Showing posts from February, 2023

The Invisible Story

This is one of my favorite photos since becoming a dad some 8 years ago. There's no sweet baby in it, no picture-perfect moment between daddy and daughter. But still, it's so much more than a picture of the wall to wall carpeting. It doesn't take a keen eye to notice the impressions of my feet. Any parent whose had a kid capable of resisting sleep knows the exhaustion in these footprints. My  wife spotted my imprints the next day, after a particularly hard night where, for 45minutes, I stood, fixed to one spot, with a consistent rocking back and forth - avoiding anything changes in breathing, sighs of discount, or anything that may disrupt the sleep-inducing monotony I was desperately trying to create in order to get my little one to (finally) fall asleep. Despite the picture reminding me of the exhaustion and frustration, the picture makes me smile. These footprints are a rare artifact of an untold story of the hard work, the challenges, the exhaustion we endure when we

Inbox Negative

Everyone strives for Inbox Zero. The real goal is Inbox Negative, where you've not only read but replied/taken action, and people owe you a reply. Sending a follow-up is an overdue payment reminder. Escalating is sending collections.

“Do you know what they do with engineers when they turn 40?”

If you're an engineer of a certain age you know this movie. It's probably one you watched a lot and discussed with your friends late into the night. And now, almost 20 years later, you're that engineer closing in on 40. Remember being 20 and working with the 40 year olds? They'd built their careers on mainframes, shipped shrink-wrapped software that required multiple floppies, and later CD-ROMs. They could crack shareware. They survived Y2K. Agile was the hot new thing. JavaScript was a joke. Lens flares were cool. Their ICQ# was lower than yours. They only had one reaction gif and it was a dancing baby. And now ... we'll, now you're the 40 year old. You rolled your eyes at "Web2.0". You were on Facebook before your grandma. You survived the demise of Flash. You lived in a messy world of semi-adopted methodologies: You were Scrum-like, Agile-Hybrid, mostly RESTFul, kinda sorta followed DevOps. You worked in the pre-remote world. You commuted once, pla

Spot the Differences

How many differences can you spot between these 2 resumes? 😁 But seriously: while the left resume is an exaggerated version, it's not too far from some real resumes I've seen submitted over the years. If design is not your thing, grab my (free) resume template , and do your experience some justice.


Don't take rejections personally. If you've never seen the other side of the process, it's easy to take it personally. But, I promise, it's almost never just about you. Many systems track all candidates. When a position is closed it gives the option to send a mass communication to all candidates that they were not selected. Lots of times these emails are written as if it were not a bulk message. The message will feel personal. It's not. Not convinced? What if I said that often your application was simply not reviewed?  Maybe there were simply too many candidates.  Maybe the position was cancelled.  Maybe the hiring team already had a candidate in mind, but were still required to post while never intending to review candidates. Maybe you were reviewed, but a different candidate was already further in the process. Maybe you were seen but the hiring manager has a bad sense of the skills they are looking for...and after seeing many candidates, the hiring manager is real

Impostor Syndrome & Stereotype Threat

The professional world, particularly technology world, is filled with articles about managing Impostor Syndrome. But rarely, do I encounter discussions about Stereotype Threat - the fact that a negative stereotype about a group can actually impede an individual's ability to succeed. You may be great at math, but if you're part of a group that's stereotyped to be bad at math, when you find yourself challenged by a problem the threat of the stereotype impacts your cognitive ability to problem solve. Now think about interviews where you are whiteboarding a solution - and you already feel like an impostor. Think about when you struggle to solve a problem, and you're the only in the group who is self-taught. The stress of validating a false stereotype makes it harder for us to focus on the problem.  The good news is, you're not just part of one group. There are many things that define you - and focusing on the other things that define you is one great way of overcoming t

Investing in Staples

Buying staples from Staples is an obvious joke - but, yesterday, my wife texted me to ask if I could buy some while I just happened to be passing a Staples. ... I was greeted at the door with a joyful "Can I help you find something?" And I froze. Questions raced through my now self-conscious mind: How many times had the greeter unhilariously heard someone ask for staples? How many customers came in with a chortle, asking if they carried staples, all the while believing they were the first to ever make the joke? Would I be perceived in this way? Could I stand to be perceived this way? Maybe I should just find them on my own? It's a big store... Finally, I said with forced confidence: "I'm actually here to unironically buy some staples..." Unfazed, she replied: "Aisle 19." I bought the larger pack so I'd never have to go through this again.

Ranking What Matters

I don't know who needs this right now... Actually ... everyone needs this right now... Here is my ranked list of chocolate chip cookies: Specialty's Cafe and Bakery SemiSweet Chocolate Chunk Whole Foods (Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie) Whole Foods (Brown Butter Chocolate Chip) Jimmy John's Chocolate Chip Cookie Insomnia Chocolate Chip Cookies President's Choice "The Decadent" Chocolate Chip Cookies Midnight Cookie Co Chocolate Chip Cow Chip Cookies Chocolate Chip Cookie Starbucks Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumbl Chocolate Chip Cookie Tiff's Treats Chocolate Chip Cookie Sprouts Chocolate Chip Cookies Haggen's Chocolate Chip Cookies Safeway/Albertson's Chocolate Chip Cookies Publix Chocolate Chip Cookies Costco Chocolate Chip Cookies QFC/Kroger Chocolate Chip Cookies Great American Cookie Company Chocolate Chip Cookies Target Chocolate Chip Cookies Pilsbury Chocolate Chip Cookies Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies Chip's Ahoy Chocolate Chunk Cookies Spe

On Duty

This morning I woke up just before 4am. My brain had fully switched on - like a battery that had fully charged. I had already planned for an earlier than usual morning (I had a number of things to catch up on, and wanted to get a head start) - but this was even earlier than the Early I had in mind. I got ready - quietly - in the dark. I finished getting dressed in the cold dark garage to avoid making any noise. I left before the sun rose. At some point, and I'm not exactly sure why, the word Duty came to mind. I like that word. When I think of something as a "duty," it washes away any feeling of frustration, exhaustion, annoyance. It resonates more than the word obligation  which seems more weighty. Obligations can cause a knee-jerk reaction to push back and say "no" - but Duty is something you internalize. Duty is the thing you do, not necessarily because you want to, but because you need to. Duty is the path to Purpose . It's how we find our Meaning , ou

Tumbling down the rabbit hole of time...

  It was 2006/2007, and I wanted to harness the power of crowdsourcing. The idea was simple - a website for recommendations. Not algorithmically curated,   but people  curated. Music, Movies, Books, and more. You'd search for your favorite, and see a bunch of user-submitted recommendations ranked in a digg/reddit style voting system. I built it in PHP, launched it and then... I hustled to promote it. As most crowdsourcing sites, the fatal flaw I knew I was fighting against was building up the critical mass to keep the site rolling on its own momentum. I did everything I could to help it take off. One approach was to feature lesser-known musicians, along with some of their tracks that people could preview. The idea was symbiotic: their following would see my site, my users would see the musician. I got in touch with many artists, performers over the course of months - and while I'm sad to say my website never reached critical mass, and odd thing happened over the weekend. While


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