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Any iRacing user with more than a dozen races under their belt has probably been crashed out of races quite a few times, often times as the victim of situations that ocellate between genuine racing incidents & full-on malice-fueled attacks. iRacing attempts to reduce these incidents through the safety rating & license systems, preventing you from racing faster cars until you’ve raised your safety rating to a high enough level (by not accruing incident points through hitting things & going off the track) & “proving” that you’re capable of racing cleanly around others. Unfortunately far too many incidents are caused by drivers who have high licenses & iRatings (a measure of average finishing position/skill), but seem to prioritize hyper-aggressive, “go for broke” moves over finishing the race in a solid position & intact car. As a result the safety rating system seems to be somewhat broken, as shown by Youtube user Empty Box (hint: the answer to “Is the Top Split Cleaner?” …


With a new year comes a new challenge, and with the dawn of 2020 comes my new role of a Developer Chapter Lead, or DCL. Through hard work, passion, and a love of software people I’ve been chosen as one of the first in my organization to take on this exciting new role. This is what I’ve discovered in my first 90 days.

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A chapter is a group of professionals from various cross-functional teams that embody the same role in their day-to-day life. There can be chapters for developers, designers, scrum masters, product owners, you name it. Their whole purpose is to develop & share the knowledge & skills needed to excel in this role, and set standards for how a professional should do their job. …


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When we first start writing code, many of us will find ourselves falling into one of two camps. One focuses on the code itself, considering clean, intelligent, modern code to be the ultimate goal, with working software as the happy byproduct. The other focuses on the software we’re making & it’s place in the world, considering code as merely a tool to solve issues & execute on visions.

As a young gung-ho developer I very much exemplified the latter. I got into software to solve the world’s problems, and code seemed like the best medium for me to do so. Throughout my first couple internships my focus was entirely on delivering functionality to users, through whatever means necessary. …


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Scrum is claimed to do many things. Create awesome software in no time, immediately turn average teams into unstoppable juggernauts, cure cancer, etc.

In reality, Scrum doesn’t do anything. It’s simply a framework to help teams handle complex projects prone to change. I think of Scrum as simply shining a few different types of light on projects and development teams.

The first retro I ever ran didn’t go so well. As a young, wide-eyed developer-playing-ScrumMaster 3 months out of college, I burst into the room 30 minutes early to set up my grand vision of whiteboard columns, flipcharts, and sticky notes. In my head I pictured a perfect retro, where the team would ask themselves hard questions, question everything about their process, and have profound epiphanies about how to become the perfect team. Of course reality didn’t match expectation, and upon asking “What went well?”, I faced a sea of blank expressions. Worse, the “imagine the team in one year” exercise bombed so hard a treaty was signed in Geneva over it. Although I had prepared the floor for rigorous self-reflection, the team was only one sprint in, and we hadn’t developed the data or skills needed to fully self-reflect. …


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To be fair, I was never an “elite” runner. Freshman & sophomore years of high school I was one of the slowest kids on one of the fastest X-C teams in the state, which means I usually finished around mid-pack in races. I trained my butt off every season, but rarely broke the 20 minute 5k mark, while my teammates were finishing sub-16. Eventually I got sick of this, and junior year I gave the lower 50% of racers a chance by hanging up racing flats for golf clubs, since I was actually good at golf and practice didn’t hurt like hell. Four years of sedentary life followed between the ages of 16 & 20, where I gradually packed on some pounds. Turns out when you stop burning an extra 600 calories per day but continue to eat like crap you gain weight. …


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While serving as Scrum Master for much of last year, I had more than a few mini-existential crisis-es. Not the run-of-the-mill nihilistic ones that have served as a near-keynote to our 21st century, but ones surrounding the purpose of process in software. I put hours-upon-hours into this role, and yet I had nothing concrete to show for it. No working software made by “Scrum”, and no proof that Scrum has helped my team deliver value. Though incredibly rewarding, my role didn’t provide the direct feedback I’ve come to expect as a developer. It was hard to know which actions worked, and which didn’t. What was too much, and what wasn’t enough. …


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Renowned 21st century philosopher Jake the Dog put it best:

“Dude, sucking at sumthin’ is the first step towards being sorta good at something.”

But our ego doesn’t want to believe this. We like being right. We like being experts. Conversely, we hate feeling incompetent or upstaged.

Worse still, software developers exist in a world where knowledge & capabilities are king. What we know & what we can do roughly equals our professional earning power. Being wrong or clueless about something seemingly knocks us down the proverbial totem pole.

So whenever someone questions our decision, points out our mistake, or suggests a better solution to our problem, we automatically get defensive. We look for holes in their logic, desperately grasping for ways to refute their statement and keep our precious ego intact. “Yeah, but you see… that doesn’t work because… well did you think about… well what…


Cast your mind back to 2006. RHCP’s Stadium Arcadium, Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Show Your Bones, and The Killers’ Sam’s Town were grooving through your FM stereo. The second Pirates of the Caribbean movie was netting blockbuster sales (sails?), as the book Eat, Pray, Love was encouraging us all to take chances, live a little louder, and drink white wine at 10am (in a fun way, not in an alcoholic sort of way).

The iPod had been dominating the music world for five full years, and had a near-monopoly on the listening-device industry. But a new foe approached. One that promised to take the MP3 fight straight to those turtleneck-wearing hipsters in Cupertino. In November of 2006 the Microsoft Zune, a.k.a. …


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I‘m not a fan of certain golf stereotypes. The loud, boorish, cigar-puffing blowhards that most people envision when they drive past country clubs. The belief that golf’s just a way for overweight, middle-aged white men to get away from their wives and flaunt their economic status. The tendency for golf to be snooty, expensive, and stuck up it’s own %#$.

And yet I love golf.

As an infant I watched golf with my dad, and cried when he cheered too loudly at a sunk putt. At three I was in the backyard with a little plastic club, mimicking the fluid swings of Tiger, Mickelson, and Furyk as well as my tiny toddler body could. Growing up a weekly round of golf with my dad was a constant, and even today we’ll chat over the phone about our latest rounds or who did what in the most recent PGA tournament. …


Scrum, when used incorrectly, feels like a vise. Impossible, iron-clad expectations and poor grooming practices mean that every morning starts with dread, and every workday ends far later than the developer would like. As sprint progress starts to slip and the burndown line stays stubbornly above it’s smooth expected curve, the developer start blaming themself. “I must not be working hard/fast/effectively enough”. So they put in longer hours, develop a pronounced caffeine addiction, and continue to neglect their basic self-care needs (dishes pile up in the sink, fridges go bare, and gym equipment grows evermore dusty). …

Grant Gadomski

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