August – Toread

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Stairs in Singapore

31st August

📻 How Can You Stop Comparing Yourself With Other People? If you manage people then this podcast is worth a listen. Having a better understanding of why we compare ourselves to others (social creatures living in hierarchical structures) and what issues it can cause (de-motivation, decreased self-esteem and confidence) can help you from stop doing it but also help you help your reports from falling into the trap. They also cover some biases that can lead to it such as casual inference and narrative fallacy.  

💪 How Resilience Works  The post calls out three traits for resilience: 1. A grasp of reality 2. Life has a purpose (for you) and 3. An ability to improvise. I’ve not see resilience called out like this before but there are some good anecdotal stories in there and in broad strokes I agree with it. But like a lot of things with the mind its easier said than done. Especially when you’re in the thick of things going wrong. (Book to add to the reading list: Mans search for meaning)

🍏 How Apple controls the App Store and therefore the end users How Ben explains the App Store Integration in stages is really interesting and key to understanding how Apple has so much control over developers and users. This is a long read but worth it to understand Apple’s almost unbelievable control of developers and users. If you want to access Apple’s users then you almost have no choice but to do as they say otherwise they can revoke your certificates and cut you off in a instant. The thing is this integration is so complicated most people are either not going to understand it or take the time to figure it out. This is very different to how Microsoft controlled Windows. 

17th August

🗺  Things Jobs said I’m no Steve Jobs fan (in the literal sense of the word) but no one can deny he helped create some incredible products. Every so often I read these quotes from him and depending on what’s going on in my work life they take on a different meaning. But one that always stays with me is this one: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something–your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” 

🏌️‍♀️The Beginner’s Guide to Deliberate Practice What is it? Deliberate practice requires focused attention and is conducted with the specific goal of improving performance, while regular practice might include mindless repetitions. But its not that simple deliberate practice requires that you break down the task into small sub-sections and practice each one till you get better. This is easy if the domain you’re trying to learn is well known, but if it doesn’t have any existing training that you can make use of or you don’t have access to trainers that can help (e.g. mentors or coaches) than you might struggle. I believe this is why it is always a good idea to learn from multiple sources when skilling up in something new that pushes you out of your comfort zone in different ways. If you’re learning something just from one source then keep in mind that it might be one sided…  

10th August

🎼 What software teams can learn from music masterclasses Via twitter from ‪@katrinaclokie.‬ Feedback is by far one of the best ways you can learn and Helen makes a great point in that software teams can learn a lot from music masterclasses and studio classes too. Both are great ways to get feedback from more established artists, peers and teachers. But also from peers in different disciplines who can give a viewpoint that your own peer group might not be able to. Another key point Helen makes is that giving and receiving feedback is a skill and as such needs to be practiced to really help people. I don’t think we do this enough in software teams and when we do it’s not always the best. There is a lot we can learn from artistic masterclasses as an industry which I guess reflects the maturity of their professions and the relative youth of ours. 

🚽 Code Coverage Best Practices This post from Google testing on the toilet series makes some great points on how code (or test) coverage can be a useful metric for teams to use. The biggest one being about how it highlights code that isn’t covered by tests. This is the perfect opportunity for teams to discuss if it should or shouldn’t. Also the advice on using it to inform on conversations topic for code reviews per commit it also a really good idea. But as the articles points out going straight in with “We should use code coverage!” is probably not going to get you very far. Most engineering teams have been burnt pretty badly by it in the past with developers just trying to hit numbers or it being used to measure the effectiveness of them. Both of which lead to the wrong incentives of number gaming rather than productive conversation starters on what are good and bad tests for your context

🐦🧵 Everything you needed to know about 2+2=5 Kareem makes a great point that it’s all about context. If you’re thinking just about raw numbers then 2+2 =4 but if the context was say a male cat and a female cat give it some time then could quite easily be 1+1=8. Numbers are an abstraction of the underlaying reality therefore context matters when you’re looking at numbers. One to ponder the next time you’re looking at statistics 🤔

📹  What is white privilege? Via BBC Bitesize from psychologist John Amaechi. This short 3 minute video does a really good job of explain what privilege is and what white privilege in particular means.It’s not that white people have it easy or struggle any less than people of other races. It’s that their struggles are not going to be about their race where as race can be an additional limiting factor from people in the BAME community. In short white privilege means your skin colour will not be used against you.  

At the intersection of software, technology and people 

Things I’ve been reading this week that I’ve found interesting or intriguing.
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