Thursday, July 17, 2014

They Vs. We

I'm going to start this blog post with a story. Please stay with me for a minute.

I went to the grocery store last week to buy groceries as one does. While I was there, I cleared the meat counter out of an item.

After she packaged up my order, the woman behind the counter asked if I'd like anything else. She seemed pretty grumpy and unhappy to be there. I made the lame joke that "I'd leave some for other shoppers" and two things happened:
  1. She didn't find my bad joke funny.
  2. She responded "They probably have more in the back."
The joke wasn't funny but her use of they got me thinking.

Who are "They"?

Now, she could have been referring to a different team that is in charge of stocking the meat counter... I don't know. From her manner, I assumed by "they" she meant the grocery store company. 

This got me thinking about why she didn't say "we" instead.

"We" implies that you're one of the team. The goals of the team are your goals. The risks the team faces are your risks. You're engaged. "They" implies you're not connected to the team. You're an outsider who isn't committed.

When is it "We" or "They"?

When I've joined a new team, I've noticed that I start with "you" or "they" and then after some period of time start saying "we". I've never thought about how long the time is. It's probably been somewhere between a couple of weeks and a couple of months. A lot of this is due to the people on the team and its leadership. They got me engaged and made me feel like a critical part of the "we".

When I joined HMB, it only took me a couple of weeks (at the most) to make the transition. Some of this was due to my bosses but a whole lot more was due to the attitudes of the entire team. Everyone was thinking about the "we" in most everything they did. Thinking about this now, I can see how priceless it was and is.

That may not be the case for the woman at the grocery store. Maybe she hates her job but it's the only way she can pay the bills. Maybe her leaders and team are failing her.

I've got some thoughts about how a team can improve this situation. I'll save those for the next post.


What about you? How long has it taken you to go from "they" to "we" at your current job? How about previous jobs? What was the main factor in that duration?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

MIGANG visit

Huge thanks to the folks at MIGANG for inviting me to come speak to the usergroup tonight about WebSockets with SignalR and SockJS. As promised, here are my slides from the night. I promised to upload them "10 seconds" after the event but hopefully you'll forgive me for taking a couple of minutes :)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

StirTrek 2014 content

I really like the trend of conference git repos to organize slides and other speaker content. Stir Trek: Winter Soldier Edition's content repo is here.

My slide deck for the "Building Mini Killer Robots" talk is big (140mb or so) with a lot of embedded videos and images. Instead of adding that to git, I've shared it via dropbox here. You can of course find that same link in the git repo.

I had a great time giving that presentation at Stir Trek. If you attended, hopefully you had fun too!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Codemash 2014 Content

Before I forget, I'm uploading all of my Codemash content for your robot building/JavaScript fixing pleasure.

Building Mini Killer Robots

Slides (100+ mb with video)

Fixing the JavaScript Mess

Presentation Guide (this guide would be helpful if you were trying to walk through everything yourself)
Source Code

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Exciting Start To 2014

I found out this morning that I've been accepted in the Microsoft MVP program by the Internet Explorer team! Since the most fun (for me anyway) projects are JS-heavy, interactive web ones, this has me really excited.


This ties nicely into some of what I've been thinking about lately and some goals I have for 2014. I really enjoy public speaking and teaching. My hope when I do either is that I'm adding value to the lives/careers of others. How to maximize this value-add has been on my mind recently and I have some ideas that I'd like to pursue.

Goals for 2014

  • Hone my public speaking abilities - I want to spend more time thinking about speaking as a craft. I'd like to start purposefully improving rather than just having it happen as a side effect of repetition. Ironically, listening to comedians talk about their craft on podcasts (like the Nerdist) has helped me think about how trainable so much of any public performance is.
  • Focus my public speaking topics - This last year, I've been all over the place (Azure, Ruby, SignalR/.NET, JS, Soft-Skills and soon to be LEGOs) and sometimes only give a talk once. I'd like to pick fewer topics and refine them a lot more. I'd like to focus on patterns/technologies that a lot of people should be thinking about but aren't yet (like WebSockets) and go into them in detail.
  • Help other technical speakers improve - I think there's room for a group or forum focused on the craft of technical speaking rather than the content itself. I'm not sure if this is some sort of roundtable/meetup, a mailing list or what. Something where technical speakers can brainstorm a topic idea, test out the flow of part of their presentation, talk about live coding vs screenshots, etc and generally improve their craft.

Codemash 2013 Pecha Kucha- You can't tell how incredibly nervous I was.

I'll be bouncing this speaker roundtable idea off of people at Codemash to see if there's interest. Because of the JavaScript precompiler that I'll be doing with @travisthetechnie, I won't be making it to @rubybuddha's one on public speaking. If you do attend his precompiler or are generally interested in public speaking, please find me so we can chat.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Dog Food conference and other updates

In case you've been living without internet but somehow still subscribe to my blog, you should know that Dog Food 2013's schedule is now online here. Dog Food is a Microsoft technology conference on Thursday, November 21st and Friday, November 22nd. It covers everything from infrastructure to application lifecycle to web to mobile and some other things in between.


Did I mention that it's FREE?

Totally free. There's a voluntary food drive for the Mid-Ohio Foodbank and LifeCare Alliance.

So yeah. Keep an eye on the registration page at Eventbrite and make sure you get your ticket. They go on sale Monday, 10/21/2013.
In other news...

I'm totally speaking at Codemash again this year!!!!

I know right? Their standards are totally slipping since they are letting me do both a session and a precompiler (with @jfensch).

I'm really excited to be part of Codemash again this year. If you attended my JavaScript Spaghetti talk last year, the workshop this year is sort of its sequel. If you like LEGOS, well, my session IS A TALK ABOUT LEGOS!!!!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

2013 Dog Food Submission Time

Dog Food 2013 is going to be held November 21st and 22nd at Microsoft's office in Columbus!

If you're not already familiar with it, here's the scoop: Dog Food is a conference aimed at everyone in the IT stack. Infrastructure folks, developers, SharePoint architects, and anyone else. As you'll suspect from the location, it does have a MS flavor to it. If you're a Ruby dev and want to come I'm pretty sure we can guarantee your physical safety :)

The key thing that you need to know is that the call for speakers is open!

I have the privilege to be helping to wrangle .NET speakers. Here are some ideas that I personally would love to see:
  • Using WebAPI to power custom client-side JavaScript controls
  • Related to the point above, integrating JS tools like Knockout, Backbone, or Ember into your .NET apps.
  • SignalR for Websockets and how you support older browsers (I'm looking at you IE9-)
  • In depth talks about EF features. Maybe migrating to Code First in an existing app or something that a lot of people could use
  • Interesting talks about ASP.NET MVC topics that not everyone knows about
  • NuGet packages that not everyone knows about and should
  • C# 5.0 features like async/await that not everyone knows about
  • Talks about TDD/BDD and how they integrate into your application lifecycle
You'll notice I put web stuff first since I'm a web guy :) The conference is also looking for talks related to infrastructure/dev-ops, mobile, SharePoint, and MS Bob. That last one was a lie. 

So drop whatever it is you are doing and go submit your talks!