Welcome to the blog. The traditional reverse-date-oriented feed of essays and such are below, but I've also started working on some material that kinda wants to be gathered together in a non-blog format--more like collections of written resources brought together. So, before wandering through the blog list, maybe you're looking for patterns reimagined or Speaker Tips? Or check out the "Sections" menu above for a list of some of my favorite blog posts over the years. Of course, the Archive has the complete chronological list, most-recent to oldest (2005!). Thanks for reading; at some point, I'll get comments (Disqus) turned on here again, but that's a TODO for now.

Buy vs Build... Over Time

What to think when you realize you chose wrong.

22 March 2023

It's the age-old question of our industry--do we buy something to take care of a need, or do we build the thing ourselves? No matter which way you go, it seems like somebody comes around later and makes it clear you chose wrong. The deep secret, however, is that no matter which way you choose, you're likely to be wrong later, not because you chose wrong, but because the context of the choice changed.

AI-generated Applications

What the fact that ChatGPT can write code tells us.

17 March 2023

tl;dr With the recent spate of AI-driven engines (like ChatGPT) that have been shown to be able to build applications from a complete spec, a lot of folks are having a bit of an existential crisis (or else gleefully pointing out somebody else's existential crisis). Nowhere is this more pronounced than in tech--the very industry that gave us ChatGPT may now be eating itself for breakfast! (Click here to find out more!)

Embracing "Old" Tech

What to do when version n is "old", but n+1 isn't ready.

01 March 2023

tl;dr It's a common problem, and one we've seen in the industry several times--a technology (language, framework, platform, whatever) is making a significant, backwards-incompatible change, meaning any code written in "v.N" (the current, stable version) will require some coding changes if the project wants to move to the next "v.N+1" version. During v.N+1's incubation, everybody gets excited about the new features, and nobody wants to start a project on v.N. And that's a flawed take.

What has tech brought us?

Time for a moment of reflection and consideration about this industry.

21 February 2023

tl;dr Tech has brought us many wonderful things, but if we take a step back from the hustle and bustle of recent releases, media excitement, and vendor advertising, we begin to realize that the tech-fueled vessel sailing to utopia that we were ready to embark on just a decade and a half ago... has kinda sunk.

A DevRel Activity Pattern Language

A pattern language of Developer Relations activities.

20 February 2023

tl;dr Developer Relations consists of a number of different activities that accomplish different things, but nobody's ever really sat down and talked about when to use which activity over another. I thought it was time to bring all of them together into a single, cohesive "whole". Being a fan of patterns, I thought the best way to do that was to weave them together into a pattern language.

When to Command (and When to Collaborate)

Management requires both a "battlefield" voice and an "academic" one.

06 February 2023

tl;dr Managers and leaders are often told contradictory things when discussing how to interact with their teams, and those new to the role often mistake collaboration for abdication of authority.

The Player/Coach Fallacy

Why the "player/coach" approach is a flawed premise and should be retired.

20 January 2023

tl;dr Many companies look to hire individuals who are both leader and individual contributor (IC) on the same team. These are often referred to as "Player/Coach" kinds of roles, and people in these roles often find a distinct lack of success over time.

The Full-Stack Developer Fallacy

Why the search for the "full stack developer" is a mistake based on a misnomer.

19 January 2023

tl;dr Lots of companies are spending exorbitant amounts of time trying to track down and hire "full stack" developers, and finding them difficult to find. This is probably because there is no such thing, and reveals a deep weakness in the hiring manager's thinking.

A DevRel Activity Ontology

A categorization and classification of various developer relations activities.

14 January 2023

tl;dr: Newcomers to Developer Relations are often curious as to what, exactly, makes up the range of activities that a Developer Advocate (and related individuals) undertake. In this post, I look to provide an ontology and means by which to examine what artifacts satisfy what needs, and how it isn't just about what artifacts a DevAd produces.

Where does DevRel fit on an org chart?

It's time to rethink DevRel's "home" in the organization.

08 January 2023

tl;dr: The Developer Relations org isn't exactly Engineering, but it's not entirely Marketing, and it often isn't really Sales. So if you're a company looking to find a home for your nascent (or currently-existing) DevRel team, where do you put it?

Older posts are available in the archive.