When my husband and I decided to move to Seattle from Chicago, we were looking for a change. We thought we’d move somewhere with better weather, where we already had friends and family. And we thought we’d move somewhere with an active tech community, because we figured we’d need to get new jobs.
It’s also rather important to many web applications, in that it’s what we ask our customers to give us in exchange for goods and services. And when we do, both us and our customers want those financial calculations to be very precise. Even tiny rounding errors add up, given time.
OpsConf attendees track how they're connected to each other
If you think it’s crazy to gather 19 of our competitors from 16 companies across three continents just to give them free advice … well, yeah, you would actually not be the first person to think that.
But the truth is that I started OpsConf — short for Operations Conference — at a time when I desperately needed some free advice of my own. Table XI was growing, and we were figuring things out on the fly. In the development world, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing you’re the smartest, that you have all the answers you need. But two years ago, trying to figure out how to scale Table XI without giving up the things that make us great, it was pretty clear that I did not have all the answers. I needed a bigger sounding board. So I built one.
I usually explain it to clients with this story: A bunch of admirals were asked to plan out a military campaign for a written exam. They were all accomplished strategists, but when confronted with a blank piece of paper, they all failed the test. So the navy paired them off, allowing each team to share notes. Instantly they started acing the test. All it took was that little bit of outside perspective, all of the sudden you see a bigger picture.
As engineers and problem solvers, we like good ideas, but we like good ideas implemented even better. To help somebody coalesce their vision into something that's actionable — that’s a process that’s rewarding for us. Doing a strategy Inception gives us an opportunity to interact with people who are just ridiculously smart in their domain and to add tons of value by forming an actionable plan around their expertise.
All that gorgeous photography and stylized copy that makes your product sell so well — it’s also what’s taking precious seconds to load when you call up your site on a smartphone. You need rich media to properly showcase what you’re selling, but you also need your site to be speedy enough to load quickly on small screens and conform to web standards. Amazon estimates that every extra 100 milliseconds it takes a page to load cuts its profits by 1 percent. It’s not just that users won’t wait around for 10, 20 seconds for your site to load — Google uses site speed in its search rankings. Slow sites will take an SEO hit, hurting the odds of your customers finding you organically — i.e. without paid advertising.
Career development is a huge problem for many software shops. The software industry (or at least our corner of it) doesn’t rely on certifications or other external validations. So how can we ensure that our team continues to grow, learn, and improve?
For non-developers, it may seem like a new computer language is created every day, each with an uninformative name. Even developers sometimes feel that way. At Table XI, we’re always assessing ways to solve our clients’ problems, whether that’s a new schema for critiquing design or a new language well-suited to a necessary function. Still, the pace of new languages can make it difficult for our developers to try them out — and their new ways of solving problems
To broaden our thinking, this week several members of the Table XI team participated in a challenge: to take the coding exercise we ask our interview candidates to complete, and to build it in a language that’s unfamiliar. Each developer then presented the results to the group, so the whole team could each get an understanding of the new languages available, and an understanding of how our teammates approach a new language.
We get asked about the RFP process and how to write an RFP all the time by companies that are just starting to think about building or redesigning a product. They want to know what to include and how they can attract a star development shop to submit a response.
Easy: Nothing, and you can’t. If you want to find the right development shop, an RFP won’t help you. In fact, writing an RFP could cripple your project before it gets started. Here’s how, and what you should use instead of an RFP ...