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Tech Lead Journal

Tech Lead Journal

Author: Henry Suryawirawan

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Great technical leadership requires more than just great coding skills. It requires a variety of other skills that are not well-defined, and they are not something that we can fully learn in any school or book. Hear from experienced technical leaders sharing their journey and philosophy for building great technical teams and achieving technical excellence. Find out what makes them great and how to apply those lessons to your work and team.
18 Episodes
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“Asynchronous communication promotes flow. And flow is generally what we’re all looking for. Not only because it’s more productive. Not only it’s because it’s within this state that we produce the best work. It’s also within this state that we feel the most fulfilled." Gonçalo is the CTO of Doist, the remote-first company behind Todoist and Twist that has a mission of building the future of work by creating tools that promote more fulfilling ways to work and live. Doist has been a remote-first company practically since the founder started working on Todoist in 2007 and with its first remote hire in 2011. In this episode, I learned a lot from Gonçalo about Doist and its remote working history and culture, including some advantages and disadvantages of remote work. We also discussed at length about having asynchronous communication as the first preferred communication style instead of synchronous, and why it is such an important communication style to adopt in a remote team. Gonçalo then shares about Doist core values, the cornerstone of every single thing that Doist does as company, from creating processes to decision making and recruiting. Towards the end, Gonçalo also shares some engineering and technical practices that Doist does, especially the ones important for a successful remote team, including the importance of pre-allocation and prioritization. Listen out for: About Doist - [00:05:59] Gonçalo’s career journey - [00:06:52] Doist remote work history - [00:10:30] Remote work advantages & disadvantages - [00:13:01] Asynchronous vs synchronous - [00:18:53] Handling emergencies - [00:25:10] On meeting and real-time chat - [00:26:48] Hiring and onboarding - [00:30:38] Doist 5 core values - [00:39:01] Role of a manager - [00:41:07] Technical practices - [00:42:47] Prioritization - [00:48:55] Doist architecture - [00:54:04] Remote work resources - [00:55:48] Gonçalo’s 3 Tech Lead Wisdom - [00:56:54] _____ Gonçalo Silva’s Bio Gonçalo is the CTO of Doist, creators of Todoist and Twist. He’s been working remotely for over a decade and managing remote teams for most of that time. He loves long-term ambition, asynchronous communication, and programming. Follow Gonçalo: Twitter – https://twitter.com/goncalossilva LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/goncalossilva/ Follow Doist: Website – https://doist.com/ Twitter – https://twitter.com/doist LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/company/doist/ YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/user/DoistApps Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/doistofficial Our Sponsors Are you a startup in software development which is less than 5 years old? If yes, our sponsor at JetBrains has a 50% startup discount offer which allows Startups to purchase multiple products and subscriptions for up to 10 unique licenses over a period of months. To find out more, go to https://www.jetbrains.com/store/startups. Like this episode? Subscribe on your favorite podcast app and submit your feedback. Follow @techleadjournal on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. Pledge your support by becoming a patron. For more info about the episode (including quotes and transcript), visit techleadjournal.dev/episodes/17.
“Having the conversation within the business, the data science teams, and the technology teams about what problems are you trying to solve? What can AI do with the data that you have? Sometimes business comes with a lot of problems that are like science-fiction." Feng-Yuan is the co-founder and CEO of BasisAI, a Singapore-headquartered augmented intelligence software company that helps data-driven enterprises deploy AI responsibly. He has a vast experience in the tech sector, working with the Land Transport Authority Singapore to make public transport more efficient; and with GovTech pushing data initiatives for Singapore’s Smart Nation projects. In this episode, I talked to Feng-Yuan about responsible AI and how to build trust in artificial intelligence, including the possibilities, challenges and dangers that AI and ML offer to businesses. We began by talking about his company, BasisAI, which offers bespoke AI solutions that are built responsibly. Feng-Yuan explained why it’s important to differentiate between what is interesting and what is useful when it comes to AI trends. We also spoke at length about deepfake, the dangers that come with it, and how to prevent such instances. At the end, Feng-Yuan also shares some wisdom about effective communication in the age of AI and ML. Listen out for: BasisAI - [00:04:48] Feng-Yuan’s career journey - [00:06:23] Feng-Yuan’s interesting projects at GovTech - [00:11:57] The fear of AI/ML - [00:17:29] AI/ML current trends & challenges - [00:20:15] The danger of AI/ML - [00:23:07] Responsible AI - [00:25:00] Explainable AI - [00:28:24] Challenges for implementing AI - [00:30:14] Managing expectations for AI projects - [00:33:12] Productionizing AI - [00:35:07] Role of ML engineers in product team - [00:38:31] Data Scientist and ML Engineer - [00:41:03] Hyper-personalized AI - [00:43:16] 3 Tech Lead Wisdom - [00:45:50] _____ Liu Feng-Yuan’s Bio Feng-Yuan Liu is the co-founder and CEO of BasisAI, a Singapore-headquartered augmented intelligence software company that helps data-driven enterprises deploy AI responsibly. In his previous capacity, he was responsible for leading and driving Smart Nation data initiatives for the Singapore government, including setting up and growing the data science and AI capabilities within GovTech. Follow Feng-Yuan: Email – fengyuan@basis-ai.com LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/feng-yuan-liu-9b09aa42/ Twitter – https://twitter.com/fengyuanliu Follow BasisAI: Website – https://basis-ai.com LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/company/basis-ai/ Twitter – https://twitter.com/basis_ai Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/basisai/ Our Sponsors Are you a startup in software development which is less than 5 years old? If yes, our sponsor at JetBrains has a 50% startup discount offer which allows Startups to purchase multiple products and subscriptions for up to 10 unique licenses over a period of months. To find out more, go to https://www.jetbrains.com/store/startups. Like this episode? Subscribe on your favorite podcast app and submit your feedback. Follow @techleadjournal on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. Pledge your support by becoming a patron. For more info about the episode (including quotes and transcript), visit techleadjournal.dev/episodes/16.
“The goal of your resume is to get a recruiter call. It’s a binary yes or no. That is the goal. As soon as you have your recruiter call, your resume doesn’t really matter that much." Gergely is a seasoned software engineer and engineering manager, previously worked in hypergrowth companies such as Uber, Skyscanner, and Skype. He is the author of “The Tech Resume Inside Out” book and “The Pragmatic Engineer” blog. In this episode, he shared about his interesting programmer-to-manager career journey path, starting from small companies and moving to hypergrowth startups. We then discussed on the importance of a tech resume and the common pitfall that people have in their tech resume, which led him to write his recent book that came up after he has been helping so many people improve their resume during the pandemic. I also had an insightful discussion with Gergely about how the Engineering team works at Uber, which brought us to touch on what Silicon Valley gets right when dealing with software engineers. Gergely also shared the reason he quit Uber recently and his future plan. We then talked about his blog, where he has been sharing many interesting technical topics that he learned throughout the years, helping him to discover many viewpoints from others and shaping him as a better communicator. We also discussed some of his popular blog posts on distributed systems and software architecture. Lastly, Gergely also shared his firsthand experience seeing Uber’s pace of change and its growing number of microservices. Listen out for: Gergely’s career journey - [00:06:51] Why getting interviews could be tough - [00:13:00] “The Tech Resume Inside Out“ book - [00:16:29] Tech resume pitfalls - [00:21:51] Working at Uber - [00:25:20] Managing Engineering team at hyperscale company - [00:27:16] What Silicon Valley gets right dealing with Software Engineers - [00:33:34] Leaving Uber - [00:37:12] Writing blogs - [00:40:01] Distributed system - [00:42:44] Other popular blog posts - [00:44:53] Uber’s pace of change and microservices - [00:49:31] Gergely’s 3 Tech Lead Wisdom - [00:51:30] _____ Gergely Orosz’s Bio Gergely Orosz is an engineering lead, previously at Uber, Skype / Microsoft and Skyscanner. He is passionate about helping engineers grow. He published articles on software engineering on The Pragmatic Engineer blog, has written the book “The Tech Resume Inside Out: what a good developer resume looks like”, and is currently writing ”The Software Engineer’s Guidebook”. Follow Gergely: Website - https://blog.pragmaticengineer.com/ Twitter – https://twitter.com/GergelyOrosz LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/gergelyorosz/ Our Sponsors Are you a startup in software development which is less than 5 years old? If yes, our sponsor at JetBrains has a 50% startup discount offer which allows Startups to purchase multiple products and subscriptions for up to 10 unique licenses over a period of months. To find out more, go to https://www.jetbrains.com/store/startups. Like this episode? Subscribe on your favorite podcast app and submit your feedback. Follow @techleadjournal on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. Pledge your support by becoming a patron. For more info about the episode (including quotes and transcript), visit techleadjournal.dev/episodes/15.
“Organizations should never set up a central digital transformation office. It should be owned by everybody in the organization. It’s not a CIO’s job. It’s the CEO’s job." Richard Koh is the CTO of Microsoft Singapore who played a major part in the Office 365 founding team. In this episode, I had an inspiring discussion with him around his journey founding the Office 365, the challenges he faced, and on how to approach digital transformation adoption. Our conversation started with some interesting observations on how organizations in Singapore are adapting to the COVID-19 impact, followed by the unique organizational structure Microsoft has in regional aspects and the regional CTO scope in decision making and shaping of Microsoft’s product and culture. Richard also shares how the Office 365 team was structured to instil an independent yet collaborative environment, his viewpoints about technical product management and the importance of cloud technologies. Busting the myths of digital transformation, he provided some advice about how organizations should approach it. Last, Richard also shared about his external contributions to the community, including SGTech and some wisdom on continuous learning with a growth mindset. Listen out for: Impact of COVID - [00:05:59] Richard’s career journey - [00:07:56] Microsoft’s unique regional CTO structure & scope - [00:10:09] The region macro trends - [00:13:43] Founding Office 365 - [00:15:58] The art of Product Management - [00:24:09] Building Office 365 - [00:26:26] Importance of cloud - [00:30:06] Digital transformation adoption - [00:35:02] Community contributions and other interests - [00:40:34] Responsibility Tech - [00:45:01] Richard’s 3 Tech Lead Wisdom - [00:46:45] _____ Richard Koh’s Bio Richard Koh is the CTO of Microsoft Singapore. In this role, he is responsible for engaging with key executive leaders across government, industry and academia; bringing in the macro technology landscape; and helping customers leverage technology innovations for their digital transformation. His focus areas include guiding technology policies, standards, legal and regulatory matters, as well as security, privacy and compliance decisions. Richard was part of the founding product team for Microsoft’s flagship productivity cloud services suite – Office 365. Follow Richard: Full bio – https://news.microsoft.com/en-sg/richard-koh/ Twitter – https://twitter.com/richardkoh LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/richardkoh/ Our Sponsors This episode is brought to you by JetBrains. Do you want to learn to code? Do you have friends who are looking to learn how to code? Our sponsors at JetBrains recently launched JetBrains Academy, an education platform that offers interactive, project-based learning combined with powerful, professional development tools. Advance your Java and Python skills, with more programming languages to come. To get an extended 3-month free trial on JetBrains Academy, go to https://techleadjournal.dev/jetbrains-academy. Like this episode? Subscribe on your favorite podcast app and submit your feedback. Follow @techleadjournal on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. Pledge your support by becoming a patron. For more info about the episode (including quotes and transcript), visit techleadjournal.dev/episodes/14.
“Goal on the behaviors that matter. Don’t goal on your vanity metrics. Figure out what it is that, not just works for your product, but also for you as an individual." Crystal Widjaja is a startup growth advisor and a Forbes 30 Under 30. She was most recently the SVP of Business Intelligence and Growth for Gojek. She is also the co-founder of Generation Girl, a non-profit organization that introduces young girls to STEM. In this episode, I had a fascinating chat with Crystal on many things about startup and her exhilarating journey with Gojek as the first data hire. We started with the recent trends of the startup funding in US and Southeast Asia, and the impact that COVID has brought to the startup scenes. Crystal then shared her insightful tips on startup growth strategy, including the common pitfall startups need to avoid in their strategy. She also gave practical tips on how a startup can start its data analytics journey. We then talked about her recent Gojek career when she outlined her amazing journey building Gojek data team from one person (herself) to 200+ people, the challenges she had to go through and how she overcame them. Last, Crystal shared about Generation Girl and why it is an important cause to help Indonesian young girls to succeed in STEM. Listen out for: Crystal’s career journey - [00:06:04] Why Crystal quit Gojek and moved to VC - [00:09:26] Startup trends in US and SEA - [00:13:16] Impact of COVID to startup growth and funding - [00:20:10] Reforge - [00:25:56] Tips on startup growth strategy - [00:28:32] Strategy for building data analytics strategy - [00:36:55] Building Gojek data team as the first data hire - [00:45:54] Generation Girl - [00:59:30] Crystal’s 3 Tech Lead Wisdom - [01:08:22] _____ Crystal Widjaja’s Bio Crystal Widjaja is a startup growth advisor, Reforge advisor partner, and Sequoia Scout in the SF Bay Area. Crystal has been recognized as a Forbes 30 Under 30 and was most recently the Senior VP of Business Intelligence and Growth for Gojek, the leading on-demand multi-service platform in Southeast Asia committed to empowering informal sectors and MSMEs through technology. She is also a co-founder of Generation Girl, a non-profit organization that aims to introduce young girls to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). Follow Crystal: Website – https://www.crissyw.com/ Twitter – https://twitter.com/crystalwidjaja LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/crystalwidjaja/ Our Sponsors This episode is brought to you by JetBrains. Do you want to learn to code? Do you have friends who are looking to learn how to code? Our sponsors at JetBrains recently launched JetBrains Academy, an education platform that offers interactive, project-based learning combined with powerful, professional development tools. Advance your Java and Python skills, with more programming languages to come. To get an extended 3-month free trial on JetBrains Academy, go to https://techleadjournal.dev/jetbrains-academy. Like this episode? Subscribe on your favorite podcast app and submit your feedback. Follow @techleadjournal on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. Pledge your support by becoming a patron. For more info about the episode (including quotes and transcript), visit techleadjournal.dev/episodes/13.
“You can run an organization where you communicate clearly, and you treat people fairly, and you try to set people up for success. I have seen it work, and I can make that happen, and I remember that it is possible." Hongyi is the Director of Open Government Products, a division of the Government Technology Agency of Singapore. He leads an experimental team of engineers, designers, and product managers who build technology for the public good, such as Data.gov.sg, Parking.sg, FormSG, Go.gov.sg, and Isomer. In this episode, I had an inspiring chat with Hongyi about the Singapore government’s challenges in adopting new tech, including some major hurdles that he needed to overcome at the beginning. Hongyi then shared more about his team, Open Government Products (OGP), how he started the whole initiative, scaled it up, and importantly built some cool products that have brought tremendous impact to the public good. Hongyi also outlined his visions for OGP, that include open sourcing the products that his team has built for other governments to adopt and implement. He also touched on Singapore government’s challenges in terms of cloud adoption and hiring engineering talent. Do not miss Hongyi’s explanation on “bureaucratic deadlock” that he beautifully explained as one of the major challenges that he faced when starting OGP. Listen out for: Hongyi’s career journey - [00:04:36] Singapore government’s challenges in adopting new tech - [00:13:33] The biggest hurdles that Hongyi overcame at the beginning - [00:17:38] Open Government Products (OGP) - [00:21:04] How Open Government Products get approved - [00:24:08] Examples of Open Government Products and the impact - [00:25:38] How Hongyi scaled up OGP - [00:30:11] OGP vision - [00:31:30] Cloud adoption in Singapore government - [00:36:04] Singapore government’s talent challenge - [00:39:42] Hongyi’s 3 Tech Lead Wisdom - [00:42:06] _____ Li Hongyi’s Bio Hongyi is the Director of Open Government Products, a division of the Government Technology Agency of Singapore. He leads an experimental team of engineers, designers, and product managers who build technology for the public good. Projects they work on include Parking.sg, Go.gov.sg, and RedeemSG. Prior to joining the public sector, Hongyi worked at Google on the distributed databases and image search teams. He previously attended MIT, where he obtained degrees in computer science and economics. In his free time, he works on personal projects like typographing.com and chatlet.com. Follow Hongyi: LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/hongyi-li-16183230 Our Sponsors This episode is brought to you by JetBrains. Do you want to learn to code? Do you have friends who are looking to learn how to code? Our sponsors at JetBrains recently launched JetBrains Academy, an education platform that offers interactive, project-based learning combined with powerful, professional development tools. Advance your Java and Python skills, with more programming languages to come. To get an extended 3-month free trial on JetBrains Academy, go to https://techleadjournal.dev/jetbrains-academy. Like this episode? Subscribe on your favorite podcast app and submit your feedback. Follow @techleadjournal on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. Pledge your support by becoming a patron. For more info about the episode (including quotes and transcript), visit techleadjournal.dev/episodes/12.
“Courage needs to be emphasized even more in software development context. That’s related with respect. We cannot expect the developers will be courageous, to tell the truth, to have integrity, unless the organization, the management respect them as a professional." Joshua initially started his career as a software developer, but over time became more interested in the people aspect of software development, which then brought his interest in Scrum. He has a decade of experience as a Scrum Master and has been working with senior leaderships to improve enterprise agility. In this episode, Joshua shared his views on how we can improve the people’s aspect of the software development by treating the people more humanely. He outlined how an enterprise should adopt agility, execute agile transformation, and use outcome instead of output to drive the behavior change. He also shared his observation on how the COVID pandemic brought forward the importance of adopting agility in business and personal life. Do not miss his anecdote on how he learned about self organization unexpectedly! Listen out for: Joshua’s career journey - [00:05:43] Values and principles of humane software development - [00:12:20] How enterprise can adopt agility - [00:17:34] Agility outcome examples - [00:20:40] How enterprise should do agile transformation - [00:24:03] Agility adoption during COVID - [00:33:37] Joshua’s 3 Tech Lead Wisdom - [00:36:47] _____ Joshua Partogi’s Bio Joshua is a Scrum Master and also a Co-active Coach. He initially started his career as a software developer but became more interested about the people aspect of software development. He got interested in Scrum because it emphasises the people aspect. He has a decade of experience as a Scrum Master and now became more interested with working with senior leadership to improve the whole enterprise agility. Follow Joshua: LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/jpartogi/ Twitter – https://twitter.com/jpartogi YouTube – https://youtube.com/c/jpartogi Our Sponsors This episode is brought to you by JetBrains. Do you want to learn to code? Do you have friends who are looking to learn how to code? Our sponsors at JetBrains recently launched JetBrains Academy, an education platform that offers interactive, project-based learning combined with powerful, professional development tools. Advance your Java and Python skills, with more programming languages to come. To get an extended 3-month free trial on JetBrains Academy, go to https://techleadjournal.dev/jetbrains-academy. Like this episode? Subscribe on your favorite podcast app and submit your feedback. Follow @techleadjournal on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. Pledge your support by becoming a patron. For more info about the episode (including quotes and transcript), visit techleadjournal.dev/episodes/11.
“As a leader, it’s not your responsibility to do. It’s your responsibility to teach and help your team to level up. Your job is to level up your team, so that you have a team of people who can do it better and faster." Trisha Gee is a Java Champion, author, and the leader of Java Developer Advocacy team at JetBrains. She has an extensive Java experience with expertise in Java high performance systems, and she is exceptionally passionate about sharing things that help real developers. Trisha is an author of a few books: “What to Look for in a Code Review“ and “97 Things Every Java Developer Should Know“. Trisha also produces a monthly newsletter for JetBrains called “Java Annotated Monthly”, which is a great monthly summary for all things happening in the Java world. In this episode, I had a chat with Trisha about the current state of Java, and how it stands compared to other programming languages. She also gave some good tips on how to transition from old Java version to the latest Java version. Trisha shared some code review best practices and explained why reading code is harder than writing it, and that we should put more effort in making our code more readable. She suggested why a developer should use an IDE, and how using an IDE could help in increasing productivity and producing a more readable and idiomatic code. Trisha also shared some of her lessons learned from her recent transition to becoming a team lead. Listen out for: Trisha’s career journey - [00:04:54] Trisha’s lessons learned when becoming a Team Lead - [00:10:04] Current state of Java - [00:17:44] How Java stands among other languages - [00:22:47] Transitioning from older version of Java - [00:27:20] Code review best practices - [00:33:56] Why developers should use an IDE - [00:45:23] Some of JetBrains products roadmap - [00:49:51] Trisha’s 3 Tech Lead Wisdom - [00:52:58] _____ Trisha Gee’s Bio Trisha is a Java Champion, published author, and leader of the Java Developer Advocacy team at JetBrains. Trisha has developed Java applications for a range of industries of all sizes. She has expertise in Java high performance systems, dabbles with Open Source development, and is a leader of the Sevilla Java User Group. Follow Trisha: Website – https://trishagee.com Twitter – https://twitter.com/trisha_gee Our Sponsors This episode is brought to you by JetBrains. Do you want to learn to code? Do you have friends who are looking to learn how to code? Our sponsors at JetBrains recently launched JetBrains Academy, an education platform that offers interactive, project-based learning combined with powerful, professional development tools. Advance your Java and Python skills, with more programming languages to come. To get an extended 3-month free trial on JetBrains Academy, go to https://techleadjournal.dev/jetbrains-academy. Like this episode? Subscribe on your favorite podcast app and submit your feedback. Follow @techleadjournal on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. Pledge your support by becoming a patron. For more info about the episode (including quotes and transcript), visit techleadjournal.dev/episodes/10.
“A Tech Lead is a person with a technical background, typically an engineer who is leading a team and particularly responsible and accountable for their technical direction." Patrick Kua is a seasoned technology leader and is passionate about accelerating the growth and success of tech organizations and technical leaders. Before going independent recently, Pat was the CTO and Chief Scientist of N26 (Berlin, Germany), where he transformed the early stage startup culture and led the Product & Technology teams for hypergrowth. Before N26, Pat spent 13+ years in ThoughtWorks as a Technical Principal Consultant, where he researched deep into the Tech Lead role and became a thought leader about it. Pat is a frequent keynote and conference speaker and also an author. In this episode, I had an amazing learning conversation with Pat about the Tech Lead role and discussed deep with him on what it takes to become a good Tech Lead. Pat also shared his journey as a CTO and Chief Scientist of N26, the challenges he faced there and what he did to transform the Product & Technology teams to align for hypergrowth. This is one of those conversations you definitely not want to miss to learn how to become a great technical leader! Listen out for: What Pat is up to - [00:04:22] Pat’s career journey - [00:07:37] Tech Lead definition - [00:16:46] Why Pat is interested about Tech Leads - [00:18:02] Tech Lead attributes - [00:21:58] Effective Tech Lead - [00:26:12] Examples of Tech Lead measures - [00:29:53] Tech Lead business angle - [00:36:27] Pat’s N26 story as a CTO - [00:38:51] How Pat grew N26 engineering team - [00:44:03] How Pat balanced his responsibility and time as a CTO - [00:51:10] Target Operating Model (TOM) - [00:53:05] Why Pat switched to become a Chief Scientist in N26 - [00:57:58] Tech Lead resources - [00:59:38] Pat’s 3 Tech Lead Wisdom - [01:01:05] _____ Patrick Kua’s Bio Patrick Kua is a seasoned technology leader with almost 20 years of experience. He has had many years of hands-on experience, leading, managing and improving complex organisations and software systems as the CTO and Chief Scientist of N26 and as a Technical Principal Consultant at ThoughtWorks. He is a frequent keynote and conference speaker, author of three books, and runs the free popular newsletter for leaders in tech, “Level Up” and the “Tech Lead Academy“, offering training for technical leaders, or running his very popular “Shortcut to Tech Leadership“ workshop. Follow Pat: Website – https://patkua.com LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/patkua/ Twitter – https://twitter.com/patkua Our Sponsors Are you a startup in software development which is less than 5 years old? If yes, our sponsor at JetBrains has a 50% startup discount offer which allows Startups to purchase multiple products and subscriptions for up to 10 unique licenses over a period of months. To find out more, go to https://www.jetbrains.com/store/startups. Like this episode? Follow @techleadjournal on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. Pledge your support by becoming a patron. For more info about the episode (including quotes and transcript), visit techleadjournal.dev/episodes/9.
“There is no permanent failure and there is no guarantee of success either. What you define as success, what you define as failure is just a definition." Sau Sheong is the CEO of SP Digital, an energytech company, part of SP Group, the leading energy utility in Asia Pacific and one of Singapore’s largest corporations. In this episode, Sau Sheong shared with me about the digital transformation journey that he embarked in SP Digital, including some success and failure stories. His achievements during this transformation journey led him to winning the “Executive of the Year for Utilities” award at SBR Management Excellence Awards 2019. Sau Sheong also shared his interesting career journey from being a software engineer, to being a CTO, and to becoming a CEO in SP Digital. Sau Sheong has written multiple programming books, and he mentioned what drives him to write those books, and why he is also very active in the tech communities. Don’t miss his sharing on some unique experiences that he had with his readers! Listen out for: Sau Sheong’s unconventional career journey from being a software engineer to becoming a CEO - [00:04:36] How SP Digital went through digital transformation - [00:09:49] Why Sau Sheong took up SP Digital CEO role - [00:25:05] Some failure stories during SP Digital digital transformation - [00:26:33] Sau Sheong’s personal awards and recognitions - [00:29:57] Why Sau Sheong dedicates his time for community contributions - [00:32:18] Sau Sheong’s writing passion and why he likes writing, including authoring books - [00:35:47] Sau Sheong’s Tech Lead Wisdom - [00:40:06] _____ Chang Sau Sheong’s Bio Sau Sheong runs SP Digital, the digital business subsidiary of SP Group. In his 25 years of industry experience, he has lead engineering teams at PayPal, Yahoo, and HP to build software products. He was previously a co-founder in a software company and was involved in startups for more than 10 years. He is active and contributes to many technology communities in Singapore and Southeast Asia (especially Go and Ruby) and has written 4 programming books. Sau Sheong has a bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering and a Masters in Commercial Law. Follow Sau Sheong: LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/sausheong Twitter – https://twitter.com/sausheong Website – http://sausheong.github.io/ Our Sponsors This episode is brought to you by JetBrains. Are you a startup in software development which is less than 5 years old? If yes, our sponsor at JetBrains has a 50% startup discount offer which allows Startups to purchase multiple products and subscriptions for up to 10 unique licenses over a period of months. To find out more, go to https://www.jetbrains.com/store/startups. Like this episode? Subscribe on your favorite podcast app and submit your feedback. Follow @techleadjournal on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. Pledge your support by becoming a patron. For more info about the episode (including quotes and transcript), visit techleadjournal.dev/episodes/8.
“Continuous Integration is when you are integrating with the other developers on the code base as soon as possible. Continuous Delivery is when your code is in a deployable state and functionally correct." In this episode, I had a long deep conversation with Sriram Narayanan (Ram for short), a Principal Consultant at ThoughtWorks Singapore. Ram is one of my mentors and someone that I always enjoy listening to for all his wisdom and vast amount of experience in the industry. Ram has an illustrious versatile career, successfully transforming his role repeatedly, from being a developer, build & release engineer, system administrator, Agile consultant, and recently Continuous Delivery consultant. We discussed in depth about what Continuous Delivery is, including several important concepts in the DevOps world, such as Testing Pyramid, Value Stream Map, and Segregation of Duty. Ram also gave his valuable tips on how to become a successful consultant and how to manage client stakeholders well. We also touched on a few fun discussions on how one should keep up with the rapid changes in technology and deal with a plethora of industry buzzwords. Do not miss the insightful archery analogy anecdote in our conversation! Listen out for: Ram’s career journey and how he progressed in ThoughtWorks - [00:05:14] What Continuous Delivery is - [00:20:50] What Testing Pyramid is - [00:38:34] Ram’s view on “buzzword driven development” - [00:48:07] Why and how one should keep up with technologies - [00:53:27] Importance of Value Stream Map and Segregation of Duty - [01:02:41] How to be a successful consultant and deal with imposter syndrome - [01:17:55] Tips on managing stakeholders - [01:24:40] Ram’s 3 Tech Lead Wisdom - [01:31:15] _____ Sriram Narayanan’s Bio Sriram “Ram” Narayanan has worked for 24 odd years in the IT and non-IT in various roles and capacities. He has run his own businesses, and has helped others succeed in theirs. He is a self-taught programmer and enjoys learning all the time. In his professional capacity, he currently helps customers on their journey to Continuous Delivery. In his personal time, he is working on a book on Continuous Delivery, and is a student of approaches to reverse climate change. Follow Sriram: Website – https://www.sriramnarayanan.com LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/sriramnrn GitHub – https://github.com/sriramnrn Our Sponsors Are you a startup in software development which is less than 5 years old? If yes, our sponsor at JetBrains has a 50% startup discount offer which allows Startups to purchase multiple products and subscriptions for up to 10 unique licenses over a period of months. To find out more, go to https://www.jetbrains.com/store/startups. Like this episode? Subscribe on your favorite podcast app and submit your feedback. Follow @techleadjournal on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. Pledge your support by becoming a patron. For more info about the episode (including quotes and transcript), visit techleadjournal.dev/episodes/7.
“The thing about becoming a Tech Influencer is, content is Queen and consistency, quality and value matter. That’s the trifecta of creating content that sticks." In this episode, I had a fun conversation with Stephanie Wong, a Developer Advocate from Google Cloud. Stephanie is well known for her online developer contents ranging from YouTube videos, podcast and blog posts. She also hosts her own YouTube channel called “Steph You Should Know” where she talks about career, tech and productivity tips. Stephanie shared her story on how she started in technology even without technology education background and what led her to her current role. She also shared great tips on public speaking, storytelling, building a personal brand, and CV writing. She also gave her view on how to empower women to thrive in technology and dealing with imposter syndrome. Listen out for: Stephanie’s career journey and how she started in tech - [00:03:31] What DevRel is - [00:08:29] How to be a good Tech Influencer - [00:16:04] Tips on public speaking - [00:21:04] Importance of storytelling - [00:25:23] Tips on career advice and personal branding - [00:29:43] Women in technology and imposter syndrome - [00:33:28] Interesting DevRel experience - [00:40:29] Stephanie’s 3 Tech Lead Wisdom - [00:42:18] _____ Stephanie Wong’s Bio Stephanie Wong is a speaker, writer, and architect with a mission to blend storytelling and technology to create remarkable online developer content. She is the creator of the Google Cloud Youtube series Networking End-to-End, Kubeflow 101, and Eyes on Enterprise, and the host of Google’s Next onAir broadcast. Before Google she helped businesses implement cloud technologies at Oracle. Born and raised in San Francisco, Stephanie’s active in her community, supporting women in tech and mentoring students. She hosts her own Youtube Channel called “Steph You Should Know” where you’ll find career, tech, and productivity tips and advice. She’s a former pageant queen, Hip Hop dance gold medalist, and has an unhealthy obsession with dogs. Follow Stephanie: Twitter – https://twitter.com/swongful LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/swongful/ Medium – https://medium.com/@swongful Website – https://www.stephrwong.com/ Our Sponsors Are you a startup in software development which is less than 5 years old? If yes, our sponsor at JetBrains has a 50% startup discount offer which allows Startups to purchase multiple products and subscriptions for up to 10 unique licenses over a period of months. To find out more, go to https://www.jetbrains.com/store/startups. Like this episode? Subscribe on your favorite podcast app and submit your feedback. Follow @techleadjournal on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. Pledge your support by becoming a patron. For more info about the episode (including quotes and transcript), visit techleadjournal.dev/episodes/6.
"With Infrastructure as Code, you’re not trying to kind of reverse engineer or understand what ended up somehow onto each system, you’re actually saying, this is how the system is built and because it’s built from that code. So there is no difference." In this episode, I had an in-depth discussion with Kief Morris, the author of the O’Reilly “Infrastructure as Code” book. We started from what is Infrastructure as Code and why we should implement this important concept for managing our infrastructure, especially in the cloud era. We also discussed Infrastructure as Code principles, patterns, anti-patterns, pipeline, testing, and also recent new tools in this space. Kief also mentioned about his upcoming 2nd edition of the Infrastructure as Code book and what new changes that he is introducing. Do not miss our Pet vs Cattle discussion! Listen out for: Kief’s career journey and how he started doing infrastructure as code - [00:03:22] How Kief got into writing Infrastructure as Code Book - [00:07:24] What is Infrastructure as Code and why - [00:10:35] Pet vs Cattle - [00:18:56] Infrastructure as Code principles & patterns - [00:20:15] Automation fear - [00:27:06] Refactoring infrastructure code - [00:30:49] Infrastructure as Code pipeline & testing - [00:36:17] Pulumi and CDK - [00:48:29] Infrastructure as Code anti-pattern example - [00:50:07] 2nd edition of Infrastructure as Code book - [00:51:40] Infrastructure as Code reverse engineering - [00:53:40] Kief’s 3 Tech Lead Wisdom - [00:55:02] _____ Kief Morris’s Bio Kief is a Global Director of Cloud Engineering at ThoughtWorks. He enjoys helping organisations adopt cloud age technologies and practices. This usually involves buzzwords like cloud, digital platforms, infrastructure automation, DevOps, and Continuous Delivery. Originally from Tennessee, Kief has been building teams to deliver software as a service in London since the dotcom days. He is the author of “Infrastructure as Code”, published by O’Reilly. Follow Kief: Twitter (https://twitter.com/kief/) LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/kiefmorris/) GitHub (https://github.com/kief/) Website (http://kief.com/) Like this episode? Subscribe on your favorite podcast app and submit your feedback. Follow @techleadjournal on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. Pledge your support by becoming a patron. For more info about the episode (including quotes and transcript), visit techleadjournal.dev/episodes/5.
"With the kind of security breaches and attacks that we are witnessing in this era, it becomes of prior importance that we prioritize security at the top." In this episode, I am joined by Neha Malhotra who has recently been awarded one of the Top 20 Women in Cybersecurity in Singapore 2020. Neha is deeply passionate about cybersecurity and has an extensive experience in driving initiatives across multiple cybersecurity domains. She is also very active in the cybersecurity community groups and kindly volunteers her time to promote cybersecurity awareness to more people and also to champion for women in cybersecurity and technology. Listen out for: How Neha won the Top 20 Women in Cybersecurity in Singapore 2020 - [00:03:03] Some important security practices for one and all in the current digital world - [00:07:23] Why Neha is interested in cybersecurity - [00:10:45] How one can transition into cybersecurity - [00:15:16] Why Neha is active in doing community contribution and volunteering - [00:21:01] Neha’s message for women in technology - [00:23:08] Discussion on security trade-off, social media, and fake news - [00:31:27] Neha’s 3 Tech Lead Wisdom - [00:37:21] _____ Neha Malhotra’s Bio Neha Malhotra is a passionate information & cyber security enthusiast, and she has recently been recognized as one of the Top 20 Women in Cybersecurity in Singapore. She works as a Cybersecurity Program Manager and volunteers to serve as a Communications Director on the Exco board of (ISC)²Singapore chapter, & is actively involved with the Singapore community across initiatives driven by Cybersecurity Agency of Singapore, (ISC)², WoSec Singapore, AISP (Association of Information Security Professionals), Division Zero, Cyber Risk Meetups, Google Developers Space. She was on the Judges Panel for The CyberSecurity Awards (TCA) 2019. Neha holds CISSP, CISM, PMP certifications and is currently researching on cloud, container security, blockchain security and IoT security. Follow Neha: LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/nehamalhotrapm/) Like this episode? Subscribe on your favorite podcast app and submit your feedback. Follow @techleadjournal on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. Pledge your support by becoming a patron. For more info about the episode (including quotes and transcript), visit techleadjournal.dev/episodes/4.
“Knowing and understanding are very different things. Unless I practice it along with good guidance, I may not increase my understanding." There are several Agile misconceptions in the industry lately. It has even come to a point where people are being skeptical and starting to doubt the actual value of Agile methodologies and practices. In this episode, I had a conversation with Stanly Lau, one of the early leaders of the Agile Singapore community, about these Agile misconceptions and what we can do to bring back Agile to what it was originally intended for. Stanly is an Agile Coach in Odd-e and he enjoys helping others to produce better quality software sustainably. Stanly also shared Odd-e unique culture and how it is challenging the status quo by experimenting for other ways of building and operating a successful company. Listen out for: How Stanly initially bumped into Agile - [00:03:41] Why Stanly decided to join Odd-e and why Odd-e has such a unique culture - [00:09:41] The origin of Agile, its essence and biggest misconceptions - [00:15:55] Why Stanly brought thought leaders to Singapore for Agile Conferences and workshops - [00:22:35] Stanly’s experiment going back to the industry as employee to gain self-awareness, empathy, and thus becoming better coach - [00:25:27] Stanly’s 3 Tech Lead Wisdoms - [00:32:56] _____ Stanly Lau’s Bio Stanly Lau is an experienced software development coach and trainer at Odd-e. He helps organisations become more agile by adopting better development and people practices through experiments and congruent actions. He is also one of the early leaders of the Agile Singapore community. Follow Stanly: Email (stanly@odd-e.com) LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/stanlylau/) Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/stanlylau) Like this episode? Subscribe on your favorite podcast app and submit your feedback. Follow @techleadjournal on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. Pledge your support by becoming a patron. For more info about the episode (including quotes and transcript), visit techleadjournal.dev/episodes/3.
Hear from Singapore's prominent community builder, Michael Cheng, on how to contribute to communities, and learn more about his latest passion for mentoring junior developers. _____ “Rather than being passive about it, why don’t I take a proactive approach to try and find people who are like-minded, who share the same ideals and goals and let them come together and just share." Michael Cheng has been a prominent community builder in Singapore, having created communities such as Engineers.SG, PHP User Group, iOS Dev Scouts, and recently JuniorDev.SG. There are many people who have benefited tremendously from his communities, and importantly, those communities have also helped to accelerate the growth of the tech and startup scenes in Singapore in the last few years. In this episode, hear from Michael on why he created those communities and what made him started in the beginning, including the challenges he was trying to solve. Michael also shared the impact that his initiatives have brought both to the communities and to him professionally. We also discussed JuniorDev.SG and how some of its programmes have been helping junior developers towards the goal of dropping their “junior” title. Listen out for: How Michael started his community contributions and why he started them? - [00:03:40] Michael’s strategy to ensure that his meetups have good traction - [00:06:35] Why Michael created Engineers.SG and the impact that it brings to the community - [00:08:00] How community contributions have impacted Michael’s professional career - [00:20:14] Why Michael created JuniorDev.SG and how it differs from the other groups he created before - [00:22:49] JuniorDev.SG activities, e.g. mentoring programme, developer’s gym - [00:27:31] Michael’s 3 Tech Lead Wisdoms - [00:35:33] _____ Follow Michael: Twitter (@coderkungfu) Website (https://coderkungfu.com/) Mentions & Links: Engineers.SG (https://engineers.sg/) JuniorDev.SG (https://juniordev.sg/) The Singapore PHP User Group Meetup (https://www.meetup.com/sgphpug/) Singapore iOS Dev Scout Meetup (https://www.meetup.com/Singapore-iOS-Dev-Scout-Meetup/) The Geek Path (https://thegeekpath.com/) Geek Brunch SG (https://geekbrunch.sg/) Confreaks (https://confreaks.tv/) Like this episode? Subscribe on your favorite podcast app and submit your feedback. Follow @techleadjournal on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. Pledge your support by becoming a patron. For more info about the episode (including quotes and transcript), visit techleadjournal.dev/episodes/2.
"Leading others is leading yourself first. That's a very big work of self awareness, and you should always do that." Jerome Poudevigne is a serial CTO who has co-founded multiple startups with multiple successful exits. Recently, he has been working at Google Cloud and AWS to help startups grow and make the most of cloud technologies. In this very first episode of Tech Lead Journal, Jerome shares with us his startup wisdom from his lessons learned; advice for hiring, building culture, pitching, and managing stakeholders. He also shares with us his "Rule of 50%", a practical strategy that you can use to build your startup/product from zero scale to planet scale. Moreover, Jerome shares his interesting anecdotes about cultural differences between different regions based on his experience. Listen out for: Jerome's career highlights, lowlights, and his lessons learned - [00:04:03] How to pitch yourself to (potential) investors, and how to assess good investors - [00:06:49] Some tips for hiring, especially in a startup, and how you can assess someone's personality and culture fit - [00:09:37] How to ensure that everyone works towards the same vision of the company - [00:16:37] "Jerome's Rule of 50%" - how to build your startup from zero scale to planet scale - [00:20:49] How you should not get distracted by the latest technologies when you're starting up - [00:21:07] Stakeholders management, and how to explain about technology to non-technical stakeholders - [00:28:42] Anecdotes about cultural differences between different regions - [00:32:40] Jerome's 3 Tech Lead Wisdoms - [00:43:56] _____ Jerome Poudevigne's Bio Jerome got his first computer when he was 12 and got into programming games, hacking copy protection schemes, and putting together electronics during his school years. He decided that computers and software were too much fun, so he got a CS degree and started doing it professionally, building radar systems and avionics for Airbus.   In the mid-90s, he moved to the Silicon Valley where he got the startup bug, and soon after he co-founded his first startup, Kermeet, a Web-based event management. After it was acquired, he very soon started another one, acquired too, and then a third one, that is still growing. In-between co-founding companies, he was an independent software consultant helping out clients solving tough technical problems and other start-ups to take off the ground.    Since 2017, Jerome has been working at Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services, helping startups make the most of cloud technologies. When not traveling around Asia to a meet-up, he spends time running his small social enterprise helping people with autism. Follow Jerome: LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/jpoudevigne/) Like this episode? Subscribe on your favorite podcast app and submit your feedback. Follow @techleadjournal on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. Pledge your support by becoming a patron. For more info about the episode (including quotes and transcript), visit techleadjournal.dev/episodes/1.
"Great technical leadership requires more than just great coding skills. It requires a variety of other skills that are not well-defined." In this trailer episode, your host Henry Suryawirawan explains why he created this brand new podcast and what you can expect and learn from it. Like this episode? Subscribe on your favorite podcast app and submit your feedback. Follow @techleadjournal on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. Pledge your support by becoming a patron. For more info about the episode (including quotes and transcript), visit techleadjournal.dev/episodes/0.
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