I’m Yann Eves, a Full Stack Developer, and This is How I Work

Photo credit Katariina Jarvinen lighttrick.co.uk

Developing across the stack can be a challenging role. There’s an expectation here to be the expert at everything, where in fact, knowing when to admit defeat can be the key to success. The ability to rapidly develop a fit-for-purpose solution as generalists beats a specialist team — at least early on.

I fell into full stack development when I joined the tech startup scene with Affio. My wake up call was when StackMob, a platform-as-a-service we relied on, got acquired and shut down by PayPal. We were approaching launch, so I did the unthinkable and rewrote the parts of the service we needed in two weeks! Coming from a front-end background, (un)reliability of a third-party service was a new risk to me, yet I haven’t looked back since.

Location: Brighton, United Kingdom
Current Gig: Research Engineer, EDF Energy
One word that best describes how you work: Ambitiously
Current mobile device: Nexus 5
Current computer: MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Late 2013)

What apps, software, and tools can’t you live without?

A lot of my time is spent communicating remotely, for which I use WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Slack, and Discord ubiquitously.

I use Feedly with Pocket and IFTTT to filter and consume content, as well as organise. I enjoy learning and archive everything I read, listen to, or watch in case I need to refer back to it later.

For development, Sublime is my IDE of choice. Thanks to its simplicity and extensibility, I don’t find myself bound to any particular language or framework. Lately, I’ve become increasingly attached to fman for managing files. Anything else is left to the command-line.

Dashlane password manager and the FreeAgent accounting software are two other tools that have also become indispensable for me.

What’s your workspace setup like?

One word: portable. I like a setup that I can carry with me. This means a Berghaus FreeFlow II 20 litre rucksack containing my MacBook, chargers, cables, solar power bank, to name a few, and usually some combination of wireless mouse, keyboard, and extended mousemat.

What’s your best time-saving shortcut or life hack?

Always Do ➡️ Evaluate ➡️ Refactor. Seek forgiveness not permission. Planning usually means to merge “Do” and “Evaluate” in some kind of mocked scenario; there’s a place for that but just doing nearly always saves time. Had I been better at applying that myself, this post would have been finished years ago!

What’s your favourite to-do list manager?

Google Inbox, hands down; after a slight learning curve, this tool has tripled my productivity. Other tools always divided my attention between to-do list and email, meaning my ability to translate noise into actionable tasks remained the bottleneck. By blurring those lines I can just get on with it.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without and why?

My Synology DS214. Before I was introduced to Synology by a colleague, I was about to give up on network-attached storage as a fundamentally flawed technology. Then it became apparent my experience was distorted by cheap knock-offs. This device is now my own little extranet.

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?

Saving money. 💷 My friends would describe me as frugal. But I’m just obsessed with making my money work for me.

What do you listen to while you work?

Depends what I’m working on. I listen to podcasts in BeyondPod, a select following on Mixcloud, or if I really need to concentrate, the sound of rain.

What are you currently reading?

The End of Power, by Moisés Naím.

How do you recharge?

I watch films. 🎞 My watchlist is approaching 2,000 unique entries. That’s about half a year of my life spent ogling at motion pictures. A great film lifts my spirits in unparalleled time. I track all of this with MovieLens.

What’s your sleep routine like?

Consistently good. I struggle to stay up much past midnight and will be wide awake by 7.00am. Untended lie-ins are a bad habit for me, though. I’ve mastered the snooze button and should probably rethink how I set my alarm — or ditch the alarm entirely! ⏰💤

Fill in the blank: I’d love to see _________ answer these same questions.

Remy Sharp (Founder & Developer, Left Logic); balances some superb side projects, co-organises Brighton’s greatest web conference ffconf, accredited author, and has a beautiful family!

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

“Do what you’re good at, especially if no one else is.” From my old man, which I like to think boils down to finding interdependence.

The Lifehacker How I Work series inspired this post; I’ve wanted to answer these questions since originally finding their feature on Felicia Day. Since I don’t picture having the credentials to appear in their series myself, I plan to add to my own How I Work series each time “I’m Yann Eves, a what I consider myself to be” changes.