Software Developers Journey Podcast

#197 Holden Karau wanted to change something in the world


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Holden Karau 0:00
I think that for many of us, the programming is the easy part. And the people is the hard part. Focus on the people and focus on the community, both like in open source and in jaw and honestly in life, right, like, I mean, whatever we write software, we do cool things. But like if the world is burning, which, I mean, maybe there's other things that we should spend our time on, too.

Tim Bourguignon 0:24
Hello, and welcome to developer's journey to podcast, bringing you the making of stories of successful software developers. To help you on your upcoming journey. I'm your host team building you on this episode 197. I receive Holden cow. Holden is a software engineer best known for her work on Apache Spark, or advocacy in the open source software community, and the many books she authored or co authored. She's also a member of the Apache Software Foundation. And if I'm not mistaken, and I went back through the archive yesterday, she's the first deaf 20 guests to have our own Wikipedia page. So thank you very much for being the first one. Holder what comes after it.

Holden Karau 1:05
Awesome. Thanks for having me.

Tim Bourguignon 1:07
It's my pleasure. You know, it's really my pleasure. But before we come to your story, I want to thank the terrific listeners who support the show every month, you are keeping the dev journey lights up. If you would like to join this fine crew and help me spend more time on finding phenomenal guests, then editing audio tracks, please go to our website, Dev journey dot info and click on the Support me on Patreon button. Even the smallest contributions are giant steps toward a sustainable dev journey. journey. Thank you. And now back to today's guest. As you know, the show exists to help listeners understand what your story look like and imagine how to shape their own future. So as always, on the show, let's go back to your beginnings. Where would you place the start of your debt journey?

Holden Karau 1:59
Totally. So the start of my journey is probably I would imagine before many of the people who are listening can realistically go back to to match up with and I would say that the, to me, the start of my deaf journey is when I failed English. In or more specifically, I failed grade one because I couldn't write my name. And it turns out that actually like I have a learning disability, several of them depending on which psychologist you believe, but at the very least, like my brain works a little differently. And very thankfully, I was very fortunate to have a very understanding parents who had decided that while I couldn't write my name to solution, of course, who's going to be to have me type my name, stat. And so around this age is when I was introduced to computers, and I was very fortunate. So around like six or seven, my memory here is a little fuzzy. So this is all based off of like, what my parents tell me happens. So it's probably accurate, but it's definitely secondhand. So that was that was really lovely computers were magical. I would say they were probably like the first way that I could actually really successfully communicate with people, which was pretty awesome. So to me computers have like this really core special part of my life. Some years later, I was also very fortunate where I was growing up head and I think it still exists computer camp for Munis not they don't say they're for nerds, but it is it's for people that like computers, it looks like it doesn't exist anymore. And that was called virtual ventures. I went there as a kid. And I remember thinking computers were just so amazingly cool. It was also like my first time playing around with like, network computers. And I was like, oh my god, the internet is amazing. I want an email account. I wanted an email account so badly didn't have one. So the exact details are a little fuzzy here. But at some point apparently supposedly I ended up breaking in electronically to the computer camp system, which is run on a university Carleton University and adding an account for myself literally with my name, namely Holden, so it wasn't like the hardest person to figure out who was in my defense. I was super young. And like, according to my parents like this is something that they'd like said like, given a challenge or something. I'm a little fuzzy on the details as to how exactly this happened. But very fortunate made myself an email account. Then had some very weird conversations with some university students. I essentially ended up learning the very start of my programming journey. From some random like first year university students. Were just like kind of confused as to like, why I was so excited about email. I have no idea what their names are anymore. point, but they were incredibly sweet people, I started volunteering at that same computer camp in later years, which was a lot of fun. And actually really, one of the things that I really took out of that is that the best way for me to understand something is to teach it to someone else. And having that experience of early on in my life, getting to actually help people learn how to do computer stuff was really super cool. I'm really like, you think got me interested in doing more of that? I also, I had a next door neighbor growing up. amazing, wonderful. I'm so fortunate for the neighbors that I had growing up. On one side of us, there was a hearing couple, neither of them were computer engineers, per se, but I want to say electrical, maybe aerospace. And I mean, actually, I guess Computer Engineering Management is at IBM right now, I think also super cool. And they were like you are very weirdly obsessed with email. Okay, let's talk to you about computers. And then across the street from us. There was another lovely couple who was a science educator and author. And actually, if anyone likes, it's not quite science fiction. But Alex, Brett is her name. You can buy her her book. They're not about computers, but like, really solid fiction stuff. But she was also one of the people who was like, early on in my life. I was like, I really like teaching people things. I like writing. I'm terrible at writing like, but like, it was like, this is something that I really want to do better. And she was like, Yeah, okay, this is fine. There's the weird kid across the street wants to get better writing, I'll help them out. And just like, I feel so fortunate that early on in my life, there were these wonderful people who are just like, well, that's weird. But okay, sure. Let's go with that.

Tim Bourguignon 6:46
Was it clear for you, at that time that computers were to become that prominent in your life?

Holden Karau 6:52
Oh, no, really wanted to either be a mathematician or a business person. At this time in my life, I was like, math is so cool. And also, business seem like it would be a really cool way to like not have to work to offer. So

Tim Bourguignon 7:09
what went wrong?

Holden Karau 7:11
Well, I mean, several things. For one, it turns out that like, I love math, and I think it's amazing. But it turns out like I am, I'm like a solid, B minus to see minus math student, right? Actually, one of the pieces of advice that I remembered from my neighbor was like, hey, when you go to university, you're gonna meet a lot of other people who are going to be a lot better at these things than you are. And like, that's gonna be okay. And you're gonna have to, like, get used to that. I definitely remember going to university and being like, Oh, I am not going to do anything useful in the world of math. Like, it's cool. And I want to learn it. But like, I'm not going to change anything in this place. With computers, it was very much like this is still really cool, super useful. And I think I can actually make some differences here. Like, I think I can do some stuff. That's sort of when I changed my, my focus was early University came to the conclusion, like, half was so cool. It is I'm not quite where I wish I was. But computers are a little easier to do that.

Tim Bourguignon 8:22
I'm sure how this system works in Canada, it wasn't Waterloo, right? Yeah. Did you enroll University as a mash master or as a computer science student already? And how does that work? Yeah, so

Holden Karau 8:33
I was very fortunate that so I enrolled with a Bachelors of math in computers. And I was just like, oh, I should refocus more on the computer side of my degree, because this is going to be where I can achieve some success. Wireless is strange, that they teach computer science in. There's a computer science department, there's a computer engineering department. And then there's a math department. They're actually not all departments, I don't remember but whatever. And there's, you can take CS essentially, either in engineering or in a CS school, or you can, like kind of tack it onto a math degree. And I was like, II, I am here with the math degree, and I like to take a lot more computer science classes. And they're like, Yeah, that's fine.

Tim Bourguignon 9:23
How did you decide at that point between computer engineering and computer science?

Holden Karau 9:27
Oh, so computer engineering, I would have had to have like, I couldn't like go from like a math degree or an engineering degree easily. There is a part of me it's like, don't get me wrong, like I'm super happy that I got a math degree. In my family. My mother's side my grandfather was an engineer, my my cousin also on my mother's side, one of them is an engineer and he actually got his or I believe should clarify all of my statements with like, my memory is really fuzzy about pretty much everything but I think he got his Iron Ring. like my grandfather gave it to him was very touching. And there's a part of me, which always wishes, but I went down engineering path rather than the admittedly not all that different, like math CS path in Canada, you get like an iron ring. If you're an engineer to remind you of the importance and seriousness of your work, in theory, it symbolizes a bridge that fell down and killed a bunch of people. So it reminds you to like, not fuck up kill a bunch of people. Thankfully, like, I also have taken the like, I don't want to kill people think too hard, like so I do my best to work on software, where even when I do make mistakes, because I am going to make mistakes. The worst thing that we do is maybe recommend a few bad movies or like, we lose a little bit of money doing something silly, but no one dies. But that's just for me. For people that want to make mission critical software, super proud of you all. You're rock stars. Don't screw it up, though.

Tim Bourguignon 11:00
Even to that, I think we shouldn't even some kind of analogy like this iron ring as well. To remind ourselves that sometimes we need to say you take things seriously.

Holden Karau 11:09
Yeah. And like so in the iron ring goes on the pinky finger of your signing hand with the symbolism being that if you're an engineer, you sign off on the papers and you are reminded of your responsibility. When you do that. You

Tim Bourguignon 11:23
will see it again. Yeah, that's cool. That is cool.

Holden Karau 11:27
It is not that cool, though.

Tim Bourguignon 11:31
Cool. Oh, how did you design towards the end of the study in which field or which domain of computer science you wanted to go after that? Stay with us. We'll be right back.

Tim Bourguignon 11:45
Hello imposters. If you work in tech want to work in tech or are tech curious in any way you'll want to listen to this. We've launched a community of professionals who come together to share information and advice about jobs, roles, careers, and the journeys we all take throughout our lives as the designers, builders, fixers investigators, explainers and protectors of the world's technology. We call it the impostor syndrome network. And all are welcome. So find the impostor syndrome network podcast wherever you listen to find podcasts, and look for the isn community on your favorite social platform. Hashtag impostor network.

Holden Karau 12:27
Yeah, so and this is a little random, because I don't work in that domain anymore. Machine learning always seemed kind of cool. It really thinks search problems are really interesting. I really wanted to work on search relevance in computer science, I took a class called real time operating systems because I thought I really wanted to do real time operating systems. And taking that class convinced me that I did not want to do real time operating systems. That was really hard. I'm so glad I took it. But like, it was just like, oh, no, this is not what I thought it was gonna be like, this is just a lot of like being sad. Wondering why the computer doesn't work, as opposed to a moderate amount of being sad and wondering why the computer doesn't work. And then there was another student who also like, super, super amazing. We ended up hanging out when they talking about spam filters, and those just like, oh, wow, that's really cool. And I'm like spending a bunch of time thinking about spam filters. And then I managed to get an internship where I could apply essentially spam filter stuff to essentially like removing spammy listings and Amazon from categories. And I was just like, you know, what, search is really awesome. I want to work on search problem. And so that's what I started off doing in my career. That is

Tim Bourguignon 13:56
pretty cool. So how did you go and find a job in doing search problems? I mean, there's one big search company.

Holden Karau 14:04
Yeah. Which notably, I did not go to they were really quite how to say this. Yeah. So I definitely, to be clear, I wanted to go there, right? Because I was like, Yo, that would be a great place to go and do search problems. And they're like, Yeah, we know, but like, we've got better options. And I was like, I mean, fair, I get it. And Amazon was like, Hey, what's up? How do you feel about making money? And I was like, okay, cool. I essentially ended up getting into this position because of the internship that I did at Amazon. I got the internship at Amazon, because I hadn't realized So okay, so Waterloo has Co Op, which is essentially, you study for four months, you go to school, you go to work for four months, you study for four months, back and forth. Yeah. The first year that you try and do this, it's incredibly hard to get a job because no one wouldn't really wants to hire you, you have like, four months of school, and they're just like, Oh, I'm not super interested. But when you get into like year three and year four, all of the American firms are just like, oh, have you considered relocating to American because they love hiring Canadians because they can pay us less. And it's also slightly more difficult for us to quit our job than the Americans because of immigration paperwork. So they're very keen on hiring Canadians, but had taken one of the years off, so I hadn't worked in the previous one. And so I went to apply for jobs. And I was used to like, I should apply to 50 jobs if I want to, like try and get a job. And so I did, but then I somehow got 51 interviews. And like, the previous time that I had applied to 50 jobs, I gotten like, two, maybe three interviews, right, which turned into a job and so that was pretty cool. But then I was like, Oh, shit. And then like, I ended up with this offer to go work at Amazon on this problem that sounded like, Oh, my God, this is what I want to do. This is so cool. I'm, so I was like, Yeah, okay, cool. I'll go do this. I went, I did that. On that internship I met stayed with the person who came out and photographed of the what, when my wife and I got married. He's really sweet. He lives in New York now. Actually, we know, I think he's back to Seattle. Whatever. Anyways, it's met so many wonderful friend, if you're, if you are a student, doing internships at the big firms is really nice, because you meet a bunch of other people who are also like, in a similar place in their life from all kinds of places across the world, like in so many Americans that I wouldn't have met otherwise. And so many lovely phone calls. So where I learned how to play ultimate frisbee, I also learned not to play ultimate Frisbee. But, you know, those two can go hand in hand together, I just have like, all of these happy memories of my internship. Because, like, internships are so wonderful, especially internships at like, like the large American firm, they tend to mostly be they're functionally just like four month long interviews. But they're also trying to convince you to work for them during those four months. So they do the best to like, hide all of the bad things at the same time. Right. And so like, there's no one call rotation, there was no like, it was just, it was lovely. I just got to like, write software, solve a problem, and like, hang out with nerds for four months. And like, they paid me enough money that I could like, go back to school. I could also like, high lift above a grocery store was awesome, I think. Cuz I just come home at the end of every day and be like, Okay, what do I want to like, eat for dinner was like going to the grocery store, buy some food. You know, I was a college student. So it was always like, still pretty bad, but it was always fresh, bad food.

Tim Bourguignon 18:00
So you know, there's that sounds like a nostalgic place.

Holden Karau 18:03
I'm sorry. I know. This is not super useful to people, but happy memories associated.

Tim Bourguignon 18:10
I can relate to my time in Chicago was also an internship. I have so many good memories, and not just because I met my wife there. So

Holden Karau 18:17
congratulations. My wife is from Chicago too. Oh, cool. Yeah.

Tim Bourguignon 18:22
We're a bit of Western Chicago and Chambord. Something like 40 miles west.

Holden Karau 18:28
Schaumburg. Okay. And Elgin? Yeah, yeah, so my wife is actually from Elgin.

Tim Bourguignon 18:35
Very deep. So yeah, I can definitely relate about this student time. It was really a blast. The same time the same kind of time. Not a big American company but a big German one. Close enough. After his internship at Amazon, did you did you take the bait and continue with

Holden Karau 18:55
no. Anchor? Yeah, so still in so technically, so. Okay. For legal reasons at the time Amazon search was run by a separate company that was a wholly owned subsidiary of Amazon called a nine. And I worked for Amazon on the category classification of items which like ended up being pretty similar to the search stuff and I ended up collaborating with the search people and actually that's part of what led me to my next job is they flew me down to so a nine is based in California and at the time like they were being kept separate for tax reasons that are above my paygrade to understand or even really comment on but they flew me down to the nine to work with the people there and was lovely people there and I remember looking out the window of the office that I was working from, and the company across the road literally had a sign up saying we're hiring. Salaries start at dollar sign at were $1 sign X note really at the time I was making under $100,000, now a year and the company literally across the road from where I was working, was very clear that their salaries were starting at $125,000. And I was like, I need to write something down on this piece of paper that is unrelated to the information that I've seen outside of the window. But that's when I was like, I should start looking for another job. I like money. And also like, my friends and I, we were all burning out at Amazon, because the sort of the Yeah, it turns out that on call rotation is incredibly ropey. I don't know if it's gotten better. But Amazon, it's like, it was worth it. Right. It's also like, it was the only job offer that I had graduating from school, right? It was like, actually, that's not true. I could either go work for Amazon, or I could go make half of the money I would make working for Amazon, living back at home with my parents in Ottawa. And it was like, I could go move to the West Coast of America making twice as much money. Or I could go right kernel drivers, which like, don't get me wrong, Linux kernel drivers, super fun. But like that real time operating system class I took really dissuaded me away from the life of writing kernel software for the rest of my life. And so that's part of what sent me

Tim Bourguignon 21:27
I bet is good. What is it? Good experience anyway, I mean, some stories to tell. And even if it was rough, you avoided the burn up, I hope.

Holden Karau 21:35
I don't know. I don't know the sound of a Motorola pager to this day. I still have like an involuntary reflex because we have physical patriots because they didn't like along with cell phones too. But like they were definitely just like, Yeah, so the last time we had a major outage, like, generated too many calls for the cell phone network, so you get a Motorola pager. And I'm just like, that's I was on call for an entirety of q4 myself and this other person, we swapped primary and secondary back and forth. I'm super, super grateful for that job. Like, it was amazing. I learned so much. But it also did burn me to a crisp anyone to Foursquare, which was different. It was in San Francisco, the Foursquare was headquartered in New York. That was my first like, experience working remotely. I would say, like I was working in an office, but they were they bootstrap the office. And so there were like, three site reliability engineers who had been out on the West Coast, who were like, amazing folks love working with them. But they didn't like write code in the same like they wrote, like, shell scripts. They wrote like deployment software in Python. They wrote, like, all kinds of sort of like ancillary things. But Foursquare itself was written in Scala. Oh, actually. And that reminds me of, sorry, something that I completely forgot. First year CS class, I Waterloo. I ended up doing it in scheme, because I met a blocker. And I know I'm not saying his name super correctly. I'm really sorry for blocker. You're amazing. I met him when I was like going around thinking about which university to go to. He had decided to do a pilot project teaching. First year CSS and scheme. Yeah. Anyway, so that's where I learned functional programming, which that became a really core part of actually, even who I am to this day, strangely enough, but yeah, so. So jumping back to the Foursquare, right, like functional programming. I really liked functional programming. Scala was like a way that I could do functional programming and get paid. But I didn't know Scala. At the time, there weren't really like any books on Scala at the time. And in the office that they'd hired. None of us knew Scala. So that was cool. And also, in fact, I was the only one that knew get in the office of people that they hired, because they hired like a bunch of random like people from Big West Coast for up in Seattle that were like, very Perforce source depot, like, all of those things. And so it was definitely just like, well, I've written scheme. And I've got, like, a bit of an understanding of Git, from my brief experience, like trying to like do some open source stuff. So yeah, what's up, Paul? We'll make this work. Yeah. Off, I think come to Twitter instead of Foursquare.

Tim Bourguignon 24:34
Did you do to tends to go to Twitter decided, yeah,

Holden Karau 24:37
I saw hold. I got an offer from Twitter and Foursquare. I told Foursquare is going to tell Twitter and Foursquare is like, you really need to reconsider. Come down and hang out with us. We'll get beers and we'll talk about it. There. There was one engineer there was amazing. Jorge flew out, had beers with Jorge, I was like, oh, you know what, okay, whatever, I'll go work at Foursquare financially, maybe not the best decision that I've made in my life, but I assure you, I have made work

Tim Bourguignon 25:09
if you were able to leverage given and functional programming and giving Yeah, I mean, no, I

Holden Karau 25:14
like and it worked out. Okay. Right. Like I learned a lot. I had a lot of fun at that job. I, it was headquartered in New York. So I got to fly to New York a lot, which was really great. They did come to the realization that like hiring a bunch of people that like didn't know Scala or get was like, maybe they should send someone out to do some training. They came to this realization, like a month in mind you so like, but you know, so it was good. We got some training about a month and about, like, how to do our jobs. So that was like, pretty good. I think we were a little bit more effective after that. And that was also like, around the time, like, I moved to San Francisco, and I was like, Oh, I could be not a boy. That's an option. Okay. So that was definitely like, Okay, I should. There's some things here to figure out. We got an intern who is amazing. I still we keep in touch to this day, Adam. He's amazing. There's some stories that I wish I could share. But I forgot to check with him beforehand. NIOSH should not. But suffice it to say like, having an intern was a really amazing experience also, like, reinforced my like, I love helping other people, like learn new things. That is so hacking cool. Like, fuck, yes. We had an HR person at Foursquare who did not get along with me. And I didn't get along with her. And she complained about like having she Oh, yeah. So she complained about having to share the bathroom with trans people when she worked at Google. And I was like, You know what, maybe I should tried my hand at getting a job at Google. Again, that sounds like a pretty okay place to go work.

Tim Bourguignon 27:06
That's a reason like any other.

Holden Karau 27:08
And like, I think this was like, maybe the fourth or fifth time I tried to get a job at Google. And like, I apparently just wore them down. But more more seriously, I think one of the things it's important to understand is like at these big firms, right? Like, if they say no, so it's not really necessarily that you are not a good person, or you don't know your stuff. It's just the people who happen to be there that day, you know, they weren't the right people to interview you. At Amazon, it was called the anti living. The idea was that every person currently working at Amazon, there existed a valid hiring committee, that if that were the people who had interviewed that person, they would have said no, right. And but so so anyways, the stars finally aligned, interviewed at Google, they're like, Yeah, cool. Come work here. And I was like, What am I going to be doing? They're like, not going to be search. And I was like, What are we going to be doing? It's not going to be search. Can't tell you what it's going to be. I was like, I should probably change jobs because like, I don't really want to work for an HR person who doesn't really, you know, like me, this isn't working out. Okay, fine. And they went to go, it was not sick, but it was great. But how was

Tim Bourguignon 28:24
it? What was it?

Holden Karau 28:27
Yeah. Okay. So let me let me preface this with we've all done things for money that we regret.

Tim Bourguignon 28:38
Like, I always thought he was

Holden Karau 28:39
young. I needed the money. I needed a job with health insurance. I needed a job that would sponsor an h1 Yeah, all this time. I've been on what's called a TN Visa, which is a treaty and after visa, they don't exist anymore after the previous word after they decided to renegotiate all the treaties. What a lovely try anyways, I and I was weird enough, already at this point in my life that like so treaty, NAFTA visas are super great, because you can get them issued with just like a piece of paper from like, your company's lawyer being like, what's up, like, we want to hire this engineer. This is what we're gonna pay them. And, you know, it's a temporary job. They'd be like, Okay, fine, but like, I was definitely like, yeah, I was weird. I would do things like looking back on it. I don't know why I would like fill a hat with modems and go through the airport. But like, you know, it seemed like a good idea at the time. But like, let's just say like, I always had a lot of trouble getting back into the country, right. And so I was definitely just like, I really want a visa where like, every time I come back to come to America, I don't get sent to the special room in the sky to explain myself. And why ever had some modems? Okay, because it was getting Oh, my goodness. And so Google was like, yeah, we'll sponsor an h1 visa for you. It's really good. I needed the money. And so I worked on Google Plus. Also, not only that, I don't know. Do you remember hangouts back before? It? Got really shitty? Yeah. Okay, cool. So I was part of the team that helped make hangouts really shitty.

Tim Bourguignon 30:24
That one, but okay. The birth of this podcast is also a pretty, pretty interesting place, as you've heard at the beginning, so we've all done this.

Holden Karau 30:34
We all do things where it's like, Well, money was really good. Absolutely. Oops. Yeah,

Tim Bourguignon 30:42
I guess that's all right. Sure, it served some piece of your story and propelled you to where you are today.

Holden Karau 30:47
It did, actually. So there were some amazing things that I got out of working at Google. For one thing, I had a manager who was okay with the fact that like, my pronouns had the consistency of water, as did my gender presentation. I met the person who officiated our wedding when I was working at Google's so sweet Morgan, and he actually runs he runs a startup now called token transit, if anyone's needs to do so bus pass in random cities in America. It's an option for you. I think they're they're outside of America now too. Anyways, sorry, detour, detour. Going to Google like, was amazing. One of the things for me, that was amazing, was it was the first time that I'd experienced like a training program that wasn't just like, thrown together after the fact, because Google was like, Amazon just did not bother with training. I don't know why, like, I hope they do now, because they're huge. And they really should have been doing training. But yeah, starting a google it was definitely like, there was like, new hire training. And I actually learned things I learned about big table, I did a class called searching Shakespeare, where you build a very rudimentary reverse index for Shakespeare's work. But the important thing about it is that you do it using all these weird internal Google tools. And I took that class. And after it, I went up to the person who taught it and I was like, Yo, this was really cool. Like, how do I become like you like, I want to, I want to do this, like, I love teaching people. I love what I just learned, I want to do this eventually. And he was like, Well, I mean, you can just use your 20% time. And you can come and be a TA. And then if you TA for a while, you can start teaching this class. And I was like, okay, cool. And so I did. And that was amazing. One of the tools is called Flume, Java, which ended up being very similar to Apache Spark, which is what I've now worked on for the better part of a decade. And that was amazing. There are also some like lowlights of working at Google that would have some content warnings associated with them if we were to delve into them, okay. But like, like Max, but like, really great. And, once again, like, I got to meet a lot of people, I'm obviously still in touch with was playing around with Apache Spark a little bit, I was writing a book on it, because someone asked me to, I was like, ah, sounds cool. Um, and so I wrote the first book on Spark boys at Google. And then the people who created spark over at UC Berkeley, I created a company. And we're like, Yo, what's up? We made a company around spark. And I was like, okay, yeah, like, that sounds cool. I'm gonna, I'm gonna go do that. And I interviewed with them. Oh, gosh, that was such an interesting interview, to sort of realize what I was getting myself into, because he really smart people. But let it's definitely, like I should have realized when I was being interviewed, almost exclusively by people with PhDs that like, this was gonna be an adventure. But I was young, you know? And spark seems so cool. And it is, it's a really new crop. And so I left school and my manager at the time. So I had three different managers in my very brief stint for a variety of reasons. But when I went to go tell my manager at the time, what she told me like, so I still remember she's just like, well, I don't know you that well. So like, I'll be honest, I don't actually know if I regret that you're leaving or not. But like, you're welcome to come back. And I'll put down that it's regretted attrition. You're welcome to come to previous managers as you're good, you know, and like, but again, it just sounds like it's the startup that you need to go. And Dick. Good luck. I completely understand. If I was in your shoes, I do the same thing. And it was definitely just like, that is like super direct. And I really appreciate it. And also like, yeah, like, yeah, because like, actually, like, I been reporting to her for like, two weeks or something like that. Like it didn't realize they were going to start the company on this. I gotta go do this. And she was like, Yeah, okay, that's fine. If you're ever in a big company, and you like teaching people, click train, see if there's something to try and like, because that stuff is awesome. And you'll find other people who also just like, love helping other people succeed and those are the kinds of people who are also going to like want I help you succeed, right? Like, if you can be a TA for something, like being a TA is a great way to like learn something. And like, just learn it on another level. And I remember, like, so much stuff at Google was definitely just like, you know, so many of those opportunities came to me because I was like, working on this random thing that I cared about in my free time, like my 20% time, like, I didn't know anything besides like Scala and Java and scheme, which they didn't use. They didn't use Scala either. But I remember being like, Go seems kind of cool. I'm gonna see if I can, like, make the intro course working go to. And then I met Francesco, who was amazing. So in touch with the stag, who was definitely just like, oh, cool, you want to do this and go, like, my job is to help the ghost stuff here work better. Let's work on this together. And it's just like, oh, fuck, yeah, like, I think working on content when you're an engineer, like when your job is to work on content, of course, like, that's what you do. But when you're an engineer, like working on training stuff, I think is just like such a great ROI, both for your company and for yourself. You think it's absolutely

Tim Bourguignon 36:09
it kicks ass. I've been doing this also past 10 years. And it's the best. It's just what sticks as people and when you've made them, their eyes light up when they understood something. There's never been one one piece of advice in your past that really changed the way you thought or approaches think things.

Holden Karau 36:25
This is like super abstract kind of advice. It came from the Apache Software Foundation. And it's the saying of community over code, which is snot. I don't think it's an official tenant. But I definitely remember, I work on open source and a lot of conversation, that's what will come up is like, okay, like, yeah, we can know what the right thing to do with the code is, but like, what is the right thing to do? With the community or with the people? Right and reframing that? Because like, I think that for many of us, the programming is the easy part. And the people is the hard part. And I think that's important to focus on the people and focus on the community, both like in open source and in jobs, and honestly in life, right, like, I mean, whatever, we write software, we do cool things, but like, if the world is burning, which, and I mean, maybe there's other things that we should spend our time on to

Tim Bourguignon 37:27
aiming to that. This is one of the things I like to ponder about is if if you made some kind of cryptic your story, where I don't know lectricity goes off. And two generations from now you try to explain what you used to do. Adventure one at a time. So that was a fantastic story. Thank you very much that went in many directions in unexpected ones.

Holden Karau 37:52
I'm sorry, my mind wanders so much.

Tim Bourguignon 37:55
Probably brought back a lot of memories and some some nostalgia with it. So that is the best one, you can see. Where would be the best place to continue or start a discussion with you.

Holden Karau 38:02
I am on Twitter, probably the easiest place to like for people to find me also, like I do live streams on YouTube. But I think Twitter's the easiest place. Although I do spend a lot of time complaining about American health care. So yeah, I mean, that's shooting fish in a barrel, right? Like,

Tim Bourguignon 38:24
we get to that it's Canadian and European, so we can shoot it. Okay. Anything you want to plug in before? Khaleesi?

Holden Karau 38:29
Oh, yeah, of course. So I, my publisher would be super upset with me if I did not try and convince you to buy several copies of whatever book it is that is going to come out next. And I think that's probably going to be scaling Python with Ray, it might end up being scaling Python with Dask, working on two very similar book but with slightly different approaches. And of course, I would never seen, you know, no to anyone purchasing several copies of high performance spark with their corporate credit card. Don't spend your own money on this. But if you've got a corporate credit card and no expense oversight, is the gift of whatever month it is where this podcast comes out. I think maybe an excellent 420 gift. You can use the pages as rolling paper.

Tim Bourguignon 39:18
Duly noted. Awesome. It's been a great story. Thank you very much.

Holden Karau 39:23
Awesome. Thanks. Thanks so much for hanging out and thanks for chatting. It was

Tim Bourguignon 39:26
my pleasure. And this has been another episode of Dave's journey. And we'll see each other next week. But thanks a lot for tuning in. I hope you have enjoyed this week's episode. If you liked the show, please share rate and review. It helps more listeners discover those stories. You can find the links to all the platforms to show appear on our website, Dev journey dot info, slash subscribe. Creating the show every week takes a lot of time, energy And, of course money. Would you please help me? continue bringing out those inspiring stories every week by pledging a small monthly donation, you'll find our patreon link at Dev journey dot info slash donate. And finally, don't hesitate to reach out and tell me how this week story is shaping your future. You can find me on Twitter at @timothep ti m o t h e p or per email info at Dev journey dot info talk to you soon