May is over already which means the kids are now out of school, summer has begun, and work is ramping up at Luro. Here is the retelling of vibes…
The little league championship 🏆
In my last vibe check I mentioned my son’s little league experience and how he and his teammates talked about the playoffs, but I wasn’t sure if they existed or not. Well… the playoffs were real! A single elimination playoff bracket. Eight teams enter, one team leaves…
Otis’s team, the Athletics, squeaked their way through to the finals and ended up winning the Northwest Little League championship. 🎉
A happy, unexpected end to our first full season of baseball. Seeing the growth of every kid on every team over the course of a season was a treat. At the beginning of the season no one can pitch and it’s a walk-a-thon, but then the pitchers start throwing strikes, then the kids realize they can’t stand there and need to start hitting, then the kids realize they need to start fielding the ball, then they start making plays and forcing outs. It’s a how-to play baseball montage that happens over eight weeks. The coaches did a phenomenal job and fostered a great experience.
The road to productivity hell is paved with context switching
In mid-April my wife got a job at the kids’ elementary school. It’s awesome and I think the job suits her unique skills; namely she can remember everyone’s name. One side effect of this lifestyle change is we destroyed the balance of household duties we’ve established over the last ~8 years since having kids.
We expected the change but a lot of May was about adjusting to this new balance. A day went like this: Wake up make breakfasts and lunch → Get the kids off to school → Work for an hour or two → Interrupt my morning flow with a meeting → Work a bit and get lunch → Sit down at my desk for an hour → Get the kids from school → Get the kids to swim → The kids ask me for snacks until their mom gets home → Try to get another hour of work done…
Darn near impossible to establish any sort of deep work rhythm with that schedule. As a result I’m not sure I was as productive as I hoped to be last month.
The family context switching was extra, but even work had a considerable bit of context switching. A lot of switching back and forth between backend work → frontend work but also switching from building the product → building the business → building the engineering team. In a day I might cycle between product dev work → documentation → testing → meetings → podcasts → research → learning → side projects → open source. Each of those contexts have a Brain RAM cost. Mix in my (undiagnosed) ADHD and what a wonderful tapestry of distraction and experiences.
For some reason I thought this would be a good month to try live streaming some side project work on Twitch. After three streams I think my streaming career is kaput. In a different multiverse where I have no kids, I’m not starting a company, or if my work duties radically change… it could potentially work.
The tl;dr here is I need to eliminate some extra contexts from my life. That hurts my heart but the road to burnout is paved with context switching and we don’t want that. My new goal in life —after getting a breakfast platter named after me— is to be so bored I have time to read a magazine subscription.
New hires and new features
An exciting month at the job. We managed to hire two talented folks who are going to help us build the future of Luro. One person is already onboarded and one arrives next week.
Hiring people is a lot of work. Who knew. All worth it, of course. First off, as a business, you need to know how you’re going to assess the skills and “fit” of a person. In Good to Great, Jim Collins calls this “getting the right people on the bus”, but ethically you also want to do that in a way that’s as fair and unbiased as possible. To me, this means establishing a standard interview template (with some flexibility) and devising a grading system. This complete guide to job interviewing was helpful but you need to mix in some engineering specifics.
Then you need to comb backlogs, perform mini-explorations of near-future features, speculate far off features; all to figure out your exact skill gaps and what types of roles might fill those gaps.
Then you need to determine if a job candidate’s skills match those gaps. This is hard for me, because I optimistically believe everyone has potential to figure out everything, but in startup land, that time and runway is somewhat precious.
Then, if you make a hire, before they show up you have to:
- Make sure all your documentation is up-to-snuff
- Make sure the local dev environment stands up in minutes and not days
- Create some
Good First Issuetickets
- Devise some low- to high-challenge tasks for ramping up, hopefully providing exposure to critical parts of the application
- Establish clear and concrete goals and objectives
I’ve also decided that for every new hire I’m going make sure all module dependencies and Node versions are as updated as possible, so those problems don’t create a bad first install experience. Thinking about the “user experience” of employee onboarding is possibly overkill but it’s something I’d like to do well if possible.
In a couple weeks everyone will be fully onboarded and back from vacation. I’m excited to see the lights turn on in the engineering department. In fact, with the help of our newest hire we were able to build out a new feature that we think is going to make a big impact and become a centerpiece to the application. Good vibes all around. It feels like the rocket ship is about to take off.
It’s hard to reflect on May without acknowledging the horrible, preventable tragedy that occurred at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX. Kids my own son’s age. Mass shootings are shockingly not uncommon in America, but having an insincere state government that blusters and passes laws to make the situation worse while kids are dying en masse is heartbreaking. My heart goes out to all the families dealing with the unimaginable pain, loss, and grief.
Texans, please register and vote accordingly this fall.
Core Dave Vitals
What you stat nerds all come here for….
- 📖 Reading - All my reading notes are on my bookshelf.
- 🧠 Learning - Educational resources
- Frontend Masters Web Components - My Frontend Masters course on web components is now LIVE!
- Mastering Nuxt - I use Nuxt everyday, but working through this course to round out my knowledge and shore up my understanding of the idioms of Nuxt/Vue, rather than solely relying on my current on-demand learning approach.
- 🧶 Crafting - No crafts. But I got some new Gundam HGs for my birthday.
- 🎙 Podcasts, YouTubes, etc.
- ShopTalk YouTubes
- Things Fell Apart by Jon Ronson (BBC) - I love Jon Ronson’s ability to talk to people and get them to talk. This audio essay looks at the culture wars happening in American society. The first episode about Francis Schaeffer (a minor character in my evangelical past) hooked me into an exploration of decades of American division. [🌟 Staff pick]
- The Trojan Horse Affair by Brian Reed and Hamza Syed (Serial Productions) - An anonymous letter exposing the “Islamification” of school in Birmingham, a headmaster fired, a school board acting sus, yet no one knows who wrote the letter. Equal parts mystery and outrage.
- Crystal Blue by 7lamb productions. - A sci-fi audiodrama set on a prison planet on the outer edge of the federation. I could nit-pick some of the dialog but the premise is great and I think they’re doing a great job spacing out the story beats.
- ⌨️ Open source - A little bit of work in #tabvengers this month.
- Brian Kardell summarizes some of the progress (?) on
- I failed at updating the dependencies in dependency project that uses Typescript.
- Brian Kardell summarizes some of the progress (?) on
- 👾 Video games - My Playdate arrived. I’ve had a lot of fun with it so far. More to report soon.
- 📝 Blogging - Could have been better but with all the context switching.