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Tech Done Right

Author: Table XI

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The Tech Done Right podcast is a show by and for people who care about what they build. We don't just build software, we build teams, companies, careers, and communities.
Each episode features host Noel Rappin talking to interesting people in the tech community about building something the right way. We’re not just going to give you our thoughts on the topic, but tools, processes, or references that you can use immediately to build better software and communities.
70 Episodes
Pragmatic Programmer at 20 with Dave Thomas and Andy HuntGuestsDave Thomas ( and Andy Hunt ( Authors of The Pragmatic Programmer ( and publishers of The Pragmatic Bookshelf (’m very excited to have Dave Thomas and Andy Hunt on the show today. Dave and Andy are the authors of the Pragmatic Programmer, which has a 20th anniversary edition that is out now, and they are the publishers of the Pragmatic Bookshelf, where they have (full disclosure) published my books a time or two. We talk about what’s changed in the new version, what being a Pragmatic Programmer means, whether there’s still a role for tech books, and how to make automated testing pragmatic. Somehow I avoid telling the slightly embarrassing story about the bad impression I made the first time I met Dave. Enjoy. Notes02:52 - Revisiting the Book 20 Years Later and What Has Changed/Hasn’t Changed06:41 - What it Means to be a Pragmatic Programmer08:39 - Software Development as a Team Sport12:56 - Extreme Programming Explained and The Pragmatic Programmer; Similarities and DifferencesExtreme Programming Explained ( Manifesto ( - Finding The Pragmatic Programmer Voice/Tone24:55 - Roles for Dead-Tree Technical Books30:36 - How To Make Automatic Testing Pragmatic Special Guests: Andy Hunt and Dave Thomas.
Civic Software with Alex Pedersen and Abhi NemaniGuestsAlex Pedersen: Co-founder of Polco ( Nemani ( Founder of EthosLabs ( week, we have Alex Pedersen of Polco and Abhi Nemani of EthosLabs. They're both involved in various uses of technology to increase civic engagement. We'll talk about how technology can improve the public sector and why technologists should be interested in public sector work.Notes02:09 - Technology and Civic + Political Engagement06:14 - Risks of Making the Government More Technological10:01 - Balancing Conversations Amongst Citizens 12:18 - Building and Designing Software for Government vs Commercial Use14:39 - Getting Involved in Government, Civic Engagement, and the Public Sector- Code For America ( Chi Hack Night ( Abhi's Course Notes in Civic Tech ( Special Guests: Abhi Nemani and Alex Pederson.
Stories and Community with Ariel CaplanGuestAriel Caplan ( Co-Host of Dev Empathy Book Club (, Backend Developer at Cloudinary (, and Flatiron School ( Alum. Personal Site ( guest this week is Ariel Caplan. Ariel is a developer at Cloudinary and the Founder of the Dev Empathy Book Club. At RailsConf this year, Ariel gave a keynote about culture and stories using examples from Israeli and American children's literature. In our conversation, we focus on the stories that developers tell ourselves about who is successful, what it takes to be successful, and what people and skills are left out of those stories, and how we might be able to change them.Notes02:18 - Stories We Tell New Members of the Community- RailsConf 2019 - Keynote: The Stories We Tell Our Children by Ariel Caplan ( - The Myth of the Lone Genius06:28 - How Stories Affect Day-to-Day Expectations on Teams* The Passion Gospel - Avdi Grimm (* Passion | David Mitchell's SoapBox (* Tim Cook Thanks Apple Devs ( - Stories That Benefit Our Employers16:11 - How We Treat New Developers* Don't Ask Us Questions. We'll Just Ignore You. ( - “Real Programmers”* Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World ( - Computer Science Education31:07 - People Skills and Community Special Guest: Ariel Caplan.
Managing Pain and Suffering at Work with Amy NewellGuestAmy Newell: ( Director of Engineering at Wistia. Previous Director of Engineering at PatientsLikeMe ( RailsConf 2019 - Failure, Risk, and Shame: Approaching Suffering at Work by Amy Newell ( guest this week is Amy Newell. Amy is the Director of Engineering at Wistia, and she gave a talk at RailsConf this year entitled “Failure, Risk, and Shame: Approaching pain and suffering at work”. We have what I hope is an uplifting conversation about failure and pain, how to recognize it, and how to skillfully manage those feelings to be more resilient, prevent additional pain, and ultimately be more satisfied with your job.Notes01:56 - Why Use Words Like “Pain” and “Shame” When Talking About Work Experience- Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman ( 04:21 - Specific Kinds of Pain and Suffering at Work07:31 - Mistakes People Make When They’re Dealing with Failure, Anxiety, and Shame10:28 - Skillful Responses17:37 - Mitigating Pain21:57 - Skillful Responses (Cont’d)25:04 - Mindfulness- RAIN: Tara Brach ( - Feedback and Identity- Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen ( Paul Graham: Keep Your Identity Small ( Special Guest: Amy Newell.
AI and Privacy with Bärí A. WilliamsGuestBärí A. Williams ( VP of Legal, Business, and Policy Affairs at All Turtles (, a startup advisor in the tech industry, and a published author in the New York Times, WIRED, Fortune, and Fast Company. Bärí writes at ( guest this week is Bärí A. Williams, the VP of Legal, Business, and Policy Affairs at All Turtles. She provides legal guidance to startups working with Artificial Intelligence. Bärí was a keynote speaker at RailsConf this year, you can see the video at She and I talk about writing ethical terms of service, and how to collect and use data properly. We talk about facial recognition and other data mining and machine learning topics in the news, and how having a diverse user and testing base can prevent damaging mistakes. Notes01:48 - The Intersection of Law and TechBärí's RailsConf keynote: Ethical Issues in the Law and Tech with Production Ideation, Creation & Shipping ( - Writing Ethical and Clear Terms of Service05:48 - Legal and Ethical Collection of Data09:01 - Principles That Should Be in Ethical Codes of Conduct10:38 - Combatting Algorithmic Bias in AI Conference Speaking and Diverse Perspectives with Carina C. Zona and Mark Yoon ( Carina Zona: Consequences of an Insightful Algorithm ( - Facial Recognition Technology and The Importance of Diverse Testing18:07 - Facial Recognition Technology and Preventing the Selling of Information* Facial recognition creeps up on a JetBlue passenger and she hates it (* HUD Is Suing Facebook For Housing Discrimination ( - Facial Recognition Technology, DNA and the Government* San Francisco Bans Facial Recognition Technology (* The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks ( - Opting In and Out of Things Due to Privacy ConcernsGDPR: Right to be Forgotten ( Special Guest: Bärí A. Williams.
Software Consulting With Chad PytelGuestChad Pytel ( CEO, Co-Founder, and Developer of thoughtbot ( guest this week is Chad Pytel. Chad is the CEO of thoughtbot, which is a design and development firm known in the world for its support of open source projects like paperclip and shoulda. Chad and I talk about how to make short consulting projects work, the importance of hiring, why thoughtbot makes their internal guides public, and how they continue to be able to support open source. It's a great conversation about how thoughtbot approaches the world.Notes02:09 - How thoughtbot Works as an Integrated Design and Development Team06:50 - Handling Discovery Phases and Product Design Sprints11:40 - When Clients Aren’t a Good Fit and Setting Expectations14:12 - Hiring for Values- Beyond the Whiteboard Interview ( - The thoughtbot Playbook ( - Client Communication During Projects30:48 - Investment Days and Supporting Open Source Projects36:49 - Using Rails and Not Using Rails Special Guest: Chad Pytel.
Food and Design ThinkingTableXI is now offering training for developers and products teams! For more info, email Chekal ( Director of Digital Strategy and Product Designer at Table XI ( Jessie Shternshus ( Founder and Owner of the Improv Effect ( Chemia Davis: Innovation Methods Conductor and Member of the Tyson Foods Innovation Lab ( Proano: Experimental Brand Dreamer for Yappah Foods ( and Member of the Tyson Foods Innovation Lab ( this episode, we have a slightly different topic for Tech Done Right - food. Table XI has been working to adapt our design sprint process out of the realm of custom software and into more general product design. In particular, we've worked with Tyson Foods Innovation Lab on a few different projects including the creation of their Yappah brand which is designed to prevent food waste. In this episode, you'll hear from Chemia Davis and Santi Proano from Tyson, Rex Chekal from Table XI and Jessie Shternshus from the Improv Effect and we'll show you how we adapted design thinking and Agile process from software to food products.Notes02:58 - The Scope of Work Between Table XI and Tyson Foods Innovation Lab04:08 - The Goal of the Innovation Lab- Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) ( - Bringing Design Thinking to Product Development and CPGs11:13 - Design Steps- Nduja ( YAPPAH! Chicken Crisps ( - Facilitating Communication22:05 - The Sprint Week Experience- The Three-Hour Brand Sprint ( - Next Steps After Sprint Week- Yappah on Indiegogo ( - Learning From the Design and Coaching Process Special Guests: Chemia Davis, Jesse Shternshus, Rex Chekal, and Santi Proano.
Tech For Good With Andrew Means and Sean MarciaTableXI is now offering training for developers and products teams! For more info, email Means ( Data Analysts 4 Social Good (, The Good Tech Fest (, Big Elephant Studios ( Marcia ( Ruby For Good (, Code For Good ( SummaryOur guests this week are Andrew Means of Data Analysts for Social Good and Sean Marcia of Ruby for Good. Both of them run organizations that are involved with using technology to helping non-profits that could use even some simple software or data assistance. We’ll talk about what kinds of work their organizations do, how non-profits differ from for-profit work, how they try to keep projects running over time, and how you can get involved working with technology for good.Notes02:01 - The Shared Mission of Tech For Good Events- ( - The History and The Why06:30 - Working with Nonprofits and Vetting Projects- National Diaper Bank Network ( 412 Food Rescue ( BrightHive ( Salesforce ( - Managing and Maintaining Projects16:26 - Understanding Nonprofit Problems and Issues18:54 - For Profit vs Nonprofit- The Overhead Ratio ( Tech Literacy ( - Getting Involved / Recruiting Technologists- DataKind ( - Using Open Source- Ruby for Good on GitHub ( - Growing and Maturing the Tech For Good Space Special Guests: Andrew Means and Sean Marcia.
Jumpstarting Your Side Project With Dicko SowTableXI is now offering training for developers and products teams! For more info, email Sow ( Founder of Yodi Naturals ( guest this week is Dicko Sow. Dicko is a software developer at a technical consultancy, but recently she has been spending her time building out a side project called Yodi Naturals. We talk about how she chose the project, how important it was to plan the project, the technical decisions, and what Dicko learned putting together the launch page. If you’re trying to decide whether to try a side project, this episode has some good information about how to put that together.Notes01:58 - Wanting to do a Side Project; Deciding on Said Side Project- Jumpstart your sideproject! -- Dicko Sow ( PearConf ( - Yodi Naturals ( - Getting Started (Mentally)07:50 - Planning and Prioritization of Minimum Viable Product Features13:25 - Name Origin16:08 - Getting Started (Technically)18:45 - Using React ( - Working with AWS ( - Decoupling React and Rails and Releasing Features23:51 - Design- MailChimp ( Google Analytics ( - Learning as the Project Comes Together27:29 - Managing Search and Tag Functionality- Elasticsearch ( - Recipe Curation31:52 - Launching the Launch Page; Shipping Things Special Guest: Dicko Sow.
Building Git With James CoglanTableXI is now offering training for developers and products teams! For more info, email Coglan ( Author of Building Git ( and JavaScript Testing Recipes ( More at ( SummaryOur guest today is James Coglan. James has written an extraordinary programming book called Building Git. In it, he describes the inner workings of the Git source control tool by re-implementing a substantial part it in Ruby, including commits, diffs, branching, and networking. Along the way he shows not just how Git works, but also details of some of the algorithms it uses. There’s also a lot about building complex systems generally. And it has some great examples of test-driven development. James and I also talk about implementing in a high-level language like Ruby, versus a lower-level language like C. It’s a unique book, and I’ve been looking forward to talking to James about it for some time.Notes01:58 - Reimplementing Git04:17 - Examples and Understanding Git Internals06:32 - Building Complex Systems in General09:10 - How the Design of the Code Emerges11:51 - Test-Driven Development15:16 - Implementing Git and Ruby22:37 - Surprises26:29 - Making UI Changes29:30 - Gaps Remaining in Functionality and Performance32:04 - Contribution and Implementations in Other Languages - Gary Bernhardt's Screencasts ( - Lower-level Language vs Higher-level Language Implementation Special Guest: James Coglan.
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