Showing posts from April, 2024


Years ago I was a Product Manager of a product with lots of teething troubles. The Director of Support and I sat down from time to time to discuss the most urgent customer issues. One day he suddenly said, visibly annoyed, "I see that you're agreeing with me and writing down things in your notebook, but are you actually going to do something with it this time?" . Needless to say, that hit home. I've seen many LinkedIn posts that go like "here are ten things that take 0 talent: following up on commitments, being on time, ... " etc. . But I think that's wrong. Making sure you "follow up" is hard work. I'm a total pleaser by nature, I want to be agreeable and I dread confrontation. Telling someone "I'm not going to do anything with this" is very difficult. So my natural tendency is to say "Hm yes that's a good point, it would be great if we did something with it, perhaps we can do ..." and then go off and brainstorm

AI programming tools should be added to the Joel Test

Here's a wake-up call to all CTOs: AI programming tools are getting freaking amazing and if you don't allow your teams to use them somehow, it will bite you in the ass in a couple of years. You will be slower and you will lose your best people. The infamous Joel Test is a list from the year 2000 of 12 things all great software companies do. Since then most companies have implemented Git and CI/CD, checking of three items, so we have some space left in the 2024 update ;) I believe "Do you allow your developers to use AI assisted development environments?" is a necessary addition. I get that you don't want your source code to end up on some OpenAI / Microsoft / Github server somewhere, sure, but find a way to use your own models or learn to live with it. Note that this is often not the same as "#9 - Do you use the best tools money can buy?" as blocking AI tools is about data security, not money. So why do I think developers need AI programming tools? I&#

Rhyme is a parity bit

Weird thought of the day. Speech patterns that rhyme are pleasing and resonate with our brain. Could there be an evolutionary benefit to it? Cultures without writing systems told stories to pass knowledge from one generation to the next. As we know from the Chinese whispers game, a lot of information is lost that way. During oral story telling, information is added, removed or changed, it is wildly unreliable. In computer systems we add checksums or parity bits to lossy mediums to ensure reliable transmission. In way, the constraint of rhyming words can be seen as a parity bit on sentences. The amount of words that can be placed in a rhyming sentence is significantly lower than in an unconstrained one. Perhaps humans got better at reliable data transmission when they evolved to appreciate rhyme.