Code Kata: Christmas Tree

Inspired by a blog post of Dave Thomas I started to implement my technology learning roadmap by writing little code katas.

To kill two birds with one stone I first solve a programming puzzle with my lingua franca Python. That helped me to concentrate on solving the algorithmic part of the puzzle because I don’t have to constantly worry about syntax and semantics.

Then I did the whole thing again this time in the language I want to learn: Rust

To give You an example how that works I will elaborate on the Christmas tree kata. Continue reading “Code Kata: Christmas Tree”


I was reading “The Passionate Programmer” by Chad Fowler and came across an action point which literally read “go to a software conference”.

But spending hundreds of euros on a conference like OOP in Munich with travel costs and expenses for hotel and meals wasn’t quite the way to go as a father of two infants and plans of building a house.

A friend of mine – Thomas Berger – was always fancy about little independent conferences and barcamps which are very common in Berlin where he lives.

Sometimes You just have to keep your eyes open. And lo and behold I found a barcamp hosted by method park just 500 meters away from my company’s site. Like driving to work, getting home in the evening. Except on a weekend.

I purchased the ticket via openspacer and payed 29 €. I had not so high expectations because some colleague of mine stated that this event would likely be a recruiting thingy of the hosting company. Oh Boy, was he wrong! Continue reading “#SWEC16”

Review “Lessons learned in Software Testing”

I became aware of James Bach through the Google Techtalk “Becoming a Software Testing Expert”. Then I quickly got his book “Lessons Learned in Software Testing”.

In this book Bach presents with his colleagues Cem Kaner and Bret Pettichord 293 tips and tricks (“lessons”) from the test practice.

Divided into 10 chapters, this book covers almost every aspect that can be encountered in daily SW test work.

Similar to Rework, the strength of this book lies in the small, self-contained chapters. You can individually rate and apply each tip individually or not. The authors are advocates of the context-based test strategy; So there is no all-encompassing concept / strategy that works for every kind of SW product.

Therefore, the recommendations are sometimes deliberately contradictory, e.g. whether SW tests according to IEEE 829 should be documented or not. Just as a doctor only makes a diagnosis after a detailed medical history and then treats the patient, “lessons” are tools that are only to be used after a detailed analysis of the situation (industry, company, team, project, product).

At the beginning of this analysis, the tester must scrutinize himself and his mission in the development process. Insights such as that you can never find all the mistakes and therefore never completely test, sound obvious, but should always be kept in mind to get your own motivation.

The tester does not verify that the product is working, but shows that the product has a defect at a certain point. Word!

The fact that the tester primarily supports or relieves the developers is an idea that is far too rarely taken into account in practice. Test departments are often perceived as opponents rather than as partners.

The following chapters cover the handling of test techniques, bug reports, automated tests, test documentation, the exchange with the developers, as well as the management of the own test team.

The conclusion of the book are the two topics career in SW-test and creation of a test strategy.


If you are looking for a strict roadmap that simply has to be implemented one-to-one to ensure software quality, you will not find it here. On the other hand, if you are looking for suggestions and critical questions to continuously improve yourself and your work, you will find enough material in this book to deal with it for several weeks to months.

Review “Rework” by Jason Fried und David Heinemeier Hansson

Today I introduce you to one of my favorite books, “Rework – Business Smart and Simple” by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. The two authors are the founders of 37signals and have developed the framework Ruby on Rails, on which most of their products are based. After devouring their first work Getting Real in the online edition (, it’s time to spend the money on a hardcover. I like books that pragmatically approach the topic of business start-ups / company founding, so get straight to the point: Continue reading “Review “Rework” by Jason Fried und David Heinemeier Hansson”

Review “Der Bohlenweg” by Dieter Bohlen

We continue with motivational literature. After having lured you with reviews of the biographies of Richard Branson and Gene Simmons, today is a book from local climes.

Why Dieter Bohlen?

“Phew,” I hear some say, “I’m supposed to read or even buy a book from this dude?

Of course this is the parting of the ways: some consider him the superstar par excellence, the others would never admit publicly that you watch his programs, listen to his music and even envy him a little bit for his success.

One thing you have to let Dieter Bohlen: his almost painful honesty when he expresses his opinion. That never gets boring.

Anything but boring is his book “Der Bohlenweg – Planieren statt Sanieren”, although it could be classified primarily as a business advisor.

Business counselor?

Yes. What many do not know is that this man not only started a business degree but also successfully completed. “Completing”, “putting into action”, “finishing” is his mantra that sets him apart from the pure verbal acrobats.

“The key is to have an idea and to push it against all odds”

The little Dieter was anything but predestined to become a titan of pop music, we learn in Chapter Two: not a musical early education but the prospect of taking over the paternal road construction company. No one has been waiting for him and his music, on the contrary.

That which he throws at the head of the DSDS candidate today, he heard himself often enough in his early days and still or just because of this continued. To enforce his idea against all odds, one thing is needed:


So, at this point you could put the book aside, because everything is said. But we would still miss a lot of good material and spokes for example. Never find out why it is better to live in a small apartment than in a large villa.

His excursions into the handling of money are also extremely instructive. Bankruptcies and / or personal bankruptcies as with Matthias Reim, Roy Black and Drafi Deutscher: This can not happen to Dieter. Spend less than you take and realize from the outset that the uncle of the tax office is half of all revenue. Nix gross equal to net!

He also warns us against windy financial advisors, which of course only appear when there is money to invest. Why is that?

The motto that control is better than trust runs like a thread. Also, that falling is no shame, as long as you get up again, is one of the wisdom with which Mr. Bohlen delights us.

What impresses me most is that Uncle Dieter zuschmarrt one with his successes (1000 times platinum or so) but mainly describes the experiences in which he has properly used the toilet: Toggle contract, home purchase (scrap property) and the robbery he does not out.


Of course, his book does not replace his studies at Harvard Business School, but when someone like Dieter Bohlen, who apparently “made it” (TM) chats, I get a clue.

Often it is the simplest of rules (“always putting something on the high end”) whose consistent application makes the difference between success and failure. And no matter how one agrees with him: “Consistent” could be his middle name.

Review “Losing my Virginity” by Richard Branson


Who is the author?

Richard Branson: There is almost nothing this man hasn’t achieved.

A private island in the Caribbean, the knighthood, crossing the Atlantic and the Pacific in a hot air balloon. And then there’s a little company called Virgin with a whopping 40+ affiliates. Did I mention that Virgin Galactic also flies into space?

What does the man still want to do?

The book

What drives him, we learn in a paperback with 570 pages net. Interrupted by about 60 pages. All this for the manageable price of € 13, -.

The structure

Since it is an autobiography, the structure is chronological. Richard Branson tells in a jovial style from the very beginning how he grew up, started his first student newspaper (despite dyslexia!) And came into conflict with the law with his first record business.

Then he produced his Tubular Bells with Mike Oldfield and thus landed a huge success. After that nothing could stop him, no matter what he touched became gold: the airline Virgin Airlines, rail travel with Virgin Trains, telephony from Virgin Mobile; hardly an industry he has not snooped into in order to bring about significant improvements in services. This activity then made him a billionaire over the years.

However, he never tires of investing in groundbreaking projects such as the Green Earth Challenge on greenhouse gas reduction and HIV prevention.
What are the most important wisdom?

Screw it, let’s do it! – this is probably the most important motto of the balloonist Branson. One would almost think that the more reckless an undertaking seems, the more interesting it becomes for him. This, e.g. his balloon rides cost almost his life, it does not stop him from taking new risks.

Entrepreneurship pushed to the extreme. The reason is his passion to conquer new business fields his lifeblood.




Who reads this book, can quickly get inferiority complex. What this man tears everything in his life alone is bordering on insanity. And who thinks that so much success can be accomplished only by asshole behaviors, is taught here a better. Down to earth, unpretentious, almost a bit shy, Branson describes his adventures. A guy with whom one would like to hiss away in the pub a few beers.

Review “Sex, Money, Kiss” by Gene Simmons

Who is the author?

Gene Simmons is the bassist and founder of the band Kiss, with whom he has released twenty studio albums, six live albums and countless compilations.

In addition, he has released two solo records and played in 11 films.

In the 1970’s he was with Cher and Diana Ross, then married model Shannon Tweed, and did it like Ozzy Osbourne, giving us a reality documentary soap called Gene Simmons Family Jewels Continue reading “Review “Sex, Money, Kiss” by Gene Simmons”

15 Steps for successful Bootstrapping – Part 1

Bootstrapping – what is it?

Unfortunately, there is no Wikipedia article about Bootstrapping related to foundations. So here’s the attempt of a definition:

“Bootstrapping is a funding strategy for a start-up that ideally requires no outside capital and leads to growth of the business by avoiding spending and reinvesting revenue.”

Put simply: spend only money on your business that your business has brought in as well. Like Baron Münchhausen, you pull yourself out of the swamp on your own head.

If money has to be put into your business all the time, you run the risk that you are only promoting a hobby but have not developed a solid business idea. Benefits of this start-up financing is the extremely low financial risk and, in the case of business success, the feeling of having done it without the wallet of your parents.

However, the disadvantages should not be concealed. Anyone who has an idea that only works if the entire market is penetrated in no time, 1000 employees hired and high-tech production facilities are procured, for which bootstrapping is certainly not the right concept.

So, now to the individual steps:

Go live! – The first customer counts

Gray is all theory, or the business plan. The first customer willing to spend your money on your service / product is what makes the difference: is it worth keeping your idea or do you need to reconsider your concept?

Many founders write a gigantic business plan that would win any competition and have never sold a single item on eBay. WTF?

You have to get away from the desk and out to the customer and his problems. Your idea must provide customer value and win no prizes! Homework to the next part: Sell one product / one hour of your service. But beware: friends and family members do not count. The danger of pity is far too great.

Found as a side job

Since the chance is low that you can bring your product immediately to the customer, you should not immediately give up your current job.

Bootstrapping does not mean stomping a factory out of the ground on a green field and hunching 120 hours a week from now on, but testing business ideas for practicability and profitability.

Saturday used to be a regular working day and since your business idea should be fun too, you can also check out on weekends.