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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.
65 Episodes
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.
Agriculture And Technology with Orlando SaezTableXI is now offering training for developers and products teams! For more info, email Saez ( Co-founder and CEO of Aker Technologies ( SummaryOur guest today is Orlando Saez. Orlando is the co-founder and CEO of Aker, a precision crop diagnostic data and service company. We're going to talk about what that means and more generally, about how technology and agriculture intersect. We'll talk about how Orlando got into the agriculture and technology space and who his customers are and what they learn from using specialized drones to monitor their crops. It's an interesting deep dive into a part of the technology world that I, for one, did not know very much about and I hope you enjoy it.Notes01:44 - What Aker Does; The Tech/Agriculture Sector- Becoming a Senior Engineer with Jamey Hampton ( 03:30 - Technology: IoT, Drones, and Machine Learning08:55 - Aggregating Information + Shared Data11:09 - Working with the Agriculture Sector and The Way Growers Work- Precision Agriculture ( - Differences Between Purchases and Users: Ways Products Are Used in the Field20:40 - Aker as a Service Provider21:53 - Drone Technology and Training Pilots- GIS: Geographic Information System Mapping Technology ( Shapefiles ( - Using General Machine Learning Techniques25:51 - Looking Forward28:21 - Orlando’s Background in Getting Involved in This Space- Michael Pollan: In Defense of Food ( Food Evolution ( - More Resources for People Interested in AgTech- Thrive ( Salinas Valley Agricultural Technical Summit ( The Yield Lab ( Pro Farmer ( PrecisionAg ( Commodity Classic ( Farm Progress Show ( Special Guest: Orlando Saez.
Unlearn With Barry O'ReillyTableXI is now offering training for developers and products teams! For more info, email guest today is Barry O’Reilly, author of the book “Unlearn: Let Go of Past Success to Achieve Extraordinary Results”. In it, he sets out a process for defining outcomes, identifying behaviors that might help or hinder reaching the outcomes, and then unlearning existing behaviors and relearning new ones. We talk about how that process works, how to use it yourself, how it might fail, and what Barry unlearned for himself in the process of writing the book. We’d like to hear from you. What’s something you’ve needed to unlearn to reach success? Let us know at or on Twitter at @tech_done_rightGuestBarry O’Reilly ( Author of Unlearn: Let Go of Past Success to Achieve Extraordinary Results ( Unlearn website ( Author of Lean Enterprise: How High Performance Organizations Innovate at Scale with Jez Humble and Joanne Molesky (, ( Summary03:15 - Letting Go and Unlearning Past Behavior07:17 - How to Achieve and Define Positive OutcomesBJ Fogg ( Design ( - Unlearning as a Continuous Cycle20:25 - Think Big, Smart Small, and Learn Fast 26:14 - When People Don’t Succeed29:03 - Being Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable31:30 - Learning to Unlearn33:00 - Focusing on Deliberate Reflection34:55 - Unlearning and Leadership Roles36:56 - Getting Started with Unlearning Special Guest: Barry O'Reilly.
Developer HiringTableXI is now offering training for developers and products teams! For more info, email or find us at on the show, we're talking about hiring with Jennifer Tu and Zee Spencer of Cohere, Thayer Prime of Team Prime, and software consultant Matt Patterson. We talk about the entire developer hiring process from how to advertise your company to potential candidates, through coding tests and interviews, and all the way to the final decision process. It's a great conversation with a lot of different perspectives and a lot of good advice. We’d like to hear from you. What do you look for when hiring developers? Let us know at or on Twitter at @tech_done_rightGuestsJennifer Tu ( Cofounder of Cohere ( Spencer ( Cofounder of Cohere ( Prime ( Founder of Team Prime ( Patterson ( Software Consultant.Notes02:55 - Common Mistakes When Hiring Developers05:17 - Effective Hiring Procedures and Interview Processes 10:31 - Getting Your Company’s Name Out There15:30 - Recruitment, Onboarding, and Reviews18:52 - Sending Take-Home Exercises and the Problems They Present; Pre-Hire Pairing30:33 - Good and Bad Uses of Interview Time33:11 - Developing Interview Question and Using Standardization to Remove Biases35:34 - Making Yes/No DecisionsRelated EpisodesApprenticeship with Megan Tiu, Kara Carrell, and Alyssa Ramsey ( and Inclusion at Small Companies with Meara Charnetzki, Michael Donnelly, and Elena Valentine ( Panel: Hiring Developers in (and out of) Health Care ( Bootcamps and Computing Education with Jeff Casimir and Mark Guzdial ( Special Guests: Jennifer Tu, Matt Patterson, Thayer Prime, and Zee Spencer.
Engineering Management With Allison McMillanTableXI is now offering training for developers and products teams! For more info, email or visit the web at McMillan ( Engineering Manager at GitHub (; Atom (; Creator of the Parent Driven Development Podcast ( Blogs at DayDreams in Ruby ( SummaryToday on the show we’re talking about engineering management. Allison McMillan is an engineering manager for the Atom team at GitHub. We talk about what her role is within the team, how she helps her team grow and improve, and how the management role is different from her previous developer jobs. We’d like to hear from you. What makes a great engineering manager? Let us know at or on Twitter at @tech_done_rightNotes01:48 - What does an Engineering Manager do?05:29 - Having Effective and Successful Meetings12:20 - Goals as a Developer and Teammate22:56 - Becoming an Engineering Manager27:34 - Expectations and Challenges32:01 - Measuring Yourself and Your Progress35:10 - Plans to Improve / Having Teammates Rate Your Performance as a ManagerRelated EpisodesEpisode 003: Remote Work with Allison McMillan and Bradley Schaefer ( Special Guest: Allison McMillan.
Code Style and Community with Sam Phippen and Justin SearlsTableXI is now offering training for developers and products teams! For more info, email or visit Phippen ( Developer Advocate at Google and member of the RSpec ( Core TeamJustin Searls ( Cofounder of Test Double ( SummaryOn this episode, we’ve got Sam Phippen and Justin Searls back for their third round on the show. Both of them have been working on new Ruby tools to better standardize your team’s style and code formatting. We talk about why they’ve decided these tools are important, what their philosophy of coding style is, how coding style relates to the Ruby community, and how they evaluate code when given a code sample to look at. We’d like to hear from you. How does your team handle differences of opinion in code style? Let us know at or on Twitter at @tech_done_rightNotes02:21 - Code StyleBikeshedding ( JS ( Ruby Gem ( ( Hash Rockets are good actually ( Sandi Metz: Why We Argue Style ( - Choosing Ruby: Community Standards vs Style14:59 - Evaluating Code Samples for Developer Positions- Gilded Rose Refactoring Kata ( 21:04 - Ruby Format29:05 - Selecting Rules For Standard35:38 - Discrepancies in Rails View Template Files- haml-lint ( 39:10 - What happens if these projects aren’t successful?- Why's (poignant) Guide To Ruby ( Justin/Sam Episodes:Part I: Episode 004: In The Testing Weeds ( II: Back in the Testing Weeds with Sam Phippen and Justin Searls ( Special Guests: Justin Searls and Sam Phippen.
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