March 25, 2019

A Knowledge Workers Toolkit

Knowledge work can have some pretty tricky characteristics that renders it distinct from physical work. For one, it defies quantification. While chefs, carpenters and other tradespeople can see their efforts take shape into concrete, material output, the knowledge worker is not so fortunate. Our raw materials are intangible - what tools could we use to manipulate them? Likewise, our output can seem quite ephemeral - did the thing we produced actually add value, by what measure1? Read more

September 12, 2018

Four principles from four people (part 2)

This is the second part of a blog post in which I share four principles that I picked up from four different people I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked with. The last two principles are less well-formed, they’re still cooking, incubating so the ideas below will be rough, the writing will be (necessarily) context-rich and less concise. Bear with me🐻. If you haven’t read it yet, part 1 is over here. Read more

September 9, 2018

Four principles from four people (part 1)

I’ve been extremely privileged to have worked with so many different people, in so many different contexts. Being exposed to such diversity has greatly benefited me and enriched my world view. But there’s also a little bit of everyone I’ve internalised - little tools, values and principles for which I am grateful. You get to learn a lot about a person just by pairing with them on a technical problem or even collaborating on something more strategic1. Read more

August 28, 2018

Critical failure and the mechanics of causality

The biggest critical failure that I’ve ever experienced on a project happened on the first week of 2014 and caused a recurring outage that lasted a full four days. It was my very first large-scale, distributed production system with multi-national integrations and a real-time messaging component. I had been on the project for 3 months and had inherited the tech lead role which I shared with a senior colleague who had joined after me. Read more

August 21, 2018

The Sublime Tool

This was initially meant to be a technical post like I promised, but I was faced with several dilemmas: Any particular tech I write about will be obsolete by next Tuesday, the standard unit of time it takes for unlikely events to occur in computing.. There will always be much better resources elsewhere, because I’m not an expert in anything. So instead of yet another tutorial on test-driven Ansible, Kafka or whatever the hottest web framework of the week, I present to you some great ideas that have a better shelf-life. Read more

© Sett Wai 2018