Monthly Archives: October 2014

Work-ish Tweets

This is the model I’ve been using at New Relic:

KWukwugirlOct 16, 2014, 1:13 am 
Useful perspective on moving from engineer->manager: “It’s not a promotion – it’s a career change” HT @feministy

And of course this is true:

Alison FetherAFetherOct 15, 2014, 7:57 pm 
“The best way to improve your presentation is to get better content.” –@EdwardTufte

10x engineers are smart, but there are a lot of smart people in the world, so what makes the difference between a smart person who is 1x and a smart person who is 10x?

Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbOct 16, 2014, 4:27 am 
Grit Trumps Talent and IQ: A Story Every Parent (and Educator) Should Read

An essay about what happens with values when you reach Dunbar’s Number:

Luke KaniespuppetmasterdOct 16, 2014, 5:45 am 
Article: “The Old Guard” – great article by @rands on cultural issues when scaling a company

An essay about why some constraints are important, even when they seem counter-indicated:

kate matsudairakatematsOct 17, 2014, 3:35 am 
Why unlimited vacation policies are bad for everyone

An interesting economic argument about taxis vs Uber:

Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbOct 19, 2014, 4:35 pm 
The Robotic Taxi Driver: “price and quality are lining up as you would expect in a market economy”

I value Wikipedia but at the same time I value expertise, so I’ve never quite been comfortable with the Wikipedia model of anonymously crowdsourcing everything. I wish that Wikipedia had editor CVs. But be that as my opinion, here’s a nice history:

Jean BezivinJBezivinOct 19, 2014, 7:07 pm 
The Wiki Saga with tribute to all great innovators like @WardCunningham.

“How They Created The Digital Revolution”

Smalltalk is one of my favorite programming environments of all time and I agree that it has a lot of lessons for those who care to pay attention:

Daniel SpiewakdjspiewakOct 19, 2014, 7:33 pm 
@jdegoes There is a lot to learn from Smalltalk. A LOT. Even for FP purists.

Just writing more tests doesn’t make things better. Good tests need low mental overhead.

Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbOct 22, 2014, 4:39 am 
Flaky crusts: Good for pies; bad for test suites | 8th Light

Most internet lists are useless, but here’s a good one about management:

kate matsudairakatematsOct 22, 2014, 1:50 am 
44 engineering management lessons

Fun Tweets including Doughnut Wedding Cake

SciencePornSciencePornOct 15, 2014, 5:09 am 
It all makes sense.
Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbOct 15, 2014, 10:19 pm 
Fascinating PicturesFascinatingpicsOct 16, 2014, 1:18 am 
What is ‘Reverse Graffiti”:
Steve SilbermanstevesilbermanOct 16, 2014, 10:10 pm 
Cool: Periodic table of relative abundance of the elements.
Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbOct 19, 2014, 4:41 am 
Doughnut wedding cake

Tweets, Fun and Serious


George R.R. MartinGRRMOct 3, 2014, 7:24 pm 
JK Rowling, Joss Whedon, and I walk into a bar…

Everyone you’ve ever cared about dies.

Stupid CalculationsstupidcalcSep 9, 2014, 3:26 pm 
Wonder how long it’d take a Gatling gun to fire all the Nespresso capsules ever made?
Adam LangAdamBalfourLangOct 9, 2014, 7:45 pm 
This is the best fact I’ve read in a long time:
Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbOct 12, 2014, 3:29 pm 
Don Van Natta Jr.DVNJrOct 12, 2014, 2:23 pm 
This may be the best newspaper correction of ALL TIME. RT @eleanorokane: My favourite ever @guardian Correction…
Fascinating VideosFascinatingVidsOct 12, 2014, 1:41 pm 
Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbOct 12, 2014, 4:48 pm 
USSR Gas Well Blow Out in 1966 = Nuclear Bomb Puts Out The Fire
Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbOct 14, 2014, 1:32 am 
The food truck fad has peaked per Non Sequitur by Wiley Miller

Fun & Real

There aren’t quite enough characters in a tweet to capture the whole thought here which is basically that conducting yourself with integrity is necessary but not sufficient. The discussion around the Satya Nadella kerfuffle highlights that more is needed. But for sure integrity is necessary:

Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbOct 10, 2014, 3:17 pm 
“Trust your skills and yourself, conduct yourself with integrity, these things will inspire the rewards you deserve.”

I love APL:

Baishampayan GhoseghosebOct 10, 2014, 5:34 am 
With APL I feel like a Sith Lord. So much power! @fuconf #dyalog @mkromberg
Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbOct 14, 2014, 2:06 am 
Cool Spaces: Tableau’s new Fremont office is a developer’s dream – Puget Sound Business Journal


This is a good article:

Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbOct 11, 2014, 4:53 am 
“Meritocracy is a myth. And our belief in it is holding back the tech industry from getting better.”

This is a key one of my management philosophies:

Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbOct 13, 2014, 2:50 am 
“being late is a selfish act, you are telling everyone that your time is more important than theirs.”

An article about why you need to be careful about “hiring for skills” rather than “hiring for ability”:

Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbOct 14, 2014, 2:09 am 
Resume Driven Development – O’Reilly Radar

A nice article about why perfection (in this case in distributed systems) is not less than ideal for business:

Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbOct 14, 2014, 2:19 am 
Myth: Eric Brewer on Why Banks are BASE Not ACID – Availability Is Revenue

And this is a great article about alerts (highly recommended):

NatashadevnatashOct 14, 2014, 6:01 am 
Some really nice examples of effective alerting from a veteran google SRE RT @rgs_ @isaach:…
  • Every time my pager goes off, I should be able to react with a sense of urgency. I can only do this a few times a day before I get fatigued.
  • Every page should be actionable; simply noting “this paged again” is not an action.
  • Every page should require intelligence to deal with: no robotic, scriptable responses.
For completeness, conversational replies are occassionally elided: [1].

Quotes from “The Amazon Way: 14 Leadership Principles”

Having worked at Amazon, I was familiar with the principles in “The Amazon Way: 14 Leadership Principles“; it’s amazing how consistent they have been over the years. While I don’t agree with all the principles, particularly the part about not valuing employees’ personal time (a.k.a. work-life balance), the part about creating the right level of process resonates with me:

Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbSep 28, 2014, 5:48 am 
“Strong processes with measurable outcomes eliminate bureaucracy and expose underperformers.” – music to my ears
Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbSep 28, 2014, 7:04 am 
“Bureaucracy is when the process doesn’t favor the customer.”
Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbSep 28, 2014, 7:45 pm 
“Great leaders develop a strong, clear framework; then they constantly apply and articulate that framework.”

Humor and Wisdom

First some humor:

Helen MurphylemurphOct 8, 2014, 2:43 pm 
Best library tour question so far: “So, is there a specific place in the library where people go to snog?” Me: Um…not that I’m aware of…

Then some wisdom: What does agile really mean? Rapid delivery, at scale, sustainably. Adapt the dogma to work in your context:

Dan NorthtastapodOct 8, 2014, 8:35 pm 
Slides from my talk “You keep using that word” now online at #AgileBC14

How to be a great leader, whether CEO or lower down:

Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbOct 8, 2014, 11:34 pm 
The key is to have a zest for knowledge and an interest in all parts of the business, not just your core strength.

One of my key principles is that a team is better than an individual, so you have to work at setting up the environment for collaboration:

Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbOct 9, 2014, 5:14 am 
“Silicon Valley’s greatest advances came through collaboration – making serendipitous encounters critical.”

Another of my key principles is to be deliberate in everything, including organizational design:

Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbOct 9, 2014, 5:09 am 

The design of your organization is about so much more than the org chart. Design encompasses the strategy of the organization, the processes it must perform in order to execute that strategy, the rules necessary to execute those processes, the governance model that insures these things are happening in alignment, and — finally—the structure of the organization. This can sound pretty complicated to a fast moving start up or social venture, but the time consumed by bad design or no design at all far outweighs the time required to get this important piece right.

Tweets from FutureStack14

This week was the New Relic user conference, {Future}Stack14.

Jonah KowalljkowallOct 8, 2014, 12:14 pm 
Your Software Analytics, Your Data Apps < This is really big, differentiated, and cool, must see @newrelic
Ken Ahrenskahrens_atlOct 8, 2014, 4:35 pm 
“Life is too short for bad software” Lew Cirne @sweetlew #FS14
Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbOct 8, 2014, 5:34 pm 
“the number of clicks to cancel is usually less than the number of clicks to sign up” @ColleenBerube #FS14
Kartick SuriamoorthykarticksOct 8, 2014, 9:53 pm 
At an amazing talk by Ward Cunningham about understanding developers at FutureStack 14 #FS14
Grace StuartGraceStuOct 9, 2014, 5:25 pm 
YOU GO GIRL Just another reason I wanna work at New Relic #FS14
Ken Ahrenskahrens_atlOct 9, 2014, 11:21 pm 
Overheard at #FS14 : we need to move from Drama Driven Decisions to Data Driven Decisions #NewRelic
New RelicnewrelicOct 9, 2014, 10:25 pm 
“Interpretation is at the center of data analysis” – @BelindaRunkle on making sense of @newrelic metrics. #FS14

We announced our purchase of Ducksboard and I’m excited to be working with them:

Diego MariñodiegomarinoOct 8, 2014, 3:18 pm 
Arriving at #FuturesDuck #FS14
For completeness, conversational replies are occassionally elided: [1].

20 Tweets

Here’s a story about a company that is trying to do something about fossil fuel consumption by tackling the largest consumers of fuel: trucks.

Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbOct 3, 2014, 11:02 pm 
Why This Tesla Motors Co-founder Loves Electric Garbage Trucks via @xconomy

I don’t allow laptops or phones in meetings, here’s some evidence that backs my position:

Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbOct 4, 2014, 3:36 pm 
“Like second-hand smoke, the effects of electronic distraction can permeate the room.”

About the lack of diversity in tech:

Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbOct 5, 2014, 12:47 am 
“when the contribution of the collective is ignored, it is usually a man who gets the credit”
Mary LoftusmarloftOct 5, 2014, 10:11 pm 
Why women leave tech: It’s the culture, not because ‘math is hard’ via @francesbell @catspyjamasnz #dojocon2014
Ellen ChisaellenchisaOct 6, 2014, 8:07 pm 
Two years ago, Microsoft pushed me down the path of thinking I’d never be a PM again: (and this happens too often).

About how to succeed:

Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbOct 6, 2014, 12:38 am 
“instead of looking for passion and purpose, just keep mastering, becoming more and more valuable in your field.”

And an excellent piece about why bigger companies don’t succeed:

Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbOct 6, 2014, 6:33 pm 
“Now facing a new problem, the big company has the wrong set of incentives.”

The “talent shortage” in tech isn’t really a shortage, it’s just an unwillingness to pay for a scarce resource:

Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbOct 7, 2014, 1:32 pm 
“We don’t say there is a shortage of diamonds when they are expensive; we buy all we want at the prevailing prices.”

And since great developers are a scarce resource, it behooves us (me, in management) to reduce their friction as much as possible:

David Giordano3dgiordanoOct 7, 2014, 3:04 am 
You’re Not Coddling Your Developers Enough

I’m one of these hard-core fans of real Coke:

The New York TimesnytimesOct 4, 2014, 2:16 am 
For hard-core fans, it’s Mexican Coke or none at all

Kinky Boots was one of the best musicals we’ve seen in years:

Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbOct 4, 2014, 10:23 pm 
Loving @KTPway and @stevenboothus in “Kinky Boots” – great show, great performance!

And then a new random things:

John MinnihanjbminnOct 4, 2014, 1:26 am 
first commit on a new project. Never tire of this feeling that anything’s possible + it all starts w/ the same few lines of code.
Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbOct 5, 2014, 5:15 pm 
A brand name globally, @eBay strives for recognition in Portland (we at @newrelic have the same problem)
Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbOct 6, 2014, 2:13 am 
Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbOct 6, 2014, 5:50 pm 
Real cities drawn as fantasy maps via @flowingdata
Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbOct 6, 2014, 7:59 pm Watch Beautiful Reactions (speeded up videos of chemical reactions)
Computer Science CompSciFactOct 7, 2014, 3:45 pm 
Ancient Greek computer reconstructed out of Legos

I worked for the Eclipse Foundation for a number of years. Great IDE and the committers were the best engineers I’ve ever worked with, but organizationally it had this problem:

Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbOct 6, 2014, 9:07 pm 
Eclipse definitely had this problem: “meritocracy actually exacerbates in-group bias”

and too many vanity metrics:

Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbOct 6, 2014, 9:53 pm 
Vanity metrics are appealing to look at. Actionable metrics are those you can make meaningful decisions around.

And finally, an excellent piece about energy and choices:

Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbOct 7, 2014, 1:37 pm 
“People need energy to provide for their families. But do they “need” motorized vehicles in their leisure time?”

Some Interesting Tweets

A really important article…

BulletinOfTheAtomicBulletinAtomicOct 2, 2014, 12:40 pm 
The two major foreign policy debacles the US faces today could have been avoided by taking steps at end of Cold War

Some interesting ideas…

Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbOct 2, 2014, 2:02 pm 
This is quite interesting: a much better ranking scheme than surveys. Ranking Universities Based on Career Outcomes
Ken Ahrenskahrens_atlOct 2, 2014, 2:21 pm 
Great blog by @cloudflare about the #Shellshock attack vectors they have seen
Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbOct 3, 2014, 12:57 am 
“What Management Systems Are Required (To Win)?” by @MatthewEMay on @LinkedIn
Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbOct 3, 2014, 1:08 am 
Why You Hate Work: #2 is “lack of opportunity to focus on one thing at a time”
Niki AcostanikiacostaOct 2, 2014, 3:01 pm 
Get out of the way of your developers or lose them to someone who will. -@adrianco at @monktoberfest

And a couple of fun things…

Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbOct 3, 2014, 3:07 am 
Alaskan-Style Midcentury Packaging Art via @ultraswank
Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbOct 3, 2014, 4:56 am 

Performance is fueled by teams

Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbSep 28, 2014, 9:41 pm 
Management Craft: The Agony of Realizing: It’s All Social –

Quoting from the article:

Rock Star employees – best performers – generally underperform when they quit for another/better job because what makes them the best performer is not their individual skills. It’s their social network, relationships, and the system they have created around them that is a “human performance machine.”

As leaders who want to optimize performance, we need to ensure that we do everything we can to help new employees build their social networks and connections QUICKLY and WELL. Performance is fueled by our teams, tribes, networks, and relationships. If employees don’t have enough or strong social connections, they will not be able to do their best work.


Don’t do a full system rewrite…

Veronica RaynerdonicaSep 29, 2014, 12:18 am 
How to Avoid One of the Costliest Mistakes in Software Engineering via @edmondlau

This is an incredibly important leadership principle…

Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbSep 29, 2014, 6:29 am 
Deadly Leadership Sin #6: if we suppress the great talent below us, they will seek other opportunities

This is a great talk by one of our engineers…

John HylanddjspinmonkeySep 30, 2014, 10:15 pm 
My “Be Awesome By Being Boring” talk now exists in article form on New Relic’s blog!

An interesting thought about why you can’t just use free systems…

Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbOct 1, 2014, 3:23 am 
Ello and Consumer Friendly Business Models | stratechery by Ben Thompson

Hmmm, this seems like a really good idea…

Bjorn Freeman-Bensonbjorn_fbOct 1, 2014, 3:25 am 
The greatest job perk you’ve never heard of is called “pre-cation”:…