John Barton
Yep, a newsletter
Yep, a newsletter

It’s the Hecate newsletter again. As always, much like the ones preceeding it. Here are some links. I hope you enjoy them.


Policy debt
Interesting look at how static policies for things like security compliance can have an outsized influence on your tech choices over time. You won’t be able to pay down tech debt until you pay down the policy debt.

VSCode plugin: Import Cost
Thanks Chendo for finding this awesome little time-saver. It shows the cost of every import you add to your JS code right there in the editor. Super handy.

Apple’s MacBook keyboard woes: History repeats itself
Combining two of my great loves: complaining about current generation Apple hardware and reminiscing about my very first computer, the TRS-80. Like everything new in computers, it was already done in the 70s under a different name.

FPGA Design – What’s On My Bookshelf?
Have you been thinking about getting into the obscure hobby of making your computer make a real fake computer in another computer? This is a pretty good list of books from Josh to help you go deep on a topic you never thought you needed to.

The Eternal Mainframe
On the theme of what’s old is new again in tech, some reflections on the pendulum swing between owning and renting your computers and software. Very worthwhile read.

Business & Management

Etsy’s free shipping push asks sellers to compete with Amazon
Comprehensive look at the evolution of Etsy over the years. Having worked a couple of marketplaces in my time, a lot of the pressures sound familiar. Marketplaces are hard to do right in a straight up and down model of shareholder benefit governance.

17 Reasons NOT To Be A Manager
This is a good list of reasons you might want to stay off the manager track as an engineer. I’m especially sympathetic to the contraction of good job opportunities. One caveat I’ll add is that it’s written from a very North American lens and may not perfectly overlay with your cultural values if you aren’t.

Continuous Compliance
A somewhat technical post, but it has an excellent business angle on an unintended benefit of strong continuous integrations and delivery tooling - fantastic fiduciary and regulatory compliance records. Interesting space - keep an eye on it.

Sharing the Data: How Technical Women Navigate Their Career
If you’re striving to do a better job hiring along different axes of diversity (I assume you are, if you aren’t, do me a favour and click unsubscribe below) this is a useful resource of data to help you do so.

Doing SaaS Cancellation Interviews (the Jobs-to-be-Done Way)
I’d never heard of a switch interview before but this seems like a really solid technique for better understanding the customers that leave.


Traditional Finnish Log House Building Process - 16mm Film Scan
This is the most soothing twenty-five minutes I’ve had in months. Thanks to my sister for sending it my way the other night, much appreciated.

Private Equity’s Abuse of Limited Liability
It’s kind of crazy how many huge things in the world pivot on the finer details of how we collectivise labour, capital, and risk. Super interesting dive into the history of corporations and why PE could be considered an abuse of the form.

Strike with the Band
Fun fact: it’s not just tech that’s polluted with insane ideas about meritocracy. The classical music world sounds bananas.

What’s It Like to Stage in a Michelin-Starred Restaurant in France
Oh, another meritocractic system that is also easy on the merit and high on a bunch of other things that I would not identify as merit. The fine dining world sounds bananas.

Are Spies More Trouble Than They’re Worth?
Need I remind you that Betteridges law of headlines exist? Fun read anyway.

Contractually Obligated Nautical Fact

A Whale of a Basque Tale. Soaking up the ancient Basque cider house tradition
The key takeaway from this bit of history is that drinking cider will stave off scurvy. Maybe. I didn’t really look into modern cider.

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