The Portable CTO
Startups · Technology · Leadership
There are certain tools and services that seem expensive, but are ultimately well worth the investment. For example, I happily pay a hundred dollars per month for a Continuous Integration service. I've had non-technical team members question this decision in the past, but if you've ever run your own CI/CD server, you know it's a fair amount of work to set up and maintain.

"Don’t waste your engineering resources on things that don’t make a big, long term impact."

It ultimately comes down to the single biggest challenge that all startups have: What is the most important thing we should be doing right now?

If you find your engineers going off to build internal tooling or help generate reports that a service can easily replicate, ask yourself, "is this the best use of their time?"
I've tried dozens of tools like Buffer, Recurpost, and Tweetdeck, but none have gotten as close to my ideal social media automation workflow as RiteKit. Schedule posts, automatically enhance them with hashtags, mentions, and emojis, and add custom calls-to-action on each of your links.
I've been having intermittent issues with my emails being marked "suspicious" by GMail. I still haven't figured it out, 😢 but subscriber Brian Cantoni went above and beyond to help me try and diagnose the issue. So, go check out Brian's blog and projects on his site. He's been working on some cool stuff!
"In 2019, it's hard to believe any other company other than Google is going to make money. But you only can make a fraction of the value you create if you don't own equity. If you're in the engineering, product, design, marketing, sort of the builder's side of that organization, you're creating 100 times that value, and the only way you can really access that is by working at an early stage startup that gives significant equity. "
"In theory, the Open-Closed Principle is a good idea, but all those extension points introduce extra complexity. Complexity makes the system harder to understand and harder to charge. What's worse, our abstractions are usually wrong, because often we design them up-front, before the actual flexibility is needed."
"Worrying is the mental habit of trying to solve a problem that either can’t be solved or isn’t really a problem. It’s easy to fall into because it feels productive. It staves off the feeling we hate most of all: helplessness."
I'm admittedly biased having been a vegetarian for years, but we can all agree that the meat industry isn't exactly hard up against it in this country:

"As plant-based protein makes it way on to more and more store shelves and restaurant menus, one senator says she wants to end deceptive labeling...Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE) — who is also a cattle rancher — recently introduced the Real MEAT Act to put new labeling requirements on fake meat products." 🤔
Do you ever get that feeling like no matter how hard you work, you just can’t keep up? This state — of being perpetually behind on intended work-in-progress — can fall naturally out of the data structures used to design a software system.
"Chemical changes happened almost instantly when our first child was born. It was like someone flipped a switch. I suddenly felt protective not just toward our child, but toward all children."
If you're a developer, you have probably seen SQL, but how much do you really know? This site takes a no-nonsense approach to writing useful SQL fast.
It's interesting to see the similarity in styles and trends cropping up in web application landing pages.
Personal Updates
The holiday break has given me more time to think about what's coming in 2020. I'm really excited to get more experience in product development, and get back into speaking more.

I'm also considering organizing a conference sometime in 2020 or 2021, so if you (or someone you know) has run a conference before, I'd really love to talk!

Happy 2020!
Karl Hughes
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