Category Archives: Asides

Interesting links.

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

That’s from Robert Heinlein’s character Lazarus Long.

Peter Merel coined this version for developers:

A programmer should be able to fix a bug, market an application, maintain a legacy, lead a team, design an architecture, hack a kernel, schedule a project, craft a class, route a network, give a reference, take orders, give orders, use configuration management, prototype, apply patterns, innovate, write documentation, support users, create a cool web-site, email efficiently, resign smoothly. Specialization is for recruiters.

When I read that it definitely reminds me of some of my favorite colleagues, and something I aspire to myself even though I’m very heavily balanced toward the “lead a team” part right now in my life.

Even as technology is becoming more accessible, modern web development grows more complex. Some might look at that is discouraging, I prefer to think that no matter how far along you get you can still have a lifetime of learning ahead of you.

For interesting debate on the above, check out the c2 wiki Specialization for Insects discussion (last edited March, 2012) and also the page that says “If specialization is for insects then I’d very much like to be a humble insect.” (Last edited November, 2005. I love digging around older parts of the internet.)

SmartThings & Samsung

SmartThings announced (on their WP-powered blog) that they’re joining forces with Samsung to continue working on their mission of becoming an operating system for your home. I’m both an investor and a fan of the company, which I even let take over my home in SF earlier this year for CNN. As a tinkerer most of what I do with SmartThings so far is relatively basic, I feel like it’s still the very early days of the platform and what’s going to come down the line. Samsung makes so much technology (and appliances, and TVs, and…) I can’t wait to see how they open it up and connect. I also wanted to take this opportunity to congratulate other Audrey companies Divide which joined Google and Creative Market which joined Autodesk earlier in 2014. I wasn’t as good about blogging before and didn’t get a chance to publicly congratulate those teams.

  1. Understand what people need.
  2. Address the whole experience, from start to finish.
  3. Make it simple and intuitive.
  4. Build the service using agile and iterative practices.
  5. Structure budgets and contracts to support delivery.
  6. Assign one leader and hold that person accountable.
  7. Bring in experienced teams.
  8. Choose a modern technology stack.
  9. Deploy in a flexible hosting environment.
  10. Automate testing and deployments.
  11. Manage security and privacy through reusable processes.
  12. Use data to drive decisions.
  13. Default to open.

That sounds like a list anyone creating something online should follow. Would you guess it’s actually from the US government Digital Services Playbook? Great work by Steven VanRoekel and his team, which I had the pleasure of meeting last time I was in DC. Hat tip: Anil Dash.