Journal Archives About Books Talks
journal

Looking for my next great team

Twenty years in, I'm still thankful to make a living doing what I love to do: developing software and building engineering teams. I enjoy the creative process, solving problems, and defining & refining the way we work to ship code to provide value.

Due to some harsh startup realities, I'm unexpectedly looking for my next opportunity to join and grow a great engineering team.

My skills

I'm T-shaped, a generalizing specialist, a Jack-of-all-trades, master of some. I'm driven by curiosity. You don't make it long in this line of work if you're not a lifelong learner.

I don't like to work alone. I like being stretched by people with more experience and specialized knowledge as much as I love mentoring and sharing what I've learned. I've gained some experience in:

  • Platform, APIs - I helped build and scale the GitHub API, powering many features of the product and enabling an entire ecosystem to build value upon GitHub.
  • GraphQL - I haven't been this genuinely excited about a technology since the early days of Rails. As a long time REST nerd, I was skeptical about the promise of GraphQL early on, but having been a part of three implementations now, I've come to appreciate the accelerant it can be for frontend teams.
  • React - Returning to the frontend after years of building APIs has been a fun challenge. In the last couple of years, I've learned a ton about how to build a manageable frontend architecture with React.
  • Process - I've written about process because continual improvement is important to me. Success isn't individual, and the way a team works is a function of its mission and its makeup. Process has to be continually shaped and refined.
  • Leadership - As a technologist, as a business owner, and as an engineering manager, I've learned the value of collaboaration, empathy, and leading without authority. I've helped build teams from scratch and scale teams into groups of teams.

My ideal role

I've worked as an individual contributor. I've led small teams, large teams, and teams of teams. Each role has its own unique set of benefits and challenges. Ideally, my next role would afford me opportunities for:

  • Technical leadership. Pure personnel management does not interest me. I enjoy leading and serving a team, but there has to be technical content to the work I do. I like to bring technology into service of business goals, clear roadblocks, bring clarity, and provide space for others to do their best work.
  • Opportunities to learn. As a lifelong learner, I'm my most content when I'm in a regular rhythm of learning, doing, and sharing. Before accepting a role, I want a clear picture of opportunties to learn something new.
  • Stability. At this stage in my career, my family gets my nights and weekends, which rules out most seed stage startups. I've been apart of stable growth stage businesses and tumultuous public companies. For me, stability means near term financial runway and a values-driven culture that can cohere as the company grows.

If you're looking for proven technical leadership to help build your engineering team, let's connect.

Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson's Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival
reviews

Review: Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson's Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival

★★★★☆

I had never heard of Astor's land and sea expeditions to the Northwest, perhaps because the second war with Great Britain dominates U.S. history of that period. This book is an entertaining page turner, as rough in parts as the wilderness landscapes in which it's set. There's more than enough adventure, characters, and conflict for at least a couple of seasons, should Netflix come calling.

Spunk & Bite: A Writer's Guide to Punchier, More Engaging Language & Style
reviews

Review: Spunk & Bite: A Writer's Guide to Punchier, More Engaging Language & Style

★★★★★

Having received a healthy diet of Strunk & White in school, I picked up this book for the witty title alone. Though replete with examples from well-known authors, it's Plotnik's own punchy style that lends authority to each of his points. Now twelve years since publication, his guide to contemporaneity and use of pop culture references seems even more relevant.

My copy is now well-marked with a Ticonderoga #2, as most of the suggestions are practical for writing of any form. I'm hopeful it has a decent shelf life as a useful reference now and again.

linked

2017 ThoughtWorks Technology Radar

ThoughtWorks has released their latest technology radar (PDF), a semi-annual analysis of the industry landscape from their vantage point as software consultants.

I've enjoyed reading past issues as a way to mindfully keep up with trends and discover new tools. With topics broken down into techniques, tools, platforms, and languages & frameworks, past reports have helped clarify my thinking and given me a concrete way to talk about patterns and techniques already in use.

I'm excited to see Apex and Netlify get mentions this year.

I'm also a little puzzled how GraphQL fell off the radar without landing in the Adopt category. Maybe because it's already arrived.

Looking for more? View the archives or grab the feed.