Stories about Software


Reader Question Round-Up: Value of Consulting, Salesforce, Career Advice

I’ve been doing a pretty good job so far in 2020 when it comes to weekly content. And so here I am, today, keeping that dream alive.

I recorded a video last week and set it to auto-publish this morning. So I’m going to do a digest post for it.

This is going to be pretty bare bones, though. Amanda and I are traveling this week and are in the Bay area.  I’ve been meeting with clients for the last couple of days, and now we’re settled into the Oakland City Center Marriott for DeveloperWeek, which I’ll be attending to see talks and meet people.

If you’re interested in the goings-on there at all, I plan to do an experiment in live-blogging the experience and some of the talks. So stay tuned here for more detail, or you can see what I’m doing on Twitter.

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The Laboring Strategist, A Free-Agent Anti-Pattern (And How to Fix)

I’ve got what might well be a new term for you. You’re probably going to love it, assuming you haven’t heard it before.

It’s the sort of poorly-named Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon, so maybe just call it frequency bias. This is the term for when you learn a new word, and then you immediately start hearing it all the time.

Naturally, this is just another instance of the many ways that our brains constantly tricks us.  It’s not that you’re suddenly seeing this thing everywhere.

Rather you’re seeing it the same amount you always have. But you now know what it is and are flush with having just learned something, so you’re actually paying attention.

I mention this, obviously, because the point of this blog is to expand your vocabulary.  That goes almost without saying.

But frequency bias is also going to serve here as a great hook and segue to talking about a freelancer role as a “certified content marketer.”

Introducing The Solo Content Marketer

I got this email the other day:

I get a lot of emails like this, actually. They ask me to link to things or they ask me to publish their articles on my blog.

Mostly, I just send them to spam.

But this one made me curious, so I clicked on the portfolio link and looked at the guy’s website a little before sending it to spam.

And, ooh, weird!

He was another certified content marketer.  And this was weird because I’ve suddenly, in the last 3 weeks or so, started seeing this term everywhere.  Basically ever since we started a new division of Hit Subscribe and needed to find writers en masse in a different discipline.

And I’ve since realized something.

This guy, a self-proclaimed strategist, doing his own spammy outreach labor, is another discipline’s analog for an anti-pattern that I see all the time in the software world.  My hope is that seeing it happen in a different discipline might jog some of you out of your reveries of slinging code and calling yourself a “consultant,” to the detriment of your own prospects and business.

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Reader Question Round-Up: Getting into Management, the Value of Consulting, and More

Ever since I started treating content creation as a hobby, I’ve been getting things out pretty consistently. Mostly, this has just meant doing stuff on weekends, for fun, rather than when I’m tired at midnight on a school night and feel obligated.

I suppose this means that my content production could vary seasonally or by the whims of my interest in other things. But for now, I’m just gonna roll with it.

For now, this means another video on the YouTube channel.  And another video on that channel means another digest post here.

However, if you like written content, do not despair!  I actually have a 4K word blog post ready to publish, and will probably push that whale out into the world next week.

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Reader Question Round-Up: Software Code of Ethics and Niching

I really hit my video creation stride last weekend, making 3 different videos.  Two of them were for Hit Subscribe’s YouTube channel and one reader question round up.

So consequently, this week I bring you another digest post and round-up in frame, below.  This one had a lot of questions about niching, all arising out of a blog post I wrote over the summer:

  1. Should there be a software developers’ code of ethics?
  2. How do you know if your niche is too broad or too narrow?
  3. Is “I help customers add features to old software, faster” a good niche?
  4. How did I, personally, come by business knowledge and an understanding of niches?

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Reader Question Round-Up: Corporate Culture, Code Quality and Counter Offers

Just when you thought I’d run out of steam, like some kind of content brown dwarf, I’ve found new life.  Seriously, it’s weird to look at the blog and see that it’s been a month since I’ve posted content.

Oh well.  C’est la vie.  I’ve got content for you today.

I just recently published another video (framed below) on my Youtube channel where, wow, I’m actually pushing 500 subscribers.  And I am, once again, answering reader questions:

  1. How does caring about problem domain relate to ethical concerns about employers?
  2. What is the new big boss’s real agenda for a “culture building” event?
  3. New job offer after only 4 months at current employer and a counter-offer. Should I accept the counter-offer?
  4. How important is code quality for the “efficiencer”?

(If you want to ask me a question for answering in a video or blog post, you can do so here).

As for the blog itself, the sparse content is more of an aberration than a trend.  I’m not shooting with do-or-die intention for a weekly cadence, but that is loosely my goal.  And I’ve decided to stop treating content creation as a kind of work, and opt to carve out a little time on Saturdays for it instead, treating it as a hobby.

So, no promises on cadence, but rest assured that if you’ve been coming here for content over the years, I have no intention of stopping the train.

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