Seeing Technology as Your Product Was a Big Conceptual Change: NEDCamp Speaker Alfred Nutile

Alfred Nutile

The New England Drupal Camp 2022 is in this weekend. We asked between 5 to 8 questions to every speaker at the camp via email/slack. Some of them answered.

We are publishing those short interviews one by one.

Alfred Nutile, a Laravel developer, is speaking at the event. His session, Pacing yourself as a Developer (Freelance or Employed), is scheduled at 10.00 am on 19 November 2022 Saturday. Let us start the series with his answers.

TDT: [1] The community parlance is that ‘you come for the code but stay for the community.’ How did you first get introduced to the Drupal community?

Alfred Nutile: I started my web-building career using Drupal many years ago, in 2009 or so. I even owned and managed a Drupal-centric webshop for a while, building sites for colleges, farms, small businesses, etc. So I owe a lot to Drupal and the Drupal community for making such a viable foundation on which I could build my career. For the past ten years, I have focused solely on Laravel and built numerous applications for Pfizer and other companies worldwide. One of the hardest things about moving away from Drupal was knowing I would not be a part of the community events.

TDT: [2] Tell us about what you present in the New England DrupalCamp 2022 and who should attend your session.

Alfred Nutile: My presentation will help new and mid-level developers learn how to pace their daily work and expectations of themselves. Ideally, in the end, they will learn a few essential developer habits that will help them feel confident about their speed at work—for example, using Feature Flags to enable you to push to production numerous times a day. In addition, I talk about how to plan their days, weeks, months, and years so they can more easily create a work-life balance no matter what phase of their life and career they are in.

TDT: [3] Everyone is waiting for the Drupal 10 release this December. What is the most exciting feature of Drupal 10 for you?

Alfred Nutile: Maybe I can share a Laravel 9x feature that is exciting for me. Laravel uses Symfony, like Drupal, for a lot of foundational work, so they have a lot in common. I am excited about how Laravel integrates the newer PHP Enum functionality at the model level since I am trying to be more explicit in my code (https://laravel.com/docs/9.x/releases#enum-casting).

TDT: [4] Most website-development firms have now started offering companies Digital Experiences and Digital Transformation services. What are the nuances of this space when compared to a web 2.0 architecture that we followed?

Alfred Nutile: My talk covers this quite a bit. One of the big concept changes is seeing your technology as your product. I think it was Capital One that went from “being a bank with a great technology team to a technology team that had great software solutions for banking.”

An excellent non-technical leader must read and understand what makes for a healthy, trusting culture and trust the developers to do their jobs. For example, let the developers define their release cycle, choose the right ticket system, choose sprints or kanban, and so on. Sure, the managers, directors, and other leaders can point to where the product needs to go, thanks to customer feedback, build-measure-learn cycles, etc. The non-technical leaders need to trust resources like DORA (https://www.devops-research.com/research.html) on how to get there in a healthy way, and let go of the fears that tend to lead to systems and processes that cause more problems than they solve. Building a culture that is a healthy place to fail will lead to innovation. And a company that makes innovation easy will lead to better products.

TDT: [5] Can you talk about the concept behind Gallery Anywhere and TotalRecalls.io?

Alfred Nutile: These are ideas I am trying to make products out of or learn again what it means to make a product from nothing. However, the more I try, the more I realize it is 10% technology (the fun part) and 90% marketing (which is not the fun part for me).

TotalRecalls was inspired by this moment in the grocery store: “Mmm, that peanut butter recall I am seeing on a printed sign at the register isn’t much help now that I am here getting my second jar of it. How could I have known sooner?...”

GalleryAnywhere was inspired by a trip my partner and I were on, and we wish we could take the excellent local art we saw (some of it in the Airbnb) home with us without getting in trouble for stealing it, of course!

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Join Alfred Nutile, for the session Pacing yourself as a Developer (Freelance or Employed) at NEDCamp 2022, Sessions Day, November 19, 10:00 am to 10:45 am, EST in Room: Maine (Gaige 203), Rhode Island College, Providence, RI. Click here to Register.

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