In product research, people sometimes make the mistake of ‘validating’ their product idea by interviewing customers and describing the most generic version of their product. The customer already has a problem, so a product generic enough to solve all their problems sounds wonderful and they want that. But once you get down to building specifics and you haven’t solved all the problems right away, they won’t switch away from the incumbent solution because it doesn’t solve one of their problems better.
Software engineers are a similar way, in that they consider new technology often in generic terms and use cases. Oh that new tech idea? It’s better than everything you’ve been doing. Let’s adopt it everywhere. It’s the new best pattern. Then you get down to specifics of usage and the engineers have built terrible patterns of specifics off a promised generic that doesn’t exist.

I’m reading Edward Tufte’s Visual Explanations and the depth makes it a slow read. It’s like a museum. It takes ten minutes to read a page. I’m exhausted after only a few pages (rooms) and can come back for multiple days to a single topic.

The right data structure precipitates elegance and performance. “Re-think the data structure, gain better insights in the distinction between how the data is produced and how the data is consumed.”

Correct Ruby Threads and ActiveRecord Connections

Recently, we had an opportunity to trivially parallelize some ActiveRecord queries in our Ruby server. In a common response structure, we needed to both query for the actual data requested along with some meta-information about pagination, etc.

Qualities of a Smooth Queueing System

This morning, Eleni and I were reflecting on how our queueing system has evolved at OfficeLuv over the past year.

After Reading: So Many Books by Gabriel Zaid

Hiring Retrospective - Advancement Rate

After interviewing all Summer and Fall, we’ve found the next member of our OfficeLuv Product Team, a talented and thoughtful software engineer.

Hiring Retrospective - Interview Steps

After interviewing all Summer and Fall, we’ve found the next member of our OfficeLuv Product Team, a talented and thoughtful software engineer.

Weeknote of September 26, 2018 - Speaking Elsewhere

In lieu of writing recently, I spoke quite a bit elsewhere.

Weeknote of September 05, 2018

In the past, I’ve talked with my good friend Vaibhav Krishna about how important it is to recognize your mental reserves and drives as an exhaustible resource. Writing and dissecting software, you will often feel the tug of an idea. Just as often, you will be set upon a problem and find no interest grow as you dig fingers into the solution.

Cleaning Up For a New Hire

I’m hiring a new full-stack engineer for the OfficeLuv team, and there’s nothing quite like a new hire to kick your team into shape. I’ve written about how new hires are a valuable resource in the past, and each time I focus on drawing more and more value. This current cycle I’ve already noticed a change in my behavior in these past few weeks: I’m cleaning up in anticipation of guests.

After Reading "Lab Girl"

I was generously gifted Lab Girl by Hope Jahren through Jane Kim in her last week at OfficeLuv. I finished it today, after about a month.

Weeknote of 2018-08-21, Making and Breaking Patterns

On repeat: Joe Goddard - Electric Lines

Weeknote of 2018-08-05, Second-order Effects

On repeat on these hot nights: ultralight beam

I just ended a text message to my girlfriend with a semicolon and I think I should be done for the day.

A Recommendation of Nevzat Cubukcu

We hired Nevzat as our third engineer and Android device expert. How can you not be impressed when he came to the interview with projects to demonstrate complex matrix manipulations of on-device images that he built to teach himself the Android SDK? He, of course, continued to teach himself while on our team. He also pulled us to place customer delight in the front of our minds while also tirelessly improving out product.

A Recommendation of Jack Kent

A Recommendation of Lauren Polkow