I keep learning this lesson over and over again, so I’m writing it here in an effort to never forget again. As a manager, if some task constantly stresses me out or makes me feel uneasy, it’s probably because I’m doing someone else’s job.

I don’t mean someone’s being lazy…

(This article was originally published as part of PragPub)

Since the release of The Passionate Programmer, I’ve been thinking a lot about goals. The book is about how to build a remarkable career in software development. But, I ask, what does that lead to? …

I’ve been thinking lately about the plight of the first-time startup CTO. Startup CTOs are an interesting crowd. They’re often people who are technology-focused with a good idea and enough tech skill to create something that is worth incorporating a company over. Startup CTOs might be industry veterans with years…

As you interact with other people in the world, you either generate energy or you deplete it. In a team environment, there are people who always bring the team’s energy level up. When they are absent, you miss it. They somehow direct the flow of conversation and events from dead…

As a kid, when I had just reached the age of having or going to sleep-overs, there was a constant source of friction between me and my friends: they would want to watch television, and I argued that we could watch television alone, so it was a waste of our time together.

Now our entire society has become a pervasive, mobile version of what I was trying to avoid as a child. But instead of watching television, we’re all watching our phones, tablets, and laptops. Everywhere. On the street. At dinner. At parties. At traffic signals. In our living rooms and bedrooms.

What a waste of our time together.

(The following was written as the foreword to Rob Conery’s excellent, highly recommended book, “The Imposter’s Handbook”)

I’ve been honored to be asked to write the foreword for several books over the course of my career. Each time, my first reaction is something like “Oh wow, how exciting! What an…

Chat bots are all the rage in our little technology industry echo-chamber. It’s easy to get distracted by messaging applications and services right now. WeChat, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Slack, etc. are starting to dominate our online lives both at home and at work. WeChat has turned itself into a little…

When you create art, the purpose is self-expression.

When you create software, the purpose is rarely self-expression.

When you create software, someone somewhere wants it to perform a set of functions and has a stake in how well those functions are implemented. …

Here’s an exercise you can put into place right now which will have a lasting, significant, positive effect on your life and the lives of those you work, live, collaborate, and play with. There are two versions: an easy version and a harder version. …

What do the following have in common?

  • Agile Software Development
  • Six Sigma
  • Behavior Driven Development
  • Software Craftsmanship
  • DevOps

Each of these represents a good idea that a group of well-meaning people tried (and succeeded) to spread into the world.

Each is generally poorly defined and poorly understood.

Each term has…

Chad Fowler

I help startups succeed. CTO, speaker, author, investor — currently @microsoft @blueyard

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