We started a podcast — and called it "Tech Done Right" — because we wanted to talk about what matters in technology.
We’ve always been eager to teach people about technology. We teach developer bootcamps, we teach each other, we even teach our clients with a Chicago tech events series. It’s important to us to build a better community by building better software. That’s why I’ve published books throughout my career and continue to blog about Ruby on Rails. So when we found a partner in Mandy Moore who could help us produce a podcast, it seemed like a natural next step.
With a podcast though, you can’t really discuss code. I had done screencasts for Table XI in the past, and they always tended to turn technical as we talked about the code on the screen. Without a visual component, we’re not able to discuss the minutiae of the technology itself. That frees us up to talk about other things, like why it matters. It may be hard to talk about development when you can’t talk about code, but it’s a pretty good way to start arguing about principles.
The podcast gives us a chance to look up from the codebase and decide what software development should mean. Even if that requires putting three people with strong opinions in one room, as on our episode about testing. That’s why we chose the name Tech Done Right. It’s been the motto at Table XI for a long time, because we pride ourselves on taking the time to solve the hard problems the right way. With the podcast, we wanted to discuss the same kinds of big-picture questions with our broader community. It gives us a chance to sharpen our ideas, and a platform for starting the conversations we think are crucial to the future of technology.
We’ve gotten great feedback from developers who want to improve their craft — not just the syntax of their code, but the world around them. The truth is, the hard problems are always people problems. It’s rare that a project fails because of the technology. It’s almost always due to people reasons. By talking about why we use the technologies we do, the podcast helps us tackle those problems.
If those sound like worthwhile conversations to you, here are a few episodes of the Tech Done Right podcast to start with:
Episode 006: Using software to create better countries
You may not be able to call the White House to berate underperforming contractors, but Andy Slavitt’s lessons about rebuilding Healthcare.gov will teach anyone how to run a rescue project under monumental pressure.
“We’re going to work hard — we have 6,000 defects and we have, in effect, 36 days.”
Episode 004: How Test-Driven Development changes the way we code
Sam Phippen of Digital Ocean and Justin Searls of Test Double join me to largely agree about the value of testing your code, but disagree at length about how.
“You have to maintain your test suite just like you have to maintain your application. But your test suite is not tested.”
Episode 001: Improving our teams with improv
I play games and call it work with Table XI founder Mark Rickmeier and The Improv Effect founder Jessie Shternshus, who teaches us both how to build better teams and deliver sharper feedback with improv.
“Before people get used to getting feedback, we’d give them something really, really outlandish. Like your partner came in to work today and he’s not wearing pants. How would you tell them that?”