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What is an Agile Coach?

As I talk with various groups about what I can offer, what I want to do in my next gig (do we ever stop answering the "what do you want to be when you grow up" question?), I find myself explaining this ALL the time:

I think Barry Hawkins answers it very well.  :)

And it describes me pretty much to a 'T'.  Many many teams, projects and a variety of startups in a variety of industries.  All of which leads to a significant humility and an aversion to dogma.  :)  Give it a read.  I think you'll enjoy!

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Agile Discovery

During my time mentoring at Burnside Digital, I enjoyed sharing the idea of Agile Discovery as a practice for helping entrepeneurs and product visionaries work through their ideas. It went so well that Jackson Broshear prepared this wonderful introduction. Give it a look!

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The power of REJOICING

So, it's remarkable how much changes over the years.

There was a time when my ambitions drove me to want credit, to claim glory, in anything I could in any way show my involvement.  I needed people to see that I was responsible for things.  Indeed, I used to use that as the example for what motivated me in software.  That scratchy clip at the end of the "X-Files" was my touchstone:  "I made this!" says the little boy's voice.

Somehow, though, after years of startups and products, coding to managing and back to coding, things changed.

Now I'm far more excited by the accomplishments of those around me.  It means more to me when someone that I've mentored, or affected in some way, succeeds and does well.  I can see the threads of ideas we've woven together.  I can see the blooming of seeds planted.  And I rejoice in those successes.

No striving or clawing... it's more fulfilling rejoicing in my friends and colleagues.

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My First Tattoo

I got this more than a year ago, but I haven't really posted about it. I'm a supporter by temperament and talent.  I'm best when I can help others accomplish their goals and I LOVE providing the basis and platform for that to happen.

 

So, of course, I'm a bass player.

 

 

This is my bass clef tattoo.  :)  From Dan at Atlas Tattoo.

It took me many years to decide that this is the artwork worth depicting in a permanent way.  THEN it took two full years to find someone I fully believed would make that dream look beautiful.

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Caught Up

So CRAZY excited to share this!! Please watch the new music video from Worth, Caught Up:

I'm briefly in the video, but proud to say that's me on bass on this track and the album.

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Exhaust yourself happily!

I don't really understand people who are unhappy all day and just wishing for "time off". To do what? Sit and stare? Lay down?

I wish for everyone the joy I have most of the time... spending ourselves in endeavors we believe in. For me, I'm playing music (practicing, rehearsing, performing, recording) and I'm building things in software (the products, relationships, minds and talents of my teams). I'd *rather* do these things than "watch tv" or "hang out" aimlessly. 

Exhaust yourself in a good cause! If it feels like play time, you're doing it right.

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TC Electronics RS112

Love this addition to my gear. The RS112 replaces my Phil Jones Briefcase as my "small rig". Four times as loud and the same total weight. :)

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Let's pay MORE for gas...

I favor higher costs for gas. My hope is it leads to a more realistic valuation of transportation and it's costs.

When importing a 200lb finished wood item from China is still cheaper than making it here, we're not doing it right.

When people think cars and gas and highways and accidents and lost time due to congestion are all less of a burden than public transit, we're doing it wrong.

When we falsely keep the price of fuel below it's current real value, we lose the differentiation it SHOULD make. 

We currently have some of the lowest fuel prices in the world, aside from the producing countries (gulf states, etc).

Think about our commuter habits. Big employers just expect people to drive great distances to them, when they could reasonably set up satellite offices much more effectively. :)

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Dark Horse needs YOU!

Coders! Dark Horse Comics Needs YOU!

We're doing *our* part to make the world safe for Digital Comics [1][2]  and we need bright engineers to keep up the fight.

Join us if you:

  • Have a bright mind and a passion for software
  • Have been coding in an OO language at least a year
  • Know mobile (iOS and Android) or want to learn [2]

We offer

  • An Agile/XP development environment
  • Pairing and collaborative interaction
  • Test-driven culture (still growing)
  • FREE COMICS!
  • Mobile and Digital Media experience
  • Low stress, sustainable pace

To apply, send me an email with the URL to your LinkedIn profile.  If you have links to Github/Bitbucket repos, portfolio sites and other examples of your work, also good.  Tell us about your passion for software and one idea for how to make the comics reading experience better.

Oh!  More specifics? Uh... Well, we're really more interested in finding bright intelligent people that will work hard and fit our tightnit team than in any laundry list of specific buzzwords, but...

All our developers mix tasks cutting across our project and tools so you'll be expected to work in:

  • Python/Django for current web work, many frameworks and libs
  • Javascript and HTML5/CSS (have you seen our Web Reader!?[1])
  • Objective-C for our Dark Horse Comics reader app [2] and other iOS efforts
  • Java for the Android version currently in development
  • PHP for legacy apps waiting to be re-tooled [3]
  • Linux/*nix and AWS for servers, comfort with the shell is a must
  • Various tools in our stuck including fabric, puppet, hudson, mercurial, , raw SQL (still!) and more

We practice facilitated code reviews (using reviewboard currently).

We use Pivotal Tracker for planning and during sprints.

We provide Macs with second monitors decked out as each of us prefer.  (Dark Horse is a top to bottom Mac shop)

Most of our development happens collaboratively, so being on-site in our offices in Milwaukie is the norm, but hours and work styles are flexible. Style is very casual, come as you are.

(Did I mention the FREE COMICS!)

Links

[1] http://digital.darkhorse.com/

[2] http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dark-horse-comics/id415378623?mt=8

[3] http://www.tfaw.com/

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skimming node.js

I know I'm late to this, but maybe still early enough to have fun.  This question, "What are the benefits of developing in node.js versus Python?", on Quora sent me off on a reading spree last night.  Some of those links:
My excitement, of course, goes back to the Newton and it's wonderful NewtonScript development environment.  NewtonScript was one of the first follow-ons to the Self language (evolving Smalltalk) to take advantage of "instance-based object inheritance" (prototypes) that javascript has now popularized.  Great stuff, man.  :)

I'm definitely excited to poke around in server-side javascript and a more async.-model programming style as well as seeing how the proto-inheritance idea would change system models in design.  Fun stuff.

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Standup! It's better for you....

I stand up when I code.  

(Standup update has updated pics of the desk I'm using for standing now)

I read this article in the NY Times about the effect that constant sitting for work has on the modern worker.  All of our "at the computer keyboard" time, thought work, programming, analysis, writing, etc. is killing us.  And that's happening even to the active among us, those who actually find time to go exercise before and after work.  They still die younger than those who don't live at a desk.

So, as I stepped back into a coding role (software developer here) I knew I didn't want to spend 8+ hours each day sitting in a chair.

More specifically, my own physiology has been changing and I'd feel it at the end of the day.  In my hips, knees and back, I'd have pains after sitting all day writing software.

For me, then, the answer was to stand UP!

Stuff

At home, this just meant setting my laptop on a box or anything else convenient and stable

Once starting at Dark Horse Comics in the Fall (2010), I mentioned that it's something I'd like to do, and "could you help me with this"? I'm really grateful that Marty Carter here found me an Anthro Cart that had been abandoned and was in storage.  That's the two-level desk you see to the left in the picture.  I just put my monitor on a big box (filled with packing peanuts for stability). I use the Bluetooth keyboard and trackpad so i can easily shift to sitting mode.  Takes less than 2 minutes to slide over to sitting down.

In Action

What I can't easily show is how it feels.

I actually move almost all the time.  Programming isn't primarily typing.  It's reading thinking (a lot!) and then typing before observing the outcome (tests run, builds, etc) so... any time my hands aren't on keyboard or mouse, my legs are moving, shifting weight back and forth, bending and walking around.  You'll be surprised, once you try it, just how much you move.  And yes, even while coding.

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Carousel Pains

Okay, likely to say this in longer form later, but...

I think the main image to carry, when starting as the new coder in an existing, high-functioning development team, is this....

You're a five year old and you walk up to the already spinning carousel in the playground

Angular velocity

You run around and keep trying to jump on, but whatever it is that's spinning that carousel is doing their job well.  :)  Ya kinda have to keep running and hope that you eventually hit a velocity that will let you join the team at speed.

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Desiging for iOS

It's quite fun to work through the design issues around the iOS user interaction. All kinds of things are well set by expectation now, but there's still the question of how much makes sense, behaviorally. Fun stuff. :)

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