Advice for First-Time Attendees to MicroConf
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In April, I attented MicroConf. The talks and conversations were invaluable to my business. As the tickets for MicroConf 2016 are going on sale shortly, I wanted to write up advice for first-time attendees, especially those who are early in their business and want to learn a lot.

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Y Combinator News
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A few weeks ago my RailsConf talk on writing better web apps when they outgrow MVC was posted to Y Combinator News. It hung out on the front page all day, spending some time at the #2 slot. Over 35,000 people visited the page and 3,700 watched the talk video, which thrills me.

But I’m not posting to brag about traffic, I’m posting to explain the quirk in the previous paragraph.

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Acceptable Errors
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I really liked Adrian Holovaty’s suggestion that Chicago stop trying to be the Bay Area and focus on bootstrapping. Chicago will always be an also-ran as long as it’s running someone else’s race.

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Hiring Apprentices
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Lately I’ve been talking with students at programming bootcamps about their overwhelming fear that they’re not learning quickly and thoroughly enough to find employment afterwards. I think it’s generally produced more by the intensive crunch-time atmosphere of the schools and growing recognition of how big and complex programming is than by an actual deficiency in skills.

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So Play We All
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Peter Harkins, Jim C. Gadrow, and Luke Hutscal are each building an online game as part of a contest between us. Every week we’ll pick a new area of our games to code on and budget how many hours to spend on it. Every week, someone will be judged to have done the best. Anyone who doesn’t put in the time pays the price by funding the others’ games. Anyone who quits has to delete their entire codebase and all backups.

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Interview Questions
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When I got my first jobs, I didn’t know that job interviews should include the candidate interviewing the company. I learned from the experience and, in talking with others, have slowly accreted a list of interview questions I’ll bring (yes, really, print out and bring) to learn interesting things about employers and avoid dysfunctional workplaces.

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Freemium and Segmentation
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How do games on Facebook make money?

That’s how the conversation started: no hello, no context, right to the heart of the matter. I love it when fellow geeks IM me.

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Domain Registration Survey
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I’ve had all my domains registered at Name.com for a few years – great price, decent control panel, and competent support. Last week I went to renew some domains and found that Name has quietly doubled their prices by charging for the whois privacy protection that used to be free.

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Admitting Diminishing Returns
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In 2009, I acted like this equation is true:

(I chose The 4-Hour Work Week and Hacker News because they’re two very popular resources, but there’s dozens I could’ve chosen.)

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Efficiency Replaces Autonomy
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I’ve been pondering the rise of metrics-driven game design — from the sites I follow it sounds like the game industry at large has been as well. The makers of retail games are realizing they can make more money with less risk by careful analysis of how they directly charge gamers in the free-to-play (F2P) model.

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