SIGAVDI #51: Ninja Bomb Edition

Hello friends,

First off, if you got another duplicate SIGAVDI recently I apologize. I have now indefinitely disabled the automatic RSS-to-email rule in Drip, because they can’t seem to reliably record the fact that a given entry has already been sent out.

I’m writing this from Phat Bites in Nashville, which is a wonderfully funky little cafe and I recommend it. Have them pick a sandwich for you.

I’m in Nasvhille because I spent the last few days at deliver:Agile, which is apparently the “more tech-focused Agile conference”. This still makes me wonder what they talk about at all the OTHER Agile conferences, but I’m sure I’ll find out one of these years.

I opted to speak at deliver:Agile even though it conflicted with RailsConf in part because I’m making a deliberate effort to swim in bigger ponds. One of the things I really appreciated about this conference is that I didn’t meet anyone who seemed like they’d be likely to call themselves “a Java programmer” or “a Ruby programmer”, etc.. Most of the attendees were developers, but as a crowd everyone seemed to be more focused on value and results than on specific technologies. It was refreshing.

People to pay more attention to, post-deliver:Agile, an incomplete list:

I also got to meet Rebecca Wirfs-Brock in person ????????????

Random thought while running today: there are some things you just can’t do solo.

I remember being a young programmer and reading about Agile practices and getting all excited and wanting to “be agile” even though my team wasn’t. And the fact is, I could and did do some of the techniques associated with Agile, like TDD. And they were quite helpful. But I wasn’t “being Agile”, I was just using TDD.

I have no doubt that individuals like me practicing Agile-associated techniques were one of the factors that eventually caused many organizations to “go agile”. At the same time, I’ll bet the same phenomenon also fed the fallacy that Agile just meant adding those techniques to your repertoire.

The same goes for making a sociotechnical system resilient: by definition you can’t do it solo.

There is a qualitative difference between the numbers one and two. Everything after that is quantitative, but two is important.

For where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am with them.

— Matthew 18:20

I’ve been reflecting on just how much of my life has been ruled by anxiety. I don’t think I ever really understood how large a role it played because it was the air I breathed. It took experiencing periods of a week or more without anxiety for me to really start to see it.

I’ve often said I like the person I am when I drink, better than the one I am sober, and there’s a simple reason for that: alcohol turns off my anxiety. I make choices based on what I actually want rather than based on what I’m anxious about.

Fear is unavoidable, but short-lived. Either the scary thing happens or it doesn’t. Either I do the thing I’m afraid of or I retreat to safety.

Anxiety is long-acting poison. A holdover from when the longer we roamed the tall grass the higher the probability we’d be attacked by a tiger.

Tasting anxiety-free life for even a week is like tasting sushi for the first time. My standards are permanently raised. I don’t have to live with this fist in my guts? Sign me up.

OK, let’s see how I did.

  • ✔ Prep to speak at Deliver:Agile in a week. Done. I put a solid couple days of work into updating the No Return talk, and I’m pretty happy with the edits.

  • ✔ Finish landing page/video for Flawless Ruby YES! I finally finished it!!! Go check it out and buy my shit ????

  • ❌ Edit video on building chatbots in Ruby. Nope, but I shouldn’t have carried this forward in the first place. That was way too much to expect in a week.

  • ❌Nail down my first part-time contracting gig. Jess pointed out that “nail down” is not a thing I can actually do on my own. The best I can hope for is “push forward”, which is exactly what I did.

  • ❌ Start coding in earnest on That One Side Project I keep flaking on. Again, this was overcommitting so I don’t feel bad about not touching it.

  • ✔ Post another episode of The Cache Flush. Go check it out and subscribe

Bonus points:

This week’s meetup: Knox.Net

(This is something new… lately I’ve been making an effort to choose a new meetup to attend every week that I’m in town. I think I’m going to start explicitly listing the meetup I pick in SIGAVDI so I actually remember.)

For the rest of this week and next week…

  • Book May travel.

  • Update my website. This past week it really started to bug me that I don’t actually have a homepage that lists all the stuff I do: speaking, consulting, screencasting, writing, podcasting, etc.

  • Invite a half-dozen new RubyTapas guest chefs (I’m always looking for more, hint hint… if you have something to say to this audience, jab that “reply” button!)

  • Go through my stupid mail. There is enough stacked up that it is a Task.

  • Push consulting paperwork forward. I forgot how much lead time there was in this game…

  • I think I’m going to leave the last couple of slots open because I feel like something important is going to occur to me later.

And that’s it for today. As always, thanks for reading and please reply!!!