How I Hire the Best People

My Desktop

I have a very good track record of building incredible teams. At TSN, I found and recruited my first truly amazing team by getting to know great people, working with them for a while, and then bringing them on board along with me.  I met Loc, and John through the Globe and Mail’s technical team, and I was introduced to Liam from Discovery’s group. When it came to recruiting new people, I saw literally hundreds of resumes, interviewed dozens of people, and eventually hired both Neil and Kate.

My hiring back then was all trial and error, and I happened to luck into great people because I knew that I was looking for both a specific skill set, and also people that I would want to spend eight hours a day around.

Read more

Effective Web Design and Development – COMP-1363

Effective Web Design and Development

Starting February 4th, I’ll be teaching a five week (one session per week) course on effective web design at Fanshawe College’s continuing education program.

The course is called “Effective Web Design and Development – COMP-1363“.

I’m breaking the five weeks up by doing foundational work first, and building on that work weekly. My idea is to build a very simple HTML website, using the fundamentals that we learn weekly to build upon each week’s lesson. At the end, the attendees will have a very simple, semantically correct, SEO optimized, modern, responsive, and accessible website.

Here’s what Fanshawe’s course outline says:

Effective web design and development is about more than code, and pretty pictures. This course is designed to help you understand the things required to build an effective website for yourself, your business, and your clients. This course will review strategies, software, marketing, promotion, content creation, and modern website design techniques while not requiring coding in-class time.

Read more

Stuff I Like: Dollar Shave Club

Dollar Shave Club

I hate shaving, but I like to be freshly shaved. It’s a dichotomy that has plagued me since my teen years. I am what the old folks call “hirsute”, meaning I’ve got a lot of hair, but it’s thick and shaving wrecks my skin, so I only shave every three or so days. My usual … Read more

You Need a Mission and a Vision

You Need a Mission

This past weekend, the BalanceDo team got together for an all day strategy session. We do these once every three months. The idea is to get together, talk about what we’ve accomplished, what our goals are, and what we plan to get done.

This one was the first meeting under our new official name. We recently federally incorporated as “BalanceDo Business Management Software Inc.”.

Read more

See You Around Mike

Chris, Mike, Brian at the Goretorium

 

Today is my friend Michael Halliday’s last day at work.  I’ve been at Info-Tech for seven years, he’s not the first person who’s left, and he won’t be the last…but he’s the one I’ll miss the most.

It all started when I didn’t hire him.

Mike came in for an interview at Info-Tech with my boss Gord and I.  He was charming, personable, and incredibly bright.  He’d worked with Gord before, and was a solid coder.  He answered everything right, and told us he was doing iOS development (this is four years ago when that was still a relatively rare skill).

We left the interview promising him we’d get back to him, and had him on our short list.

But I didn’t hire him.

Read more

The Magic Word to Transform Developers into Designers

One of my favourite parts of RailsConf is the lightning talks.  These are 5 minute talks that can be about anything.  As a result, you see a lot of cool stuff in two hours, and if you get a bad one…you just need to wait 5 minutes until the next one comes along.

This year, inspired by not only my own team, but also by the many talks I saw about harnessing your creativity at RailsConf, I decided to give a talk on one of my own personal pet peeves.  People who say “but I can’t draw”, and how that internal script is holding you back.

I got a really good reception from people, which kind of surprised me since most of the talks were super technical, and mine was only one of two or three that were about non code related skills.

This is my talk from RailsConf – The Magic Word to Transform Developers into Designers

Read more

Are You Building the Right Stuff?

Are You Building The Right Stuff?

“Am I building the right thing” is one of the hardest questions to answer. There always seems to be “one more feature” you could add, one more tweak you could make, or one more “Absolute Must Have” that you could do.

When we started working on BalanceDo, we knew there was a ton of things to do, but because we’re such a small team, we would need to aggressively prioritize. Because of that, we decided to use a favourite prioritization exercise of mine.

Read more

Making the Sausage – My DIG London talk

I’m speaking at DIG 2012, it’s my first formal speaking event, though I have tons of public speaking experience on the radio, TV, as well as live at department meetings, company functions, colleges, and as a panel member at the Banff Interactive Festival.  It’s a 50 minute session too, so I’ve got a lot of time to make good use of.

I thought it might be an interesting exercise to publicize all of my prep, document all of the steps, and see what it looks like.  I have an outline done, and this week I’m starting on the actual narrative.

So this week, here’s my Dig 2012 talk outline – Innovation for Small Teams.  Let me know what you think in the comments.

Read more

What Matters to Me at Work

This year I turned 40, and I looked at a lot of different things in my life.  One of them that I focused the most on was what was meaningful work to me.  I spend 8-12 hours a day working for someone who isn’t me, and in those 8-12 hours I need to do things … Read more