Occupied Neurons, November Kunst

What Trader Joes Figured Out About Work Culture That My Other Past Employers Haven’t

http://engage.guidespark.com/talent-and-culture/what-trader-joes-figured-out-about-work-culture-that-my-other-past-employers-havent/

Holy shit folks, I could study this like the Torah for the rest of my professional life.  Open every conversation with open-ended question?  “There’s 1000 ways to do it right”?  Yes yes and yes.

Saving The World From Code

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/09/saving-the-world-from-code/540393/

One of the most frustrating things for me, a part-time coder, is having so much difficulty following the state of things as expressed in semi-linear Code (don’t even get me started with Functional and async). When I’m trying to piece together code fragments from multiple sources, it’s nearly impossible for me to reason the complete working model – I end up writing out a stepwise process model, or changing variable names one at a time and iterating forever until I see which piece contributes what to the whole machine.

So this piece – and the underlying theme of “software is beyond the reasoning capacity of great humans” – resonates like hell for me.

Uncle Bob and Silver Bullets

https://www.hillelwayne.com/post/uncle-bob/

There’s only so much “blame the victim” I can stand in this world, and Uncle Bob is one of the loudest offenders. Yeah we should all get better at coding, and yeah we should hold ourselves accountable when it doesn’t measure up.

But what about the interim? How’s about standing on the shoulders of giants? Or leaning on our elders? Or centralising expertise and leaving others to be good at what they’re good at?

I’m all for not being expected to master the universe before getting on with the job of getting something out into the world to learn from it. If everyone waited until they were the best at every discipline involved in the making of things…well, you can imagine how bereft the world would be.

It’s actually a good reminder to dial back the damned voice in my (and your) head telling us we’re not good enough yet. Let’s make something useful, and find out how wrong we are in someone else’s eyes, by encountering the actual evidence of feedback.

What’s the Difference between JavaScript and ECMAScript?

When Do I Know I’m Ready for Redux?

https://medium.com/dailyjs/when-do-i-know-im-ready-for-redux-f34da253c85f

One of many think-pieces about whether and when to add Redux to a React.js app, and a helpful guide for those not already steeped in the experience of doing so.

Understanding ReactJS-Component life cycle

https://medium.com/@baphemot/understanding-reactjs-component-life-cycle-823a640b3e8d

Far too abstract for a non-expert to follow – this is a documentation piece, and not even a good one at that. Re-examine this in a year, maybe it’ll make sense by then. Experts only.

Presentational and Container Components

https://medium.com/@dan_abramov/smart-and-dumb-components-7ca2f9a7c7d0

An interesting pattern to note for later, when the app I’m working on scales to the point I find myself passing props through component layers.

Optimizing React Rendering (part 1)

https://flexport.engineering/optimizing-react-rendering-part-1-9634469dca02

Optimizing?  Bah – definitely too early for optimization in my app.  Got one page working.  Let’s leave this as a breadcrumb for future Mike.

Javascript Arrow Functions for Beginners

https://codeburst.io/javascript-arrow-functions-for-beginners-926947fc0cdc

I’ll re-read this until it sinks in.  Lambda notation mystifies me, but probably I just need to implement it a hundred times or so and my brain will settle down.

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WhoDidITalkTo: working ReactJS code!

You ever take a very long time to birth something small but ultimately, personally meaningful?

Me neither, but what I’m calling stage 1 of my ReactJS app is working to my liking.

WhoDidITalkTo is a personal work of love to help me remember all the wonderful encounters I have at Meetups and other such networking events.  It’s painful for me to keep forgetting the awesome conversations I’ve had with people, and have to confess I don’t remember someone who I very clearly made an impression on.  As someone with superhuman empathy, it’s crushing to see those hurt microexpressions cross their faces when they realize I’m no better than Leonard Shelby:

tumblr_m6igbdnbxr1qfola7o1_500
A little less dirty than him, usually

So I’m trying to remedy that, by giving myself a tool I can use from my phone to capture and review salient details from each new personal encounter I have at all the events I slut around to.

It’s prototype stage, and I have no dreams of monetizing this (so many startups have tried and failed to make this kind of “personal CRM lite” work and failed), and it’s a long ways from being fully functional in the field.  Still, I’m having fun seeing just how far I can stretch my rusty front end skills *and* treat this like a real Product Management project for myself.

If you’d like to peer inside my jumbled mind, this isn’t a bad place to see for yourself:
https://github.com/MikeTheCanuck/WhoDidITalkTo/projects/1

WhoDidITalkTo prototype v1

Occupied Neurons, September release

I’ve been scratching the itch of building an app for myself that solves a Job-to-be-done: when I’m networking, I want a tool to remind myself who are the weak ties in my network I’ve talked to, and what I’ve learned about them.  I want visual refreshers (photos I may have of them) and textual reminders of topics and things an otherwise-non-porous-memory would retain about people whose company I have previously enjoyed.

Using Firebase with ReactJS

In all the research I’m doing on prototyping a front end for my app, I’ve struggled to find something that’s more than “assemble every bespoke tag, class and id by hand” but less than “spend the next six months learning AngularJS”.  Focusing on the front-end to explore my user needs, I didn’t want to get stuck developing a big-ass (and probably unnecessary) back-end stack – even just adapting some well-defined pattern – so I started to explore Firebase [which is all front-end coding with a back-end data layer – to approximate it horribly].

And with a couple more explorations of the territory, I stumbled on the ReactJS “getting started” guide via the Hello World app, and finally understood how cool it is to have a pseudo-object-oriented approach to assembling the “V” in MVC.  (Who knows – for all I know, this is just vanilla ES6 now, and I’m just that far behind the times.)

Still, it is strikingly familiar in basic construction and with the promise of integrating a Firebase “backend” to give me a lightweight stack that will more than adequately perform for me as a single user, I’m finally willing to wade through the React Tutorial and see if that’s enough for me to piece together a working prototype

Props vs State in React

This is one of the more striking subtleties of React – how similar props and state are, and how it appears [at least to me] that the distinction is more a convention for others to understand how to use your React code, than anything that is required by the React compiler.

 

And on the Product Side of my mental tesseract…

I’ve also been refreshing my knowledge of the Product Management practices I haven’t had an opportunity to practice lately.  Amongst which:

How does a Product Manager perform competitive analysis?

This is the clearest-eyed explanation I’ve seen yet about “understanding your competition”.  I’ve worked with too many Product Marketing folks who get spun up about the checklist war, and making sure that we have feature parity in the product, and it’s always seemed like a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Focusing on “what problems does the competition solve for *YOU* dear customer, and why are those important to your core business?” is a whole lot more genuine *and* believable to me.  I’ve never thought of this line of questioning as “competitive analysis”, just part of doing my job to suss out what I can do to help my customers.