Review: Platform Leadership

Book cover of Platform LeadershipBook cover of Business of Platform

by Annabelle Gawer, Michael A. Cusumano et al.

Many years ago a friend of mine recommended a book called Platform Leadership that he had read as part of his own school curriculum.

This book was a blast and dissected with great details and clarity two widely different ways to build platforms, two ways that both shaped the "computer" world we were living in, back then. Mostly focusing on how Intel worked hard to grow the PC industry it occasionally compared their strategy to how Microsoft grew their own "Windows" business.

And the world moved on, and the computer industry as well. So I recently got curious to see if any update existed to that book... just to find that, instead of an update, a whole new book had been written mostly by the same authors: Business of Platforms.

Another blast ensued, and now I'll tell you why.

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Review: Switch

Book cover of Switch

by Chip and Dan Heath

Switch is a book providing a way to think about change, how it impacts our fellow humans and how to facilitate for them - us really - going through it.

The book is really easy and pleasant to read thanks to a perfect balance of real life examples, concrete case studies and a short set of recipes associated to them.

Summarizing its key takeaways here would not be fair as the book ends with its own summary and a very nice layout of its takeaways. So I'll only share the ideas that stood out for me and how I understood the overall train of thought.

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Review: Team of Teams

Book cover for Team of Teams

By General McChrystal et al.

The book's main plot follows the Task force of the US Army in Iraq "after" the second war when it has to adapt to a guerilla-like war against AQI (Al Qaeda in Irak).

The authors build their case for a "team of teams" kind of organisation via a succession of ReTeX accounts from military missions of that time.

They also provide summaries of non-military case studies as a way to explain how this kind of organization is relevant more generally to our current world at large. Interestingly, in doing so they confront some long time business idols like Adam Smith and Taylor and convoke a mix of unexpected (to me at least) figures like Tocqueville, Nelson, NASA's George Mueller or New-York's Mayor Bloomberg.

In some of the final chapters the authors provide a few examples of how they implemented the change in the military Task Force. The insights there are interesting but maybe the part where I would have appreciated more details.

Let's look under the hood of this team of teams.

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7 years of Django in 7-ish days

Spring was quite an "interesting time" for my personal project: WaterOnMars.

Indeed I started to work on adding a new feature (a first in a while but maybe the topic of another post) but each time I was pushing or deploying code I was suddenly getting back warnings unrelated to my changes but pointing at core components like, err... Python or Django versions being deprecated.

So kudos for Python and github developers for making a clever use of warnings and, yes, I admit that using Python2.7 (ending its life in 2020) and Django1.4 (published 7 years ago) in 2019 is lame.

So... migrations !

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Migrations: from Wordpress to a static site with Nikola

This is it ! My first post writen with Nikola and, even better, all my website is now made only of static pages.

After serving me well during the past 12 years, Wordpress (thanks to Automattic and its community) will not power anymore my blog, which I expect to consule less resource and to require only marginally less maintenance.

The new software I'm using to replace it is called Nikola (a big thank you to Roberto Alsina, Chris Warrick and other contributors) and it generates my whole website as static HTML pages.

The flexibility of Nikola allowed me to keep most of the organisation of this site untouched with remarkably few change of addresses for the content but still with a little bit of extra efforts that I'll describe below.

For the most important, though, you can find the blog posts and the photos albums at the same places as they were before.

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Long overdue release of Yapsy

TL;DR: Yapsy v1.12 has been released with fixes for Python3.6 and multiprocessing on windows. So, after 3 years sleeping busy with a fair bit of work and family duties joyful activities, I eventually got some time to actually release Yapsy – the fat-free DIY python plugin management toolkit. There was a fair bit of contributions (compared to the modest size of the project), that I'm sorry not to have released earlier but which bring some nice polishing to yapsy. The most prominent news I think is a better compatibility with modern Python (esp. 3.6) and the resolution of a nasty bug that made the instantiation of plugins in their own (sub)processes (with the Multiprocessing Plugin Manager) impossible on Windows (changelog below).

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Review: Peopleware, Productive Projects and Teams

PeoplewareHere we go for a review of Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams, 2013 (1st edition in 1987) by Tom DeMarco, Tim Lister. Another long overdue review since I read the book twice again since I first decided to write this review. This is a book about teams of software developers, what makes them produce exceptional software and how (for the management) to avoid being in their way of such a noble aim. To me, this is also the logical sequel to the Mythical Man Month (reviewed here a few years ago). The core idea is that developing a software product is an intellectual work (of communication and reflection) in an environment (market and technology) that is changing fast. I would group the other main ideas in the following categories:
  • software projects are unlike traditional ones
  • teams and motivations
  • creativity and change management

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Wateronmars feature complete, soon ? What has been added can be edited !

wom-logo-128Wateronmars -- my news reader and bookmark saving web app -- has recently got some new features: every items (feed sources and bookmarks) can now be easily edited and removed. Not too soon, right ? I've actually been using it since a little more than 1 year  to consume my feeds and store some links and the need to edit a bookmark title or to un-subscribe from some feed wasn't a big urge, but eventually became big enough to motivate to add the missing forms and bit of REST API. wom_profile_2015 This was also the occasion to clean a little more some of the pages, which, in turn, is a just a prelude of the next big feature to come: internationalization (more on that later). The result has a certain feeling of completeness and can be seen on the demo site on heroku and in the sources on github.