Goruco Videos

James Golick

How to Debug Anything


Does your code work? Probably not. The libraries you’re using probably don’t work either. If you’re lucky, the OS does, but even then you’ll probably find something wrong if you look hard enough.

Debugging is the reason that the last 20% of shipping a product usually accounts for 80% of the time. And yet, there are a million blog posts and talks about writing code, but very few about figuring out why it doesn’t work right once you have.

So, how do you find bugs? In this talk I’ll explore a set of tools and techniques that have helped me diagnose defects in everything from php code to malloc implementations.

One time I even used this strategy to diagnose an outage in a codebase I’d never seen that was written in a language I barely knew and a framework I’d never heard of - in less than 5 minutes. You’ll walk away with this talk with everything you need to learn how to debug anything.


My name is James Golick. I write code, build companies, and talk for a living. I also like to snowboard, play golf, stand on my hands, and listen to music, but not professionally. As far as software is concerned, I'm interested in well structured, highly modular code, and scalability / operations (in other words, what actually happens when you put code in to production). I love to write and give talks on the misinformation floating around about building and operating applications at scale. I also release quite a bit of open source software. Get in touch with me via twitter or email!