Patrick McDavid

I'm a technology leader in Colorado speaking about serverless computing, team building, devops, and leadership development.

Two-Slice Software Teams

15 December 2018

Amazon’s Two-Pizza-Teams is a scaling methodology that suggests organizational designers ensure independence and speed by keeping ownership of products to teams that can be fed by no more than two pizzas. These teams need total decision-making authority of their product, and a clear understanding of what success means for them. This works well for Amazon as these small teams behave as composable units of opportunity and service for customers internal and external.

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Practicing Making Choices

13 November 2018

My wife Briana and I reached an impasse with our three-year-old a few weekends ago. A beautiful fall morning’s hike in the neighborhood park came to a howling halt as the tyke staged a rebellion.

Parenting challenges come in waves. You’ll find a rhythm that works, you’ll have a few weeks (maybe) of steady plodding, then wham, the kid’s a little smarter, and you have to adapt. In our turn, Briana and I had been leveling a scattershot of consequences and pleas. Some landed, some missed. Under the staring October sunshine our son had brought our family of four to a standstill.

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Recruiting Top Talent with Video

06 November 2018

I’ve recruited more than 30 excellent software developers and other technical staff to BombBomb in the last several years. This is my first position recruiting and building teams, and I don’t think I would have been nearly as successful with it if I hadn’t been using simple one-to-one videos.

My résumé reads in large part like a software engineer, and as such I get several recruiter emails every day. They’re bad without exception. “Hey I see you have some .Net experience yada yada”. Likewise I field a few voicemails of the same kind a couple times a month. All of these go in the trash. Everyone understands how this plays out, everyone knows that’s not working.

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My Thesis

05 November 2018

I’ve been trying to spend a little more time reflecting on where I am, where I want to go, and where I’ve been. One of the largest single-product projects I’ve ever undertaken was my philosophy thesis, Spoken Worlds. Five months of writing to produce about 9000 words on the subject of linguistic relativism.

Linguistic relativism is an idea in linguistic philosophy whose thrust is that people’s thoughts are very much structured and confined by the language that they grow up in.

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Working for the Best Company

03 November 2018

What’s important to you about where you work? Is it the people, the technologies, the processes? Is it success or fortune?

I’ve been interviewing technologists for the last several years and this is a conversation I’ve had time and again. As you’d expect, answers vary a lot, though there are certainly themes centered around where people are in their careers:

  • High performers earlier in their careers want learning and new technologies.
  • High performers in the middle of their careers want stability and good people around them.
  • Those same folks later in their careers tend to assume the former, but instead seek out hard problems.

I can now measure my career as being two decades old. I was 16 in 1998, and in lieu of pursuing my drivers licenses, I was instead trying to start a web development company. A number of now lifelong friends and I called ourselves X over Zero web technologies. A testament to our youthful idealism, we were charmed with the idea of the result of the equation X/0 being positive infinity. We had the now-defunct and thought ourselves young entrepreneurs.

I remember turning out some bare-html table-designed corporate sites for a local telecom, a boutique sporting goods company, an electronics manufacturer, and something called CadetNet, a prototypical online forum for United States Air Force Academy cadets who were just getting computers in their dormitories.

A series of wonderful twists and turns, and a ensemble of wonderful and educationally sketchy people filled the ensuing professional years, and by some determination and luck I’ve found myself now with nearly half my career having been spent with a wonderful group that calls itself BombBomb.

You’d think I’d have exactly the right thing to say by now when people ask me to explain what this strangely named company is.

  • We make it easy to send simple videos.
  • We make software that lets you be there in person when you can’t be there in person.
  • We make video email.

Those are all wanting in different ways, but they’re all kinda right.

I joined BombBomb as a coder. They needed someone to lash together ideas as a software product that the very talented salespeople that had founded the company wanted to use for themselves to reach out to new and past clients. I was well suited for this, as a programmer I move very quickly, and that worked well for a few years to get exciting ne w features in front of users and prospects. Then we needed to do more: between 2012 and 2015 I hired half a dozen folks who matured and broadened our technical offering.

Then, in 2016, BombBomb started really growing in earnest, and my job changed: coaching, recruiting, product management, strategy. These were all challenges I’d faced in their infant stages, this was next level. Those around me faced similar new tests. Bruises and glory. New records and fights.

This job’s been everything I could want it to be: education, people, hard problems. I’ve known for a while this has been the best of my professional career. What’s BombBomb? Last night Colorado heard the same thing: BombBomb is the best company to work for in 2018.

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