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How Not to Die

www.paulgraham.com
Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
1 year ago
You may have heard that quote about luck consisting of opportunity meeting preparation. You've now done the preparation. The work you've done so far has, in effect, put you in a position to get lucky: you can now get rich by not letting your company die. That's more than most people have. So let's talk about how not to die.
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When startups die, the official cause of death is always either running out of money or a critical founder bailing. Often the two occur simultaneously. But I think the underlying cause is usually that they've become demoralized. You rarely hear of a startup that's working around the clock doing deals and pumping out new features, and dies because they can't pay their bills and their ISP unplugs their server.
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f you can just avoid dying, you get rich. That sounds like a joke, but it's actually a pretty good description of what happens in a typical startup. It certainly describes what happened in Viaweb. We avoided dying till we got rich.
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Distraction is fatal to startups. Going to (or back to) school is a huge predictor of death because in addition to the distraction it gives you something to say you're doing. If you're only doing a startup, then if the startup fails, you fail. If you're in grad school and your startup fails, you can say later "Oh yeah, we had this startup on the side when I was in grad school, but it didn't go anywhere."
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As long as you've made something that a few users are ecstatic about, you're on the right track.
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So if you want to get millions of dollars, put yourself in a position where failure will be public and humiliating.
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Startups almost never get it right the first time. Much more commonly you launch something, and no one cares. Don't assume when this happens that you've failed. That's normal for startups. But don't sit around doing nothing. Iterate.
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3 Things Self-Taught Developers Missed

3 Things Self-Taught Developers Missed

geekindex.wordpress.com
Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
1 year ago
Over the last several years working as a developer I’ve identified 3 key things that self-taught devs may have missed out on by not studying CS(and should make a point to familiarize themselves with).
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1. Design Patterns
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You saw a solution that was over 1,000 lines of code(like, way over) and immediately went a little sick to your stomach.  ”It’s ok, I’ll learn it all.  I can do this.”
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What is it?

Simply put, they are patterns of writing code that *can* be used to extract or model certain behaviors.

What it’s not

A framework that all code needs to be forced in to.  Patterns have their uses but when used incorrectly or over-used can lead to all sorts of maintenance problems down the road.

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http://www.oodesign.com/
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http://ayende.com/blog/tags/design-patterns-test-of-time
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2. Big O
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What is it?

A mathematical solution to assigning complexity or measuring expected performance of a piece of code/algorithm.

What it’s not

It’s not something you need to memorize front to back, nor is it necessary to calculate O(x) every time you write a for loop or hit the database.  A general understanding will go a long way.

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http://rob-bell.net/2009/06/a-beginners-guide-to-big-o-notation/
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http://www.perlmonks.org/?node_id=573138
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3. Unit Testing
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If you find yourself saying “This worked yesterday.” a lot, chances are a unit test or 10 could have saved your butt.
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For instance, the Google Chrome team will reject a feature check-in if the unit test code has a smaller footprint than the code itself.
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They don’t have or need a dedicated QA team…the code comes out that clean(aside from the team being made up of some of the most talented devs out there).  The product managers can focus on the product, the developers can focus on building it.
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What is it?

A unit test is a method/function that calls another “unit” of code and tests the result for proper functionality.  It is tertiary to the application code itself.

What it’s not

Unit tests are not an excuse to ignore testing actual functionality of the application.  They are not a silver bullet to bug free web sites.

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http://beeznest.wordpress.com/2010/04/05/a-basic-guide-to-unit-testing-or-how-not-to-write-unit-tests/
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http://wiki.developerforce.com/page/How_to_Write_Good_Unit_Tests
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Don't Ask for Feedback Unless You Want It

Don't Ask for Feedback Unless You Want It

blogs.hbr.org
Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
1 year ago
Have you ever been asked for feedback — but had the feeling that it wasn't a genuine request?
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A friend of mine who works for a large global corporation recently sent a note to her CEO, sharing her views on questions that he raised on his internal blog. The next week she received a call (more of a reprimand) from HR asking why she had emailed the CEO. She responded, "Well, the CEO said, 'Let me know what you think.' So I did." Sure enough, that statement was removed in the CEO's next blog post.
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asking for input means that we might have to change plans or do something differently. Change can be difficult and takes time, so we often resist it.
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In other cases, we consciously make a decision that we don't want feedback ("The decision is already final"), but feel obligated to ask for it anyway because it's socially or culturally mandated. Then we can at least check off the box about getting other perspectives, and proceed to do what we wanted anyway.
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Think carefully and consciously about whether you really want feedback, and why. If you truly think that you could benefit from someone else's thinking, then ask for it. But if you feel confident that what you are doing or thinking is already good enough, then it's okay not to ask. In other words, don't ask for input as social convention. Do it only if you mean it.
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Asking for feedback isn't always easy. But if you're going to do it, then make sure that you really want it.
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The best creative ritual: Begin

The best creative ritual: Begin

thefreelancery.com
Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
1 year ago
Choreographer Twyla Tharp says that she can unfailingly assure a productive day by waking at 5:30 am, putting on her workout clothes, and hailing a cab to the gym. Once she does that, all is well.
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A friend tells me that she starts by serenely grinding her Japanese calligraphy ink. It’s a fifteen minute process that quiets her mind and warms her hand for the work to come. When the ink is ready, so is she.
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I love the idea of creative rituals like these.
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Some practiced habit that would silence the chattering in my head, fire up the right circuits, and then ping the Muses to let them know I’m on the job.
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You and me, we get paid for finishing work. Delivering the goods. Working through the pages, turning out the designs. Getting it done.
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James Altucher says he preps himself each day by reading the works of great writers for a short time, to steep his brain in brilliant prose.
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Early in the morning, you lay the canvas dropcloths on the front steps, and over the railing. Get the ladder up.

In the shade, you set down the cans of paint. You pry one open. You wipe a flat stick on the thigh of your pants, then dip into the can, stirring in lazy figure-eights.

Meanwhile, light a smoke (which I miss) and look up at the house, planning the swaths you’ll take across the front.

Then, simply, you take the bucket and brush, and clamber up the ladder.

Start moving the brush over the wood.

Which is all it ever takes. Ever. It’s not clever or ingenious or mysterious.

First thing, start typing. Throw out the first five pages if you have to.

But start typing.

Nothing happens till you start typing.

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How Will You Measure Your Life?

How Will You Measure Your Life?

hbr.org
Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
1 year ago
One characteristic of these humble people stood out: They had a high level of self-esteem. They knew who they were, and they felt good about who they were.
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And if your attitude is that only smarter people have something to teach you, your learning opportunities will be very limited. But if you have a humble eagerness to learn something from everybody, your learning opportunities will be unlimited.
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When we see people acting in an abusive, arrogant, or demeaning manner toward others, their behavior almost always is a symptom of their lack of self-esteem. They need to put someone else down to feel good about themselves.
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I’ve concluded that the metric by which God will assess my life isn’t dollars but the individual people whose lives I’ve touched.
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I think that’s the way it will work for us all. Don’t worry about the level of individual prominence you have achieved; worry about the individuals you have helped become better people.
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Think about the metric by which your life will be judged, and make a resolution to live every day so that in the end, your life will be judged a success.
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How Will You Measure Your Life?

How Will You Measure Your Life?

hbr.org
Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
1 year ago
At that point parents start wishing that they had begun working with their children at a very young age to build a culture at home in which children instinctively behave respectfully toward one another, obey their parents, and choose the right thing to do. Families have cultures, just as companies do. Those cultures can be built consciously or evolve inadvertently.
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At that point parents start wishing that they had begun working with their children at a very young age to build a culture at home in which children instinctively behave respectfully toward one another, obey their parents, and choose the right thing to do. Families have cultures, just as companies do. Those cultures can be built consciously or evolve inadvertently.
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Like employees, children build self-esteem by doing things that are hard and learning what works.
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Unconsciously, we often employ the marginal cost doctrine in our personal lives when we choose between right and wrong.
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Justification for infidelity and dishonesty in all their manifestations lies in the marginal cost economics of “just this once.”
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I’m a deeply religious man, so I went away and prayed about what I should do. I got a very clear feeling that I shouldn’t break my commitment—so I didn’t play in the championship game.
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My life has been one unending stream of extenuating circumstances. Had I crossed the line that one time, I would have done it over and over in the years that followed.
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The lesson I learned from this is that it’s easier to hold to your principles 100% of the time than it is to hold to them 98% of the time.
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How Will You Measure Your Life?

How Will You Measure Your Life?

hbr.org
Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
1 year ago
The choice and successful pursuit of a profession is but one tool for achieving your purpose. But without a purpose, life can become hollow.
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Allocate Your Resources
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Your decisions about allocating your personal time, energy, and talent ultimately shape your life’s strategy.
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Allocation choices can make your life turn out to be very different from what you intended. Sometimes that’s good: Opportunities that you never planned for emerge. But if you misinvest your resources, the outcome can be bad. As I think about my former classmates who inadvertently invested for lives of hollow unhappiness, I can’t help believing that their troubles relate right back to a short-term perspective.
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When people who have a high need for achievement—and that includes all Harvard Business School graduates—have an extra half hour of time or an extra ounce of energy, they’ll unconsciously allocate it to activities that yield the most tangible accomplishments.
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You can neglect your relationship with your spouse, and on a day-to-day basis, it doesn’t seem as if things are deteriorating. People who are driven to excel have this unconscious propensity to underinvest in their families and overinvest in their careers—even though intimate and loving relationships with their families are the most powerful and enduring source of happiness.
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If you study the root causes of business disasters, over and over you’ll find this predisposition toward endeavors that offer immediate gratification.
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people allocating fewer and fewer resources to the things they would have once said mattered most.
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Create a Culture
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But it’s quite another to persuade employees who might not see the changes ahead to line up and work cooperatively to take the company in that new direction.
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Ultimately, people don’t even think about whether their way of doing things yields success. They embrace priorities and follow procedures by instinct and assumption rather than by explicit decision—which means that they’ve created a culture
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Culture, in compelling but unspoken ways, dictates the proven, acceptable methods by which members of the group address recurrent problems. And culture defines the priority given to different types of problems.
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How Will You Measure Your Life?

How Will You Measure Your Life?

hbr.org
Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
1 year ago
“Look, stuff has happened. We have only 10 minutes for you. Tell us what your model of disruption means for Intel.” I said that I couldn’t—that I needed a full 30 minutes to explain the model, because only with it as context would any comments about Intel make sense. Ten minutes into my explanation, Grove interrupted: “Look, I’ve got your model. Just tell us what it means for Intel.”
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When people ask what I think they should do, I rarely answer their question directly. Instead, I run the question aloud through one of my models. I’ll describe how the process in the model worked its way through an industry quite different from their own. And then, more often than not, they’ll say, “OK, I get it.” And they’ll answer their own question more insightfully than I could have.
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How Will You Measure Your Life?

How Will You Measure Your Life?

hbr.org
Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
1 year ago
ne of the theories that gives great insight on the first question—how to be sure we find happiness in our careers—is from Frederick Herzberg, who asserts that the powerful motivator in our lives isn’t money; it’s the opportunity to learn, grow in responsibilities, contribute to others, and be recognized for achievements.
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Management is the most noble of professions if it’s practiced well. No other occupation offers as many ways to help others learn and grow, take responsibility and be recognized for achievement, and contribute to the success of a team. More and more MBA students come to school thinking that a career in business means buying, selling, and investing in companies. That’s unfortunate. Doing deals doesn’t yield the deep rewards that come from building up people.
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Create a Strategy for Your Life
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A theory that is helpful in answering the second question—How can I ensure that my relationship with my family proves to be an enduring source of happiness?—concerns how strategy is defined and implemented.
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Because companies’ decision-making systems are designed to steer investments to initiatives that offer the most tangible and immediate returns, companies shortchange investments in initiatives that are crucial to their long-term strategies.
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I’ve seen more and more of them come to reunions unhappy, divorced, and alienated from their children.
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They didn’t keep the purpose of their lives front and center as they decided how to spend their time, talents, and energy.
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When I was a Rhodes scholar, I was in a very demanding academic program, trying to cram an extra year’s worth of work into my time at Oxford. I decided to spend an hour every night reading, thinking, and praying about why God put me on this earth.
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I was conflicted about whether I could really afford to take that time away from my studies, but I stuck with it—and ultimately figured out the purpose of my life.
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I promise my students that if they take the time to figure out their life purpose, they’ll look back on it as the most important thing they discovered at HBS. If they don’t figure it out, they will just sail off without a rudder and get buffeted in the very rough seas of life.
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His purpose is focused on family and others—as mine is.
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The Value of a Liberal Arts Education in Today’s Job Market : Under30CEO

The Value of a Liberal Arts Education in Today’s Job Market : Under30CEO

under30ceo.com
Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
1 year ago
Not only are baccalaureate degrees worthwhile, but even the most questioned of them all – liberal arts degrees – are highly beneficial to employers. Employers should not only consider liberal arts graduates, they should seek them out.
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While many vocational training programs do an incredible job of preparing graduates for a particular field or career, a liberal arts education creates lifelong learners. The mission of a liberal arts education is to “liberate” the mind through the study of the arts and sciences. This allows students to excel in critical thinking, interdisciplinary and integrative approaches to problem-solving, team-building, and management skills.
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We may debate the merits of higher education in the business world, but what we’re willing to shell out for that education speaks volumes.
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the underemployment rate for college graduates is significantly lower than the rate for those who did not complete at least a bachelor’s degree.
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Graduation from a college or university shows an individual’s persistence. Employers look for dedication and focus when considering employment.
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Many people might be surprised to learn that Steve Forbes was an American history major, or that Michael Eisner studied English and theater. Passion and success in business are not limited only to business majors. For every business leader who did not complete a higher education degree, you can find several who did – and are taking their companies in new directions.
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20 Quotes to Inspire the Entrepreneur : Under30CEO

20 Quotes to Inspire the Entrepreneur : Under30CEO

under30ceo.com
Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
1 year ago
“Your value in the world is the value you create for yourself. Make yourself valuable and the world will treat you that way.”
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“If you don’t have the courage to walk alone others will not have the courage to walk with you.”
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“The microscope with which you can see the opportunities in problems is called vision. Most people do not use it.”
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“People are driven either by dreams or deadlines.”
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“Life is an opportunity for us to contribute something that outlasts us and makes the world a better place.”
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“Your time is the most valuable asset with you; invest it, where you get best returns.”
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“The only thing that hurts harder than a failure is not trying.”
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“Regret is not when you could not finish what you started but regret is when you do not start what you could have finished.”
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“The window of opportunity opens up with a problem. The bigger the problem the bigger is the window it offers.”
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Measure Anything, Measure Everything « Code as Craft

Measure Anything, Measure Everything « Code as Craft

codeascraft.etsy.com
Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
1 year ago
If Engineering at Etsy has a religion, it’s the Church of Graphs. If it moves, we track it. Sometimes we’ll draw a graph of something that isn’t moving yet, just in case it decides to make a run for it. In general, we tend to measure at three levels: network, machine, and application.
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Application metrics are usually the hardest, yet most important, of the three. They’re very specific to your business, and they change as your applications change (and Etsy changes a lot). Instead of trying to plan out everything we wanted to measure and putting it in a classical configuration management system, we decided to make it ridiculously simple for any engineer to get anything they can count or time into a graph with almost no effort. (And, because we can push code anytime, anywhere, it’s easy to deploy the code too, so we can go from “how often does X happen?” to a graph of X happening in about half an hour, if we want to.)
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StatsD is a simple NodeJS daemon
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It parses the messages, extracts metrics data, and periodically flushes the data to graphite.
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listens for messages on a UDP port.
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That means there’s no management overhead for engineers to start tracking something new: simply tell StatsD you want to track “grue.dinners” and it’ll automagically appear in graphite. (By the way, because we flush data to graphite every 10 seconds, our StatsD metrics are near-realtime.)
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but also sending a UDP packet is fire-and-forget. Either StatsD gets the data, or it doesn’t. The application doesn’t care if StatsD is up, down, or on fire; it simply trusts that things will work. If they don’t, our stats go a bit wonky, but the site stays up. Because we also worship at the Church of Uptime, this is quite alright.
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StatsD::increment("grue.dinners");
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You can then go look at your graph and bask in the awesomeness, or for that matter, spot someone up to no good in the middle of the night:
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We can use graphite’s data-processing tools to take the the data above and make a graph that highlights deviations from the norm:
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StatsD automatically tracks the count, mean, maximum, minimum, and 90th percentile times (which is a good measure of “normal” maximum values, ignoring outliers). Here, we’re measuring the execution times of part of our search infrastructure:
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thing we found early on is that if we want to track something that happens really, really frequently, we can start to overwhelm StatsD with UDP packets.
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To record only one in ten events:
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StatsD::increment(“adventurer.heartbeat”, 0.1);
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Measure Everything
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Using StatsD, we enable engineers to track what they need to track, at the drop of a hat, without requiring time-sucking configuration changes or complicated processes.
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How To Succeed With Your Mobile App | Smashing Mobile

How To Succeed With Your Mobile App | Smashing Mobile

mobile.smashingmagazine.com
Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
1 year ago
Any successful app rests on the foundation of a solid idea, because the idea determines the ultimate potential of the execution. Avoid the temptation of jumping straight into execution after having an epiphany in the shower. A little bit of research up front can save you a lot of pain down the road.
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Like websites, apps are incredibly disposable. If an app doesn’t make sense immediately, users feel little pain in deleting it. The title of Steve Krug’s popular book 6 encapsulates our task as usability designers: don’t make me think. Like a well-designed doorknob, the interface itself implicitly explains its own use and value.
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Every cool feature idea inevitably adds complexity to the app.
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Kill the Baby
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Users have models in their head about the way the world works. Don’t design according to your database or programming limitations, but according to how the user thinks about things.
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Users are lazy. They don’t want to read instructions and they hate typing. The best apps figure out the absolute minimum the user needs to do for the app to function.
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These apps exhibit a personality. You either love them or you hate them, but you definitely don’t forget them and you are much more likely to share them.
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The best apps go the extra thousand miles to pay attention to the details that make an app enjoyable. Simon Schmid wrote a thorough treatment on emotional design, but here are some basic points relating to apps.
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Beautiful apps sell better, are more enjoyable to use and feel more valuable than bland apps. Though beauty can be found in rich gradients, textures and shadows, strive for the subtler attributes of elegance, readability and tasteful layout. Use skeuomorphism (UI that mimics physical objects) only where it enriches the experience and doesn’t distract from it.
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If an object doesn’t respond immediately to the touch, it reminds you that you are using a computer and not actually directly manipulating the object.
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Users generally dislike instructional copy, error messages and notifications. Why not make their day by writing quirky, witty or maybe even humorous copy! Users will appreciate the unexpected pleasure.
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Animate With Class
Whether it’s elements moving on the screen or transitions between screens, animation can express personality and give users a sense of continuity and polish as they navigate the app.
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The user doesn’t care if there is a good reason why the app crashed or deleted their data — it’s still the brand’s fault. I have seen cases where this alone has stolen the thunder out of the launch of otherwise promising apps.
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A huge launch is critical, especially for inexpensive apps. If your launch does not propel your app into the top charts, the app will most likely fade into oblivion almost instantly amidst the thousands of apps launching every week. An app that is not on a top chart is nearly invisible to most consumers.
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Connect With Apple Employees, Tech Writers and Influential Designers and Developers in the Community
Realize that actual human beings run companies like Apple, TechCrunch and tap tap tap. A lot of these people are really cool and love to meet and promote people with great products and ideas. Make a list of people to connect with and actively seek opportunities to do so.
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Build Buzz
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You don’t want your launch to fall flat, so a few weeks before launch, start revving up the hype machine. The idea is to build up a fan base who will be the first to download your app on launch day.
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Set up Twitter and Facebook accounts for your app. This gives potential fans an easy way to follow and mention your app. Use the account to post sneak peeks, updates on progress and contests. You can even use the account to follow people you think might be interested in the app. They’ll see you’re following them and might even check the app out.
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Build a teaser website with a form to sign up to your mailing list. Include something to entice people — an attractive Web design, a beautiful screenshot and maybe even a video.
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Create a video. Nothing builds buzz like a well-done video. The buzz behind the Clear video 24 exemplifies that. It’s also an easy way to show the press what your app is all about.
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Run a private beta. Your beta testers will be your biggest fans going into launch because they feel invested in the development of the app.
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20 Kick-ass programming quotes | Java Code Geeks

www.javacodegeeks.com
Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
1 year ago
“There are two ways of constructing a software design: One way is to make it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies, and the other way is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious deficiencies. The first method is far more difficult.”
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“Measuring programming progress by lines of code is like measuring aircraft building progress by weight.”
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“Nine people can’t make a baby in a month.” (regarding the addition of more programmers to get a project completed faster)
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“Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it.”
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6. “Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining your code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live.”
- Martin Golding
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8. “When debugging, novices insert corrective code; experts remove defective code.”
- Richard Pattis
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9. “Computer science education cannot make anybody an expert programmer any more than studying brushes and pigment can make somebody an expert painter.”
- Eric S. Raymond (American programmer, open source software advocate, author of “The Cathedral and the Bazaar”)
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10. “Most good programmers do programming not because they expect to get paid or get adulation by the public, but because it is fun to program.”
- Linus Torvalds (Finnish American, software engineer and hacker, principal force behind the development of the Linux kernel)
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“Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning.”
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“Any fool can write code that a computer can understand. Good programmers write code that humans can understand.”
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“Good code is its own best documentation. As you’re about to add a comment, ask yourself, ‘How can I improve the code so that this comment isn’t needed?’”
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17. “Most software today is very much like an Egyptian pyramid with millions of bricks piled on top of each other, with no structural integrity, but just done by brute force and thousands of slaves.”
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20) “If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote programs, then the first woodpecker that came along wound destroy civilization.”
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Key to Successful Unit Testing – How Developers Test Their Own Code? — Software Testing Help

Key to Successful Unit Testing – How Developers Test Their Own Code? — Software Testing Help

www.softwaretestinghelp.com
Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
1 year ago
The answer to all this is unit testing. I want to educate you on the importance of unit testing so that development and testing teams can work more collaboratively to design, test and release a excellent application.
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“Unit testing is the method of verifying smallest piece of testable code against its purpose.” If the purpose or requirement failed then unit test has failed.
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Unit testing serves the same purpose. Unit testing is the integral part of the agile software development process.
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Testing can be done in the early phases of the software development life cycle when other modules may not be available for integration
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Fever bugs in the system and acceptance testing
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Code completeness can be demonstrated using unit tests. This is more useful in agile process. Testers don’t get the functional builds to test until integration is completed. Code completion cannot be justified by showing that you have written and checked in the code. But running unit test can demonstrate code completeness.
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How to write good unit tests?
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nit test should be written to verify single unit of code and not the integration.
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Small and isolated unit tests with clear naming would make it very easy to write and maintain.
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  • It should run quickly
  • Unit test should be reusable
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    It takes more time to write code with unit test cases, and we don’t have time for that – In reality, unit testing would save your development time in the long run.
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    Unit testing will find all bugs – It won’t, as intent of unit test is not to find bugs but develop robust software components which will have fewer defects in later stages of SDLC.
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    100% code coverage means 100% test coverage – This does not guarantee that code is error-free.
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    Rigorous discipline and consistency is required throughout the software development process to overcome limitations and get the intended benefits.
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    Our First Love | Noah's Art

    Our First Love | Noah's Art

    www.noahbradley.com
    Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
    1 year ago
    We all loved it at first.
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    We weren’t doing it to get better, to “practice”, or even, God forbid, for a paycheck. We were doing it to do it. A joy unto itself.
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    Back when drawing wasn’t about creating something pretty but just having fun. No pressure, no demands, no expectations.
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    We get so wrapped up in our tools, techniques, and teachings that we lose track of why we were learning them in the first place. We learn the craft to better express ourselves, our ideas, our love. We do not learn the craft for the sake of learning the craft. Those who do fall into a deadly spiral of ever more technically impressive and lifeless work.
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    Stop worrying whether it will be good or not. You can always make it good later. Just have fun.
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    Stop Overthinking It | Noah's Art

    Stop Overthinking It | Noah's Art

    www.noahbradley.com
    Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
    1 year ago
    We’re our own worst enemy.
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    Our minds keep us from doing the things we want to do by telling us that we can’t do them. That we don’t know how or we’re not qualified or we’re going to fail.
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    The best work is often done when we turn our minds off and let the subconscious work. Sometimes we need to get out of our own way.
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    “Work always as if you were a master, expect from yourself a masterpiece.”
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    Software Design: Simplistic or Optimal | Architects Zone

    Software Design: Simplistic or Optimal | Architects Zone

    architects.dzone.com
    Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
    1 year ago
    "It is hard for other people to give up on the notion of design simplicity. For example, the notion of simple design is espoused in some of the new methodologies, such as Extreme Programming (XP) and Agile Development (AD) (they suggest seeking the simplest design solution that could possibly work).
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    "Missing requirements are the hardest requirements errors to correct." - Robert Glass,
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    "For complex processes, we learned from Simon (1981) that optimal design is usually not possible, and we must strive instead for what Simon calls a 'satisficing' solution.
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    By not going the extra mile and trying to find out the direction the company is going into and taking that into account, you take the risk of moving on with a solution that cannot be reused with the requirements that could have been uncovered and taken into consideration.
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    The main point is that you can't anticipate the future and things change, from business priorities to technologies, so it's very likely that you will scrap that design and do something different anyway. With that in mind, why overengineer the solution?  
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    Powerful Command Line Tools For Developers | Smashing Coding

    Powerful Command Line Tools For Developers | Smashing Coding

    coding.smashingmagazine.com
    Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
    1 year ago
    Life as a Web developer can be hard when things start going wrong. The problem could be in any number of places.
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    Good tools are invaluable in figuring out where problems lie, and can also help to prevent problems from occurring in the first place, or just help you to be more efficient in general. Command line tools are particularly useful because they lend themselves well to automation and scripting,
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    Curl
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    Curl is a network transfer tool that’s very similar to Wget, the main difference being that by default Wget saves to a file, and curl outputs to the command line. This makes it really simple to see the contents of a website.
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    Curl’s -i (show headers) and -I (show only headers) options make it a great tool for debugging HTTP responses and finding out exactly what a server is sending to you:
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    Ngrep
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    For Web traffic you almost always want the -W byline option, which preserves linebreaks, and -q is a useful argument which suppresses some additional output about non-matching packets. Here’s an example that captures all packets that contain GET or POST:
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    Netcat
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    Netcat, or nc, is a self-described networking Swiss Army knife. It’s a very simple but also very powerful and versatile application that allows you to create arbitrary network connections. Here we see it being used as a port scanner:
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    In addition to creating arbitrary connections, Netcat can also listen for incoming connections. Here we use this feature of nc, combined with tar, to very quickly and efficiently copy files between servers. On the server, run:
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    Sshuttle allows you to securely tunnel your traffic via any server you have SSH access to. It’s extremely easy to set up and use, not requiring you to install any software on the server or change any local proxy settings.
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    By tunneling your traffic over SSH, you secure yourself against tools like Firesheep 3 and dsniff 4 when you’re on unsecured public Wi-Fi or other untrusted networks. All network communication, including DNS requests, can be sent via your SSH server:
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    You can also use sshuttle to get around the IP-based geolocation filters that are now used by many services, such as BBC’s iPlayer, which requires you to be in the UK, and Turntable, which requires you to be in the US. To do this, you’ll need access to a server in the target country. Amazon has a free tier 5 of EC2 Micro instances that are available in many countries, or you can find a cheap virtual private server (VPS) in almost any country in the world 6.
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    Siege
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    Siege is a HTTP benchmarking tool. In addition to load-testing features, it has a handy -g option that is very similar to curl’s -iL, except it also shows you the request headers. Here’s an example with Google (I’ve removed some headers for brevity):
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    What Siege is really great at is server load testing. Just like ab 7 (an Apache HTTP server benchmarking tool), you can send a number of concurrent requests to a site, and see how it handles the traffic. With the following command, we’ll test Google with 20 concurrent connections for 30 seconds, and then get a nice report at the end:
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    Mitmproxy
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    Far from only being useful to see what mobile applications are sending over the wire or for faking high scores, mitmproxy can help out with a whole range of Web development tasks. For example, instead of constantly hitting F5 or clearing your cache to make sure you’re seeing the latest content, you can run
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    Another extremely handy feature of mitmproxy is the ability to record and replay HTTP interactions. The official documentation gives an example of a wireless network login 10. The same technique can be used as a basic Web testing framework. For example, to confirm that your user signup flow works, you can start recording the session:
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    Failure is Quitting | Noah's Art

    www.noahbradley.com
    Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
    1 year ago
    The only failures I know are the people who have given up.
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    You’re not a failure if you struggle. You’re not a failure if you don’t get that job. You’re not a failure if you’re not professional.
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    Failure has nothing to do with momentary challenges. Those who succeed are just the ones too stubborn, foolish, or crazy to let anything stop them.
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    Node.js, Require and Exports

    openmymind.net
    Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
    1 year ago
    Another file cannot access the x variable or addX function. This has nothing to do with the use of the var keyword. Rather, the fundamental Node building block is called a module which maps directly to a file. So we could say that the above file corresponds to a module named file1 and everything within that module (or any module) is private.
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    var misc = require('./misc'); console.log("Adding %d to 10 gives us %d", misc.x, misc.addX(10));
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    module.exports.User = User; //vs module.exports = User;
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    var user = require('./user'); var u = new user.User(); //vs var u = new user();
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    Stevey's Blog Rants: Execution in the Kingdom of Nouns

    Stevey's Blog Rants: Execution in the Kingdom of Nouns

    steve-yegge.blogspot.com
    Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
    1 year ago
    Our thoughts are filled with brave, fierce, passionate actions: we live, we breathe, we walk, we talk, we laugh, we cry, we hope, we fear, we eat, we drink, we stop, we go, we take out the garbage. Above all else, we are free to do and to act. If we were all just rocks sitting in the sun, life might still be OK, but we wouldn't be free. Our freedom comes precisely from our ability to do things.
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    Change requires action. Action is what gives life its spice. Action even gives spices their spice! After all, they're not spicy until you eat them. Nouns may be everywhere, but life's constant change, and constant interest, is all in the verbs.
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    Because the Verb citizens in this Kingdom have it very, very bad.
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    Verbs in Javaland are responsible for all the work, but as they are held in contempt by all, no Verb is ever permitted to wander about freely. If a Verb is to be seen in public at all, it must be escorted at all times by a Noun.
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    The difference is that when Verbs are allowed to exist independently, you don't need to invent new Noun concepts to hold them.
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    Then if they apply the actions to the appropriate objects, in the appropriate order (get the trash, carry it outside, dump it in the can, etc.), the garbage-disposal task will complete successfully, with no superfluous escorts or chaperones required for any of the steps.
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    In Javaland, you see, nouns are very important, by order of the King himself. Nouns are the most important citizens in the Kingdom.
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    Nouns are things, and where would we be without things? But they're just things, that's all: the means to an end, or the ends themselves, or precious possessions, or names for the objects we observe around around us.
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    Nouns can rename their execute() Verb after themselves without changing its character in the slightest. When you observe the FieldTiller till(), the ChamberPotEmptier empty(), or the RegistrationManager register(), what you're really seeing is one of the evil King's army of executioners, masked in the clothes of its owner Noun.
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    Python, Ruby, JavaScript, Perl, and of course all Functional languages allow you to declare and pass around functions as distinct entities without wrapping them in a class.
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    On Being A Senior Engineer

    www.kitchensoap.com
    Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
    1 year ago
    “Generation X (and even more so generation Y) are cultures of immediate gratification. I’ve worked with a staggering number of engineers that expect the “career path” to take them to the highest ranks of the engineering group inside 5 years just because they are smart. This is simply impossible in the staggering numbers I’ve witnessed. Not everyone can be senior. If, after five years, you are senior, are you at the peak of your game?
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    The truth is that there are very few engineers that have been in the field of web operations for fifteen years. Given the dynamics of our industry many elected to move on to managerial positions or risk an entrepreneurial run at things.”
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    Every successful engineer I’ve met, upon finishing up a design or getting ready for a project, will continually ask their peers questions along the lines of:

    • “What could I be missing?”
    • “How will this not work?”
    • “Will you please shoot as many holes as possible into my thinking on this?”
    • “Even if it’s technically sound, is it understandable enough for the rest of the organization to operate, troubleshoot, and extend it?”
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    Mature engineers understand the non-technical areas of how they are perceived.
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    Condescension, belittling, narcissism, and ego-boosting behavior send the message to other engineers (maybe tacitly) to stay away. Part of being happy in engineering comes from enjoying the company of the people you work with while designing and building things. An engineer who is quick to call someone a moron is someone destined to stunt his or her career.
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    I must emphasize the point more: the degree to which other people want to work with you is a direct indication on how successful you’ll be in your career as an engineer. Be the engineer that everyone wants to work with.
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    There’s a difference between calling someone a moron and pointing out faults in their code or product. In a conversation with Theo, he pointed out another possible area where our field may grow up:
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    Mature engineers do not shy away from making estimates, and are always trying to get better at it.
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    Mature engineers have an innate sense of anticipation, even if they don’t know they do.
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    s
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    Getting things done means doing things you might not be interested in. No matter how sexy a project is, there are always boring tasks. Tedious tasks. Tasks that a less mature engineer may deem beneath their dignity or their job title. My good friend Kellan Elliot-McCrea (Etsy’s CTO) had this to say about it:
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    the world’s best engineering feats are executed by teams, not singularly brilliant and lone engineers.
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    “Teaching to fish” is a mandatory skill at this level, and that requires having both patience and a perspective of investment in the rest of the organization.
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    Mature engineers don’t practice CYAE (“Cover Your Ass Engineering”)
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    An example of CYAE is “It’s not my fault. They broke it, they used it wrong. I built it to spec, I can’t be held responsible for their mistakes or improper specification.”
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    Mature engineers are aware of cognitive biases
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    if something is good, it’s probably because of something I did or thought of. If it’s bad, it’s probably the doing of someone else.
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    Understand and accept that you will make mistakes. T
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    You are not your code.
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    No matter how much “karate” you know, someone else will always know more. Such an individual can teach you some new moves if you ask. Seek and accept input from others, especially when you think it’s not needed.
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    The only constant in the world is change. Be open to it and accept it with a smile.
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    Fight for what you believe, but gracefully accept defeat.
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    Don’t be the person in the dark office emerging only for soda. The coder in the corner is out of sight, out of touch, and out of control. This person has no voice in an open, collaborative environment. Get involved in conversations, and be a participant in your office community.
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    “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets credit.”
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    The Five Cs of Opportunity Identification

    The Five Cs of Opportunity Identification

    blogs.hbr.org
    Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
    1 year ago
    Simply asking "what job is the customer trying to get done?" can be a powerful way to enable innovation, because it forces you to go beyond superficial demographic markers that correlate with purchase and use to zero in on frustrations and desires that motivate purchase and use.
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    1. Circumstance. The specific problems a customer cares about and the way they assess solutions is very circumstance contingent.
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    2. Context. Ask a customer to report what they did in the past and you are likely to get something that bears only a loose resemblance to reality. Ask a customer to describe what they will do in the future and you are going to get guesses that are less than accurate.
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    3. Constraints. One of the time-tested paths to growth is to develop an innovative means around a barrier constraining consumption.
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    4. Compensating behaviors. One of the biggest challenges facing the would-be innovator is determining whether a job is important enough to consider targeting. One clear sign is a customer spending money trying to solve a problem. After all, it is easier to shift spending then to create it.
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    5. Criteria. Customers look at jobs through functional, emotional, and social lenses. Quality is a relative term; you can only determine if a solution is good by first understanding the criteria that matter to a particular customer.
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    Mindfulness Helps You Become a Better Leader

    Mindfulness Helps You Become a Better Leader

    blogs.hbr.org
    Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
    1 year ago
    Too many leaders placed self-interest ahead of their organizations' interests, and ended up disappointing the customers, employees, and shareholders who had trusted them. I often advise emerging leaders, "You know you're in trouble when you start to judge your self-worth by your net worth." Nevertheless, many leaders get caught up in this game without realizing it.
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    I had begun to focus too much on impressing other people and positioning myself to become CEO. I was caught up with external measures of success instead of looking inward to measure my success as a human and a leader. I was losing my way.
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    Instead of viewing success as reaching a certain position or achieving a certain net worth, we encourage these future leaders to see success as making a positive difference in the lives of their colleagues, their organizations, their families, and society as a whole.
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    With all the near-term pressures in today's society, especially in business, it is very difficult to find the right equilibrium between achieving our long-term goals and short-term financial metrics.
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    The practice of mindful leadership gives you tools to measure and manage your life as you're living it. It teaches you to pay attention to the present moment, recognizing your feelings and emotions and keeping them under control, especially when faced with highly stressful situations.
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    My most important introspective practice is mediation, something I try to do for twenty minutes twice a day.
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    Meditation has been a godsend for me.
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    When I started meditating, I was able to stay calmer and more focused in my leadership, without losing the "edge" that I believed had made me successful. Meditation enabled me to cast off the many trivial worries that once possessed me and gain clarity about what was really important. I gradually became more self-aware and more sensitive to the impact I was having on others.
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    Fake it | Noah's Art

    www.noahbradley.com
    Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
    1 year ago
    I acted like an extrovert when I was an introvert. I acted like a businessperson when I hadn’t made a dime. I acted like a marketer when I hadn’t sold anything.
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    I learn by imitation. By looking at those who do what I want to do and studying how they do it. I imitate them. Then I find that I don’t need to imitate them any longer. I’ve done it time and time again. I continue to do it.
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    It’s very hard to be a professional artist when you’re still acting like a student. So fake it. Be the person you want to be even if you know you’re not (yet).
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    How to Let Your Purpose Find You

    How to Let Your Purpose Find You

    blogs.hbr.org
    Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
    1 year ago
    "Listen, Deepak Kafka. I've read your stuff about living a meaningful life; I've followed your advice; I've even spent long evenings at dive bars, just like you recommend. But what the blazes do I do with mine? I've searched high and low, looked far wide, listened long and loud, but I still can't find anything even vaguely resembling my purpose."
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    Be uncool enough to love.
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    Real love, today, is outmoded, passé; it just isn't cool. Love your work? Love your neighborhood? Love your life? Love humanity? Love yourself? See, I just made you roll your eyes with the coolly detached irony of the mustachioed hipster overlord.
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    In our overly numb culture of icy cool, when we do feel something, we so often feel the opposite of love: hate, anger, fear, and envy.
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    Purpose is love, not just little-l love, but Big Love, the grand affair that defines a life — first between you and your better, fuller, truer, worthier self; and then between your that self and the world.
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    It's a cliché to say: get out of your "comfort zone". Most of us, having attempted that, end up in a no kind of no-mans'-land of the the human spirit; maybe not the arctic badlands, but surely not the lush valleys of accomplishment; an ennui-laden purgatory where we're neither satisfied, nor dissatisfied — just as aimless as before.
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    I do mean: immerse yourself in stuff that makes you hurt, ache — that maybe even makes your heart break a little bit (or a lot). You're feeling the stirrings of empathy — and purpose, Big Love, needs Big Empathy like the river flows to the sea.
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    I volunteered at a hospital for kids with life-threatening neurological illnesses, who were facing the prospect of possibly lethal brain surgery.
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    My friend Steve, on the other hand, spent his twenties and much of his thirties in one failed venture after another — today, finally, he's at the helm of a start-up that leaves him not just comfortable, or even "happy" — but abidingly, almost overwhelmingly, fulfilled.
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    purpose is found by driving laps cleaner, closer to the textbook Platonic ideal, than the next contender — and so achieving a faster time.
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    But in truth, the creation of purpose is less the construction of the Platonic ideal of the perfect life, and more like NASCAR: a bruising contest of wills, cussedly defiant, often inelegant, and usually impertinent.
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    Here are some tougher answers, that Big Love demands: humanity, history, society, the world. Love is the process of being transformed by transformation; of a kind of reciprocity in transformation; where the subject makes the object wholer, fuller, truer, and so too, in the discovery of the fuller, truer, wholer self, the object makes the subject. It is for this reason that, when we are electrified by love, the world around us seems bigger, brighter, better — because, in truth, it is.
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    purpose is a process, not a state; an ever-unfinished accomplishment, not an algorithm
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    Aim for forests, not fireworks. Live Little-l love is fireworks. It sparks, sizzles, flares — and fizzles. Big Love? It's the quiet, mighty unfurling of the seed into the towering Redwood. It deepens, roots itself, reaches branches to the sky. A purpose is as dynamic — and as powerful — as all that.
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    Finding your purpose is not a phase of life — but a way of living.
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    You probably can't find your purpose for you. Your purpose will — just maybe — find you. Like every kind of Big Love, it's not in your control. It strikes, finally, suddenly, when least expected, with the full fury of a hurricane.
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    But finding a purpose is not like shopping. The unforgiving truth us: it's a little more like boot camp. It hurts, it's hard, but you can emerge fitter, tougher, better.
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    Purpose beats you up; it bruises you; it's no mere shadow-boxing with "life goals" but a bare-knuckle gladiatorial contest between you, and the heavyweight champion known as a life that matters. Like Big Love, it doesn't just give you scrapes — it leaves with you scars.
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    that growth sometimes feels like suffering.
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    Of a life, starved by insatiable self-regard, that comes to feel desperately empty — because, in truth, it has been. There is no singular, simple, final meaning to life. And it is the scars of purpose that, finally, don't just merely give meaning to life — but endow us with a greater privilege — giving life to meaning.
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    When Success is Born Out of Serendipity

    When Success is Born Out of Serendipity

    blogs.hbr.org
    Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
    1 year ago
    Once the book had been written, I had to market it. The obvious targets were people in the field of innovation — those working in strategy, R&D, business development, and entrepreneurship.
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    What, they asked her, was the most powerful argument for promoting diversity — outside of ethical and legal ones? As we talked, she realized that the ideas in my book were exactly what she was looking for.
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    "You say that diverse perspectives drive innovation — whether those diverse perspectives come from different industries, cultures, fields or gender and so on,"
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    In many cases it dramatically changed how a company thought about both diversity and innovation.
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    "Your side-door strategy has been nothing short of brilliant." I honestly had no idea what he was talking about and had to ask him what he meant. "Well," he said, "instead of going directly to chief innovation officers, heads of strategy or R&D folks, you targeted chief diversity officers," he told me. "And through them you got to people like me." He was dead serious. "Your strategy," he said, "was to knock on the one door that other innovation thinkers did not."
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    Without the moment of realization between my fiancée and myself I might still be fighting hard to connect with innovation officers through the usual channels — along with hundreds of other authors and thinkers. What had seemed like a brilliant strategy was actually a moment of serendipity.
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    What if all of the well-planned and well-executed "strategies" people have told us about are really the result of unplanned meetings and encounters, random moments and events, serendipity and plain luck?
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    What if the stories behind companies such as Microsoft or Nokia or Starbucks or the stories behind world-famous authors, index-destroying investors and breakthrough scientists had a lot more to do with randomness than we think? What if success or failure is just one unexpected moment away?
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    Sergei Brin and Larry Page realized they needed to choose between their company and their PhD work at Stanford.
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    The desperate-to-prove-himself banker found a chart that showed how the housing market was overpriced. His boss, John Paulson, bet large and made $15 billion in a year. "I love that chart," Paulson would keep saying — but has proved unable to find more of them.
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    Then ask someone how he or she became successful and suddenly it becomes a story of serendipitous encounters, unexpected changes in plans, and random consequences. It does not make sense to ignore this basic fact about success any longer.
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    Instead serendipity is what sets us apart — since that is the only way we can discover an approach that is not obvious or logical.
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    For instance, bring together people from outside your organization, or between siloed departments or between different countries or cultures. These interactions will help you find unexpected insights and opportunities — those that others might not have logically figured out.
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    Angry Birds was the game-maker Rovio's 52nd game. You have probably not heard of their 51 earlier ones. If you tried 52 times at anything you would probably have a decent chance at finding something that helped you stand apart, too!
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    Golden Rules for Agile Process Improvement

    Golden Rules for Agile Process Improvement

    www.benlinders.com
    Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
    1 year ago
  • Dare to share – As early as possible and frequently
  • The result depends on the team – Not the individual members
  • The one who checks out a task is not necessarily the one who has to finish it
  • The one’s working on a task are the right people
  • You may critique anything, but you may never criticize anyone
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    Team members often worked in short chunks of just a couple of hours, whenever time was available in their personal schedules
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    By sharing early we were able to continuously add value to our products, enabling delivery in short iterations.
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    Team members frequently asked other team members to support them, or to contribute their experience or results from their own R&D centre to the project. This rule helped the team members reminding that we all brought value to the team, at different times and in different ways, using our individual strengths.
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    We weren’t competitors but co-workers, and the way we collaborated was beneficial for all involved, and for the company as a whole.
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    If somebody wanted to contribute to a product that was being updated, then (s)he picked it up when it became available, and then added his/her contribution.  Since work items were checked-in quickly (often within minutes or an hours after check-out), this worked very smoothly.
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    To be effective, team members have to trust each other, and assume that everybody is doing the best job they can; this principle uses the Retrospectives Prime Directive.
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    We saw that when team members had the time, and the energy to work on a certain task, then they added real value to the product or service that they were working on. Team members did not wait for others to pick up tasks, but contributed when they had the possibility to do it.
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    Criticizing the work, and not the person is an important rule that I learnt doing reviews and inspections. It creates an atmosphere where people can give feedback, and where receivers will be open for feedback.
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