Mentorship for the Novice Expert

We’re short on mountaintops where we can find mentors, but the good news is mentors are actually just people like you and me who keep at it. They work at listening, ask people how they prefer to learn, make time to meet. Lyza Gardner talks about her early-morning motocycle practice, and how she loves gradually building her mentoring muscle by overcoming the embarrassment of being a beginner and just doing it.

Why?

Little kids have an endless supply of Why! Why is everything the way it is? Why do people do the things they do? We grownups don’t pester each other with a relentless stream of why?, and that’s mostly good. But kids could teach us to ask why when it needs to be asked: why are only some people able to build lives they love and find fulfilling work? Does everyone truly have the same chance, or do some of us start the game already a few rolls of the dice ahead? In order to grow, we have to ask the hard questions.

Initiation to Code

The best person to mentor junior developers turns out to be: you. Mentoring can be a powerful tool for guiding and nurturing new hires, but it also benefits you—and your organization—by encouraging collaboration and curiosity in your everyday work. Alice Mottola offers guidance (and a little agile structure) for approaching the mentoring process—and shows how it can build better code and better engineers.

Managing and Making: It Doesn’t Have to Be One or the Other

We take it for granted that career progress means moving into a management role. Even people who thrive in the individual contributor role feel the pressure to join management. Shouldn’t both capacities be valued, so we can find where we genuinely fit in and do our best work? Rian van der Merwe has gone scouting up the career path and realized it’s okay to turn back and be the other, oft-overlooked but equally important half of the management/making dynamic.

The Specialist-Generalist Balance

Specialists? Generalists? It’s not a question of which is better, but about finding the right mix for your team and your work. Specialists offer valuable expertise, but over-reliance on specialization isn’t always good for workflow—too many niches can lead to silos, bottlenecks, and poor communication. Garin Evans recommends that, instead, we build teams that play off the best traits of specialists and generalists, encouraging collaboration and innovation as we go.

On Our Radar: In the Key of F

It’s a new kind of blog post: straight from our brains to your hearts, we’re sharing what we think is neat on the web. This week: thoughts on Flipboard, diversity in tech, and advice for organizing conferences.

The People are the Work

You take pride in your creativity and brilliant work, but the web is a place of transience. Businesses evolve, client needs change, sites are outgrown, and it’s time to start building again. Can you be content with the work of presenting content on the web? For an approach to creating something that stands the test of time, Matt Griffin and the Bearded crew took to heart an old adage in a surprisingly new way.

The Challenge for the Tiny Global Business

Long ago, a company had to grow to a certain size before it could embark on international trade. With digital goods, that’s no longer so. Learning all the applicable laws and taxes can be daunting, but that’s what allows the small business owner to stay independent as an exporter.

From Empathy to Advocacy

As designers, we’ve devoted considerable attention to the concept of empathy. But how do we ensure that empathy for our users translates into actionable steps that then guide our design decisions and behaviors? Lyle Mullican explores how we can go beyond listening to our users, and start advocating on their behalf.

How to Interview

The interview: the high point of the job search. Where it all comes together. How do you get to talk to the right person? What should you talk about? First off, don’t use the “Apply” form. Also, don’t think of it as a test, but a conversation both sides can learn something from.