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Dive with 3 computers

Dear Reader,

Free advice is worth every penny you you pay for it.

I recently had a good friend of mine run an idea by me. It sounded solid so I told him so. I thought it was a great idea.

He ran it by another friend and they told him it was a worthless idea. This friend had nothing good to say about the idea. This discouraged friend 1 to the point where he was seriously considering giving up on it totally. Hearing this from friend 2 was demoralizing.


Dive with 3 computers

In scuba diving, many professional divers carry three dive computers on each dive, their primary and two backups. Part of this is because you never want to be underwater at depth and have your computer fail. Trust me, it’s happened twice to me. No, the main reason they do it is because If, when they get back to the surface, their primary gives them a reading they don’t expect, they have  backup. Having one backup though doesn’t really help. At that point you have to decide which one you want to go with. In some cases that might make the difference of being able to dive again today and not. That can be dangerous on the life-n-death level. That’s where the third computer comes in. Now you have 3 “opinions”. You can take a consensus and go with the majority. If your primary was giving you a reading you didn’t like (e.g. you went into Deco) but the other two did not, you can feel safe about diving the next dive.

However, if two of the three computers tell you you went Deco, listen to them. It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to hear that. It doesn’t matter if you don’t believe them. You bought the computers – you sought their advice – so heed the advice. 


Applying the rule of 3 to free advice

  • Don’t just ask one person, they may lie to you to not hurt your feelings.
  • Don’t just ask two because then you don’t know which one to believe and you end up going with the one that you agree with.
  • Ask three people. And even if you don’t like the answer, listen to them.

Until next time,
I <3 |<

I don’t take plumbing advice from my roof guy

Dear Reader,

As a homeowner in Florida, yes, I have a ‘roof guy’. My guy’s name is Steve. I like Steve. He’s all kinds of awesome and a freakin magician when it comes to repairing roofs, facia, and soffits.

Heres the thing. I will talk plumbing with Steve when he’s around as idle chit-chat. But I would never actually take serious plumbing advice from Steve, or hire him as a plumber. It is not what he does.

Yes, he knows a little about it.

Yes, he has a some strong opinions on plumbing.

But strongly held beliefs don’t make you an expert.

Be careful who you take take serious advice from. Whether plumbing, software development,  or politics, make sure the voices you listen to are truly experts in the field they are advising you on.

Until next time,
I <3 |<

Help Build a Culture of Respect

Book Cover: Culture of RespectDear Reader,

I am in the final steps of producing my next book, “Culture of Respect: How to Find, Hire, and Retain Developers”.  It is based in large part on my own experience, as well as advice I have received from other managers and talks I’ve had with both developers and managers.


Be a part of my latest book

The final piece I want for this book is advice from developer managers, team leaders, directors of IT. I want your best tips for other managers to help them build a better team or department.  So I’m asking you. Are you a manager? Director? Team Lead? Do you want to be part of my latest book? Drop me an email.


How you can help

If you would like to submit to be considered here is what I am looking for from you.

  • Send an email to cal at calevans dot com. In the subject line put “Culture of Respect”
  • In the email put your best advice for managing developers, building a team, finding developers, hiring developers or building your team’s culture.  No more than 3 paragraphs, please.
  • Give it a title, a good title

If I select your submission, I will drop you an email letting you know and asking you for a high-quality head shot to go on the book.

I am hoping to get 10 good submissions for the book. If I get more than 10, I will write those I don’t use in the book and ask if I can use them as guests blog posts on this blog.


The Fine Print

  1. My judgement is final on what goes into the book. You do not have to agree to let me use it as a guest blog post if it doesn’t make the book, but you can’t argue with me about whether it makes it into the book.
  2. This is not a paying gig. If you want to share, to help others build teams and manage developers then I want your submission. You will get attribution for your contribution. I’ll list your name, twitter, and blog should you want it. You will have to confirm that what you submit is your own and you will have to agree to allow me to publish it in my book.
  3. You will get a free copy of the eBook and a coupon to give to someone else for a free copy. I am not currently planning a dead-tree edition of this book but if I do, those selected will get a free signed copy for your collection, and a second free copy to give away to someone.


The Call to Action

So, help me, and  help others. Submit your best tips to share with other developer managers, team leads, and IT managers. Let’s see if we can change things for the better.

Until next time,

I <3 |<

How do I find good PHP developers?

Dear Reader,

Twice this week I got asked a similar question, “How do I find good PHP developers to hire?” The first one was a recruiter who had originally tried to hire me because she “read my resume”. (Obviously, she skipped over the part where I’ve not written any serious code in several years) Since she didn’t bother to really read my resume to begin with, I’m pretty sure she won’t bother to read this post.

The second one, however, was a just someone trying to find PHP developers for his team. Since he wrote me a nice email asking advice, I decided to reply in kind. Three pages and one thousand words later, he had my answer. (Honestly, I didn’t expect it to be this long) I share it here with you – slightly edited to remove some geographically specific advice that probably won’t apply to you – in hopes that when you are in the same position you can get a head start in finding good developers.

97 Things Every Programmer Should Know

Dear Reader,

I met Kevlin Henny back in 2007 at the PHPUK Conference in London. (For a year or so I called him Kevin Hennly until I finally got it right) One day out of the blue, Kevlin droped me an email and invites me to participate in a new project he’s working on for O’Reilly, a collaborative book called “97 Things Every Programmer Should Know“. Not being one who is ever short of advice and opinions to give, I gladly submitted two entries that eventually made their way through the editing process and into the final book.