Hexbyte  Hacker News  Computers Coding as an Engineering Manager

Hexbyte Hacker News Computers Coding as an Engineering Manager

Hexbyte Hacker News Computers

In the past four years, I’ve been working as an engineering manager. First, as the co-founder of RisingStack, then Godaddy and now Uber. In all of these cases, I was and am between the tech lead engineering manager and the people engineering manager.

This article summarizes a few lessons learned, as well as shows you how I manage to work on code. Hopefully it gives you a few ideas to adopt too, if you are an engineering manager with an appetite for coding.

If you’d like to learn more on these types of engineering managers, I’d recommend reading Benjamin Encz’s Flavors of Engineering Management.

Learn from Code Reviews

As an engineering manager I found code reviews tremendously helpful for not just ensuring quality across the codebase, but because of its knowledge sharing nature. I look at code reviews more as a broadcasting channel for the changes applied to the code base rather than a way of ensuring quality.

As an engineering manager, code reviews are a great way to:

  • understand the state of the project,
  • mentor new team members,
  • ask clarifying questions, that can spin up a conversation about an things the team might have missed previously.

Work on Bug Fixes / Small Features

If you’d like to and still have the time to work on the codebase sometimes, I’d highly recommend picking bug fixes or small features. Bug fixes let you dive into the breadth and the depth of the codebase and understand how it works, while also contributing back something useful to the team.

With features, I’d be more cautious. Your schedule is sometimes unpredictable, as you might be getting pulled into meetings unexpectedly, so you can easily end up blocking your team.

Mentoring and Teaching

If you live in an area where there are coding schools / community-driven mentoring sessions around you, and you have the time to attend, I’d give that a try! Depending on the format, it can be teaching or pair programming, with a lot of explaining on why things work in a given way. To look for mentoring events, give meetup.com a try!

If you are involved in the JavaScript / Node.js space, I’d recommend checking out NodeSchool, which is a global workshop series dedicated to teach newcomers JavaScript and Node.js.

Open-source projects

It also worked great for me to work on open-source projects either as a maintainer or a contributor. Back at my days at Godaddy, I’ve started Terminus, a Node.js library dealing with graceful shutdowns and health checks, and I’ve kept maintaining it ever since. It is a great way to stay up-to-date with both Node.js and Kubernetes through incoming pull requests and issues, as the library build on those technologies.

If you’d like to do something similar, but you don’t have a project, I’d recommend searching for the labels “help wanted” or “good first issue” on GitHub to get involved with a project. To stay with the example at Node.js, you can take a look at the issues labeled with “good first issue” using this link.

Conclusion

Depending on what flavour of engineering management you are practicing, you may have the chance to work on code once in while. If you do, keep in mind to pick tasks that are small and not time sensitive, so you won’t block your team.

Did I miss anything? What are you doing to keep in touch with coding as an engineering manager? Please let me know in the comments below!

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Hexbyte  Hacker News  Computers On Hold for 45 Minutes? It Might Be Your Secret Customer Score.

Hexbyte Hacker News Computers On Hold for 45 Minutes? It Might Be Your Secret Customer Score.

Hexbyte Hacker News Computers

Two people call customer service at the same time to complain about the same thing. One waits a few seconds before a representative gets on the line. The other stays on hold. Why the difference?

There’s a good chance it has something to do with a rating known as a customer lifetime value, or CLV. That secret number is used by all manner of companies to measure the potential financial value of their customers.

Your…

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Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica | While iPhone sales remain stagnant, Apple services hit $10 billion in revenue

Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica | While iPhone sales remain stagnant, Apple services hit $10 billion in revenue

Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica |

The newest numbers are in —

Apple continues to push its services forward, and cash in on more expensive iPhones.


Hexbyte - Tech News - Ars Technica | One of several styled Apple logos associated with the October 30 event.
Enlarge /

One of several styled Apple logos associated with the October 30 event.

Apple announced on its earnings call today that it had surpassed its revenue estimates for Q4 2018. The iPhone maker boasted $62.9 billion in revenue, slightly more than the $60-62 billion it previously estimated, as well as $14.1 billion in profit, up from $11.5 billion in the previous quarter.

“We’re thrilled to report another record-breaking quarter that caps a tremendous fiscal 2018, the year in which we shipped our two billionth iOS device, celebrated the 10th anniversary of the App Store, and achieved the strongest revenue and earnings in Apple’s history,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement.

Apple sold 46.8 million iPhones, 9.6 million iPads, and 5.2 million Macs in the final quarter of 2018. While that represents a 14 percent increase in iPhone sales when compared to last quarter, it’s about the same number of iPhones sold this time last year. However, year-over-year revenue from iPhone sales was up by 29 percent, thanks to the increase in iPhone prices.

This quarter saw the reveal of the iPhone XS and XS Max, but only a fraction of those sales contribute to these numbers because of the handsets’ late release date. The YoY increase mostly comes from the $1,000 iPhone X, which has been the best-selling iPhone since its launch in September 2017. The X continues to sell well enough that Apple moved roughly the same number of iPhones and made nearly 30 percent more. Now, the average sale price for an iPhone is $793, up drastically from $618 in the same quarter last year.

Apple’s services business, a constant bright spot in recent quarters, hit a revenue milestone in Q4 2018: $10 billion (it’s $9.98 billion to be exact, but Apple rounded up). That’s an increase of 27 percent from Q4 2017, in which services including iCloud, Apple Music, the App Store, and others brought in $7.9 billion in revenue.

When

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Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica | A new, eye-wateringly high estimate of the cost of obesity in the US

Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica | A new, eye-wateringly high estimate of the cost of obesity in the US

Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica |

Big numbers —

But the report illustrates how difficult it is to produce a precise figure.


Hexbyte - Tech News - Ars Technica | The total cost includes lost productivity, as well as healthcare costs.
Enlarge /

The total cost includes lost productivity, as well as healthcare costs.

A report released this week puts a surprisingly high figure on the societal cost of obesity in the US: $1.72 trillion annually, or 9.3 percent of GDP. By contrast, the current CDC estimates are in the region of $150 billion, less than one tenth as high.

By far the biggest chunk of that $1.72 trillion is the $1.24 trillion chunk attributed to the “indirect” costs of obesity: the “work absences, lost wages, and reduced economic productivity for the individuals suffering from the conditions and their family caregivers,” the report explains. That is, the bulk comes from costs other than healthcare spending. The estimate for healthcare spending—$480.7 billion annually—is somewhat higher than a range of estimates in reviews of the literature, which hover around $150 to $300 billion, but are still on the same scale.

Estimates like these can vary substantially because of the different methods used in calculating them. For example, a review from 2017 catalogues the different obesity-related diseases that were included in various studies across different countries; respiratory disorders and musculo-skeletal disorders make an appearance in some but not others. A 2016 meta-analysis describes a similarly wide range in how medical costs are calculated.

Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica | How much cancer is obesity-related?

The new report was published by the Milken Institute, a think tank that aims to “increase global prosperity by… widen[ing] access to capital, creat[ing] jobs, and improv[ing] health.” That means that, while the report leans heavily on the academic literature, it hasn’t been scrutinized through the process of scientific peer review and doesn’t have the same obligations as a scientific paper to publish the details of its workings.

To reach their estimate, public health economist Hugh Waters and health research analyst Marlon Graf gathered data on a range of chronic health conditions. That range included obvious culprits like stroke and Type 2 diabetes as well as conditions like chronic back pain and liver cancer. They used CDC data to establish how common these diseases are in the US.

Next, they calculated how much of this prevalence could be attributed to obesity. Obviously, it would be insane to consider every case of liver cancer to be the result of obesity, even though obesity is linked to a higher risk of various cancers. So, for instance, to work out what proportion of the total prevalence of liver cancer could be attributed to obesity, Waters and Graf looked at how much higher the risk of liver cancer is for someone with obesity compared to someone without obesity, and they extrapolated that to the overall prevalence numbers.

The data on costs came from a few different sources—a national survey that includes a household survey, along with data from medical insurance, the CDC, and various academic sources. These sources cover both the direct medical costs and the indirect costs of each condition; for instance