September 26, 2016No Comments

How hundreds of nails and a whole lot of string represent the way we work

how we work

It’s weird for something as common as string and nails to represent a competitive advantage, but for us, it does.

Read more

September 1, 20164 Comments

How to build an effective remote team that actually collaborates

The most important rule of building and managing a remote team: the burden of communication is on the people working together from the same location, not the people telecommuting.

It may sound obvious, but I just can’t stress it enough. Because when your head is down in development on a project, it’s easy to slip into side conversations and asides that never end up getting communicated to the remote team members you’re leading. You have to constantly remember to project what you’re doing out to your remote team members. Or pretty quickly you end up working from two entirely different playbooks.

That’s why at Table XI, our primary work infrastructure is engineered to support remote work. While most of us are co-located, we want to stay flexible, and we currently have staff working everywhere from Chile to Seattle. Using remote-friendly systems does a couple of good things for us, which I’ll discuss later, but the key benefit is that it keeps people who are remote from being at a disadvantage. All our work happens in a remote-friendly infrastructure. The rest — coffee runs, lunch breaks, movie nights — are additive. You don't hear people talking about work on coffee runs.

Here are our tips for engineering effective remote teams:

Read more

August 4, 2016No Comments

9 ways increasing page speed can help your business

At the most basic level, a faster site will do two things: save money and increase revenue. Since those tend to be the two things that boost any company’s bottom line, page speed is increasingly becoming a concern for businesses, especially now that Google’s counting it toward search rankings.

It’s true that to be successful now, your site has to be fast. People just don’t have the patience to wait for a site to load. The basic attention limits have been the same since Robert Miller wrote his 1968 paper: Anything under 0.1 seconds seems to happen instantaneously. Anything that takes less than a second allows users to keep their trains of thought and doesn’t require special feedback. Anything over 10 seconds, and users have pretty much forgotten all about your site or app.

Read more

June 1, 2016No Comments

Why we sent Table XI team members to teach at Code Platoon

Code Platoon

We’ve been training our future competitors.

Code Platoon is a non-profit that teaches development skills to veterans, to help them transition back into civilian life and get quality jobs. A coding bootcamp for folks who have been to real-life bootcamp. The 16-week courses cover the full Ruby on Rails stack — the same technology Table XI uses — and equips veterans for paid coding internships, and hopefully from there a career. With the help of scholarships, Code Platoon offers all this for only $1,500, a fraction of what other coding schools charge students.

Read more

April 14, 2016No Comments

How to represent money in Ruby

money in Ruby

Money. It makes the world go round.

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.

Read more

April 12, 20161 Comment

Why we host a conference just to help our competitors

OpsConf

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.

Read more

March 22, 20162 Comments

How trust brought me to work at Table XI

Why I trust Table XI

The following is unfiltered Zach, as close to my thought process as anything I've ever put to pen and it comes with my potty mouth. As such, it is unlikely to reflect the views of Table XI.

I work at Table XI and that wasn't part of my plan. I had a system and Table XI fucked it all up.

Read more

March 17, 2016No Comments

MIT’s Polaris can cut page load time by 34 percent — what you need to know

Polaris server-based framework

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.

Read more

March 15, 2016No Comments

How we use sticky notes to create career development goals

Career Development Sticky Note Game

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?

Read more

September 29, 2014No Comments

Table XI’s Guide to Chicago Ideas Week

unnamedChicago Ideas Week is just a few weeks away! If you’ve been following our blog, or recent tweets, you’ve heard us talking a lot about the upcoming events. Not sure what to attend this year? We’re happy to share our cheat sheet. Here are some of the places you'll find us, and some of our top picks for 2014:

Read more

GoodFirms Badge