Developer growth

Tribes – a search for belonging

Finding your tribe isn’t easy. It’s a long journey of many missteps. You may be part of a tribe your entire life. You may wander to look for other tribes out there and dive back into your old tribe for safety. Other times you need to find another to call your own. Sometimes you need to start your own with your closest around you. Other times you need to just start, and hope others will follow.


But, what do I mean with a tribe? In this context I’m using it as a community where you feel a sense of belonging. Originally, tribes were defined by proximity, the land you belonged to. So changing tribes was a physical action. Moving from one area to another. Going through rituals and sacrifices to leave your original tribe and be accepted in your new one. It took a lot of friction.

In society today the sense of belonging to a certain part of land isn’t what defines our tribe any longer. We define it in other ways like: race, nationality, gender, faith, community, workplace, hobbies etc. Some are hierarchical, like your team, that resides within your department in your organization and others are virtual, like social media groups, forums, interests, programming languages.

In our digital age there is a lot less friction to switch between tribes. You can find a virtual tribe, where switching could be as simple as joining another group. You can physically move across the world and still stay in the same virtual tribe, even though you may change your physical one.

A sense of belonging

As we grow and mature, we all go through our own versions of “the hero’s journey”. Moving through life, searching for a place of belonging.

My family tribe has always been important to me, it’s the most rock-solid tribe I belong to. Our shared values define the core of my belief and value system, and in extension is the lens I see the world through.

Another tribe that gives me a sense of fulfilment is meaningful work alongside caring individuals. Working to make a change in this world for the better. It’s what’s guided me unconsciously so far, and now what I’m starting to become more aware of and act upon.

The search

It’s become easier than ever to find and change tribes. It’s also easier than ever to get distracted in your search. The best we can do is follow our heart, and not settle. As we grow, so do our needs and finding a tribe that allows you to grow to your full potential is something I think is worth searching for.

As I’ve become more aware of my journey and what is important to me, I’ve also been more aware of what I want from my tribe. I’m sure this will evolve and change as I grow, and I’m sure that no tribe will be a perfect match. I do know that when I see something that is closer to my own values I need to make the move. How else will I know if it’s what I need?

“If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.” ― Steve Jobs

So, if you’ve found your tribe – cherish it, nourish it and consider yourself lucky. If not, work through the friction and don’t settle.

Communication, Developer growth

Quit blaming others. It’s your fault!

When working in a team trying to deliver software things don’t always go right. Quite often they actually go wrong. Sometimes though they go so wrong that there are consequences for others. And when things go wrong, someone is to blame.

It’s natural to protect yourself and make sure all attention is on the next person by blaming and pointing. Perhaps you just sit idly and let others deal out blame and this helps you get by on a day-to-day basis. If you and the people around you are dealing out blame, you aren’t only making it bad for those around you, but for yourself.

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Submitting a Conference Talk Proposal

This is an inwards-facing post, which you may or may not find valuable. The short version is: TL;DR: Do something that scares you. Perhaps submit a proposal for a conferences Call-For-Papers?

Some time ago, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to speak at NDC Oslo, with a dear friend and colleague of mine. An experience I will cherish with personal growth and many connections made.

I feel, though, I had the home-side advantage. Presenting in my country of residence. On stage with a colleague that had my back. The topic was in context of my employer, who was well-known for the home audience.

I’m not trying to de-evaluate the accomplishment, but rather the potential and hunger to take the next step. But is it worth it?

The next step, maybe

Fast forward a summer vacation / paternity leave and the speakers-high has started to wear off. I’m curious if I can make the step to an international arena, alone. Searching around I stumble over The Lead Developer New York, and decide I want to try for that.

I take a first step, and ask for feedback on the talk from NDC Oslo. Feedback is decent, but there’s a lot of work involved to re-angle it for it to work in that setting. Challenge accepted…but not today.

A few weeks more go by, and I’ve procrastinated away my first opportunity as a CFP (Call For Papers) goes by. Too much going on, or so I say to myself.

Reality check. I can actually do this if I want to. Then Imposter Syndrome strikes. Hard. More procrastinating. Some interactions, and writing the blog post on Imposter Syndrome remind me of what I need to do.


Last week I submitted a proposal for a talk that’s been swirling in my head for some time for The Lead Developer London 2017. I have no idea if it will get accepted, but I’ve taken the first step.

The journey from idea to submitting a proposal is a tale of missed opportunities, failure to take action, internal struggles with my self-worth, but most importantly growth.

For the record, the title of the talk is “You are more than just your code“.

What’s holding you back from taking the first step towards something that scares you?

Reach out to me directly if you have any thoughts, questions or criticisms. Or leave a comment below.

Cover Image:  WilliamMarlow via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Developer growth

Embrace your inner Imposter

There are times in life where no matter what happens, you feel like a fraud. Where your inner critic says you aren’t worthy or capable of doing a certain task, even if you’re good at it. I asked a few friends to share some experiences of theirs where their inner imposter spoke over their own skills:

“Sometimes when I’m part of a discussion on politics I just say something and shy away”.

“How can I ask for more pay? I’m nowhere near as good as …”.

“I can’t hold a presentation at [some event]. I’m no expert on this topic”.

“I love pair-programming, but hate when I’m typing. What if they realise I need to google simple things? Would they think less of me?”.

“I can’t write blog posts. People will laugh at my lack of knowledge”.

You’ve probably experienced some thoughts along those lines. You doubt yourself with every brain-cell and are afraid someone will call you out for being a fraud. I know I have. You see, those experiences arent from friends of mine. They’re actually my own.

Yet I know I can do all of them, I get feedback from my friends, peers even strangers confirming the value of what I do. Why is it then so hard to recognize my accomplishments?

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Valuable Resources

Andrea Goulet recently held the keynote “Communication is just as important as code” at DotNetFringe 2016. I’ve been looking forward to this recording ever since I read about it on the Corgibytes blog. Andrea is also the creator of the Empathy-Driven-Development blog and has a podcast at

I’ve written my summary of the talk and added some of my personal thoughts at the end. For a full transcript, read the Corgibytes-blogpost.

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Developer growth

Who defines your success?
Working in the software industry as a developer is a real joy. We are paid to create or contribute to solutions that solve the needs of real users. Alright, some needs are forced, but our solutions usually end up covering a need and delivering some form of value.
Why then the stories of decision fatigue, burnout,  dreams of silicon valley money, conflict and hate in communities, and other success / failure stories? Why aren’t we content with the value we deliver?

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Developer growth

The importance of time off

Burnout is a difficult topic that people experience in varying degrees throughout their professional and personal lives. Demands from our modern societies take their toll through ever-growing expectations from others, ourselves and what we believe others expect from us. There is a great deal of focus on how we can do more, but not on how to do less. Which is why I was positively surprised about a recent article from HBR which promoted the value of down-time.

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Book Notes: Goals are for losers, System 2 is for winners

This is a short summary / knowledge-well for two books I have “read” recently. I say “read” because I’ve actually listened to them in audiobook format. The books are:

The title of this post is a mix of my main take-aways from the two books. As with any compressed form of wisdom, though, it is quite inaccurate. I haven’t had the opportunity to write my own in-depth review, but I’ve written some of my thoughts and linked to a few others that have been more thorough.

Though not directly programming related, these books touch on some wonderfully core principles that are valid for any developer. From the analytical approach to thinking to how to create systems that increase your chances for professional and personal success.

They have also been recommended by several guests from the Developer on Fire podcast.

Thinking, Fast and Slow – 9/10

This book wasn’t easy to consume as an audiobook for me. Listening to books is usually an activity I do while multithreading my life, like driving to work, mowing the lawn, vacuuming the house etc. I also didn’t view the accompanying PDF, which would have greatly aided in understanding the examples.

The topics here are thought-provoking, deep and eye-opening. I found the analogies of the two methods of thinking to be simple and accessible. Where System 1 is the fast, intuitive and lazy and System 2 is slow, thinking and costly. These analogies are easy to grasp, yet profound when put in to words and illustrated through experiments and examples.

Kahneman explains how we trick ourselves into making decisions based on false positives. The concepts of Cognitive Ease, Confirmation Bias and much more. These wonderful animated videos do a great job on touching on the main messages from he book, yet they barely scratch the surface. The many examples in the book really drive home the value of engaging your System 2.

System 1 is not without purpose though. It is the way we learn new skills and create habits. It allows us to free up valuable brain-cycles and energy to do other taxing tasks during our day. It is when we use System 1 to decide for us when System 2 should be engaged that we fall into making sub-optimal decisions.

I highly recommended this book. I’ll definitely need to revisit it some time in the future.

Beware the mixup of the two people’s reaction in “Big idea 5: Framing” in the first video.


How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life – 10/10

For those of you that may not know this, Scott Adams is the creator of the Dilbert comic strip. In this book he’s written his story and learnings on how he’s achieved success. He has a slightly different take on it than what many other success-stories tend to say.

Goals are for Losers. Systems are for winners.

– Scott Adams

The main take-away has been his quote on systems vs goals. His take on goals are that they are a fleeting target. Upon reaching a goal there is not further incentive to continue. When people with goals of losing 5 kilos achieve this there is a tendency that the weight comes back on at some time and you need to set new goals.

People with systems on the other hand are more likely to achieve long-term success since the aren’t focused on specific goals, but rather to put in place repetitive systems that will allow them to not only reach a proprietary goal, but also keep it going for the long haul. Eating and living healthy is a system that will lead to a better you with less chance of being overweight, and an increased chance of having more energy and keeping it that way for the rest of your life.

He also embraces the notion of luck, and increasing your luck-surface by putting systems into play that expose you to situations that luck will have a greater opportunity of finding you.

Doing things that increase your energy level is also a key point in increasing your general happiness. Eating well, being active and prioritizing.

The books light, quirky style make it a joy to read, and make the contents easily consumable. I enjoyed the book greatly and recommend it to anyone. If you’ve read and liked The 7 habits of highly effective people, you’ll enjoy this.

Here’s a video on the core concept of Goals vs Systems and a talk from Scott Adams himself on the topics from this book.




I think reading or listening to books to be of tremendous value and think and would like to promote the listening of audiobooks in this ever-so-hectic world. Embracing the non-technical side of life has also been of great personal value to me, and I hope you will also find joy in reading non-technical books.

Have you read any of these books? Would you also recommend them or possibly others? Should I add more in-depth reviews?

Please leave your thoughts in the comments or reach out to me directly.