week

Something to think about: I need to be more conscious about where I spend my time, balancing fun and purpose, working more on things that take me closer to my long-term goals. Additionally, I should either complete or close for good more tasks to lessen the cognitive load.

I realized I hadn’t coded anything for a month or so. I’ll try to fit in a little task that gets me closer to my home dashboard: a simple email-to-calendar parser, most probably in Google Apps Script. I love the immediate feedback and the feeling of satisfaction seeing a well-crafted piece of code running.

Finally, I still haven’t given up on polishing a few odds and ends on my site, I’m thinking about a better way to display the two long lists on the right column that have all the newsletter issues and tags now.

🤔 Articles that made me think

Will Larson’s Unexpected Anti-Patterns for Engineering Leaders

This is an edited transcript of a podcast episode, and I appreciate being able to scan through a text and dive deeper into interesting parts. I wish more podcasts would do this. Anyway, the reason I’m sharing it is because I find Will Larson’s writing as something I strive to reach in communication skills. Concise, structured, and clear. His book An Elegant Puzzle is a useful resource for Senior / Director / Executive level Engineering Managers, and a beautiful object to hold too. Here he explains three slightly controversial ideas, and the high-level conclusion is that there are no black-or-white situations and universal solutions, everything is a balance, even micromanaging or protecting your teams. "Anytime you apply a rule too universally, it turns into an anti-pattern.”

Carefully optimistic and predictable yet sad news from a world where things are decided based on short-term return on investment.

Back in April when I read the news about the new owners deciding to shut down the prestigious Kona bike brand, I was sad despite never owning one. It seemed another story where acquisitions happen based purely on financial plans with aggressive growth and immediate returns; and organizations, with teams full of people who care about a product with a loyal customer base end up in a ditch when those plans don’t work out as imagined. What a delightful turn of events having the founders show up and save Kona! And who knows, maybe the Gizmodo staff will have a better home here than at G/O Media — that bar is arguably low anyway.

🎹 Something cool: Angelo Badalamenti and David Lynch Working Together

This is an old video of Badalamenti explaining how he created Laura Palmer’s theme from Twin Peaks. Go watch it if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s not even 5 minutes, but an amazing illustration of two people inspiring each other and working in a shared flow state. This collaboration, this amplified, shared creativity is what we should strive for when our teams do pair programming.

Taking some inspiration from the video: create a safe space where it’s free to experiment and make mistakes. Be open and curious. Keep the feedback loop extremely short: say out what you think, and try and experiment with ideas. Once you’re happy with the results, resist the temptation to finetune, if two people agree it’s good enough to ship, do it. You can always change based on how it works later. And finally, keep on recording, without deleting anything, because you might create something bigger than either of you.

That’s it for today, have a creative weekend,


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