Notes: Week of April 11

some thoughts on lumber prices, technical debt, and scheduling a COVID vaccine

Notes: Week of April 11

A shortlist of things that caught my attention this week:

"[Lumber] Prices are going up significantly like no one has ever seen before." (Bloomberg TV on Twitter)

Lumber prices are out of sight, and that won't change anytime soon. In this 5 minute interview, Stinson Dean suggests that the problem is fueled by an inelastic demand for lumber, meaning that the demand for lumber stays the same regardless of its price.

New home construction is an obvious example. Homebuilders agree to sell new homes to buyers at a certain price and date in the future, usually long before construction begins. This means that today's lumber demand is the result of contracts signed months ago. Builders have to buy lumber at today's outrageous prices to build the homes they've already sold.

When you couple the unflagging demand for lumber with decreased output from suppliers, it seems like prices will remain high until something changes.

The True Meaning of Technical Debt 💸 (Refactoring)

Technical debt is a hot topic at work, which is a natural side-effect of growth via acquisition. Each acquired company has its unique tech stack and prescriptive design patterns that evolved with their business. Of course, they were solving for different use-cases and challenges then.

That's the nature of software. The use-cases and the challenges are ever-changing.

This article provides a common-sense solution for this problem. It's a simple 3-step, iterative process:

  1. 🏃 Rush — the code out of the door
  2. 🔍 Learn — more things about your business reality
  3. 🔨 Refactor — put that learning back into the software

The key to building great software is to get a solution out the door as quickly as possible. Then, tweak/tune that solution often to keep up with new information and changing use-cases.

#154: Put Your Chair in the Queue (Reconcilable Differences)

I listen to a lot of podcasts, and this one is my favorite. I love hearing Merlin Mann get into it with his "worst friend" John Siracusa every two weeks.

The most recent episode struck a chord with me as they discussed how frustrating it's been to track down a COVID vaccine.

I got my first dose on Wednesday, after weeks of filling out online forms only to be told there were no vaccines available. Thank goodness I can finally cross this off my list.