Tech Done Right

Table XI's podcast about building software to develop better careers, companies, and communities.

About the show

The Tech Done Right podcast is a show by and for people who care about what they build. We don't just build software, we build teams, companies, careers, and communities.

Each episode features host Noel Rappin talking to interesting people in the tech community about building something the right way. We’re not just going to give you our thoughts on the topic, but tools, processes, or references that you can use immediately to build better software and communities.

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  • Episode 72: Teaching Testing and Design

    October 9th, 2019  |  49 mins 52 secs

    After the discussions on testing and design in episodes 68 and 69, I had so much I still wanted to talk about in testing, design, and teaching testing and design. So I convened a panel with previous Tech Done Right Guests Avdi Grimm, Betsy Haibel, and Penelope Phippen to help me think through all these topics. I was very happy to have all of them on the show, and I think it's a great conversation. Stay tuned until the very end for an update about the show.

  • Episode 71: Supporting Innovation With Mike Todasco

    September 25th, 2019  |  36 mins 29 secs

    Today on the show we have Mike Todasco, the Senior Director of Innovation at PayPal. We talk about what innovation means at a company, and how to encourage innovation both if you are a PayPal sized company and if you aren’t. Mike also shares some information about PayPal’s internal innovation tournament and how they offer incentives for innovation.

  • Episode 70: How To Buy Software With Ashley Quinto Powell

    September 11th, 2019  |  33 mins 6 secs

    Today on the show, we have Ashley Quinto Powell. Ashley and I have run a workshop together called How to Buy Software aimed at people who want to buy custom software but aren't sure what the process will be like. In this episode, we try to compress a four-hour workshop into a 45-minute podcast. Ashley will talk about what to expect from the sales process and then Ashley will interview me about what it's like to work with a development team. I hope you like it.

  • Episode 69: Teaching and Learning with Sandi Metz

    August 28th, 2019  |  50 mins 29 secs

    Today on the show we have Sandi Metz, author of Practical Object Oriented Design in Ruby and co-author of 99 bottles of OOP. I’ve literally been trying to get Sandi as a guest since we started recording the show and I’m thrilled that we’ve finally been able to connect. We talk about OOP and TDD, maybe going down a test-driven rabbit hole for a while, and also talk about what it’s like to teach and coach about OOP and TDD. I enjoyed this talk very much and I think you will, too.

  • Episode 68: Pragmatic Programmer at 20 with Dave Thomas and Andy Hunt

    August 14th, 2019  |  52 mins 27 secs

    I’m very excited to have Dave Thomas and Andy Hunt on the show today. Dave and Andy are the authors of the Pragmatic Programmer, which has a 20th anniversary edition that is out now, and they are the publishers of the Pragmatic Bookshelf, where they have (full disclosure) published my books a time or two. We talk about what’s changed in the new version, what being a Pragmatic Programmer means, whether there’s still a role for tech books, and how to make automated testing pragmatic. Somehow I avoid telling the slightly embarrassing story about the bad impression I made the first time I met Dave. Enjoy.

  • Episode 67: Civic Software with Alex Pedersen and Abhi Nemani

    July 31st, 2019  |  21 mins 16 secs

    This week, we have Alex Pedersen of Polco and Abhi Nemani of EthosLabs. They're both involved in various uses of technology to increase civic engagement. We'll talk about how technology can improve the public sector and why technologists should be interested in public sector work.

  • Episode 66: Stories and Community with Ariel Caplan

    July 17th, 2019  |  38 mins 26 secs

    Our guest this week is Ariel Caplan. Ariel is a developer at Cloudinary and the Founder of the Dev Empathy Book Club. At RailsConf this year, Ariel gave a keynote about culture and stories using examples from Israeli and American children's literature. In our conversation, we focus on the stories that developers tell ourselves about who is successful, what it takes to be successful, and what people and skills are left out of those stories, and how we might be able to change them.

  • Episode 65: Managing Pain and Suffering at Work with Amy Newell

    July 3rd, 2019  |  35 mins 45 secs

    Our guest this week is Amy Newell. Amy is the Director of Engineering at Wistia, and she gave a talk at RailsConf this year entitled “Failure, Risk, and Shame: Approaching pain and suffering at work”. We have what I hope is an uplifting conversation about failure and pain, how to recognize it, and how to skillfully manage those feelings to be more resilient, prevent additional pain, and ultimately be more satisfied with your job.

  • Episode 64: AI and Privacy with Bärí A. Williams

    June 19th, 2019  |  34 mins 16 secs
    ai, ethics, law

    Our guest this week is Bärí A. Williams, the VP of Legal, Business, and Policy Affairs at All Turtles. She provides legal guidance to startups working with Artificial Intelligence. Bärí was a keynote speaker at RailsConf this year, you can see the video at She and I talk about writing ethical terms of service, and how to collect and use data properly. We talk about facial recognition and other data mining and machine learning topics in the news, and how having a diverse user and testing base can prevent damaging mistakes.

  • Episode 63: Software Consulting With Chad Pytel

    June 5th, 2019  |  41 mins 40 secs

    Our guest this week is Chad Pytel. Chad is the CEO of thoughtbot, which is a design and development firm known in the world for its support of open source projects like paperclip and shoulda. Chad and I talk about how to make short consulting projects work, the importance of hiring, why thoughtbot makes their internal guides public, and how they continue to be able to support open source. It's a great conversation about how thoughtbot approaches the world.

  • Episode 62: Food and Design Thinking

    May 22nd, 2019  |  37 mins 6 secs
    communication, design, design sprint, food

    In this episode, we have a slightly different topic for Tech Done Right - food. Table XI has been working to adapt our design sprint process out of the realm of custom software and into more general product design. In particular, we've worked with Tyson Foods Innovation Lab on a few different projects including the creation of their Yappah brand which is designed to prevent food waste. In this episode, you'll hear from Chemia Davis and Santi Proano from Tyson, Rex Chekal from Table XI and Jessie Shternshus from the Improv Effect and we'll show you how we adapted design thinking and Agile process from software to food products.

  • Episode 61: Tech For Good With Andrew Means and Sean Marcia

    May 8th, 2019  |  33 mins 21 secs
    community, developer, nonprofit, open source, tech for good

    Our guests this week are Andrew Means of Data Analysts for Social Good and Sean Marcia of Ruby for Good. Both of them run organizations that are involved with using technology to helping non-profits that could use even some simple software or data assistance. We’ll talk about what kinds of work their organizations do, how non-profits differ from for-profit work, how they try to keep projects running over time, and how you can get involved working with technology for good.

  • Episode 60: Jumpstarting Your Side Project With Dicko Sow

    April 24th, 2019  |  35 mins 14 secs
    career, design, developer

    Our guest this week is Dicko Sow. Dicko is a software developer at a technical consultancy, but recently she has been spending her time building out a side project called Yodi Naturals. We talk about how she chose the project, how important it was to plan the project, the technical decisions, and what Dicko learned putting together the launch page. If you’re trying to decide whether to try a side project, this episode has some good information about how to put that together.

  • Episode 59: Building Git with James Coglan

    April 10th, 2019  |  41 mins 9 secs
    book, developer, git, open source

    Our guest today is James Coglan. James has written an extraordinary programming book called Building Git. In it, he describes the inner workings of the Git source control tool by re-implementing a substantial part it in Ruby, including commits, diffs, branching, and networking. Along the way he shows not just how Git works, but also details of some of the algorithms it uses. There’s also a lot about building complex systems generally. And it has some great examples of test-driven development. James and I also talk about implementing in a high-level language like Ruby, versus a lower-level language like C. It’s a unique book, and I’ve been looking forward to talking to James about it for some time.

  • Episode 58: Agriculture And Technology with Orlando Saez

    March 27th, 2019  |  34 mins 41 secs
    agriculture, business

    Our guest today is Orlando Saez. Orlando is the co-founder and CEO of Aker, a precision crop diagnostic data and service company. We're going to talk about what that means and more generally, about how technology and agriculture intersect. We'll talk about how Orlando got into the agriculture and technology space and who his customers are and what they learn from using specialized drones to monitor their crops. It's an interesting deep dive into a part of the technology world that I, for one, did not know very much about and I hope you enjoy it.

  • Episode 57: Unlearn with Barry O'Reilly

    March 13th, 2019  |  39 mins 23 secs
    career, communication, learning, management

    Our guest today is Barry O’Reilly, author of the book “Unlearn: Let Go of Past Success to Achieve Extraordinary Results”. In it, he sets out a process for defining outcomes, identifying behaviors that might help or hinder reaching the outcomes, and then unlearning existing behaviors and relearning new ones. We talk about how that process works, how to use it yourself, how it might fail, and what Barry unlearned for himself in the process of writing the book. We’d like to hear from you. What’s something you’ve needed to unlearn to reach success? Let us know at or on Twitter at @tech_done_right