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Path to Well-Being in Law
Path to Well-Being in Law - Episode 24: Kori Carew

Path to Well-Being in Law

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 10, 2022 57:12


CHRIS NEWBOLD: Hello, wellbeing friends. Welcome to the Path To Well-Being In Law Podcast, an initiative of the Institute for Well-Being in Law. As you know, my name is Chris Newbold. I serve as executive vice president of ALPS Malpractice Insurance. You know, our goal here on the podcast is to introduce you to thought leaders doing meaningful work in the wellbeing space within the legal profession, and in the process, build and nurture a national network of wellbeing advocates intent on creating a culture shift within the profession. As always, I am joined by my co-host, Bree Buchanan. Bree, how are you doing today? BREE BUCHANAN: I'm doing great, Chris. Great to be here. CHRIS: Good, good. As you all know, Bree is the president of the Institute for Well-Being in Law. Bree, we have some really exciting news to share about the institute and the journey that we're on to engineer this culture shift. Would you maybe give us a clue as to the breaking news that I think that we were so excited about? BREE: Nobody could be more excited than me because you said, you know, Bree is the board president. Well, up until this news, I had two jobs. I was the acting executive director, so I am just delighted to let people know we have hired our first full-time staff person and that is our inaugural executive director. Her name is Jennifer DiSanza. She comes to us with a whole host of experience in wellbeing issues and particularly with the law students. For many reasons, we wanted to bring Jennifer on board, but also strategically, we really realized that's where she's coming from is the future of our profession. And also, aside of where we know there's a lot of behavioral health distress and stress on the youngest members of our profession and the law students. So we're just thrilled to have Jennifer on board. CHRIS: Yeah. See, I had the privilege of serving with you Bree on the hiring committee. Boy, we have a dynamic leader now that will be working day-to-day to think about advancing wellbeing in our profession. You know, there's so much work to be done as you well know. We're actually planning on having Jennifer as our next podcast guest, which will be awesome to be able to just talk about the vision, why she's passionate about this work. It will also happen to be after the conclusion of some strategic planning that we as a board will be doing. So things are just really aligning well with both what has transpired, where we're going, and then focusing on what lies ahead in terms of some big issues that we have to tackle as we think about the wellbeing of lawyers and legal professionals in the profession. With that, today we're going to circle back to, we've spent considerable time in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion. You know, we had anticipated a three part series on this, but sometimes you extend an offer and you get somebody who's so awesome that you sit there and go, we have to expand this even further. Right? BREE: Along came Kori. Yeah. CHRIS: That's right. Along came Kori. And when Kori came along, we're like, okay, we're breaking the rules. We're totally bringing Kori into the mix. And so we were really excited to welcome Kori Carew to the podcast. Bree, would you be so kind to introduce Kori? And again, this is I know a podcast that we've been very excited and looking forward to. BREE: Absolutely. So Kori is a people inclusion strategist, an advocate, a speaker, a writer, a status quo disruptor. Got to love that. Child of God, wife and mother of two curly-haired, wise, energetic, fierce, spitfire daughters. Her family is multi-ethnic, multi-racial, multi-religious and spans multiple nationalities. She brings a fierce love of community and belonging that transcends differences to work, ministry and life. She loves to sing, cook, entertain, dance in the hallways at work, we need a video component of that, and read. Equipping leaders to be inclusive, to interrupt bias and disrupt the status quo. At her day job, she focuses on developing and implementing strategies for individual career and diversity and inclusion success, and helps organizations build bridges across differences and improve inclusion. BREE: When she's not working, she focuses her voice and talent on issues of gender equity and rights, inclusion, and human and civil rights, serving in her church and community, and cherishing her phenomenal tribe and community. She's energized by helping people live their very best lives. Kori was the Director of Strategic Diversity Initiatives for seven years at Shook, Hardy. And then she came over to Seyfarth and is now the Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer there and oversees their really spectacular wellbeing program, Seyfarth Life, and a whole host of other initiatives we're going to hear about. So Kori, welcome to the podcast. CHRIS: Yay. KORI CAREW: Thank you. I appreciate you inviting me to be on this podcast and also very much the work that you are doing. This conversation of wellbeing for attorneys is such an important conversation. It's one that we probably started having too late, and it's one where diversity and inclusion, there's more work to be done than time. I'm super thankful for all that you do and all that you do to help our profession be better, so thank you very much. BREE: You bet. Kori, I'm going to start off. We ask all of our guests a variation of this question. What experiences in your life are drivers behind your passion for work around diversity, equity, and inclusion and belonging and wellbeing? KORI: Thank you for that question. And of course, you're causing me to go down a bit of memory lane. You would think this is an easy question, but it actually is not. It's not as easy because it forces you to look in the rear view mirror and try to understand where the dots connected to where you are. Before I do that, I do want to make one small correction. Seyfarth Life is an incredible initiative at Seyfarth that I am super proud of and one of the things that energized me about joining the firm. It has a steering committee that leads it. It's four partners at the firm, all of whom have a connection to wellbeing and mindfulness. My department and my role actually does not oversee Seyfarth Life, but we do work very closely with them. Because as one of the founding members, Laura Maechtlen noted from the very beginning, there's that intersection between inclusion and diversity and belonging and wellbeing, and the two work very closely together. But my department does not oversee Seyfarth Life. So just wanted to make sure I give credit to the right people. BREE: Absolutely, give credit where it's due. KORI: You know, because they're awesome and they do great work. In fact, if I may brag on them, out of the steering committee members, one of them is the chair of the largest department in the firm and an executive committee member and co-chair of the national diversity and inclusion action team. Oh, wait a minute. No, that's not right. Three are office managing partners. They're part of this steering committee, this leadership group, because they actually practice wellbeing and mindfulness and meditation in their own personal lives and allow it to influence how they lead. So I know Seyfarth didn't pay me to do a promotion, but I felt like I needed to shout some guys out. BREE: Absolutely. KORI: Our talent team helps them quite a bit in terms of organizing programs and handling the administrative and logistic things. Okay. So to answer your question, what are the experiences? I often say this and it is true that when I look at my life in the rear view mirror, how I ended up where I am makes a lot more sense as I connect the dots in ways that I probably couldn't have foreseen. For example, I never intended to be a diversity and inclusion professional. I actually never intended to go to law school. I started my university career as an electrical engineering major. When I came to the U.S., I wanted to build planes. That was my thing. I wanted to be an aeronautical engineer. I wanted to build planes. I loved science. I could spend hours in the lab. One of the best gifts I ever got was a lab coat. My dad had a custom drawing board built for me when I was a teenager that I carried with me everywhere because technical drawing, engineering drawing was one of my top subjects. KORI: So a lot of things make sense in hindsight. I look at my family composition and my sisters and I were all born in different countries. We have different passports. We grew up in Nigeria, a country with over 300 different ethnic groups with different languages and traditions and customs, so there's that. My family is multi-religious, multi-ethnic, multi-national, multi-racial and there's just so much diversity there. You know, in the family tree, there's a granduncle that's a Methodist church bishop, and one that's an Imam. And my grandfather's father was a teacher, was a teacher of the Quran. And so all of that diversity is there in the family, but it probably influenced how my parents raised my sisters and I and how even through childhood, I was always the person who was connecting the dots between similarities between people. And today we would call that cultural fluency, this ability to recognize cultural differences and not judge them but just adapt to them and be able to say, okay, you know what? KORI: It looks to me like person A is looking through a lens that's different than person B, but they're looking at the same thing. So how can I get these two people to be on the same page? So there's that family dynamic. But another thing that happened when I was growing up that I do think influenced me quite a bit. I grew up in Nigeria. Most of my childhood, we had one military dictator after another. So I grew up with coos happening more often than I would prefer. There were times that things broke out into religious violence. You're talking about incidents where a few people are killed or a lot of people are killed and everything goes to standstill, everybody's on edge. You don't leave your home. When the students go on riots because they're protesting something and things get out of hand, you're turning off the lights in your home and sort of huddled together, trying to make sure that you stay together as a family until everything passes over. So that was also something that I grew up around and experiencing. KORI: And then my parents are from Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone is actually my home country. If you ask me where I'm from, I will tell you I was born in Canada, grew up in Nigeria, but I'm from Sierra Leone. Because in my culture, you're where your father's from. So my entire identity has always been that I am from Sierra Leone. In the '90s, Sierra Leone began to experience a very brutal civil war, which calling it a civil war is actually inaccurate. You have a bunch of people with weapons who terrorize the population for 11 years. And it's been one of the most brutal wars that the world has seen at least in recent times. And that impacted my family in the sense that we lost people, in the sense that I hadn't been back to Sierra Leone for a long time. And it kind of started with my mom not feeling it was safe enough for us to go and visit, with grandparents living on the run and being sick and dying and me not seeing them in a long time because of just this state of chaos. KORI: And all of this fueled how I ended up going to law school, wanting to do human rights work, wanting to be a human rights lawyer, feeling as if I learned so much about the American system and the role that the legal profession played in terms of maintaining democracy and freedom and wanting to multiply that. Right. But then I go to law school. I graduate. I fall in love with a boy who I actually started dating in college, and I ended up in Kansas City because I followed a boy. You know, career took a different turn, ended up being a defense lawyer. And then you fast forward to doing an evaluation and me going through a process of saying, okay, I've done a lot of the things I wanted to do. I've achieved a lot of the things I wanted to achieve. I wanted to try cases. I wanted to build this reputation. I wanted to be successful in A, B, C, D. KORI: And I started taking inventory of the things I was passionate about, the skills I developed, the experiences I had and where I was losing time. You know, where was I given my time in community? What were the things that I could lose myself doing in such deep flow that I don't even recognize that time has gone by? And that journey ended up leading me to inclusion and diversity work and I haven't turned back since. There's some aspects of the legal profession I miss. I miss trying cases. I miss solving problems for clients. It may sound like the weirdest thing, but boy, playing around with evidence, rules, and figuring out how to get things in or keep things out is a nerdy love of mine. And so those are just some of the experiences that I would say led me to this love for helping people build bridges and I'm empower people to succeed despite the challenges, and being able to create just a level of cultural fluency amongst groups of people so that we understand how much better we are together as opposed to isolated from one another. So that's a long answer. BREE: Well, what an amazing life you've had to date and an incredible background that informs your work at a depth that I know Chris and I can't even begin to imagine. CHRIS: For sure. Kori, how long have you been more squarely centered on the inclusion and diversity side of things? KORI: I have been for 11 years now full-time diversity. What I realized, you know, somebody asked me a question similar to this, how long have you been doing diversity work, which is different from what I usually hear. I actually did the inventory and realized that, you know, 29 years ago, when I first came to the U.S., that was when I actually started doing presentations. At the time, we called them multiculturalism. We started doing presentations on bridging differences, on being able to understand different cultures and how you navigate it. And so I've been actually teaching on diversity, inclusion, cultural fluency leadership topics now for 29, 30 years. But it being my full-time job, that happened when I left litigation and moved over to Shook, Hardy & Bacon. CHRIS: Okay. I think a good point to maybe start the conversation is, you know, again, your perspective is so unique and informed. For diverse members of the profession, can you talk to our listeners about some of the more challenging aspects of the last couple of years? KORI: Yeah. So the last couple of years have been tough for everyone. This pandemic, it's been brutal and it's impacted us in so many different ways. We've lost our sense of certainty to the extent that we didn't had any. We've lost our ability to have some kind of predictability, something that is a core need, a core need for many of us. Well, not for many of us, for everyone. It's actually a core human need. And so we've been sort of thrown into this whirlwind of uncertainty with no deadline, right? We went from thinking, well, I'll speak for myself. You know, since I'm not a scientist, I foolishly thought, well, maybe in two weeks I'll go back to the office. And then it was a month. And then I thought six weeks. And then I thought for sure by summer 2020 we'd be able to go out and about and things would be quasi under control. And here we are, you know, some 28, 29 months later and we still have COVID. I'm sick right now recovering from COVID after avoiding it for almost 30 months, I get it. KORI: So you have that benchmark that is impacting everyone and the uncertainty that we've seen with everything going on around us. But as with everything, I think people from historically underrepresented and marginalized groups, what happens is the things that... There's this saying that the things, and I'm going to probably say it wrong. And it may be an African American saying, but it's this thing that what gives some people a cold will give others the flu. And so what you've seen then is populations that have been historically marginalized and underrepresented and haven't had access to full equity, had been impacted very differently by the same storm that we're all in. So we're all in the same storm, but we're not in the same boat. We're experiencing it differently. So communities of color, we know got hit by COVID much harder. KORI: And you have that intersection between race, between housing inequity, between education inequity, between healthcare inequity and healthcare access, all of those things coming together to adversely impact some groups more. So if you are someone who is Brown or Black, or from one of these historically marginalized communities, and you are going to work during the pandemic, or you're working from home, you are more likely to have family members who have been directly impacted by COVID, right? You are more likely to have lost family members. You also, generally speaking are more likely to be in a position where you are in an extended family situation where you are responsible for more people than just yourself. You know, one of the things that we know, for example, that impacts generational wealth is that those of us from communities of color oftentimes are responsible not just for ourselves, but for extended family members. KORI: So you have that dynamic playing, then you have the racial pandemic, which has been going on, but in the last two years have come to fevered pitch. And so the daily trauma of dealing with racism and microaggressions then gets compounded by all the incidents, George Floyd, Charles Cooper, and all the other incidents that have been bombarding us from our television screens, from the news reports, from articles. And so now all of a sudden everything is right in your face and you're dealing with all of it at the same time. And so those are some of the things that are professionals from "diverse communities," from underrepresented marginalized communities have been dealing with. And our reserves have been tapped into and overstretched to where for some of us, it feels like it's been just too much. BREE: Absolutely. It's unimaginable just how much to carry on in that space. All of the things that you just described, this litany of horrors is on top of just the day-to-day difficulty as been expressed to me, and reading in my friends of people of color, just the microaggressions and just how hard it is. Just take away pandemic and everything else and the racial reckoning, how hard it can be just to get through the day. I can't even imagine. It is absolutely just too, too much. Kori, there's so much to unpack here. I wanted to kind of pushing us along here talking about diversity, equity, and inclusion and talking about belonging and overlaying that. I mean, when I started looking in the legal profession, we talk about DEI, it was diversity then DEI, and now we're getting into some of the really, to me, needy and interesting stuff around belonging. I know that you created a belonging project at Seyfarth. Could you talk to us about the importance of that, and also about this project that you got started at Seyfarth? KORI: Sure. Let me separate them out. Belonging is a conversation that more and more of us are having, and it is fairly new to the conversation when you're talking about diversity and inclusion. It started with we talked about diversity, and then we started talking about diversity and inclusion, and now we've included equity and belonging. Belonging goes to that sense, that feeling that each of us have when we belong and we feel like we are part of a group and that we belong to something that is bigger than us. It is also a core human need. Brené Brown has this phrase that she says that we have three irreducible needs, and they are to be loved, to connect, and to belong. What we know from the research is that when we don't have belonging, it impacts us. It is wired into our DNA to belong to something. KORI: So we will either have healthy belonging, or we will seek a belonging that may not be healthy and may not be good. This is where you can queue in hate groups and cult because they will do anything to belong. We will also conform to fit in so that we have a quasi sense of belonging. The problem though is that when we don't have belonging, we actually see physiological, physical, spiritual, mental, psychological impact on our wellbeing. It impacts our sense of health. Forget our sense of health. It actually impacts our health, right? We know that exclusion and the lack of belonging actually results in increased depression, increased high blood pressure, increased diabetes. Incidentally, a lot of the same things that racial trauma and microaggressions also causes on the human body. And so if we don't have that sense of belonging, then we are not able to actually actualize that sense of inclusion where everyone is able to be leveraged and their differences and their strengths leveraged so that they can succeed as they want to succeed. KORI: And without belonging, you don't get wellbeing. But conversely, without wellbeing, you can't cultivate that sense of belonging. And so those two things are intertwined as well as this concept of engagement, which also is in the mix, right? You can't create engagement unless you have social connection and belonging. And so all of these things come together. Unfortunately, in many of our organizations, they're treated as separate, right? In many organizations, you have the wellbeing function being managed in a way that it doesn't speak to diversity, doesn't speak to belonging at all. So imagine now we just talked about COVID and we talked about how COVID has impacted everyone. Then imagine you're developing a wellness initiative or a wellbeing initiative and you're not stopping to think, oh, wait a minute, because of diversity, this pandemic has impacted people in different ways. KORI: And so I can't just trot out a wellbeing program without factoring in diversity and how diversity has resulted in different people experiencing this pandemic differently. Similarly, we fail when we try to, for example, have a wellbeing initiative that doesn't stop and think, oh, wow, we're not talking about racial trauma. We're not talking about microaggressions. We're not talking about the impact of implicit bias and exclusion on the psychological and physical wellbeing of the people in our organization. And so what's happening is these concepts are tied together, but in our organizations and most of our organizations, we're not doing DEI and incorporating wellbeing and we're not doing wellbeing incorporating DEIB. Instead, we're acting as if they're completely separate and they're not. CHRIS: I mean, I think it goes without saying, we, I think as human beings, sometimes we compartmentalize of there's this and then there's that. I think that from the infancy of the institute, I think we've emphasized the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion as part of, has to flow through everything, every lens that we look at from the wellbeing perspective. But I have to admit, it's been more challenging than I think, than we've appreciated because sometimes we look a little bit myopically at some of these issues without broadening our lens. That's the perspective that I think that you can bring our listeners that, again, this intersection of diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging with wellbeing, I guess I'd be curious on just, how can we merge? Right? Because again, even the fact that there's organizations that work over here and organizations that work over here, and we really should be just the coalition and the umbrella and the totality of how it all works together is something that I don't know that we appreciate the magnitude of. KORI: Well, and the only way we can appreciate the magnitude is if we have these honest conversations. But we also have to have the conversations around the structural and the cultural underpinnings, right? How do we have conversations about wellbeing that take into consideration differences? That take into consideration, okay, we're telling people, hey, we have therapy or we have EAP, or we have whatever the organization offers. But how do you do that and also acknowledge that for some communities that there is a stigma around maybe going to a therapist? How do you have that conversation with those communities? Or that racial bias and racial aggressions are having an impact on people, but you have an entire generation of Black people, for example, who have survived by plowing through all the challenges that the world has put in front of us. And to sit down and talk about the way in which racism has impacted us is asking us to put our shields down, which means opening up ourselves to attack, which means possibly being accused of playing the race card. Right? KORI: All of things that you may have grown up in a time where we just didn't talk about that in mixed company, we only talked about that with each other. And so there are all these layers, all these layers. I recently listened to a friend of mine, Ratu Basin, and she was talking about how it feels for her as someone of Indian heritage to see how much yoga, for example, has been whitewashed. There's so many conversations to be had even in the wellbeing space, even when we're talking to people about things like self-care. Well, what are you recommending? Because some of the things we tell people to do for self-care, go get a massage, who can afford that? What culture support that kind of self-care? And is that really self-care or is that treating a symptom? Should self-care and wellbeing be about a way of life and a way of working such that we don't need these emergency [inaudible 00:32:26] like solutions to fix the symptoms, right? KORI: And that's the big conversation and that's the conversation I'm hearing some lawyers begin to ask where they say, the organization says they care about wellbeing, but we're getting these other messages that say it's productivity and hours and billables that matter, right? How do we shift the culture and how we're embracing these topics in a way that makes it more meaningful? I just realized, I didn't even answer your second question about the belonging project, but yeah, this is the stuff that to me, I see a lot of potential for us to have really good conversations that can lead to solutions that are more inclusive of a diverse profession. BREE: Kori, you're clearly such a thought leader and a visionary in this space. Can you talk a little bit about how do we get change to occur in a profession, the legal profession that is so reluctant to change? Even more so than general society. Where do you see the bright points of really being able to make some change? KORI: Can you repeat that question? BREE: Yeah. Just about how do we get change to occur in the legal profession? You know, this is a profession that is just so stayed and slow and bound up in tradition. This is the way we do it, that sort of thing. And here you are with these fabulous ideas, working with a very large law firm, having come from another very large law firm so you're in this space. What are your ideas for actually getting real change to occur? Where are the pressure points, I guess? KORI: Well, I think some of the pressure points are actually external. You asked me a question earlier about the last two years, something that I didn't mention that has impacted a lot. It's impacting individuals from underrepresented groups, but it's also impacting our organizations. Is this fake cultural war that is also going on, you know, regardless of what political party you're in, I think we can acknowledge that for the last six years, there has been an attack on everything that we are trying to accomplish in diversity and inclusion. White is now Black, Black is now white. And if we are in a state of being, for example, where I'll use Florida as an example where someone can say, we want to ban any training if it makes someone uncomfortable. What you're essentially saying is let's keep the status quo the way it is, even if the status quo supports white supremacy. KORI: Even if the status quo is inequitable. You would rather keep the status quo than have an uncomfortable conversation. When it comes to the legal profession, in particular, law firms, because of how we are constructed. A law firm essentially has multiple owners. It's not like a corporation that has a board of directors and has shareholders. Let's say you have a law firm of a thousand people and 300 of them are partners. You have 300 people running around who think that everybody should have an equal say in every single decision. It's one of the reasons that law firms function so differently from other companies and why decision making is so different. Everything we do is different. You know, we put people in leadership positions not because they're leaders, but because they're great trial attorneys or they're great business generators or whatever, whatever the criteria is, but rarely is it because someone actually is a good leader. KORI: And so we have this culture that we have built that really makes it difficult for us to have real hard conversations on the things that really matter, on the things that really can make change. So imagine that law firm now sitting in the last six years and even more so in the last three years. I can tell you when it comes to diversity, inclusion, many of us are throwing our hands up and saying, so how in the hell are we supposed to have this conversation then? If you're saying, oh, we can't talk about white privilege because someone says, oh, that offends me. Or we can't talk about systemic racism because someone's going to say, oh, wait a minute, if you say systemic racism is real, then that's anti-American. So we are living in a time where the terms racism, the terms CRT have been completely redefined to where they mean nothing that even resembles what they actually mean. KORI: And then we're over here arguing about these fictitious decisions, these fictitious definitions, and we're not actually doing the hard work that needs to be done, right. Because if you won't even acknowledge that systemic racism is real, then how do we evaluate the systems to see where we may be having inequitable results and then changing those systems? Because if you deny a thing exists, then we can't even address it. BREE: Absolutely. KORI: And so that's probably one of the biggest challenges I see, but also the biggest opportunity. And if anything is going to change when it comes to diversity, we have got to get more courageous about having difficult conversations, but conversations that are worthwhile, they are important. Nothing about creating equity is comfortable and cozy and touchy-feely, it's hard work. It requires us to say some things that we maybe may not have faced before, but we don't get to change what we won't face, what we won't acknowledge, and what we won't be honest about. It's like, you can't write a new end into the story if you won't acknowledge the truth of the story. That's the whirlwind that I think we are in now, not just as a profession, but as a country and a society. BREE: Absolutely. What an incredibly difficult place to be? Yeah, go ahead, Chris. CHRIS: Well, I was just going to say, I want to unpack that more. Let's do this. Let's take a quick break and come back because I mean, my burning question and Kori began to sort of thinking about it, which is what's the pathway to better, more productive, honest conversations, right? Because I think that you're right. The question is, how do we create the environments for ultimately that societal discussion to occur in the most productive way? So let's take a quick break and we'll come right back. — ADVERTISEMENT: Meet VERA, your firm's Virtual Ethics Risk Assessment Guide developed by ALPS. VERA's purpose is to help you uncover risk management blind spots from client intake to calendaring, to cybersecurity, and more. VERA: I require only your honest input to my short series of questions. I will offer you a summary of recommendations to provide course corrections if needed, and to keep your firm on the right path. Generous and discreet, VERA is a free and anonymous risk management guide from ALPS to help firms like yours be their best. Visit VERA at alpsinsurance.com/vera.   — CHRIS: Okay. We are back with Kori Carew, our esteemed guests and the chief inclusion and diversity officer at Seyfarth Shaw. Kori, we were just getting into the, I think the discussion. I feel like we're going deeper than even I had thought we would in the conversation, which I love. You know, as we think now about we need to have the honest conversations, right. And so I would just be curious on your opinion as what's the pathway to get there. If we appreciate that there's a lot of noise and the volume levels are high, and there's a lot of yelling, frankly, on both sides of the equation. What's the pathway toward problem solving, thoughtful discussion, intentional discussion that ultimately advances the dialogue? KORI: Thank you very much for that question. Honestly, it's one I've been thinking a lot about. You know, I did do a TEDx in 2017 and the impetus for that TED really was that question that you just asked, which was, there's a lot of yelling and not enough dialogue that allows us to move into action. Since I gave that TED, I've sort of watched what's been going on in organizations and in the country. I don't think I would change anything about that TED, except that there are a few more things that I would emphasize. One of the first things that we have to do if we truly want to make progress, and I'm going to steal a Nigerian thing, tell the truth and shame the devil. We are avoiding being honest with ourself about so many things. Whether it is just being honest about the experiences people have in the organization, or being honest about where the gaps are, or being honest about what the failures are, or even individual honesty. KORI: That self-awareness to say, you know Kori, you talk a lot about wellbeing and you talk a lot about leadership, but the reason you talk about those things is because you were searching for something that you did not have in the leaders that you grew up under, right? So you were trying to create something for others that you didn't have, but you are also trying to create it for yourself. And there are many days that you totally suck. There are many days that you are making very bad wellbeing decisions. There are days that you are not as inclusive as you would want to be, but it's okay. And the only way you're going to get better is by acknowledging where you're not doing it right. Now, think about that when we're talking about gender or race or LGBT inclusion or disability inclusion. If we as individuals and we as organizations are not willing to be honest about our history, what has happened and what is happening, then we don't even have a starting point. KORI: And the way that we do that is very, very cliché. Getting comfortable with what is uncomfortable. I remember when I first started saying that, when I was at Shook, Hardy & Bacon and it wasn't even a thing many people were saying, and now people say it so often that it has lost its meaning. But it truly is the beginning point. And in too many of our organizations, we are shutting down any discussion or any movement in the name of trying to get consensus, or in trying to water things so much that they're meaningless, right? Or being so hyperworried about future possible hypothetical litigation that somebody may have over something that they don't like that they heard as opposed to possible litigation over people who do not feel like they are being treated equitably. You know, it's like we have to choose our heart. And so it's either the heart of sitting in the discomfort and learning things we may not want to learn, challenging ourselves, reaching deep to say, you know what? I don't really like that. KORI: When you talk to me about Christian privilege, this is a true story. Okay. True story. A [inaudible 00:46:22] of mine talked about Christian privilege. We're talking about something. She said, "Yeah, but there's also Christian privilege and people never talk about that." And can I admit to you that I was like, "Oh, is she for real? We're talking about racism and she's talking about Christian privilege." That was my initial reaction. But I sat with it. You know what? She was right. Because she was Pagan and I'm Christian. I've never had to use PTO for Christmas. My holidays are respected, they are recognized, they are centered, they are prioritized. But other people in this country who are not Christian do not have those privileges. Now that's a benign example because it's not one that makes people get as upset as some of the other topics. KORI: But the first step has to be a commitment to sit through the discomfort, sit through what may rub you wrong, and acknowledge that just because something is uncomfortable or just because something offends you does not mean the thing is wrong or it is offensive. And in many of our organizations, we haven't even gotten past that first part. Then the next part has to be a commitment to learn more. We have to operationalize being able to say to each other, tell me more, and not just, oh, I didn't like that training, or I didn't like what I was learning. But to say to yourself internally, okay, I didn't like that. But rather than projecting how I'm feeling it in this moment, I'm going to put myself in the position of saying, tell me more, help me understand why that bothered you, help me understand why you feel that way. Because until we're willing to do that, we're not going to learn. KORI: And without knowledge, we have no opportunity for growth. Growth comes with new knowledge. Growth comes with practicing new skill sets. Growth comes with trying things that you haven't done before. But if you're more invested in protecting the status quo than you are fighting for change, then the status quo will always win. And the status quo right now, it's not working for a lot of people from a lot of underrepresented and marginalized communities. Those are some of the things that have to happen. Oh, Chris, something else I want to add. Both sides. We got to talk about this both sides thing. Not every opinion and argument is equal, and that's something else that we're not willing to address head on. We've allowed inclusion to be so redefined that some people think it means anything and everything is of equal footing, right. KORI: But someone saying in the workplace, we need to be more inclusive of people with disabilities is not the same as someone saying, I don't think disabled people should have to work here. And sometimes what is crouching in is people want to hide behind inclusion to spew hate or bigotry or an excuse not to make the change and growth that is consistent with the so-called values of our organizations. I'll pause there because you're about [inaudible 00:50:05]. BREE: Yeah. I just want to comment to our listeners Kori's TED Talk, just in your browser, put in Kori Carew and TED Talk. I really encourage people to check it out. It is powerful and profound. So Kori, I'm going to ask you a question here that we also tend to ask this sometimes near the end, if you could look for, I don't know, five years or even a decade. If we can do a decent job around changing hearts and minds and attitudes around diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging and wellbeing too, hopefully, how would the profession be different? What do you want to see? KORI: My goodness, my goodness, my goodness. Excuse me. That cough came up. If we could actually accomplish all these things that we've been talking about for 20 years, we would see leadership teams that are more humble in their approach, leadership teams that are people-centric, organizations that are listening to employees and actually care about what employees want. We would no longer be having conversations as if it's either you focus on the bottom line or you focus on employee happiness. Like we will understand that without happy employees who are engaged and doing fulfilling and meaningful work, we actually don't have a great bottom line to talk about. Right? Our organizations would look like inclusion and wellbeing and belonging, it's just part of the business strategy. It's not this separate siloed thing. It's not this thing that we talk about when we are worried about how the woman or the gays may react. Right. KORI: But it's just something that is operationalized into our values, into our competencies, into how we evaluate people, into how we promote people, and that we are constantly in humility, learning from each other. Right. So that even when somebody who's a chief inclusion and diversity officer, here's a phrase and someone says, "Did you realize that that was ableist?" That I would say, "I didn't. Tell me more." And once you tell me more, I changed my language, because we understand that we're always going to be moving. We're always going to be learning something new and there's always an opportunity to be better. And if we do that, we will also see different representation at all levels. We will actually have critical mass of diversity in our organizations. And then I would be unemployed. CHRIS: I was going to wrap up with this though, Kori, like if I was to serve up to you 500 managing partners, that were, again, I think one of the things that you've already mentioned is every individual in an organization is either additive or perhaps distracts from the culture that you're ultimately trying to create. A lot of the wellbeing discussion is about connecting and emphasizing wellbeing with decision makers and those who set the tone of organizations. And so my question to you is this, if I served up 500 managing partners of all sizes of firms around the country and they came and Kori was the keynote, what would be your message to them? KORI: My message to them would be that they are ridiculously in charge, that things happen in their organizations because they allow it, or they create it. And that by choosing to focus a hundred percent on their inclusive leadership skills and up in their ability to interrupt bias, to be culturally fluent, they could transform their organizations because where the leader goes, everyone else follows. BREE: Right. CHRIS: That's great. That's awesome. Well, again, Kori, you have certainly cultivated my curiosity, which I know is one of the things that you strongly advocate for. Couldn't be prouder to have you on the podcast and the sharing of your perspective. We got to get you more platforms for you to be able to shout loudly about these particular issues, because again, we got a lot of work to do, right. We know that there's a lot to be done in terms of realizing the potential of this profession, to realizing the potential of historically underrepresented and marginalized lawyers within our profession. Bree, I think that we all would agree that even as we pursue our wellbeing mission, that so much more has to be done on the diversity, equity, and inclusion perspective that integrates in the intersection there between those two that lanes need to merge in a much more substantive way. KORI: Thank you. CHRIS: Thank you, Kori. KORI: I appreciate it. I appreciate you having me. I appreciate you allowing Justin to come and hold my hand because she's my blinky today. I appreciate you inviting us to talk about what we're doing at Seyfarth and just my perspective as an individual separate from Seyfarth. Again, I've said this before, the work you're doing is so critically important. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for everything that you do to promote wellbeing in the profession. So important. CHRIS: Awesome. Well, again, thanks for joining us. We will be back with the podcast probably in a couple weeks with our executive director, Jennifer DiSanza, which we are so excited to be having her join us as we talk about the future of where this movement is going. Thanks again, Kori. And to all our friends out there, we will be back in a couple weeks.

Cardboard of the Rings
Episode 199: An Unexpected Progression

Cardboard of the Rings

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 24, 2022 138:53 Very Popular


Welcome from Chad, Jon and Chris Thank you Pratik M, Jonathan K, Nathan E, Rory H and Mika Announcements and News  Con of the Rings 2022 Tickets on Sale now! conoftheringsmn.com Random Review Redo: The Heroes New Progression: Is there one? I just got the new Angmar Awakens hero box. Now What? AMA  Farewell!  

Screaming in the Cloud
Kubernetes and OpenGitOps with Chris Short

Screaming in the Cloud

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 14, 2022 39:01


About ChrisChris Short has been a proponent of open source solutions throughout his over two decades in various IT disciplines, including systems, security, networks, DevOps management, and cloud native advocacy across the public and private sectors. He currently works on the Kubernetes team at Amazon Web Services and is an active Kubernetes contributor and Co-chair of OpenGitOps. Chris is a disabled US Air Force veteran living with his wife and son in Greater Metro Detroit. Chris writes about Cloud Native, DevOps, and other topics at ChrisShort.net. He also runs the Cloud Native, DevOps, GitOps, Open Source, industry news, and culture focused newsletter DevOps'ish.Links Referenced: DevOps'ish: https://devopsish.com/ EKS News: https://eks.news/ Containers from the Couch: https://containersfromthecouch.com opengitops.dev: https://opengitops.dev ChrisShort.net: https://chrisshort.net Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChrisShort TranscriptAnnouncer: Hello, and welcome to Screaming in the Cloud with your host, Chief Cloud Economist at The Duckbill Group, Corey Quinn. This weekly show features conversations with people doing interesting work in the world of cloud, thoughtful commentary on the state of the technical world, and ridiculous titles for which Corey refuses to apologize. This is Screaming in the Cloud.Corey: Welcome to Screaming in the Cloud. I'm Corey Quinn. Coming back to us since episode two—it's always nice to go back and see the where are they now type of approach—I am joined by Senior Developer Advocate at AWS Chris Short. Chris, been a few years. How has it been?Chris: Ha. Corey, we have talked outside of the podcast. But it's been good. For those that have been listening, I think when we recorded I wasn't even—like, when was season two, what year was that? [laugh].Corey: Episode two was first pre-pandemic and the rest. I believe—Chris: Oh. So, yeah. I was at Red Hat, maybe, when I—yeah.Corey: Yeah. You were doing Red Hat stuff, back when you got to work on open-source stuff, as opposed to now, where you're not within 1000 miles of that stuff, right?Chris: Actually well, no. So, to be clear, I'm on the EKS team, the Kubernetes team here at AWS. So, when I joined AWS in October, they were like, “Hey, you do open-source stuff. We like that. Do more.” And I was like, “Oh, wait, do more?” And they were like, “Yes, do more.” “Okay.”So, since joining AWS, I've probably done more open-source work than the three years at Red Hat that I did. So, that's kind of—you know, like, it's an interesting point when I talk to people about it because the first couple months are, like—you know, my friends are like, “So, are you liking it? Are you enjoying it? What's going on?” And—Corey: Do they beat you with reeds? Like, all the questions people have about companies? Because—Chris: Right. Like, I get a lot of random questions about Amazon and AWS that I don't know the answer to.Corey: Oh, when I started telling people, I fixed Amazon bills, I had to quickly pivot that to AWS bills because people started asking me, “Well, can you save me money on underpants?” It's I—Chris: Yeah.Corey: How do you—fine. Get the prime credit card. It docks 5% off the bill, so there you go. But other than that, no, I can't.Chris: No.Corey: It's—Chris: Like, I had to call my bank this morning about a transaction that I didn't recognize, and it was from Amazon. And I was like, that's weird. Why would that—Corey: Money just flows one direction, and that's the wrong direction from my employer.Chris: Yeah. Like, what is going on here? It shouldn't have been on that card kind of thing. And I had to explain to the person on the phone that I do work at Amazon but under the Web Services team. And he was like, “Oh, so you're in IT?”And I'm like, “No.” [laugh]. “It's actually this big company. That—it's a cloud company.” And they're like, “Oh, okay, okay. Yeah. The cloud. Got it.” [laugh]. So, it's interesting talking to people about, “I work at Amazon.” “Oh, my son works at Amazon distribution center,” blah, blah, blah. It's like, cool. “I know about that, but very little. I do this.”Corey: Your son works in Amazon distribution center. Is he a robot? Is normally my next question on that? Yeah. That's neither here nor there.So, you and I started talking a while back. We both write newsletters that go to a somewhat similar audience. You write DevOps'ish. I write Last Week in AWS. And recently, you also have started EKS News because, yeah, the one thing I look at when I'm doing these newsletters every week is, you know what I want to do? That's right. Write more newsletters.Chris: [laugh].Corey: So, you are just a glutton for punishment? And, yeah, welcome to the addiction, I suppose. How's it been going for you?Chris: It's actually been pretty interesting, right? Like, we haven't pushed it very hard. We're now starting to include it in things. Like we did Container Day; we made sure that EKS news was on the landing page for Container Day at KubeCon EU. And you know, it's kind of just grown organically since then.But it was one of those things where it's like, internally—this happened at Red Hat, right—when I started live streaming at Red Hat, the ultimate goal was to do our product management—like, here's what's new in the next version thing—do those live so anybody can see that at any point in time anywhere on Earth, the second it's available. Similar situation to here. This newsletter actually is generated as part of a report my boss puts together to brief our other DAs—or developer advocates—you know, our solutions architects, the whole nine yards about new EKS features. So, I was like, why can't we just flip that into a weekly newsletter, you know? Like, I can pull from the same sources you can.And what's interesting is, he only does the meeting bi-weekly. So, there's some weeks where it's just all me doing it and he ends up just kind of copying and pasting the newsletter into his document, [laugh] and then adds on for the week. But that report meeting for that team is now getting disseminated to essentially anyone that subscribes to eks.news. Just go to the site, there's a subscribe thing right there. And we've gotten 20 issues in and it's gotten rave reviews, right?Corey: I have been a subscriber for a while. I will say that it has less Chris Short personality—Chris: Mm-hm.Corey: —to it than DevOps'ish does, which I have to assume is by design. A lot of The Duckbill Group's marketing these days is no longer in my voice, rather intentionally, because it turns out that being a sarcastic jackass and doing half-billion dollar AWS contracts can not to be the most congruent thing in the world. So okay, we're slowly ameliorating that. It's professional voice versus snarky voice.Chris: Well, and here's the thing, right? Like, I realized this year with DevOps'ish that, like, if I want to take a week off, I have to do, like, what you did when your child was born. You hired folks to like, do the newsletter for you, or I actually don't do the newsletter, right? It's binary: hire someone else to do it, or don't do it. So, the way I structured this newsletter was that any developer advocate on my team could jump in and take over the newsletter so that, you know, if I'm off that week, or whatever may be happening, I, Chris Short, am not the voice. It is now the entire developer advocate team.Corey: I will challenge you on that a bit. Because it's not Chris Short voice, that's for sure, but it's also not official AWS brand voice either.Chris: No.Corey: It is clearly written by a human being who is used to communicating with the audience for whom it is written. And that is no small thing. Normally, when oh, there's a corporate newsletter; that's just a lot of words to say it's bad. This one is good. I want to be very clear on that.Chris: Yeah, I mean, we have just, like, DevOps'ish, we have sections, just like your newsletter, there's certain sections, so any new, what's new announcements, those go in automatically. So, like, that can get delivered to your inbox every Friday. Same thing with new blog posts about anything containers related to EKS, those will be in there, then Containers from the Couch, our streaming platform, essentially, for all things Kubernetes. Those videos go in.And then there's some ecosystem news as well that I collect and put in the newsletter to give people a broader sense of what's going on out there in Kubernetes-land because let's face it, there's upstream and then there's downstream, and sometimes those aren't in sync, and that's normal. That's how Kubernetes kind of works sometimes. If you're running upstream Kubernetes, you are awesome. I appreciate you, but I feel like that would cause more problems and it's worse sometimes.Corey: Thank you for being the trailblazers. The rest of us can learn from your misfortune.Chris: [laugh]. Yeah, exactly. Right? Like, please file your bugs accordingly. [laugh].Corey: EKS is interesting to me because I don't see a lot of it, which is, probably, going to get a whole lot of, “Wait, what?” Moments because wait, don't you deal with very large AWS bills? And I do. But what I mean by that is that EKS, until you're using its Fargate expression, charges for the control plane, which rounds to no money, and the rest is running on EC2 instances running in a company's account. From the billing perspective, there is no difference between, “We're running massive fleets of EKS nodes.” And, “We're managing a whole bunch of EC2 instances by hand.”And that feels like an interesting allegory for how Kubernetes winds up expressing itself to cloud providers. Because from a billing perspective, it just looks like one big single-tenant application that has some really strange behaviors internally. It gets very chatty across AZs when there's no reason to, and whatnot. And it becomes a very interesting study in how to expose aspects of what's going on inside of those containers and inside of the Kubernetes environment to the cloud provider in a way that becomes actionable. There are no good answers for this yet, but it's something I've been seeing a lot of. Like, “Oh, I thought you'd be running Kubernetes. Oh, wait, you are and I just keep forgetting what I'm looking at sometimes.”Chris: So, that's an interesting point. The billing is kind of like, yeah, it's just compute, right? So—Corey: And my insight into AWS and the way I start thinking about it is always from a billing perspective. That's great. It's because that means the more expensive the services, the more I know about it. It's like, “IAM. What is that?” Like, “Oh, I have no idea. It's free. How important could it be?” Professional advice: do not take that philosophy, ever.Chris: [laugh]. No. Ever. No.Corey: Security: it matters. Oh, my God. It's like you're all stars. Your IAM policy should not be. I digress.Chris: Right. Yeah. Anyways, so two points I want to make real quick on that is, one, we've recently released an open-source project called Carpenter, which is really cool in my purview because it looks at your Kubernetes file and says, “Oh, you want this to run on ARM instance.” And you can even go so far as to say, right, here's my limits, and it'll find an instance that fits those limits and add that to your cluster automatically. Run your pod on that compute as long as it needs to run and then if it's done, it'll downsize—eventually, kind of thing—your cluster.So, you can basically just throw a bunch of workloads at it, and it'll auto-detect what kind of compute you will need and then provision it for you, run it, and then be done. So, that is one-way folks are probably starting to save money running EKS is to adopt Carpenter as your autoscaler as opposed to the inbuilt Kubernetes autoscaler. Because this is instance-aware, essentially, so it can say, like, “Oh, your massive ARM application can run here,” because you know, thank you, Graviton. We have those processors in-house. And you know, you can run your ARM64 instances, you can run all the Intel workloads you want, and it'll right size the compute for your workloads.And I'll look at one container or all your containers, however you want to configure it. Secondly, the good folks over at Kubecost have opencost, which is the open-source version of Kubecost, basically. So, they have a service that you can run in your clusters that will help you say, “Hey, maybe this one notes too heavy; maybe this one notes too light,” and you know, give you some insights into Kubernetes spend that are a little bit more granular as far as usage and things like that go. So, those two projects right there, I feel like, will give folks an optimal savings experience when it comes to Kubernetes. But to your point, it's just compute, right? And that's really how we treat it, kind of, here internally is that it's a way to run… compute, Kubernetes, or ECS, or any of those tools.Corey: A fairly expensive one because ignoring entirely for a second the actual raw cost of compute, you also have the other side of it, which is in every environment, unless you are doing something very strange or pre-funding as a one-person startup in your spare time, your payroll costs will it—should—exceed your AWS bill by a fairly healthy amount. And engineering time is always more expensive than services time. So, for example, looking at EKS, I would absolutely recommend people use that rather than rolling their own because—Chris: Rolling their own? Yeah.Corey: —get out of that engineering space where your time is free. I assure you from a business context, it is not. So, there's always that question of what you can do to make things easier for people and do more of the heavy lifting.Chris: Yeah, and to your rather cheeky point that there's 17 ways to run a container on AWS, it is answering that question, right? Like those 17 ways, like, how much of this do you want to run yourself, you could run EKS distro on EC2 instances if you want full control over your environment.Corey: And then run IoT Greengrass core on top within that cluster—Chris: Right.Corey: So, I can run my own Lambda function runtime, so I'm not locked in. Also, DynamoDB local so I'm not locked into AWS. At which point I have gone so far around the bend, no one can help me.Chris: Well—Corey: Pro tip, don't do that. Just don't do that.Chris: But to your point, we have all these options for compute, and specifically containers because there's a lot of people that want to granularly say, “This is where my engineering team gets involved. Everything else you handle.” If I want EKS on Spot Instances only, you can do that. If you want EKS to use Carpenter and say only run ARM workloads, you can do that. If you want to say Fargate and not have anything to manage other than the container file, you can do that.It's how much does your team want to manage? That's the customer obsession part of AWS coming through when it comes to containers is because there's so many different ways to run those workloads, but there's so many different ways to make sure that your team is right-sized, based off the services you're using.Corey: I do want to change gears a bit here because you are mostly known for a couple of things: the DevOps'ish newsletter because that is the oldest and longest thing you've been doing the time that I've known you; EKS, obviously. But when prepping for this show, I discovered you are now co-chair of the OpenGitOps project.Chris: Yes.Corey: So, I have heard of GitOps in the context of, “Oh, it's just basically your CI/CD stuff is triggered by Git events and whatnot.” And I'm sitting here going, “Okay, so from where you're sitting, the two best user interfaces in the world that you have discovered are YAML and Git.” And I just have to start with the question, “Who hurt you?”Chris: [laugh]. Yeah, I share your sentiment when it comes to Git. Not so much with YAML, but I think it's because I'm so used to it. Maybe it's Stockholm Syndrome, maybe the whole YAML thing. I don't know.Corey: Well, it's no XML. We'll put it that way.Chris: Thankfully, yes because if it was, I would have way more, like, just template files laying around to build things. But the—Corey: And rage. Don't forget rage.Chris: And rage, yeah. So, GitOps is a little bit more than just Git in IaC—infrastructure as Code. It's more like Justin Garrison, who's also on my team, he calls it infrastructure software because there's four main principles to GitOps, and if you go to opengitops.dev, you can see them. It's version one.So, we put them on the website, right there on the page. You have to have a declared state and that state has to live somewhere. Now, it's called GitOps because Git is probably the most full-featured thing to put your state in, but you could use an S3 bucket and just version it, for example. And make it private so no one else can get to it.Corey: Or you could use local files: copy-of-copy-of-this-thing-restored-parentheses-use-this-one-dot-final-dot-doc-dot-zip. You know, my preferred naming convention.Chris: Ah, yeah. Wow. Okay. [laugh]. Yeah.Corey: Everything I touch is terrifying.Chris: Yes. Geez, I'm sorry. So first, it's declarative. You declare your state. You store it somewhere. It's versioned and immutable, like I said. And then pulled automatically—don't focus so much on pull—but basically, software agents are applying the desired state from source. So, what does that mean? When it's—you know, the fourth principle is implemented, continuously reconciled. That means those software agents that are checking your desired state are actually putting it back into the desired state if it's out of whack, right? So—Corey: You're talking about agents running it persistently on instances, validating—Chris: Yes.Corey: —a checkpoint on a cron. How is this meaningfully different than a Puppet agent running in years past? Having spent I learned to speak publicly by being a traveling trainer for Puppet; same type of model, and in fact, when I was at Pinterest, we wound up having a fair bit—like, that was their entire model, where they would have—the Puppet's code would live in an S3 bucket that was then copied down, I believe, via Git, and then applied to the instance on a schedule. Like, that sounds like this was sort of a early days GitOps.Chris: Yeah, exactly. Right? Like so it's, I like to think of that as a component of GitOps, right? DevOps, when you talk about DevOps in general, there's a lot of stuff out there. There's a lot of things labeled DevOps that maybe are, or maybe aren't sticking to some of those DevOps core things that make you great.Like the stuff that Nicole Forsgren writes about in books, you know? Accelerate is on my desk for a reason because there's things that good, well-managed DevOps practices do. I see GitOps as an actual implementation of DevOps in an open-source manner because all the tooling for GitOps these days is open-source and it all started as open-source. Now, you can get, like, Flux or Argo—Argo, specifically—there's managed services out there for it, you can have Flux and not maintain it, through an add-on, on EKS for example, and it will reconcile that state for you automatically. And the other thing I like to say about GitOps, specifically, is that it moves at the speed of the Kubernetes Audit Log.If you've ever looked at a Kubernetes audit log, you know it's rather noisy with all these groups and versions and kinds getting thrown out there. So, GitOps will say, “Oh, there's an event for said thing that I'm supposed to be watching. Do I need to change anything? Yes or no? Yes? Okay, go.”And the change gets applied, or, “Hey, there's a new Git thing. Pull it in. A change has happened inGit I need to update it.” You can set it to reconcile on events on time. It's like a cron or it's like an event-driven architecture, but it's combined.Corey: How does it survive the stake through the heart of configuration management? Because before I was doing all this, I wasn't even a T-shaped engineer: you're broad across a bunch of things, but deep in one or two areas, and one of mine was configuration management. I wrote part of SaltStack, once upon a time—Chris: Oh.Corey: —due to a bunch of very strange coincidences all hitting it once, like, I taught people how to use Puppet. But containers ultimately arose and the idea of immutable infrastructure became a thing. And these days when we were doing full-on serverless, well, great, I just wind up deploying a new code bundle to the Lambdas function that I wind up caring about, and that is a immutable version replacement. There is no drift because there is no way to log in and change those things other than through a clear deployment of this as the new version that goes out there. Where does GitOps fit into that imagined pattern?Chris: So, configuration management becomes part of your approval process, right? So, you now are generating an audit log, essentially, of all changes to your system through the approval process that you set up as part of your, how you get things into source and then promote that out to production. That's kind of the beauty of it, right? Like, that's why we suggest using Git because it has functions, like, requests and issues and things like that you can say, “Hey, yes, I approve this,” or, “Hey, no, I don't approve that. We need changes.” So, that's kind of natively happening with Git and, you know, GitLab, GitHub, whatever implementation of Git. There's always, kind of—Corey: Uh, JIF-ub is, I believe, the pronunciation.Chris: JIF-ub? Oh.Corey: Yeah. That's what I'm—Chris: Today, I learned. Okay.Corey: Exactly. And that's one of the things that I do for my lasttweetinaws.com Twitter client that I build—because I needed it, and if other people want to use it, that's great—that is now deployed to 20 different AWS commercial regions, simultaneously. And that is done via—because it turns out that that's a very long to execute for loop if you start down that path—Chris: Well, yeah.Corey: I wound up building out a GitHub Actions matrix—sorry a JIF-ub—actions matrix job that winds up instantiating 20 parallel builds of the CDK deploy that goes out to each region as expected. And because that gets really expensive with native GitHub Actions runners for, like, 36 cents per deploy, and I don't know how to test my own code, so every time I have a typo, that's another quarter in the jar. Cool, but that was annoying for me so I built my own custom runner system that uses Lambda functions as runners running containers pulled from ECR that, oh, it just runs in parallel, less than three minutes. Every time I commit something between I press the push button and it is out and running in the wild across all regions. Which is awesome and also terrifying because, as previously mentioned, I don't know how to test my code.Chris: Yeah. So, you don't know what you're deploying to 20 regions sometime, right?Corey: But it also means I have a pristine, re-composable build environment because I can—Chris: Right.Corey: Just automatically have that go out and the fact that I am making a—either merging a pull request or doing a direct push because I consider main to be my feature branch as whenever something hits that, all the automation kicks off. That was something that I found to be transformative as far as a way of thinking about this because I was very tired of having to tweak my local laptop environment to, “Oh, you didn't assume the proper role and everything failed again and you broke it. Good job.” It wound up being something where I could start developing on more and more disparate platforms. And it finally is what got me away from my old development model of everything I build is on an EC2 instance, and that means that my editor of choice was Vim. I use the VS Code now for these things, and I'm pretty happy with it.Chris: Yeah. So, you know, I'm glad you brought up CDK. CDK gives you a lot of the capabilities to implement GitOps in a way that you could say, like, “Hey, use CDK to declare I need four Amazon EKS clusters with this size, shape, and configuration. Go.” Or even further, connect to these EKS clusters to RDS instances and load balancers and everything else.But you put that state into Git and then you have something that deploys that automatically upon changes. That is infrastructure as code. Now, when you say, “Okay, main is your feature branch,” you know, things happen on main, if this were running in Kubernetes across a fleet of clusters or the globe-wide in 20 regions, something like Flux or Argo would kick in and say, “There's been a change to source, main, and we need to roll this out.” And it'll start applying those changes. Now, what do you get with GitOps that you don't get with your configuration?I mean, can you rollback if you ever have, like, a bad commit that's just awful? I mean, that's really part of the process with GitOps is to make sure that you can, A, roll back to the previous good state, B, roll forward to a known good state, or C, promote that state up through various environments. And then having that all done declaratively, automatically, and immutably, and versioned with an audit log, that I think is the real power of GitOps in the sense that, like, oh, so-and-so approve this change to security policy XYZ on this date at this time. And that to an auditor, you just hand them a log file on, like, “Here's everything we've ever done to our system. Done.” Right?Like, you could get to that state, if you want to, which I think is kind of the idea of DevOps, which says, “Take all these disparate tools and processes and procedures and culture changes”—culture being the hardest part to adopt in DevOps; GitOps kind of forces a culture change where, like, you can't do a CAB with GitOps. Like, those two things don't fly. You don't have a configuration management database unless you absolutely—Corey: Oh, you CAB now but they're all the comments of the pull request.Chris: Right. Exactly. Like, don't push this change out until Thursday after this other thing has happened, kind of thing. Yeah, like, that all happens in GitHub. But it's very democratizing in the sense that people don't have to waste time in an hour-long meeting to get their five minutes in, right?Corey: DoorDash had a problem. As their cloud-native environment scaled and developers delivered new features, their monitoring system kept breaking down. In an organization where data is used to make better decisions about technology and about the business, losing observability means the entire company loses their competitive edge. With Chronosphere, DoorDash is no longer losing visibility into their applications suite. The key? Chronosphere is an open-source compatible, scalable, and reliable observability solution that gives the observability lead at DoorDash business, confidence, and peace of mind. Read the full success story at snark.cloud/chronosphere. That's snark.cloud slash C-H-R-O-N-O-S-P-H-E-R-E.Corey: So, would it be overwhelmingly cynical to suggest that GitOps is the means to implement what we've all been pretending to have implemented for the last decade when giving talks at conferences?Chris: Ehh, I wouldn't go that far. I would say that GitOps is an excellent way to implement the things you've been talking about at all these conferences for all these years. But keep in mind, the technology has changed a lot in the, what 11, 12 years of the existence of DevOps, now. I mean, we've gone from, let's try to manage whole servers immutably to, “Oh, now we just need to maintain an orchestration platform and run containers.” That whole compute interface, you go from SSH to a Docker file, that's a big leap, right?Like, you don't have bespoke sysadmins; you have, like, a platform team. You don't have DevOps engineers; they're part of that platform team, or DevOps teams, right? Like, which was kind of antithetical to the whole idea of DevOps to have a DevOps team. You know, everybody's kind of in the same boat now, where we see skill sets kind of changing. And GitOps and Kubernetes-land is, like, a platform team that manages the cluster, and its state, and health and, you know, production essentially.And then you have your developers deploying what they want to deploy in when whatever namespace they've been given access to and whatever rights they have. So, now you have the potential for one set of people—the platform team—to use one set of GitOps tooling, and your applications teams might not like that, and that's fine. They can have their own namespaces with their own tooling in it. Like, Argo, for example, is preferred by a lot of developers because it has a nice UI with green and red dots and they can show people and it looks nice, Flux, it's command line based. And there are some projects out there that kind of take the UI of Argo and try to run Flux underneath that, and those are cool kind of projects, I think, in my mind, but in general, right, I think GitOps gives you the choice that we missed somewhat in DevOps implementations of the past because it was, “Oh, we need to go get cloud.” “Well, you can only use this cloud.” “Oh, we need to go get this thing.” “Well, you can only use this thing in-house.”And you know, there's a lot of restrictions sometimes placed on what you can use in your environment. Well, if your environment is Kubernetes, how do you restrict what you can run, right? Like you can't have an easily configured say, no open-source policy if you're running Kubernetes. [laugh] so it becomes, you know—Corey: Well, that doesn't stop some companies from trying.Chris: Yeah, that's true. But the idea of, like, enabling your developers to deploy at will and then promote their changes as they see fit is really the dream of DevOps, right? Like, same with production and platform teams, right? I want to push my changes out to a larger system that is across the globe. How do I do that? How do I manage that? How do I make sure everything's consistent?GitOps gives you those ways, with Kubernetes native things like customizations, to make consistent environments that are robust and actually going to be reconciled automatically if someone breaks the glass and says, “Oh, I need to run this container immediately.” Well, that's going to create problems because it's deviated from state and it's just that one region, so we'll put it back into state.Corey: It'll be dueling banjos, at some point. You'll try and doing something manually, it gets reverted automatically. I love that pattern. You'll get bored before the computer does, always.Chris: Yeah. And GitOps is very new, right? When you think about the lifetime of GitOps, I think it was coined in, like, 2018. So, it's only four years old, right? When—Corey: I prefer it to ChatOps, at least, as far as—Chris: Well, I mean—Corey: —implementation and expression of the thing.Chris: —ChatOps was a way to do DevOps. I think GitOps—Corey: Well, ChatOps is also a way to wind up giving whoever gets access to your Slack workspace root in production.Chris: Mmm.Corey: But that's neither here nor there.Chris: Mm-hm.Corey: It's yeah, we all like to pretend that's not a giant security issue in our industry, but that's a topic for another time.Chris: Yeah. And that's why, like, GitOps also depends upon you having good security, you know, and good authorization and approval processes. It enforces that upon—Corey: Yeah, who doesn't have one of those?Chris: Yeah. If it's a sole operation kind of deal, like in your setup, your case, I think you kind of got it doing right, right? Like, as far as GitOps goes—Corey: Oh, to be clear, we are 11 people and we do have dueling pull requests and all the rest.Chris: Right, right, right.Corey: But most of the stuff I talk about publicly is not our production stuff, so it really is just me. Just as a point of clarity there. I've n—the 11 people here do not all—the rest of you don't just sit there and clap as I do all the work.Chris: Right.Corey: Most days.Chris: No, I'm sure they don't. I'm almost certain they don't clap… for you. I mean, they would—Corey: No. No, they try and talk me out of it in almost every case.Chris: Yeah, exactly. So, the setup that you, Corey Quinn, have implemented to deploy these 20 regions is kind of very GitOps-y, in the sense that when main changes, it gets updated. Where it's not GitOps-y is what if the endpoint changes? Does it get reconciled? That's the piece you're probably missing is that continuous reconciliation component, where it's constantly checking and saying, “This thing out there is deployed in the way I want it. You know, the way I declared it to be in my source of truth.”Corey: Yeah, when you start having other people getting involved, there can—yeah, that's where regressions enter. And it's like, “Well, I know where things are so why would I change the endpoint?” Yeah, it turns out, not everyone has the state of the entire application in their head. Ideally it should live in—Chris: Yeah. Right. And, you know—Corey: —you know, Git or S3.Chris: —when I—yeah, exactly. When I think about interactions of the past coming out as a new DevOps engineer to work with developers, it's always been, will developers have access to prod or they don't? And if you're in that environment with—you're trying to run a multi-billion dollar operation, and your devs have direct—or one Dev has direct access to prod because prod is in his brain, that's where it's like, well, now wait a minute. Prod doesn't have to be only in your brain. You can put that in the codebase and now we know what is in your brain, right?Like, you can almost do—if you document your code, well, you can have your full lifecycle right there in one place, including documentation, which I think is the best part, too. So, you know, it encourages approval processes and automation over this one person has an entire state of the system in their head; they have to go in and fix it. And what if they're not on call, or in Jamaica, or on a cruise ship somewhere kind of thing? Things get difficult. Like, for example, I just got back from vacation. We were so far off the grid, we had satellite internet. And let me tell you, it was hard to write an email newsletter where I usually open 50 to 100 tabs.Corey: There's a little bit of internet out Californ-ie way.Chris: [laugh].Corey: Yeah it's… it's always weird going from, like, especially after pandemic; I have gigabit symmetric here and going even to re:Invent where I'm trying to upload a bunch of video and whatnot.Chris: Yeah. Oh wow.Corey: And the conference WiFi was doing its thing, and well, Verizon 5G was there but spotty. And well, yeah. Usual stuff.Chris: Yeah. It's amazing to me how connectivity has become so ubiquitous.Corey: To the point where when it's not there anymore, it's what do I do with myself? Same story about people pushing back against remote development of, “Oh, I'm just going to do it all on my laptop because what happens if I'm on a plane?” It's, yeah, the year before the pandemic, I flew 140,000 miles domestically and I was almost never hamstrung by my ability to do work. And my only local computer is an iPad for those things. So, it turns out that is less of a real world concern for most folks.Chris: Yeah I actually ordered the components to upgrade an old Nook that I have here and turn it into my, like, this is my remote code server, that's going to be all attached to GitHub and everything else. That's where I want to be: have Tailscale and just VPN into this box.Corey: Tailscale is transformative.Chris: Yes. Tailscale will change your life. That's just my personal opinion.Corey: Yep.Chris: That's not an AWS opinion or anything. But yeah, when you start thinking about your network as it could be anywhere, that's where Tailscale, like, really shines. So—Corey: Tailscale makes the internet work like we all wanted to believe that it worked.Chris: Yeah. And Wireguard is an excellent open-source project. And Tailscale consumes that and puts an amazingly easy-to-use UI, and troubleshooting tools, and routing, and all kinds of forwarding capabilities, and makes it kind of easy, which is really, really, really kind of awesome. And Tailscale and Kubernetes—Corey: Yeah, ‘network' and ‘easy' don't belong in the same sentence, but in this case, they do.Chris: Yeah. And trust me, the Kubernetes story in Tailscale, there is a lot of there. I understand you might want to not open ports in your VPC, maybe, but if you use Tailscale, that node is just another thing on your network. You can connect to that and see what's going on. Your management cluster is just another thing on the network where you can watch the state.But it's all—you're connected to it continuously through Tailscale. Or, you know, it's a much lighter weight, kind of meshy VPN, I would say, if I had to sum it up in one sentence. That was not on our agenda to talk about at all. Anyways. [laugh]Corey: No, no. I love how many different topics we talk about on these things. We'll have to have you back soon to talk again. I really want to thank you for being so generous with your time. If people want to learn more about what you're up to and how you view these things, where can they find you?Chris: Go to ChrisShort.net. So, Chris Short—I'm six-four so remember, it's Short—dot net, and you will find all the places that I write, you can go to devopsish.com to subscribe to my newsletter, which goes out every week. This year. Next year, there'll be breaks. And then finally, if you want to follow me on Twitter, Chris Short: at @ChrisShort on Twitter. All one word so you see two s's. Like, it's okay, there's two s's there.Corey: Links to all of that will of course be in the show notes. It's easier for people to do the clicky-clicky thing as a general rule.Chris: Clicky things are easier than the wordy things, yes.Corey: Says the Kubernetes guy.Chris: Yeah. Says the Kubernetes guy. Yeah, you like that, huh? Like I said, Argo gives you a UI. [laugh].Corey: Thank you [laugh] so much for your time. I really do appreciate it.Chris: Thank you. This has been fun. If folks have questions, feel free to reach out. Like, I am not one of those people that hides behind a screen all day and doesn't respond. I will respond to you eventually.Corey: I'm right here, Chris. Come on, come on. You're calling me out in front of myself. My God.Chris: Egh. It might take a day or two, but I will respond. I promise.Corey: Thanks again for your time. This has been Chris Short, senior developer advocate at AWS. I'm Cloud Economist Corey Quinn and this is Screaming in the Cloud. If you've enjoyed this podcast, please leave a five-star review on your podcast platform of choice and if it's YouTube, click the thumbs-up button. Whereas if you've hated this podcast, same thing, smash the buttons five-star review and leave an insulting comment that is written in syntactically correct YAML because it's just so easy to do.Corey: If your AWS bill keeps rising and your blood pressure is doing the same, then you need The Duckbill Group. We help companies fix their AWS bill by making it smaller and less horrifying. The Duckbill Group works for you, not AWS. We tailor recommendations to your business and we get to the point. Visit duckbillgroup.com to get started.Announcer: This has been a HumblePod production. Stay humble.

Screaming in the Cloud
Incidents, Solutions, and ChatOps Integration with Chris Evans

Screaming in the Cloud

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 7, 2022 33:28


About ChrisChris is the Co-founder and Chief Product Officer at incident.io, where they're building incident management products that people actually want to use. A software engineer by trade, Chris is no stranger to gnarly incidents, having participated (and caused!) them at everything from early stage startups through to enormous IT organizations.Links Referenced: incident.io: https://incident.io Practical Guide to Incident Management: https://incident.io/guide/ TranscriptAnnouncer: Hello, and welcome to Screaming in the Cloud with your host, Chief Cloud Economist at The Duckbill Group, Corey Quinn. This weekly show features conversations with people doing interesting work in the world of cloud, thoughtful commentary on the state of the technical world, and ridiculous titles for which Corey refuses to apologize. This is Screaming in the Cloud.Corey: DoorDash had a problem. As their cloud-native environment scaled and developers delivered new features, their monitoring system kept breaking down. In an organization where data is used to make better decisions about technology and about the business, losing observability means the entire company loses their competitive edge. With Chronosphere, DoorDash is no longer losing visibility into their applications suite. The key? Chronosphere is an open-source compatible, scalable, and reliable observability solution that gives the observability lead at DoorDash business, confidence, and peace of mind. Read the full success story at snark.cloud/chronosphere. That's snark.cloud slash C-H-R-O-N-O-S-P-H-E-R-E.Corey: Let's face it, on-call firefighting at 2am is stressful! So there's good news and there's bad news. The bad news is that you probably can't prevent incidents from happening, but the good news is that incident.io makes incidents less stressful and a lot more valuable. incident.io is a Slack-native incident management platform that allows you to automate incident processes, focus on fixing the issues and learn from incident insights to improve site reliability and fix your vulnerabilities. Try incident.io, recover faster and sleep more.Corey: Welcome to Screaming in the Cloud. I'm Corey Quinn. Today's promoted guest is Chris Evans, who's the CPO and co-founder of incident.io. Chris, first, thank you very much for joining me. And I'm going to start with an easy question—well, easy question, hard answer, I think—what is an incident.io exactly?Chris: Incident.io is a software platform that helps entire organizations to respond to recover from and learn from incidents.Corey: When you say incident, that means an awful lot of things. And depending on where you are in the ecosystem in the world, that means different things to different people. For example, oh, incident. Like, “Are you talking about the noodle incident because we had an agreement that we would never speak about that thing again,” style, versus folks who are steeped in DevOps or SRE culture, which is, of course, a fancy way to say those who are sad all the time, usually about computers. What is an incident in the context of what you folks do?Chris: That, I think, is the killer question. I think if you look at organizations in the past, I think incidents were those things that happened once a quarter, maybe once a year, and they were the thing that brought the entirety of your site down because your big central database that was in a data center sort of disappeared. The way that modern companies run means that the definition has to be very, very different. So, most places now rely on distributed systems and there is no, sort of, binary sense of up or down these days. And essentially, in the general case, like, most companies are continually in a sort of state of things being broken all of the time.And so, for us, when we look at what an incident is, it is essentially anything that takes you away from your planned work with a sense of urgency. And that's the sort of the pithy definition that we use there. Generally, that can mean anything—it means different things to different folks, and, like, when we talk to folks, we encourage them to think carefully about what that threshold is, but generally, for us at incident.io, that means basically a single error that is worthwhile investigating that you would stop doing your backlog work for is an incident. And also an entire app being down, that is an incident.So, there's quite a wide range there. But essentially, by sort of having more incidents and lowering that threshold, you suddenly have a heap of benefits, which I can go very deep into and talk for hours about.Corey: It's a deceptively complex question. When I talk to folks about backups, one of the biggest problems in the world of backup and building a DR plan, it's not building the DR plan—though that's no picnic either—it's okay. In the time of cloud, all your planning figures out, okay. Suddenly the site is down, how do we fix it? There are different levels of down and that means different things to different people where, especially the way we build apps today, it's not is the service or site up or down, but with distributed systems, it's how down is it?And oh, we're seeing elevated error rates in us-tire-fire-1 region of AWS. At what point do we begin executing on our disaster plan? Because the worst answer, in some respects is, every time you think you see a problem, you start failing over to other regions and other providers and the rest, and three minutes in, you've irrevocably made the cutover and it's going to take 15 minutes to come back up. And oh, yeah, then your primary site comes back up because whoever unplugged something, plugged it back in and now you've made the wrong choice. Figuring out all the things around the incident, it's not what it once was.When you were running your own blog on a single web server and it's broken, it's pretty easy to say, “Is it up or is it down?” As you scale out, it seems like that gets more and more diffuse. But it feels to me that it's also less of a question of how the technology has scaled, but also how the culture and the people have scaled. When you're the only engineer somewhere, you pretty much have no choice but to have the entire state of your stack shoved into your head. When that becomes 15 or 20 different teams of people, in some cases, it feels like it's almost less than a technology problem than it is a problem of how you communicate and how you get people involved. And the issues in front of the people who are empowered and insightful in a certain area that needs fixing.Chris: A hundred percent. This is, like, a really, really key point, which is that organizations themselves are very complex. And so, you've got this combination of systems getting more and more complicated, more and more sort of things going wrong and perpetually breaking but you've got very, very complicated information structures and communication throughout the whole organization to keep things up and running. The very best orgs are the ones where they can engage the entire, sort of, every corner of the organization when things do go wrong. And lived and breathed this firsthand when various different previous companies, but most recently at Monzo—which is a bank here in the UK—when an incident happened there, like, one of our two physical data center locations went down, the bank wasn't offline. Everything was resilient to that, but that required an immediate response.And that meant that engineers were deployed to go and fix things. But it also meant the customer support folks might be required to get involved because we might be slightly slower processing payments. And it means that risk and compliance folks might need to get involved because they need to be reporting things to regulators. And the list goes on. There's, like, this need for a bunch of different people who almost certainly have never worked together or rarely worked together to come together, land in this sort of like empty space of this incident room or virtual incident room, and figure out how they're going to coordinate their response and get things back on track in the sort of most streamlined way and as quick as possible.Corey: Yeah, when your bank is suddenly offline, that seems like a really inopportune time to be introduced to the database team. It's, “Oh, we have one of those. Wonderful. I feel like you folks are going to come in handy later today.” You want to have those pathways of communication open well in advance of these issues.Chris: A hundred percent. And I think the thing that makes incidents unique is that fact. And I think the solution to that is this sort of consistent, level playing field that you can put everybody on. So, if everybody understands that the way that incidents are dealt with is consistent, we declare it like this, and under these conditions, these things happen. And, you know, if I flag this kind of level of impact, we have to pull in someone else to come and help make a decision.At the core of it, there's this weird kind of duality to incidents where they are both kind of semi-formulaic and that you can basically encode a lot of the processes that happen, but equally, they are incredibly chaotic and require a lot of human impact to be resilient and figure these things out because stuff that you have never seen happen before is happening and failing in ways that you never predicted. And so, this is where incident.io plays into this is that we try to take the first half of that off of your hands, which is, we will help you run your process so that all of the brain capacity you have, it goes on to the bit that humans are uniquely placed to be able to do, which is responding to these very, very chaotic, sort of, surprise events that have happened.Corey: I feel as well—because I played around in this space a bit before I used to run ops teams—and, more or less I really should have had a t-shirt then that said, “I am the root cause,” because yeah, I basically did a lot of self-inflicted outages in various environments because it turns out, I'm not always the best with computers. Imagine that. There are a number of different companies that play in the space that look at some part of the incident lifecycle. And from the outside, first, they all look alike because it's, “Oh, so you're incident.io. I assume you're PagerDuty. You're the thing that calls me at two in the morning to make sure I wake up.”Conversely, for folks who haven't worked deeply in that space, as well, of setting things on fire, what you do sounds like it's highly susceptible to the Hacker News problem. Where, “Wait, so what you do is effectively just getting people to coordinate and talk during an incident? Well, that doesn't sound hard. I could do that in a weekend.” And no, no, you can't.If this were easy, you would not have been in business as long as you have, have the team the size that you do, the customers that you do. But it's one of those things that until you've been in a very specific set of a problem, it doesn't sound like it's a real problem that needs solving.Chris: Yeah, I think that's true. And I think that the Hacker News point is a particularly pertinent one and that someone else, sort of, in an adjacent area launched on Hacker News recently, and the amount of feedback they got around, you know, “You're a Slack bot. How is this a company?” Was kind of staggering. And I think generally where that comes from is—well, first of all that bias that engineers have, which is just everything you look at as an engineer is like, “Yeah, I can build that in a weekend.” I think there's often infinite complexity under the hood that just gets kind of brushed over. But yeah, I think at the core of it, you probably could build a Slack bot in a weekend that creates a channel for you in Slack and allows you to post somewhere that some—Corey: Oh, good. More channels in Slack. Just when everyone wants.Chris: Well, there you go. I mean, that's a particular pertinent one because, like, our tool does do that. And one of the things—so I built at Monzo, a version of incident.io that we used at the company there, and that was something that I built evenings and weekends. And among the many, many things I never got around to building, archiving and cleaning up channels was one of the ones that was always on that list.And so, Monzo did have this problem of littered channels everywhere, I think that sort of like, part of the problem here is, like, it is easy to look at a product like ours and sort of assume it is this sort of friendly Slack bot that helps you orchestrate some very basic commands. And I think when you actually dig into the problems that organizations above a certain size have, they're not solved by Slack bots. They're solved by platforms that help you to encode your processes that otherwise have to live on a Google Doc somewhere which is five pages long and when it's 2 a.m. and everything's on fire, I guarantee you not a single person reads that Google Doc, so your process is as good as not in place at all. That's the beauty of a tool like ours. We have a powerful engine that helps you basically to encode that and take some load off of you.Corey: To be clear, I'm also not coming at this from a position of judging other people. I just look right now at the Slack workspace that we have The Duckbill Group, and we have something like a ten-to-one channel-to-human ratio. And the proliferation of channels is a very real thing. And the problem that I've seen across the board with other things that try to address incident management has always been fanciful at best about what really happens when something breaks. Like, you talk about, oh, here's what happens. Step one: you will pull up the Google Doc, or you will pull up the wiki or the rest, or in some aspirational places, ah, something seems weird, I will go open a ticket in Jira.Meanwhile, here in reality, anyone who's ever worked in these environments knows that step one, “Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, oh shit. What are we going to do?” And all the practices and procedures that often exist, especially in orgs that aren't very practiced at these sorts of things, tend to fly out the window and people are going to do what they're going to do. So, any tool or any platform that winds up addressing that has to accept the reality of meeting people where they are not trying to educate people into different patterns of behavior as such. One of the things I like about your approach is, yeah, it's going to be a lot of conversation in Slack that is a given we can pretend otherwise, but here in reality, that is how work gets communicated, particularly in extremis. And I really appreciate the fact that you are not trying to, like, fight what feels almost like a law of nature at this point.Chris: Yeah, I think there's a few things in that. The first point around the document approach or the clearly defined steps of how an incident works. In my experience, those things have always gone wrong because—Corey: The data center is down, so we're going to the wiki to follow our incident management procedure, which is in the data center just lost power.Chris: Yeah.Corey: There's a dependency problem there, too. [laugh].Chris: Yeah, a hundred percent. [laugh]. A hundred percent. And I think part of the problem that I see there is that very, very often, you've got this situation where the people designing the process are not the people following the process. And so, there's this classic, I've heard it through John Allspaw, but it's a bunch of other folks who talk about the difference between people, you know, at the sharp end or the blunt end of the work.And I think the problem that people are facing the past is you have these people who sit in the, sort of, metaphorical upstairs of the office and think that they make a company safe by defining a process on paper. And they ship the piece of paper and go, “That is a good job for me done. I'm going to leave and know that I've made the bank—the other whatever your organization does—much, much safer.” And I think this is where things fall down because—Corey: I want to ambush some of those people in their performance reviews with, “Cool. Just for fun, all the documentation here, we're going to pull up the analytics to see how often that stuff gets viewed. Oh, nobody ever sees it. Hmm.”Chris: It's frustrating. It's frustrating because that never ever happens, clearly. But the point you made around, like, meeting people where you are, I think that is a huge one, which is incidents are founded on great communication. Like, as I said earlier, this is, like, a form of team with someone you've never ever worked with before and the last thing you want to do is be, like, “Hey, Corey, I've never met you before, but let's jump out onto this other platform somewhere that I've never been or haven't been for weeks and we'll try and figure stuff out over there.” It's like, no, you're going to be communicating—Corey: We use Slack internally, but we have a WhatsApp chat that we wind up using for incident stuff, so go ahead and log into WhatsApp, which you haven't done in 18 months, and join the chat. Yeah, in the dawn of time, in the mists of antiquity, you vaguely remember hearing something about that your first week and then never again. This stuff has to be practiced and it's important to get it right. How do you approach the inherent and often unfortunate reality that incident response and management inherently becomes very different depending upon the specifics of your company or your culture or something like that? In other words, how cookie-cutter is what you have built versus adaptable to different environments it finds itself operating in?Chris: Man, the amount of time we spent as a founding team in the early days deliberating over how opinionated we should be versus how flexible we should be was staggering. The way we like to describe it as we are quite opinionated about how we think incidents should be run, however we let you imprint your own process into that, so putting some color onto that. We expect incidents to have a lead. That is something you cannot get away from. However, you can call the lead whatever makes sense for you at your organization. So, some folks call them an incident commander or a manager or whatever else.Corey: There's overwhelming militarization of these things. Like, oh, yes, we're going to wind up taking a bunch of terms from the military here. It's like, you realize that your entire giant screaming fire is that the lights on the screen are in the wrong pattern. You're trying to make them in the right pattern. No one dies here in most cases, so it feels a little grandiose for some of those terms being tossed around in some cases, but I get it. You've got to make something that is unpleasant and tedious in many respects, a little bit more gripping. I don't envy people. Messaging is hard.Chris: Yeah, it is. And I think if you're overly virtuoustic and inflexible, you're sort of fighting an uphill battle here, right? So, folks are going to want to call things what they want to call things. And you've got people who want to import [ITIL 00:15:04] definitions for severity ease into the platform because that's what they're familiar with. That's fine.What we are opinionated about is that you have some severity levels because absent academic criticism of severity levels, they are a useful mechanism to very coarsely and very quickly assess how bad something is and to take some actions off of it. So yeah, we basically have various points in the product where you can customize and put your own sort of flavor on it, but generally, we have a relatively opinionated end-to-end expectation of how you will run that process.Corey: The thing that I find that annoys me—in some cases—the most is how heavyweight the process is, and it's clearly built by people in an ivory tower somewhere where there's effectively a two-day long postmortem analysis of the incident, and so on and so forth. And okay, great. Your entire site has been blown off the internet, yeah, that probably makes sense. But as soon as you start broadening that to things like okay, an increase in 500 errors on this service for 30 minutes, “Great. Well, we're going to have a two-day postmortem on that.” It's, “Yeah, sure would be nice if we could go two full days without having another incident of that caliber.” So, in other words, whose foot—are we going to hire a new team whose full-time job it is, is to just go ahead and triage and learn from all these incidents? Seems to me like that's sort of throwing wood behind the wrong arrows.Chris: Yeah, I think it's very reductive to suggest that learning only happens in a postmortem process. So, I wrote a blog, actually, not so long ago that is about running postmortems and when it makes sense to do it. And as part of that, I had a sort of a statement that was [laugh] that we haven't run a single postmortem when I wrote this blog at incident.io. Which is probably shocking to many people because we're an incident company, and we talk about this stuff, but we were also a company of five people and when something went wrong, the learning was happening and these things were sort of—we were carving out the time, whether it was called a postmortem, or not to learn and figure out these things. Extrapolating that to bigger companies, there is little value in following processes for the sake of following processes. And so, you could have—Corey: Someone in compliance just wound up spitting their coffee over their desktop as soon as you said that. But I hear you.Chris: Yeah. And it's those same folks who are the ones who care about the document being written, not the process and the learning happening. And I think that's deeply frustrating to me as—Corey: All the plans, of course, assume that people will prioritize the company over their own family for certain kinds of disasters. I love that, too. It's divorced from reality; that's ridiculous, on some level. Speaking of ridiculous things, as you continue to grow and scale, I imagine you integrate with things beyond just Slack. You grab other data sources and over in the fullness of time.For example, I imagine one of your most popular requests from some of your larger customers is to integrate with their HR system in order to figure out who's the last engineer who left, therefore everything immediately their fault because lord knows the best practice is to pillory whoever was the last left because then they're not there to defend themselves anymore and no one's going to get dinged for that irresponsible jackass's decisions, even if they never touched the system at all. I'm being slightly hyperbolic, but only slightly.Chris: Yeah. I think [laugh] that's an interesting point. I am definitely going to raise that feature request for a prefilled root cause category, which is, you know, the value is just that last person who left the organization. That it's a wonderful scapegoat situation there. I like it.To the point around what we do integrate with, I think the thing is actually with incidents that's quite interesting is there is a lot of tooling that exists in this space that does little pockets of useful, valuable things in the shape of incidents. So, you have PagerDuty is this system that does a great job of making people's phone making noise, but that happens, and then you're dropped into this sort of empty void of nothingness and you've got to go and figure out what to do. And then you've got things like Jira where clearly you want to be able to track actions that are coming out of things going wrong in some cases, and that's a great tool for that. And various other things in the middle there. And yeah, our value proposition, if you want to call it that, is to bring those things together in a way that is massively ergonomic during an incident.So, when you're in the middle of an incident, it is really handy to be able to go, “Oh, I have shipped this horrible fix to this thing. It works, but I must remember to undo that.” And we put that at your fingertips in an incident channel from Slack, that you can just log that action, lose that cognitive load that would otherwise be there, move on with fixing the thing. And you have this sort of—I think it's, like, that multiplied by 1000 in incidents that is just what makes it feel delightful. And I cringe a little bit saying that because it's an incident at the end of the day, but genuinely, it feels magical when some things happen that are just like, “Oh, my gosh, you've automatically hooked into my GitHub thing and someone else merged that PR and you've posted that back into the channel for me so I know that that happens. That would otherwise have been a thing where I jump out of the incident to go and figure out what was happening.”Corey: This episode is sponsored in part by our friend EnterpriseDB. EnterpriseDB has been powering enterprise applications with PostgreSQL for 15 years. And now EnterpriseDB has you covered wherever you deploy PostgreSQL on-premises, private cloud, and they just announced a fully-managed service on AWS and Azure called BigAnimal, all one word. Don't leave managing your database to your cloud vendor because they're too busy launching another half-dozen managed databases to focus on any one of them that they didn't build themselves. Instead, work with the experts over at EnterpriseDB. They can save you time and money, they can even help you migrate legacy applications—including Oracle—to the cloud. To learn more, try BigAnimal for free. Go to biganimal.com/snark, and tell them Corey sent you.Corey: The problem with the cloud, too, is the first thing that, when there starts to be an incident happening is the number one decision—almost the number one decision point is this my shitty code, something we have just pushed in our stuff, or is it the underlying provider itself? Which is why the AWS status page being slow to update is so maddening. Because those are two completely different paths to go down and you are having to pursue both of them equally at the same time until one can be ruled out. And that is why time to identify at least what side of the universe it's on is so important. That has always been a bit of a tricky challenge.I want to talk a bit about circular dependencies. You target a certain persona of customer, but I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that one explicit company that you are not going to want to do business with in your current iteration is Slack itself because a tool to manage—okay, so our service is down, so we're going to go to Slack to fix it doesn't work when the service is Slack itself. So, that becomes a significant challenge. As you look at this across the board, are you seeing customers having problems where you have circular dependency issues with this? Easy example: Slack is built on top of AWS.When there's an underlying degradation of, huh, suddenly us-east-1 is not doing what it's supposed to be doing, now, Slack is degraded as well, as well as the customer site, it seems like at that point, you're sort of in a bit of tricky positioning as a customer. Counterpoint, when neither Slack nor your site are working, figuring out what caused that issue doesn't seem like it's the biggest stretch of the imagination at that point.Chris: I've spent a lot of my career working in infrastructure, platform-type teams, and I think you can end up tying yourself in knots if you try and over-optimize for, like, avoiding these dependencies. I think it's one of those, sort of, turtles all the way down situations. So yes, Slack are unlikely to become a customer because they are clearly going to want to use our product when they are down.Corey: They reach out, “We'd like to be your customer.” Your response is, “Please don't be.” None of us are going to be happy with this outcome.Chris: Yeah, I mean, the interesting thing that is that we're friends with some folks at Slack, and they believe it or not, they do use Slack to navigate their incidents. They have an internal tool that they have written. And I think this sort of speaks to the point we made earlier, which is that incidents and things failing or not these sort of big binary events. And so—Corey: All of Slack is down is not the only kind of incident that a company like Slack can experience.Chris: I'd go as far as that it's most commonly not that. It's most commonly that you're navigating incidents where it is a degradation, or some edge case, or something else that's happened. And so, like, the pragmatic solution here is not to avoid the circular dependencies, in my view; it's to accept that they exist and make sure you have sensible escape hatches so that when something does go wrong—so a good example, we use incident.io at incident.io to manage incidents that we're having with incident.io. And 99% of the time, that is absolutely fine because we are having some error in some corner of the product or a particular customer is doing something that is a bit curious.And I could count literally on one hand the number of times that we have not been able to use our products to fix our product. And in those cases, we have a fallback which is jump into—Corey: I assume you put a little thought into what happened. “Well, what if our product is down?” “Oh well, I guess we'll never be able to fix it or communicate about it.” It seems like that's the sort of thing that, given what you do, you might have put more than ten seconds of thought into.Chris: We've put a fair amount of thought into it. But at the end of the day, [laugh] it's like if stuff is down, like, what do you need to do? You need to communicate with people. So, jump on a Google Chat, jump on a Slack huddle, whatever else it is we have various different, like, fallbacks in different order. And at the core of it, I think this is the thing is, like, you cannot be prepared for every single thing going wrong, and so what you can be prepared for is to be unprepared and just accept that humans are incredibly good at being resilient, and therefore, all manner of things are going to happen that you've never seen before and I guarantee you will figure them out and fix them, basically.But yeah, I say this; if my SOC 2 auditor is listening, we also do have a very well-defined, like, backup plan in our SOC 2 [laugh] in our policies and processes that is the thing that we will follow that. But yeah.Corey: The fact that you're saying the magic words of SOC 2, yes, exactly. Being in a responsible adult and living up to some baseline compliance obligations is really the sign of a company that's put a little thought into these things. So, as I pull up incident.io—the website, not the company to be clear—and look through what you've written and how you talk about what you're doing, you've avoided what I would almost certainly have not because your tagline front and center on your landing page is, “Manage incidents at scale without leaving Slack.” If someone were to reach out and say, well, we're down all the time, but we're using Microsoft Teams, so I don't know that we can use you, like, the immediate instinctive response that I would have for that to the point where I would put it in the copy is, “Okay, this piece of advice is free. I would posit that you're down all the time because you're the kind of company to use Microsoft Teams.” But that doesn't tend to win a whole lot of friends in various places. In a slightly less sarcastic bent, do you see people reaching out with, “Well, we want to use you because we love what you're doing, but we don't use Slack.”Chris: Yeah. We do. A lot of folks actually. And we will support Teams one day, I think. There is nothing especially unique about the product that means that we are tied to Slack.It is a great way to distribute our product and it sort of aligns with the companies that think in the way that we do in the general case but, like, at the core of what we're building, it's a platform that augments a communication platform to make it much easier to deal with a high-stress, high-pressure situation. And so, in the future, we will support ways for you to connect Microsoft Teams or if Zoom sought out getting rich app experiences, talk on a Zoom and be able to do various things like logging actions and communicating with other systems and things like that. But yeah, for the time being very, very deliberate focus mechanism for us. We're a small company with, like, 30 people now, and so yeah, focusing on that sort of very slim vertical is working well for us.Corey: And it certainly seems to be working to your benefit. Every person I've talked to who is encountered you folks has nothing but good things to say. We have a bunch of folks in common listed on the wall of logos, the social proof eye chart thing of here's people who are using us. And these are serious companies. I mean, your last job before starting incident.io was at Monzo, as you mentioned.You know what you're doing in a regulated, serious sense. I would be, quite honestly, extraordinarily skeptical if your background were significantly different from this because, “Well, yeah, we worked at Twitter for Pets in our three-person SRE team, we can tell you exactly how to go ahead and handle your incidents.” Yeah, there's a certain level of operational maturity that I kind of just based upon the name of the company there; don't think that Twitter for Pets is going to nail. Monzo is a bank. Guess you know what you're talking about, given that you have not, basically, been shut down by an army of regulators. It really does breed an awful lot of confidence.But what's interesting to me is the number of people that we talk to in common are not themselves banks. Some are and they do very serious things, but others are not these highly regulated, command-and-control, top-down companies. You are nimble enough that you can get embedded at those startup-y of startup companies once they hit a certain point of scale and wind up helping them arrive at a better outcome. It's interesting in that you don't normally see a whole lot of tools that wind up being able to speak to both sides of that very broad spectrum—and most things in between—very effectively. But you've somehow managed to thread that needle. Good work.Chris: Thank you. Yeah. What else can I say other than thank you? I think, like, it's a deliberate product positioning that we've gone down to try and be able to support those different use cases. So, I think, at the core of it, we have always tried to maintain the incident.io should be installable and usable in your very first incident without you having to have a very steep learning curve, but there is depth behind it that allows you to support a much more sophisticated incident setup.So, like, I mean, you mentioned Monzo. Like, I just feel incredibly fortunate to have worked at that company. I joined back in 2017 when they were, I don't know, like, 150,000 customers and it was just getting its banking license. And I was there for four years and was able to then see it scale up to 6 million customers and all of the challenges and pain that goes along with that both from building infrastructure on the technical side of things, but from an organizational side of things. And was, like, front-row seat to being able to work with some incredibly smart people and sort of see all these various different pain points.And honestly, it feels a little bit like being in sort of a cheat mode where we get to this import a lot of that knowledge and pain that we felt at Monzo into the product. And that happens to resonate with a bunch of folks. So yeah, I feel like things are sort of coming out quite well at the moment for folks.Corey: The one thing I will say before we wind up calling this an episode is just how grateful I am that I don't have to think about things like this anymore. There's a reason that the problem that I chose to work on of expensive AWS bills being very much a business-hours only style of problem. We're a services company. We don't have production infrastructure that is externally facing. “Oh, no, one of our data analysis tools isn't working internally.”That's an interesting curiosity, but it's not an emergency in the same way that, “Oh, we're an ad network and people are looking at ads right now because we're broken,” is. So, I am grateful that I don't have to think about these things anymore. And also a little wistful because there's so much that you do it would have made dealing with expensive and dangerous outages back in my production years a lot nicer.Chris: Yep. I think that's what a lot of folks are telling us essentially. There's this curious thing with, like, this product didn't exist however many years ago and I think it's sort of been quite emergent in a lot of companies that, you know, as sort of things have moved on, that something needs to exist in this little pocket of space, dealing with incidents in modern companies. So, I'm very pleased that what we're able to build here is sort of working and filling that for folks.Corey: Yeah. I really want to thank you for taking so much time to go through the ethos of what you do, why you do it, and how you do it. If people want to learn more, where's the best place for them to go? Ideally, not during an incident.Chris: Not during an incident, obviously. Handily, the website is the company name. So, incident.io is a great place to go and find out more. We've literally—literally just today, actually—launched our Practical Guide to Incident Management, which is, like, a really full piece of content which, hopefully, will be useful to a bunch of different folks.Corey: Excellent. We will, of course, put a link to that in the [show notes 00:29:52]. I really want to thank you for being so generous with your time. Really appreciate it.Chris: Thanks so much. It's been an absolute pleasure.Corey: Chris Evans, Chief Product Officer and co-founder of incident.io. I'm Cloud Economist Corey Quinn and this is Screaming in the Cloud. If you've enjoyed this podcast, please leave a five-star review on your podcast platform of choice, whereas if you've hated this episode, please leave a five-star review on your podcast platform of choice along with an angry comment telling me why your latest incident is all the intern's fault.Corey: If your AWS bill keeps rising and your blood pressure is doing the same, then you need The Duckbill Group. We help companies fix their AWS bill by making it smaller and less horrifying. The Duckbill Group works for you, not AWS. We tailor recommendations to your business and we get to the point. Visit duckbillgroup.com to get started.Announcer: This has been a HumblePod production. Stay humble.

The Bike Shed
339: What About Pictures?

The Bike Shed

Play Episode Listen Later May 24, 2022 45:03


Steph has a baby update and thoughts on movies, plus a question for Chris related to migrating Test Unit tests to RSpec. Chris watched a video from Google I/O where Chrome devs talked about a new feature called Page Transitions. He's also been working with a tool called Customer.io, an omnichannel communication whiz-bang adventure! Page transitions Overview (https://youtu.be/JCJUPJ_zDQ4) Using yield_self for composable ActiveRecord relations (https://thoughtbot.com/blog/using-yieldself-for-composable-activerecord-relations) A Case for Query Objects in Rails (https://thoughtbot.com/blog/a-case-for-query-objects-in-rails) Customer.io (https://customer.io/) Turning the database inside-out with Apache Samza | Confluent (https://www.confluent.io/blog/turning-the-database-inside-out-with-apache-samza/) Datomic (https://www.datomic.com/) About CRDTs • Conflict-free Replicated Data Types (https://crdt.tech/) Apache Kafka (https://kafka.apache.org/) Resilient Management | A book for new managers in tech (https://resilient-management.com/) Mixpanel: Product Analytics for Mobile, Web, & More (https://mixpanel.com/) Become a Sponsor (https://thoughtbot.com/sponsorship) of The Bike Shed! Transcript: CHRIS: Golden roads are golden. Okay, everybody's got golden roads. You have golden roads, yes? That is what we're -- STEPH: Oh, I have golden roads, yes. [laughter] CHRIS: You might should inform that you've got golden roads, yeah. STEPH: Yeah, I don't know if I say might should as much but might could. I have been called out for that one a lot; I might could do that. CHRIS: [laughs] STEPH: That one just feels so natural to me than normal. Anytime someone calls it out, I'm like, yeah, what about it? [laughter] CHRIS: Do you want to fight? STEPH: Yeah, are we going to fight? CHRIS: I might could fight you. STEPH: I might could. I might should. [laughter] CHRIS: Hello and welcome to another episode of The Bike Shed, a weekly podcast from your friends at thoughtbot about developing great software. I'm Chris Toomey. STEPH: And I'm Steph Viccari. CHRIS: And together, we're here to share a bit of what we've learned along the way. So, Steph, what's new in your world? STEPH: Hey, Chris. I have a couple of fun updates. I have a baby Viccari update, so little baby weighs about two pounds now, two pounds. I'm 25 weeks along. So not that I actually know the exact weight, I'm using all those apps that estimate based on how far along you are, so around two pounds, which is novel. Oh, and then the other thing I'm excited to tell you about...I'm not sure how I should feel that I just got more excited about this other thing. I'm very excited about baby Viccari. But the other thing is there's a new Jurassic Park movie coming out, and I'm very excited. I think it's June 10th is when it comes out. And given how much we have sung that theme song to each other and make references to what a clever girl, I needed to share that with you. Maybe you already know, maybe you're already in the loop, but if you don't, it's coming. CHRIS: Yeah, the internet likes to yell things like that. Have you watched all of the most recent ones? There are like two, and I think this will be the third in the revisiting or whatever, the Jurassic World version or something like that. But have you watched the others? STEPH: I haven't seen all of them. So I've, of course, seen the first one. I saw the one that Chris Pratt was in, and now he's in the latest one. But I think I've missed...maybe there's like two in the middle there. I have not watched those. CHRIS: There are three in the original trilogy, and then there are three now in the new trilogy, which now it's ending, and they got everybody. STEPH: Oh, I'm behind. CHRIS: They got people from the first one, and they got the people from the second trilogy. They just got everybody, and that's exciting. You know, it's that thing where they tap into nostalgia, and they take advantage of us via it. But I'm fine. I'm here for it. STEPH: I'm here for it, especially for Jurassic Park. But then there's also a new Top Gun movie coming out, which, I'll be honest, I'm totally going to watch. But I really didn't remember the first one. I don't know that I've really ever watched the first Top Gun. So Tim, my partner, and I watched that recently, and it's such a bad movie. I'm going to say it; [laughs] it's a bad movie. CHRIS: I mean, I don't want to disagree, but the volleyball scene, come on, come on, the volleyball scene. [laughter] STEPH: I mean, I totally had a good time watching the movie. But the one part that I finally kept complaining about is because every time they showed the lead female character, I can't think of her character name or the actress's name, but they kept playing that song, Take My Breath Away. And I was like, can we just get past the song? [laughs] Because if you go back and watch that movie, I swear they play it like six different times. It was a lot. It was too much. So I moved it into bad movie category but bad movie totally worth watching, whatever category that is. CHRIS: Now I kind of want to revisit it. I feel like the drinking game writes itself. But at a minimum, anytime Take My Breath Away plays, yeah. Well, all right, good to know. [laughs] STEPH: Well, if you do that, let me know how many shots or beers you drink because I think it will be a fair amount. I think it will be more than five. CHRIS: Yeah, it involves a delicate calibration to get that right. I don't think it's the sort of thing you just freehand. It writes itself but also, you want someone who's tried it before you so that you're not like, oh no, it's every time they show a jet. That was too many. You can't drink that much while watching this movie. STEPH: Yeah, that would be death by Top Gun. CHRIS: But not the normal way, the different, indirect death by Top Gun. STEPH: I don't know what the normal way is. [laughs] CHRIS: Like getting shot down by a Top Gun pilot. [laughter] STEPH: Yeah, that makes sense. [laughs] CHRIS: You know, the dogfighting in the plane. STEPH: The actual, yeah, going to war away. Just sitting on your couch and you drink too much poison away, yeah, that one. All right, that got weird. Moving on, [laughs] there's a new Jurassic Park movie. We're going to land on that note. And in the more technical world, I've got a couple of things on my mind. One of them is I have a question for you. I'm very excited to run this by you because I could use a friend in helping me decide what to do. So I am still on that journey where I am migrating Test::Unit test over to RSpec. And as I'm going through, it's going pretty well, but it's a little complicated because some of the Test::Unit tests have different setup than, say, the RSpec do. They might run different scripts beforehand where they're loading data. That's perhaps a different topic, but that's happening. And so that has changed a few things. But then overall, I've just been really just porting everything over, like, hey, if it exists in the Test::Unit, let's just bring it to RSpec, and then I'm going to change these asserts to expects and really not make any changes from there. But as I'm doing that, I'm seeing areas that I want to improve and things that I want to clear up, even if it's just extracting a variable name. Or, as I'm moving some of these over in Test::Unit, it's not clear to me exactly what the test is about. Like, it looks more like a method name in the way that the test is being described, but the actual behavior isn't clear to me as if I were writing this in RSpec, I think it would have more of a clear description. Maybe that's not specific to the actual testing framework. That might just be how these tests are set up. But I'm at that point where I'm questioning should I keep going in terms of where I am just copying everything over from Test::Unit and then moving it over to RSpec? Because ultimately, that is the goal, to migrate over. Or should I also include some time to then go back and clean up and try to add some clarity, maybe extract some variable names, see if I can reduce some lets, maybe even reduce some of the test helpers that I'm bringing over? How much cleanup should be involved, zero, lots? I don't know. I don't know what that...[laughs] I'm sure there's a middle ground in there somewhere. But I'm having trouble discerning for myself what's the right amount because this feels like one of those areas where if I don't do any cleanup, I'm not coming back to it, like, that's just the truth. So it's either now, or I have no idea when and maybe never. CHRIS: I'll be honest, the first thing that came to mind in this most recent time that you mentioned this is, did we consider just deleting these tests entirely? Is that on...like, there are very few of them, right? Like, are they even providing enough value? So that was question one, which let me pause to see what your thoughts there were. [chuckles] STEPH: I don't know if we specifically talked about that on the mic, but yes, that has been considered. And the team that owns those tests has said, "No, please don't delete them. We do get value from them." So we can port them over to RSpec, but we don't have time to port them over to RSpec. So we just need to keep letting them go on. But yet, not porting them conflicts with my goal of then trying to speed up CI. And so it'd be nice to collapse these Test::Unit tests over to RSpec because then that would bring our CI build down by several meaningful minutes. And also, it would reduce some of the complexity in the CI setup. CHRIS: Gotcha. Okay, so now, having set that aside, I always ask the first question of like, can you just put Derek Prior's phone number on the webpage and call it an app? Is that the MVP of this app? No? Okay, all right, we have to build more. But yeah, I think to answer it and in a general way of trying to answer a broader set of questions here... I think this falls into a category of like if you find yourself having to move around some code, if that code is just comfortably running and the main thing you need to do is just to get it ported over to RSpec, I would probably do as little other work as possible. With the one consideration that if you find yourself needing to deeply load up the context of these tests like actually understand them in order to do the porting, then I would probably take advantage of that context because it's hard to get your head into a given piece of code, test or otherwise. And so if you're in there and you're like, well, now that I'm here, I can definitely see that we could rearrange some stuff and just definitively make it better, if you get to that place, I would consider it. But if this ends up being mostly a pretty rote transformation like you said, asserts become expects, and lets get switched around, you know, that sort of stuff, if it's a very mechanical process of getting done, I would probably say very minimal. But again, if there is that, like, you know what? I had to understand the test in order to port them anyway, so while I'm here, let me take advantage of that, that's probably the thing that I would consider. But if not that, then I would say even though it's messy and whatnot and your inclination would be to clean it, I would say leave it roughly as is. That's my guess or how I would approach it. STEPH: Yeah, I love that. I love how you pointed out, like, did you build up the context? Because you're right, in a lot of these test cases, I'm not, or I'm trying really hard to not build up context. I'm trying very hard to just move them over and, if I have to, mainly to find test descriptions. That's the main area I'm struggling to...how can I more explicitly state what this test does so the next person reading this will have more comprehension than I do? But otherwise, I'm trying hard to not have any real context around it. And that's such a good point because that's often...when someone else is in the middle of something, and they're deciding whether to include that cleanup or refactor or improvement, one of my suggestions is like, hey, we've got the context now. Let's go with it. But if you've built up very little context, then that's not a really good catalyst or reason to then dig in deeper and apply that cleanup. That's super helpful. Thank you. That will help reinforce what I'm going to do, which is exactly let's migrate RSpec and not worry about cleanup, which feels terrible; I'm just going to say that into the world. But it also feels like the right thing to do. CHRIS: Well, I'm happy to have helped. And I share the like, and it feels terrible. I want to do the right thing, but sometimes you got to pick a battle sort of thing. STEPH: Cool. Well, that's a huge help to me. What's going on in your world? CHRIS: What's going on in my world? I watched a great video the other day from the Google I/O. I think it's an event; I'm not actually sure, conference or something like that. But it was some Google Chrome developers talking about a new feature that's coming to the platform called Page Transitions. And I've kept an eye on this for a while, but it seems like it's more real. Like, I think they put out an RFC or an initial sort of set of ideas a while back. And the web community was like, "Oh, that's not going to work out so well." So they went back to the drawing board, revisited. I've actually implemented in Chrome Canary a version of the API. And then, in the video that I watched, which we'll include a show notes link to, they demoed the functionality of the Page Transitions API and showed what you can do. And it's super cool. It allows for the sort of animations that you see in a lot of native mobile apps where you're looking at a ListView, you click on one of the items, and it grows to fill the whole screen. And now you're on the detail screen for that item that you were looking at. But there was this very continuous animated transition that allows you to keep context in your head and all of those sorts of nice things. And this just really helps to bridge that gap between, like, the web often lags behind the native mobile platforms in terms of the experiences that we can build. So it was really interesting to see what they've been able to pull off. The demo is a pretty short video, but it shows a couple of different variations of what you can build with it. And I was like, yeah, these look like cool native app transitions, really nifty. One thing that's very interesting is the actual implementation of this. So it's like you have one version of the page, and then you transition to a new version of the page, and in doing so, you want to animate between them. And the way that they do it is they have the first version of the page. They take a screenshot of it like the browser engine takes a screenshot of it. And then they put that picture on top of the actual browser page. Then they do the same thing with the next version of the page that they're going to transition to. And then they crossfade, like, change the opacity and size and whatnot between the two different images, and then you're there. And in the back of my mind, I'm like, I'm sorry, what now? You did which? I'm like, is this the genius solution that actually makes this work and is performant? And I wonder if there are trade-offs. Like, do you lose interactivity between those because you've got some images that are just on the screen? And what is that like? But as they were going through it, I was just like, wait, I'm sorry, you did what? This is either the best idea I've ever heard, or I'm not so sure about this. STEPH: That's fascinating. You had me with the first part in terms of they take a screenshot of the page that you're leaving. I'm like, yeah, that's a great idea. And then talking about taking a picture of the other page because then you have to load it but not show it to the user that it's loaded. And then take a picture of it, and then show them the picture of the loaded page. But then actually, like you said, then crossfade and then bring in the real functionality. I am...what am I? [laughter] CHRIS: What am I actually? STEPH: [laughs] What am I? I'm shocked. I'm surprised that that is so performant. Because yeah, I also wouldn't have thought of that, or I would have immediately have thought like, there's no way that's going to be performant enough. But that's fascinating. CHRIS: For me, performance seems more manageable, but it's the like, what are you trading off for that? Because that sounds like a hack. That sounds like the sort of thing I would recommend if we need to get an MVP out next week. And I'm like, what if we just tried this? Listen, it's got some trade-offs. So I'm really interested to see are those trade-offs present? Because it's the browser engine. It's, you know, the low-level platform that's actually managing this. And there are some nice hooks that allow you to control it. And at a CSS level, you can manage it and use keyframe animations to control the transition more directly. There's a JavaScript API to instrument the sequencing of things. And so it's giving you the right primitives and the right hooks. And the fact that the implementation happens to use pictures or screenshots, to use a slightly different word, it's like, okey dokey, that's what we're doing. Sounds fun. So I'm super interested because the functionality is deeply, deeply interesting to me. Svelte actually has a version of this, the crossfade utility, but you have to still really think about how do you sequence between the two pages and how do you do the connective tissue there? And then Svelte will manage it for you if you do all the right stuff. But the wiring up is somewhat complicated. So having this in the browser engine is really interesting to me. But yeah, pictures. STEPH: This is one of those ideas where I can't decide if this was someone who is very new to the team and new to the idea and was like, "Have we considered screenshots? Have we considered pictures?" Or if this is like the uber senior person on the team that was like, "Yeah, this will totally work with screenshots." I can't decide where in that range this idea falls, which I think makes me love it even more. Because it's very straightforward of like, hey, what if we just tried this? And it's working, so cool, cool, cool. CHRIS: There's a fantastic meme that's been making the rounds where it's a bell curve, and it's like, early in your career, middle of your career, late in your career. And so early in your career, you're like, everything in one file, all lines of code that's just where they go. And then in the middle of your career, you're like, no, no, no, we need different concerns, and files, and organizational structures. And then end of your career...and this was coming up in reference to the TypeScript team seems to have just thrown everything into one file. And it's the thing that they've migrated to over time. And so they have this many, many line file that is basically the TypeScript engine all in one file. And so it was a joke of like, they definitely know what they're doing with programming. They're not just starting last week sort of thing. And so it's this funny arc that certain things can go through. So I think that's an excellent summary there [laughs] of like, I think it was folks who have thought about this really hard. But I kind of hope it was someone who was just like, "I'm new here. But have we thought about pictures? What about pictures?" I also am a little worried that I just deeply misunderstood [laughs] the representation but glossed over it in the video, and I'm like, that sounds interesting. So hopefully, I'm not just wildly off base here. [laughs] But nonetheless, the functionality looks very interesting. STEPH: That would be a hilarious tweet. You know, I've been waiting for that moment where I've said something that I understood into the mic and someone on Twitter just being like, well, good try, but... [laughs] CHRIS: We had a couple of minutes where we tried to figure out what the opposite of ranting was, and we came up with pranting and made up a word instead of going with praising or raving. No, that's what it is, raving. [laughs] STEPH: No, raving. I will never forget now, raving. [laughs] CHRIS: So, I mean, we've done this before. STEPH: That's true. Although they were nice, I don't think they tweeted. I think they sent in an email. They were like, "Hey, friends." [laughter] CHRIS: Actually, we got a handful of emails on that. [laughter] STEPH: Did you know the English language? CHRIS: Thank you, kind Bikeshed audience, for not shaming us in public. I mean, feel free if you feel like it. [laughs] But one other thing that came up in this video, though, is the speaker was describing single-page apps are very common, and you want to have animated transitions and this and that. And I was like, single-page app, okay, fine. I don't like the terminology but whatever. I would like us to call it the client-side app or client-side routing or something else. But the fact that it's a single page is just a technical consideration that no user would call it that. Users are like; I go to the web app. I like that it has URLs. Those seem different to me. Anyway, this is my hill. I'm going to die on it. But then the speaker in the video, in contrast to single-page app referenced multi-page app, and I was like, oh, come on, come on. I get it. Like, yes, there are just balls of JavaScript that you can download on the internet and have a dynamic graphics editor. But I think almost all good things on the web should have URLs, and that's what I would call the multiple pages. But again, that's just me griping about some stuff. And to name it, I don't think I'm just griping for griping sake. Like, again, I like to think about things from the user perspective, and the URL being so important. And having worked with plenty of apps that are implemented in JavaScript and don't take the URL or the idea that we can have different routable resources seriously and everything is just one URL, that's a failure mode in my mind. We missed an opportunity here. So I think I'm saying a useful thing here and not just complaining on the internet. But with that, I will stop complaining on the internet and send it back over to you. What else is new in your world, Steph? STEPH: I do remember the first time that you griped about it, and you were griping about URLs. And there was a part of me that was like, what is he talking about? [laughter] And then over time, I was like, oh, I get it now as I started actually working more in that world. But it took me a little bit to really appreciate that gripe and where you're coming from. And I agree; I think you're coming from a reasonable place, not that I'm biased at all as your co-host, but you know. CHRIS: I really like the honest summary that you're giving of, like, honestly, the first time you said this, I let you go for a while, but I did not know what you were talking about. [laughs] And I was like, okay, good data point. I'm going to store that one away and think about it a bunch. But that's fine. I'm glad you're now hanging out with me still. [laughter] STEPH: Don't do that. Don't think about it a bunch. [laughs] Let's see, oh, something else that's going on in my world. I had a really fun pairing session with another thoughtboter where we were digging into query objects and essentially extracting some logic out of an ActiveRecord model and then giving that behavior its own space and elevated namespace in a query object. And one of the questions or one of the things that came up that we needed to incorporate was optional filters. So say if you are searching for a pizza place that's nearby and you provide a city, but you don't provide what's the optional zip code, then we want to make sure that we don't apply the zip code in the where clause because then you would return all the pizza places that have a nil zip code, and that's just not what you want. So we need to respect the fact that not all the filters need to be applied. And there are a couple of ways to go about it. And it was a fun journey to see the different ways that we could structure it. So one of the really good starting points is captured in a blog post by Derek Prior, which we'll include a link to in the show notes, and it's using yield_self for composable ActiveRecord relations. But essentially, it starts out with an example where it shows that you're assigning a value to then the result of an if statement. So it's like, hey, if the zip code is present, then let's filter by zip code; if not, then just give us back the original relation. And then you can just keep building on it from there. And then there's a really nice implementation that Derek built on that then uses yield_self to pass the relation through, which then provides a really nice readability for as you are then stepping through each filter and which one should and shouldn't be applied. And now there's another blog post, and this one's written by Thiago Silva, A Case for Query Objects in Rails. And this one highlighted an approach that I haven't used before. And I initially had some mixed feelings about it. But this approach uses the extending method, which is a method that's on ActiveRecord query methods. And it's used to extend the scope with additional methods. You can either do this by providing the name of a module or by providing a block. It's only going to apply to that instance or to that specific scope when you're using it. So it's not going to be like you're running an include or something like that where all instances are going to now have access to these methods. So by using that method, extending, then you can create a module that says, "Hey, I want to create this by zip code filter that will then check if we have a zip code, let's apply it, if not, return the relation. And it also creates a really pretty chaining experience of like, here's my original class name. Let's extend with these specific scopes, and then we can say by zip code, by pizza topping, whatever else it is that we're looking to filter by. And I was initially...I saw the extending, and it made me nervous because I was like, oh, what all does this apply to? And is it going to impact anything outside of this class? But the more I've looked at it, the more I really like it. So I think you've seen this blog post too. And I'm curious, what are your thoughts about this? CHRIS: I did see this blog post come through. I follow that thoughtbot blog real close because it turns out some of the best writing on the internet is on there. But I saw this...also, as an aside, I like that we've got two Derek Prior references in one episode. Let's see if we can go for three before the end. But one thing that did stand out to me in it is I have historically avoided scopes using scope like ActiveRecord macro thing. It's a class method, but like, it's magic. It does magic. And a while ago, class methods and scopes became roughly equivalent, not exactly equivalent, but close enough. And for me, I want to use methods because I know stuff about methods. I know about default arguments. And I know about all of these different subtleties because they're just methods at the end of the day, whereas scopes are special; they have certain behavior. And I've never really known of the behavior beyond the fact that they get implemented in a different way. And so I was never really sold on them. And they're different enough from methods, and I know methods well. So I'm like, let's use the normal stuff where we can. The one thing that's really interesting, though, is the returning nil that was mentioned in this blog post. If you return nil in a scope, it will handle that for you. Whereas all of my query objects have a like, well, if this thing applies, then scope dot or relation dot where blah, blah, blah, else return relation unchanged. And the fact that that natively exists within scope is interesting enough to make me reconsider my stance on scopes versus class methods. I think I'm still doing class method. But it is an interesting consideration that I was unaware of before. STEPH: Yeah, it's an interesting point. I hadn't really considered as much whether I'm defining a class-level method versus a scope in this particular case. And I also didn't realize that scopes handle that nil case for you. That was one of the other things that I learned by reading through this blog post. I was like, oh, that is a nicety. Like, that is something that I get for free. So I agree. I think this is one of those things that I like enough that I'd really like to try it out more and then see how it goes and start to incorporate it into my process. Because this feels like one of those common areas of where I get to it, and I'm like, how do I do this again? And yield_self was just complicated enough in terms of then using the fancy method method to then be able to call the method that I want that I was like, I don't remember how to do this. I had to look it up each time. But including this module with extending and then being able to use scopes that way feels like something that would be intuitive for me that then I could just pick up and run with each time. CHRIS: If it helps, you can use then instead of yield_self because we did upgrade our Ruby a while back to have that change. But I don't think that actually solves the thing that you're describing. I'd have liked the ampersand method and then simple method name magic incantation that is part of the thing that Derek wrote up. I do use it when I write query objects, but I have to think about it or look it up each time and be like, how do I do that? All right, that's how I do that. STEPH: Yeah, that's one of the things that I really appreciate is how often folks will go back and update blog posts, or they will add an addition to them to say, "Hey, there's something new that came out that then is still relevant to this topic." So then you can read through it and see the latest and the greatest. It's a really nice touch to a number of our blog posts. But yeah, that's what was on my mind regarding query objects. What else is going on in your world? CHRIS: I have this growing feeling that I don't quite know what to do with. I think I've talked about it across some of our conversations in the world of observability. But broadly, I'm starting to like...I feel like my brain has shifted, and I now see the world slightly differently, and I can't go back. But I also don't know how to stick the landing and complete this transition in my brain. So it's basically everything's an event stream; this feels true. That's life. The arrow of time goes in one direction as far as I understand it. And I'm now starting to see it manifest in the code that we're writing. Like, we have code to log things, and we have places where we want to log more intentionally. Then occasionally, we send stuff off to Sentry. And Sentry tells us when there are errors, that's great. But in a lot of places, we have both. Like, we will warn about something happening, and we'll send that to the logs because we want to have that in the logs, which is basically the whole history of what's happened. But we also have it in Sentry, but Sentry's version is just this expanded version that has a bunch more data about the user, and things, and the browser that they were in. But they're two variations on the same event. And then similarly, analytics is this, like, third leg of well, this thing happened, and we want to know about it in the context. And what's been really interesting is we're working with a tool called Customer.io, which is an omnichannel communication whiz-bang adventure. For us, it does email, SMS, and push notifications. And it's integrated into our segment pipeline, so events flow in, events and users essentially. So we have those two different primitives within it. And then within it, we can say like, when a user does X, then send them an email with this copy. As an aside, Customer.io is a fantastic platform. I'm super-duper impressed. We went through a search for a tool like it, and we ended up on a lot of sales demos with folks that were like, hey, so yeah, starting point is $25,000 per year. And, you know, we can talk about it, but it's only going to go up from there when we talk about it, just to be clear. And it's a year minimum contract, and you're going to love it. And we're like, you do have impressive platforms, but okay, that's a bunch. And then, we found Customer.io, and it's month-by-month pricing. And it had a surprisingly complete feature set. So overall, I've been super impressed with Customer.io and everything that they've afforded. But now that I'm seeing it, I kind of want to move everything into that world where like, Customer.io allows non-engineer team members to interact with that event stream and then make things happen. And that's what we're doing all the time. But I'm at that point where I think I see the thing that I want, but I have no idea how to get there. And it might not even be tractable either. There's the wonderful Turning the Database Inside Out talk, which describes how everything is an event stream. And what if we actually were to structure things that way and do materialized views on top of it? And the actual UI that you're looking at is a materialized view on top of the database, which is a materialized view on top of that event stream. So I'm mostly in this, like, I want to figure this out. I want to start to unify all this stuff. And analytics pipes to one tool that gets a version of this event stream, and our logs are just another, and our error system is another variation on it. But they're all sort of sampling from that one event stream. But I have no idea how to do that. And then when you have a database, then you're like, well, that's also just a static representation of a point in time, which is the opposite of an event stream. So what do you do there? So there are folks out there that are doing good thinking on this. So I'm going to keep my ear to the ground and try and see what's everybody thinking on this front? But I can't shake the feeling that there's something here that I'm missing that I want to stitch together. STEPH: I'm intrigued on how to take this further because everything you're saying resonates in terms of having these event streams that you're working with. But yet, I can't mentally replace that with the existing model that I have in my mind of where there are still certain ideas of records or things that exist in the world. And I want to encapsulate the data and store that in the database. And maybe I look it up based on when it happens; maybe I don't. Maybe I'm looking it up by something completely different. So yeah, I'm also intrigued by your thoughts, but I'm also not sure where to take it. Who are some of the folks that are doing some of the thinking in this area that you're interested in, or where might you look next? CHRIS: There's the Kafka world of we have an event log, and then we're processing on top of that, and we're building stream processing engines as the core. They seem to be closest to the Turning the Database Inside Out talk that I was thinking or that I mentioned earlier. There's also the idea of CRDTs, which are Conflict-free Replicated Data Types, which are really interesting. I see them used particularly in real-time application. So it's this other tool, but they are basically event logs. And then you can communicate them well and have two different people working on something collaboratively. And these event logs then have a natural way to come together and produce a common version of the document on either end. That's at least my loose understanding of it, but it seems like a variation on this theme. So I've been looking at that a little bit. But again, I can't see how to map that to like, but I know how to make a Rails app with a Postgres database. And I think I'm reasonably capable at it, or at least I've been able to produce things that are useful to humans using it. And so it feels like there is this pretty large gap. Because what makes sense in my head is if you follow this all the way, it fundamentally re-architects everything. And so that's A, scary, and B; I have no idea how to get there, but I am intrigued. Like, I feel like there's something there. There's also Datomic is the other thing that comes to mind, which is a database engine in the Clojure world that stores the versions of things over time; that idea of the user is active. It's like, well, yeah, but when were they not? That's an event. That transition is an event that Postgres does not maintain at this point. And so, all I know is that the user is active. Maybe I store a timestamp because I'm thinking proactively about this. But Datomic is like no, no, fundamentally, as a primitive in this database; that's how we organize and think about stuff. And I know I've talked about Datomic on here before. So I've circled around these ideas before. And I'm pretty sure I'm just going to spend a couple of minutes circling and then stop because I have no idea how to connect the dots. [laughs] But I want to figure this out. STEPH: I have not worked with Kafka. But one of the main benefits I understand with Kafka is that by storing everything as a stream, you're never going to lose like a message. So if you are sending a message to another system and then that message gets lost in transit, you don't actually know if it got acknowledged or what happened with it, and replaying is really hard. Where do you pick up again? While using something like Kafka, you know exactly what you sent last, and then you're not going to have that uncertainty as to what messages went through and which ones didn't. And then the ability to replay is so important. I'm curious, as you continue to explore this, do you have a particular pain point in mind that you'd like to see improve? Or is it more just like, this seems like a really cool, novel idea; how can I incorporate more of this into my world? CHRIS: I think it's the latter. But I think the thing that I keep feeling is we keep going back and re-instrumenting versions of this. We're adding more logging or more analytics events over the wire or other things. But then, as I send these analytics events over the wire, we have Mixpanel downstream as an analytics visualization and workflow tool or Customer.io. At this point, those applications, I think, have a richer understanding of our users than our core Rails app. And something about that feels wrong to me. We're also streaming everything that goes through segment to S3 because I had a realization of this a while back. I'm like, that event stream is very interesting. I don't want to lose it. I'm going to put it somewhere that I get to keep it. So even if we move off of either Mixpanel or Customer.io or any of those other platforms, we still have our data. That's our data, and we're going to hold on to it. But interestingly, Customer.io, when it sends a message, will push an event back into segments. So it's like doubly connected to segment, which is managing this sort of event bus of data. And so Mixpanel then gets an even richer set there, and the Rails app is like, I'm cool. I'm still hanging out, and I'm doing stuff; it's fine. But the fact that the Rails app is fundamentally less aware of the things that have happened is really interesting to me. And I am not running into issues with it, but I do feel odd about it. STEPH: That touched on a theme that is interesting to me, the idea that I hadn't really considered it in those terms. But yeah, our application provides the tool in which people can interact with. But then we outsource the behavior analysis of our users and understanding what that flow is and what they're going through. I hadn't really thought about those concrete terms and where someone else owns the behavior of our users, but yet we own all the interaction points. And then we really need both to then make decisions about features and things that we're building next. But that also feels like building a whole new product, that behavior analysis portion of it, so it's interesting. My consulting brain is going wild at the moment between like, yeah, it would be great to own that. But that the other time if there's this other service that has already built that product and they're doing it super well, then let's keep letting them manage that portion of our business until we really need to bring it in-house. Because then we need to incorporate it more into our application itself so then we can surface things to the user. That's the part where then I get really interested, or that's the pain point that I could see is if we wanted more of that behavior analysis, that then we want to surface that in the app, then always having to go to a third-party would start to feel tedious or could feel more brittle. CHRIS: Yeah, I'm definitely 100% on not rebuilding Mixpanel in our app and being okay with the fact that we're sending that. Again, the thing that I did to make myself feel better about this is stream the data to S3 so that I have a version of it. And if we want to rebuild the data warehouse down the road to build some sort of machine learning data pipeline thing, we've got some raw data to work with. But I'm noticing lots of places where we're transforming a side effect, a behavior that we have in the system to dispatching an event. And so right now, we have a bunch of stuff that we pipe over to Slack to inform our admin team, hey, this thing happened. You should probably intervene. But I'm looking at that, and we're doing it directly because we can control the message in Slack a little bit better. But I had this thought in the back of my mind; it's like, could we just send that as an event, and then some downstream tool can configure messages and alerts into Slack? Because then the admin team could actually instrument this themselves. And they could be like; we are no longer interested in this event. Users seem fine on that front. But we do care about this new event. And all we need to do as the engineering team is properly instrument all of that event stream tapping. Every event just needs to get piped over. And then lots of powerful tools downstream from that that can allow different consumers of that data to do things, and broadly, that dispatch events, consume them on the other side, do fun stuff. That's the story. That's the dream. But I don't know; I can't connect all the dots. It's probably going to take me a couple of weeks to connect all these dots, or maybe years, or maybe my entire career, something like that. But, I don't know, I'm going to keep trying. STEPH: This feels like a fun startup narrative, though, where you start by building the thing that people can interact with. As more people start to interact with it, how do we start giving more of our team the ability to then manage the product that then all of these users are interacting with? And then that's the part that you start optimizing for. So there are always different interesting bits when you talk about the different stages of Sagewell, and like, what's the thing you're optimizing for? And I'm sure it's still heavily users. But now there's also this addition of we are also optimizing for our team to now manage the product. CHRIS: Yes, you're 100%. You're spot on there. We have definitely joked internally about spinning out a small company to build this analytics alerting tool [laughs] but obviously not going to do that because that's a distraction. And it is interesting, like, we want to build for the users the best thing that we can and where the admin team fits within that. To me, they're very much customers of engineering. Our job is to build the thing for the users but also, to be honest, we have to build a thing for the admins to support the users and exactly where that falls. Like, you and I have talked a handful of times about maybe the admin isn't as polished in design as other things. But it's definitely tested because that's a critical part of how this application works. Maybe not directly for a user but one step removed for a user, so it matters. Absolutely we're writing tests to cover that behavior. And so yeah, those trade-offs are always interesting to me and exploring that space. But 100%: our admin team are core customers of the work that we're doing in engineering. And we try and stay very close and very friendly with them. STEPH: Yeah, I really appreciate how you're framing that. And I very much agree and believe with you that our admin users are incredibly important. CHRIS: Well, thank you. Yeah, we're trying over here. But yeah, I think I can wrap up that segment of me rambling about ideas that are half-formed in my mind but hopefully are directionally important. Anyway, what else is up with you? STEPH: So, not that long ago, I asked you a question around how the heck to manage themes that I have going on. So we've talked about lots of fun productivity things around managing to-dos, and emails, and all that stuff. And my latest one is thinking about, like, I have a theme that I want to focus on, maybe it's this week, maybe it's for a couple of months. And how do I capture that and surface it to myself and see that I'm making progress on that? And I don't have an answer to that. But I do have a theme that I wanted to share. And the one that I'm currently focused on is building up management skills and team lead skills. That is something that I'm focused on at the moment and partially because I was inspired to read the book Resilient Management written by Lara Hogan. And so I think that is what has really set the idea. But as I picked up the book, I was like, this is a really great book, and I'd really like to share some of this. And then so that grew into like, well, let's just go ahead and make this a theme where I'm learning this, and I'm sharing this with everyone else. So along that note, I figured I would share that here. So we use Basecamp at thoughtbot. And so, I've been sharing some Basecamp posts around what I'm learning in each chapter. But to bring some of that knowledge here as well, some of the cool stuff that I have learned so far...and this is just still very early on in the book. There are a couple of different topics that Laura covers in the first chapter, and one of them is humans' core needs at work. And then there's also the concept of meeting your team, some really good questions that you can ask during your first one-on-one to get to know the person that then you're going to be managing. The part that really resonated with me and something that I would like to then coach myself to try is helping the team get to know you. So as a manager, not only are you going out of your way to really get to know that person, but how are you then helping them get to know you as well? Because then that's really going to help set that relationship in regards of they know what kind of things that you're optimizing for. Maybe you're optimizing for a deadline, or for business goals, or maybe it's for transparency, or maybe it would be helpful to communicate to someone that you're managing to say, "Hey, I'm trying some new management techniques. Let me know how this goes." [chuckles] So there's a healthier relationship of not only are you learning them, but they're also learning you. So some of the questions that Laura includes as examples as something that you can share with your team is what do you optimize for in your role? So is it that you're optimizing for specific financial goals or building up teammates? Or maybe it's collaboration, so you're really looking for opportunities for people to pair together. What do you want your teammates to lean on you for? I really liked that question. Like, what are some of the areas that bring you joy or something that you feel really skilled in that then you want people to come to you for? Because that's something that before I was a manager...but it's just as you are growing as a developer, that's such a great question of like, what do you want to be known for? What do you want to be that thing that when people think of, they're like, oh, you should go see Chris about this, or you should go see Steph about this? And two other good questions include what are your work styles and preferences? And what management skills are you currently working on learning or improving? So I really like this concept of how can I share more of myself? And the great thing about this book that I'm learning too is while it is geared towards people that are managers, I think it's so wonderful for people who are non-managers or aspiring managers to read this as well because then it can help you manage whoever's managing you. So then that way, you can have some upward management. So we had recent conversations around when you are new to a team and getting used to a manager, or maybe if you're a junior, you have to take a lot of self-advocacy into your role to make sure things are going well. And I think this book does a really good job for people that are looking to not only manage others but also manage themselves and manage upward. So that's some of the journeys from the first chapter. I'll keep you posted on the other chapters as I'm learning more. And yeah, if anybody hasn't read this book or if you're interested, I highly recommend it. I'll make sure to include a link in the show notes. CHRIS: That was just the first chapter? STEPH: Yeah, that was just the first chapter. CHRIS: My goodness. STEPH: And I shortened it drastically. [laughs] CHRIS: Okay. All right, off to the races. But I think the summary that you gave there, particularly these are true when you're managing folks but also to manage yourself and to manage up, like, this is relevant to everyone in some capacity in some shape or form. And so that feels very true. STEPH: I will include one more fun aspect from the book, and that's circling back to the humans' core needs at work. And she references Paloma Medina, a coach, and trainer who came up with this acronym. The acronym is BICEPS, and it stands for belonging, improvement, choice, equality, predictability, and significance. And then details how each of those are important to us in our work and how when one of those feels threatened, then that can lead to some problems at work or just even in our personal life. But the fun example that she gave was not when there's a huge restructuring of the organization and things like that are going on as being the most concerning in terms of how many of these needs are going to be threatened or become vulnerable. But changing where someone sits at work can actually hit all of these, and it can threaten each of these needs. And it made me think, oh, cool, plus-one for being remote because we can sit wherever we want. [laughs] But that was a really fun example of how someone's needs at work, I mean, just moving their desk, which resonates, too, because I've heard that from other people. Some of the friends that I have that work in more of a People Ops role talk about when they had to shift people around how that caused so much grief. And they were just shocked that it caused so much grief. And this explains why that can be such a big deal. So that was a fun example to read through. CHRIS: I'm now having flashbacks to times where I was like, oh, I love my spot in the office. I love the people I'm sitting with. And then there was that day, and I had to move. Yeah, no, those were days. This is true. STEPH: It triggered all the core BICEPS, all the things that you need to work. It threatened all of them. Or it could have improved them; who knows? CHRIS: There were definitely those as well, yeah. Although I think it's harder to know that it's going to be great on the way in, so it's mostly negative. I think it has that weird bias because you're like, this was a thing, I knew it. I at least understood it. And then you're in a new space, and you're like, I don't know, is this going to be terrible or great? I mean, hopefully, it's only great because you work with great people, and it's a great office. [laughs] But, like, the unknown, you're moving into the unknown, and so I think it has an inherent at least questioning bias to it. STEPH: Agreed. On that note, shall we wrap up? CHRIS: Let's wrap up. The show notes for this episode can be found at bikeshed.fm. STEPH: This show is produced and edited by Mandy Moore. CHRIS: If you enjoyed listening, one really easy way to support the show is to leave us a quick rating or even a review on iTunes, as it really helps other folks find the show. STEPH: If you have any feedback for this or any of our other episodes, you can reach us at @_bikeshed or reach me on Twitter @SViccari. CHRIS: And I'm @christoomey. STEPH: Or you can reach us at hosts@bikeshed.fm via email. CHRIS: Thanks so much for listening to The Bike Shed, and we'll see you next week. ALL: Byeeeeeee!!!!!!! ANNOUNCER: This podcast was brought to you by thoughtbot. thoughtbot is your expert design and development partner. Let's make your product and team a success.

Cloud Accounting Podcast
Orphan 1040s

Cloud Accounting Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later May 20, 2022 67:23 Very Popular


SponsorsOnPay: https://www.cloudaccountingpodcast.promo/onpayFreshBooks: https://www.cloudaccountingpodcast.promo/freshbooksCanopy: https://www.cloudaccountingpodcast.promo/canopyNeed CPE? Subscribe to the Earmark Accounting Podcast: https://podcast.earmarkcpe.comGet CPE for listening to podcasts with Earmark CPE: https://earmarkcpeShow Notes2:57 – Tether (USDT) stablecoin drops below $1 peghttps://www.cnbc.com/2022/05/12/tether-usdt-stablecoin-drops-below-1-peg.html Bitcoin plunged to its lowest level since December 2020 as a cryptocurrency selloff gathered steamhttps://www.wsj.com/articles/bitcoin-falls-to-26-000-as-crypto-selloff-intensifies-11652340653 10:46 – Crypto investors likely pay less than half the taxes they owehttps://www.accountingtoday.com/articles/crypto-investors-are-likely-paying-less-than-half-the-taxes-they-owe 12:05 – Web3 accounting firm officially launches on Tactic.comhttps://domainnamewire.com/2022/05/09/web3-accounting-firm-officially-launches-on-tactic-com/ 22:59 – KPMG UK Somehow Won't Be Getting a Record Fine From the Financial Reporting Council For Carillion Messhttps://www.goingconcern.com/kpmg-uk-somehow-wont-be-getting-a-record-fine-from-the-frc-for-carillion-mess/ 25:22 – Listener mail from Chris – Thank you! 35:22 – Logan Graf YouTube Video – How Much Money I made In 2021 As A First Year CPA Firm Ownerhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIcH2Zv_JyE 38:38 – Listener mail from Tyler – Thank you! 41:20 – Listener mail from Sarah – Thank you! 45:26 – IRS destroyed 30M paper information returns due to backloghttps://www.accountingtoday.com/news/irs-destroyed-30m-paper-information-returns-due-to-backlog Report: IRS Destroyed 30 Million Paper Tax Documentshttps://www.cpapracticeadvisor.com/tax-compliance/news/21267104/report-irs-destroyed-30-million-paper-tax-documents 51:08 – Rippling raises $250M in series D fundinghttps://www.rippling.com/blog/rippling-raises-250m-in-series-d-funding 53:40 – Fueled by the remote work revolution, Deel more than doubles valuation to $12B with new raise – TechCrunchhttps://techcrunch.com/2022/05/11/fueled-by-the-remote-work-revolution-deel-more-than-doubles-valuation-to-12b-with-new-raise/ 55:08 – Deluxe Announces Collaboration with Codat to Embed Accounting Integrations Directly into Deluxe Payroll + HR Solutions Platformhttps://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20220510005018/en/Deluxe-Announces-Collaboration-with-Codat-to-Embed-Accounting-Integrations-Directly-into-Deluxe-Payroll-HR-Solutions-Platform 57:18 - Avalara releases tax compliance automation tool for property managershttps://www.accountingtoday.com/news/avalara-releases-tax-compliance-automation-tool-for-property-managers 58:06 – Xero's full year 2022 financial resultshttps://www.xero.com/blog/2022/05/full-year-2022-financial-results/ 59:06 – Millions of Americans May Qualify for Free Broadband Internet Programhttps://www.cpapracticeadvisor.com/tax-compliance/news/21267032/millions-of-americans-may-qualify-for-free-broadband-internet-programGet in TouchThanks for listening and for the great reviews! We appreciate you! Follow and tweet @BlakeTOliver and @DavidLeary. Find us on Facebook and, if you like what you hear, please do us a favor and write a review on iTunes, or Podchaser. Interested in sponsoring the Cloud Accounting Podcast? For details, read the prospectus, and NOW, you can see our smiling faces on Instagram! You can now call us and leave a voicemail, maybe we'll play it on the show. DIAL (202) 695-1040Need Accounting Conference Info? Check out our new website - accountingconferences.comLimited edition shirts, stickers, and other necessitiesTeePublic Store: http://cloudacctpod.link/merchSubscribe Apple Podcasts: http://cloudacctpod.link/ApplePodcasts Podchaser: http://cloudacctpod.link/podchaser Spotify: http://cloudacctpod.link/Spotify Stitcher: http://cloudacctpod.link/Stitcher Overcast: http://cloudacctpod.link/Overcast ClassifiedsFuture Firm: futurefirmaccelerate.comGetW9: getw9.taxAdvisors for Change: https://www.advisorsforchange.comOh My Fraud: A True Crime Podcast for Accountants: ohmyfraud.comWant to get the word out about your newsletter, webinar, party, Facebook group, podcast, e-book, job posting, or that fancy Excel macro you just created? Why not let the listeners of The Cloud Accounting Podcast know by running a classified ad? Hit the link below to get more info.Go here to create your classified ad: https://cloudacctpod.link/RunClassifiedAd Full Transcript Available Upon Request - info@cloudaccountingpodcast.com

The Bike Shed
338: Meticulously Wrong

The Bike Shed

Play Episode Listen Later May 17, 2022 45:52


Chris switched from Trello over to Linear for product management and talks about prioritizing backlogs. Steph shares and discusses a tweet from Curtis Einsmann that super resonated with the work she's doing right now: "In software engineering, rabbit holes are inevitable. You will research libraries and not use them. You'll write code just to delete it. This isn't a waste; sometimes, you need to go down a few wrong paths to get to the right one." This episode is brought to you by BuildPulse (https://buildpulse.io/bikeshed). Start your 14-day free trial of BuildPulse today. Linear (https://linear.app/) Curtis Einsmann Tweet (https://twitter.com/curtiseinsmann/status/1521451508943843329) Louie Bacaj Tweet (https://twitter.com/LBacaj/status/1478241322637033474?s=20) Become a Sponsor (https://thoughtbot.com/sponsorship) of The Bike Shed! Transcript: AD: Flaky tests take the joy out of programming. You push up some code, wait for the tests to run, and the build fails because of a test that has nothing to do with your change. So you click rebuild and you wait. Again. And you hope you're lucky enough to get a passing build this time. Flaky tests slow everyone down, break your flow and make things downright miserable. In a perfect world, tests would only break if there's a legitimate problem that would impact production. They'd fail immediately and consistently, not intermittently. But the world's not perfect, and flaky tests will happen, and you don't have time to fix them all today. So how do you know where to start? BuildPulse automatically detects and tracks your team's flaky tests. Better still, it pinpoints the ones that are disrupting your team the most. With this list of top offenders, you'll know exactly where to focus your effort for maximum impact on making your builds more stable. In fact, the team at Codecademy was able to identify their flakiest tests with BuildPulse in just a few days. By focusing on those tests first, they reduced their flaky builds by more than 68% in less than a month! And you can do the same because BuildPulse integrates with the tools you're already using. It supports all the major CI systems, including CircleCI, GitHub Actions, Jenkins, and others. And it analyzes test results for all popular test frameworks and programming languages, like RSpec, Jest, Go, pytest, PHPUnit, and more. So stop letting flaky tests slow you down. Start your 14-day free trial of BuildPulse today. To learn more, visit buildpulse.io/bikeshed. That's buildpulse.io/bikeshed. CHRIS: Good morning, and welcome to Tech Talk with Steph and Chris. Today at the top of the hour, it's tech traffic hits. STEPH: Ooh, tech traffic. [laughs] I like that statement. CHRIS: Yeah. The Git lanes are clogged up with...I don't know. I got nothing. STEPH: [laughs] Hello and welcome to another episode of The Bike Shed, a weekly podcast from your friends at thoughtbot about developing great software. I'm Steph Viccari. CHRIS: And I'm Chris Toomey. STEPH: And together, we're here to share a bit of what we've learned along the way. So, hey, Chris, what's new in your world? CHRIS: What's new in my world? Actually, I have a specific new thing that I can share, which is, as of the past week, I would say, switched from Trello over to Linear for product management. It's been great. It was a super straightforward transfer. They actually had an importer. We lost some of the comment threads on the Trello cards. But that was easy enough to like each Linear ticket has a link back to Trello. So it's easy enough to keep the continuity. But yeah, we're in a whole new world, a system actually built for maintaining a product backlog, and, man, it shows. Trello was a bunch of lists and cards and stuff that you could link between, which was cool. But Linear is just much more purpose-built and already very, very nice. And we're very happy with the switch. STEPH: I feel like you came in real casual with that news, but that is big news, that you did a switch. [laughter] CHRIS: How are you going to bury the lead like that? You switched project management...[laughter] I actually didn't think it was...I'm excited about it but low-key excited, which is weird because I do like productivity and task management software. So you would think I would be really excited about this. But I've also tried enough of them historically to know that that's never going to be the thing that actually makes or breaks your team's productivity. It can make things worse, but it can't make you great. That's the thing that I believe. And so it's a wonderful piece of software. I'm very excited about it but -- STEPH: Ooh, I like that. It can make you worse, but it doesn't make you great. That's so true, yeah, where it causes pain. Well, and it does make sense. You've been complaining a bit about the whole login with Trello and how that's been frustrating. But I haven't even heard of Linear. That's just...that's, I mean, you're just doing what you do where you bring that new-new. I haven't heard of Linear before. CHRIS: I try to live on the cutting edge. Actually, I deeply try to not live on the cutting edge at this point in my life. That early adopter wave, no, no, no, that's not for me anymore. But I've known a few folks who've moved to Linear. And everyone that I've spoken to who has moved to it has been like, "Yeah, it's been great." I've not heard anything negative. And I've heard or experienced negative things about every other product management tool out there. And so, it seemed like an easy thing. And it was a low-cost enough switch in terms of opportunity costs or the like, it took the effort of someone on our team moving those cards over and setting up the new system and training, but it was relatively straightforward. And yeah, we're super happy with it. And it feels different now. I feel like I can see the work in a different way which is interesting. I think we had brought in a Chrome extension for Trello. I think it's like Hello Epics or something like that that allows...it abuses the card linking functionality in Trello and repurchases that feature as an epic management thing. But it's quarter-baked is how I would describe it, or it's clearly built on top of existing things that were not intended to be used exactly in that way. So it does a great job. Hello Epics does a great job of trying to make something like parent-child list management stuff happen in Trello. But it's always going feel like an afterthought, a secondary feature, something that's bolted on. Whereas in Linear, it's like, no, no, we absolutely have the idea of projects, of course, and you can see burndown charts and things. And the thing that I do want to be careful about is not leaning too much into management. Linear has the idea of cycles or sprints, as many other folks think of them, or iterations or whatever you want to call them. But we've largely not been working in that mode. We've just continued to work through the next up list; that's it. The next up list should be prioritized and well defined at the top and roughly in priority order. So just pick up the next card and work on it. And we just do that every single day. And now we're in a piece of software that has the idea of cycles, and I'm like, oh, this is vaguely interesting. Do we want to do that? Oh, but if you're going to do that, you probably do some estimation, right? And I was like, oh no, now we're into a place that's...okay, I have feelings. I got to decide how to approach that. And so, I am intrigued. And I wonder if we could just say like ten carts that's how many come into a cycle, and that's it. And we use the loosest heuristics possible to define how we structure a cycle so that we don't fall into the trap of, oh, what's our roadmap going to look like six months from now? JK, what's anything going to look like six months from now? That's not a knowable fact. STEPH: I was just thinking where you said that you're moving into sprints or cycles, and then there's that push, well, now you got to estimate. And I just thought, do you? Do you have to estimate? [laughs] CHRIS: We need a burndown chart through 2024, and it must be meticulously accurate down to the hour. STEPH: I think meticulously wrong is how that goes. [laughs] CHRIS: Which is the best kind of wrong. If you're going to be wrong, be meticulous about it. STEPH: Be thorough about it. [laughs] Yeah, the team that I'm on right now, we have our bi-weekly planning, and we go through the board, and we pull stuff in. But there's never a discussion about estimation. And I hadn't really appreciated that until just now. How we don't think about how long is this going to take? We just talked about, well, what's in-flight? And how much work do people still have going on? And then here's the list of things we can pull in. But there's always a list that you can go back to. Like, it's very...we pull in the minimum and knowing that if we run out of work, there's another place to go where there's stuff that's organized. And I just love that cadence, that idea of like, let's not try to make guesses about the future; let's just have it lined up and ready for us to go when we're ready to pull it in. Although I know, that's also coming from a very developer's perspective, and there are product managers who are trying to communicate as to when features are going to get out into the world. So I get that there's a balance, but I still have strong feelings and hesitations around estimating work. CHRIS: Well, I feel like there is a balance there. And so many things in history are like, well, this is an overcorrection against that, and that's an overcorrection against this. And the idea that we can estimate our work that far out into the future that's just obviously false to me based on every project I've ever worked on that has tried to do it. And it has always failed without question. But critically, there is the necessity to sync up work and like, oh, marketing needs to plan the launch of this feature, and it's a critical one. What's it going to look like? When's it going to be ready? You know, we're trying to go for an event, it's not just know...we developers never estimate anything past the immediate moment where like, that's not acceptable. We got to find a middle ground here. But where that middle ground is, is interesting. And so, just operating in the sort of we do work as it comes up is the easiest thing because no one's lying about anything at that point. But sometimes you got to make some guesses and make some estimations. And then it gets into the murky area of I believe with 75% confidence that in three weeks, we will have this feature ready. But to be clear, I said with 75% confidence that means one-quarter of the time; we will not be there at that date. What does that mean? What does that failure mode look like? Let's talk about that. And can you have honest, open, transparent, useful conversations there? That's the space that it becomes more subtle if you need to do that. STEPH: You're reminding me of a conversation that I had with someone where they shared with me some very aggressive team goals. And it was a very friendly conversation. And they're like, "How do you feel about aggressive goals?" And I was like, "Well, it depends. How do you feel about aggressive failure?" Because then once I know where you stand there, then we can talk about aggressive goals. Now, if we're being aggressive, but then we fail to achieve that, and it's one of those, okay, we didn't meet the goal that we'd expected, but everything is fine, and it's not a big deal, then I am okay. Sure, let's shoot for the stars. But if it's one of those, we are communicating these goals to the outside world, and it's going to become incredibly important that we meet these goals, and if we don't, then things are going to go on fire, people are going to be in trouble, and it's just going to be awful, then let's not set aggressive goals. Let's not box ourselves into a space where we are setting ourselves up to fail or feel pain in a meaningful way. I agree that estimations are important, especially in terms of you need to collaborate with other departments, and then also just to provide some sense of where the product is headed and when things may be released. I think estimations then just become problematic when they do become definite, and they're based on so many unknowns, and then when I don't know is not an answer. So if someone asked, "What's your estimate for this?" And the very honest real answer is I don't know, like, we haven't done this type of work before, or these are all the unknowns, and then someone's like, "Well, let's just put an estimation of like two weeks on it," and they just sort of try to force-fit it into being what they want, then that's where it starts to just feel incredibly problematic. CHRIS: Yeah, estimation is a very murky area that we could spend entire episodes talking about, and in fact, I think we have a handful of times. So with that, Linear has been great. We're going to see just how much or how little estimation we actually want to do. But it's been a very nice addition to the toolset. And I'll let you know as we deepen our usage of it what the experience is like, but that's the main thing that's new in my world. What's new in your world? STEPH: Well, before we bounce over to my world, you said something that has intrigued me that has also made me start reflecting on some of the ways that I like to work. And you'd mentioned that you have this prioritized backlog that people are pulling tickets from. And I don't know exactly if there's a planning session or how that looks, but I have recognized that when I am working with a team, and we don't have any planning session, if everybody is just pulling from this backlog, that's being prioritized by someone on the team, that I find that a bit overwhelming. Because the types of work being done can vary so drastically that I find I'm less able to help my colleagues or my teammates because I don't have the context for what they're working on. It surprises me. I'm like, oh, I didn't even know we're working on that feature, or I don't have the context for what's the problem that we're trying to solve here. And it makes it just a lot harder to review and then have conversations with them. And I get overwhelmed in that environment. And I've recognized that about myself based on previous projects that were more similar to that versus if I'm on a project where the team does get together every so often, even if it's high level to be like, hey, here's the theme of the tickets that we're working on, or here's just some of the stuff, then I feel much more prepared for the work that is coming in and to be able to context switch and review. And yeah, so I've kind of learned that about myself. I'm curious, are you similar, or how does that work for you? CHRIS: I'm definitely similar. And I think probably the team is closer to what you're describing. So we do have a planning session every week, just a quick 30-minute scan through the backlog, look at the things that are coming up and also the larger themes. Previously, Epics and Trello now projects and Linear. But talking about what are the bigger pieces of work that we're moving on, and then what are the individual tickets associated with that that we'll be expecting to work on in the next week? And just making sure that everyone has broad clarity around what that feature set is. Also, we're a very small team at this point. Still, we're four people total, but one of the developers is on a break for a couple of weeks this summer. And so there are really only three of us that are driving on the code. And so, with three of us working on the projects, we try very intentionally to have significant overlap between the various...like, we don't want any one person to own any portion of things at this point. And so we're doing a good amount of pairing to cross-pollinate and make sure everyone's...not everyone's aware of everything, but at least one other person is sufficiently aware of everything between the three of us. And I think that's been working well. I don't think we have any major gaps, save for the way that we're doing our mobile architecture that's largely managed by one of the developers on the team and a contractor that we're working with to help do a lot of the implementation. That's a known we chose to silo that thing. We've accepted the cost of that for now. And architecturally, the rest of us are aware of it, but we're not like in the Swift code writing anything because I don't know how to write Swift at this point. I'd love to learn it. I hear good things about the language. [12:26] So yeah, I think conceptually very similar to what you're describing of still want to have people be able to review. Like, I don't want to put up a PR and people be like, I don't know, that looks like code, I guess. I'm not sure what it does. Like, I want it to be very...I want us all to be roughly on the same page, and thus far, we are. As the team grows, that will become trickier to maintain because there are just inherently probably more things that are moving, more different feature areas and surface area that we're tackling in any given week, or there are different ways to approach that. I know you've talked about having a limited number of themes for a given cycle, so that's an idea that can pop up. But that's something that we'll figure out as we get further. I think I'm happy with where we're at right now, so yeah, that's the story there. STEPH: Okay, cool. Yeah, all of that resonates with me, and thinking about it a little more deeply in this moment, I'm realizing I think something you said helped me put this together where when I'm reviewing someone's change, I'm not necessarily just looking to see does your code work? I'm going to trust you that your code works. I may have thoughts about design and other things, but I really want to understand more what's the change to the product that we're making? What's the goal that we're looking to achieve? How are we measuring this? And so if I don't have that context, that's what contributes to that feeling of like, hard context switching of not just context switching, but now I have to level myself up to then understand the problem that's being solved by this. Versus had I known some of the themes going into that particular cycle or sprint, I would have felt far more prepared for that review session versus having to then dig through all the data and/or tickets or talk to someone. Well, switching back to what's going on in my world, I have a particular tweet that I want to share, and it's one that Joël Quenneville brought to my attention. And it just resonates so much with all the type of work that I'm doing right now. So I'm going to read the tweet, and then we'll link to it in the show notes as well. But it's from Curtis Einsmann, and Curtis wrote: "In software engineering, rabbit holes are inevitable. You will research libraries and not use them. You'll write code just to delete it. This isn't a waste; sometimes, you need to go down a few wrong paths to get to the right one." And that describes all the work that I'm doing right now. It's a lot of exploratory, a lot of data-driven work, and finding ways that we can reduce the time that it takes to run RSpec on CI. And it also ties in nicely to one of the things that I think we talked about last week, where we discovered that a number of files have a high runtime variance. And I've really dug into the data there to understand, okay, is it always specific files that have these high runtime variants? Are there any obvious contributions to what's causing this? Are we making real network calls that then could sometimes take a long time to return? And the result is there's nothing obvious. They're giant files. The number of SQL commands that are being run for each file varies drastically. They're all high, but it's still very different. There's no single fact about these files that has really been like, yes, this is what's causing these files to have such a runtime variance. And so while I've been in the data, I'm documenting it, and I'm making a list and putting it all together in a ticket so at least it's there to look at later. But I'm going to move on. It's one of those I would love to know what's causing this. I would love to address it because it would put us in an ideal state for how we're distributing tests, which would have a significant impact on our runtime. But it also feels a little bit like chasing my tail because I'm worried, like with some of the other experiments that we've done in the past where we've addressed tentpoles, that as soon as you address the issue for one or two files, then other files start having the same problem. And you're just going to continue to chase and chase, and I don't want to be in that. So upfront, this was one of those; hey, let's look at the data. If there's something obvious, let's address it; if not, move on. So I'm at that point today where I'm wrapping up all of that data, and then I'm going to move on, move on to the next thing. CHRIS: There's deep truth in that tweet that you shared at the start of this segment. The idea like if we knew the work that we had to do at the front, yeah, we would just do that, but often, we don't. And so, being able to not treat it as a failure when something doesn't work out is, I think, so critical. I think to expand on the idea just a tiny bit, the idea of the scientific method, failure is totally an option and is part of science. I remember watching MythBusters, and Adam Savage is just kind of like, "Failure is always an option," and highlighting that as part of it. Like, it's an outcome. You've learned something. You have a new data point. You can take that and then carry it forward with you. But it's rough in the moment. And so, I do think that this is a worthwhile thing to meditate on. And it's something that I've had to revisit a handful of times in my career of just like, man, I feel like I've just been spinning my tires all week. I'm like, we know what we want to get done, but just each approach I take isn't working for one reason or another. And then, finally, you get to the end. And then you've got this paragraph-long summary of all the things that didn't work in your PR and one-line change sort of thing. And those are painful, but they're part of the game. Like, that is unavoidable. I have not found a way to just know how to do the work upfront always. I would love that. I would sign up for whatever seminar was selling that. I wouldn't. I would know that that seminar is a lie, actually. But broadly, I'm intrigued by the idea if someone were selling that, I'd be like, well, I mean, pitch me on it. Tell me why I should believe you; I don't, just to be clear. But yeah. STEPH: This project has really helped me embrace always setting a goal or a question upfront about what I'm wanting to achieve or what I'm looking to answer because a number of times while Joël and I have been spelunking through data...And then so originally, with the saga, we started out with why doesn't our math match reality? We understand that if these tests are distributed perfectly across the CPUs, then that should cut the runtime in half. But yet, we weren't seeing that even though we had addressed the tentpoles. So we dug into understanding why. And the answer is because they're not perfectly distributed, and it's because of the runtime variance. And that was a critical moment to look back and say, "Did we achieve the goal?" Yes, we identified the problem. But once you see a problem, it's just so easy to dig in and keep going. It's like, well, now I want to know what's causing these files to have a runtime variance. But it's one of those we achieved our goal. We acknowledged upfront that we wanted to at least understand why. Let's make a second decision, do we keep going? And I'm at that point where, frankly, I probably dug in a little more than I should because I'm stubborn. But I'm recognizing that now's the time to back away and then go back and move on to the next high-priority item, which is converting for funsies; I'll share. The next thing is converting Test::Unit test over to RSpec because we have, I think, around 25 tests that are written in Test::Unit. And we want to move them over to RSpec because that particular just step in the build process takes a good three to four minutes. And part of that is just booting up Rails and then running the tests very fast. And we're underutilizing the machine that's running them because it's only 25 tests, but there are 86 CPUs to run it. So we'd really like to combine those 25 tests with the rest of the RSpec suite and drop that step. So then that should add minimal time to the overall build but then should take us down at least a couple of minutes. And then also makes it easier to manage and help folks so that way, there's one consistent testing framework that's in use versus having to manage some of these older tests. CHRIS: It's funny; I think it was just two episodes back where we talked about why RSpec, and I think both of us were just like, well yeah. But I mean, if there are tests and another, like, it's fine, you just leave them with the exception that if there's like 2% of our tests are in Test::Unit, and everything else is in RSpec, yeah, maybe that that conversion efforts seem totally worth it. But again, I think as you're describing that, what I'm hearing is just like the scientific method, just being somewhat structured in the approach to what's the hypothesis? And what's the procedure we're going to use to determine if that hypothesis is true or false? And then what do we do? And then what are the results? And then you just do that on loop. But being not just sort of exploring. Sometimes you have to be on exploratory mode. But I definitely find that that tiny bit of rigor of just like, wait, okay, before I actually do anything, what do I think is going on here? What's my guess? And then, okay, if that guess were true, what would I be able to observe in the world? Okay, here we go. And just that tiny bit of structure is so...it sometimes feels highly formal to go into that mode and be like, no, no, no, let me take a step back. Let me write down my thoughts. I'm going to have a little checklist and do the thing. But I've never regretted doing it. I will say that. I have deeply regretted not doing it. I feel like I should make a list of things that fit that structure. I've never regretted committing in Git ever. That's been great. I've always been able to unwind it, but I've never been able to not unwind it or the opposite. I've regretted not committing. I have not regretted committing. I have regretted not writing out my hypothesis or approach. I have not regretted doing it. And so, yeah, this feels like it falls firmly in that category of like, it's worth just a tiny bit of structure. There's a reason it is the scientific method. STEPH: Yeah, I agree. I've not regretted documenting upfront what it is I look to achieve and how I think I'm going to answer the question. That has been immensely helpful. Because then I also forget, like, two weeks ago, I'll be like, wasn't there a question around why this was happening, and I need to understand? And all of that was so context-heavy that as soon as I'm out of the thick of it, I completely forget it. So if I care about it deeply or if I want to be able to revisit it, then I need to document it for myself. It's given me a lot of empathy for people who do more scientific research around, oh my gosh, like, you have to document everything you do and then still be able to prove it five years from now or however long. I'm just throwing out numbers. And it needs to be organized enough that someone, if they do question your research that, then you have it there. My research documents would not withstand scrutiny at this point because they are still just more personal notes. But yes, it's given me a lot of empathy and respect for people who do run very serious research, experiments, and trials, and then have to be able to prove it to the world. Pivoting just a bit, there's a particular topic that resonated with both you and I; in fact, it's a particular tweet. And, Louie, I do apologize if I mispronounce your last name, but Louie Bacaj. And we'll include a link in the show notes to the tweet, but Louis shared, "I managed multiple engineering teams before quitting tech. Now that I quit, I can speak freely. Here are 12 things your manager may not be telling you, but I know for a fact will help you." So there are a number of interesting discussions and comments that are in this thread. The one thing in particular that really caught my attention is number 10, and it's "Advocate for junior developers." So they said that their friend reminded them that just because you don't have 10-plus years of experience does not mean that they won't be good. Without junior engineers on the team, no one will grow. Help others grow; you'll grow too. And that's the part that I love so much is that without junior engineers on the team, no one will grow because that was very thought-provoking for me. It's something that I find that I agree with deeply, but I hadn't really considered why I agree with that so much. So I'm excited to dive into that topic with you. And then, as a second topic to go along with that is, can juniors start with a remote team? I think that's one of the other questions when you and I were chatting about this. And I'm intrigued to hear your thoughts. CHRIS: A bunch of stuff there. Starting with the tweet, I love elements of this. Some of it feels like it's intentionally somewhat provocative. So like, without junior engineers on the team, no one will grow. That feels maybe a little bit past the bar because I think we can technically grow, and we can build things and whatnot. But I think what feels deeply true to me is truly help others grow; you'll grow too. The act of mentoring, of guiding, of training, of helping someone on their journey will inherently help you grow and, I think, change the way that you think about the work. I think the beginner mind, the earlier in the career folks coming into a codebase, they will see things fundamentally differently in a really useful way. It's possible that along your career, you've just internalized things. You've been like, yeah, no, that was weird. But then I smashed my head against it for a while, and now I understand this thing. And it just makes sense to me. But it's like, that thing actually doesn't make sense. You have warped your mind to match the thing, not, quote, unquote, "come to understand it." This is sounding too judgmental to people who've been in the industry for a while, but I found this of myself. Or I can just take for granted things that took a long time to adapt my head to, and if anything, maybe I should have pushed back a little more. And so, I find that junior engineers can be a really fantastic lens for the complexity of a project. Like, the world is truly a complex place, and that's just true. But our job as software engineers is to tame that complexity and manage it. And so, I love the mindset that can come or the conversations that can come out of that. And it's much like test-driven development is a pressure on the complexity of your code, having junior engineers join the team and needing to explain how all of the different features work, and what the overall architecture is, and the message passing under this and that, it's a really useful conversation to have. And so that "Help others grow; you'll grow too" feels deeply, deeply true to me. STEPH: Yeah, I couldn't agree more in regards to how juniors really help our team and especially, as you mentioned, with complexity and ¬having those conversations. Some of the other things that have come to mind for me as well around the importance of having junior developers on your team...and maybe it's not specifically they're junior developers but that you just have a variety of experience on your team. It's going to help you lean into a culture of learning because you have people that are at different stages of their career. And so you want an environment where people can learn together, that they can fail together, and they can be public about it. And having people that are at different stages of their career will lead, well, at least ideally, it'll lead to more pair programming. It's going to lead to more productive code reviews because then people can ask more questions around why did you choose this, or why are you doing that? Versus if everybody is at the same level, then they may just intuitively have reasons that they think someone did something. But it takes someone that's a bit new to say, "Hey, why did you choose this?" or to bring up some other ideas or ways that they could pursue it. They may bring in new ideas for, like, why has the team always done something this way? Let's think about new ways that we could do this. Or maybe this is really unfriendly, the way that we're doing this, not just for junior people but for people that are new to the team. And then there's typically less knowledge siloing because then you're going to want to pair the newer folks with the more experienced folks. So that way, you don't have this more senior developer who's then off in a corner working by themselves. And it's going to improve your communication skills. There's just...I realized I'm just rambling because I feel like there are so many benefits that go along with having a variety of people on your team, especially in terms of experience. And that just leads to such a better learning environment and, ultimately, better software and better products. And yet, I find that so many companies won't embrace people that are newer to software. They always want the senior developers. They want the 10x-er or whatever those are. They want the people that have many, many years of experience. And there's so much value that comes from mentoring the next group of developers. And it's incredibly frustrating to me that one, companies often aren't open to it. But honestly, more than that, as long as you're upfront and honest about like, hey, this is the team that we need right now to build what we're looking to build, I can get past that; I can understand that. But please don't then mislead people and say that you're a junior-friendly team, and then not be prepared. I feel like some teams will go so far as to say, "Yes, we are junior-friendly," and they may even tweak their interview process to where it is a bit more junior-friendly. But then, by the time that person joins the team, they're really not prepared. They don't have an onboarding plan. They don't have a mentorship plan. And then they fail that person because that person has worked hard to get there. And they've worked hard to bring that person onto the team, but then they don't have a plan from there. And I've seen it too many times. And it just frustrates me so much because it puts that junior person in such a vulnerable state where they really have to be an incredible self-advocate to then overcome those hurdles from a lack of preparation on that company's part. Okay, I think that's my event. I'm sure I could vent about this a lot more, but I will cut it off there. That's the heart of it. CHRIS: I do think, like, with anything else, it's something that we have to be intentional about. And so what you're saying of like, yeah, we're a junior-friendly company, but then you're just hiring folks, trying to find folks that may work at a slightly lower pay grade, and that's what that means to you. So like, no, no, that's not what this is. This needs to be something different. We need to have a structure and an organization that can support folks at different points in their career. But it's interesting to me to think about the sort of why of it. And the earlier part of this conversation, we talked about some of the benefits that can come organizationally from it, and I do sincerely believe in that. But I also believe that it is fundamentally one of the best ways to find really talented people early on in their career and be in a position to hire them where maybe later on in their career, that just wouldn't happen naturally. And I've seen this play out in a number of organizations. I went to Northeastern University for my college, and Northeastern is famous for the co-op program. Northeastern sounds really fancy. Now I learned that they have like a 7% acceptance rate for college applications right now, which is wildly low. When I went to Northeastern, it was not so fancy. So just in case anyone's hearing that and they're like, "Oh, Northeastern, wow." I'm not that fancy. [laughs] But they did have the co-op then, and they still have it now. And the co-op really is a differentiating thing. You do three six-month rotations. And it is this fundamental differentiator in terms of when you're graduating. Particularly, I was in mechanical engineering. I came out, and I actually knew what that meant in the world. And I'd used Outlook, and I knew what a water cooler was and how to talk near one because that's a critical thing to learn in the world. And really transformative experience for me. But also, a thing that I observed was many of my friends ended up working at companies that they had co-opted for. I'm one of those people. I would say more than 50% of my friends ended up with a position at a company that they had done a co-op rotation with. And it really worked out fantastically. That organization and the individual got to try things out, experience. And then, I ended up staying at that company for a number of years, and it was a wonderful experience. But I don't know that I would have ended up there otherwise. That's not necessarily the way that would have played out. And similarly like, thoughtbot has the apprenticeship. And I have seen so many wonderful developers start at that very early point in their career. And there was this wonderful structure around them joining the thoughtbot team, intentional, structured, supported. And then those folks went on to be some of the most talented developers that I've ever worked with at a wonderfully talented organization. And so the story of like, you should do this, organizations. This is a thing that you should invest in for yourself, not just for the individual, like, for both. Everybody wins in this case, in my mind. I will say, though, in terms of transparency, I currently manage a team of three developers. And we hired very intentionally for senior folks this early on in where we're at. And that was an intentional choice because I do believe that if you're going to be hiring more junior developers, that needs to be something that you do very intentionally, that you have a support structure in place, that you're able to invest the time in where they're at and make sure we have sort of... I think a larger team makes more sense to bring juniors into broadly. That's the thing that I'm saying out loud that I'm like, I should push on that a little bit. Is that true? Do I really believe that? But I think so, my actions obviously point to it. But it is an interesting trade-off space of how do you think about that? My hope is that as we grow as an organization, that we would then very intentionally start hiring folks in a more junior, mid-level to junior and be very intentional about how we support them, bring them into the organization, et cetera. I do believe it is a win-win situation for everyone when done with intention and with focus. STEPH: That's such an interesting bit that you just said because I very much appreciate when companies recognize do we have the bandwidth to support someone that's more junior? Because at thoughtbot, we go through periods where we don't have our apprenticeship that's open because we recognize we're not in a place that we can support someone. And we don't want to bring someone in unless we can help them be successful. I very much admire that and appreciate that about companies when they can perform that self-assessment. I am so intrigued. You'd mentioned being a smaller team. So you more intentionally hire senior developers. And I think that also makes sense because then you need to build up who's going to be in that mentorship pool? Because then people could leave, people could take vacations, and so then you need to have that support system in place. But yeah, I don't know what that then perfect balance is. It's like, okay, so then as soon as you have like five people available to mentor or interested in mentorship, it's like, then do you start bringing in the conversation of like, let's bring in someone that we can help build up and help them be successful and join our team? And I don't know what that magical number is. I do think it's important for teams to reflect to say, "Can we take on someone that's junior?" All the benefits of having someone that's junior. And then just being very honest and then having a plan for once that junior person does arrive. What does their career path look like while they've joined that team, and who's going to be that person that's going to help them level up? So not only make that choice upfront of yes, we are bringing someone on but let's also think about like the first six months of their work here at the company and what that's going to look like. It feels like an important step that a lot of companies fail to do. And I think that's why there are so many articles that then are like, hey, if you're a junior dev, here's all the things that you should do to be the best junior dev. That's fabulous. And we're constantly shoring up junior devs to be like, hey, here's all the things that you need to be great at. But we don't have as many conversations around; hey, here's all the things that your manager or the rest of your team should be great at to then support you equally as you are also doing your best to meet them. Like, they need to meet you halfway. And I'm not completely unsympathetic to the plight; I understand. It's often where I've seen with teams the more senior developers that have very strong mentorship communication skills are then also the teammates that get pulled into all the meetings and all the different projects, so then they are less available to be that mentor. And then that's how this often fails. So I don't think anybody is going into this intentionally, but yet, it's what happens for when someone is new and joining a team, and it hasn't been determined the next six months what that person's onboarding and career path looks like. Circling back just a bit, there's the question around, can juniors start with a remote team? I can go first. And I'm going to say unequivocally yes. There's no reason a junior can't start with a remote team. Because all the things that I feel strongly about come down to how is your team going to plan for this person? And how are they going to support this person? And all the benefits that you get from being in an office with a team, I think those do exist. And frankly, for someone like myself, it can be easier to establish a bond with someone that you get to see each day, get to see in person. You can walk up to their desk and can say, "Hey, I've got a question for you." But I think all those benefits just need to be transferred into a remote-friendly way. So I think it does ratchet up how intentional you have to be with your team and then onboarding a junior developer. But I absolutely think it's doable, and we should do it. CHRIS: You went with unequivocally yes as your answer. I'm going to go with a qualified maybe as my answer. I want this to be true, and I think it can be true. But I think it takes all the more intentionality than even what we've been describing. To shift the question around a little bit, what does remote work mean? It doesn't just mean we're doing the work, but we're separate. I think remote work inherently is at its best when we also are largely async first. And so that means more structured writing. The nature of the conversation tends to be more well-formed in each interaction. So it's like I read a big document, and then I pass it over to you. And at your leisure, you respond to it with a bunch of notes, and then it comes back to me. And I think that mode of interaction, while absolutely wonderful and something that I love, I think it fits really well when you're a little bit further on in your career when you understand things a little bit better. And I think the dance of conversation is more useful earlier on and so forth. And so, for someone who's newer to a team, I think having the ability to ask a quick question over and over is really useful to someone who's early on in their career. And remote, again, I think it's at its best when it's async. And those two are sort of at odds. And so it's that mild tension that gives me pause of like, something that I think that makes remote work great I do think is at least a hurdle that you would have to get over in supporting someone who's a little bit newer. Because I want to be deeply present for someone who's newer to their journey so that they can ask a lot of questions so that I am available to be interrupted regularly. I loved at thoughtbot sitting next to someone and being their mentor and being like, yeah, anytime you want, just tap on my desk. If I got my headphones on, that doesn't mean I'm ignoring you; it means I just need to make the sounds go away for a minute because that's the only way my brain will work. But feel free to just tap on my desk or whatever and grab my attention for a moment. And I'm available for that. That's an intentional choice. That's breaking up my continuity of the day, but we're choosing that for a reason. I think that's just a little harder to do in a remote context and all the more so if we're saying, hey, we're going to try this async thing where we write structured documents, and we communicate in these larger, more well-formed, communicates back and forth. But I do believe it can be done. I think it should be done. I just think it's all the harder for all of those reasons. STEPH: I agree that definitely makes it harder. But I'm going to push a little bit and say that when you mentioned being deeply present, I think we can be deeply present with someone and be remote. We can reduce the async requirements. So if you are someone that is more senior or more accustomed to the team, you can fall back to more of those async ways to communicate. But if someone is new, and needs more mentorship, then let's just set up time where we're going to literally hang out for a couple of hours each day or whatever pairing environment works best for them because pairing can also be exhausting. But hey, we're going to have a check-in each day; maybe we close out each day and touchpoint. And feel free to still message me and interrupt me. Like, you're going to just heighten your availability, even though it is remote. And be aware, like, hey, this person could message me at more times, and I'm okay with that. I have opted into this form of communication. So I think we just take that mindset of, hey, there's this person next to me, and I'm their mentor to like, hey, they're not next to me, but I'm still their mentor, and I'm still here for them. So I agree that it's harder. I think it falls on us and the team and the mentors to change ourselves versus saying to juniors, "Hey, sorry, it's remote. That's not going to work for you." It totally works for them. It's us, the mentors, that need to figure out how to make it work. I will say being on that mentor side that then not being able to see someone so if they are next to me, I can pick up on body language and facial expressions, and I can tell when somebody's stuck. And I can see that they're frustrated, or I can see that now's a good time for me to just be like, "Hey, how's it going? What are you working on? Or do you need help with something?" And I don't have that insight when I'm away. So there are real challenges like that that I don't know how to address. I have gone the obnoxious route [laughs] where I just message people, and I'm like, "Hey, how's it going? How's it going? How's it going?" And I try not to do that too much. But I haven't found a better way to manage that other than to constantly check in because I do have less feedback from that person that I'm working with unless they are just incredibly open about sharing when they're stuck. But typically, when you're newer to a team or newer to a career, you're going to be less willing to share when you're stuck. But yeah, there are some real challenges, but I still think it's something for us to figure out. Because otherwise, if we cut off access for remote teams to junior folks, I mean, that's where we're headed. There are so many companies and jobs that are headed remote that not being junior friendly and being remote in my mind is just not an option. It's something that we need to figure out. And it's hard, but we need to figure it out. CHRIS: Yeah, 100% on we need to figure that out and that that's on us as the people managing and structuring and bringing folks into teams. I think my stance would be like, let's just be clear that this is hard. It takes effort to make sure that we've provided a structure in which someone newer to a team can be successful. It takes all the more effort to do so in a remote context, I think. And it's that recognition that I think is critical. Because if we go into this with the wrong mindset, it's like, oh yeah, it's great. We got this new person on the team. And yeah, they should be ready to go in like two weeks, right? It's like, no, no, this is a different thing. We need to be very clear about it. This is going to require that we have someone who is able to work with them and support them in this. And that means that that person's output will likely be a little bit reduced for the period of time that we're talking about. But we're playing a long game here. Let's make sure we're clear on that. This is intentional. And let's be clear, the world of hiring and software right now it's not like super easy. There aren't way more software developers than there are jobs; at least, that's been my experience. So this is something absolutely worth investing in for just core business reasons and also good for people. So hey, it's a win-win. Let's do it. Let's figure it out. But also, let's be clear that it's going to be a little tricky along the way. So, you know, let's be intentional about that. But yeah, obviously do it, got to do it. STEPH: Wait, so I feel like we might have circled back to unequivocally yes. [laughs] Have we gotten there, or are you still on the fence? CHRIS: I was unequivocally yes from the beginning, but I couched it in, but...yeah, I said other things. You're right. I have now come around; let's say to unequivocally yes. STEPH: [laughs] Cool. I don't want to feel like I'm forcing you to agree with me. [laughs] But I mean, we just so rarely disagree. So we've either got to identify this as something that we disagree on, which would be one of those rare occasions like beer and Pop-Tarts. CHRIS: A watershed moment. Beer and Pop-Tarts. STEPH: Yeah, those are the only two so far. [laughter] CHRIS: Not together also. I just want to go on record beer and Pop-Tarts; I don't think would be...anyway. STEPH: Ooh, I don't know. It could work. It could work. CHRIS: Well, there's another thing we disagree on. STEPH: I would not turn it down. If I was eating a Pop-Tart, and you're like, "Hey, you want a beer?" I'd be like, "Sure," vice versa. I'm drinking a beer. "Hey, you want a Pop-Tart?" "Totally." CHRIS: Okay. Well yeah, if I'm making bad decisions, I'm obviously going to chain them together, but that doesn't mean that they're a good decision. It's just a chain of bad decisions. STEPH: I feel like one true thing I know about you is that when you make a decision, you're going to lean into it. So like, this is why you are all about if you're going to have a Pop-Tart, you're going to have the highest sugary junk content Pop-Tart possible. So it makes sense to me. CHRIS: It's the Mountain Dew theorem, yeah. STEPH: I didn't know this had a theorem. The Mountain Dew theorem? CHRIS: No, that's just my name. Well, yeah, if I'm going to drink soda, I'm going to drink Mountain Dew, the nonsense nuclear option of soda. So yeah, I guess you're describing me, although as you say it back to me, I suddenly feel very, like, oh God, is this who I am as a person? [laughs] And I'm not going to say you're wrong. I'm just going to spend a little while thinking about some stuff. STEPH: I mean, you embrace it. I think that's lovely. You know what you want. It's like, all right, let's do this. Let's go all in. CHRIS: Thank you for finding a wonderfully positive way to frame it here at the end. But I think on that note, should we wrap up? STEPH: Let's wrap up. CHRIS: The show notes for this episode can be found at bikeshed.fm. STEPH: This show is produced and edited by Mandy Moore. CHRIS: If you enjoyed listening, one really easy way to support the show is to leave us a quick rating or even a review on iTunes, as it really helps other folks find the show. STEPH: If you have any feedback for this or any of our other episodes, you can reach us at @_bikeshed or reach me on Twitter @SViccari. CHRIS: And I'm @christoomey. STEPH: Or you can reach us at hosts@bikeshed.fm via email. CHRIS: Thanks so much for listening to The Bike Shed, and we'll see you next week. ALL: Byeeeeeeee!!!!!!!! ANNOUNCER: This podcast was brought to you by thoughtbot. thoughtbot is your expert design and development partner. Let's make your product and team a success.

The Bike Shed
333: Tapas

The Bike Shed

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 12, 2022 41:53


Being pregnant is hard, but this tapas episode is good! Steph discovered and used a #yelling Slack channel and attended a remote magic show. Chris touches on TypeScript design decisions and edge cases. Then they answer a question captured from a client Slack channel regarding a debate about whether I18n should be used in tests and whether tests should break when localized text changes. This episode is brought to you by ScoutAPM (https://scoutapm.com/bikeshed). Give Scout a try for free today and Scout will donate $5 to the open source project of your choice when you deploy. Emma Bostian (https://twitter.com/EmmaBostian) Ladybug Podcast (https://www.ladybug.dev/) Gerrit (https://www.gerritcodereview.com/) Gregg Tobo the Magician (https://astonishingproductions.com/) Sean Wang - swyx - better twitter search (https://twitter.com/swyx/status/1328086859356913664) Twemex (https://twemex.app/) GitHub Pull Request File Tree Beta (https://github.blog/changelog/2022-03-16-pull-request-file-tree-beta/) Sam Zimmerman - CEO of Sagewell Financial on Giant Robots (https://www.giantrobots.fm/414) TypeScript 4.1 feature (https://devblogs.microsoft.com/typescript/announcing-typescript-4-1/) The Bike Shed: 269: Things are Knowable (Gary Bernhardt) (https://www.bikeshed.fm/269) TSConfig Reference - Docs on every TSConfig option (https://www.typescriptlang.org/tsconfig#noUncheckedIndexedAccess) Rails I18n (https://guides.rubyonrails.org/i18n.html) This episode is brought to you by Studio 3T (https://studio3t.com/free). Try Studio 3T's full suite of features for 30 days, no payment details needed. Become a Sponsor (https://thoughtbot.com/sponsorship) of The Bike Shed! Transcript: CHRIS: Hello and welcome to another episode of The Bike Shed, a weekly podcast from your friends at thoughtbot about developing great software. I'm Chris Toomey. STEPH: And I'm Steph Viccari. CHRIS: And together, we're here to share a bit of what we've learned along the way. So, Steph, what's new in your world? STEPH: Hey, Chris. There are a couple of new things in my world, so one of them that I wanted to talk about is the fact that being pregnant is hard. I feel like this is probably a known thing, but I feel like I don't hear it talked about as much as I'd really like, especially in sort of like a professional context. And so I just wanted to share for anyone else that may be listening, if you're also pregnant, this is hard. And I also really appreciate my team. Going through the first trimester is typically where you experience a lot of morning sickness and fatigue, and I had all of that. And so I was at the point that most of my days, I didn't even start till about noon and even some days, starting at noon was a struggle. And thankfully, the thoughtbot client that I'm working with most of the teams are on West Coast hours, so that worked out pretty well. But I even shared a post internally and was like, "Hey, I'm not doing great in the mornings. And so I really can't facilitate any morning meetings. I can't be part of some of the hiring intros that we do," because we like to have a team lead provide a welcoming and then closing for anyone that's coming for interview day. I couldn't do those, and those normally happen around 9:00 a.m. for Eastern Time. And everybody was super supportive of it. So I really appreciate all of thoughtbot and my managers and team being so great about this. Also, the client team they're wonderful. It turns out growing a little human; I'm learning how hard it is and working full time. It's an interesting challenge. Oh, and as part of that appreciation because…so there's just not a lot of women that I've worked with. This may be one of those symptoms of being in tech where one, I haven't worked with tons of women, and then two, working with a woman who is also pregnant and going through that as well. So it's been a little bit isolating in that experience. But there is someone that I follow on Twitter, @EmmaBostian. She's also one of the co-hosts for the Ladybug Podcast. And she has been just sharing some of her, like, I am two months sleep deprived. She's had her baby now, and she is sharing some of that journey. And I really appreciate people who just share that journey and what they're going through because then it helps normalize it for me in terms of what I'm feeling. I hope this helps normalize it for anybody else that might be listening too. CHRIS: I certainly can't speak to the specifics of being pregnant. But I do think it's wonderful for you to use this space that we have here to try and forward that along and say what your experience is like and share that with folks and hopefully make it a little bit better for everyone else out there. Also, you snuck in a sneaky pro-tip there, which is work on the East Coast and have a West Coast team. That just sounds like the obvious correct way to go about this. STEPH: That has worked out really well and been very helpful for me. I'm already not a great morning person; I've tried. I've really strived at times to be a morning person because I just have this idea in my head morning people get more stuff done. I don't think that's true, but I just have that idea. And I'm not the world's best morning person, so it has worked out for many reasons but yeah, especially in helping me get through that first trimester and also just supporting family and other things that are going on. Oh, I also learned a pro-tip about Twitter. This is going to seem totally random, but it was relevant when I was searching for stuff on Twitter [laughs] that was related to tech and pregnancy. But I learned...because I wanted to be able to search for something that someone that I follow what they said but I couldn't remember who said it. And so I found that in the search bar, I can add filter:follows. So you can have your search term like if you're looking for cake or pregnancy, or sleep-deprived and then look for filter:follows, and then that will filter the search results to everybody that you follow. I imagine that that probably works for followers too, but I haven't tried it. CHRIS: I like the left turn you took us on there but still keeping it connected. On the topic of Twitter search, they apparently have a very powerful search, but it's also hidden, and you got to know the specific syntax and whatnot. But there is a wonderful project by Shawn Wang, AKA Swyx, on the internet, bettertwitter.netlify.com is the URL for it. I will share a link to his tweet introducing it. But it's a really wonderful tool that just provides a UI for all of these different filters and configurations. And both make discoverability that much better and then also make it easy to just compose one of these searches and use that. The other thing that I'll recommend is, I think it's a Chrome plugin. I'm guessing is what I'm working with here like a browser extension, but it's called Twemex, T-W-E-M-EX. And there's a sidebar in Twitter now, which just seems wonderful and useful. So as I'm looking at a Swyx post here, or a tweet as they're called on Twitter because I know that vernacular, there's a sidebar which is specific to Shawn Wang. And there's a search at the top so I can search within it. But it's just finding their most popular tweets and putting that on a sidebar. It's a very useful contextual addition to Twitter that I found just awesome. So that combination of things has made my Twitter experience much better. So yeah, we'll have show notes for both of those as well. STEPH: Nice. I did not know about those. This may cause someone to laugh at me because maybe it's easier than I think. But I can never remember that advanced search that Twitter does offer; I have to search it every time. I just go to Google, and I'm like, advanced Twitter search, and then it brings up a site for me, and then I use that as the one that Twitter does provide. But yeah, from the normal UI, I don't know how to get there. Maybe I haven't tried hard enough. Maybe it's hidden. CHRIS: It's like they're hiding it. STEPH: Yeah, one of those. [laughs] CHRIS: It's very costly. They have to like MapReduce the entire internet in order to make that search work. So they're like, well, what if we hide it because it's like 50 cents per query? And so maybe we shouldn't promote this too much. STEPH: [laughs] CHRIS: And let's just live in the moment, everybody. Let's just swim in the Twitter stream rather than look back at the history. I make guesses about the universe now. STEPH: [laughs] On a different note, I also discovered at thoughtbot in our variety of Slack channels that we have a yelling channel, and I had not used it before. I had not hung out there before. It's a delightful channel. It's a place that you just go, and you type in all caps. You can yell about anything that you would like to. And I specifically needed to yell about Gerrit, which is the replacement or the alternative that we're using for GitHub or GitLab, or Bitbucket, or any of those services. So we're using Gerrit, and I've been working to feel comfortable with the UI and then be able to review CRs and things like that. My vernacular is also changing because my team refers to them as change requests instead of pull requests. So I'm floating back and forth between CRs and PRs. And because I'm in Gerrit world, I missed some of the updates that GitHub made to their pull request review screen. And so then I happened to hop in GitHub one day, and I saw it, and I was like, what is this? So that was novel. But going back to yelling, I needed to yell about Gerrit because I have not found a way to collaborate with someone who has already pushed up changes. I have found ways that I can pull their changes which then took a little while. I found it in a sneaky little tab called download. I didn't expect it to be there. But then the actual snippet it's like, run this in your terminal, and this is then how you pull down the changes. And I'm like, okay, so I did that. But I can't push to their existing changes because then I get like, well, you're not the owner, so we're going block you, which is like, cool, cool, cool. Okay, I kind of get that because you don't want me messing up somebody else's content or something that they've done. But I really, really, really want to collaborate with this person, and we're trying to do something together, and you're blocking me. And so I had to go to the yelling channel, and I felt better. And I'm yelling again. [laughs] Maybe I don't feel that great because I'm getting angry again talking about it. CHRIS: You vented a little into the yelling channel; maybe not everything, though. STEPH: Yeah, I still have more to vent because it's made life hard. Every time I wanted to push up a change or pull down someone else's changes, there are now all these CRs that then I just have to go and abandon, which is then the terminology for then essentially closing it and ignoring it, so I'm constantly going through. And if I do want to pull in changes or collaborate, then there's a flow of either where I abandon mine, or I pull in their changes, but then I have to squash everything because if you push up multiple commits to Gerrit, it's going to split those commits into different CRs, don't like that. So there are a couple of things that have been pain points. And yeah, so plus-one for yelling channels, let people get it out. CHRIS: Okay, so definitely some feelings that you are working through here. I'm happy to work together as a team to get through some of them. One thing that I want to touch on is you very quickly hinted at GitHub has got a bunch of new things that are cool. I want to talk about those. But I want to touch [laughs] on an anecdote. You talked about pushing something up to someone else's branch. You're like, oh, you know, I made some changes locally, and I'm going to push them up. I had an interesting experience once where I was interacting with another developer. I had done some code review. They weren't quite understanding where I was. They had a lot of questions. And finally, I said, you know what? This will just be easier. Here, I pushed up a commit to your branch, so now you can see what I'm talking about. And I thought of this as a very innocuous act, but it was not interpreted that way. That individual interpreted it in a very aggressive sort of; it was not taken well. And I think part of that was related to I think of Git commits as just these little ephemeral things where you're like, throw it out, feel free. This is just the easiest way for me to communicate this change in the context of the work that you're doing. I thought I was doing a nice favor thing here. That was not how it went. We had a good conversation after I got to the heart of where we both were emotionally on this thing. It was interesting. The interaction of emotion and tech is always interesting. But as a result, I'm very, very careful with that now. I do think it's a great way as long as I've gotten buy-in from the person beforehand. But I will always spot check and be like, "Hey, just to confirm, I can just push up a commit to your branch, but are you okay with that? Is that fine with you?" So I've become very cautious with that. STEPH: Yeah, that feels like one of those painful moments where it highlights that the people that you work with that you are accustomed to having a certain level of trust or default trust with those individuals, and then working with someone else that they don't have that where the cup is half-full in terms of that trust, or that this person means well kind of feelings towards a colleague or towards someone that they're working with. So it totally makes sense that it's always good to check and just to be like, "Hey, I'd love to push up some changes to your branch. Is that cool?" And then once you've established that, then that just makes it easier. But I do remember that happening, and yeah, that was a bit painful and shocking because we didn't see that coming and then learned from it. CHRIS: I do think it's an important thing to learn, though, because for me, in that moment, this was this throwaway operation that I thought almost nothing of, but then another individual interpreted it in a very different way. And that can happen, that can happen across tons of different things. And I don't even want to live in the idealized world where it's just tech; we're just pushing around zeros and ones; there's no human to this. But no, I actually believe it's a deeply human thing that we're doing here. It's our job to teach the computers to be a little closer to us humans or something like that. And so it was a really pointed clarification of that for me where it was this thing that I didn't even think once about, no less twice, and yet someone else interpreted it in such a different way. So it was a useful learning situation for me. STEPH: Yeah, I totally agree. I think that's a really wise default to have to check in with people before assuming that they'll be comfortable with something that we're comfortable with. CHRIS: Indeed. But shifting back to what you mentioned of GitHub, a bunch of new stuff came in GitHub, and you were super excited about it. And then you went on to say other things about another system. [laughs] But let's talk about the great things in GitHub. What are the particular ones that have caught your eye? I've seen some, but I'm intrigued. Let's compare notes. STEPH: So this is one of those where I hadn't seen GitHub in quite a while, and then I hopped in, and I was like, this is different. But some of the things that did stand out to me right away is that on the left-hand side, I can see all of the files that have been changed, and so that's a really nice tree where I just then immediately know. Because that was one of the things that I often did going to a PR is that I would see what files are involved in this change because it was just a nice overview of what part of the applications am I walking through? Are there tests for this? Have they altered or added tests? And so I really like that about it. I'm sure there's other stuff. But that is the main thing that stood out to me. How about you? CHRIS: Yeah, that sidebar file tree is very, very nice, which I find surprising because I don't use a file tree in my editor. I only do fuzzy finding to jump to files. But I think there's something about whenever GitHub had the file list; these are all the files that are changed. I'm like, this is just noise. I can't look at this and get anything out of it. But the file tree is so much more...there's a shape to it that my brain can sort of pattern match on. And it's just a much more discoverable way to observe that information. So I've really loved that. That was a wonderful one. The other one that I was surprised by is GitHub semantic code analysis; stuff has gotten much, much better over time subtly. I didn't even notice this happening. But I was discussing something with someone today, and we were looking at it on GitHub, and I just happened to click on an identifier, and it popped up a little thing that says, "Oh, do you want to hop to the references or the definition of this?" I was like, that is what I want to do. And so I hopped to the definition, hopped to the definition of another thing, and was just jumping around in the code in a way that I didn't know was available. So that was really neat. But then also, I was in a pull request at one point, and someone was writing a spec, and they had introduced a helper just like stub something at the bottom of a given spec file. And it's like, I feel like we have this one already. And I just clicked on the identifier. I think it might have actually been a matcher in RSpec, so it was like, have alert. And I was like, oh, I feel like we have this one, a matcher specific to flash message alerts on the page. And I clicked on it, and GitHub provided me a nice little inline dialog that showed me all of the definitions of have alert, which I think we were up to like four of them at that point. So it had been copied and pasted across a couple of different files, which I think is totally fine and a great way to start, but they were very similar implementations. I was like, oh, looks like we actually already have this in a couple of places, maybe we clean it up and extract it to a common spec support thing, and ta-da, I was able to do all of that from the GitHub pull requests UI. And I was like, this is awesome. So kudos to the GitHub team for doing some nifty stuff. Also, can I get into the merge queue? Thank you. ... STEPH: [laughs] There it is. That is very cool. I didn't know I could do that from the pull request screen. I've seen it where if I'm browsing code that, then I can see a snippet of where everything's defined and then go there, but I hadn't seen that from the pull request. I did find the changelogs for GitHub that talk about the introduction of having the tree, so we'll be sure to include a link in the show notes for that too. But yes, thank you for letting me use our podcast as a yelling channel. It's been delightful. [laughs] Mid-roll Ad Hi, friends, and now a quick break to hear from today's sponsor, Scout APM. Scout APM is an application performance monitoring tool that's designed to help developers find and fix performance issues quickly. With an intuitive user interface, Scout will tie bottlenecks to source code so you can quickly pinpoint and resolve performance abnormalities like N+1 queries, slow database queries, and memory bloat. Scout also recently implemented external service monitoring, adding even more granularity when it comes to HTTP requests and API calls. So give Scout a try today with a free 14-day trial and experience first-hand why developers worldwide call Scout their best friend. And as an added bonus for Bike Shed listeners, Scout will donate $5 to the open-source project of your choice when you deploy. To learn more, visit scoutapm.com/bikeshed. That's scoutapm.com/bikeshed. CHRIS: Well, speaking of podcasts, actually, there was an interesting thing that happened where the CEO of Sagewell Financial, the company of which I am the CTO of, Sam Zimmerman is his name, and he went on the Giant Robots Podcast with Chad a couple of weeks ago. So that is now available. We'll link to that in the show notes. I'll be honest; it was a very interesting experience for me. I listened to portions of it. If we're being honest, I searched for my name in the transcript, and it showed up, and I was like, okay, that's cool. And it was interesting to hear two different individuals that I've worked with either in the past or currently talking about it. But then also, for anyone that's been interested in what I'm building over at Sagewell Financial and wants to hear it from someone who can probably do a much better job of pitching and describing the problem space that we're working in, and all of the fun challenges that we have, and that we're hopefully living up to and building something very interesting, I think Sam does a really fantastic job of that. That's the reason I'm at the company, frankly. So yeah, if anyone wants to hear a little bit more about that, that is a very interesting episode. It was a little weird for me to listen to personally, but I think everybody else will probably have a normal experience listening to it because they're not the CTO of the company. So that's one thing. But moving on, I feel like today's going to be a grab bag episode or tapas episode, lots of small plates, as we were discussing as we were prepping for this episode. But to share one little thing that happened, I've been a little more removed from the code of late, something that we've talked about on and off in previous episodes. Thankfully, I have a wonderful team that's doing an absolutely fantastic job moving very rapidly through features and bug fixes and all those sorts of things. But also, I'm just not as involved even in code review at this point. And so I saw one that snuck through today that, I'm going to be honest, I had an emotional reaction to. I've talked myself down; we're fine now. But the team collectively made the decision to move from a line length of 80 characters to a line length of 120 characters, and I had some feelings. STEPH: Did you fire everybody? [laughs] CHRIS: No. I immediately said, doesn't really matter. This is the whole conversation around auto-formatting tools is like we're just taking the decision away. I personally am a fan of the smaller line length because I like to have multiple files open left to right. That is my reason for it, but that's my reason. A collective of the developers that are frankly working more in the code than I am at this point decided this was meaningful. It was a thing that we could automate. I think that we can, you know, it's not a thing that we have to manage. So I was like, cool. There we go. The one thing that I did follow up on I was like, okay; y'all snuck this one in, it's fine, I'm fine with it. I feel fine; everything's fine. But let's add that to the git-blame-ignore-revs file, which is a useful thing to know about. Because otherwise, we have a handful of different changes like this where we upgrade Prettier, and suddenly, the manner in which it formats the files changes, so we have to reformat everything at once. And this magical file that exists in Git to say, "Hey, ignore this revision because it is not relevant to the semantic history of the app," and so it also takes that decision out of the consideration like yeah, should we reformat or not? Because then it'll be noisy. That magical file takes that decision away, and so I love that. STEPH: I so love the idea because you took vacation recently twice. So I love the idea of there was a little coup and people are applauding, and they're like, while Chris is on vacation, we're going to merge this change [laughs] that changes the character line. And yeah, that brings me joy. Well, I'm glad you're working through it. Sounds like we're both working through some hard emotional stuff. [laughs] CHRIS: Life's tricky, is all I'm going to say. STEPH: I am curious, what prompted the 80 characters versus 120? This is one of those areas that's like, yeah, I have my default preference like you said. But I'm more intrigued just when people are interested in changing it and what goes with it. So do you remember one of the reasons that 120 just suited their preferences better? CHRIS: Frankly, again, I was not super involved in the discussion or what led them to it. STEPH: [laughs] CHRIS: My guess is 120 is used...I think 80 is a pretty common one. I think 120 is another of the common ones. So I think it's just a thing that exists out there in the mindshare. But also, my guess is they made the switch to 120 and then reformatted a few files that had like, ah, this is like 85 characters, and that's annoying. What does it look like if we bump it up? And so 120 provided a meaningful change of like, this is a thing that splits to four lines if we have an 80 character thing, or it's one line if it's 120 characters, which is a surprising thing to say, but that's actually the way it plays out in certain cases because the way Prettier will break lines isn't just put stuff on the next line always. It's got to break across multiple lines, actually. All right, now that we're back in the opinion space, I have a strong one. STEPH: This is The Bikeshed. We can live up to that name. [laughs] CHRIS: So I do want an additional configuration in Prettier Ruby. This is the thing I'll say. Maybe I can chase down Kevin Newton and see if he's open to this. But when Prettier does break method call with arguments going into it but no parens on that method call, and it breaks out to multiple lines, it does the dangling indent thing, which I do not like. I find it distasteful; I find it noisy, the shape of the code. I'm a big fan of the squint test. I know that from Sandi Metz, I believe, or maybe it's Avdi Grimm. I associate it with both of them in my mind. But it's just a way to look at the code and kind of squint, and you see the shape of it, and it tells you something. And when the lines break in that weird way, and you have these arbitrary dangling indents, the shape of the code is broken up. And I don't feel so strongly. I actually regularly stop myself from commenting on pull requests on this because it's very easy. All you need to do is add explicit parens, and then Prettier will wrap the line in what I believe is a much more aesthetically pleasing, concise, consistent, lots of other good adjectives here that are definitely just my preferences and not facts about the world. But so what I want is, Prettier, hey, if you're going to break this line across multiple lines, insert the parens. Parens are no longer optional for breaking across multiple lines; parens are only optional within a given line. So if we're not breaking across lines, I want that configuration because this is now one of those things where I could comment on this. And if they added the optional parens, then Prettier would reform it in a different way. And I want my auto formatter don't give me ways to do stuff. Like, constrain me more but also within the constraints of the preferences that I have, please, thank you. STEPH: I love all the varying levels there [laughter] of you want a thing, but you know it's also very personal to you and how you're walking that line and hopping back and forth on each side. I also love the idea. We have the idea of clean code. I really want something that's called distasteful code now [laughs] where you just give examples of distasteful code, yes. Well, I wish you good luck in your journey [laughs] and how this goes and how you continue to battle. I also appreciate that you mentioned when you're reviewing code how you know it's something that you really want, but you will refrain from commenting on that. I just appreciate when people have that filter to recognize, like, is this valuable? Is it important? Or, like you said, how can we just make this more of the default so then we don't even have to talk about it? And then lean into whatever the default the team goes with. CHRIS: Well, thank you. I very much appreciate that because, frankly, it's been very difficult. STEPH: I do have something I want to yell about but in a very positive way or pranting as we determined or, you know, raving, the actual real term that wonderful listeners pointed out to us. CHRIS: Prant for life. That's my stance. STEPH: We had a magic show at thoughtbot. It was all remote, but the wonderful Gregg Tobo, the magician, performed a magic show for us where we all showed up on Zoom. And it was interactive, and it was delightful, and it was so much fun. And so if you need something fun for your team that you just want to bring folks together, highly recommend. I had no idea I was going to enjoy a magic show this much, but it was a lot of fun. So I'll be sure to include some links in the show notes in case that interests anyone. But yeah, magic. I'm doing jazz hands. People can't see it, but magic. I like how you referred earlier, saying that today is more of like a tapas episode. And I'm realizing that all of my tapas are related to being pregnant, yelling, and magic shows, and I'm okay with that. [laughs] But on that note, what else is on your tapas plate? CHRIS: Actually, a nice positive one that came into the world...I always like when we get those. So this is interesting because I was actually looking back at the history, and I had Gary Bernhardt on The Bike Shed back in Episode 269. We'll include a link in the show notes. But we talked a bunch about various things, including TypeScript. And I was lamenting what I saw as a pretty big edge case in TypeScript. So the goal of TypeScript is like, all right, JavaScript exists, this is true. What can we do on top of that? Let's not fundamentally change it, but let's build a type system on top of it and try and make it so that we can enforce correctness but understand that JavaScript is a highly dynamic language and that we don't want to overconstrain and that we've got to meet it where it is. And so one of the design decisions early on with TypeScript is if you have an array and you say like it's an array of integers, so you have typed that array to be this is an array of int, or it will be an array of number in JavaScript because JavaScript doesn't have integers; they only have numbers. Cool. [laughs] Setting aside other JavaScript variables here, you have an array of numbers. And so if you use element access to say, like, say the name of array is array of nums and then use brackets and you say zero, so get me the first element of that array. TypeScript will infer the type of that to be a number. Of course, it's a number, right? You got an array of numbers, you take a number out of it, of course, you're going to have a number, except you know what's also an array of numbers? An empty array. Well, of course. So there's no way for TypeScript because that's a runtime thing, whether or not the array is full of things or not. Or imagine you get the third element from the array. Well, JavaScript will either return you the third element, which indeed is a number, or undefined because there's no third element in this array. So that is an unfortunate but very understandable edge case that TypeScript was like, listen, this is how JavaScript works. So we're not going to…frankly, we don't think the people embracing TypeScript and bringing it into their world would accept this amount of noise because this is everywhere. Anytime you interact with an array, you are going to run into this, this sort of uncertainty of did I actually get the thing? And it's like, yeah, no, I know how many things are in the array that I'm working with. Spoiler, you maybe don't is the answer. And so, we ran into this edge case in our codebase. We were accessing an element, but TypeScript was telling us, "Yes, definitively, you have an object of that type because you just got it out of an array, which is an array of that type." But we did not; we had undefined. And so we had, you know blah is not a method on undefined or whatever that classic JavaScript runtime error is. And I was like, well, that's very sad. But now we get to the fun part of the story, TypeScript, as of version 4.1, which came out like the week that I recorded with Gary Bernhardt, which was interesting to look at the timeline here. TypeScript has added a new configuration. So a new strictness dial that you can configure in your tsconfig called noUncheckedIndexedAccess. So if you have an array and you are getting an element out of it by index, TypeScript will say, "Hey, you got to check if that's undefined," because to be clear, very much could be undefined. And I was so happy to find this. We turned it on in our codebase. It found the error in the place that we actually had an error and then found a few others that I think probably had errored at some times. But it was just one of those for me very nice things to be able to dial up the strictness and enforce correctness within our codebase, and so I was very happy about it. Other folks may say that seems like too much work. And, you know, I get that, I get that take. I'm definitely on the side of I'm willing to go through the effort to have enforced correctness, but you know, that's a choice. STEPH: Yeah, that's thoughtful. I like that, how you said you can dial up the strictness so then as you are introducing TypeScript, then people have that option. There is an argument there in the back of my head that's like, well, if you're introducing types, then you want to start more strict because then you're just creating problems for yourself down the road. But I also understand that that can make things very difficult to then introduce it to teams in existing codebases. So that seems like a really nice addition where then people can say, "Yeah, no, I really want the strictness. This is why I'm here," and then they can turn that on. CHRIS: So TypeScript in the configuration has strict mode, so you say strict true. And that is a moving target with each new version of TypeScript. But it's their sort of [inaudible 28:14] set of things that are part of strict, but apparently, this one's not in it. So now I'm like, wait, can I have a stricter? Can I have a strictest option? Can I have dial it to 11, please? [laughs] Really rough me up and make sure my code is correct. But it is the sort of thing like when we turn any of these on; it will find things in our codebase. Some of them, we have to appease the compiler even though we know the code to be correct. But the code is not provably correct as it sits in our file. So I am, again, happy to make that exchange. And I like that TypeScript as a project gives us configurability. But again, I am on team where's the strictest button? I would like to push that as hard as I can and live that life. STEPH: Yeah, I like that phrasing that you just said about provably correct. That's nice. CHRIS: That's the world I want to live in, everything you own in the box to the left, which is probably correct. STEPH: [laughs] That's how that song goes. CHRIS: Yeah. This is a reference to move errors to the left, which I think I've referenced before. But now that I'm just referencing Beyoncé and not the actual article, it's probably worth referencing the article, but the idea of, like, if a user hits an error, that's not great. So let's move it back to QA, that's a little further to the left in sort of the timeline. But what if we could move it to an automated test in CI? But what if we could move it into your editor? What if we could move it even further to the left? And so, a type system tends to be sort of very far ratcheted up to the left. It's as early as possible that you can catch these. So again, to reference Beyoncé, everything you own in a box to the left. STEPH: [singing] Everything you own in the box to the left. CHRIS: Thank you for doing the needful work there. STEPH: [laughs] Mid-roll Ad And now a quick break to hear from today's sponsor, Studio 3T. When you're developing applications, it can often be a chore to work with your underlying data. Studio 3T equips you with a complete set of tools to work with MongoDB data. From building queries with drag and drop, to creating complex aggregation pipelines; Studio 3T makes it easy. And now, there's Studio 3T Free, a free edition of Studio 3T, which delivers an essential core of tools. This means you can get started, for free, with Studio 3T Free, and when you're ready, you can upgrade and enjoy even more features through Studio 3T Pro and Studio 3T Ultimate. The different editions unlock more tools and additional integrations with MongoDB, SQL, Oracle, and Sybase. You can start today by downloading Studio 3T Free, which also includes a 30-day free trial of all the features of Studio 3T Ultimate, so you can try out some of the enterprise features as well. No credit card required. To start your trial, head to studio3t.com/free that's studio3t.com/free. STEPH: I have a question for you that I'd really love to get your opinion on because I myself I'm waffling back and forth where someone brought up some really great points about a concern or just a question they had brought up around testing and i18n specifically. And I agree with the things that they're saying, but yet, there's also a part of me that doesn't, and so I'm Stephanie divided. And so, I'm trying to figure out where I stand on this. So let me dive in and give you some context; I'm going to share the statement/question that they had asked. So here we go. "One of my priorities has been I should be able to review a test without having to reference any other code. References to i18n means that I have to go over to YAML and make sure the right keys have the right values, and that seems error-prone. In some cases, a lack of a hit in the YAML defers to defaults. If the intent is to override the name of model attribute and error messages and it is coded incorrectly, the code fails silently without translating and uses the humanized attribute name, and that would go undetected. If libraries change structure, it might also fail silently as well, so to me, the only failsafe way is to be fully explicit in test." So this goes with the idea that if you're writing tests and then you're testing text, but it's on the screen or perhaps an email, that you're actually going to assert against that string that is shown to the user instead of referencing the i18n keys. And then that also backs up this person's idea that you really want to not have to jump around. If you're reading a test, everything you really need to know about that test should live very close by. And I really agree with that initial statement; I want everything that's very close to the test, especially if it's anywhere in that expectation line, I really want it close, so I can understand what's the expectation, what's under test, what are the inputs, what's the expected outcome. So I wholeheartedly support that idea. But yet, I am in the camp that I then will use YAML keys instead of providing that exact string because I do look at i18n as a helpful abstraction, and I want to trust that i18n is doing its job. And so that way, I don't have to provide that string that's there because then we're also choosing, okay, well, which language are we going to always use for our test? So this is the part where I feel divided. So I'm going to walk you through some of the reasons that I really support this idea and other reasons that I still use the i18n keys and then get your take on it. So there is a part of me that when I'm using the i18n YAML keys, it does make me sad because it reduces the readability in tests. Sometimes the keys are really well named where maybe it's a mailer.welcomemessage. And I'm like, okay, I understand the gist. I don't need to go see the actual string. I also think they highlighted a really good use case where if you're overriding behavior and it could default to something else, your test is still going to pass, and you don't actually know. So I could see the use case there where if you are overriding, then you want to be explicit about the string that you expect back. I also think there are some i18n messages that are fairly complex, and where then I really would like to see the string. So if you are formatting a date or a time or you're passing in just a lot of variables, then there's a chance that I do want to see how did that actually get generated for the person who's going to be reading it versus just maybe it's garbage text that came out? And I want to validate that the message that we think we're crafting is actually the one that the user is going to see. The case against actually being explicit, my biggest one is because then I do see i18n as a helpful abstraction. And I want to trust this abstraction that it's doing its job and it's doing it well. Because then if I do use explicit strings, it makes me sad if I change text from like hello to welcome, and now I have a failing test. I don't like that idea either. So I'm torn between these two worlds of it is very nice to have everything that you need in a test to be able to understand what is the expectation, but then I also lean into this abstraction and reference the i18n keys. So, Chris, with all of that, that was a bit of a whirlwind, [laughs] what are your thoughts? How do you test this stuff? CHRIS: Honestly, I'm surprised that you've got that much division in your own answer because for me, this is very obvious there's one...no, I'm kidding. This is obviously complicated. Similar to you, I think I'm going to have to give a grab bag of answers because I don't have a singular thought of like it is concretely this or that. I tend to go for explicit strings and tests all the way to...so like the readability of a test, and the conciseness of a test is interesting. I will often see developers extract. Say they're creating a user with a specific email, and then they log in with that email later, and then they expect something else. And so the email is referenced a few times, and they'll extract that into a variable called email. And I personally will tend to not do that. I will inline the literal string like user@example.com, and I'll do it in a few places. And I'm fine with that duplication because I like the readability of any given line that you're reading. So I will make that trade-off within tests. This is the thing I think we've talked about before, but the idea of DRY in tests is like I want to be careful applying that idea, Don't Repeat Yourself, to break apart the acronym. Those abstractions I will use them less than tests. And so I want the explicitness, I want the readability, I want to tell a little story, all of that feels true. That said, to flip it around, one of the things that I'm hearing...so I think I'm hearing a part of this that is around well, we can fail silently because we fail symmetrically in both the implementation and our test. Then an assertion may actually match even though it's matching on a fallback. I think that's a configurable thing. I would actually want my test to raise if I'm referencing an i18n key that is not defined. Now, granted, that's different for languages. And maybe this becomes a more complex story of like in production; in a different locale, it will fail because we don't have 100% parity across all our locale files. But fundamentally, I want to make sure that at least exists in our base, which I think typically would be en-US as the locale. I want to make sure all keys are looked up and found, and it's an error otherwise in our test. So that's a feeling. But am I misunderstanding that part of the story or how that configuration typically works? STEPH: No, I think you've got it. But just to make sure we're on the same page, so if you reference a key that doesn't exist, then it is going to fail. So at least you have your test failure is going to let you know that you've referenced something that doesn't exist. But if you are referencing, like if you want to override the defaults that Rails or i18n has provided for a model and say for an error message, if you reference that, but you want to override it, but then you've forgotten, that does exist. So you're not going to get the failure; you're going to get a different message. So it's probably not a terrible experience for the user. It's not going to crash. They're going to see something, but they're not going to see the custom message that you intended them to see. CHRIS: Gotcha. Okay, well, just to name it, the thing that I was describing, I don't know that that would be the configuration for every system. So I would strongly encourage any system where i18n just has a singular behavior which is we fall back to the key. I want my test to absolutely tell me if that's happening. And that should be a failure of the test. But to the discoverability documentation bit, I do wonder if tooling can actually help answer the question. And as I was describing the wonderful experience I had on GitHub the other day, viewing code as just static characters in a file is both true and also, I think increasingly, a limited view of it. We have editors, and we have code hosting tools that can understand semantically our code a little bit better. There's got to be like 20 Different VS Code plugins that, when you hover on an i18n reference, it will do the lookup for you. That feels like a thing that exists, and if it doesn't, well, now I've nerd-sniped myself, and I got a weekend project. JK, I'm definitely not building that this weekend. But that feels like can we use that to solve this? Maybe not. But that's just another thought of where we have these limitations where it's static, like those abstractions can be useful. But if we can very quickly dereference them, then the cost of the abstraction or that separation becomes smaller, and so the pain is reduced. And I wonder if that's a way to sort of offset it. STEPH: If I can poke at that a little bit more, because I think you're touching on something that I haven't expressed or thought through explicitly, but it's the idea of, like, why do I like the abstraction? What is it that's drawing me towards using these keys? And I think it's because most of the cases, I don't care. I don't care what the string is, and so that feels nice. Like, I understand that, yes, we're referencing something. If that key didn't exist, I'm going to see a failure. So I know that there's text there, and that's why I do lean into referencing the keys instead of the text because it feels good to not have to care about that stuff. And if we do make changes to the text, then it suddenly doesn't fail, and then I have to go update a test because we added a period or added a comma. I think that's the path of more sadness for me. And my goal is always a path of least sadness. So I think that's why I lean into it [laughs], I'm guessing. Is that why you lean into it as well? Or what do you like about referencing the keys over the explicit text? CHRIS: No, I think I share your inclination there, and the reason that you're in favor of it, and I think the consistency like if we're going to use i18n, then we should lean in because it's a non-trivial thing to do like porting to i18n projects, and they're tricky. Getting it right from the first step is also tricky. If you're going to do it, then let's lean in, and thus let's use that abstraction overall. But yeah, same ideas as you. STEPH: Cool. I think that helps validate where I'm at in terms of how I rationalize about this where ultimately, I do like leaning into that abstraction. And as you'd mentioned, some of those porting projects, I haven't been on one specifically, but I've seen that they are a lot of work. And so, if we have that in our system, then we want to continue to use it. It does reduce some of the readability. Like you said, maybe there's a VS Code plugin or some way that then we can help people be able to see if they want that full context in the test and not have to jump over to YAML. But yeah, otherwise, unless it's overriding default behavior or complex, then that's what I'm going to go with is with the keys. But I really appreciate this person's very thoughtful question and approach to testing because, normally or typically, I fully agree with I want full context in the test. And this one was one of those outliers that came up for me, and I had to really think through all the feelings and the reasons that I have for those feelings. On that note, shall we wrap up? CHRIS: Let's wrap up. The show notes for this episode can be found at bikeshed.fm. STEPH: This show is produced and edited by Mandy Moore. CHRIS: If you enjoyed listening, one really easy way to support the show is to leave us a quick rating or even a review on iTunes, as it really helps other folks find the show. STEPH: If you have any feedback for this or any of our other episodes, you can reach us at @_bikeshed or reach me on Twitter @SViccari. CHRIS: And I'm @christoomey. STEPH: Or you can reach us at hosts@bikeshed.fm via email. CHRIS: Thanks so much for listening to The Bike Shed, and we'll see you next week. ALL: Byeeeeeee!!!!!! ANNOUNCER: This podcast was brought to you by thoughtbot. thoughtbot is your expert design and development partner. Let's make your product and team a success.

Cardboard of the Rings
Episode 193: Glittering Glorfy

Cardboard of the Rings

Play Episode Listen Later Mar 12, 2022 134:28


Farewell to a couple of amazing people: Priscilla and Nigel. Welcome from Chad, Jon, Chris  Thank you to: George G, Neil P, Regan G, Aaron J  Announcements and News  Swag Deadline is fast approaching! Don't miss out. Random Review Redo: The Quests NPA: More common rule questions asked by new players The Glittering Caves: They have a Tactics Glorfindel Round-up Farewells

The Bike Shed
327: Estimate Crafting

The Bike Shed

Play Episode Listen Later Feb 22, 2022 42:33


Steph joins Chris in trying new things! For her, it's a new email client – the Newton email client – because she really wants to love her inbox. She also talks about implementing a suggestion from Chris on improving CI speed. Chris continues his search for the perfect to-do list app. (It's not going great.) But he has made hiring progress and is excited to move on to the next step: onboarding. Together they answer a listener question who asked for advice on crafting project estimates for clients. This episode is brought to you by ScoutAPM (https://scoutapm.com/bikeshed). Give Scout a try for free today and Scout will donate $5 to the open source project of your choice when you deploy. Services down? New Relic (https://newrelic.com/bikeshed) offers full stack visibility with 16 different monitoring products in a single platform. Newton (https://newtonhq.com/) Subscribe to Email Newsletters in Feedbin (https://feedbin.com/blog/2016/02/03/subscribe-to-email-newsletters-in-feedbin/) GitHub - Shopify/packwerk (https://github.com/Shopify/packwerk) Sunsama (https://sunsama.com/) TickTick: To-do List, Tasks, Calendar, Reminder (https://ticktick.com/) Become a Sponsor (https://thoughtbot.com/sponsorship) of The Bike Shed! Transcript: CHRIS: I am now recording. STEPH: Me too. CHRIS: [laughs] That's my recording voice. STEPH: [laughs] CHRIS: That's how you can tell. STEPH: I just like how it sounds suspicious where we're like; I'm now recording, so be careful. [laughs] CHRIS: This is now on the record. Hello and welcome to another episode of The Bike Shed, a weekly podcast from your friends at thoughtbot about developing great software. I'm Chris Toomey. STEPH: And I'm Steph Viccari. CHRIS: And together, we're here to share a bit of what we've learned along the way. So, Steph, what's new in your world? STEPH: Hello. Happy, happy Friday. Oh, I have something that I'm excited or intrigued about. I don't know. Okay, I'm hyping it up. [laughs] But I'm realizing I'm also very skeptical of it. CHRIS: This is the best sales pitch I've ever heard. I'm so excited to hear what this is. [laughs] STEPH: I am trying a new email client; it is the Newton email client. And I so want to love my inbox. I want to check on it. I want to help it grow. Okay, that's the opposite. I want to help get through all the emails that come through, but I just want to love it. I want it to be a good space that I want to go to. And I just hate email so much. And it always feels like this chore that it's really hard for me to bring myself to do, but yet it's really important because a lot of good things come through email. So this is my rambly way of saying I'm trying the Newton email client because I saw on Twitter from Andrew Mason, who has very similar feelings that I do about email, where we are just not fans of it. And we rarely check it and have declared email bankruptcy at several points in our life. And he's also one of the co-hosts for Remote Ruby. But I saw on Twitter that Andrew was talking about the Newton email client and how it actually made him feel that he enjoyed writing and looking through his inbox. And I was like, yeah, that's the sales pitch I need. So I'm giving it a go. It's been only a couple of days. But one of the nice things I have noticed about it is it's very focused, and there's not much noise, and it actually feels like very minimal design where if you open up like a new email, so you're opening up a new draft, there's no much noise. You get to just focus, almost like you're writing a little blog post or journal post or something. It takes away a lot of the noise. While in Gmail, it's going to open up a small window in the right, but then you still have the rest of the noise that feels distracting. So I like that very intentional like, hey, you're just doing one thing, just focus on this. And then also you can integrate other email accounts as well. So you can have one-stop shopping versus Gmail, then you have to click around and sign in, sign out, or visit different email accounts. So we'll see if it helps improve my email life, but that's something new I'm trying. CHRIS: Very interesting. So you're fully on inbox zero life now. That's what I'm hearing. [laughs] STEPH: Ah, hmm. I don't want to lie to you. [laughs] We have a good friendship. I won't start lying now. CHRIS: I appreciate that. So you're halfway to inbox zero. You're not even entertaining that idea, right? This is just you want a better tool to do email. STEPH: Exactly. Inbox zero is not incredibly important to me. But I do want to make sure that I know that I've seen everything important, and I know where to find things. And then making sure that I am responding to people in a timely manner. Those are more my goals. Inbox zero, if that supports it, then great, I'll work on it. But not necessarily that has to be the goal that I reach. CHRIS: Gotcha. I'm not seeing Newton, but I'm intrigued. Particularly on mobile, I have the Gmail mobile app, and that has unified inbox, which I appreciate. But Gmail on the web does not, and I find that odd. And I've never found a mail app that I enjoy because I want some of the features of Gmail. I want to do Gmail snoozing because I still want that to be consistent and whatnot. And to be honest, that's the main way that I get to inbox zero. I just say future me will have more time. I actually tweeted recently. It was a screenshot from my Saturday inbox, which I think was 15 emails that I'd snoozed from the previous week into Saturday morning. Because I'm like, Saturday morning me will have so much time, and energy, and coffee, and it'll be great. And then it became Saturday morning and, ooph, what a view. STEPH: [laughs] Yeah, your snoozing tip has been life-changing for me because that's not something that I was using all that much. The two things are, one, schedule send so that way if I do have a sudden burst of energy and I want to write an email, but I want to make sure that person doesn't get notified until a decent time. Being able to schedule an email and snoozing is amazing. I think Newton and Gmail have pretty much similar features. I was trying to do a comparison. I was like, is there something really snazzy that Newton does that Gmail doesn't already give me? But it looks like they all do about the same, having those important features like snoozing and then also being able to schedule emails. So I think it really just comes down to a lot of the UI, and there may be some other stuff I'm missing since I'm new to it. But that's the main appeal for me right now is the focus and the look and feel of it. So then maybe I will find looking through my inbox a more zenful experience, I think is how I saw them advertise it. CHRIS: Well, I definitely look forward to hearing more as you explore this space. I will say looping back to what you were just commenting on around deferred send, which is definitely something that I use, but you described one of the reasons that I use it. So the idea of wanting to be respectful of someone else and not send them an email on Sunday night because you happen to be working at that point. But you don't want to put that on their plate. I would say equal amounts; that's the reason I use scheduled send. And then the other reason that I use scheduled send is please, for the love of God, I do not want another email back in my inbox. So I will reply to something such that now I'm done with that, but I will schedule send it for the next morning. Because tomorrow morning me can deal with whatever reply this generates. There's some adage; I don't know if it's an adage, but the idea that every email that you send generates 1.1 emails in reply. So emails just have this weird way of multiplying. And so if you send one out there, you're probably going to get something back. And so often, if I'm trying to clear my inbox, I don't want to get another email in my inbox at that moment. So I will not actually send the reply. I will schedule it for a future time because I do not want to hear. I want no new inputs at this point. I'm trying to process them. So that's part of why I use deferred send. STEPH: I had not thought of that, that yeah, that if you schedule it for tomorrow, you've really gamified this inbox zero because you're like, yeah, if you send something, then you might get an email back. But you're like, if I wait till tomorrow to send it, then I'm less likely to have another email, and then I've hit inbox zero, and I'm set for the day. I like it. It seems helpful. CHRIS: Yeah, inbox zero sounds like an altruistic thing, but it is not. It's a way to force myself to have to make decisions, which is something that I want to get better at broadly. And that's part of the role that I have now. A lot of what I'm interested in exploring is just getting better at making decisions, being more decisive, being more action-oriented. Because I just have a tendency to make many, many spreadsheets and think about stuff for a while and take a long time to make a decision. But I don't get to do that, particularly now. But broadly in life, that's probably not the right mode to be in. So inbox zero is another thing that forces me to deal with things rather than just be like, I don't know, I don't know, I don't know, and keep looking at the same thing over and over. So just more thoughts about inbox zero, but now I'll stop talking about it. STEPH: I do like that, though. And you're totally right; it can be a very helpful constraint. And I think that's sometimes why I fight it because then I haven't curated my inbox enough that then when I go to it, there are so many interesting things that then I feel a little bit overwhelmed where I'm like, oh well, I want to read this, and I will look at that. And this seems interesting, and maybe I should be a part of this. It feels like one of those like; you could be a part of these ten amazing things. Do you want to be a part of all of them? And given a person that it's hard for me to say no to or recognize that no, I'm just going to not do anything with this, that is hard for me and would be a good skill for me to hone in on and practice and make quick decisions and be very realistic. Because I used to be subscribed to more newsletters, and then I finally had to stop subscribing to them because it had that same effect on me of that FOMO of like, I'm missing out on this great article or this great video. And I've become more honest with the fact that my Saturday morning self isn't going to want to read through a bunch of newsletters and videos about coding, that I'm going to want less screen time. So that is a really good constraint and helpful skill to cultivate for sure. CHRIS: All right, I said it was done, but one more thing. I feel like I've mentioned this in the past, but Feedbin is the thing that I use for RSS. I still believe in RSS as a technology. But everyone's moved to newsletters these days that go via email. Feedbin gives you an email address that you can use to subscribe to newsletters, and then they do the job of converting that into an RSS feed. So for me, I take something that was now a push into my inbox, and now I can pull whatever I want from that RSS feed. And on Saturday morning, if I'm feeling like, with a cup of coffee, I can enjoy some newsletter about all the new hot tips in Svelte land or whatever it is or not. But it's not clogging up my inbox. And with that, I think I'm actually done talking about inbox zero. [laughter] STEPH: Yeah, that's a nice separation. We could keep going. I have full faith in us that we could keep going about this. But I'll share a slightly different update. I've been implementing a suggestion that you provided a couple of weeks back where we were talking about Rspec's selective test running and how some applications will speed up their test. If you change one part of the codebase, then perhaps you only need to test this chunk of test. You don't actually need to run the full test suite. And that is complicated and seems hard to get right, and really requires understanding boundaries. But then also knowing Ruby, then how do you really identify? Do you really know where this method is being called and can identify all the tests that need to be run? I think we'd mentioned before there's a really good article from Shopify where they have worked on this and created an open-source project called Packwerk. So we can link to that article in the show notes. But more specifically, you suggested, well, what if you just change a test file? That seems very low stakes and also has the benefit of creating a reward where if someone does see something that they can improve in a test, then that's a very quick feedback. Let me just get this change. It's going to be fast on CI. I can merge it right away and also saves time on CI. So I've been working on implementing that change. And it's one of those the actual change is easy, like checking with Git to say, "Hey, what files have changed?" Does it have an _spec.rb at the end of it? Great. Does it not? Okay, we've changed some application files. So let's run the full test suite. That part's easy. Getting it integrated into the build system has been more complicated just because this team has done a lot of work around trying to improve and speed up their test. And there's a fair amount of complexity that's there. So then figuring out a way to stitch my change into all the different build processes that take place has proven to be more difficult. But it's also been insightful just because it has now helped me really understand and forced me to learn, okay, what are all the different steps? What's important for each one? Where can I cut off the rest of the running of the test and instead just focus on running these tests? So in some ways, it's been challenging, but then on the positive side, it's been like, okay, well, this has taught me a lot about the existing system. So at this moment, it is still a work in progress. I'll have more updates in the future. I am excited to see the rewards. I've gotten to the point where I just have a proof of concept where I've gotten pushed up, but it's not production-ready. But it's at least I just wanted the feedback that I'm in the right spot and that we're running just the right test. And so far, it does seem like it's going to be a nice win, even if it's maybe not used by everybody because it's probably rare that someone is altering just a spec file. But for people who are looking specifically to improve the CI build time and working on tests, it will be very helpful to them. So yeah, I'm sure I'll have some more updates in the future. What's going on in your world? CHRIS: Well, I definitely look forward to hearing more about that. However, we can improve CI speed; I'm super interested in that as a topic. Mid-Roll Ad Hey, friends, let's take a quick break to hear from today's sponsor, New Relic. All right, so you've probably experienced this before where you're just starting to fall asleep, and it's a calm, code-free peaceful sleep, and then you're jolted awake by an emergency page. It's your night on call, and something is wrong. 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And you can get access to the whole New Relic platform and 100 gigabytes of data free forever. No credit card required. Sign up at newrelic.com/bikeshed. That's newrelic N-E-W-R-E-L-I-C .com/bikeshed, newrelic.com/bikeshed. CHRIS: Well, similar to your email adventures, I continue on my search for the perfect to-do list. It's not going great, if we're being honest. [laughs] To be clear, because I've mentioned this on a few different episodes, I'm not spending much time on this at all, some but not much. And so it's not really moving. But there are two interesting things. I took a look at TickTick, which was one that I mentioned in the past, a tool for this. It seems good. It seems like an intersection between things, which is what I'm currently using, Todoist, which I've used in the past, and some other tools. So I think I'll probably explore that a little more. It seems like a good option. Decidedly, the most interesting thing is a tool called Sunsama, which is different in some interesting ways but very interesting. So one thing to note about it is it's $20 a month, which is a lot of money for one of these tools because most of them are like, "We're $20 forever, and then it's free." And it's a surprisingly low-cost space. And so, they're definitely positioning themselves as a more costly entry. I would be fine with paying $20 a month for a tool if it really is like, no, cool, I feel great. I'm more productive. I'm happier when I'm not working, et cetera. But what's interesting is they seem to do a let's reach out to all the places that tasks can live for you. So there's your inbox for email. There's your Trello board that you've got. There are GitHub issues. There's Slack. There are all these different sources of potential tasks. And they do a really good job of integrating with those other tools and then allowing you to pull that list into Sunsama and then make each day you have a list. And those items can be like, this is a reference to a Trello card on that board. This is a reference to a Slack conversation over there. So I'm super intrigued by it. It's also got a very intentional plan your day mode, which I like because that's one of the things that I'm really looking for is at the end of the day, I want to clean everything up, make sense of all of the open items, and then reprioritize and set up for the next morning so that I can just hit the ground running. That said, I tried it, and it just didn't quite click. And I think it's one of those it takes some effort to understand how to use it. So I'm not sure that I'm going to get there. But it is super interesting because that idea of our work lives in all of these different tools these days feels very true. And so, something that is trying to act as a hub between them to integrate them is very interesting to me. Again, I haven't really gotten anywhere on this. I'm kind of just reading blog posts, as it were. So I'll report back if that changes, but -- STEPH: The search continues for the right to-do app. Yeah, that seems interesting. I don't know why I'm feeling hesitant towards it. I'm one of those individuals...you're right; there are so many tools. And the fact that they integrate with a lot of them seems really nice. I'm at the point where I just grab links to stuff, and I'm like, hey, if this is my priority, I grab a link to a Trello ticket, and then I just copy that into my to-do. I guess I like that bit of work over having to integrate with a bunch of different platforms. Because once you get used to integrating...I don't know; I'm just rambling. But I wish you the best on this journey. I'm excited to hear more. [laughter] CHRIS: Thank you. I will certainly report back. But yeah, nothing pointed to share at this point. But I do have something pointed to share on the hiring front, which is that we have hired some folks. STEPH: Hooray! CHRIS: Yay. So this has been a fun saga across a couple of different episodes. And in my mind, it feels like this much longer, more drawn out thing, but it's; actually, I think, come together relatively quickly, all things considering. We've got someone who's starting in a little over a week's time, and then someone else who's starting in, I think, two or three weeks after that. So that'll be great. Hopefully, we can transition into onboarding, which is a different whole approach. But hiring as a distinct activity can scale back significantly. As we discussed last week, I want to be in the always be hiring mindset but in the more passive mode of having conversations with folks, staying connected. And if a great candidate comes along and it's the right time, then bring them on the team but not actually actively reaching out and all that sort of stuff, which will be great. Because it turns out that takes a lot of time and also a lot of energy for me. Having those first conversations, going into it very intentionally trying to communicate about something, and there's a tone of salesmanship to it that is not my natural resting state. So I come away from each conversation being like, that was fun, but also, I'm drained now. Why am I so drained? So not having that be a thing that is filling up my calendar is great. And also super excited with the folks that'll be joining the team and to be able to now grow our little team and define the culture and the shape of the groups that we will be collectively. I'm excited for that work and what we can build together. So yeah, it's an exciting time. STEPH: That's awesome. Congratulations. Because yeah, everything you're saying sounds like it's just been a lot of work. So that's very exciting. There's someone that I was chatting with earlier today where they were talking about the value and the importance of understanding what your natural skills are and the things that bring you energy. And so you're mentioning there are certain activities that you enjoy them, but they're also draining because perhaps they are on the outer boundary of what you might define as your own natural skill or the things that get you really excited. And I found that all very interesting. It had me thinking about that today about where are the natural areas that I find that I get energy that are easier for me? And then making sure that I'm trying to prioritize my day so that I am more focused on the activities that just align with who I am and also that I'm engaged with and then also looking for ways to stretch. But they made the point that if you are always in a space where you are not using your natural talents, and you're always having to stretch, then that can be what leads to burnout. Versus if you're in that sweet spot, that zone of where you are using your natural skills, but then also stretching a bit. And I think there are some assessments and things like that that will help you then determine what are my natural skills, and what do I like to do with my time? I just like that style of thinking and recognizing, like you said, like, hey, I did a thing. It was fun, but I'm drained. So now I know that this is something that requires more effort for me. Like hiring, that's one for me. I really like interviewing. I like talking with people, but I'm so nervous for them because I know interviews suck. [laughs] I just have so much empathy for them where I'm like, this is going to be a hard day. We're going to make it as pleasant and positive as possible, but I know this is a hard day. And so I feel like I'm in it with them. And so afterwards, I feel that same relief of like whoo, okay, interview day is over. CHRIS: I don't know that I quite achieve the same level that you do but in no way am I surprised that that is your experience of hiring. And just to name it, you're a wonderful human being that feels for the people on the other side of the hiring table. Like, oh my God, this must be so stressful for you. It's so kind of you to be in that space with folks. But coming back to what you were saying a moment ago, that idea of, like, understanding where your strengths are and where they're areas that you're not quite as strong. And I think critically, the question of like which are the ones where I want to just kind of say no to? I'm like, that's fine. This is not going to be a competency of mine. And I'm going to just avoid that or find other people to work with that balance that out. So for me, sales is the thing that I don't think that's ever going to be my bag. I don't think I'm ever going to move in that direction, and that's totally fine. Whereas decisiveness, which I was describing, is like, I think that's the thing I could get better at. That is one that I don't want to sleep on that. I don't want to say, "That'll be fine. I'll just have other people make the decision." No, I need to get better at making decisions, making decisions with less information or more rapidly, having a bias towards action. All those things I think will be deeply beneficial. So I'm trying to really lean into that. Whereas yeah, again, the sales stuff I'm like, yeah, and there's plenty of examples of this otherwise. But I've also been coding a bit more this week, which has been lovely because the hiring stuff has ramped down. And that has freed me up amongst some other stuff that's been going on. And you know, I like to code, it turns out. It's fun. I just clack about on my cherry brown keys, and it's great. STEPH: Do you remember when we first got introduced to mechanical keyboards, and we had co-ownership of one of the keyboards? And we literally had days of where it was like your turn to use the keyboard. And then it was my turn to use the keyboard. How long did we keep that up before we were finally like, we should just buy our own keyboards? CHRIS: It was a while because we were working with a colleague who was trying out a Kinesis, I want to say, one of the split little bowl of keys. But yeah, we had a shared custody over a keyboard, and it was fantastic. I remember that very fondly. STEPH: The days that it was my keyboard, I would go to the office and be like, oh, today is my day at the keyboard. This is great. This is going to be such a wonderful day. [laughs] And now I'm just spoiled. CHRIS: It went on for a while, though. And this was something where we both obviously enjoy this keyboard. Why don't we just buy one of these keyboards? We totally could have done that. And yet, for some reason, both of us were like, no, but what if...I got to think about this. Again, decisiveness. [laughs] We come back to this topic of well; I had to really think about it. And then somebody got the 92-Key test or whatever it was in the office. And so I just went over and poked every one of those for a while. STEPH: Exactly. It was option overload where we're like, well, okay, we're going to buy one, and then you open it up and search, and you're like, oh, you want options? We have options. Do you know about the blues, and the browns, and the colors, and these different options? Like, I don't know any of this language that you're talking about. I just want to clackety-clack. So yeah, it took time. We had to do our research. CHRIS: And then I ended up on basic browns. So here we are. Let's see, popping back up the stack a couple of levels, hiring that went on for a while. Now it is less going on. Although to be clear, like I said, always be hiring. So if anyone out there in the world is hearing what I'm talking about with Sagewell or seeing any of the stuff that I'm putting on Twitter, which isn't much, I occasionally just post screenshots of my commit messages, which recently included better snakes as a commit message. [laughs] I have to dig into that or not. But we were just doing some snake case to camel case conversion. But the commit message was better snake, so here we are. Anyway, if any of that sounds interesting, please do reach out. But I'm excited to transition back to focusing more on the work. On that note, actually, I'm going to call it interesting things that is happening right now organizationally is; we are working with an external security firm to help with some...they helped us out with a penetration test when we needed that. And then they have stayed on retainer and are helping with various different configurations, taking our AWS S3 buckets and making sure those are nice and secure, and all that kind of stuff. But we've recently started to focus more on organizational security, specifically a bowl of acronyms. We've got SSO for single sign-on, MDM for something device management. I don't know what that first M is. I probably should learn it, but it's fine. That's why I've got help on this is I think they know what the acronym stands for. But so we're working on each of those. And on the one hand, they're probably going to be kind of annoying, like having to go through the single sign-on. It's a whole thing, and it's harder to sign into stuff sometimes. I mean, ideally, it's actually easier. But in my experience, it adds some friction at some points. And then MDM means that there's now some profile manager on the computer. So I can say like, "Every computer must have full disk encryption or else you can't use it. And we need a passcode, and it must be this long and those sorts of things." So it's organizational controls that I think are good for us having a robust security setup throughout the organization. But yeah, they're the sort of things that I think historically, I probably would have, as someone working in an organization, had been like, do we have to? Do we need these things? Couldn't I just do whatever? But now there's something about it that I really like. I'm trying to name it in my head, but I'm kind of like, I don't know. This feels like growing up as an organization. And there's always weird corollary that I've been thinking about with the Rails app that we've been building, intimately familiar with just everything that's going into it. And I know the vast majority of lines of code. I haven't written them all, but I've had an eye on all of the different features that we're building in. And it's hard to get out of that headspace where it feels like a bunch of pieces. It doesn't feel like a hole to me, even though it definitely is. But when does a bunch of boards that you nail together become a boat? To make a really weird analogy because that's what I do; it's a hobby of mine. But when does that transition happen? At some point, certainly. But that's harder for me to see on the code side. And organizationally, somehow getting these things in place feels like the organization sort of an inflection point for us, a growth point, which is I'm really excited about it. Even though they're probably going to mean a ton of annoying nuisance work for me because I'm the person in charge of making sure it all gets rolled out. And anytime anyone locks themselves out of an account, I have to help with that. And so it's probably just putting a bunch of annoying work on my plate. And yet, I don't know; I'm kind of excited about it. STEPH: I feel like that shows our roots in terms of how we approach projects that we work on where you mentioned do we need this? Do we need this yet? Because I feel that we're constantly as developers and consultants just we're trying to advise on the more simplified do we need this? Is this the right thing to spend the money on? How do we know? What are the metrics? What does success look like? And all those questions. So I feel like the way you just phrased all of that just really shows that sort of mentality that you grew up with in terms of checking in, and yeah, it's cool. Like you said, you're at a growth point where then it's like, yes, we are at this point that I've asked myself all those questions, and we're here. This feels like the right next step. CHRIS: I like the way you described it as that you grew up with, my formative growing years at thoughtbot. 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Hello, other Stephanie out there in the world. And they wrote in, "Hi, Steph and Chris, fellow software consultant here. And I'm wondering if you'd consider talking about how to craft a project estimate for a client on the pod. It's such an important aspect of consulting." Amen. I added the amen. "And I feel like I'm very much impacted as a project team member when the estimate isn't accurate." Double amen. So true. [laughs] "Would appreciate any and all thoughts, especially since it might be part of my job in the future. Thanks." I just realized I put us in consultant church by adding all those amens, but here we are. [laughs] CHRIS: I'm glad you clarified that they were additions by you and not part of the original question coming in. STEPH: Sure. I don't want to speak on behalf of Stephanie. So I have some thoughts on the matter. I think there are a couple of different ways that we can talk about this particular question because I think there are different formats as to when you're estimating and who you're providing the estimate for. But I'm going to pause because I'd love to see what you think. How do you go about approaching crafting an estimate? CHRIS: Sure. I'm happy to share some thoughts. And for a bit of context, this question came in to us, frankly, many months ago, but I did send an initial reply to Stephanie because I know that sometimes we take a little bit of time to get back to folks. So if ever you do send in a question, know that one of us will probably respond via email earlier, and then eventually, will make it on the show. And again, just to say, we do so appreciate when folks send in these questions. It's an interesting way to shape the conversation and a way to get topics that you're more interested in into the fold here. But so the two main ideas that I shared in my initial reply were, first, is an estimate really necessary? I think that's a critical question because an estimate implies that this thing is knowable. And as many of us, probably all of us, have found out at some point in our lives as software developers, it's really hard to do software estimation, like wildly difficult. And not just the thing that we'll eventually get better at it, which you do, but there's just some chaos. There's some noise in this work that we do that makes it so, so difficult to get it right. So pretty much always, I will ask, like, do we need to estimate here? What if, instead, we were to flip the whole question on its head and say, let's set a deadline. Let's say two months from now that's our deadline. And let's ruthlessly reprioritize every single week to make sure that we're building something that's meaningful, and we're getting there. And obviously, we have to have some general idea of what we're doing. Is two months a meaningful amount of time to build a rocket to go to Mars? Probably not. But is it enough time to build an app that can allow users to sign in and manage a simple list of items? Yeah, we can definitely do that, and we can probably add a bunch of more features. The other thing that I think is worth highlighting is there's a bunch of stuff that is table stakes and very easy to do. But I would, whenever doing estimation, emphasize unknowns. So, where are the external integrations with other systems? Where are the dependencies that rely on other folks to provide some inputs into this process that we can't be certain where there'll be? In my experience, the places where estimates go awry are often these little intersection points that you're like, well, this will probably take a day, maybe two. And it turns out; actually, this can somehow balloon into a month. That's not a thing that feels comfortable saying in an estimation process, but it is definitely real. I've seen it happen so many times. And so it's those unknowns. It's those little bits that I would emphasize as part of the process if you do need to do an estimate and say, all right, here's the boring stuff. I think we can do that pretty easily. But this part, I don't know, it could be a week, could be three months. And frame it in that way that there is this ambiguity there. Because if someone's asking you for an estimate and they're looking for like it is seven days and two hours exactly, it's like, well, that's not realistic. That's not how this thing works. Unfortunately, I wish it did. But pushing back and changing the conversation is the thing that I have found valuable. I think there's some other really interesting stuff in here around the team dynamics that Stephanie is talking about. But I want to send this over to other Stephanie to see your thoughts because I'm super interested to hear what you have to say as well. STEPH: Oh, I like how you hinted at the team dynamics. Yeah, that could be a fun one to circle back to. So I love how you called out highlighting the unknowns. There are a couple of ways that this comes to mind for me. So there's the idea of the weekly or the bi-weekly estimates that we make as developers and designers. So let's say we as a team are getting together to focus on a chunk of work and decide what we can and can't get through. And that feels one of those the more you get to practice it more frequently; you get to ask a bunch of questions. And that feels like a good rehearsal and exercise of how to go through estimates. And I know you and I have pretty similar strong feelings around how those estimates are then treated by the company. They should really just be used for the team to talk through the complexities in the work to be done versus used to communicate outwardly as to this is when it's definitely going to ship. So there's that more immediate practice of providing estimates. And then there's the idea for more of a consultancy or a company, and someone is coming to you, so thoughtbot being a great example of then how do we work with teams that are looking to come to us and gain an estimate for getting a certain feature implemented? So actually, I went to the source on this one. I went to Josh Clayton, who does a lot of the conversations for the Boost team when it comes to talking with clients and about the potential work that they would like to be done. And mostly our work is often teams will hire us. They have specific goals in mind, but they're really looking to hire ongoing development and services. So they really want to add to their existing staff. And then it's going to be an ongoing relationship versus a hey, we need you to quote us for how long it's going to take to implement this particular feature. And on that note, we don't do fixed-bid work. So we don't say it's X dollars for specific features. But on the realistic side, customers are often capped by a budget. And so that estimate is very important to them because it could be a difference between it's a go versus a no go. So if you have larger companies that are like, "Yep, we want to engage with thoughtbot. We really just want additional development power and design services," that's great. For those that are smaller, it could be an individual product owner, and they need to say, "I really want this feature, but I only have this much money. And frankly, if I can't ship it by this time, I'm not going to do it because it's not worth the investment to my company." And then, in those cases, those are the ones that we're going to spend more time with them to talk about what does the fallback plan look like? And what's our opportunity for simplifying the features? And Josh, in particular, referenced this as systems thinking. So he will go through the idea of drawing out the set of steps, understanding the complexity of the different screens. So what are the validations? What are the external dependencies? What is owned by us and what isn't? What is the likelihood that we're going to get permission to simplify or remove complexity? And even then, when we start to provide some estimates, it's going to be in weeks. It's not in hours; it's not in days. It's going to be in a slightly larger time frame. And then we're also going to spend more time in the discovery phase to say, okay, well, we know you need to fix this particular issue, or you need to integrate with this particular service. So we're going to need to ask a lot more questions about your codebase. What problems have you already run into? Have you tried to do this before? Do we have experience doing this? Is this something that we can lean on and ask someone in the team? And, say, how long do you think it would take for us to work on this? And that's knowledge that isn't privy to everybody. It depends on where you're at in your career as to like, oh yeah, I've done this like five times before, and I know exactly how this stuff can fall apart. I know where the complexity lies. So I think that's why estimation is so difficult is just because it does often pull from that existing experience. And so, if you don't have that experience for a particular set of work, of course, it's going to be hard to estimate because you just don't know. So that was a very broad scope of as day-to-day developer and designers; I feel like we're constantly getting practice and estimating and communicating the progress of our work. And then on the larger scope of if you are a consultant who's then looking to give estimates to clients, then understanding what other need can you sell them? Just ongoing development services. Or, if they are a smaller team and very focused, then what legwork can you do ahead of time to de-risk the project? And then understand how much control you're going to have to be able to simplify as you learn more as you go. Because you're going to, you're going to uncover some things, and you're going to learn some things. And what's that collaboration going to look like? I do have one more concrete example I can provide around some of the smaller projects that we take on. So when we are helping someone that's, say, getting a new product out to market, then we do have a more deliberate three, four-phase approach where we first focus on discovery, and ideation, and validation. And then, we move on to iteration and then launching. And I really like how you said about providing a deadline because then that helps us scope aggressively as to what is the minimum thing that we can get out into the world that will be valuable? And then there's usually some post-launch support as well. But that's often how we will structure those smaller, more specific engagements. CHRIS: I think one of the critical things that you highlighted in there is that thoughtbot doesn't do fixed-bid work. So we're going to do these 20 features, and it's going to take four months. thoughtbot does not do that, and frankly, that's a privilege to be able to take that position and say, "No, no, no," we're not going to work that way. But it is, I think, a trade-off. It's not just something that thoughtbot does to be like, listen, that doesn't sound fun. So I'm not going to do that. It's a trade-off. Not doing that comes in concert with saying, "But weekly, we're going to talk about the work that we have done and the work that remains and constantly, ruthlessly, reprioritize and re-decide what we're doing." And it's that engagement, the idea that you can have a body of work, look at it and say, "Yeah, that'll take about six months," and then go away for six months, and then come back with the finished software. Our strong belief is that that's not the way good software gets built. But instead, it's a very engaged team where the product owner and the development team are in constant communication about each of the features that are being developed. And then again, ideally, on a weekly cadence, coming up for air and saying, "How are we doing? Are we moving in the right direction? Are we getting towards the goals? If not, do we need to simplify? Do we need to change things?" And similarly, as I mentioned deadlines, I feel like deadlines is probably a word that many people think of as very bad because deadlines often come with also a fixed scope, but that can't happen. That's two constraints, and you can't have them fighting that way. But a deadline can be super useful as a way to say we're going to put something out there in the future and say we're heading towards that moment. And let's, again, cut scope. Let's change what we're building, et cetera. But critically, not say, "We got a deadline and a fixed scope. We're going to do that." And so it's, again, just ways to gently shift the conversation around and say, what if we were to look at this from a different angle? Because just having a pile of work and saying, "That'll take six months," I've never seen that play out. STEPH: Yeah, to me, deadline is a bad word when the deadline is set by a team that's not doing the work. So if you have leadership or if you have someone else that is setting this deadline and then just passing that down to someone else to then fulfill, regardless of the feedback or how things are going, then yeah, then it can be a nasty thing, which I think is a little bit of in that question that you picked up on that you highlighted where there could be some interesting team dynamics that Stephanie called out, highlighting that I'm very much impacted as a project team member when the estimate isn't accurate. And I'm making some assumptions here because I don't actually know the exact situation that Stephanie is experiencing. But it sounds like someone else externally is setting these team estimates. And so then you're handed this deadline, and then stuff goes wrong, but you're still pressured to meet this deadline. And I've certainly been part of projects that are like that. And then that is one of the number one things that then often comes up in a retro or like, we don't have control over these deadlines, or we don't know why these deadlines are being set. And then people are working extra hours and working nights and weekends to then meet this arbitrary deadline that none of us signed up for, and that's just not fair to treat deadlines in that way. So full-heartedly agree that deadlines can be a very positive thing, but they need to be set by the people doing the work. And then there has to be discussions and updates about how is this going? Do we have control to simplify this? We thought we could do this with this particular external provider. It turns out that that's a nightmare. Is there another provider we can go with? Can we ship this incrementally? Like some features, you can't. They may have to go out wholesale. But is there a small chunk of this that we can deliver that is then a success that leadership and others can brag about? And then we can keep working on the rest of it. So it's always identifying what are the smallest wins, and how do we get there and getting buy-in from the team? Going back to something that you said earlier around, it is a privilege, where so as thoughtbot, we don't do fixed-bid work. And that is a nice thing for us to be able to focus on. But for people who do need to do fixed bid work and are relying on that, I think that often requires more legwork. And maybe that becomes part of your estimate. I'm just making up how I might approach this if I were trying to do fixed bid work. But there's a discovery phase that's very important. So maybe the first part of your estimate is I need to really understand the feature and see the different screens and know what materials we do or don't have. What does the codebase look like? Do I feel like this is a codebase that I can work quickly in? And is it going to be hindersome for me? But answering a lot of those questions to then help me paint a picture of, like, okay, this is a feature that I've implemented before, so I feel pretty confident that I could do this in a month. And then also communicating that this is my estimate but just know it's an estimate. And I will continue to update you each day as to how things are going or each week as to how things are going, and things may adjust. And we can always talk about ways about simplifying this. But I think that's how I would go about it is; frankly, it's going to require more legwork for me to feel more confident as to then telling someone as to how long I think the work will take. I think that's a nice, broad scope of the different types of estimate work to be done with the general idea of if you can avoid estimates and go for more frequent updates, then that's wonderful. But then, if you are forced into a corner where you need to provide an update, then just do as much research and honesty as possible and then still include the frequent updates. CHRIS: Yeah, that I think summarizes it quite well. STEPH: As a side note, it's been a lot of fun to feel like I'm referring to myself as a third person as Stephanie is working through this problem. So that's been novel. But yeah, thank you, Stephanie, for the great question. I hope that was helpful. On that note, Shall we wrap up? CHRIS: Let's wrap up. The show notes for this episode can be found at bikeshed.fm. STEPH: This show is produced and edited by Mandy Moore. CHRIS: If you enjoyed listening, one really easy way to support the show is to leave us a quick rating or even a review on iTunes, as it really helps other folks find the show. STEPH: If you have any feedback for this or any of our other episodes, you can reach us at @_bikeshed or reach me on Twitter @SViccari. CHRIS: And I'm @christoomey. STEPH: Or you can reach us at hosts@bikeshed.fm via email. CHRIS: Thanks so much for listening to The Bike Shed, and we'll see you next week. ALL: Byeeeeeeeeee!!! ANNOUNCER: This podcast was brought to you by thoughtbot. thoughtbot is your expert design and development partner. Let's make your product and team a success.

The Bike Shed
323: Doing Things

The Bike Shed

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 25, 2022 45:43


Steph talks about winter storms and thoughts on name pronunciation features. Chris talks about writing a query to add a new display of data in an admin panel and making a guest appearance on the Svelte Radio Podcast. Finally, Chris decided that his productivity to-do list system was failing him. So he's on the search now for something new. He asks Steph what she uses and if she's happy with it. How do you, dear Listener, keep track of all your stuff in the world? This episode is brought to you by ScoutAPM (https://scoutapm.com/bikeshed). Give Scout a try for free today and Scout will donate $5 to the open source project of your choice when you deploy. Upcase advanced Active Record (https://thoughtbot.com/upcase/advanced-activerecord-querying) Svelte Radio (https://www.svelteradio.com/episodes/chris-toomey-talks-svelte-rails-and-banking) Things (https://culturedcode.com/things/) Todoist (https://todoist.com/) MeetingBar (https://meetingbar.onrender.com/) SavvyCal (https://savvycal.com/) Become a Sponsor (https://thoughtbot.com/sponsorship) of The Bike Shed! Transcript: CHRIS: Hello and welcome to another episode of The Bike Shed, a weekly podcast from your friends at thoughtbot about developing great software. I'm Chris Toomey. STEPH: And I'm Steph Viccari. CHRIS: And together, we're here to share a bit of what we've learned along the way. So, Steph, what's new in your world? STEPH: Hey, Chris. We have Winter Storm Izzy headed our way. It's arriving in South Carolina early tomorrow morning. So that's kind of exciting just because it's South Carolina. We rarely see snow. In fact, I looked it up because I was curious because I've seen it every now and then. But I looked up the greatest cumulative snowfall in 1 season, and it was 19 inches in the winter of 1971. I was trying to add an old-timey voice there. I don't know if I was successful. CHRIS: Does 1971 deserve a full old-timey voice? STEPH: Apparently. CHRIS: I feel like people from 1971 would be like, "We were just people in the 70s." Like, what do you... STEPH: [laughs] CHRIS: Wait. Nineteen inches, is that what you said? STEPH: 19 inches. That was total for the season. CHRIS: Yeah, we can bang that out in an afternoon up here in the North. So yeah, okay. You were here for the terrible, terrible winter, right? STEPH: Oh, Snowmageddon? Yes. CHRIS: Yeah, that was something, oof. STEPH: I don't remember how many inches. Was it like 100 inches in a month or something wild like that? I've forgotten the facts. CHRIS: I, too forget the facts. I remember the anecdotal piece of data, the anecdata as it were where we shoveled our driveway, and then another storm came, we shoveled our driveway. And then finally, I was living in an apartment, and it was time to shovel the driveway again. But the pile of snow on the lawn was too big. So we had to shovel the pile of snow further up the lawn to make room for the snow that we were shoveling out of the driveway. But I also remember that being a really nice bonding moment, and I met more of the people living in the...it was a house that had been converted into six apartments. So I actually met some of the people from the house for the first time. And then we hung out a little bit more in the day. So I actually have weirdly fond memories of that time. But to be clear, that was too much snow. I will officially go on record saying too much snow. No, thank you again. STEPH: It was a lot of snow. I think it broke Boston for a while. I remember I don't think I went to...I worked remotely for two weeks because they were just like, "Yeah, don't even try to come into the office. Don't worry about it." So it felt like my first dabbling into understanding quarantine [laughs] except at least with less complicated reasons, just with lots of snow. We also went snowboarding in Charlestown, where we were living. And that was fun because there are some really great hills, and there was so much snow that that was delightful. But I'm not expecting Snowmageddon in South Carolina, although people may act like it and rush out and get their milk and bread. But hopefully, we'll get a couple of inches because that'll be lovely. I don't know that Utah has ever seen the snow. So this will be fun. CHRIS: Oh, that'll definitely be fun. I imagine you've got like even if you do get some amount of accumulation, a day later the sun will just be like, "I'm back. I got this," and clear it up, and you won't have any lingering. The year of Snowmageddon, if I remember correctly, the final pile of snow left in July, the shared one that the city had collected. So you'll probably do better than that turnaround time. [laughs] STEPH: Yeah, it's perfect. It's very ephemeral. It snows, it's beautiful. It's there for a couple of hours, and then poof, it's gone. And then you're back to probably 70-degree weather typically what's here, [laughs] which I have no complaints. There's a reason that I like living here. But in some other news, I have something that I'm really excited about that I want to share. So there's something that you and I work really hard to do correctly, and it's pronouncing someone's name. So whenever there is either a guest on the show, or we are referencing someone, we will often pause, and then we will look for videos. We'll look for an audio clip, something where that person says their name. And then we will do our best to then say it correctly. Although I probably put a Southern twang on a lot of people's names, so sorry about that. But that's really important to say someone's name correctly. And one of thoughtbot's projects is called Hub, which is something that we use internally for all of our project staffing and then also for profiles and team information; there's a new feature that Matheus Richard, another thoughtboter, implemented that I am just so excited about. And now that I have it, I just think I don't know how I lived without this. And I want it everywhere. So Matheus has added the feature where you can upload an audio file with your name pronunciation. So you can go to someone's profile, and you can click on the little audio button and hear them pronounce their name. And then a number of people have taken it a bit further where they will provide, say, the American or English pronunciation of their name. And then they will provide their specific pronunciation; maybe it's Greek, maybe it's Spanish, and it's just phenomenal. And I love it so much. And I can't wait for just more platforms to have something like this. So really big shout out to Matheus Richard for that phenomenal feature. CHRIS: Oh, that is awesome. Yeah, we definitely do pause pretty regularly to go scan through YouTube or try and find an example. And often, people just start into talks, or they'll only say their first name. We're like, oh, okay, keep searching, keep searching. We'll find it. And apologies to anyone whose name we still got wrong regardless of our efforts. But it's making this a paramount idea similar to people putting their pronouns in their name. Like, okay, this is a thing that we should get into the habit of because the easier we make this, the more common that we make this. And names absolutely matter, and getting the pronunciation right really matters. And especially if it can be an easier thing, that's really wonderful. I hope Twitter and other platforms just adopt this; just take this entirely and make it easy because it should be. STEPH: That's what I was thinking; if Twitter had this, and then I was thinking if Slack had this, that would be a wonderful place to be able to just see someone's profile because we can see lots of other helpful context about them. So yeah, it's wonderful. I want to hear more people how they pronounce their names. Because I'll always ask somebody, but it would just be really nice to then be able to revisit or check-in before you talk to that person, and then you can just say their name. That would be delightful. CHRIS: I do feel like creating it for my name would be interesting. I actually had someone this week say my name and then say, "Oh, is that how you pronounce it?" And I stopped for a minute, and I was like, "Yes. I'm really intrigued what other options you were considering, though. I would like to spend a minute and just...because I always thought there was really only the one approach, but I would love to know. Let's just explore the space here," but yes. STEPH: [laughs] You ask them, "What else you got? What other variations can I hear?" CHRIS: [laughs] I would like three variations on my desk by tomorrow so that I can understand what I'm missing out on, frankly. There's a theme or an idea that I've seen bouncing around on Twitter now of people saying, "Yeah, I really just want to apply, get hired, work for one day, make this one change to a platform, and immediately put in my resignation." And I could see this like, "All right, I'm just going to go. I'm going to get hired by Twitter. This is it. This is all I'm doing," which really trivializes the amount of effort that would go into it for a platform like Twitter. I can't even imagine what engineering looks like in Twitter and how all the pieces come together. I'm imagining some amount of microservices there, and that's just my guess. But yeah, that idea of just like, this is my drive-by feature. I show up; I work for a week, I quit. And there we go; now we have it. STEPH: Well, we are consultants. Maybe we'll get hired for all these different companies, and that will be our drive-by feature. We'll add it to their boards and be like, "Don't you want this? Don't you need this?" And then they'll say, "Yes." [chuckles] CHRIS: I am intrigued because I can't imagine this hasn't come up in conversations at Twitter. And so, what are the trade-off considerations that they're making, or what are the reasons not to do this? I don't have any good answers there. I'm just asking the question because, for an organization their size, someone must have had this idea. Yeah, I wonder. STEPH: Yeah, there's; also, I'm sure malicious things that then you have to consider as to then how people...because, at the end of the day, it's just an audio file. So it could be anything that you want it to be. So it starts to get complicated when you think about ways that people could abuse a feature. On that peppy note, what's going on in your world? CHRIS: I had a fun bit of coding that I got to do recently, which, more and more, my days don't involve as much coding. And so when I have a little bit of time, especially for a nice, self-contained little piece of code that I get to write, that's enjoyable. And so I was writing a query. I wanted to add a new display of data in our admin panel. And I was trying to write a query, and I got to build a nice query object in Ruby, which I always enjoy. That's not a real thing, just in case anyone's hearing that and thinking like, wait, what's a query object? Just a class that takes in a relation and returns relation but encapsulates more complex query logic. It's one of my favorite types of ways to extract logic from ActiveRecord models, that sort of thing. So I was building this query object, and specifically, what I wanted to do here is I'm going to simplify down the data model. And I'm going to say that we have users and reservations in the system. This may sound familiar to you, Steph, as your go-to example [laughs] from the past. We have users, and we have reservations in the system. So a user has many reservations. And reservations can be they have a timestamp or maybe an enum column. But basically, they have the idea of potentially being upcoming, so in the future. And so what I wanted to do was I wanted to find all users in the system who have less than two upcoming reservations. Now, the critical detail here is that zero is a number less than two. So I wanted to know any users that have no upcoming reservations or one upcoming reservation. Those were the two like, technically, that's it. But say it was even less than three, that's fine as well. But I need to account for zero. And so I rolled up my sleeves, started writing the query, and ActiveRecord has some really nice features for this where I can merge different scopes that are on the reservation.upcoming is a scope that I have on that model that determines if a reservation is upcoming because maybe there's more complex logic there. So that's encapsulated over there. But what I tried initially was users.leftjoinsreservations .groupbyusers.id havingcountofreservations. So that was what I got to. And thankfully, I wrote a bunch of tests for this, which is one of the wonderful things about extracting the query object. It was very easy to isolate this thing: write a bunch of tests that execute it with given data. And interestingly, I found that it worked properly for users with a bunch of upcoming reservations. They were not returned by the query objects which they shouldn't, and users with one upcoming reservation. But users with zero upcoming reservations were being filtered out. And that was a surprise. STEPH: Is it because the way you were joining and looking where the reservation had to match to a user, so you weren't getting where users didn't have a reservation? CHRIS: It was related to that. So there's a subtlety to LEFT JOINS. So a JOIN is going to say like, users and reservations. But in that case, if there is a user without reservations, I know they're going to be filtered out of this query. So it's like, oh, I know what to do. LEFT JOINS, I got this. So LEFT JOINS says, "Give me all of the users and then in the query space that I'm building up here, join them to their reservations." So even a user with no reservations is now part of the recordset that is being considered for this query. But when I added the filter of reservations.upcoming, I tried to merge that in using ActiveRecord's .merge syntax on a query or on a relation, as it were. That would not work because it turns out when you're using the LEFT JOINS...and as I'm saying this, I'm going to start saying, like, here's definitively what's true. I probably still don't entirely understand this, but trying to do the WHERE clause on the outer query did not work. And I had to move that filtering logic into the LEFT JOINS. So the definition of the JOINS was now I had to actually handwrite that portion of the SQL and say, LEFT OUTER JOIN users on and then, you know, the users.id=reservations.userid and reservations. whatever the logic there for an upcoming reservation. So reservations.completed is null or reservations.date>date.current or whatever logic there. But I had to include that logic in the definition of the LEFT OUTER JOIN, which is not a thing that I think I've done before. So it was part of the definition of the JOIN rather than part of the larger query that we were operating on. STEPH: Yeah, that's interesting. I don't think I would have caught that myself. And luckily, you had the test to then point out to you. CHRIS: Yeah, definitely the tests made me feel much more confident when I eventually narrowed down and started to understand it and was able to make the change in the code. I was also quite happy with the way I was able to structure it. So, suddenly, I had to handwrite a little bit of SQL. And what was nice is many, many, many years ago, I recorded a wonderful course on Upcase with Joe Ferris, CTO of thoughtbot, on Advanced ActiveRecord Querying. And I'm still years later digesting everything that Joe said in that course. It's really an amazing piece of content. But one of the things that I learned is Joe shows a bunch of examples throughout that course of ways that where you need to, you can drop down to raw SQL within an ActiveRecord relation. But you don't need to completely throw it out and write the entire query by hand. You can just say, in this case, all I had to handwrite was the JOINS logic for that LEFT JOINS. But the rest of it was still using normal ActiveRecord query logic. And the .having was scoped on its own, and all of those sort of things. So it was a nice balance of still staying mostly within the ActiveRecord query Builder syntax and then dropping down to a lower level where I needed it. STEPH: I love that you mentioned that video because I have seen it, and it is so good. In fact, I now want to go back and rewatch it since you've mentioned it just because I remember I always learn something every time that I do watch it. On a side note, the way that you represented and described query objects was so lovely. I know you, and I have talked about query objects before because we adore them. But I feel like you just gave a really good mini class and overview of like, this is what a query object is, and this is what it does. And this is why they're great because you can test them. CHRIS: Cool. I'm going to be honest; I have no idea what I said. But I'm glad it was good. [laughs] STEPH: It was. It was really good. If anyone has questions about query objects, that'll be a good reference. CHRIS: Well, thank you so much for the kind words there. And for the ActiveRecord querying trail, really, I was just along for the ride on that one, to be clear. I did write a bunch of notes after the fact, which I've found incredibly useful because the videos are great. But having the notes to be able to reference...past me spent a lot of time trying really hard to understand what Joe had said so that I could write it down. And I'm very glad that I invested that time and effort so that I can revisit it more easily. But yeah, that was just a fun little bit of code that I got to write and a new thing that I've learned in the world of SQL, which is one of those topics that every little investment of effort I find to be really valuable. The more comfortable I feel, the more that I can express in SQL. It's one of those investments that I'm like, yep, glad I did that. Whereas there are other things like, yeah, I learned years ago how to do X. I've completely forgotten it. It's gone from my head. I'm never going to use it again, or the world has changed. But SQL is one of those topics where I appreciate all of the investment I've put in and always find it valuable to invest a bit more in my knowledge there. STEPH: Yeah, absolutely same. Just to troll Regexs for a little bit, they're powerful, but they're the thing that I will never commit to learning. I refuse to do it. [laughs] I will always look it up when I need to. But Postgres or SQL, on the other hand, is always incredibly valuable. And I'm always happy to learn something new and invest in that area of my skills. CHRIS: Yep, SQL and Postgres are great things. But let's see. In other news, actually, I had the pleasure of joining the Svelte Radio Podcast for an episode this week. They invited me on as a guest. And we got to chat about Svelte, and then I accidentally took the conversation in the direction of inertia as I always do. And then I talked a little bit more about Sagewell, the company that I'm building, and all sorts of things in the world. But that was really fun, and I really enjoyed that. And I believe it will be live by the time this episode goes live. So we will certainly include a link to that episode in our show notes here. STEPH: That's awesome. I haven't listened to the Svelte Podcast before. So I'm excited to hear your episode and all the good things that you said on it. I'm also just less familiar with them. Who runs the Svelte Podcast, and what's the name of the show? CHRIS: The show is called Svelte Radio. It's hosted by Antony, Shawn, and Kevin, who are three Svelters from the community. Svelte is a really interesting group where the Svelte society is, as far as I can tell, a community organization that is seemingly well-supported by the core team and embraced as the natural center point of the community. And then Svelte Radio is an extension of that. And it's a wonderful podcast. Each week, they talk about various things. So there are news episodes, and then they have guests on from time to time. Recently, having Rich Harris on to talk about the future of Svelte, Rich Harris being the creator of Svelte. Interestingly, if you search for Svelte Radio, they are the second Google result because the first Google result is the tutorial docs on how to use Svelte with radio buttons. But then the second one is Svelte Radio, the podcast, [laughs], which is an interesting thing. Good on Svelte's documentation for having such strong SEO. STEPH: I was just thinking there's something delightful about that where the first hit is for documentation that's a very helpful; here's how you use this. That's kind of lovely. Well, that's really cool. I'm really looking forward to hearing more about Svelte and listening to you be on the show. CHRIS: Yeah, they actually had some very kind things to say about The Bike Shed and, frankly, you as well and our co-hosting that we do here. So that was always nice to hear. STEPH: That's very kind of them. And it never fails to amaze me how nice podcasters are. Everyone that I've met in this community that's a fellow podcaster they're just all such wonderful, nice, kind people, and I just appreciate the heck out of them. CHRIS: Yeah, podcasts are great. The internet is doing its job; that's my strong belief there. But let's see. In other news, I actually have more of a question here, sort of a question and an observation. My work has started to take a slightly different shape than it has historically. Often, I'm a developer working on a team, picking up something off the top of the Trello board or whatever we're using for project management, working on that thing, pushing it through to acceptance. But all of the work or the vast majority of the work is encapsulated in this one shared planning context. But now, enough of my work is starting to spill out in different directions. Like right now, I'm pushing on hiring. That's a task that largely lives with me that doesn't live on the shared Trello board. Certainly, the rest of the team will be involved at some point. But for now, there's that that's really mine. And there are other pieces of work that are starting to take that shape. So I recognize, or at least I decided that my productivity to-do lists system was failing me. So I'm on the search now for something new, but I'm intrigued. What do you use? Are you happy with what you have for to-do lists? How do you keep track of stuff in the world? STEPH: Oh goodness. I'm now going to overanalyze everything that I do and how I keep track of the things that I do. [chuckles] So currently, I have two things that I used to track, and that is...okay, I'm going to expand. I have three to-do lists that I use to track. [laughs] Todoist is where I add most things of where whatever I just think of, and I want to capture it Todoist is usually where it goes. Because then it's very easy for me to then go back to that list and prioritize or just simply delete stuff. If I haven't gotten to it in a while, I'm like, fine, let it go. Move on. And then the other place I've started using just because it's been helpful in terms of linking to stuff is Basecamp. So we use Basecamp at thoughtbot, and we use it for a number of internal projects. But I have created my own project thanks to some advice from Mike Burns, a fellow thoughtboter, because he created his own and uses that to manage a lot of his to-dos and tasks that he has. And then that way, it's already one-stop shopping since you're in Basecamp a lot throughout the day or at least where you're going to visit some of the tasks that you need to work on. So that has been helpful just because it's very simple and easy to reference. And then calendar, I just live by my calendar. So if something is of the utmost importance...I realize I'm going in this in terms of order of importance. If something is critical, it's on my calendar. That's where it goes. Because I know I have not only put it somewhere that I am guaranteed to see it, but I have carved out time for it too. That's my three-tier system. [laughs] CHRIS: I like it. That sounds great, not overly complicated but plenty going on there. And it sounds like it's working for you, sounds like you're happy with that. STEPH: It has worked really well. I'm still evaluating the Basecamp, but so far, it has been helpful. It does help me separate between fun to-do items which go in Todoist and maybe just some other work stuff. But if it's really work-focused, then it's going in Basecamp right now. So there's a little helpful separation there between what's going on in my life versus then things I need to prioritize for work. What are the things that you're currently using, and where are you feeling they're falling down or not being as helpful as you'd like them to be? CHRIS: My current exploration, I'm starting to look for a new to-do list-type things. Specifically, I've been using Trello for a long time for probably a couple of years now. And that was a purposeful choice to move away from some of the more structured systems because I found they weren't providing as much value. I was constantly bouncing between different clients and moving into different systems. And so much of the work was centrally organized there that the little bit of stuff that I had personally to keep track of was easy enough to manage within a Trello board. And then slowly, my Trello board morphed into like 10 Trello boards for different topics. So I have one that's like this is research. These are things that I want to look into. And so I can have sort of a structure and prioritization within that context in my world. And then there's one for fitness and one for cooking. I'm trying to think which else...experiments, as I'm thinking about I want to try this new thing in the world. I have a board for that. So I have a bunch of those that allow me to keep things that aren't as actionable, that are more sort of explorations. But then they each have their own structure. And that I found to be really useful and I think I'll hold on to. But my core to-do board has started failing me, has started being just not quite enough. And then, more so, I wanted a distinct thing for work for a professional context. So I was like, all right, let me go back to the drawing board and see what's out there. And I did a quick scan of Todoist and Things, respectively. And I've settled on Things for right now. It just matches a little bit more to my mental model. Todoist really pushes on the idea of due dates or dates as a singular idea associated with most things. Almost everything should have a date. And I kind of philosophically disagree with that. Whereas Things has this interesting idea of there is the idea of a due date, but it's de-emphasized in their UI because not everything has a due date; most things don't. But Things has a separate idea of a scheduled date or an intent date. Like yeah, I think I'll work on that on Wednesday. It's not due on Wednesday; that's just when I want to work on it. It can have a separate due date. Like, maybe it's due Friday. STEPH: Is the name of the application that you're saying is it Things? Is that the name of it? CHRIS: Yeah, it is. STEPH: I haven't heard this one. You kept saying Things. I was like, wait, is he being vague? But I realized you're being specific. [laughs] CHRIS: It's one of the few things that...yeah, one of the few things that I think is not great about Things. It's from a company Cultured Code, and the application is called Things. And that is all I will say on that topic. Different names maybe would have been better, but they seem to have carved out enough of an attention space. Enough people know of it that if you search for Things and to-do list, it will very quickly pop up. But yeah, that's a pretty ambiguous name. They maybe could have done a different one there. But the design of the application is really nice. It's on my desktop. And now I have it on my phone as well, and they sync between them and all the stuff. So there's never going to be a perfect system. I'm certain of that. I've at least talked myself out of trying to build my own because, man, have I fallen into that trap before. Oh goodness, so many times. STEPH: I'm very proud of you. CHRIS: Thank you. I'm trying. STEPH: But yeah, it'll be interesting to see how it evolves. I continue to struggle with there are these things that come to mind, and I want to capture them during the day. But some of them are just stories I'm telling myself, which would probably be best captured in a journal tool. And then there are notes that I might want to keep on remote work and how people think about that. And so I'm starting to think about Obsidian or a note-taking system for that. And then I've got this Trello board concoction. And now I've got a to-do...and suddenly I'm like, well, that's too many things. And so I'm trying to not overthink it. I'm trying to not underthink it. I'm trying to just find that perfect amount of thinking. That's what I'm aiming for. I'm not sure I'm going to hit it directly, [laughs], but that's what I'm aiming for. Mid-roll Ad And now a quick break to hear from today's sponsor, Scout APM. Scout APM is leading-edge application performance monitoring that's designed to help Rails developers quickly find and fix performance issues without having to deal with the headache or overhead of enterprise platform feature bloat. With a developer-centric UI and tracing logic that ties bottlenecks to source code, you can quickly pinpoint and resolve those performance abnormalities like N+1 queries, slow database queries, memory bloat, and much more. Scout's real-time alerting and weekly digest emails let you rest easy knowing Scout's on watch and resolving performance issues before your customers ever see them. Scout has also launched its new error monitoring feature add-on for Python applications. Now you can connect your error reporting and application monitoring data on one platform. See for yourself why developers call Scout their best friend and try our error monitoring and APM free for 14 days; no credit card needed. And as an added-on bonus for Bike Shed listeners, Scout will donate $5 to the open-source project of your choice when you deploy. Learn more at scoutapm.com/bikeshed. That's scoutapm.com/bikeshed. STEPH: Some of the topics that you mentioned earlier did stand out to me when you're talking about recipes and working out some other topics. Those are things for me that I often just put in notes. So I liked the word that you used for stories that you're telling yourself or things that you're interested in. Is that something that...I don't put it in Todoist or put it somewhere because I don't really have an action item. It's more like, yeah, this recipe looks awesome and one day...so I'm going to stash it somewhere so I can find it. I'm currently using Notion. I used Bear before. It is beautiful. I really liked Bear, but I needed a little bit more structure, and Notion gave me that structure. And so I will just dump it in Notion. And then it's very searchable, so I can always find whatever recipe or whatever thought that was as long as I try to add buzzwords to my own notes. Like, what would have Stephanie searched for looking for this? So I will try to include some of those words just so I can easily find it. CHRIS: I love you're defining yourself as a Stephanie. For a random Stephanie walking through the woods, what search terms? How can I SEO arbitrage a Stephanie? STEPH: What would she look for? CHRIS: Who knows? STEPH: That Stephanie, she's sneaky. You never know. CHRIS: You never can tell. Obsidian is the one that I'm looking at now. But I'm currently using Apple Notes. And it's really nice to be able to search directly into a note very quickly. I have that both via Alfred and then on my phone. And I'm finding a lot of utility in that, particularly for notes, for things I want to talk to someone about. But now there are seven different things, and how are they connected? And where is something? And to the question of where would a future Christopher look for this, let's make sure I put it in that place. But I don't know what that dude's going to be up to. He's a weird guy. He might look in a completely random place. So I'm trying to outsmart him, and oof, good luck, me. STEPH: [laughs] I have heard of Obsidian, but I don't recall much about it. So I'd have to look into it. I do feel your pain around Todoist and where it really encourages you to set a date. Because there are often things where I'm like, I saw something I want to read. And I know there are tons of tools. There are so many tools and videos and things that people could watch if they really want to invest in this workflow. But right now, I've told myself no, and so I use Todoist. And I see something I want to read, and so I just link to it. And I don't have a particular date that I want to read it. I'm like, this looks cool, and so then I add it to a reading list. But that also, I guess, could be something for notes. More and more, I'm trying to shove things into notes, so it feels less like a task and more of a I'm curious, or I'm interested in things that have piqued my interest. Let me go back and look at that list to see if there's something I want to pull from today or I need inspiration. That's what my notes often are; they're typically inspiration for something that I have seen and really liked, or maybe it's a bug that I looked into, and I want to recall how that happened or what was the process. But yeah, my notes are typically a source of inspiration. So I try to dump most things in there. I don't know if that's particularly helpful for your task, though, because it sounds like you're looking for a way to manage the things that you actually need to do versus just capturing all of your thoughts. CHRIS: Honestly, part of it is having a good system for those like, oh, I'd like to read this sometime. Ideally, for me, that doesn't go into my whatever to-do list system. But if my brain doesn't trust that I'll ever read it or if I feel like I'm putting it into a black hole, then my brain is just like, hey, you should really read that thing. Are you thinking about that? You should think about that and just brings it up. And so having a system externalized that I trust such that then the to-do list can be as focused as possible. It's a sort of an arms race back and forth battle type thing of like, I've definitely done the loop of like, all right, I want to capture everything. I want to have perfect, lossless, productivity system, and that is not possible. And so then I overcorrect back the other way. I'm like, whatever, nothing matters. I'll just let everything fall away. And then I'm like, well, then my brain tries to remind me of stuff or tries to remember more. And there's a book, Getting Things Done, which is one of the more common things recommended in the productivity world. And that informs a bunch of my thinking around this, the idea of capturing everything that's in your head so that you can get it out of your head. And in the moment, be focused and in the moment and not having to try and remember. And so that's the ideal that I'm searching for. But it's difficult to build that and make that work. STEPH: It seems the answer is there's no perfect system. It's always finding what works for you. And I feel like it's always going to change from hopefully not month to month because that would be tedious. But it may change year to year depending on how you're prioritizing things and the types of things that you need to remember or that you need to accumulate somewhere. So I feel like it's always this evolving, iterative process of changing where we're storing this. But I feel like where you store the notes and inspiration, that's something that, ideally, you want to make sure that you can always continue to keep forward. So even if you do change systems, that's something that's usually on my mind. It's like, well, if I use this system to store all of my thoughts, what if I want to move to something else? How stuck am I to this particular platform? And can I still have ownership of the things that I have added here? But overall, yeah, I'd be intrigued to see what other people think if they have a particular system that works for them, or they have suggestions. But overall, it seems to be whatever caters best to your personality and your workflow. That's why there are so many of these. There are so many thoughts, so many videos, so many styles. CHRIS: Yeah, I think a critical part of what you just said that feels very true to me is this is something that will change over time as well. Life comes in seasons, and my work may look a certain way, or my life may look a certain way, and then next year, it may be wildly different. And so, finding something that is good enough for right now and then moving forward with that and being open to revisiting it. And yeah, that feels true. So I'm in an explore phase right now. I'll report back if I have any major breakthroughs. But yeah, we'll see how it goes. STEPH: I will say I think the main tool that I have really leaned into, while some of the others will change over time, is my calendar. There are certain things I've let go. My inbox is always going to be messy. My to-do list is always going to be messy. But my calendar that is where things really go to make sure that they happen. And I will even add tasks there as well. So I feel like the calendar will always stick with me because I can trust that as the one source of like, these are the things that have to happen. Everything else I can check for during that day or figure it out as I go. Or if something gets dropped or bounces to the next day, it's okay. CHRIS: Yeah, the calendar is definitely a core truth in my world. Whatever the calendar says, that is true. And I'm actually a...I hope I'm not annoying to anyone. But I'm very pointed in saying, "This recurring meeting that we have if we keep just canceling it the day before every time, let's get this off our calendars. Let's make sure our calendars are telling the truth because I trust that thing very much." And two apps that I'm using right now that I've found really useful in the calendar world are MeetingBar, which I've talked about before. But it's a little menu bar application that shows the next meeting that's upcoming. And then I can click on it and see the list of them and easily join any video call associated, just a nice thing to keep the next thing on my calendar very top of mind, super useful, really love that. That's just open source and easy to run with. The other that I've been spending more and more time with lately is SavvyCal. SavvyCal is similar to Calendly. It's a tool for sharing a link to allow someone to schedule something on your calendar. And, man, it is an impressive piece of technology. I've been leaning into some of the fancier features of it of late. And it has an amazing amount of control, and I think a really well-designed sort of information architecture as well. It took me a little while to figure out how to do everything I wanted to do in it. But I wanted to be able to define a calendar link thing that I could share with someone that really constraints in the way that I wanted. Like, oh, don't let them schedule tomorrow, and make sure there's this much buffer between meetings. And don't let this calendar link schedule too many things on my calendar because I need to control my day, and give me some focus blocks. And they're not actually on my calendar, but please recognize that. And it basically supports all of these different ways of thinking and does an incredible job with it. As an aside, SavvyCal is created by Derrick Reimer, who is the co-host of The Art of Product Podcast, which is co other hosted by Ben Orenstein, former thoughtboter, creator of Upcase, and a handful of other things. So small world and all of that. But yeah, really fantastic piece of technology that I've been loving lately. STEPH: That's really cool. I have not heard of SavvyCal. I've used Calendly and used that a fair amount. And that is so awesome where you can just send it to people, and they can pick time on a calendar and do all the features that you'd mentioned. So it's good to know that there's SavvyCal as well. Well, pivoting just a bit, we have a listener question that I'm really excited to dig into. This question comes from fellow thoughtboter, Steve Polito. And Steve writes in that, "Hey, Bike Shed, I've got a question for you. I find it difficult to know if there's an existing method in a large class or a class that includes many concerns. How can I avoid writing redundant methods when working on a large project?" And Steve provided a really nice just contrived example where he's defined a class user that inherits from ApplicationRecord. And then comments, "Lots of methods making it really hard to scan this giant class. And then there's a method called formatted name. So it takes first name, adds a space, and then adds the user's last name. And then there are a lot more methods in between. And then, way down, there's another method called full name that does the exact same thing. Just to provide a nice example of how can you find a method that has existing logic that you want and avoid implementing essentially the same method and the same class?" So as someone who has worked on some legacy systems this year, I feel that pain. I feel the pain of where you have a really giant class, and that class may also include other modules. So then you have your range of all the methods that you may be looking through gets really widened. And you are looking for particular logic that you feel like may exist in the system, but you really just don't know. So I don't know if I have a concrete method for how you can find duplicate logic and avoid writing that other method. But some of the things that I do is I will initially go to the test. So if there's some logic that I'm looking for and I think it's in this class or I have a suspicion, I will first look to see what has test coverage. And I find that is just easier to skim where I can find, and I'll use grep, and search and just look for anything. In this particular case, let's use first name as our example. So I'm looking for anything that's going to collaborate with first name. Some of the other things that I'll do is I'll try to think of a business case where that logic is used. So, where are we displaying the user's full name? And if I can go to that page and see what's already in use, that may give me a hint to do we already have this logic? Is there something there that I should reuse, or is it something new that I'm implementing? And then if I really want to get fancy about it, for some reason that I really want to see all the methods that are listed, but I'm trying to get rid of some of the noise in the file, then I could programmatically scan through all the available methods by doing something like class.instance methods and passing in false. So we don't include the methods that are from superclasses, which can be very helpful. So that way, you're just seeing what scoped to that class. But then, let's say if you do have a class that is inheriting from other modules, then you may want to include those methods in your search. So to get fancier, you could look at that class' ancestor chain and then collect the classes or models that are custom to your application, and then look at those instance methods. And then you could sort them alphabetically. But you're still really relying on is there a method name that looks very similar to what I would call this method? So I don't know that that's a really efficient way. But if I just feel like there's probably already something in this space and I'm just looking for a clue or some name that's going to hint that something already exists, that's one way I could do it. To throw another wrench in there, I just remembered there are also private methods, and private methods don't get returned from instance methods. I think it's private instance methods is a method that you'd have to call to then include those in your search results as well. So outside of some deeper static analysis, this seems like a hard problem. This seems like something that would be challenging to solve. And then I guess the other one is I ask a friend. So I will often lean on if there's someone else at the team that's been there longer than me is I will just ask in Slack and say, "Hey, I want to do a thing. I'm worried this already exists, or I think it already exists. Does anybody have any clues or ideas as to where this might live?" I know I just ran through a giant list of ideas there. But I'm really curious, what are your thoughts? If you have a messier codebase and you're worried that you are reimplementing logic that already exists, but you're trying to make sure you don't duplicate that logic, how do you avoid that? CHRIS: Well, the first thing I want to say is that I find it really interesting that I think you and I came at this from different directions. My answer, which I'll come to in a minute, is more of the I'm not actually sure that this is that easy to avoid, and maybe that's not the biggest problem in the world. And then I have some thoughts downstream from that. But the list that you just gave was fantastic. That was a tour de force of how to understand and explore a codebase and try and answer this very hard question of like, does this logic already exist somewhere else? So I basically just agree with everything you said. And again, I'm deeply impressed with the range of options that you offer there for trying to figure this out. That said, sometimes codebases just get really large. And this is going to happen. I think the specific mention of concerns as sort of a way that this problem can manifest feels true. Having the user object and being like, oh man, our user object is getting pretty big. Let's pull something out into a concern as just a way to clean it up. That actually adds a layer of indirection that makes it harder to understand the totality of what's going on in this thing. And so personally, I tend to avoid concerns for that reason or at least at the model layer, especially where it's just a we got 1,000 methods here. Let's pull 200 of them into a file and maybe group them somewhat logically. That tends to not solve the problem in my mind. I found that it just basically adds a layer of indirection without much additional value. I will say in this particular case, the thing that we're talking about presenting the full name or the formatted name feels almost like a presentational concern. So I might ask myself, is there a presenter object, something that wraps around a user and encapsulates this? And then we as a team know that that sort of presentational or formatting logic lives in the presentation format or layer. Maybe I'm not entirely convinced of that as an answer. But it's just sort of where can we find organizational lines to draw within our codebases? I talked about query objects earlier. That's one case of this is behavior that I'll often see in classes as, say, a scope or something like that that I will extract out into a query object because it allows me to encapsulate it and break it out a little bit more but still have most of the nice pieces that I would want. So are there different organizational patterns that are useful? I think it's very easy to start drawing arbitrary lines within our codebases and say, "These are services." And it's like, what does that mean? That doesn't mean anything. App Services, that's not a thing, so maybe don't do that. But maybe there are formatters, queries, commands, those feel like...or presenters, queries, commands. Maybe those are organizational structures that can be useful. But switching to the other side of it, the first thing that came to mind is like, this is going to happen. As a codebase grows, this is absolutely going to happen. And so I would ask rather than how can I, as the developer, avoid doing this in the first place...which I think is a good question to ask. And again, everything you listed, Steph, is great. And I think a wonderful list of ways that you can actually try to avoid this. But let's assume it is going to happen. So then, what do we do downstream from that? One answer that comes to mind is code review. Code review is not perfect. But this is the sort of thing that often in code review I will be like, oh, I actually wrote a method that's similar to this. Can you take a look at that and see can we use only one of these or something like that? So I've definitely seen code review be a line of defense on this front. But again, stuff is still going to sneak through. And someday, you'll find it down the road. And that's the point in time that I think is most interesting. When you find this, can you fix it easily? Do you have both process-wise and infrastructure-wise the ability to do a very small PR that just removes the duplicate method, removes the usage of it, and consolidates on the one? It's like, oh, I found it. Here's a 10-line PR that just removes that method, changes the usage. And now we're good. And that can go through code review and CI very quickly. And we have a team culture that allows us to make those tiny changes on the regular to get them out to production as quick as possible so that we know that this is a good code change, all of that. I found there are teams that I've worked on where that process is much slower. And therefore, I will try and roll a change like that up into a bigger PR because I know that's the only way that it's really going to get through. Versus I've been on teams that have very high throughput is probably the best way to describe it. And on those teams, I find that the codebase tends to be in a healthier shape because it just naturally falls out of having a system that allows us to make changes rapidly with high trust, get them out into the world, et cetera. STEPH: This is that bug or inconsistency that's going to show up where on one page you have the user's full name. And then on another page, you have the user's full name, but maybe the last name is not capitalized, or there's just something that's slightly different. And then that's when you realize that you have two implementations of essentially the same logic that have differed just enough. I like how you pointed out that this is one of those things that as a codebase grows, it's probably going to happen, and that's fine. It's one of those if you do have duplicate logic, over time, based on your team's processes, you'll be able to then identify when it does happen, and then look for those preventative patterns for then how you organize your code. How quickly can you make that change? Can you just issue a PR that then removes one of them? But then look for ways to say, how are we going to help our future selves recognize that if we're looking for a user's full name, where's a good place to look for that? And then what's a good domain space or naming that we can give to then help future searchers be able to find it? I also really like your code review example because it does feel like one of those things that, yes, we want to catch it if we can, and we can leverage the team. But then also, it's not the end of the world if some of these methods do get duplicated. There's one other thing that came to mind that it's not really going to help prevent duplicate methods, but it will help you identify unused code. So it's the Unused tooling that you can run on your codebase. And that's something that would be wonderful to run on your codebase every so often. So that way, if someone has added...let's say there was a method that was full name but is not in use. It didn't have test coverage; that's why you didn't find it initially. And so you've introduced your own formatted name. And then, if you run unused at some point, then you'll hopefully catch some of those duplicate methods as long as they're not both in use. CHRIS: I think one more thing that I didn't quite say in my earlier portion about this. But in order to do that, to use Unuse or to have these sort of small pull requests that are going through, you have to have test coverage that is sufficient that you are confident you're not going to break the app. Because the day that you do like, oh, there's a typo here; let me fix it real quick. Or there's this method I'm pretty sure it's not used; let me rip it out. And then you deploy to production, and suddenly the error system is blowing up because, in fact, it was used but sneakily in a way that you didn't think of, and your test coverage didn't catch that. Then you don't have trust in the system, and everything slows down as a result of that. And so I would argue for fixing the root problem there, which is the lack of test coverage rather than the symptom, which is, oh, I made this change, it broke something. Therefore, I won't make small changes anymore. STEPH: Definitely. Yeah, that's a great point. CHRIS: So yeah, I don't have any answer. [laughs] My answers are like, I don't know, it's going to happen, but there's a lot of stuff organizationally that we can do. And granted, you gave a wonderful list of ways to actually avoid this. So I think the combination of our answers really it's a nice spectrum of thoughts on this topic. STEPH: I agree. I feel like we covered a very nice range all the way from trying to identify and then how to prevent it or how to help future people be able to identify where that logic lives and find it more easily. Also, at the end of the day, I like the how big of a problem is this? And it is one of those sure; we want to avoid it. But I liked how you captured that at the beginning where you're like, it's okay. Like, this is going to happen but then have the processes around it to then avoid or be able to undo some of that duplicate work. But otherwise, if it happens, don't sweat it; just look for ways to then prevent it from happening in the future. On that note, shall we wrap up? CHRIS: Let's wrap up. The show notes for this episode can be found at bikeshed.fm. STEPH: This show is produced and edited by Mandy Moore. CHRIS: If you enjoyed listening, one really easy way to support the show is to leave us a quick rating or even a review on iTunes, as it really helps other folks find the show. STEPH: If you have any feedback for this or any of our other episodes, you can reach us at @_bikeshed or reach me on Twitter @SViccari. CHRIS: And I'm @christoomey. STEPH: Or you can reach us at hosts@bikeshed.fm via email. CHRIS: Thanks so much for listening to The Bike Shed, and we'll see you next week. All: Byeeeeeeeeee!!! Announcer: This podcast was brought to you by thoughtbot. thoughtbot is your expert design and development partner. Let's make your product and team a success.

Screaming in the Cloud
Teasing Out the Titular Titles with Chris Williams

Screaming in the Cloud

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 27, 2021 39:59


About ChrisChris Williams is a Enterprise Architect for World Wide Technology — a technology solution and service provider. There he helps customers design the next generation of public, private, and hybrid cloud solutions, specializing in AWS and VMware. His first computer was a Commodore 64, and he's been playing video games ever since.Chris blogs about virtualization, technology, and design at Mistwire. He is an active community leader, co-organizing the AWS Portsmouth User Group, and both hosts and presents on vBrownBag. He is also an active mentor, helping students at the University of New Hampshire through Diversify Thinking—an initiative focused on empowering girls and women to pursue education and careers in STEM.Chris is a certified AWS Hero as well as a VMware vExpert. Fun fact that Chris doesn't want you to know: he has a degree in psychology so you can totally talk to him about your feelings.Links: WWT: https://www.wwt.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/mistwire Personal site: https://mistwire.com vBrownBag: https://vbrownbag.com/team/chris-williams/ TranscriptAnnouncer: Hello, and welcome to Screaming in the Cloud with your host, Chief Cloud Economist at The Duckbill Group, Corey Quinn. This weekly show features conversations with people doing interesting work in the world of cloud, thoughtful commentary on the state of the technical world, and ridiculous titles for which Corey refuses to apologize. This is Screaming in the Cloud.Corey: This episode is sponsored in part by Honeycomb. When production is running slow, it's hard to know where problems originate: is it your application code, users, or the underlying systems? I've got five bucks on DNS, personally. Why scroll through endless dashboards, while dealing with alert floods, going from tool to tool to tool that you employ, guessing at which puzzle pieces matter? Context switching and tool sprawl are slowly killing both your team and your business. You should care more about one of those than the other, which one is up to you. Drop the separate pillars and enter a world of getting one unified understanding of the one thing driving your business: production. With Honeycomb, you guess less and know more. Try it for free at Honeycomb.io/screaminginthecloud. Observability, it's more than just hipster monitoring.Corey: This episode is sponsored in part by our friends at Vultr. Spelled V-U-L-T-R because they're all about helping save money, including on things like, you know, vowels. So, what they do is they are a cloud provider that provides surprisingly high performance cloud compute at a price that—while sure they claim its better than AWS pricing—and when they say that they mean it is less money. Sure, I don't dispute that but what I find interesting is that it's predictable. They tell you in advance on a monthly basis what it's going to going to cost. They have a bunch of advanced networking features. They have nineteen global locations and scale things elastically. Not to be confused with openly, because apparently elastic and open can mean the same thing sometimes. They have had over a million users. Deployments take less that sixty seconds across twelve pre-selected operating systems. Or, if you're one of those nutters like me, you can bring your own ISO and install basically any operating system you want. Starting with pricing as low as $2.50 a month for Vultr cloud compute they have plans for developers and businesses of all sizes, except maybe Amazon, who stubbornly insists on having something to scale all on their own. Try Vultr today for free by visiting: vultr.com/screaming, and you'll receive a $100 in credit. Thats v-u-l-t-r.com slash screaming.Corey: Welcome to Screaming in the Cloud. I'm Corey Quinn. One of the things I miss the most from the pre-pandemic times is meeting people at conferences or at various business meetings, not because I like people—far from it—but because we go through a ritual that I am a huge fan of, which is the exchange of business cards. Now, it's not because I'm a collector or anything here, but because I like seeing what people's actual titles are instead of diving into the morass of what we call ourselves on Twitter and whatnot. Today, I have just one of those folks with me. My guest is Chris Williams, who works at WWT, and his business card title is Enterprise Architect, comma AWS Cloud. Chris, welcome.Chris: Hi. Thanks for having me on the show, Corey.Corey: No, thank you for taking the time to speak with me. I have to imagine that the next line in your business card is, “No, I don't work for AWS,” because you know a company has succeeded when they get their name into people's job titles who don't work there.Chris: So, I have a running joke where the next line should actually be cloud therapist. And my degree is actually in psychology, so I was striving to get cloud therapist in there, but they still don't want to let me have it.Corey: Former guest Bobby Allen is now a cloud therapist over at Google Cloud, which is just phenomenal. I don't know what they're doing in a marketing context over there; I just know that they're just blasting them out of the park on a consistent, ongoing basis. It's really nice to see. It's forcing me to up my game a little bit. So, one of the challenges I've always had is, I don't like putting other companies' names into the title.Now, I run the Last Week in AWS newsletter, so yeah, okay, great, there's a little bit of ‘do as I say, not as I do' going on here. Because it feels, on some level, like doing unpaid volunteer work for a $2 trillion company. Speaking of, you are an AWS Community Hero, where you do volunteer work for a $2 trillion company. How'd that come about? What did you do that made you rise to their notice?Chris: That was a brilliant segue. Um—[laugh]—Corey: I do my best.Chris: So I, actually prior to becoming an AWS Community Hero, I do a lot of community work. So, I have run and helped to run four different community-led organizations: the Virtualization Technology User Group of New England; the AWS Portsmouth User Group, now the AWS Boston User Group; I'm a co-host and presenter for vBrownBag; I also do the New England AWS Community Day, which is a conglomeration of all the different user groups in one setting; and various and sundry other things, as well, along the way. Having done all of that, and having had a lot of the SAs and team members come and do speaking presentations for these various and sundry things, I was nominated internally by AWS to become one of their Community Heroes. Like you said, it's basically unpaid volunteer work where I go out and tout the services. I love talking about nerd stuff, so when I started working on AWS technologies, I really enjoyed it, and I just, kind of like, glommed on with other people that did it as well. I'm also a VMware vExpert, which basically use the exact same accolade for VMware. I have not been doing as much VMware stuff in the recent past, but that's kind of how I got into this gig.Corey: One of the things that strikes me as being the right move with respect to these, effectively, community voice accolades is Microsoft got something very right—they've been doing this a long time—they have their MVP program, but they have to re-invite people who have to requalify for it by whatever criteria they are, every year. AWS does not do this with their Heroes program. If you look at their Heroes page, there's a number of folks up there who have been doing interesting things in the cloud years ago, but then fell off the radar for a variety of reasons. In fact, the only way that I'm aware that you can lose Hero status is via getting a job at AWS or one of AWS competitors.Now, the hard part, of course, is well, who is Amazon's competitors? Basically everyone, but it mostly distills down to Microsoft, Google, and Oracle, as best I can tell, for Hero status. How does VMware fall on that spectrum? To be more specific, how does VMware fall on the spectrum of their community engagement program and having to renew, not, “Are they AWS's competitor?” To which the answer is, “Of course.”Chris: So, the renewal process for the VMware vExpert program is an annual re-up process where you fill out the form, list your contribution of the year, what you've done over the previous year, and then put it in for submission to the board of VMware vExperts who then give you the thumbs up or thumbs down. Much like Nero, you know, pass or fail, live or die. And I've been fortunate enough, so my vBrownBag contributions are every week; we have a show that happens every week. It can be either VMware stuff, or cloud in general stuff, or developer-related stuff. We cover the gamut; you know, people that want to come on and talk about whatever they want to talk about, they come on. And by virtue of that, we've had a lot of VMware speakers, we've had a lot of AWS speakers, we've had a lot of Azure speakers. So, I've been fortunate enough to be able to qualify each year with those contributions.Corey: I think that's the right way to go, from my perspective at least. But I want to get into this a little bit because you are an enterprise architect, which is always one of those terms that is super easy to make fun of in a variety of different ways. Your IDE is probably a whiteboard, and at some point when you have to write code, I thought you had a team of people who would be able to do that all for you because your job is to cogitate, and your artifacts are documentation, and the entire value of what you do can only be measured in the grand sweep of time, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.Chris: [laugh].Corey: But you don't generally get to be a Community Hero for stuff like that, and you don't usually get to be a vExpert on the VMware side, by not having at least technical chops that make people take a second look. What is it you'd say it is you do hear for, lack of a better term?Chris: “What would you say ya, do you here, Bob?” So, I'm not being facetious when I say cloud therapist. There is a lot of working at the eighth layer of the OSI model, the political layer. There's a lot of taking the requirements from the customer and sending them to the engineer. I'm a people person.The easy answer is to say, I do all the things from the TOGAF certification manual: the requirements, risks, assumptions, and constraints; the logical, conceptual, and physical diagrams; the harder answer is the soft skill side of that, is actually being able to communicate with the various levels of the industry, figuring out what the business really wants to do and how to technically solution that and figure out how to talk to the engineers to make that happen. You're right EAs get made fun of all the time, almost as much as consultants get made fun of. And it's a very squishy layer that, you know, depending upon your personality and the personality of the customer that you're dealing with, it can work wonderfully well or it can crash and burn immediately. I know from personal experience that I don't mesh well with financials, but I'm really, really good with, like, medical industry stuff, just the way that the brain works. But ironically, right now I'm working with a financial and we're getting along like a house on fire.Corey: Oh, yeah. I've been saying for a while now that when it comes to cloud, cost and architecture are the same things, and I think that ties back to a lot of different areas. But I want to be very clear here that we talk about, I'm not super deep into the financials, that does not mean you're bad at architecture because working on finance means different things to different folks. I don't think that it is possibly a good architect in the cloud environment and not have a conception of, “Huh, that thing seems really expensive if I do it that way.” That is very different than having the skill of reading a profit and loss statement or understanding various implications of the time value of money calculation that a company uses, or how things get amortized.There are nuances piled on top of nuances in finance, and it's easy to sit here and think that oh, I'm not great at finance means I don't know how money works. That is very rarely true. If you really don't know how money works, you'll go start a cryptocurrency startup.Chris: [laugh]. So, I plugged back to you; I was listening to one of your old shows and I cribbed one of your ideas and totally went with it. So, I just said that there's the logical, conceptual, and physical diagrams of an environment; on one of your shows, you had mentioned a financial diagram for an environment, and I was like, “That's brilliant.” So, now when I go into a customer, I actually do that, too. I take my physical diagram, I strip out all of the IP addresses, and our names, and everything like that, and I plot down how much it's going to cost, like, “This is the value of the EC2 instance,” or, “This is how much this pipe is going to cost if you run this over it.” And they go bananas over it. So, thanks for providing that idea that I mercilessly stole.Corey: Kind of fun on a lot of levels. Part of the challenge is as things get cloudier and it moves away from EC2 instances, ideally the lie we would like to tell ourselves that everything's in an auto-scaling group. Great—Chris: Right.Corey: —stepping beyond that when you start getting into something that's even more intricately tied to a specific user, we're talking about effectively trying to get unit economic measures of every user, every thousand users is going to cost me X dollars to service them on average, on top of a baseline of steady-state spend that is going to increase differently. At that point, talking to finance about predictive models turn into, “Well, this comes down to a question of business modeling.” But conversely, for engineering minds that is exactly what finance is used to figuring out. The problem they have is, “Well, every time we hire a new engineer, we wind up seeing our AWS bill increase.” Funny how that works. Yeah, how do you map that to something that the business understands? That is part of what they do. But it does, I admit, make it much more challenging from a financial map of an environment.Chris: Yeah, especially when the customer or the company is—you know, they've been around for a while, and they're used to just like that large bolus of money at the very beginning of a data center, and they buy the switches, and they buy the servers, and they virtualize them, and they have that set cost that they knew that they had to plunk down at the beginning. And it's a mindset shift. And they're coming around to it, some faster than others. Oddly enough, the startups nowadays are catching on very quickly. I don't deal with a lot of startups, so it takes some finesse.Corey: An interesting inflection that I've seen is that there's an awful lot of enterprises out there that say, “Oh, we're like a startup.” Great. You mean with weird cultural inflections that often distill down to cult of personality, the constant worry about whether you're going to wind up running out of runway before finding product-market fit? And the rooms filled with—Chris: The eighty-hour work weeks? The—[laugh]—Corey: And they're like, “No, no, no, it's like the good parts.” “Oh, so you mean out the upside.” But you don't hear it the other way around where you have a startup that you're interviewing with, “Ha-ha, we're like an enterprise. We have a six-month interview process that takes 18 different stages,” and so on and so forth. However, we do see startups having to mature rapidly, and move up the compliance path as they're dealing with regulated entities and the rest, and wanting to deal with serious customers who have no sense of humor about, “Yeah, we'll figure that part out later as part of an audit document.”So, what we also see, though, is that enterprises are doing things that look a lot more startup-y. If I take a look at the common development environments and tools and techniques that big enterprises use, it looks an awful lot like how startups were doing it five or ten years ago. That is the slow and steady evolution of time. And what startups are doing today becomes enterprise tomorrow, and I can't shake the feeling that there's a sea of vendors out there who, in the event that winds up happening are eventually going to find themselves without a market at all. My model has been that if I go and found a Twitter for Pets style startup tomorrow and in ten years, it has grown to become an S&P 500 component—which is still easier to take seriously than most of what Tesla says—great.During that journey, at what point do I become a given company's customer because if there is no onboarding story for me to become your customer, you're in a long-tail decline phase. That's been my philosophy, but you are a—trademarked term—Enterprise Architect, so please feel free to tell me if I'm missing any of the nuances there, which I'm sure I am because let's face it, nuance is hard; sweeping statements are easy.Chris: As an architect, [laugh] it would be a disservice to not say my favorite catchphrase, it depends. There are so many dependencies to those kinds of sweeping statements. I mean, there's a lot of enterprises that have good process; there are a lot of enterprises that have bad process. And going back to your previous statement of the startup inside the enterprise, I'm hearing a lot of companies nowadays saying, “Oh, well, we've now got this brand new incubator system that we're currently running our little startup inside of. It's got the best of both worlds.”And I'm not going to go through the litany of bad things that you just said about startups, but they'll try to encapsulate that shift that you're talking about where the cheese is moving so quickly now that it's very hard for these companies to know the customer well enough to continue to stay salient and continue to be able to look into that crystal ball to stay relevant in the future. My job as an EA is to try to capture that point in time where what are the requirements today and what are the known detriments that you're going to see in your future that you need to protect against? So, that's kind of my job—other than being a cloud therapist—in a nutshell.Corey: I love the approach. My line has been that I do a lot of marriage counseling between engineering and finance, which is a fun term that also just so happens to be completely accurate.Chris: Absolutely. [laugh]. I'm currently being a marriage counselor right now.Corey: It's an interesting time. So, you had a viral tweet recently that honestly, I'm a bit jealous about. I have had a lot of tweets that have done reasonably well, but I haven't ever had anything go super-viral, where it was just a screenshot of a conversation you had with an AWS recruiter. Now, before we go into this, I want to make a couple of disclaimers here. Before I entered tech myself, I was a technical recruiter, and I can say that these people have hard jobs.There is a constant pressure to perform, it is a sales job that is unlike most others. If you sell someone a pen, great, you can wrap your head around what that's like. But you don't have to worry about the pen deciding it doesn't want to go home with the buyer. So, it becomes a double sale in a lot of weird ways, and there's a constant race to the bottom and there's a lot of competition in the space. It's a numbers game and a lot of folks get in and wash out who have terrible behaviors and terrible patterns, so the whole industry gets tainted—in some respects—like that. A great example of someone who historically has been a terrific example of recruiting done right has been Jill Wohlner. And she's one of the shining beacons of the industry as far as how to do these things in the right way—Chris: Yes.Corey: —but the fact that she is as exceptional as she is is in no small part because there's a lot of random folks coming by. All which is to say that our conversation going forward is not and should not be aimed at smacking around individual recruiters or recruiting as a whole because that is unfair. Now, that disclaimer has been given. Great, what happened?Chris: So, first off, shout out to Jill; she actually used to be a host on vBrownBag. So, hey girl. [laugh]. What happened was—and I have the utmost empathy and sympathy for recruiting; I actually used to have a side gig where I would go around to the local recruiting places around my area here and teach them how to read a cloud resume and how to read a req and try to separate the wheat from the chaff, and to actually have good conversations. This was back when cloud wasn't—this was, like, three or four years ago.And I would go in there and say, “This is how you recruit a cloud person nowadays.” So, I love good recruiters. This one was a weird experience in that—so when a recruiter reaches out to me, what I do is I take an assessment of my current situation: “Am I happy where I'm at right now?” The answer is, “Yes.” And if they ping me, I'll say, “Hey, I'm happy right now, but if you have something that is, you know, a million dollars an hour, taste-testing margaritas on St. John island in the sand, I'm all ears. I'm listening. Conversely, I also am a Community Hero, so I know a ton of people out in the industry. Maybe I can help you out with landing that next person.”Corey: I just want to say for the record, that is absolutely the right answer. And something like that is exactly what I would give, historically. I can't do it now because let's be clear here. I have a number of employees and, “Hey, Corey's out there doing job interviews,” sends a message that isn't good when it comes to how is that company doing anyway. I miss it because I enjoyed the process and I enjoyed the fun, but even when I was perfectly happy, it's, “Well, I'm not actively on the market, but I am interested to have a conversation if you've got something interesting.”Because let's face it, I want to hear what's going on in the market, and if I'm starting to hear a lot of questions about a technology I have been dismissive of, okay, maybe it's time to pay more attention. I have repeatedly been able to hire the people interviewing me in some cases, and sometimes I've gone on interviews just to keep my interview skills sharp and then wound up accepting the job because it turned out they did have something interesting that was compelling to me even though I was reasonably happy at the time. I will always take the meeting; I will always at least have a chat about what they're doing, and I think that doing otherwise is doing yourself a disservice in the long arc of your career.Chris: Right. And that's basically the approach that I take, too. I want to hear what's out there. I am very happy at World Wide right now, so I'm not interested, interested. But again, if they come up with an amazing opportunity, things could happen. So, I implied that in my response to him.I said, “I'm happy right now, thanks for asking, but let's set up the meeting and we can have a chat.” The response was unexpected. [laugh]. The response was basically, “If you're not ready to leave right now, it makes no sense for me to talk to you.” And it was a funny… interaction.I was like, “Huh. That's funny.” I'm going to tweet about that because I thought it was funny—I'm not a jerk, so I'm going to block out all of the names and all of the identifying information and everything—and I threw it up. And the commiseration was so impressive. Not impressive in a good way; impressive in a bad way.Every person that responded was like, “Yes. This has happened to me. Yes, this is”—and honestly, I got a lot of directors from AWS reaching out to me trying to figure out who that person was, apologizing saying that's not our way. And I responded to each and every single one of them. And I was like, “Somebody has already found that person; somebody has already spoken to that person. That being said, look at all of the responses in the timeline. When you tell me personally, that's not the way you do things, I believe that you believe that.”Corey: Yeah, I believe you're being sincere when you say this, however the reality of what the data shows and people's lived experience in the form of anecdotes are worlds apart.Chris: Yeah. And I'm an AWS Hero. [laugh]. That's how I got treated. Not to blow my own horn or anything like that, but if that's happening to me, either A, he didn't look me up and just cold-called me—which is probably the case—and b, if he treats me like that, imagine how he's treating everybody else?Corey: This episode is sponsored in part by something new. Cloud Academy is a training platform built on two primary goals. Having the highest quality content in tech and cloud skills, and building a good community the is rich and full of IT and engineering professionals. You wouldn't think those things go together, but sometimes they do. 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We're gonna have some fun with this one!Corey: Every once in a while I get some of their sourcers doing outreach to see folks who are somewhat aligned on them via LinkedIn or other things, and, “Oh, okay, yeah; if you look at the things I talked about in various places, I can understand how I might look like a potentially interesting hire.” And they send outreach emails to me, they're always formulaic, and once in a while, I'll tweet a screenshot of them where I redact the person's name, and it was—and there's a comment, like, “Should I tell them?” Because it's fun; it's hilarious. But I want to be clear because that often gets misconstrued; they have done absolutely nothing wrong. You've got to cast a wide net to find talent.I'm surprised I get as few incidents of recruiter outreach as I do. I am not hireable and that's okay, but I don't begrudge people reaching out. I either respond with a, “No thanks,” if it's a particularly good email, or I just hit the archive button and never think about it again. And that's fine, too. But I don't make people feel like a jerk for asking, and that is an engineering behavioral pattern that drives me up a wall.It's, “So, I'm thinking about a job here and I'm wondering if you might be a fit,” and your response is just to set them on fire? Well, guess what an awful lot of those people sending out those emails in the sourcing phase of recruiting are early career, and guess what, they tend to get promoted in the fullness of time. Sometimes they're no longer recruiting at all; sometimes they wind up being hiring managers in different ways or trying to figure out what offer they're going to extend to someone. And if you don't think that people in those roles remember when they're treated poorly as a response to their outreach, I have news for you. Don't do it. Your reputation lingers long after you no longer work there.Chris: Just exactly so. And I feel really bad for that guy.Corey: I do hope that he was not reprimanded because he should not be. It is clearly a systemic problem, and the fact that one person happened to do this in a situation where it went viral does not mean that they are any worse than other folks doing it. It is a teachable opportunity. It is, “I know that you have incredible numbers of roles to hire for, all made all the more urgent by the fact that you're having some significant numbers of departures—clearly—in the industry right now.” So, I get it; you have a hard job. I'm not going to waste your time because I don't even respond to them just because, at AWS particularly, they have hard work to do, and just jawboning with me is not going to be useful for them.Chris: [laugh].Corey: I get it.Chris: And you're trying to hire the same talent too. So.Corey: Exactly. One of the most egregious things I've seen in the course of my career was when that whole multiple accounts opened for Wells Fargo's customers and they wound up firing 3500 people. Yeah, that's not individual tellers doing something unethical. That is a systemic problem, and you clean house at the top because you're not going to convince me that you're hiring that many people who are unethical and setting out to do these things as a matter of course. It means that the incentives are wrong, it means that the way you're measuring things are wrong, and people tend to do things out of fear or because there's now a culture of it. And if you fire individuals for that, you're wrong.Chris: And that was the message that I conveyed to the people that reached out to me and spoke to me. I was like, there is a misaligned KPI, or OKR, or whatever acronym you want to use, that is forcing them to do this churn-and-burn mentality instead of active, compassionate recruiting. I don't know what that term is; I'm very far removed from the recruiting world. But that person isn't doing that because they're a jerk. They're doing that because they have numbers to hit and they've got to grind out as many as humanly possible. And you're going to get bad employees when you do that. That's not a long-term sustainable path. So, that was the conversation that I had with them. Hopefully, it resonated and hits home.Corey: I still remember from ten years ago—and I don't always tell the story, but I absolutely will now—I went up to San Francisco when I lived in Los Angeles; I interviewed with Yammer. I went through the entire process—this was not too long before they got acquired by Microsoft so that gives you some time basis—and I got a job offer. And it was a not ridiculous offer. I was going to think about it, and I [unintelligible 00:24:19], “Great. Thank you. Let me sleep on this for a day or two and I'll get back to you definitely before the end of the week.”Within an hour, I got a response rescinding the offer claiming it had been sent by mistake. Now, I believe that that is true and that they are being sincere with this. I don't know that if it was the wrong person; I don't know if that suddenly they didn't have the req or they had another candidate that suddenly liked better that said no and then came back and said yes, but it's been over a decade now and every time I talk to someone who's considering something in that group, I tell this story. That's the sort of thing that leaves a mark because I have a certain philosophy of I don't ever resign from a job before I wind up making sure everything is solid—things are signed, good to go, the background check clears, et cetera—because I don't want to find myself suddenly without income or employment, especially in that era. And that was fine, but a lot of people don't do that.As soon as the offer comes in, they're like, “I'm going to go take a crap on my boss's desk,” which, let's be clear, I don't recommend. You should write a polite and formulaic resignation letter and then you should email it to your boss, you should not carve it into their door. Do this in a responsible way, and remember that you're going to encounter these people again throughout your career. But if I had done that, I would have had serious problems. And so that points to something systemically awful at a company.I have never in my career as a hiring manager extended an offer and then rescinded it for anything other than we can't come to an agreement on this. To be clear, this is also something I wonder about in the space, when people tell stories about how they get a job offer, they attempt to negotiate the offer, and then it gets withdrawn. There are two ways that goes. One is, “Well if you're not happy with this offer, get out of here.” Yeah, that is a crappy company, but there's also the story of people who don't know how to negotiate effectively, and in turn, they come back with indications that you do not know how to write a business email, you do not know how negotiations work, and suddenly, you're giving them a last-minute opportunity to get out before they hire someone who is going to be something of a wrecking ball in the company, and, “Whew, dodged a bullet on that.”I haven't encountered that scenario myself, but I've seen it from other folks and emails that have been passed around in various channels. So, my position on this is everyone should negotiate offers, but visit fearlesssalarynegotiation.com, it's run by my friend, Josh; he has a whole bunch of free content on his site. Look at it. Read it. It is how to handle this stuff effectively and why things are the way that they are. Follow his advice, and you won't go too far wrong. Again, I have no financial relationship, I just like what he's done a lot and I've been talking to him for years.Chris: Nice. I'll definitely check that out. [laugh].Corey: Another example is developher—that's develop H-E-R dot com. Someone else I've been speaking to who's great at this takes a different perspective on it, and that's fine. There's a lot of advice out there. Just make sure that whoever it is you're talking to about this is in a position to know what they're talking about because there's crap advice that's free. Yeah. How do you figure out the good advice and the bad advice? I'm worried someone out there is actually running Route 53 is a database for God's sake.Chris: That's crazy talk. Who would do that? That's madness.Corey: I can't imagine it.Chris: We're actually in the process of trying to figure out how to do a panel chat on exactly that, like, do a vBrownBag on salary negotiations, get some really good people in the room that can have a conversation around some of the tough questions that come around salary negotiation, what's too much to ask for? What kind of attitude should you go into it with? What kind of process should you have mentally? Is it scrawling in crayon, “No. More money,” and then hitting send? Or is it something a little bit more advanced?Corey: I also want to be clear that as you're building panels and stuff like that—because I got this wrong early on in my public speaking career, to be clear—I built talks aligned with this based on what worked for me—make sure that there are folks on the panel who are not painfully over-represented as you and I are because what works for us and we're considered oh, savvy business people who are great negotiators comes across as entitled, or demanding, or ooh, maybe we shouldn't hire her—and yes, I'm talking about her in a lot of these scenarios—make sure you have a diverse group of folks who can share lived experience and strategies that work because what works for you and me is not universal, I promise.Chris: So, the only requirement to set this panel is that you have to be a not-white guy; not-old-white guy. That's literally the one rule. [laugh].Corey: I like the approach. It's a good way to do it. I don't do manels.Chris: Yes. And it's tough because I'm not going to get into it, but the mental space that you have to be in to be a woman in tech, it's a delicate balance because when I'm approaching somebody, I don't want to slide into their DMs. It's like this, “Hey, I know this other person and they recommended you and I am not a weirdo.” [laugh]. As an old white guy, I have to be very not a weirdo when I'm talking to folks that I'm desperate to get on the show.Because I love having that diverse aspect, just different people from different backgrounds. Which is why we did the entire career series on vBrownBag. We did data science with Ayodele; we did how to get into cybersecurity with Christoph. It was a fantastic series of how to get into IT. This was at the beginning of the pandemic.We wanted to do a series on, okay, there's a lot of people out there that are furloughed right now. How do we get some people on the show that can talk to how to get into a part of IT that they're passionate about? We did a triple series on how to get into game development with Dennis Diack, the founder of Apocalypse Studios. We had a bunch of the other AWS Heroes from serverless, and Lambda, and AI on the show to talk, and it was really fantastic and I think it resonated well with the community.Corey: It takes work to have a group of guests on things like podcasts like this. You've been running vBrownBag for longer than I've been running this, and—Chris: 13 years now.Corey: Yeah. This is I think, coming up on what, four years-ish, maybe three, in that range? The passing of time, especially in a pandemic era, is challenging. And there's always a difference. If I invite a white dude to come on the podcast, the answer is yes before I get the word podcast fully out of my mouth, whereas folks who are not over-represented, they're a little more cautious. First, there's the question of, “Am I a trash bag?” And the answer is, “No.” Well, no, not in the way that you're concerned about other ways—Chris: [laugh]. That you're aware of. [laugh].Corey: Oh, God, yes, but—yeah. And then—and that's part of it, and then very often, there's a second one of, “Well, I don't think I have anything, really, to talk about,” is often a common objection here. And it's, yeah, if I'm inviting you on this show, I promise that's not true. Don't worry about that piece of it. And then it's the standard stuff that just comes with being me, of, “Yeah, I've read your Twitter feed; you got to insult me here?” It's, “No, no, not really the same tone. But great question; throw the”—it goes down to process. But it takes constant work, you can't just put an open call out for guest nominations, and expect that to wind up being representative of our industry. It is representative of our biases, in many respects.Chris: It's a tough needle to thread. Because the show has been around for a long time, it's easier for me now, because the show has been around for 13 years. We actually just recorded our two thousandth and sixtieth episode the other night. And even with that, getting that kind of outreach, [#techtwitter 00:31:32] is wonderful for making new recommendations of people. So, that's been really fun. The rest of Twitter is a hot trash fire, but that's beside the point. So yeah, I don't have a good solution for it. There's no easy answer for it other than to just be empathic, and communicative, and reach people on their level, and have a good show.Corey: And sometimes that's all it takes. The idea behind doing a podcast—despite my constant jokes—it's not out of a love affair of the sound of my own voice. It's about for better or worse, for reasons I don't fully understand, I have a platform. People listen to the show and they care what people have to say. So, my question is, how can I wind up using that platform to tell stories that lift up narratives that are helpful for folks that they can use as inspiration—in my case, as critical warnings of what to avoid—and effectively showcasing some of the best our industry has to offer, in many respects.So, if the guest has a good time and the audience can learn something, and I'm not accidentally perpetuating horrifying things, that's really more than I have any right to ask from a show like this. The fact that it's succeeded is due in no small part to not just an amazing audience, but also guests like you. So, thank you.Chris: Oh no, Thank you. And it is. It's… these kinds of shows are super fun. If it wasn't fun, I wouldn't have done it for as long as I have. I still enjoy chatting with folks and getting new voices.I love that first-time presenter who was, like, super nervous and I spend 15 minutes with them ahead of the show, I say, “Okay, relax. It's just going to be me and you facing each other. We're going to have a good time. You're going to talk about something that you love talking about, and we're going to be nerds and do nerd stuff. This is me and you in front of a water cooler with a whiteboard just being geeks and talking about cool stuff. We're also going to record it and some amount of people is going to see it afterwards.” [laugh].And yeah, that's the part that I love. And then watching somebody like that turn into the keynote speaker at a conference ten years down the road. And I get to say, “Oh, I knew that person when.”Corey: I just want to be remembered by folks who look back fondly at some of the things that we talk about here. I don't even need credit, just yeah. People who see that they've learned things and carry them forward and spread to others, there's so many favors that people have done for us that we can only ever pay forward.Chris: Yeah, exactly. So—and that's actually how I got into vBrownBag. I came to them saying, “Hey, I love the things that you guys have done. I actually passed my VCIX because of watching vBrownBags. What can I do to help contribute back to the community?” And Alistair said, “Funny you should mention that.” [laugh]. And here we are seven years later.Corey: Well, to that end, if people are inspired by what you're saying and they want to hear more about what you have to say or, heaven forbid, follow in your footsteps, where can they find you?Chris: So, you can find me on Twitter; I am at mistwire.com—M-I-S-T-W-I-R-E; if you Google ‘mistwire,' I am the first three pages of hits; so I have a blog; you can find me on vBrownBag. I'm hard to miss on Twitter [laugh] I discourage you from following me there. But yeah, you can hit me up on all of the formats. And if you want to present, I'd love to get you on the show. If you want to learn more about what it takes to become an AWS Hero or if you want to get into that line of work, I highly discourage it. It's a long slog but it's a—yeah, I'd love to talk to you.Corey: And we of course put links to that in the [show notes 00:35:01]. Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me, Chris. I really appreciate it.Chris: Thank you, Corey. Thanks for having me on.Corey: Chris Williams, Enterprise Architect, comma AWS Cloud at WWT. I'm Cloud Economist Corey Quinn, and this is Screaming in the Cloud. If you've enjoyed this podcast, please leave a five-star review on your podcast platform of choice, whereas if you've hated this podcast, please leave a five-star review on your podcast platform of choice, along with a comment telling me that while you didn't actively enjoy this episode, you are at least open to enjoying future episodes if I have one that might potentially be exciting.Corey: If your AWS bill keeps rising and your blood pressure is doing the same, then you need The Duckbill Group. We help companies fix their AWS bill by making it smaller and less horrifying. The Duckbill Group works for you, not AWS. We tailor recommendations to your business and we get to the point. Visit duckbillgroup.com to get started.Announcer: This has been a HumblePod production. Stay humble.

Cardboard of the Rings
Episode 186.5: 2021 Convention Special

Cardboard of the Rings

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 20, 2021 75:41


Part I - Live from Con of the Rings! Welcome from Chad, Jon, Chris Thank you to all our generous patrons! This one is on us. Retro Review Redux (with Youx!) Rate the results on FB! Part II - League of Cooperative Gaming Community Hot Jam Jon and Chris share musings with Mike, Wandering Took Shellin drops in from the lake house  Bobbymcbobface's Poetry Corner Ayy-Lep or Ahh-Lep? Farewells

Sayuri Saying Everyday-Japanese Podcast
[JP/EN CC] BOREDOM is Actually Good for You!

Sayuri Saying Everyday-Japanese Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 26, 2021 9:01


Check my YouTube channel to get the transcription :) このポッドキャストを作るきっかけになった本とポッドキャスト The Molecule of More: How a Single Chemical in Your Brain Drives Love, Sex, and Creativity―and Will Determine the Fate of the Human Race Daniel Z. Lieberman, M.D Michael E. Long YUVAL HARARI: ON WHY BOREDOM IS GOOD FOR YOU https://jayshetty.me/podcast/yuval-harari/ 英語への翻訳はChrisさんにしてもらいました!ありがとうございます