Kristian Glass - Do I Smell Burning?

Mostly technical things

Guys. Please Don’t

This is not new, this is not original, and other people have certainly written better and more eloquently about this. This is about me avoiding self-repetition

Some people, including some who are not male, have no problem being referred to as “guys”

Some people, some of whom may not be male, dislike being referred to as “guys”.

It feels like there’s two choices at this point when addressing mixed groups. One of which I understand, one of which I don’t.

Definition of Done

I wrote Always Be Closing and it spawned a conversation about what it means to be “done”, so here’s a Definition of Done I wrote a few months back.

“Done” means different things to different people. It’s important to be clear about what you mean when you say “Done”.

Some example definitions include (in roughly increasing order of “strength” / “thoroughness”):

The Curse of Knowledge

It sounds like it’s the latest Indiana Jones title, but the curse of knowledge is a pervasive problem you should know about:

The curse of knowledge is a cognitive bias that occurs when, in predicting others’ forecasts or behaviors, individuals are unable to ignore the knowledge they have that others do not have, or when they are unable to disregard information already processed.

Always Be Closing - the Importance of Focus and Finishing

(From Glengarry Glenn Ross, where Alec Baldwin’s character acts like a colossal asshole, but we’re all kinda cool with that because he’s a charming and successful colossal asshole. Warning: that’s how toxic environments happen.)

Close things. Finish things. See them through to the end.

I’m writing this for myself more than anyone else. Closure is important. Being able to mentally go “that’s done” and move on is vital.

When Slack Is Your Office

My team is distributed; twelve people everywhere from Munich to Berlin, Rio, Nova Scotia, “somewhere north of Katowice”, Biggleswade and Berwick-upon-Tweed (among others!).

Accordingly, Slack acts as our office. We rent some office space in Munich, but Slack’s where the magic happens. We interview on Slack because that’s where the majority of our interactions occur. We have JIRA, we have GitHub, we have email, we have Hangouts, but by volume and frequency, Slack’s where it’s at.

We spent a long time on IRC but it took migrating to Slack before we really got the whole company on board; the mobile support, the ease of use, the easy integrations and the richness of the medium were all vital to this.

So here’s some things we learned along the way!

Universal Greeting Time (UGT)


UGT […] states that it is always morning when person comes into a channel, and it is always late night when person leaves. Local time of any member of channel is irrelevant.

Great convention for groups of people who spend time travelling across timezones.

Unfortunately the habit sticks, and now I find myself having to explain an oddly-timed “good morning”!

Serverless: Nice Idea, Terrible Name

All problems in computer science can be solved by another level of indirection

David Wheeler

I love a nice layer of abstraction.

Filesystems let me just put files on a drive without concerning myself with explicit allocation and disk geometry. TCP clients let me just make a request without concerning myself with packet retransmition, re-ordering, and on-wire representations. Logic gates let me think about digital circuitry without concerning myself with voltage levels and capacitance.

What these abstractions don’t do is explicitly deny the existence of what they abstract away.