Jamie's Weblog

Lessons of a startup CTO — and other things

Here I am!

Jamie Lawrence

Jamie Lawrence

I help non-technical founders start their business, build their product, get their first customers, and grow their technical team. I'm a generalist software engineer and I've worked with many different languages over the past 15 years but my current tool of choice is Ruby on Rails. I'm also an enthusiastic photographer and a novice archer

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February 1, 2014 0

Unhinged Founders are the best VC fodder

Seriously though, /I’ve/ never made money investing in steady, reasonable, well-adjusted founders. — says Chris Sacca Never make the mistake that a win for a VC is a net-win for the founders.

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February 1, 2014 0

What are you passionate about?

Avdi wrote an excellent rant about the use of the word ‘passionate’. Go read it, it’s brilliant. I was at WebSummit in 2012 and I’d just walked around the floor for the first time. I was already shell-shocked by the gazillion social media startups and other assorted companies with impossible revenue models. And then, when […]

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February 1, 2014 0

The Engineering Spectrum

Example Engineers

There are lots of ways to characterise and evaluate engineers but I like to think of us along a single spectrum. At one end is electronics, binary code, assembler, registers and interrupts. At the other end of the spectrum is graphic design, art, photoshop, user experience, etc. Ok, you’re quickly going to point out that […]

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January 29, 2014 0

Implementing User Settings with Rails 3.2, Postgres and Apartment

ok, so I’ll actually be talking about Company settings, not User settings. You get the idea. I needed to start storing some per-company configuration settings in a client app. I could obviously start adding columns to the Company table but these settings will: a) change over time; b) only apply to a few companies (the […]

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January 27, 2014 0

Did the backup run?

So, after a major screw-up today I discovered that the daily backup process hadn’t run for the past two weeks (ASIDE: after you update ruby, remember to reinstall all the non-bundled gems) I use the backup gem to automate the backup process (user content, postgres database, and the actual app) and it’s scheduled to run […]

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November 11, 2013 3

On dashboards, metrics and chartporn

There’s a trend, nay a bubble (bubbles are all the rage these days), in all sorts of dashboards and metrics services. Librato, StatsMix, Klipfolio, and Ducksboard are just a few that I’ve looked at over the last few days They’re all really really pretty, achingly beautiful… but what are they telling us? They can show […]

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November 7, 2013 0

Links from last night’s RubyCork meetup

Here’s a quick selection of links from last night’s RubyCork meetup: Schema_plus: A very nice gem that let’s you create indices within create_table migration jsRoutes incredibly useful gem which bring your Rails routes into your Javascript. Solves a big pain in modern rails apps. SelfControl for helping you to focus without distracting news sites/blogs etc. […]

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September 20, 2013 0

Sneaky Ruby tricks me again (and and && and or or ||)

You see, I had this little piece of code like: if last_statistic.blank? or last_statistic.different?(options) # do stuff end but I wanted to make it a bit more obvious what that condition represented so I changed it to create_new = last_statistic.blank? or last_statistic.different?(options) if create_new # do stuff end That should be the same, right? Right?! […]

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August 2, 2013 0

PSA: Strip your user’s (email address)

Help preserve your sanity by strip’ing your user’s email address unless you enjoy being confused by things-that-should-work-but-don’t when confronted by a email address like ‘ jamie@ideasasylum.com’. Rails makes this exceptionally easy by overriding the default setter: “`ruby class User < ActiveRecord::Base # … def email=(email) write_attribute :email, email.strip end end describe User do it ‘should […]

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July 14, 2013 0

Printing story cards from Pivotal Tracker

The advantage of tools like Pivotal Tracker is that you can easily collaborate online but, just occasionally, it’s nice to print out a stack of story cards, lay them out on a table and physically move them around. Pivotal Tracker doesn’t have a means of printing (yeah, I was surprised too) but there are several […]

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