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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.
74 Episodes
Teaching Testing and DesignGuestsBetsy Haibel ( CTO at Cohere ( Blogs at ( Grimm ( Head Chef at RubyTapas ( Blogs at ( Phippen ( Works at Google, makes Rubyfmt (, helps make RSpec (, and is on the board of Ruby Central ( Blog ( the discussions on testing and design in episodes 68 and 69, I had so much I still wanted to talk about in testing, design, and teaching testing and design. So I convened a panel with previous Tech Done Right Guests Avdi Grimm, Betsy Haibel, and Penelope Phippen to help me think through all these topics. I was very happy to have all of them on the show, and I think it's a great conversation. Stay tuned until the very end for an update about the show.Related Episodes with These GuestsAvdi: 20 Years of Web Development (, Ruby Tapas and Avoiding Code ( Diverse Agile Teams (, How Set Design Can Inform Software Architecture ( Code Style and Community (, Back in the Testing Weeds (, In The Testing Weeds ( - Previously On: Re: Testing* Pragmatic Programmer at 20 with Dave Thomas and Andy Hunt (* Teaching and Learning with Sandi Metz ( - Testing and Design* 99 Bottles of OOP ( - TDDTest Driven Development ( We Need Constants ( - Testing, But Not Developer Testing + Sliming The Test* WikiWikiWeb ( - Why + How Did You Learn TDD?20:24 - TDD: Not a Robust Process24:19 - Rails + Unit Testing27:41 - Is TDD really dead?35:06 - Keeping Code In Your Head37:32 - Approaching the Testing and Design of Code38:59 - What would convince you to stop doing TDD? Special Guests: Avdi Grimm, Betsy Haibel, and Penelope Phippen.
Supporting Innovation With Mike TodascoGuestMike Todasco ( Senior Director of Innovation at PayPal ( SummaryToday on the show we have Mike Todasco, the Senior Director of Innovation at PayPal. We talk about what innovation means at a company, and how to encourage innovation both if you are a PayPal sized company and if you aren’t. Mike also shares some information about PayPal’s internal innovation tournament and how they offer incentives for innovation. Notes01:38 - What does the Senior Director of Innovation at PayPal do?02:32 - Why should companies innovate?04:29 - Who should be innovating?08:26 - Assisting and Guiding in Innovation11:15 - Introducing Innovation to Companies and Teams: Vulnerability16:06 - Encouraging Innovation18:44 - The Concept of Global Innovation Tournaments24:34 - Giving People Opportunity and Exposure28:40 - Innovation Tokens30:59 - Innovation For Small Companies32:39 - Interesting Innovations Special Guest: Mike Todasco.
How To Buy Software With Ashley Quinto PowellGuestAshley Quinto Powell ( Director of Business Development at Table XI ( on the show, we have Ashley Quinto Powell. Ashley and I have run a workshop together called How to Buy Software aimed at people who want to buy custom software but aren't sure what the process will be like. In this episode, we try to compress a four-hour workshop into a 45-minute podcast. Ashley will talk about what to expect from the sales process and then Ashley will interview me about what it's like to work with a development team. I hope you like it.Notes01:40 - How do you buy software?02:47 - Common Misconceptions When Starting the Process04:20 - Preparing for a Conversation About Buying Software06:42 - Terminology To KnowOffshore / Nearshore- Agile / Waterfall- Time and Materials Contract / Fixed Contract16:08 - Interacting with a Development Team18:28 - Estimation28:16 - Signs Things Are Going Well / Red Flags Special Guest: Ashley Quinto Powell.
Teaching and Learning with Sandi MetzGuestSandi Metz: ( Author of Practical Object-Oriented Development in Ruby ( and 99 Bottles of OOP ( ( on the show we have Sandi Metz, author of Practical Object Oriented Design in Ruby and co-author of 99 bottles of OOP. I’ve literally been trying to get Sandi as a guest since we started recording the show and I’m thrilled that we’ve finally been able to connect. We talk about OOP and TDD, maybe going down a test-driven rabbit hole for a while, and also talk about what it’s like to teach and coach about OOP and TDD. I enjoyed this talk very much and I think you will, too.Notes02:46 - Keeping Up With Tech04:58 - Object-Oriented Design09:53 - Why do we write tests?17:53 - Teaching Yourself TDD22:11 - Procedures and Patterns34:07 - CIJim Weirich ( - Approaching TDD44:49 - What should we be doing as a community to share knowledge?The Magic Tricks of Testing ( Special Guest: Sandi Metz.
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.
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