brandontreb.com Tips And Resources For Software Developers

Programming Languages Are Only Tools

Some young punks overheard me talking about JavaScript at lunch today. They felt it necessary to come to my table and tell me “typescript is waybetter”. They don’t realize that this sort of thing screams “I’m a junior developer! I know very little about the tech industry!”

If you are a newer developer, learn early that you are greatly limiting your potential by marrying a subset of programming languages. You will greatly increase your value by being open to learning and building in any language that is best suited for the project.

I try to convey this to the students of our boot camps all of the time as boot camp students are the most likely to call themselves “PHP/JS/WordPress/etc developers” and not understand that there is a whole world out there beyond what was taught in camp.

Ok, rant over. Get off my lawn.

We Instead Of I

When I first started consulting, I had everything tied to my name. My company name was Treb Studios, my email was brandon@brandontreb.com, and my whole business was tied to me.

This was fine for a while…until I started growing. I hired contractors with the intention of replacing myself on my existing projects. This proved to be very challenging.

Clients didn’t want other developers, they wanted Brandon, because that’s what they were promised.

It wasn’t until I started using “we” language instead of “I” language that clients fully accepted my other team members. Changing the language also had a profound effect on how I perceived the company. I began looking at everything as a real company rather than just me hacking on the side.

So, if you are building a company (even if it’s just you), start using the term “we” instead of “I” from day one. It will make the transition much easier when you start growing, and it will make you feel like you are actually building something beyond yourself.

Signals

Tonight, I'm going to a party for local entrepreneurs.

I was getting ready for the party and thinking about the signals I am sending with every detail I put into my appearance. How do I want to be perceived? Should I go combover or faux-hawk, slacks or jeans, watch or Fitbit, leather or suit jacket? All of these decisions don't necessarily paint the picture of Brandon, so much as they paint the picture of who Brandon wants you to believe he is.

While it may seem vain to contemplate on what signals I'm sending, people do the same thing ALL THE TIME without even being conscious of it. We do this not only in real life, but especially on Social Media.

Seth Godin will often write on sending signals.

He has a great quote from the post:

Empathy helps us understand what will be received, and intent dramatically improves our effectiveness.

Understanding that you are always sending signals AND having empathy will not only get you further in business (since you can understand the signals you need to send on an individual basis), it will also get you further as a human being.

This also has me wondering. What signals do I send to myself?

Darknet Diaries 🎙

I have really been enjoying listening to Darknet Diaries lately. It’s a Podcast about hacks and software security vulnerabilities.

The show really makes me realize how crappy and insecure most software is. Most importantly, it has gotten me much more security-minded in the software that I build.

If you aren’t already listening to it, I’d suggest you check it out. You will soon put on your tin foil hat like me and start to believe everybody is trying to hack you.

How I Stay Organized

My wife and I are hard core “type-a” people. I mean, so planned that we send each other calendar invites for date night (don’t judge what we consider romantic ;)).

I didn’t used to be like this. When I was younger and in college, I was a total scatter brain, a C student by choice.

This all changed the day I was laid off and had to start my own company. Owning a business requires me to pay attention to every detail, every invoice, dev rate, hours budget,etc… Its exhausting and college Brandon would have been out years ago.

Fortunately (and I can already feel this sounding like a sales pitch), I use Bullet Journal. It’s basically a system using only a notebook and pen to organize your life. Think 90’s style leather day planner.

While I don’t use every “module” that it offers, I use the system to manage todos, notes, long and short term goals, and lists (this blog post title just came from one such list).

So, if you are like I was, I highly recommend bullet journaling. It will change your life for the better (worse?).

Weird Tasks That I Have To Do Because We Live on a Converted Schoolbus

Many of you might not know this, but my family and I live in a converted schoolbus.

Today, I had quite a few “bus chores” and I figured that I would share them here because together, they do seem a bit odd.

  • Change composting toilet
  • Fill up propane tanks
  • Add heat tape to fresh water lines
  • Replace RV vent in roof because it started leaking

Sometimes I wonder if I have more chores on the bus than in a traditional home.

Whatever, off to chop wood for my tiny wood stove