Seth Petry-Johnson

Seth Petry-Johnson

Pointy-haired boss by day, coder by night

Seth spent 21 years as a professional developer/architect before finally joining the dark side of management. He now spends his days as a pointy-haired boss leading a small-but-mighty product development team in the search for elegant solutions to complex problems. He is passionate about clean architecture, testable systems, and bringing order to chaos. Seth lives in Columbus, OH and is an active participant in the Midwest developer community. He'll write TPS reports when he has to, but still enjoys writing, reviewing, and talking about code.

Current sessions

Securing Your API Endpoints - A Practical Authentication Guide

It's never been easier to expose services over HTTP. It's also never been easier to inadvertently expose security holes via those same services.

This session is designed for the average developer/architect that wants a brief overview of API security without getting into the weeds of cryptography or complex authentication frameworks. You'll learn about OAuth, API Keys, HMAC, JSON Web Tokens (JWT) and more. Don't worry if those things sound foreign; they'll be explained in a clear, practical way so that you’ll be able to choose the appropriate tool for your specific needs.

I've presented this at numerous conferences. There are always three or four people that come up afterwards and say that it was exactly what they needed or were looking for.

The last few times I've delivered it I've finished in about 48-50 minutes, so for 2020 I intend to streamline a few areas and then go deeper on JWT and OAuth.

Slides are here:

A Warm-Blooded Robot’s Guide to Managing Humans

This session offers a slightly humorous look at one burgeoning manager's journey from "warm-blooded robot" to "passes for a human at dinner parties".

Many programmers are logical, process-driven people. Some programmers, like the speaker, are logical and process-driven almost to a fault. Those robotic qualities make for excellent coders, but they can be a liability once promoted to management. It turns out that while all people are equally warm-blooded, not everyone is logical and process-driven; some people even find those things to be unpleasant!

Through a mix of self-deprecating humor and real-life stories you'll learn how to design an alliance with your reports, how to communicate with people that think (very) differently from yourself, and how to inspire a team without micromanaging them.

First public delivery of this concept, although I've been mulling it over for well over a year.

Will include:
- The "Design the Alliance" format for initial 1-1s with new reports
- A discussion of DISC and how to communicate with different types of people
- Lots and lots of self-deprecating examples of how I've learned these lessons the hard way

Hiring and Inspiring an Exceptional Team

Management gets a bad rap in technical circles, and for good reason: many managers are terrible, and it shows!

Rising above the pointy-haired-boss stereotypes is easier than you might think. By grounding your leadership style in management science, and adding a touch of emotional intelligence, you can help your team meet its individual and collective goals, improve morale and engagement, and reduce turnover.

This session will show early-career managers how to find team players aligned with their core values, how to "design the alliance" with new hires, how to get the most out of 1:1s, and how to use personality-typing tools like DISC to motivate and communicate effectively.

This was delivered for the first time at CodeMash 2020 with good results. It fit the timeframe perfectly and generated good discussion afterwards.

Slides are here: