hackNY Lessons: Week 6

Last week we attended two awesome talks. First Peter Bell taught us how to choose your tech stack wisely and it was.. very insightful, especially after me failing to choose the right technologies for my projects. Also he gave lots of tips about hiring people, etc, which are reflected on this list. On Wednesday we met Joel Spolsky and gave us a talk about how StackExchange was built, mostly focusing on how good they are doing attracting knowledgeable people to their sites. Lots of learnings from that talk will show up in the list for this week too!

Tech learnings:

  • I learnt essential bits of Puppet and Chef, a soft introduction to what is expecting me in just two months at CERN.
  • Code reviews are vital. Even if the rest of your team is not familiar with what you have been working on, there will probably be a lot of stuff that you didn’t realize how dumb it looks until someone points it out or your read it several times. That or I’m retarded. (which is very plausible)
  • Git stash back, pull, then pop, will avoid A LOT of conflicts. Thanks Adam!
  • I just started the Joy of Clojure, I hope this will be enough to get myself to a level where I could just have to google for libraries and not for simple syntax questions. And its only 360 pages!

Startup learnings:

  • The coolness factor of a language is important when you want to hire the right people. It will be much harder to find a REALLY top notch PHP developer than to find a really good Racket developer.
  • How many Haskell developers COULD also write PHP? You should know the answer and yet be surprised about it.
  • Attracting people who care about your site and who care so much about what you do that they will come every day is much more important than getting a peak of audience on HN/reddit/whatever.
  • I’d take a close look at how new StackExchange boards are created to do that (if I ever had to do this)

Life learnings:

  • Maybe I should learn these posts every time that I feel like procrastinating, I haven’t accomplished much this weekend just because I wanted to get my laptop fan to be less noisy.
  • Sometimes I have no idea about how to get myself on to do stuff. And that led me to a headache on Saturday night.