This is the second part in this series of blog posts. Like last time, I’m sorting through the things I’ve learned, what worked, what didn’t work. One thing that surprised me about working at agencyQ was how not just things like out of touch policies, but the lack of a basic understanding of what goes into software engineering and development that undermined the company’s goals.

Things like meeting etiquette, dropping by one another’s desks unexpected, volume in the office, even archaic dress code make time in the office uncomfortable, difficult, and something to be avoided. The culture here seems to reward the worst offenders: That person who interrupts you all day long? She’s gone home hours before you’re packing up

I know what you’re saying – “Patrick, you have to be vocal about these problems. You have to tell people so they can resolve these problems allowing you to get back to maximum efficiency.” Guess what? I did. Over and over. In person, through email, I even called my company out on social media.


There’s no question that interruptions and context switching will slaughter productivity for engineers and any type of thought worker. For some people that “5 minute” unexpected chat could drain an hour of effective productivity, in some people I’ve seen them get thrown off track for the rest of the afternoon when that happens. On top of getting out of rhythm these conversations often require context switching, cognitive load, or negative reinforcement.

Fixing What’s Broken

That tweet is only mostly true. The whole truth is that they have totally accepted their inability to deliver a high quality product on-time and on-budget. They have convinced themselves that this is simply the nature of doing business in this business – it’s actually impossible to do things on-time or on-budget.

Tantek’s excellent communication protocol

  1. Coding Horror – The Multi-Tasking Myth

194212-RXYU_20141030_235959_CGP Over the years I’ve been able to meet and correspond with people from all over the world thanks to the Internet. It began in middle and high school in the mid to late nineties when I would chat on IRC. Learning about different people and cultures has always interested me, especially at a time when I hated my own existence.

The Philippines struck me as a country with big-hearted people. Even when struck by disasters and widespread poverty, they seem devout, generous and loving. I was thinking if I can support a young kid, someone that never asked to be part of this world, to give them even one more chance I could sleep. Enter Fatima. I’m hoping to connect and support her, to be a friendly face. I received her photo and video from the humanitarian organization and have been writing to her for the past few months. I don’t get a chance to update my blog very often, and I thought writing one for her might be a good idea.

She comes from Camarines Norte – a province in the Bicol region of Luzon, an island in the Philippines. I’ve never been to the Philippines, but it looks like a beautiful tropical archipelago. It’s probably covered with pineapple and mango trees.

Included in her introduction is a short video describing her favorite things and what she wants to be when she grows up. A friend was kind enough to translate the video and I’ve included the transcription below as well.

My name is Fatima. My favorite food is fried chicken. My favorite color is red. My favorite school subject is Filipino. I want to be a teacher someday!