John Barton
Yep, a newsletter
Yep, a newsletter

Fresh product news for you this fortnight. We’ve shipped a version of Hecate Dispatch via GitHub Actions which you can use if you’ve got beta access to actions on GitHub. If you’ve got a single repository you need to send stakeholders emails when you release up to a few times a day it’ll work really well for you.


I ruin developers’ lives with my code reviews and I’m sorry
If you’ve ever given a harsh code review in your life you should read this post and then spend a few minutes thinking about your own motivations.

Lessons from 6 software rewrite stories
Far from a comprehensive survey but interesting to see a few counterpoints to the “never rewrite” story. At best, this post suggests a reformulation of the rule to “never rewrite unless you’ve got one or two big strategic levers like money, time, or control to pull”.

Reliable Microservices Data Exchange With the Outbox Pattern
I got bored with all the Java code in the middle but I like the name for this pattern, as a kind of specific niche with event sourcing. We did something similar at 99designs that worked well for us and I think the name fits.

Go JSON Cookbook
A very helpful guide for the new or infrequently returning Go programmer covering all the ins and outs of handling JSON within a Go application.

Reflecting on The Soul of a New Machine
A nice kind of meta book review on “The Sould of a New Machine” and what you can take from it at different stages of your career. I’d never read it but I’ve ordered it now and am really looking forward to reading it.

Business & Management

Towards an understanding of technical debt
Kellan (ex-CTO of Etsy) has been on a tear recently with great blog posts on the thorny problems in the middle of engineering management. Read this one, read his other ones, read the ones yet to come.

Change management: advice from the trenches
Solid post from Cate Huston on some of the more overlooked elements of driving organisational change. The section about how “High performers and low performers struggle most” really resonated with my experiences.

No value: no fit for already-solved problems.
Confirmation bias ahoy but this post explains really well something i’ve noticed doing B2B sales for Hecate. It’s way easier to sell into a startup feeling the pain for the first time than convincing an established company who has half solved it to switch.

Google’s Waymo risks repeating Silicon Valley’s most famous blunder
This is a really interesting strategy piece comparing Waymo’s current path and competitive environment to Xerox’s PARC lab in the 70s.

ARM & SoftBank - Acquired Podcast
This is my favourite recent podcast discovery. Each episode is a deep dive into a particular company acquisition. This one was on ARM which I particularly enjoyed, but sports people might like the ESPN episode more. Worth subscribing to.


The Religion of Workism Is Making Americans Miserable
The Tyranny of the Perfect Life
A little one two punch to remind all the performative “I believe in work life synergy not balance” startup spreadsheet time tracker types that maybe you should chill.

Do Things Matter?
Filed under Nihilism for a new generation. My favourite quote was “if there’s one thing I believe matters it’s not sleeping with people trying to choose between finance and skiing”

The Secret History of Wu-Tang Clan’s Bizarre Hip-Hop Fighting Game
If you haven’t already clicked on the article based on the title alone I don’t think there’s any teaser text I can write that would convince you.

Can a philosopher explain reality and make-believe to a child?
Small children are the returning world champions of the Socratic method and have stumped this philosopher-dad. Fun, if discovering thousands of years of thought are not that helpful in explaining things to kids is your idea of fun.

Contractually Obligated Nautical Fact

Top 10 Hilarious Amazon Reviews for “How to Avoid Huge Ships”
If anyone has a surplus of cash and generosity, I’d love a copy of this book for my birthday. It’s absurdly expensive these reviews convinced me that it represents reasonable value for money.

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