Developer On Fire

Developer On Fire
By Dave Rael
About this podcast
Developer On Fire with Dave Rael is an interview podcast with inspiring and successful software professionals telling personal stories about their experiences with delivering value. It is a chance for you to get to know your favorite geeks and learn more about who they are, how they deliver, and what makes them tick. Learn from and get to know special geeks like Matt Wynne, Rob Eisenberg, Udi Dahan, Ted Neward, John Sonmez, Phil Haack, and David Heinemeier Hansson.
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Latest episodes
Guest: Jim Holmes @aJimHolmes Jim Holmes talks with Dave Rael about the nature of leadership, the leadership journey, applying lessons from athletics to professional teams, resetting negative dynamics, and delivering value Jim is an Executive Consultant at Pillar Technology where he works with organizations trying to improve their software delivery process. He's also the owner/principal of Guidepost Systems which lets him engage directly with struggling organizations. He has been in various corners of the IT world since joining the US Air Force in 1982. He’s spent time in LAN/WAN and server management roles in addition to many years helping teams and customers deliver great systems. Jim has worked with organizations ranging from start ups to Fortune 10 companies to improve their delivery processes and ship better value to their customers. When not at work you might find Jim in the kitchen with a glass of wine, playing Xbox, hiking with his family, or banished to the garage while trying to practice his guitar. Chapters: 2:19 - Dave introduces the show and Jim Holmes4:37 - Jim's athletic history9:46 - Jim on leadership and the leadership journey15:34 - Leadership in the context of being a software developer and/or part of a software development team28:01 - Jim's story of failure - too much focus on details instead of strategy, realizing a dynamic that needed to be broken too late36:15 - Jim's book recommendations and the delivering not of software, but of value46:19 - Jim's top 3 tips for delivering more value49:46 - Keeping up with Jim Resources: Jim's Blog The Leadership Journey - Jim Holmes The Bad News Bears David Giard on Developer On Fire Kalamazoo X Conference Mike Eaton Jim's Leadership 101 Blog Post Series CodeMash The Design of Design: Essays from a Computer Scientist - Frederick P. Brooks Jr. Cain and Abel Fred George on Developer On Fire Chad Fowler on Developer On Fire The Passionate Programmer: Creating a Remarkable Career in Software Development (Pragmatic Life) - Chad Fowler Corey Haines Dave Fancher on Developer On Fire Ken Versaw on Developer On Fire Kansas City Developer Conference Jim's book recommendation: Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit - Mary and Tom Poppendieck Implementing Lean Software Development: From Concept to Cash - Mary and Tom Poppendieck Leading Lean Software Development: Results Are not the Point - Mary and Tom Poppendieck The Lean Mindset: Ask the Right Questions - Mary and Tom Poppendieck The Trusted Advisor - David H. Maister Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams (3rd Edition) - Tom DeMarco Jim's top 3 tips for delivering more value: Step back from technology and talk it out with whoever you are delivering to At the team level, step away from the keyboard and understand the organizational fit of what you're doing Keep some balance
Feb. 15, 2018
Guest: Joel Beasley @ Joel Beasley talks with Dave Rael about Modern CTO, his ambitious history in software and business, code quality, and the human elements of great software products and businesses Joel is an MIT Educated, family first workaholic. Joel loves his k9 friends Ted, Teddy and Bently has a beautiful wife Michelle. Recently Joel has welcomed a brand new addition to the family, his first child, a daughter, Ari. Joel has a passion for writing clean object oriented code with a heavy emphasis on services. Single Responsibility Principle, Low Coupling and High Cohesion are just a few of the important design principles he employs. Chapters: 2:19 - Dave introduces the show and Joel Beasley5:36 - What Joel is creating8:42 - Code quality, minimum viable products, pushing back against demands, and products that are and are not worth investment14:46 - Favor consistency over big changes, improve gradually and incrementally - true in software quality, the physical condition of your body, and life in general18:27 - The importance of sales and building a business - building a product is not enough22:38 - The human and nontechnical nature of the modern CTO content and to whom it is useful27:35 - How Joel got started in software35:46 - Joel's story of failure - attempts at brute force organization scaling39:25 - Joel's book recommendations, including advice on how to read technical books41:03 - The things that have Joel most excited46:59 - Joel's top 3 tips for delivering more value47:36 - Keeping up with Joel Resources: The Modern CTO Website Modern CTO - The Podcast Modern CTO - The Book Spaghetti code MVP Epidemic - Joel Beasley Ward Cunningham Explains the Technical Debt Metaphor Computer programming in the punched card era "Uncle Bob" Martin on Developer On Fire Mark Seemann on Developer On Fire Elias Torrest - CTO at Driftt Audible Indi Young on Developer On Fire Practical Empathy: For Collaboration and Creativity in Your Work - Indi Young Empathy Circles People do not work for money, people work for momentum. - Joel Beasley Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? Indiana Jones Video Games Modern CTO - about page, including positive feedback on the podcast and content Brunno Attorre on the Modern CTO Podcast Pollfish Postman Stripe Joel's book recommendation: Martin Fowler Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship - Robert C. Martin Sandi Metz Joel's top 3 tips for delivering more value: Communicate clearly and effectively, including and especially communicating the value you bring Always get incrementally better Make people feel heard
Feb. 12, 2018
Guest: Chris DeMars @saltnburnem Chris DeMars talks with Dave Rael about community involvement, JavaScript pain, creating awesome user experiences, and overcoming obstacles Chris DeMars is a UI developer first, UX architect always, working out of Detroit, Michigan. Chris is also an instructor, teacher assistant, and volunteer for the Ann Arbor chapter of Girl Develop It and co-organizer for the Ann Arbor Accessibiity Group. Chris loves coming up with solutions for enterprise applications, which include modular CSS architectures, performance, and advocating for web accessibility. When he is not working on making the web great and inclusive you can find him writing blog posts, watching horror movies, drinking the finest of beers, or in the woods of northern Michigan. Chapters: 1:17 - Dave introduces the show and Chris DeMars3:23 - The appeal to Chris of HTML, CSS, user interface, and design5:11 - Chris's relationship with JavaScript and advice for developers on understanding designs, colors, and UI developers9:10 - Chris's involvement with Girl Develop It10:43 - Chris's community involvement and social nature12:35 - Conference speaking and making connections17:25 - How Chris discovered the ability to create experiences with user interface18:37 - The things that "light Chris up"19:39 - Chris on accessibility21:02 - Chris's story of failure - reeling from criticism23:58 - Chris, the podcaster27:25 - Chris's success story - Turning around an unsatisfying trajectory to become self-sufficient and set an example32:02 - How Chris stays current with what he needs to know33:21 - Chris's book recommendation35:38 - The things that have Chris most excited38:11 - Chris's sources of pain and suffering40:03 - Chris's top 3 tips for delivering more value44:23 - Keeping up with Chris Resources: Chris's Website Tales from the Script - Chris's Podcast David Pine on Developer On Fire Amegala Detroit Code Indy Code Ken Versaw on Developer On Fire Dave Fancher on Developer On Fire Poltergeist Halloween Smashing Magazine CSS Tricks Google Chrome Developers YouTube Channel Scott Tolinski LevelUpTuts - Scott Tolinski's YouTube Channel Wes Bos Shop Talk Podcast Toolsday Supernatural Chris's book recommendation: Frontend Architecture for Design Systems: A Modern Blueprint for Scalable and Sustainable Websites - Micah Godbolt Chris's top 3 tips for delivering more value: Separate passion from emotion Be friendly to everybody Get involved in the community
Feb. 8, 2018
Guest: Jason Swett @JasonSwett Jason Swett talks with Dave Rael about job search skills, growing socially, the nature of software careers, and the rewards of creating useful stuff Jason Swett has been building websites for over 20 years, working for organizations like AT&T, the University of Chicago, and VMware. Jason’s favorite part of programming jobs has always been the job search and interview phase. Now he teaches job search skills at Chapters: 2:19 - Dave introduces the show and Jason Swett4:46 - How Jason got started in software7:12 - Jason's attraction to interviewing, negotiating, and the job search9:54 - The reasons for frequently changing jobs12:07 - Jason's motivations for teaching job search skills14:33 - Sales and marketing for developers19:04 - Jason's approach to the job search and what he has to offer developers23:57 - Ways for developers to market themselves - hunting and farming27:46 - Interview preparation31:09 - Jason's story of failure - lacking social intelligence and acuity (and learning to grow it later)36:05 - Personal skills developers can develop and Stephen Covey's contrasting of the character ethic and the personality ethic39:17 - Jason's success story - creating content people found useful enough to pay for it40:44 - Jason's mix of technical and soft skills content42:28 - The things that have Jason most excited43:51 - How Jason stays current with what he needs to know45:20 - Jason's causes of pain and suffering46:43 - Advice for improving job search skills by looking at the individual steps and getting better at them one at a time48:03 - Jason's top 3 tips for delivering more value Resources: Jason's Website (no longer - he switched to after recording) Jason on GitHub Late Night with Conan O'Brien Ramit Sethi "You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want." - Zig Ziglar Saron Yitbarek on Developer On Fire Toastmasters International Stephen Covey Explaining the Charactor Ethic and the Personality Ebthic Paradigms of Artificial Intelligence Programming: Case Studies in Common Lisp - Peter Norvig Perrry Marshall "Uncle Bob" Martin on Developer On Fire Jason's book recommendation: How to Win Friends & Influence People - Dale Carnegie The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change - Stephen R. Covey Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (3rd Edition) (Voices That Matter) - Steve Krug Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship - Robert C. Martin Jason's top 3 tips for delivering more value: Make sure you understand what needs to be done and why before you do it Learn usability testing Read Clean Code by Robert C. Martin
Feb. 5, 2018
Guest: Sonia Gupta @soniagupta504 Sonia Gupta talks with Dave Rael about moving from law into software development, gaining self-awareness, and the powerful draw and potential for good of technologists Sonia Gupta is currently a software developer at Ibotta, Inc. in Denver, CO. Prior to becoming a developer, Sonia was a lawyer in Louisiana. She served as a Public Defender in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, then as a Prosecutor, and finally as an Assistant Attorney General doing torts and Civil Rights litigation. Before initiating her career change, Sonia had no experience in programming and software development. She attended the Turing School of Software and Design where she learned best practices through a curriculum focused on Ruby and Rails development. Sonia is an outspoken advocate of diversity and inclusion in tech and in life. She is passionate about fostering empathetic and effective communication on engineering teams, and believes that even if tech can’t always change the world, technologists absolutely can. Chapters: 1:18 - Dave introduces the show and Sonia Gupta4:22 - The appeal to Sonia of software development and the humility of many software developers8:21 - Sonia's early exposure to computer science9:42 - Sonia's path to Turing School of Software & Design11:04 - Sonia's experience at Turing School and connecting with professionals as a path to employment13:17 - The things that "light Sonia up"14:16 - Applicability to software of the skills and traits useful to lawyers16:46 - Sonia's bold career change, the rewards of making it, and support from her family19:17 - Software development as cooperative vs competitive22:09 - Sonia's story of failure - struggling with early Turing School curriculum, comparing herself to others having an easier time, and the importance and value of persistence26:35 - Sonia's success story - completion of the Turing School program and entry in the profession of software development, the culmination of a journey of authentic self-discovery29:20 - How Sonia stays current with what she needs to know31:13 - Sonia's book recommendations33:11 - The things that have Sonia most excited34:03 - The things about which Sonia likes to geek out35:01 - Sonia's top 3 tips for delivering more value38:12 - Advice for tapping into empathy Resources: Sonia on Medium Kathleen Dollard on Developer On Fire Turing School of Software & Design Jeff Casimir on Developer On Fire Ted Neward on Developer On Fire Louisiana Bar Journal Sandi Metz on Developer On Fire Sonia's book recommendation: Practical Object-Oriented Design in Ruby: An Agile Primer (Addison-Wesley Professional Ruby) - Sandi Metz The Fire Next Time - James Baldwin Sonia's top 3 tips for delivering more value: Learn to communicate effectively, particularly by making use of precise language, psychological safety, and empathy Learn to craft a code narrative Take time to take care of yourself
Feb. 1, 2018
Guest: Rob Richardson @rob_rich Rob Richardson talks with Dave Rael about passion for software development, scaling impact, community, teaching, and taking action Rob Richardson is a software craftsman building web properties in ASP.NET and Node, Angular and React. He’s a Microsoft MVP, published author, frequent speaker at conferences, user groups, and community events, and a diligent teacher and student of high quality software development. You can find this and other talks on his blog at and follow him on twitter at @rob_rich. Chapters: 2:19 - Dave introduces the show and Rob Richardson3:44 - Rob on seeing people use the software he creates6:30 - The things that "light Rob up"8:01 - Making choices in a context without constraints, listening as the opening step, and picking the right building blocks10:03 - Choosing tools for the job and, more importantly, understanding the job15:25 - Rob's community involvement and teaching17:46 - Rob on mentoring20:55 - How Rob got started in software25:22 - Rob's stories of failure - writing unmaintainable code because of not knowing better and reimplementing async31:04 - Rob's success story - helping an apprentice get a job32:51 - How Rob stays current with what he needs to know33:35 - Rob's book recommendation35:28 - The things that have Rob most excited38:24 - Preparing presentations and preparing workshops42:17 - Rob's causes of pain and suffering43:21 - Rob's top 3 tips for delivering more value45:25 - Keeping up with Rob Resources: Rob's Website Rob's Presentations Dave Thomas on Developer On Fire Justin James on Developer On Fire Docker Kubernetes Rob's book recommendation: The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition - Don Norman Rob's top 3 tips for delivering more value: Start - Build something and get it in front of users Find that thing that makes you go buzz, something really fun, and do that Fail fast - don't be afraid to break stuff (be afraid to leave it broken for too long)
Jan. 29, 2018
Guest: Jose Gonzalez @JoseGonz321 Jose Gonzalez talks with Dave Rael about humble beginnings, fortuitous turns, dark times, receiving by giving, and self-acceptance Jose Gonzalez is a husband, dad, blogger, runner and sometimes a software developer. He blogs how the Mind, Body and the Soul (aka spirit or emotions) impact you as a software developer. He is a recovering extrovert who thought was an introvert for over 20 years. Today, he enjoys meeting and engaging with other fellow developers from all over the world. In his free time, he tries to play video games but usually falls asleep. His wife and two boys take the best out of him. Chapters: 1:17 - Dave introduces the show and Jose Gonzalez5:23 - Jose's educational history and path to software development8:42 - Early programming for the web and the limitations of resources to which Jose had access13:15 - New experiences and reaching heights not previously accessible to family members14:49 - Making mistakes by not taking things seriously17:18 - Jose's first job experience and the battle with feeling completely alone20:02 - Jose's experiences with mentors and how they can stimulate personal growth25:41 - Jose's story of a dark and difficult time - self-doubt, feeling alone, and having the weight of the world on his shoulders33:01 - The power of community and how group membership turned everything around for Jose39:25 - Family focus, helping people, adventure, presence, and finding a path to a brighter future45:00 - Reflecting on Jose's humble beginnings and the enormous difference made by incremental improvements 49:59 - Jose's book recommendations52:56 - Taking care of yourself physically54:00 - Emotional health61:58 - Jose's top 3 tips for delivering more value Resources: Jose's Blog - Mind, Body, Soul Developer Vocational School "The Wand Chooses the Wizard" Twelve-step program Atlas (mythology) John Sonmez on Developer On Fire Kevlin Henney on Developer On Fire Reid Evans on Developer On Fire (including description of #goofyreligion) #goofyreligion on Twitter Kent Beck on Developer On Fire - Primary and Secondary Emotions John Papa on Developer On Fire Jose's book recommendation: Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment - George Leonard There Is Nothing Wrong with You: Going Beyond Self-Hate - Cheri Huber Soul without Shame: A Guide to Liberating Yourself from the Judge Within - Byron Brown Eckhart Tolle Jose's top 3 tips for delivering more value: You are not your thoughts There is nothing wrong with you Smile
Jan. 25, 2018
Guest: Jeff Casimir @j3 Jeff Casimir talks with Dave Rael about education, feedback, software and people, and fortunate circumstances Stretching back to 2005, Jeff has more experience teaching Ruby and Rails than anyone in the world. Starting his education career with Teach for America in 2003, he’s taught middle school and high school, co-founded a middle school, and created Jumpstart Lab in 2009, Hungry Academy in 2012, and gSchool in 2013. Along the way he’s taught thousands of developers, taken nearly a hundred people from “no experience” to professional, and created over a thousand pages of instructional content. As the Executive Director of Turing School, Jeff designs the overarching instructional program, coordinates the instructional team, connects students with the community, directs the hiring process, and teaches full-group sessions. Chapters: 1:18 - Dave introduces the show and Jeff Casimir3:19 - Origins of Turing School and stops on the path with creating other education opportunities5:03 - Why Turing is different than other coding schools and bootcamps8:09 - Characteristics of excellent software education and what it has in common with excellent software creation11:10 - The mix of education and software development expertise in the instructors at Turing School12:58 - Educational options and the danger of shallow learning resources17:44 - Jeff's path to education21:36 - Comparing teaching and programming and the emotional load of teaching25:19 - The collaborative nature of programming28:19 - Jeff on teaching computer science and how he engaged students37:40 - Jeff's story of failure - acting according to fear, avoiding uncomfortable parts of the business of creating a school, and agreeing to a contact in haste42:56 - The good fortune of being a programmer in an advantageous market44:47 - Jeff's book recommendations47:21 - Jeff's top 3 tips for delivering more value Resources: Turing School of Software and Design Kathleen Dollard on Developer On Fire Derek Comartin Derek Comartin on Developer On Fire Teach For America Ari Meisel on Developer On Fire Jeff's book recommendation: Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity - David Allen How to Win Friends & Influence People - Dale Carnegie Jeff's top 3 tips for delivering more value: Figure out what people really want, not what they say they want or think they want Seek rapid feedback People are a more fun, rewarding, and difficult problem than software - build them up, the impact will last a long time
Jan. 22, 2018
Guest: Phil Japikse @skimedic Phil Japikse talks with Dave Rael about creating content, saving lives, learning from experts, community involvement, and getting useful engagement from actual users An international speaker, Microsoft MVP, ASPInsider, MCSD, CSM, and CSP, and a passionate member of the developer community, Phil Japikse has been working with .NET since the first betas, developing software for over 30 years, and heavily involved in the agile community since 2005. Phil is co-author of best selling "C# and the .NET 4.6 Framework" ( and "Pro C# 7" (, the Lead Director for the Cincinnati .NET User’s Group ( and the Cincinnati Software Architect Group, co-hosts the Hallway Conversations podcast (, founded the Cincinnati Day of Agile (, and volunteers for the National Ski Patrol. Phil is also a published author with LinkedIn Learning ( During the day, Phil works as an Enterprise Consultant and Agile Coach for large to medium firms throughout the US. Phil enjoys to learn new tech and is always striving to improve his craft. You can follow Phil on twitter via and read his blog at Chapters: 2:19 - Dave introduces the show and Phil Japikse5:22 - Phil and blogging9:08 - How Phil got into writing books and motivations for specific books15:26 - Sources of the information Phil uses to create books and training17:19 - The appeal of different types of media for content creation19:49 - Phil, the conference speaker and user group organizer24:57 - Being around really smart people and finding ways to learn and changes in the need to specialize over time27:23 - Phil's history with programming environments and languages and choosing the right tools for the job31:20 - Phil's story of failure - creating a new system and job workflow without talking to the users35:56 - Phil's book recommendations37:41 - The things that have Phil most excited43:12 - Phil's top 3 tips for delivering more value47:23 - Keeping up with Phil Resources: Phil's Blog Phil's Books, Courses, and Videos C# 6.0 and the .NET 4.6 Framework - Andrew Troelsen Pro C# 7: With .NET and .NET Core - Andrew Troelsen Phil on LinkedIn Learning Andrew Troelsen Ben Dewey Kevin Grossnicklaus PowerBuilder Ada The Design of Design: Essays from a Computer Scientist - Frederick P. Brooks Jr. DiSC Profile Visual Studio Toolbox - Videos on Visual Studio Tooling, including series with Phil and Robert Green Phil's book recommendation: Pro C# 7: With .NET and .NET Core - Andrew Troelsen Phil's top 3 tips for delivering more value: Listen actively Make everybody co-conspirators Realize you don't know everything
Jan. 18, 2018
Guest: David Pine @davidpine7 David Pine talks with Dave Rael about building a brand for software developers, being a source of positivity, and the importance of mentors David Pine is a Technical Evangelist and Microsoft MVP working at Centare in Wisconsin. David loves knowledge sharing with the technical community and speaks regionally at meetups, user groups, and technical conferences. David is passionate about sharing his thoughts through writing as well and actively maintains a blog at David's posts have been featured on ASP.NET, MSDN Web-Dev, MSDN .NET and Dot Net Curry. David loves contributing to open-source projects and as another means of giving back to the community. David sat on the technical board and served as one of the primary organizers of MKE DOT NET for three years. When David isn’t interacting with a keyboard, you can find him spending time with his wife and their three sons, Lyric, Londyn and Lennyx. Follow David on Twitter at @davidpine7. Chapters: 2:20 - Dave introduces the show and David Pine5:28 - How David got involved in conference speaking7:52 - The importance of mentors and consequences of their absence12:36 - How David got started in software15:30 - The things that "light David up"17:11 - David's story of failure - getting consumed with negativity19:32 - Focusing on the positive22:47 - David's success story - getting recognized as a positive influencer in the developer community25:10 - David's creative side27:29 - David's social nature and the growth of confidence as a speaker and community member30:15 - How David stays current with what he needs to know31:27 - David's book recommendations34:13 - The things that have David most excited35:01 - David's causes of pain and suffering35:56 - Advice for dealing with negativity in the workplace40:19 - The things about which David likes to geek out41:18 - David's top 3 tips for delivering more value43:19 - Keeping up with David Resources: David's Blog David on GitHub MKE DOT NET Quake (video game) Half-Life (video game) On .NET - David Pine - Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all? Andy Hunt on Developer On Fire Dave Thomas on Developer On Fire SignalR Stephen Carpenter David's book recommendation: Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding The Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty - Patrick Lencioni The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master - Andrew Hunt David's top 3 tips for delivering more value: Give respect to receive it Listen Never be afraid to ask why