Community, Valuable Resources

Coding with Empathy in 2017

Empathy – the 4th most popular word in 2017, according to Merriam-Webster. It’s interesting that this word has risen up in its popularity this year. Mirriam-Webster also points out the connection between politics in the USA, and the increase usage and searches for empathy.

Here’s Google’s take on how empathy is doing 2017. This is a trend graph compared to sympathy and compassion:

So, definitely something people are becoming more aware of, and possibly also exploring.

The Blog

This blog hasn’t been as active as in 2016, but there has been some activity.

3 of my most popular blog posts came out this year, and have been well-received both on this blog and on the great platform.

  1. Rituals of Shaming in the Software Industry
  2. Efficiency and Effectiveness in Software Development Teams
  3. Please, break the build!


As announced in the 2016 summary, I explored video this year, with a month of daily vlog episodes exploring daily reflections on The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday. I was inspired by two of Ryan Holiday’s previous books; The Obstacle is the Way and Ego is the Enemy. These introduced me to Stoicism, and how valuable this philosophy is. The 30 episodes of the Vlog was an eye-opening experience for me, on a personal and professional level. I found new joy in editing videos, learning about stoicism, and combining this with a daily journal that also doubled up as a vlog.

Feel free to check out the results, and let me know what you think:

Conference talks / Podcasts

Empathy was also in focus on the conference scene this year, as I presented at NDC Oslo and QCon New York. Both talks are recorded and are available.

I’m really happy with how these talks turned out, and the feedback from them. Though they are very similar, I think the second iteration at QCon NYC really struck home.

I also had the chance to have a chat with Shawn Hastie for the InfoQ Engineering Culture Podcast where we dove into topics of team leadership and empathy. It was a good chat, and certainly something I’d love to do more of.


I can’t have a summary of 2017 without mentioning the #goofyreligion group on twitter. What started out as a joke by Dave Rael quickly escalated to a hash-tag a few of us rallied around to help motivate each other to take care of our health, physical and mental.

The tweet that started it all:

To learn more about the #goofyreligion and also a great conversation on balance and functional programming check out Reid Evans on the Developer on Fire Podcast


The second half of 2017 has been about gratitude for me. Not so much about external gratitude, but internal. Appreciating the people around me. Putting them in focus after a lot of focus on myself and my activities. I suppose it’s about balance, really. I spend time doing these things in public to help others, but at the end of the day I also need to be there for the people around me. So a special thank you to my wife, kids and family.

I want to thank the wonderful people at KomplettDev. It’s a joy to work with so many individuals bringing their whole selves to work every day and building the best web-shops in Europe.

I also want to thank the #goofyreligion gang (with friends). These people inspire with their actions, and their words. I’m lucky to have you, and looking forward to sharing the #goofyreligion with more people in 2018.

A special thank you to Emil Cardell for giving me a journal and pen after the NDC Oslo talk. I now journal every day and am better for it! 150 days of journaling so far this year.

Looking Forward

I’m striving for balance, and finding a healthy way to push myself on all fronts. I’ve discovered this means tackling some bad habits I’ve built up through my life and understanding that changing my mindset is going to be hard. A keyword here is rewiring habits.

There are also some new things happening, which have me really excited and I hope to share more of that in 2018!

Finally I’d like to thank each and every one of you readers for putting empathy in your lives, and for those around you. I’ve seen a lot of positivity in our communities that give me a lot of hope of bringing safety into our profession. But there’s a long way to go yet. So, let’s continue our work in 2018.