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.

Tabletop RPG IT

Leveraging programming tools to make my fun... more fun.

04 September 2023

With the enforced hiatus I've been on for the past 18 momths, I've had some opportunities to engage in a few projects that otherwise would've gone undone or unexeplored. One of these projects is actually indulging in a favorite pastime of mine: TableTop Role-Playing Games (or TTRPGs, for short), which I've enjoyed since 1978. As somebody who runs a TTRPG campaign for some of my friends, I find that wading through piles of books, some of which deprecate material found in another, to be really, really ancient and antiquated, and the IT professional in me says, "There's got to be a better way."

Own, Collaborate, Inform

Good fences make good neighbors.

04 September 2023

tl;dr While having some conversations with a client, we got to talking about teams, processes, and how to partition work. I realized, as I was talking, that while RACI is a reasonable way of thinking about such things, it's a little complicated, and I prefer a slightly simpler model: OCI.

You don't want passion

Hiring for passion usually doesn't get you what you want.

25 June 2023

tl;dr Recently, while sitting in the speaker ready room at VSLive Nashville, I had a lovely conversation with Angela Dugan and Amber Vanderburg about something I've been saying for a few years now: I don't want to hire passionate people, I want to hire professional people. Turns out, Harvard Business Review agrees with me.

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.

Older posts are available in the archive.