Why do they even have nets in Dungeons & Dragons 5e?

Software Defined Talk #434

That’s the opening topic of our podcast this week. Oh, and we talk about a bunch of tech shit too:

Watch the video above, or just listen to the audio only, edited podcast.

Do Less

My colleague Bryan Ross has been writing up some tiny videos I made last year. They’re fun for me to read: he adds a lot of depth to what were, basically, just snarky asides in my head that I turned into 60 second videos. His latest is out, and you should read it!

In recent research, consultancy firm Deloitte reported that 70 percent of digital transformations fail. That’s a shocking number, for sure, but if you’ve been through enterprise-scale modernization efforts, you’re likely not that surprised. In this article, we’ll look at how you can build a robust business case for your change initiative by starting with realistic expectations, ensuring stakeholders are fully engaged, and structuring your delivery plan to maximize value.

Take a gander.


  • “I’m shocked - shocked! - that stock buy backs are going on in this establishment! Ah, thank you, I see that my 401(k) has gone up in value.”

  • Ever hopeful, I still put lettuce on my children’s sandwiches.

  • Questionable stamppot joke in PowerPoint.

  • I didn’t have money for a gift, so I just got you all of these screenshots.

  • “it’s pretty boring to watch someone yell at a toilet about how bad they are at being a toilet” Here.

  • “A danger sign that fellow-obsessionals will at once recognize is the tendency to regard the happiest moments of your life as those that occur when someone who has an appointment to see you is prevented from coming.” - Peter Medawar, Memoirs of a Thinking Radish, cited here.

  • “You don’t have to like everything.” Yes, and as the Mann says of things that you don’t like or understand, well, “this is not for you.” Robert.

  • 01: For your next three presentations, force yourself to not use slide titles. It won’t work for all slides - you won’t be able to resist the urge to use a title. You’ll be scared and doubtful. That’s fine, put a title on those slides. But, start each slide without a title, and try very hard to not add one. You should have at least half with no titles at the end. What do you notice? What do you feel? Now, present it.

  • 02: I refuse to believe that any color other than black should be used for the text in presentations.

  • 03: “What are you talking about? Sure, I used your conference presentation template. It’s just that I know how to edit the master slides.”

  • No matter what I’m listening to, even if I don’t realize it, I’m really just hoping the next song that comes up in the playlist is something by Stevie Nicks.

  • I vaguely remember how this joke goes: A: Is next Tuesday at 7am Eastern a good time to meet? B: checks schedule No, sorry, I’m booked then. A: When’s the next good time? B: checks schedule the next good time is…never.

Relative to your interests

  • A Close Look at the Ray-Ban - If they work well, and I could my prescription lenses in them, I would totally buy these. The first generation for horrible reviews, though, so we’ll see how this one does. Here’s more details, and it looks like you can get prescription lenses: we’ll see if it’s easy to figure out in Europe.

  • The radical idea that people aren’t stupid - Some triple-turns-out’ing here, all making a good point. // “correspondence bias, the tendency to attribute other people’s actions to their personalities rather than to their situations. You see a dude get angry and assume he’s an angry dude, rather than he’s having a bad day.”

  • macOS 14 Sonoma: The Ars Technica review - I just don’t get widgets - in general, since the beginning of time.

  • When it comes to creative thinking, it’s clear that AI systems mean business - The theory is that AI can generate more “ideas” more cheaply than human white collar workers. I feel like they’re likely just as good: just because a human comes up with a business idea doesn’t mean is good! This either means devaluing the humans (paying them less or firing them), or the alternate upside (which doesn’t always happen, of course): you do more of that thing. Imagine management consulting engagements done monthly, if not weekly. In the beat cases, this is what happens with software development automation and speeding up: you don’t keep doing the same amount of work and, thus, need less developers (pay them less or fire them), you get your existing developers to do more work! The downside for developers is that they rarely get paid a lot more: that value (extra money from selling more or driving down costs) is paid out to the executives and the shareholders. Workers of the world, demand your slice of EV!

  • The Screens are the Symptom. - There’s a lot more going on in that book than just book burning.

  • Software Delivery Enablement, Not Developer Productivity - This seems right. // ‘“Business leadership is always measuring revenue and pipeline, but that isn’t making its way to the engineering teams, or it’s not being translated in a way that they can understand,” she said. “They’re always chasing their tails about revenue, about pipeline, about partnerships [and] about investment, but it really should be a full conversation amongst the entirety of business, with engineering as a huge consideration for who that audience should be.”’ // That said, it requires a whole new set of instrumentation and a strong connection between software and the business. Us vendors know this because the developers are creating the product sold: more revenue from the product, the team is doing good. This kind of linking is harder in regular enterprises. But, I suspect that’s because no one has tried to do it, at least enough.

  • Should You Care About Developer Productivity? - Things to focus on to make developer’s work better. Also, the old focus on outcomes no activities angle. // File under: the only people who don’t like metrics are the people being measured.

They left off a question mark? From Bruce Sterling’s Tumblr.


Talks I’ll be giving, places I’ll be, things I’ll be doing, etc.

Oct 3rd Enterprise DevOps Techcon, Utrecht, speaking. Oct 5th to 6th Monktoberfest, Portland, ME. Oct 9th Spring Tour Amsterdam Oct 10th, 17th, 24th talk series: Building a Path to Production: A Guide for Managers and Leaders in Platform Engineering Nov 6th to 9th VMware Explore in Barcelona, speaking (twice!).


I'm considering pitching a new talk called "What's not platform engineering - AMIRIGHTWOOWOOHIGHFIVESPEWPEW."

Any takers?

I’m pretty sure I got all the slides and stuff done for my nutty week next week. Check back on Wednesday when I have a four hour layover in Detroit on the way to Monktoberfest.

The last time I was in Detroit, at the start of this month, this scene unfolded:

There’s a couple sitting across from me in the lounge, middle-aged. The wife is a bit tipsy and is trying SO HARD to get her husband to engage in fun banter with her.

She’s complained that they should be playing more Motown here in Detroit. She’s mentioned that about five times. Then she was like “do you realize we’re the ones who’ve been together the most of everyone we know?” And while he had asked her how many drinks she’s had a few times, he went to the bar and got her a glass of red wine.

Then this story:

Husband: That was Joe’s strategy: just drink two gin and tonics and pass out on the plane.

Wife: He needed to train more if it was just two!

Husband: …I found out later he owned a plantation in Kentucky. A tobacco plantation.

Wife: Oh, so he killed people.

Husband: Wait. What? He didn’t make them smoke.

Wife: Yeah. He supplied them…and killed them.

Husband: You’re ruining the vibe of this story.

After a long silence, a pause, she came back around, saying “I CAN’T believe they’re not playing Motown!”

And singing some to herself swaying her shoulders around.

I’ll report on anything that good that comes up.

Suggested outro.,, @cote,,