John Barton
Yep, a newsletter
Yep, a newsletter

Hello fellow humans — I hope you are enjoying your end of year shenanigans regardless of the variety.

Finally there is a Hecate Fortnightly landing page that you can send around to all your friends to get on board this roller coaster too! It has some nice quotes from readers, and if you also have something nice to say about the newsletter, reply to this email and I will most probably put them on the page too!


What’s actually in Australia’s encryption laws? Everything you need to know | ZDNet
The new encryption laws just passed in Australia are definitely balls but there’s also a lot of FUD being spread around of how balls it is. This is a good, even-handed look at what’s in the law.

Some notes on running new software in production
Helpful heuristics from Julia Evans on introducing new software into your production stack. Worth including in general oncall/ops training for junior staff.

Game Engine Black Book DOOM
I really quickly want to plug Fabien’s new book here. I loved the hell out of his last book and have ordered this one. Getting a guided tour of a code base along with all the historical context of the environment it was written in and for is such a great way to learn more about programming and computers. Buy it.

A Computer of One’s Own
A most excellent series of mini-profiles of the women who did ground breaking work in the computing industry. My fave was Barbara Liskov, purely because I think about the Liskov substitution principle a lot.

Speeding up CI in AWS
Shout out to MP for this excellent post getting into the nitty gritty of speeding up a legacy CI pipeline on Amazon. Good to see some Buildkite love in there.

Business & Management

14 Lessons Learned From 2 Years of Marketing Enterprise AI Bots and Knowledge Bases For Support Teams
I’m not marketing AI Bots but still found a lot of value in this post. Some really specific lessons learned, and even if those lessons don’t apply to your business trying to frame your own experiments in these terms would be valuable.

Etsy’s experiment with immutable documentation
I really like this tooling approach to generating docs semi-automatically out of Slack conversations. Good way to balance easy, immediate assistance and longer term knowledge sharing.

Startup trek, episode 5: Where No One Has Gone Before
I am extremely here for parlaying lessons from Star Trek into business. Actually a good post, not just a gimmick.

The Cost of Raising Earnest: A Review of Earnest Capital’s Shared Earnings Agreement (SEAL)
A super useful analysis of one of the new funding alternatives to “classic VC” for early stage startups. Turns out these docs are not amazingly well setup for optionality between slow profitable growth and VC loss-leading expansion.

You’re all calculating churn rates wrong
I yearn for Hecate to be at the stage where the methodology of counting churn is statistically relevant, rather than individual pain points felt customer by customer.


French onion Christmas tree dip recipe
Are you stuck coming up with fresh ideas for the perfect centerpiece at your Christmas lunch next week? Worry no longer, the perfect recipe has presented itself.

“Death is certain, the time is not”: mortality and survival in Game of Thrones in Injury Epidemiology
Real science on fake people. Anecdotally I always felt it was hazardous to be a major character on Game of Thrones. Now I know.

The bad news on human nature, in 10 findings from psychology
People are bad and should feel bad. Good news is that these traits are all manageable with effort - if they weren’t civilisation wouldn’t really be a thing.

Here’s Why Soviet Ice Cream Was The Best In The World
TL;DR it’s the Germany beer purity law but for ice cream.

Contractually Obligated Nautical Fact

Titanic discovery was part of a secret US military mission
I was spoiled for choice in nautical news this week and decided to go with this one. The voyage to find the wreck of the Titanic was elaborate cover on a mission to poke around a couple of sunken nuclear submarines. It was a minor miracle that they actually found the Titanic in the small window of time they left at the end!

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 hecate.co/newsletter