Continuous Learning: Cultivating Engaged Teams with Paul Pagel
Episode 824th March 2022 • Collaborative Craft • 8th Light
00:00:00 00:29:05

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Getting started in software development is more accessible than ever. Advancements in toolchains and frameworks have moved the starting point to a higher level where you can get results much more quickly. Beyond that baseline, developers and designers will still have to grow their skillsets to keep pace with the industry. For this, in-context, continuous learning is key.

To kick off season two, 8th Light Co-CEO and Co-Founder Paul Pagel joins Jerome to discuss cultivating a company culture that facilitates in-context learning and encourages collaboration across levels of experience. Paul shares actionable advice for building problem-solving confidence through repetition and investing in team education. They also explore generalist and specialist approaches to the craft, and what it looks like to create engaged, interdisciplinary teams.  

Be sure to stick around to the end for a look into the future of software development, where Paul considers the opportunities for developers and designers in Web3 and the potential for the blockchain to change the economic incentives of contribution. 

  • (1:55) – Advancements in the industry
  • (4:00) – A career in software development today
  • (5:30) – Generalists and specialists
  • (9:58) – Team composition
  • (12:17) – Learning + engagement = productivity
  • (13:52) – Cultivating engagement
  • (16:50) – GitHub and Builder DAO
  • (19:22) – Economic incentives for contribution
  • (21:00) – Team-based Web2 and individual-based Web3
  • (22:25) – Autonomy and in-context learning
  • (24:15) – Team charters
  • (26:09) – A mentor, a peer group, and a community

After starting his career as a software developer, Paul Pagel has spent the last fifteen years helping 8th Light partner with teams in more than a dozen industries. He is overseeing the evolution of the apprenticeship program, helping to map the curriculum to market trends, and, more recently, Paul has been leading 8th Light into exciting engagements in Web3, data engineering, product design, and more.

Thomas Countz is a Senior Software Crafter at 8th Light where he works with a variety of ambitious teams on a variety of ambitious projects. A true curious nerd at heart, Thomas digs into everything from robotics and cider making to bouldering and Shakespeare’s comedies. To hear even more about Thomas, you can follow him on Twitter at @thomascountz and visit his blog at

Jerome Goodrich is an adoring husband, new dog dad, and all-around curious explorer. Through his work as a Principal Software Crafter at 8th Light, Jerome leads amazing software teams to design and develop thoughtful solutions to complex problems. He loves pairing strenuous hikes with deep conversations and is always trying to see things clearly and with an open heart. Jerome lives much of his life off of the internet, but he occasionally writes on his website:

8th Light partners with businesses and community groups to craft software that unlocks human potential and makes the world a better place. We’re passionate about designing for people, inspiring through education, and empowering the future. With teams spread across the globe—including Chicago, London, Los Angeles, New York, Austin, and Madison—we’re always eager to hear about ambitious new projects. Learn more about our team and reach out at

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Podcast episode production by Dante32.