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Nerd Ramblings

Working with Kyle

I stumbled across Isaac Hepworth's "Working with Isaac" document a while ago and decided that taking the time to define my preferences in working with others and set the norms within which I find myself most productive. I don't have the experience to dictate as much as Isaac, but I hope this will grow as I progress through my career. Without further ado: Working with Kyle.

N.B. During the Work from Home era caused by COVID-19, a lot of these assumptions are possibly incorrect. I will effort to keep this up to date should I notice significant and consistent deviations from this.


Typically I work from 8:30AM-5PM PST. Assuming I'm not driving, I'm happy to answer messages from you from 7:30AM-7:30PM PST.

  • At some point during this time I will take some time for lunch and tune out to a podcast or something similar. Usually about 25 minutes but I'll still be answering shorter messages.
  • I will happily answer emails and messages outside of these hours should I not be preoccupied with other activities.
  • We all work different hours, if my hours don't coincide with yours and we require synchronous communication, I can offer some flexibility to accommodate you. Just shoot me a message.
  • If I sent you a message late at night or at some other odd hour, it's because I decided to work then. I don't expect responses immediately and can wait until you resume your normal working hours.
    • If for some reason it is particularly urgent, I will clearly communicate that in the message. (Though I highly doubt this will happen without some prior warning).


I greatly dislike email. I find it to be a black hole where information goes to die. Rather, I prefer IM's to get quick input, and living documents for anything of significance. Decisions should be recorded in documents, not in emails.

  • My preferred means of Team/Work communication is IM. Be it Teams, Slack, etc...
    • Please don't send me a message with just "Hi" or "Hey", give me some context so that I can appropriately prioritize getting back to you.
    • If you ask me "Can I ask you a question", just ask me the question, if I can't answer it I'll let you know.
  • My preferred means of personal communication is iMessage and Facetime for audio/video.
  • If we are IM'ing synchronously, feel free to escalate to audio/video early rather than later.
    • If I can't I'll decline the call, no need to ask if you can or not.
  • I will personally turn my camera on. You do you.
  • I spell things with extra "u"'s occasionally. I'm Canadian Eh 🇨🇦


  • Ideally, we have a shared understanding of where our communal work lives.
    • If we don't create something and I'll suggest an alternative medium if I have a preference (typically something Markdown based)
  • Documents should be shared by default and in a discoverable location.
  • I value the aesthetics and presentability of information. If the format and appearance detract from the message I will spend the time to improve it.

Productivity Ideology

In accomplishing my work, I find the need to manage my attention span carefully and ensure I balance my tasks to maximize my productivity. This means:

  • I will create a balance of short and long tasks so that I can complete something small more frequently.
    • This helps me feel I am making progress on longer projects where progress is harder to define.
  • If there is a small task I can do quickly first thing in the morning, I will to set the tone of the day.
  • I keep a detailed personal task manager for all parts of my life. If it's of importance to me, it'll be on there.
  • I like to understand the why? of a project
  • I listen to music while I work. It helps me tune out the world and focus. Don't be afraid to bother me if I have headphones on.

Learning and Understanding

I tend to learn best from visual metaphors and diagrams. At my desk, I will have doodles on my iPad that are typically thrown away or reminders of priorities on a whiteboard nearby. This keeps me focused.

  • When I work on large scale projects or complex problems I will often turn to my favourite medium: whiteboards.
  • If I am having trouble understanding something, I will likely ask to whiteboard a diagram of it with you until I can reproduce it myself.
    • Digital ink is ok, but I prefer the large scale of a whiteboard. Large scale digital ink is just as good as a whiteboard to me.
  • For code: I tend to understand best from examples and running it myself. Snipped and working boiler plate examples I can build from are the best way for me to understand a new API or framework.
    • I need to be able to paste and run the code myself in a project I started. I can't understand it without being able to manipulate parameters and visualize the syntax in my own editor.
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