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What We’re Reading

uShip Engineering values a culture of continual learning. A degree may land you an entry level position, but in software development especially, education is an ongoing process in both formal and informal settings. As such, we implore our team members to continually stretch the bounds of their knowledge, and we love to dive into the things teammates find interesting enough to share. Here’s a sample of what we’ve come across in the last month.

Jacob Calder, Developer (Payments)

Why Uber Switched to MySQL from PostGres
A technical explanation of why Uber switched including discussions of the architectures of both databases. Postgres has responded to this here and here.
A Look at How Postgres Executes a Tiny Join
A technical explanation of what actually happens when you perform a join in postgres. A great way to start moving beyond understanding how to use a database and to start building an understanding of how they work.

Brent Lewis, Developer (Platform, Front-End specialization)

React: Mixins Considered Harmful
An early example of a potential anti-pattern in React. If you heed the warning, it would be an insightful way to ensure new React code is maintainable.
How Becoming a Pilot Made Me a Better Programmer
When critical issues appear mid-flight, being able to both read and cross-check instrumentation will save your life – valuable lessons for web development production systems.

Zack Whipkey, Developer (Platform, Back-End specialization)

Influence: Science and Practice
If you’re working with vendors for third party tools, it’s good to identify whenever someone is attempting to sell you something without sound reasoning.
Jeff Atwood – They Have to Be Monsters
A deep look into a ugliness of communication on the internet, especially public facing. If you ever write a blog, or get into public speaking in cyberspace, best to be prepared.

Matt Hayes, Sr. Developer (iOS)

Idea Flow
When development best practices fail, what can you do?  See how one team used detailed metrics and reporting to solve the problems that fell through the cracks.
iWoz : Computer Geek to Cult Icon
The story of Steve Wozniak’s career, in his own words.  From building his first computer to the Apple I to inventing the universal remote control, this gives an interesting perspective on the early days in Silicon Valley and one pretty darn influential hardware engineer.

Shaun Martin, Director of Development

How To Empower Your Employees To Act Like Entrepreneurs
I’m a big fan of the Lean Startup principles and practices, and as uShip grows I want to make sure we maintain the ability to move quickly, take calculated risks and continue on the path to disrupt an outdated industry.
Ego is the Enemy (book)
This is the best book I’ve read in years. Ryan Holiday is a former assistant to Robert Greene (48 Laws of Power, 33 Strategies of War) and a student of stoicism. In his fourth book, he shares historical and personal examples of how allowing your sense of self-importance can cripple the execution of your purpose and mission. Examples include Napolean, Ghengis Khan, Steve Jobs, Bill Belichick, Dov Charney and John Delorean among many others.
The Pragmatic Programmer Quick Reference Guide
Not so much “reading” as it is “constantly referencing”. I refer to a handful of items from this list every week to do a health check on our teams and ensure they’re constantly striving to improve.