And what to do in a world which believes it exists.

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Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

I was standing in the kitchen off the office. People we mulling about, eating lunch, drinking coffee, chatting. There was a buzz — not the excited vibrancy you might expect from a dot-com startup, but a friendly, happy atmosphere of people who were enjoying each others company, and getting on with their work and their lives. On the wall were five posters. Each one had an abstract graphic, a single world in foot high letters, and an explanation which really did nothing to explain the words, but felt sort of related. These were the company’s values. These were the bedrock of the company culture. Everyone was ignoring them. …

The Economics and Effects of Where Businesses Make Decisions

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Photo by Vladislav Babienko on Unsplash

In even the most hierarchical, command and control focused business, decisions are made throughout the organization. The lowly worker in the most systemized, by-the-book, fast food franchise is constantly deciding if they really want to do things by the book, or if they would prefer to go their own way and face the consequences. The issue is not if decisions are made by all employees at all levels, but which decisions — and if by making those decisions where they are currently made, are we making the decisions that are the best for the business.

To investigate this, we need to look at the economics of decision making in a company. …

A simple daily meditation practice can give you control over the rest of your life

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Photo by Isabell Winter on Unsplash

After about fifteen years of experimenting with meditation practices, I was taught a secret, which revolutionised how I meditated. The secret was simple, and, in retrospect, obvious, but for fifteen years no-one had told me, and I hadn’t understood the full value of what I was doing. Let me share it with you : “When you meditate your aim is not to empty your mind, your aim is not to focus on a mantra or reach a certain state of consciousness. …

This is what I learned from embracing the dark side

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Photo by Jo Szczepanska on Unsplash

After several years of gradually moving away from programming, six months ago I finally made the switch into engineering management. My motivation was good — I had discovered, completely by surprise, that the most satisfying part of my job had ceased to be developing code and had started to be developing people. It became clear that the way I could be most productive — and have the biggest influence on the code base was to stop doing the daily work of programming, and instead help others to be more effective and more efficient.

That was the theory.

But in reality I was stepping into the dark. Sure I had seen what my managers did day to day, but there were many parts of their jobs which were, for perfectly good reasons, hidden from view. Over the weeks and months that followed my promotion I began to discover some of these for…

But in this day and age, what are your other choices?

Oxford Universisty: Photo by delfi de la Rua on Unsplash
Oxford Universisty: Photo by delfi de la Rua on Unsplash

Let’s get this straight: I’m privileged. I went to university. And I benefitted hugely from university. I was the sort of person the education system was set up for: I did most of my work on time, got good grades, made it into Cambridge University and came out the other side with a network of close friends, a decent degree and several job offers. But I’ll also tell you this — I wasted a lot of my time. And were it not for caring (and sufficiently well off) parents and a political system which hadn’t yet started charging people to learn, I would have been in a lot of debt. I’m beginning to suspect the university system is being used for purposes it wasn’t set up to cope with — and that the social contract around getting a university degree has broken down. …

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I’ve been in the software industry for almost twenty years, working in both high pressure startups and big corporate machines. My career has been a set of fits and starts, great decisions, backwards movement, getting places due to luck and making my own luck with careful, considered judgement. A few days ago, an intern I was mentoring asked me to tell them how your software career develops, and I realised that nobody had told me this — and that I’ve had to pick it all up as I go along. …

I was watching a video on LinkedIn:

It shows an engineer explaining why all software should be well engineered — that if you follow the best software engineering practices, your code will be easier to maintain, your cost of developing and maintaining that code will be lower, and you’ll be able to outpace your competitors who don’t use these practices.

Its all true.

But it all relies on an assumption. And it’s an assumption which runs rampant amongst software engineers. The assumption is:

“The only factors involved in selling software are how good that software is and how quickly we (sustainably) develop it.” …


Ben Chalmers

Software Development Manager, Interested In Personal Growth and Helping Others Grow

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