May 2020 Articles

There’s no perfect process for hiring great programmers, but there are plenty of terrible ways to screw it up. We’ve rejected the industry stables of grilling candidates in front of a whiteboard or needling them with brain teasers since the start at Basecamp. But you’re not getting around showing real code when applying for a job here…

So what we’ve started to do instead at Basecamp is level the playing field by asking late-stage candidates to complete a small programming assignment as part of the final evaluation process. I’m going to show you two examples of these projects, and the submissions from the candidates that ended up being hired.

Look, employers are always free to – and should! – evaluate the work product produced by employees. But they don’t have to surveil someone’s every move or screenshot their computer every five minutes to do so. That’s monitoring the inputs. Monitor the outputs instead, and you’ll have a much healthier, saner relationship.

If you hire smart, capable people and trust them to do good work – surprise-surprise – people will return the sentiment deliver just that! The irony of setting up these invasive surveillance regimes is that they end up causing the motivation to goof off to beat the very systems that were setup to catch such behavior. It’s Hawthorne’s Effect on steroids.

It’s Okay

Clearleft ·

From Clearleft:

It hasn’t been easy, working in lockdown and juggling family life, client projects and everything else in between. So we wanted to say…

It’s OK.

…to turn your camera off if you want to. …to turn off Slack for a few hours. …not to respond to Slack messages immediately. …to use Slack calls over video calls. …if your pets/kids/partners are wandering around in the background. …to step away from a call if your delivery arrives. …to do excercise or go for a walk during the day. …to take a nap in the afternoon. …to feel like you’re not being as productive as normal. …to work asynchronously if your project can handle it. …to ask for a phone call instead of a video call. …to say you’ve had too many video calls and need a break. …to say you need some down-time. …to take a mental health day if you need one.

…to say you’re not OK.

It’s my birthday. I’m 68. I feel like pulling up a rocking chair and dispensing advice to the young ‘uns. Here are 68 pithy bits of unsolicited advice which I offer as my birthday present to all of you.

“The explorers who set one of the last meaningful records on earth.”

Oceanographers and explorers are a breed of human that I find fascinating. And being someone who loves the water, I find inspiring.

Ben Taub’s account of Victor Vescovo’s “Five Deeps” — “an attempt to become the first person to reach the deepest point in each ocean”.

Well worth the hour read. Inspiring. Gripping. With the little historical and mechanical details I love.

“When the history is written of how America handled the global era’s first real pandemic, March 6 will leap out of the timeline…“

During a press conference that day, Donald Trump made “two comments…about the disease. There would be four million testing kits available within a week. ‘The tests are beautiful,’ he said. ‘Anybody that needs a test gets a test.’

“Ten weeks later, that is still not close to being true. Fewer than 3 per cent of Americans had been tested by mid-May…”