John Barton
Yep, a newsletter
Yep, a newsletter

A big hello to the new subscribers from Web Directions Summit last week. If you missed it, I was there running a stall with a giveaway of three of my favourite tech leadership books.

Bad news, if your name isn’t Thomas and this email is the first you’re hearing from us about it, you didn’t win the books. This newsletter is a pretty sweet consolation prize though. Don’t forget to sign up the actual product over at hecate.co.

See you all again in a fortnight.


Graveyard Keeper: How the graphics effects are made
Lots of cool little graphics tricks to do fancy modern lighting on retro pixel art. Things I will probably never do but I like to know how to do them just in case for no good reason at all.

Introducing gqlgen: a GraphQL Server Generator for Go
Blog post from my old team at 99designs about the library they’ve open sourced for generating graphql servers in go. An idea I poo-pooed at the time, but that they did good.

Increment: Security
Stripe have put out another issue of their online tech mag Increment, this time about security. I really liked the article on threat modeling. Solid read and worth subscribing to.

A Look at the Design of Lua
A nice overview of the Lua language and the design principles that made it a success. If you want to read a lot of Lua code I recommend getting into the pico-8 programming community. Lot of fun stuff floating around.

Merging and patches
I never thought that diffs of text was a mathematically provable kind of thing but that’s more on me than on the field of mathematics. Interesting look at merges and what might come next in the world of source control.

Business & Management

You’re Not Managing a Team of Software Engineers, You’re Managing a Team of Writers
I find the analogy of programming as writing pretty powerful in general and this post on managing that way is pretty good. I’ll be writing something in this vein in the near future too - keep an eye out.

Why Kodak Died and Fujifilm Thrived: A Tale of Two Film Companies
I’m always a fan of posts comparing competitors business strategies and this is a good one. I like the lesson about cataloging your capabilities and doubling down on those as the market shifts underneath you.

#SaaS: A landscape of the growing number of alternatives to VC funding
Handy overview of the growing number of choices for tech businesses that exist between VC funding and bootstrapping.

Scouting the Competition
Useful framework for wrapping your head around what your competitors are doing.

Why do things go right?
A powerful framing flip on safety from why do some things go wrong to why do most things go right? A useful way of thinking if you’ve got to coach any group to continuously improve any process, not just safety processes.

How the good times at Startmate helped me through the bad times of navigating startup life.
Kas, one of my cohort at Startmate, wrote a great couple of posts about the experience. Read this one, then click through to her other one. Top stuff.


Cory Doctorow: What the Internet Is For
A great essay about what’s at stake with the current state of the internet, what it enables, and who it enables it for.

Paul Krugman on Politics, Inequality, and Following Your Curiosity
Really interesting conversation with the economist Paul Krugman. Particularly nuanced views on immigration policy.

Finding Rosemary: In search of the unsung hero who invented Kiwi Onion Dip
My wife is from New Zealand and introduced me to the flavour sensation that is the Kiwi Onion Dip quite early in our relationship. I highly recommend the dip and I also recommend learning the story behind it.

Indigo subsea cable completes Sydney landing
I have a strong affinity for detailed posts about undersea cabling. This is one of those.

Contractually Obligated Nautical Fact

AMA: Badass Lady Pirates
Here are three badass lady sea captains you may or may not have heard about before. Shout out to Kris Howard for the request.

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 subscription form