John Barton
Yep, a newsletter
Yep, a newsletter

Lots of good links for you this fortnight’s edition that are well worth your time. Sorry/not-sorry about the mess you’re about to make of your browser tabs.


Continuous Verification of Friday Deploys
If you don’t deploy on Fridays you should. Don’t at me.

Logic-less JSX
Nice approach of using a kind of presenter pattern within react components to keep presentational structure a little more separate from the logic.

How to build a plugin system on the web and also sleep well at night
Super interesting look at JavaScript and browser APIs with the aim of making secure plugin sandboxes. This and vscode’s extension architecture are great examples of what good plugin systems look like behind the scenes.

Scaling Infrastructure Engineering at Slack
War stories from the manager who had to scale up Slack’s ops. Bit of a mix of tech and management. Worthwhile read for anyone working on a fast growing product.

The (not so) hidden cost of sharing code between iOS and Android
I don’t know if there’s a moral to this story, but it’s interesting to see big technical decision that made sense for a while, then didn’t. I think this and the Airbnb story around react native show there isn’t really a linear scaling model for mobile teams.

Business & Management

Things to Avoid in Selecting an Executive-Level Job at a Software Startup
This is one half good career advice for changing jobs and one half good startup health checklist mixed together. Solid read.

9 Types of Organizational Structure Every Company Should Consider
Bit of a bland post, but this is a good “Org Structure 101” article if that’s a thing you don’t know much about and want to know a little bit more about.

A No B.S. Guide to Startup Stock Option Grants
Super handy guide to how stock option grants work, how to set them up, how to explain them to your team, and more. US focused but the bones are applicable to AU as well.

This wouldn’t be a self respecting tech newsletter without a hot take on the WeWork IPO. There are a few good ones. This is one of them. Holy batshit insane governance standards batman.

What It Takes to Hire 10 Employees in San Francisco
This is a super specific to all the concrete activities you need to do to grow an early stage engineering team. I can’t say it’s globally representative, but lines up really well with my experiences here in AU.


An Oral History of Trump’s Love of Van Damme’s ‘Bloodsport’
Long time readers of the newsletter will know I love a good oral history. This is a so-so oral history, but of a pretty wild topic, and so it comes out ahead.

A framework for critical thinking
One of my favourite blogs for calling bullshit on alternative medicine with an excerpt of Nature’s framework for critical thinking. Keep on hand for next time someone claims some bullshit diet cures cancer.

How Life Sciences Actually Work: Findings of a Year-Long Investigation
“Science is slowing down” is a very popular meme amongst the Patagonia vest crowd. Spoiler alert, it’s not as bad as they (and maybe you) think.

How a Norwegian Viking Comedy Producer Hacked Netflix’s Algorithm
Hacked is a very strong word, but there’s a valuable lesson in there for marketers about using paid campaigns to effectively seed recommendation algorithms on secondary distribution platforms.

Japan’s Cynical Romantics, Precursors to the Alt-Right
It’s always Japan getting a little taste of the future before we do. Internet cesspool 8chan was preceded by 4chan. 4chan was proceeded by 2chan, the Japanese Typhoid Mary of radicalised dickheads.

Contractually Obligated Nautical Fact

A Guide to Becoming an Admiral in the Russian Navy
What I love about this guide to success in the Russian navy is that it has all the same flaws as a guide to success in business like Good to Great. Well, mostly the one flaw, which is no regard for survivorship bias. Anyway, I’m sure most of you flunk out at the first step of being a Russian in the Navy, so the quality of the rest of the advice is immaterial.

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