Meme wrangling and the rough edges of software: Neal Ford on tech publishing, software architecture, and consulting at ThoughtWorks

What We Talk About When We Talk About Tech

Jun 2 2021 • 54 mins

Rich Gall (@richggall) and Jennifer Riggins (@jkriggins) talk to author, software architect, and meme wrangler at ThoughtWorks about the importance of storytelling, language and communication in his worker as both a consultant and an educator.

Neal discusses his career in tech publishing, with 8 books already under his belt (the most recent being The Fundamentals of Software Architecture, published in January 2020), and explains what makes it so challenging but so vital in today's saturated information ecosystem. He shares his useful criteria for evaluating whether a topic or an idea should be a book and not something else.

He also discusses the importance of being multimodal and flexible about the media through which you share ideas. He explains why he's missed in-person conferences, and describes how the switch to remote events has forced him to change the way he tells stories to an audience.

We also discuss the role of a software architect, and the importance of communication skills. Neal explains the importance of ubiquitous language, and how software architects should attempt to build a common mental model across an organization.

Finally, Neal talks about ThoughtWorks role in today's software industry, and explains how ThoughtWorks Radar gets put together. He highlights how its quantitative and almost ethnographic nature provide context and detail around emerging tools, platforms, and concepts.