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Keith Sparkjoy

Keith Sparkjoy is a Culture Coach at Pluralsight. As a cofounder, Keith was the Chief Technology Officer for many years, building and hosting the website and all things IT. These days there's a whole team of folks taking care of the tech, and Keith is focusing more on company culture, which is one of the most important aspects of a fast-growing business.

Keith Sparkjoy has written 76 posts for Pluralsight blog

What does the name Pluralsight mean, anyway?

By Keith Sparkjoy on May 13, 2015

You already know what Pluralsight is all about, but where the heck did the name come from? And how does it relate to what we do? Let’s have a little fun and break it down.

Managers: Stop trying to control everything and do this instead

By Keith Sparkjoy on March 31, 2015

Giving up command and control in favor of trust and autonomy can be a scary thing, especially if you’re a manager steeped in traditional methods. Here’s why you should do it anyway.

Why you need to start practicing emotional hygiene

By Keith Sparkjoy on March 23, 2015

Emotional hygiene plays a pivotal role in both our personal and professional lives. Here’s what it is and how you can start practicing it right now.

Why company culture matters

By Keith Sparkjoy on January 6, 2015

Not sure if you’re getting involved with the right company? Here’s a list of questions to consider before you jump on board.

Getting long term, meaningful results

By Keith Sparkjoy on September 24, 2014

One thing that’s struck me over the last year is that in so many different aspects of life, when you focus directly on what it is you want for yourself, often you end up with short term, shallow results. It seems that in order to get long term, meaningful results, you often need to focus […]

Culture coaches

By Keith Sparkjoy on August 26, 2014

Titles aside, both Max Brown and I are playing the role of culture coaches at Pluralsight. This is an advisory role, and while we don’t make policy decisions, the leadership team seeks advice from us on a regular basis. Deming proposed a transformation of management away from command and control. He proposed substituting “leadership”. Managers are going to have […]

The high performance organization

By Keith Sparkjoy on August 23, 2014

Recently a question came up around Deming’s philosophy – if the system is responsible for 96% of the output, why should the individual work hard if his performance doesn’t matter anyway? Individual performance absolutely matters – each of us are inputs to the system, and Deming was assuming that we are each giving our best efforts when […]

Getting from me to we

By Keith Sparkjoy on August 21, 2014

After watching Simon Sinek’s recent TED talk, “Why good leaders make you feel safe” I was inspired to read his book, Leaders Eat Last. In it, Simon explains that in order to create a safe environment free from fear, managers must put team members before themselves (see Leadership is a service role). But that’s only the […]

Why Deming?

By Keith Sparkjoy on August 11, 2014

This question, along with a similar one, “How did you find Deming?” is one of the most common questions I get as a culture coach here at Pluralsight. Many roads lead to Deming – he was a thought leader in management throughout the latter half of the 20th century, first in Japan where his philosophy […]

Truth Seeking – some history and perspective

By Keith Sparkjoy on August 7, 2014

We have three core values at Pluralsight: Truth Seeking, Entrepreneurship, and Eternal Optimism. Of the three, Truth seeking is probably the weirdest sounding, and I’ve often found that it resonates a bit more once I’ve shared some historical context. Aaron, Fritz, and I have been working together since the late ’90’s (that’s over 15 years […]

Leadership is a service role

By Keith Sparkjoy on August 5, 2014

Stop for a moment and think about what a traditional job in management can be. More pay and perks, with less individual contribution in favor of “using” people to get work done. Set targets, hold your people accountable to those targets, motivate them with carrots and sticks. I suppose a lot of people aspire to […]

Pluralsight iOS app update, now with ChromeCast support!

By Keith Sparkjoy on March 13, 2014

Our newest iOS player is now on the the iOS App Store and includes a first shot at ChromeCast support! Start playing any Pluralsight course and tap the cast button to select a local device to cast to. Not familiar with ChromeCast? It’s a $35.00 dongle that you plug into an HDMI port on your TV so that you can “cast” video to it over a local wireless network.

Focus on the system

By Keith Sparkjoy on December 5, 2013

As part of my quest to really understand the Lean movement, I’m going back to its roots and reading Out of the Crisis, by W. Edwards Deming, originally published back in the 80′s. If you want to know where the idea of continuous improvement, or Kaizen came from, read this book.

Pair programming

By Keith Sparkjoy on October 23, 2013

What do Nirvana, Fleetwood Mac, Rick Springfield, Rage Against the Machine, Metallica, Johnny Cash, Tom Petty, Nine Inch Nails, Neil Young, Santana, REO Speedwagon and Barry Manilow have in common? They all recorded at Sound City in Southern California. Recently I watched a great flick about this shop that was directed by Dave Grohl, leader of one of my favorite […]

On Immutability

By Keith Sparkjoy on June 25, 2013

At Pluralsight, we’ve been programming with immutable objects for a couple of years now, and I know some of the team is wondering why we bother. When you’re a traditional OO developer used to updating the state of objects in place, it sure feels weird to go to the trouble of building immutable objects using […]

New Android player feature in beta – Variable Speed Playback

By Keith Sparkjoy on June 13, 2013

This was a tough one – there’s no native support for variable speed on Android, but our rock star Android developer came through with a solution using our custom FFmpeg player. You’ll see a new speed setting in the upper-right corner of the screen that you can tap to bring up a speed control. Please […]

New Android player released to the Google Play store today: v1.1.151

By Keith Sparkjoy on May 16, 2013

This new release includes a modern look and features you’ve asked for: Easier to use on tablets Recently watched courses at your fingertips Easy to find newly published courses Plus members can now queue entire courses for download All orientations supported on all form factors Improved stability Android player on the Google Play store – […]

Our Android player gets a face lift – v1.1.151

By Keith Sparkjoy on May 6, 2013

This beta build includes a modern look and features you’ve asked for: Easier to use on tablets Recently watched courses at your fingertips Easy to find newly published courses Plus members can now queue entire courses for download All orientations supported on all form factors Improved stability Android player beta release – v1.1.151 Please leave […]

My Clojure Journey: Simple Expressive Tests

By Keith Sparkjoy on April 22, 2013

One thing my team has struggled with in enterprise C# development is the complexity of unit test setup. This is complicated by Domain Driven Design, which encourages the use of concrete classes for entities and values. Test setup often becomes nontrivial as you are often required to set up considerably more of the object graph […]

Now you can slow us down!

By Keith Sparkjoy on March 25, 2013

For many years we’ve had the ability to play back our courses at high speed, and that works great when you can understand the author very well. But what about that one course that you really want to watch, but the author speaks a little fast, or maybe English isn’t your first language? Now you […]