John Barton
Yep, a newsletter
Yep, a newsletter

Welcome to this fortnight’s edition. I hope you’re having an excellent week.

First up, the contractually obligated but still enjoyable nautical fact. Did you know that the joke “To our wives and sweethearts - may they never meet” was the official toast of the Royal Navy for Saturday nights? Well, it was, until it wasn’t.

New feature news: you might have missed recently that Hecate now supports daily GitHub activity rollup emails, and even more recently it’s become weekend-aware. If a summary of what your team’s been up to in your inbox every weekday morning at 8am sounds useful to you, go sign yourself up here.


Machine Learning: The High Interest Credit Card of Technical Debt
Saw this old chestnut pop up on the orange website again yesterday. Big fave of mine. Know what you’re getting in for when someone jammed in some ML cruft to your product on their last hackday or your board has told you it’s the future.

UTC is Enough for Everyone, Right?
Traps for young (and old) players in handling dates, times, and timezones in code. Don’t ask me how much I know about all the edge cases Google Calendar has in scheduling recurring meetings with rooms in two timezones. Just don’t.

Very helpful overview of the state of play in hosted Kubernetes on the big three cloud providers. Use one of these - don’t for the love of god run your own.

How to fix bugs that you can’t reproduce
A useful high level framework for solving hard to diagnose bugs. Good advice for junior devs in particular.

Coding Sidekiq Workers the Right Way
Nice bunch of tactics for keeping your Sidekiq jobs under control and the lessons translate just as well over to DelayedJob or vanilla rails ActiveJob.


Theranos Didn’t Just Harm Investors
I love this quote: “it is hard to distinguish among the CEO who promises the impossible because she is committing fraud, the CEO who promises the impossible because she is deluded, and the CEO who promises the impossible and then goes and does it. All three types flourish in Silicon Valley.”

A Startup Takes Flight Archives
Wrap your head around how all the various stages of VC fundraising works by following this fictional story. Kind of like a streamlined version of Brad Feld’s book Venture Deals.

The Startup Cooperative
Old but interesting proposal on alternative corporate structures for startups. Remind me one day soon to bore you to death with everything I’ve learned recently about German corporate governance and co-determination.

Management books in review
Another newsletter, another post listing management books that you should read. Isn’t variety the spice of life?

How repositioning a product allows you to 8x its price
I need to reposition my product.


I’d read a review comparing the visual style of Ocean’s 8 unfavourably to Soderbergh’s films in the series, which reminded me of this awesome post he did a few years back taking out all the sound and colour from Raiders of the Lost Ark just so you could appreciate how good a job Spielberg did in visually staging the film.

“Design Thinking”: Defending Silicon Valley at the Apex of Global Labor Hierarchies
An excellent in-depth critique of “Design Thinking” as essentially a very fancy rationalisation for why the developed world should be richer than the rest of it.

Army-developed algorithm predicts exactly when you should consume caffeine
I wonder if someone has repackaged this paper in the form of a really nicely designed Apple Watch app? If not, could one of you iOS peeps get on it?

Uses This / Charlie Gleason
Ol’ mate Charlie does a lot of great work across a range of endeavours and this interview is about the tools he uses to do so. He’s also like an echo chamber for compliments, so I look forward to hearing nice things for giving him a plug.

On Running Slowly
I need to start running again.

Thanks for reading. You can find this issue online here.If you know anyone who might enjoy these emails, feel free to send them to the subscribe form