September 30, 2021

How MDD can help tech team boost their productivity

In the last episode of Before DevBreak, we hosted Cassidy Williams (@Cassidoo), the Director of Developer Experience at Netlify to discuss Meme-Driven Development and how humor can be used for team bonding, boosting productivity and making tech industry challenges more palatable.

The flaws in tech industry expectations

The tech industry can be quite serious, with people always talking about optimization, performance, scaling, metrics and so on when trying to solve problems. A few years ago, there was some trending discourse on social media about how the tech industry needed a new breed called 10X engineers.

These would include developers who hate meetings, could write a feature in one sitting, hate UI work, have a black wallpaper, don’t like mentorship, and are basically hardcore. Not only was this mentality unfairly looking down on certain kinds of developers, it was creating an image that is unrealistic.

People in the tech industry have a human side to them and need to enjoy what they do to an extent. Cassidy Williams came up with memes that parodied these impractical ideas, and they resonated with many people in the tech industry. Due to these reactions, she was inspired to build on that and try to make the tedious side of tech work more bearable through meme culture.

Strategies for ultimate humor

Sadly, many people in tech don’t see themselves as funny and aren’t sure how to use this approach to make work feel better and achieve greater productivity. However, Cassidy Williams contends that anyone can adopt this meme approach and being funny is all about practice. For example:

Just about every moment in life can be an opportunity to derive a pun, a rhyme or a one-liner. They don’t always have to be good, or even make sense, you just have to be consistent with them. This repetition can make you gradually refine them, keeping what works and dumping what doesn’t.

Repetition also breeds expectations and team members end up looking forward to the humor and feel like they are in on it.

You can create surprise twists, taking common clichés and putting your own spin on them. When people get caught off-guard, it can feel funny hearing just how different what you said was from what they were predicting. It also helps to use contrast, and save the humor for last.

At the end of the day, laughing in the tech industry is quite important since it can help team members bond more and tackle problems with unity.

📹 Want to learn more about how to deliver humor the right way? 😏 Watch the full talk here.

About us

Before DevBreak is a series of live, online, tech talks. Each session features a senior tech expert from an innovative company, who demonstrates how they solved major programming challenges in their business. This series is part of DevBreak, the 2-day festival experience organised by

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