Early Pathstreamers, back when there were offices and human contact

In 2018 Eleanor Cooper launched her really big idea: What if we combined the technology of online learning, the supportive power of real teachers, and the employability of a technical bootcamp?

She called it “Pathstream” — a guided path that gets people from wherever they are in their career into jobs that require some technical skills. It’s designed to work for anyone, including those who aren’t served well by traditional education. Colleges and universities use it to teach their matriculated students, small business owners enroll to improve their revenue, formerly incarcerated individuals study to become Salesforce admins and Unity designers…


A friend of mine is looking to change jobs and she asked me what should have been a fairly simple question: “How do I know if a company will support marginalized people and empower me in supporting them?”

I’ve been working in the diversity field on and off since 2003 and I’ve been actively mentoring tech company leaders both in the US and internationally since 2016. I figured I’d have a simple response ready for my friend but it stumped me.

I posed this question on Twitter but, I realized afterward, I approached the problem too narrowly. Whether a company…


This poem is a villanelle, courtesy of Heather Rivers and her poetry workshops.

Come close and touch your words against my skin.
Our art is voices, painting spoken hues.
I’ll wrap you up in phrases. Let’s begin.

Please speak away the noises, dim the din
and let your lips go walking as they choose
Come close and touch your words against my skin.

Send word to me, put movement in your chin
and speak up, like you’ve nothing left to lose.
I’ll wrap you up in phrases. Let’s begin.

We’ll shorten all our poems, neat and trim
and stand on rhymes…


This International Women’s Day let’s review the latest research on the impact gender has on career success. This is a summary of the last year’s publications from the Academy of Management Journal. These recent peer-reviewed studies show us what propels women forward and what holds them back.

#1: Diversity Thresholds: How Social Norms, Visibility, and Scrutiny Relate to Group Composition

[Edward H. Chang, Katherine L. Milkman, Dolly Chugh and Modupe Akinola]

This is the research behind the WaPo article about “Twokenism” — a suspicious pattern where corporate boards gain exactly two women and then stop. …


I spent 2018 and the beginning of 2019 leading the Infrastructure teams at Gusto. Before moving on I composed a message to help future Gusto engineers — particularly those who are still in the first half-dozen years of their career and acting as technical leads— understand secure, domain-driven product engineering. This post is an adaptation of that message with some company details elided.

Most software engineering literature assumes you need to process data efficiently. …


There needs to be a handbook for migrating a monolithic application into a service-oriented SaaS product suite.

The same things keep going wrong at every company: Moving code without moving the data that code needs, language proliferation, conflating synchronous and asynchronous work, not anticipating the need for backfilling data, etc.

This post is a guide to help navigate just one of the problems your team will face: Picking the right technologies for your four different interfaces.

Four? Yeah, four. A SaaS product suite eventually implements four interfaces for four different kinds of clients:

  1. The one your customers use
  2. The ones…


The managers I coach sometimes ask if they should hire a boot camp grad. Here’s what I tell them every time:

You can hire boot camp grads when you have a place to put them. And you have a place to put them when you design your teams with clear roles.

CEOs apply design principles to their companies, dividing up the organization into various functions. Developers apply the design principles to software applications. A good engineering manager does that same design work at the team level.

To understand that better let’s first talk about the people who stand around you…


The first time I left management to go back to just coding I realized that I’d been a pretty terrible individual contributor (i.e. non-manager). I was hard to manage. Not just kind of hard, really fucking hard. Because, while I had all the right motivations, I didn’t communicate to my lead very well and I didn’t give them any of the information they needed to anticipate how I worked. They were surprised by most of what I did. Even when I was doing great work this didn’t serve me well.

It’s my belief that the skills that make someone a…


I’ve had enough friends lose money “investing” in cryptocurrencies that it’s past time we all sort those ideas out together

Bring me up to speed here

With words like ‘blockchain’ and ‘crypto’ it can be hard to tell which cryptocurrency concepts you already know and which are new inventions that you need to learn. To start with, let me split the concepts into layers. Each one builds on top of the previous one. Like if I were to explain an axe to you I’d first talk about metal and wood, then I’d talk about forging metal into a blade and wood into a handle, and then only later I’d talk about joining these two together and swinging them at stuff. …


Four things that make remote teams better and simultaneously more inclusive

Managing a remote team can be really hard. I’ve done it several times (including founding two all-remote companies) and it took a long time for me to get anywhere near good at it.

I hear complaints from managers when someone asks them permission to work remotely or — heaven forbid — to become a totally remote team. Folks outside the creative field might guess the worry is that everybody would just watch TV all day. But software managers are mostly concerned that people won’t feel properly supported. The hesitations boil down to four things:

  • Colleagues will miss those serendipitous moments…

Jack Danger

This is what happens when you fail to curate your online presence

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