Building Products With Kent Beck

I went north up to Euston to Facebook London to hear Mike Perrow and Kent Beck talk about building products.

Mike kicked things off, talking about building and shipping Workplace. The most interesting part was using the War room model when they launched.

The main talk was Kent Beck. Talking about 3X: Explore/Expand/Extract. Covering the shifting risk profile of software product development as products mature.

Kent Beck: 3X
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Ada Lovelace Day – Thayer Prime

Entrepreneurs and startups seem to be our new heroes but most of the people you read about are male. This is especially true of CEO’s and other senior managers. Much better informed people than me have written about why this is a problem and how we can go about fixing it.

I thought it would be worth highlighting one of the women in a senior position that have inspired me, Thayer Prime, who beside having just the best name, is currently CEO and founder of Team Prime and Primed.is.

She started in technology as a developer but moved on to running multiple successful startups, helped many well-known company’s and organisations. In addition to all that she has also run a wonderful conference, some very enjoyable christmas parties and mentored people new to the London tech scene. She managed to find the time to ran a marathon.

One of the biggest thing that continues to inspire me, is the way she does business differently, giving to charity via her company, not working all hours, spending time with her family. More people should follow her example

Ada Lovelace Day – Emma Mulqueeny

Every so often a story pops up in the press about how the UK need more engineers or about the state of computing teaching in schools.

I grew up just as the BBC was coming into schools, we had one at home, my friends had between them most of the 8-bit machines, we all played around with BASIC, programming some simple things. I didn’t do much actual programming at school, my first formal teaching was at University. Instead as we all moved over to ST‘s and Amiga‘s many of use got into STOS and AMOS, a few even progressed to 68000 assembly. Much of this motivated by wanting to create games and demos. This is how most people around my age learnt programming.

Today, consoles are more popular, we have smartphones with apps, PC’s don’t tend to ship with programming languages installed by default, so simply being a consumer is much easier but we have the web, with all free tools for creating applications, so the opportunities are still around, just different. Culturally programming has become more specialist than in the 80’s, not something for the average person, even as computers have moved into more areas of everyday life.

One person helping to increase the number of people exposed to programming is Emma Mulqueeny (aka @HubMum). She is behind Rewired State and the offshoot Young Rewired State for people 18 and under, if that was not enough she is also involved in Coding for Kids. Also she is an advisor to the mayor of London on Digital issues. So she is making a difference to the way computers are taught in school, maybe in the future we will see less of those articles telling us we need more engineers in part because of the work she is doing today.