DeveloPassion's Newsletter #20 - Future of Work

DeveloPassion's Newsletter #20 - Future of Work
Welcome to the 20th edition of my newsletter. I hope that you’ve all had a great week! We’re almost in September already. The finish line for 2021 is getting closer and closer. There are only 132 days left, and those are precious. Let’s make the best of that time! Part of my approach to being productive is to keep “time” in mind and plan ahead. Once again, we didn’t go on vacation this year. We would’ve liked to, but different things came up and made it impossible. Anyways, the sun was nowhere to be seen around here. Luckily, the kids are going back to school real soon. This means that my wife and I will finally be able to “rest” and relax a bit. Can’t wait! We only have a couple of weeks left before our new baby arrives, so every minute counts! 😜
A community for Software Crafters
Don’t forget to join the Slack channel of our community. It’s a friendly and cozy place to discuss IT, Software Development, code quality, productivity, and more! You are of course all welcome to join! Here is the Slack invite link:
Building a Second Brain for everyone
These past weeks, I’ve spent a ton of time doing research. I’ve explored different products in the note-taking and knowledge management spaces. It’s been fascinating. Many products have a very narrow focus (e.g., highlighting content, taking notes, storing bookmarks, etc), but I couldn’t find a single one supporting personal knowledge management from end to end. Because of that, people that are really serious about building their personal knowledge management system have to combine different tools (e.g., Pocket, Readwise, Obisian, Roam, Notion, etc). It’s kind of sad, really. Luckily, it’s possible to integrate various tools together (e.g., Pocket & Readwise, Readwise & Obsidian), but it’s still quite complex. First, it means having to discover all those tools, understand their features, their specific user interfaces, and when to use them. Second, it means understanding how to integrate them together and why. More importantly, all of those tools are isolated knowledge silos, which limits the ways in which the information can be linked, reused, and exploited. Of course, some people are tech-savvy and manage to find their way. But I’m sure that many others don’t, and suffer from this situation. That’s why I look at this situation as a problem, and thus as an opportunity to improve the status quo. This week I’ve discussed with Martine Ellis, who’s really serious about productivity and personal knowledge management. She has recently published an article describing her current PKM system. I found it really interesting and wanted to have a chat with her in order to understand her current pain points. After all, the only way to build great products is to uncover real-world problems and confront our ideas with the reality that others face. The discussion was very fruitful and confirmed some of my conclusions: there’s definitely room for improvement! One thing that Martine told me is that hoarding content needs to be avoided. Capturing interesting articles, videos, and book highlights is great, but it’s only the first step. The real benefits can only be reaped if we regularly go through the captured content in order to learn from it! In the coming weeks, I’ll continue interviewing people interested in learning and building their own personal knowledge management system. If you’re interested in discussing this subject with me, then simply reply to this e-mail, I can’t wait to have a chat with you!
Recent articles and the future of work
This week, I’ve published one more article extracted from the first volume of Dev Concepts: This one is important for me. It shares my vision about why one should approach software development as a craft. I wanted to share one more, but I’ve instead decided to work on an essay about the future of work as part of the Medium Writers Challenge: That article summarizes what my family has gone through so far because of COVID-19 and the impact that it all had on my vision of remote work. I really don’t see myself returning to the office. I don’t mind going back from time to time to see some colleagues face-to-face, but I can’t stand the idea of being forced to go there 50% of the time. Heck, even being forced to go a single day per week is too much! We’ve all proved that remote work works. We proved it time and time again while suffering through a pandemic. We had children at home, extreme stress levels, permanent anxiety, and we still delivered quality work. What more do organizations need? The thing is that they understand that we’re able to deliver, and collaborate efficiently. The problem is that they’re scared that if we don’t stay connected to the organization, we’ll want to fly away. And that’s precisely why some companies try to force people back to the office. In my opinion, that’s where they make a big mistake. By trying to force employees back, they’ll definitely end up losing talented people in favor of organizations that fully embrace remote work (i.e., the new normal). My point is that we should all have a choice to work remotely when we can. My article quickly rose to the front page of HackerNews yesterday, and as usual, it has caused a huge spike in visits to my blog on Medium:
Thanks to this, I’ve crossed the 500K views milestone on Medium. I’m feeling proud right now! /flex ;-)
This comforts me in the idea that people are interested in what I have to say. And that’s great because there are a ton more things I want to write about!
Dev Concepts News
Week after week, I continue working hard on Dev Concepts. I felt burned out back in April, but right now I’m going full steam ahead!
Last week, I’ve finally finished the section about application integration by covering SOAP Web services, Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), and Enterprise Service Bus (ESB).
It was fun going down memory lane to write about SOAP. Many believe that it’s completely outdated and irrelevant, but I disagree. SOAP still has valid use cases, and shouldn’t be ignored entirely. That’s why I wanted to at least cover the topic in Dev Concepts.
With that done, I’ve actually completed the chapter about Software Architecture, which ended up being HUGE. I’m proud of myself today! 💪💪💪Time to celebrate! 🎉🎉 Right next, I’m going to write a chapter about Information and Data architecture. It’s the last big chapter for this volume of the series. Writing this next chapter is going to be quite tough because there’s a LOT to cover: relational & non-relational data stores, data modeling, data models, normalization, data storage, data integration (e.g., ETL, CDC, etc), data governance, big data, linked data, data analytics, and more!
By the way, don’t forget that Dev Concepts Volume 3: Architecture is available for pre-order. If you’re dreaming of becoming an IT architect, or at least willing to understand more about the different facets of the job and learn about important architectural patterns, then this book is certainly one you should not miss. (I sincerely hope this doesn’t sound too “salesy” 😂).
I’m still looking for more reviewers. If you’re interested, then please reach out to me (by replying to this mail or sending me a DM on Twitter!). I’ll give you free access to the books/drafts in exchange for honest feedback & reviews that I can share publicly.
I’m writing Dev Concepts in public, publishing weekly status updates on IndieHackers, so check it out if you want to follow the project more closely: You can already get the first volume as well as the second one.
Books corner
Whenever I’m on the move, there are three key things that I always have with me: a pen, my notebook, and my e-book reader.
I thought about this for a while, but maybe you’ll be interested to know about the books that I’ve read recently, or plan to read soon. If you’re in a hurry, then I think that my Goodreads profile is public. Here are the books I’ve read most recently. I’m not affiliated with any of the authors, but those are still affiliate links; I hope you don’t mind:
  • The Embedded Entrepreneur: How to Build an Audience-Driven Business
  • In this book by Arvid Kahl, I’ve learned a lot about how to approach product development, how to avoid building solutions that nobody wants, and how to get better at building an audience. I’m currently reading the previous book of Arvid: Zero to Sold
  • The Mom Test
  • This one is a gold mine. Thanks to it, I’ve discovered how to avoid searching for compliments, and instead gain valuable insights while discussing with (potential) customers. This is a great book to learn about how to properly validate ideas/assumptions and how to build the right thing
  • Atomic Habits
  • I strongly believe in the power of habits, and James Clear does a great job at explaining why habits are so impactful, how to acquire good ones and how to get rid of those that prevent us from making progress with our lives. I’ve touched on that subject in Dev Concepts Volume 1.
  • Blink
  • Malcolm Gladwell is an author that I like a lot. He has clearly mastered the art of storytelling. In this book, he focuses on the power of intuition and explains how we understand things intuitively in an instant.
  • Make Your Bed
  • Hello, Startup
  • An interesting book about startups and how to approach the creation of a software product
Since this is the first time I discuss books here, I really want to mention some of favorite personal development books:
    • This book by Simon Sinek has helped me to seriously think about what I wanted to do next with my life.
    • I’ve read this book many years ago. It’s the first one that really helped me to get more efficient and build a solid personal productivity system. To this day, I still rely on many of the ideas that I’ve learned from this book (e.g., the Zero inbox principle, the two-minute rule).
    • This was a life-changing book for me. For the longest time, I considered myself a night owl. But I’ve changed my mind after reading this book and started waking up much earlier. I’m never going back, as it is one of the key things that allow me to be really productive.
    • Jake Knapp & John Zeratsky shared great insights in this book. The main takeaway for me is the incredible power of defining the most important thing to achieve at the start of each day. This book has changed the way I look at my days and has helped me to make time for achieving meaningful goals.
    • An excellent book to help increase your productivity by focusing on what really matters. Together with Make Time, this book has helped me a lot to have laser focus on my most important life goals.
    • I haven’t mastered the art just yet, but this book is definitely a gem to discover.
I could mention many more, but that’s probably enough for now ;-) Reply to this e-mail, and tell me about your own favorites. Or better yet: join us on Slack and share those with all of us!
Links of the week, ideas, and tips
Here are a few links that I found interesting this week: