Latest Articles

A Reader Letter: Oh No, I Keep Doing Useful Tasks!


A reader wrote me an email recently. That’s always a good feeling! He had a question about Mastering Software Technique and general code learning that I’ll bet a lot of you share: it’s easy to go off the rails doing useful things rather than what I recommend. But why? Is it a problem? How can it be...

Simple and Silly Productivity Hacks: The Done List


Like most developers who have been developing awhile, I have my favoured ways to keep myself productive. Most are standard: careful use of caffeine, a frequently-curated TODO list, an obvious place to check my priorities, occasional retrospectives and so on.

I also have a few less-common ones that...

The Mistakes I Made Starting a Slack Workspace for Rebuilding Rails


Do you sell an online product? Or do you want to?

Have you considered some sort of an online presence for the buyers, to let them talk to each other? It seems like a really good idea. If a lot of people are trying to learn the same thing, letting them talk to each other could be amazing. I know I get some wonderful buyers of Rebuilding Rails and Mastering Software Technique. And I’m an old-fashioned geek. I always want to throw a party to get all my friends into the same room so they can meet each other.

My idol on this one is Nate Berkopec. In addition to being a great conversationalist, he sells the definitive ebook on Rails performance and runs multi-day workshops about it too. But if you buy the ebook, you get an invitation to the Slack workspace. And the Slack alone is worth the price of the book, because anybody who is anybody in Ruby performance hangs out there. They’re not all talking, but they’re available for questions.

His book is good. But it still pales in comparison to having everybody who’s interested in the topic centered in one place. There’s simply no way Nate could give you as much value as everybody else put together… So he doesn’t. He invites you to a group of everybody else put together. It’s a really good idea.

So I’ve sold you on it, right? It’s simple. Make a Slack workspace, all the cool people will hang out there, everybody will buy your product to get access and you can retire to Bermuda.

Not quite that easy, no.

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Why this specific newsletter? You want to be an expert. Expertise comes from learning the fundamentals, deeply. And that comes from the best kind of practice. I write with that in mind. I won't waste your time.

(Yes, I also sell things. They're good, but I'm fine if you don't buy them.)