Web dev at the end of the world, from Hveragerði, Iceland

On the Layoffs, Narcissists, and Other Links & Notes

“10x Devs Don’t Exist, But 10x Organisations Do”

Last week’s newsletter. About how the organisation you work in has a greater effect on your performance as a developer than your experience, intelligence, or pay grade.​

Oh, sure, you’ll hear people talk about this guy or that who once did this great thing, but when you dig into it, you find that they aren’t actually 10x more productive than the next developer. Often it’s somebody who stepped up in a crisis—managed to get things done in an otherwise comprehensively broken system—or, conversely, they are developers who caused a crisis by disregarding the needs of the rest of the team.

Maybe they exist somewhere, but it’s always somewhere else. Somebody they heard about in another team. The 10x developer is the Bigfoot of software development. Frequently sighted; rarely seen.

What does exist is the 10x organisation.

More On the Layoffs

(From Mastodon)

On tech industry knee-jerk layoffs, I have 2 articles to refute 100% of the bullshit decisions being made by these enormous cash-flooded companies:

In short, ignoring the inalienable person-hood of others is not only being a shitty person yourself, but also not good for your long-term profits.

I don’t get it, if my company is raking in 50billion in profit year on year then keeping 20k employees on the books is a rounding error, and given how expensive firing and re-hiring is, makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

We should be laying off founders and CEOs and burning their stock options. Thats where the real savings are.

“What Companies Still Get Wrong About Layoffs”

There’s just so much data out there to back the idea that layoffs are either generally a bad idea, or that they are a sign of a serious failure of leadership.

​“Enshittification truly is how platforms die. That’s fine, actually.”

Cory Doctorow goes into detail on how, in the tech market as it functions today, platforms tend to turn to shit.

“Technology: What about “Log in with Twitter”? – Adam Chandler’s Blog”

There’s cause to be concerned about all of those social media sign-in systems.

“Inside the Comixology bloodbath”

This’ll either de facto kill off the product category or, if it turns out to be too lucrative, force them into a future massive, expensive rewrite and rebuilding from scratch.

“UK’s Online Safety Bill Gets Ridiculous: Includes Jail Time For Tech CEOs - Techdirt”

It’s really hard to explain just how bad the UK’s Online Safety Bill is. It sounds so misguided that they just assume I got it wrong.

​“AI and Political Lobbying - Schneier on Security”

Another one for that “possible abuses of AI tech” pile.

“The Anti-Capitalist Web - Jim Nielsen’s Blog”

​Ponders the idea that some of the friction that companies experience when working with web tech is down to its anti-capitalist design.

“24 Seriously Embarrassing Hours for AI - by Gary Marcus”

​The AI hype is just getting started. The tech industry is in dire need of a new ‘thing’ to keep its bubble inflated. The metaverse is either a dud or just plain too hard. Augmented Reality is definitely just plain too hard. And cryptocoins are mostly good for fraud. The stock markets are getting impatient so AI is it. Whether it works or not is going to be immaterial. This, obviously, is to the detriment of AI as a field as it means that dead-end solutions and unworkable ideas will be kept alive, stalling progress until the bubble pops a few years down the line.

“20 Things I’ve Learned in my 20 Years as a Software Engineer - Simple Thread”

Good advice. Via Simon Willison.

“The Art of Knowing When to Quit - Jim Nielsen’s Blog”

I’m really bad at this.

“On women who talk, and also write books – Going Medieval”

There are going to be more of these. A lot more. Then another wave once the EU normalises its copyright regulations and it turns out that most of these companies have no intention of complying with EU law.

It’s basically the Uber playbook, except this time they aren’t picking a fight with decrepit taxi companies and municipalities, they’re picking a fight with every creative industry on the planet.

​“CNET’s AI-Written Articles Are Riddled With Errors”

The web’s signal-to-noise ratio is going to drop like a stone.

“SEO Spammers Are Absolutely Thrilled Google Isn’t Cracking Down on CNET’s AI-Generated Articles”

No, really. The web’s signal-to-noise ratio is about to drop like a stone.

​“Patrick / articles / (Almost) everything about storing data on the web”

Been digging into client-side storage in the browser for a side project. This one covers most of it.

“My talk on CSS runtime performance - Read the Tea Leaves”

Highly recommended if you ever work in the vicinity of a stylesheet.

“Meaning vs process – The Bottom Line Bulletin”

But what about if you want to make a customer feel valued, or a member of staff feel motivated, or a member of your management team feel safe enough to speak up to express a different opinion to the boss? There’s not a process in the world that does any of those things.

“Principles over Process - Silicon Valley Product Group : Silicon Valley Product Group”

My theory is that process people essentially took over Agile, and today most companies follow the processes, but aren’t even close to living the principles.

This phenomenon is not unique to Agile. There is a long history in our industry of process people taking over otherwise good principles, and either applying them where they don’t make any sense, or being so dogmatic that the teams lose sight of what matters.

“We invested 10% to pay back tech debt; Here’s what happened”

Colour me unsurprised.

“Resilience and Waste in Software Teams – Jessitron”

Efficiency is only good for one thing. Whatever thing you make efficient, the system can do that and little else. Resilience takes slack, and slack looks a lot like waste.

“Can dogs smell time?”

Makes an interesting observation about how humans dogs experience time as changes in their sensory environment.


The tech industry’s anthem.

You can also find me on Mastodon and Bluesky