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Humans are Hard

Humans are Hard

Lessons learned from the past decade of coding, learning to understand and work with people.

Presented at LRUG on Monday 11th February 2019.

Video will appear on Skillsmatter at a later date


Matthew Rudy Jacobs

February 11, 2019


  1. Humans are Hard Matthew Rudy Jacobs @LRUG Feb 11th 2019

  2. @MatthewRudy

  3. The Ministry of Justice

  4. Uber for Prisoners

  5. Caveats:

  6. I'm not claiming I used to be the shiest person

    in the world
  7. I'm not claiming I am now the most outgoing person

    in the world
  8. Everything is relative

  9. The Talk!

  10. Humans are Hard

  11. I'm a Developer

  12. I'm a "Technical Architect"

  13. I'm a Developer who mostly talks to people, draws pictures,

    and writes stuff
  14. I'm good at code

  15. I'm not good at people

  16. Or I wasn't

  17. As a Junior Developer everything was easy

  18. I'd get a story

  19. I'd code it

  20. Done!!!

  21. It was awesome

  22. As I grew things got harder

  23. I worked on bigger teams

  24. I led bigger teams

  25. I had to review other people's code

  26. Other people had to review my code

  27. I had to reject other people's code

  28. I got more involved in Product

  29. But

  30. Things moved much slower

  31. Meetings got in the way

  32. Politics got in the way

  33. Humans got in the way

  34. I used to be a 10x engineer

  35. In the past year I've not written any code

  36. In the past year no-one has written any code

  37. (that's another story)

  38. Why was it so easy before?

  39. Because I didn't have to deal with people

  40. I didn't have to speak to our Users

  41. I didn't have to explain my code to colleagues

  42. I didn't worry about other people maintaining my code

  43. The Humans were "abstracted"

  44. Software is Simple

  45. Most of us aren't making Facebook

  46. Most of us aren't making Google

  47. Most of us aren't flying to the moon

  48. Big systems are broken down into simple pieces

  49. Software can be solved

  50. But Humans?

  51. Humans are Hard

  52. Like, really hard!

  53. There is no formula to solve people

  54. We Are Humans

  55. We Build Software for Humans

  56. We Build Software with Humans

  57. We need to do better

  58. How I learned to be better at Humans

  59. Take the time to understand Technique 1:

  60. I didn't understand them

  61. They didn't understand me

  62. We all have different backgrounds and perspectives

  63. We are all trying to do a good job

  64. Assume the best

  65. Put yourself in their shoes

  66. Time spent understanding others Saves us time elsewhere

  67. Don't apologise for being shy Technique 2:

  68. I am shy

  69. I am awkward with people

  70. Or at least I thought I was

  71. "I don't know how to talk to people"

  72. "I don't understand people"

  73. "who said that?" My colleague:

  74. I stopped assuming I was awkward

  75. It turns out I'm not that awkward

  76. We're all awkward! or rather:

  77. Find your place Technique 3:

  78. I used to try to go to clubs

  79. But clubs aren't my thing

  80. Tech is my thing

  81. Coders are my thing

  82. Find your role

  83. Understand other people feel the same way

  84. Meet them in a mutually comfortable spot

  85. Don't make them go to the pub

  86. Be Confident Technique 4:

  87. Everyone has imposter syndrome

  88. I find it weird when people listen to me

  89. But it turns out I'm super clever

  90. It took too long to realise this

  91. Practice Technique 6:

  92. Talk to people

  93. Find out what makes them tick

  94. People can be fun

  95. Time to Practice!!!

  96. It's ok to be inconsistent

  97. Final thought:

  98. Life is short

  99. Let's all just be friends

  100. Thanks

  101. @matthewrudy