Software Developers Journey Podcast

#245 Matthew McClure wanted to build tools for developers


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Matthew McClure 0:00
I think people used to think about like, real time is a very different type of video. Like it kind of wasn't thought about as video for years, there's like, live and on demand. And then like, real time is a very specific thing that you would talk about otherwise. And then I would honestly talk it up to some point during the pandemic, like, when people say, like, Oh, I'm working. I want to add video to my app. It could literally mean any kind of video, real time on demand live, and the lines between them, especially if you're somebody that doesn't come from the ecosystem have blurred so much. And now we do all support three. And so I think actually, we're finally to that dream that we had in 2016. To be able to say, like, I want to do another video. Let me go check them off stocks. They can probably help and like that's like, yeah, it's it's mostly true and broad strokes, which is really fun.

Tim Bourguignon 0:50
Hello, and welcome to developer's journey, the podcast, bringing you the making of stories of successful software developers, to help you on your upcoming journey. I'm your host Tim Bourguignon. On this episode 245 I receive Matt McClure. Matt is a co founder of MCSE, one of the leading innovators in the video and development space today. Before funding MCSE he served as an evangelist and software engineer focused on Zen cooler and video.js. Among other things, Matt started the SF that's for San Francisco video technology meetup and founded and leads the demuxed conference. Max. Mux. Matt. All those Mux! Welcome, DevJourney.

Matthew McClure 1:35
Hi, good to meet you.

Tim Bourguignon 1:37
It was you putting some tongue twisters in the intro, I'm sure. But before we come to your story, I want to thank the terrific listeners who support the show every month, you are keeping the DevJourney 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, DevJourney.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. Matt, as you know, the show exists to help listeners understand what your story looked like, and imagine how to shape their own future. So as is usual on the show, let's go back to you beginnings. Where would you place the start of your DevJourney?

Matthew McClure 2:31
Yeah, that's a when you when you first pose that as kind of the opening question that took me down, like trying to remember the order of operations for some of this. But yeah, I think if I'm thinking about like the very, very beginning, I don't even know if my brother in law would know this. But I'm the youngest by 10 years in my family. So my oldest sister's 15 years older than I am. And so her husband i I've known him since like basic, effectively birth. But he worked at a startup and kind of the first tech comm tech.com boom in the late 90s. And I remember the very first time when they rereleased the Star Wars like I you know, I had been into computers a little bit of a nerd. And this is like when I first got into tech is like thinking about like, wow, like that is such that is so cool. Like these people like I remember he took me to see the midnight showing when they rereleased the Star Wars like the remastered Star Wars editions. And so he took me with his his startup that he was working working with, they took me to the midnight showing, which was such a huge deal because my parents would never like as a way past my bedtime. And I remember there are these like, you know, like big overweight guys with wearing white like the white robes and like cinnamon rolls taped to the sides of their head to be layup and they had gotten their way early to stand in front of the line. And then they like, got in there and like stood with like fake lightsabers like guarding to two rows. So the rest of the company could like sit together and these two rows and there's just this like weird group of they were all so except it was just like these, these are like these are these are my people these are you know, I'm like 11 at the time 12. And so then fast forward fast forward a you know, a year or two and I started to get really into this flash cartoon called Eskimo Bob. Which I know I know or like a little bit of it. I'd gotten into this I'd gotten to this last cartoon called Eskimo Bob which if you're familiar with like Homestar Runner I think was a little bit of a precursor to Homestar Runner, a little bit more niche never never never got the escape velocity of Homestar Runner So weird flash cartoon, they had a, they had a chat box on the website that we do click just like a web based IRC client. And so I started chatting in there on the web and then eventually went from there to like a desktop IRC client. And then suddenly, I'm spending like, all my time in this IRC client, in this IRC channel, Eskimo Bob on Freenode. And that kind of, I don't know, from there, I kind of started getting into building websites. And I think I'd maybe dabbled in a little bit more. But that was kind of really everybody else in there was a nerd. And so suddenly, I'm spending a lot of time. Like, I don't know, building things, hacking and building mIRC, plugins, all that sort of stuff. And around this time, I think it was either right before this, or during this, I was homeschooled. So I was homeschooled from for fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh grade. And so in seventh grade, my parents got me a laptop, and my curriculum was all on CD ROMs. So I immediately figured out how to bypass the parental, like the teacher controls and lock you into the, the application. And so I would spend, you know, 45 minutes gunning through whatever things I had to do, and like deleting retaking tests, or don't, don't tell my mom deleting and retaking tests over and over again, until I got the grade, that would be acceptable and like, so that I could go back online and like go, you know, hack around on websites, or build these stupid mIRC plugins, or, you know, chat with folks on IRC or whatever. Like, at one point, I was, I was crammed like a little hosting company. It was ridiculous. But so yeah, that that, that that year, I think was I probably learned very, very little of what I was supposed to do on those CD ROMs. But I would, I would call that year of being homeschooled is probably the most formative moment of my, of my career. Because that's basically nonstop. You know, learning learning how to program and my brother in law kind of reentered the picture there. Because he saw me like really getting super interested in all this. And he's getting me books on Visual Basic, and I learned how to program PHP at the time, like all these things. And so I think he saw me, he saw me starting to get interested in it. And he, you know, he was the one that kind of pushed me a little bit further on, on learning how to do these things.

Tim Bourguignon 7:29
Fed the fire.

Matthew McClure 7:31
Fed the fire, yeah.

Tim Bourguignon 7:34
Besides, besides having found your people, as you as you painted it, do you remember what what what kept you so interested in this whole?

Matthew McClure 7:43
Ah, man, it's just the, the blank slate of it all was so fun to me. So I mean, I think like the, the shortly after that, so before be before the homeschooling bit, and like really kind of like, really, really getting into it. For some reason I had gotten to become PHP early on, and I just remember the thought of like, if I, if I can imagine something that I want to build, like, I can go build it. And like being able to, like, write some of this, write some code and HTML, CSS, and then like, put together these terrible table based layouts of the of the late 90s In the early 2000s. But thinking it was like, Oh, wow, like, I can do anything here. And so it wasn't as much like a I think a lot of people are really excited about like, the problem to solve, like, thinking about as a problem solving piece, which, which excites me, I think that's fun. But I think especially at the time, What really excited me about it was like, do it like writing some code, whatever hitting refresh, and that thing that I had done was like there. And like there's something so special and fun about this, this act of creation. That also at the time was so niche, like, none of my friends were doing it. I didn't really know anybody else that did except for maybe my brother in law. And so it also felt like, uniquely mine, like I could. I had I had paint brushes and canvas that like I didn't know anybody else that had that. And it was so much fun. Yeah,

Tim Bourguignon 9:38
it makes so much sense. To see your your dreamy face when you're when you're remembering all this. It's, it's it sounds to be a nice place to where you were at.

Matthew McClure 9:48
Yeah, it was beautiful. It really was. It was uh yeah, I just remember you know, and none of my friends care like and all the stuff looks terrible. So I remember like, you know, I would go over I BMX bikes and skateboard and rollerblade or whatever my friends do the jumps are shit about, like about the, you know, the new web app that I built, which we didn't call it that at the time, or the IRC plugin or whatever else. But this like friend group that I had, especially like, then then kind of this like, the Eskimo Bob IRC crew comes in and like those those folks were, like, they were always like, yeah, holy crap, like, wow, cool. Like, you know, and that was a, it was it was funny, because I think that my friend group bifurcated a little bit. Like I had my online friends and my in person, friends, my online friends, cared a lot and showed a lot of interest in these things that I built. It's not like my real friends wouldn't have cared if I'd showed them. But it was just like, we were way too busy, you know, nearly breaking our arms doing something dumb. And because I had all this time, especially dirt, like that's why I say it's like such a hockey stick of like, what I learned and builds and experienced, was just because while they were at school, I was hanging out with the online friends all the time, then they would get home and I'd sign off and go do things outside for the rest of the day.

Tim Bourguignon 11:21
Which one do you do two groups merge together.

Matthew McClure 11:25
I still don't know if they ever have. I mean, at some point work. Like when I moved to San Francisco, I would say is when that when that group merged a little bit more. Maybe Maybe a touch in college. But yeah, I think I'm part of that's probably a symptom of like my, like, I have always played ice hockey. Played from like 10 years old, which is weird to the grip of Georgia. There's also like, my sister's involved in that again, because she lived in cold places. But I played high sacramental, I played through college. And so like, if there's one group of people that I can tell, you definitely gave very, very few did not care about my web app. It was definitely my ice hockey teammates. Generally speaking, they got again late later, later, like my friends in college cared and there are some nerds on that team. But like, yeah, that was that was not a crew that overlapped very heavily with the with my, let's go program squad.

Tim Bourguignon 12:34
You were talking about college? Would you? Do you pick a CS degree? Or is it a CS related College?

Matthew McClure 12:41
No, no. So that's actually so are there. Yeah, so I and this probably boils down to like what I was talking about around like, I loved building and I love programming and I love building websites. And I you know, I did some of it for I just took some freelance jobs I would I would build websites for family friends and businesses. And you know, I did some like, quote it work and quote for my for my dad's office, and like little things like that. But it was it was like an it was an act of love as a hobby. Like I this was like, this was my like the safe place isn't the right word. But it was just like, it was my like, it was this thing that brought me a lot of joy and quiet in my life. And I'd heard you know, like, I'd gotten bad advice from some folks along the way around, like, don't make you know, like, I didn't want to ruin my hobby. I didn't want to ruin this amazing thing by making it my job. I didn't want to hate programming at any point in time. I didn't want to hate computers. So I actually avoided them. It never even crossed my mind to try and do something with computers in college. Like I went to school and I was pre med when I first got there. Then absolutely hated the first like bio, of course, like bio in high school. I'd love bio college friggin hated freshman year. So like, this isn't for me, I like, you know, went to like poli sci or something like that. And then somebody was just like, you know what you should just like, if you don't if you're not sure what you should do at this point, like, go to business school. And like, I'd always been entrepreneurial. Like I'd started like, I had this. What about one of the web apps that I built? When I was when I was you know, 1213 years old. And it was I was a very edgy punk kid. As many 13 year olds are. And I had started this clothing company called anti fashion. Very original, very cool. And yeah, I am might ask you to get that out. I need to like do some research to make sure that you can't find anything there later. But I want to make sure that I'm not like Doxil on, like some terrible like website that I made when I was 15. So yeah, the I had started this, like, terrible fashion thing. And like, at the time, I was like, you know, you would I would exacto knife, I actually had a really fun way of making T shirts and whatever, I won't get the details of how I was doing it. But like, I've made these terrible like T shirt designs, stuff like that. And then like, one of my initial forays like trying to like build like a website to sell them. And that was actually like, later, this would come around as a moment of like, Stripe didn't exist then. And so if you wanted to accept credit card payments, you had to like you would you would go sign up for a gateway, but then you had to go to a bank. So anyway, so it's like you had authorized net, but you still had to have the bank to actually be anyway. So it's kind of a non starter. Which later came in play when like, I found straight, like when stripe entered the picture, you know, and whatever. 2009 or something like that. And I remember being like, oh my god, like, this is so cool. Like, wow, like, and it was that most like, holy crap, like, you know, so anyway, 15 year old me did not figure out except they're probably younger at the time, like 13. Gosh, where was I going with that? Why did we start down that path?

Tim Bourguignon 16:27
You were talking about? If you're not sure what to do?

Matthew McClure 16:31
Good. Oh, yeah. Okay, so so, you know, anyway, whatever. I'd started this like fashion company. I was trying to sell those. You know, again, I'd done some freelance stuff, but like, so I was I was always entrepreneurial I wanted I enjoyed starting companies I enjoy or companies I enjoyed, like, doing entrepreneurial things. It sounds like yeah, business school totally makes sense. Like, so I went to business school. And yeah, just kind of like go on a path. Like honestly, like, by my junior year, I was mostly thinking like, oh, you know, I'll go work for like a, like, when at some business consulting thing at a school like, I like traveling, like I'll do a few years do the road warrior thing. Before figuring out what's next, you know? Because like the big like consulting firms like recruited really heavily. I went to University of Georgia, so it's Terry College of Business can all the Big Four and all consulting companies like really recruit heavily out of there? So I was like, Yeah, sure. Well, that's easy. It's like the next step is like I don't fully know for sure what I want my what industry I want to go to a recruiter. So this is like a great way of like getting exposure to a bunch of stuff at once. I'll be honest, like at that point, I was just like, I didn't know I just didn't know what I wanted to do next. There's this pivotal moment, I think it was my it was either the saw the summer after my my during the summer after my junior year. See the summer after my junior year, summer after my sophomore year at the US junior year. I had studied abroad. And so I was staying in a staying in Athens for the summer and I needed I needed. Like I usually I'd work when I would go back home to Augusta, but I wanted a job in Athens. And so I wanted to get it during the school year, so I could go into it. And I remember my buddy's cousin like owned a hookah shop in downtown Athens. hookah hookup. And they just needed somebody like, you know, like a cashier, somebody run the door. And like, you know, I knew other people that work there. And the owner, like every is really nice. It was one of those jobs where it's like, it's easy, like foot traffic that, you know, traffic's relatively low. So it's like, go in there, you read your book, you know, maybe think around on the computer for a while. And just, you know, help folks when they come in. Like, as far as part time, part time college kid work, like, it's about as easy as great. And on a whim, I'd realized there's a really cool, at least I thought it was cool. There's a really cool web development agency in Athens called plexes. They built a bunch of like the local like a bunch of the cool local business websites and stuff like that. I'd heard of them. And I pass on the way home and for some reason, maybe it's not in the student newspaper or something, but they they were hiring. Like, oh, like, I don't know, maybe for like a part time summer job. Like, give that a try. And I remember going in and interviewing and the guy asked me some questions and we're, we're talking and you know, I mentioned like, yeah, probably like grab jQuery and whatever do this that blah, blah and like, so they end up hiring me on the spot for this job. Hey, And I freaking loved it. It was so much fun. So much fun that like, you know, I'm weeks into this job and I'm trying to figure out how to change my major at that point. I was like, that whole thing about not making my hobby My job was the stupidest like this, this job is awesome. I want to do this for ever, like, all of that fun that it had with building and like making things a reality. Now I'm doing that with a great designer that knows what they're doing. And they're like, I'm working with people and like making client realities come true and are just like this shit rules like Why wouldn't I want How could I not have wanted to do this? Forever? Oh my god, like, which is funny to think like if I hadn't done that job and I just like gone and worked at the hookah hookah shop. What would I be? I don't mean as an offense to anybody who shop ever but I'm just very curious, like where my life had been if I hadn't had that like aha moment. So I'm like trying to change my major I'm talking to like, I'm like frantically calling my advisor being like, how do I like how do I get in CS? Like, how do I switch everything go to CES and they were just like, Okay, well first, start at your freshman year and take a very different math class. Starting there. Okay, so basically your four years out if you want to start there is like, okay, junior year, probably don't start at semester two freshman year again, got it. Okay. What are my other options? So I ended up taking like, there's a you know, a technical major within so I end up double majoring in Business School adding like, management information systems, which, you know, it's not, it's not CS, but like, it was at least tactical and fun. I ended up getting really into the, like, entrepreneurial, like, there was like a, a startup incubator, tech nerd community in downtown Athens I started getting more involved in started a company with some folks that we can get into, like, whatever that end up looking like. And I'm making a bunch of friends with folks that kind of in the CS department, so they let me kind of like, they wait. They wait a bunch of requirements. Let me take some some CS courses that I absolutely wasn't. Didn't have the prereqs for which was a lot of fun. But yeah, that was that was kind of my path like I was, I went from being like really anti, I don't want to I don't want to ruin this. I want this to be my hobby. I don't think it really had a clear picture of what it would even look like as a job. And then yeah, it was all things like Plexus, like a little rails consultancy in Athens, Georgia, just like completely blew my mind and turned my life upside down. And like, awesome.

Tim Bourguignon 22:55
Yesterday. Your smile again? Well, you're you're telling this, it really comes from the heart so that that sounds really, really awesome. Yeah, it was. Yeah,

Matthew McClure 23:06
it was really special.

Tim Bourguignon 23:08
So how did you rebound after that? You say starting to to visit meetups, this incubator. Did you have an idea how to how to start this career?

Matthew McClure 23:22
Yeah, I mean, again, so I think even even after that I didn't really know like, I didn't know what was next. I just knew that. Like, I wanted to keep pulling on this. All that mattered to me was keep it continuing to pull on this thread. Like, I didn't know what it meant, but it's just like working with like, I felt like I just remember feeling so dumb. I feel I felt so dumb when I finally like when it when it clicked they're just like this is this is this is your job. Like how could you ever have thought that you should do anything else other than work with computers every day? And I remember I think even some of my like my roommates and friends were just like, oh yeah, you're finally doing that. Hmm Okay.

Tim Bourguignon 24:05
That's what friends are for. Right?

Matthew McClure 24:08
Like, it was like, you know, they just like oh, yeah, we got it. Like I think they all thought I had some other reason for not doing it. Oh, cool. You finally figured it out how good you so even then, like still like then it just kind of like the initial thing was like it was a bit of a pivot and like what kind of consulting I would do it's like okay, well now we'll go be like an IT consultant for a few years and same before and figured out whatever. And so a brother's friend of mine. Again, my brother is like 13 years older than me. So my sister the fifth 115 years older that has the brother the brother in law that was so formative my older brother's 13 years old and I'm so he had a had a friend that was kind of in Athens and the friend all again, I'd been doing this since I was like, you know, really pretty young. So like my brothers Friends all knew me as the nerd like Chad's nerdy little brother that does computer shit. That was kind of like, I think the general like vibe that like the ethos that the friends knew him. Yeah. So he came to me with this idea around like mobile ordering. Keep in mind time, this is probably 2011 2010 2011. And he's like, I've got this idea for like mobile ordering. iPhones, we're still pretty brand new. And he's like, well, people use these phones, like for what if people could use their phones to order and in restaurants. And in retrospect, was actually kind of ahead of its time, it was like we would we had like, I designed these QR codes, it would go on the table. And that's how you would like start your start your tab and you could order your food there. And then we took it out, we took it around. And we built like a prototype took around shop that around us some. So we ended up kind of like starting a company around it. And joining that incubator in Athens, we were one of the inaugural companies that were accepted into this like little tech incubator in Athens for this mobile ordering system. multiple prototypes are taking over the restaurants. Like you know, how would you like to be, like known about these things? And they're like, I was like, would you they're like it has to come into our system. And I was like, but what if there was like a printer next to it or something like that, they would print off orders, and you can take it that way. They're like, No, like, we're not gonna pay attention anything else, if these things come in, and we're not like they're not in our point of sale system, they're definitely going to get ignored. There's like, okay, crap. And so then like me, being a brilliant college student with with decades of experience was like, I know, we'll build a point of sale system. That's the answer. And turns out that was not, I don't think that was quite the right move, either. And also, as an aside, now, it was really frustrating, you know, a decade plus later walking into like, you walk into a restaurant now there's like, 40 iPads next to the point of sale system from all like DoorDash, UberEATS. And just like, you jerks totally, would have handled something next to your points, I guess, minor difference in like, how much volume they provide, but whatever.

Tim Bourguignon 27:15
And how much pressure there? Yeah,

Matthew McClure 27:17
yeah, exactly. And so we ended up on like, on a weekend, I'd hacked around with like, a shared music sharing system. So like anybody could add music to a queue. And it would play on like my computer. And I remember kind of showing this to my, to the guy, my co founder that this mobile race like, this is incredible. And we kind of pivoted the whole company around like building a jukebox, this jukebox system and it sounds it sounds weird, but it actually makes a lot of sense. Like the, all of the bars and restaurants at the time ran all their music off of a local computer behind the bar. And because it was local music, you pay a single like kept licensing fee. So as long as like you pay like your public performance fee of 100 bucks a month or whatever. But it's not like you're licensing each song or whatever. But as long as it comes from that machine, like it's kind of fair game. And so we were we were able, it was kind of this weird loophole where we wouldn't have to get into the licensing game, which is where everything gets really hard, difficult and confusing. So as long as I could build this application that would let us control though that local music. So pivoted, the whole company went from when from mobile ordering to a point of sale system to effectively a mobile jukebox. And seemed like things were actually kind of working like we're in a few restaurants and bars, it's kind of exciting. But then every night you could watch like, our, our song requests go to like midnight, and then just drop off, like to zero. And I was like, why? Like ever, like across the board? It happened everywhere. It's like, Why in the world. And so we started saying, like, you're just hanging out near the bar near that computer to see what was happening at midnight, where these things were just dropping off. And around that time every night was when people started accepting, like, requesting like, whatever that the hot, whatever the hits were from, like, you know, the that week, that month, you know, whatever those kind of hits were and so the bartenders would go back there and just shut off whatever the music like our app and just open up YouTube or whatever else at the time and just start playing like which, you know, the music industry I did not approve of but it didn't matter so like anyway. So it just didn't quite didn't quite work out. And so at that point, I had been working at a I had gotten kind of poached from the through that like the that incubator network I'd gotten poached by this A guy that ran like a an AV company that did a lot of like smart board installs AV stuff at the university to to run their software arm basically like not run but like to start building out their this, they wanted to start doing a lot more software. It hired myself and this other guy, Adam, to do all of that. And so that's that's how I met Adam. Now he's one of my co founders here. And here in Georgia, we started working on some video stuff. There, we need to like research it. And then that's how I found his encoder, which was in kind of that first round with Dev Tools. And I remember seeing Zencoder on AngelList at the time had like a really funny AngelList at the time had like a, a Tinder for startups kind of thing. And so you could like swipe right swipe left, and like startups he thought were cool. And I suppose encoder, probably cool. Like I tried to Open Source Player, I, you know, we had evaluated using it for this, like live streaming thing we needed, it didn't quite work, because because of our needs, but like it was still interesting. And so I just like swipe right, that's cool company. And then like, John, another one of my current co founders, he was the CEO of Zencoder. Reached out in within, like, within a month. Within a month, I think I moved to San Francisco. And then I convinced them to join a few months after that. And that's kind of that's kind of the at least how I got got to this stage of my career. Or at least like the beginning of the stage of my career.

Tim Bourguignon 31:40
Which is still the current stage more or less. I mean, in terms of video and being in San Francisco, and

Matthew McClure 31:48
yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. And so when I first I remember when I moved out here, we had been doing some video stuff with at that ad company, like, the last thing that I was working on, before I moved out here was like, it was like a, there's a system for your building is basically a way for professors to run final exams for like med students. So like cadaver, cadaver surgeries for like that final exam, or whatever. And so we would stream the surgery itself, the cadaver surgery and then like, show the ondemand afterwards, but then the professor could like make comments in there and you could anyway. So that's why I'd been like working with live streaming and player. And so I had dabbled in video very like that was like, my first foray. Other than that, like I knew I had trans I knew quite a bit about encoding video. Yeah, there are some, there are some communities that were very into high quality videos online. That were totally question like, had questionable rights to the content? Well, I will say that, but what they did have was amazing, like, because they were like super uptight, around quality like that would get you kicked out. If you uploaded a not movie, that would get you kicked out. But keep in mind, this is like 15 years ago at this point. I'm pretty sure the statute of limitations has passed at this point. But what what they did have on these communities was amazing guides for for transcoding. And so it's like, these are the different like, Okay, if it's interlaced content, this is how you need to handle it. Well, a lot. And then like, if you didn't, if you didn't transcode the content to those standards. Like if you did upload something that didn't meet those standards, they will take you out. And so, you know, because of that I had some I fashioned myself very knowledgeable on video and coding. But other than that, like the infrastructure side of things, I was pretty, pretty clueless. And so I show up in San Francisco, and I'm trying to do this job. And we, you know, we had like, a meet up with the meetups in Athens were like glorified, it was just happy hours. It was like you'd meet up and talk to like, the other 10 nerds in this kind of entrepreneurial ecosystem for an hour or two and then leave. And so I show up in San Francisco and like, there are there is a meetup for everything. And it I, you know, it's like, it's like a starving person showing up and all you can eat buffet. I definitely overeat for a little while, like pizza like six, six days a week, like because I'm showing up at a different meetup for anything there was like, you could go to a meetup specific to like semicolons in JavaScript if you wanted to at the time. But there wasn't one for video Uh, and so we started the SF video tech meetup. And I got really lucky. And that struck a bit of a nerve and that like other other people in the ecosystem are excited about it. So we folks from YouTube and Twitch and Netflix and CBS interactive and all these, like interesting. People from these cool video companies showed up and liked it started speaking and created the site, core core group. And then within a year or two, we we started the conference called demuxed. And that was that was really pivotal, pivotal to my career. And then we decided that there like, there was more to do still, like we gotten acquired right around the time that I joined encoders when we got acquired by Bray Cove. Which embraco was, you know, great company to join. I loved working with all of them. But they didn't, you know, developers weren't there. Like, that's not the bad that's that's not where they're going. And we thought that there's still unfinished business on the on the, to build interesting tools for developers. And as I alluded to the beginning, like a sec, Stripe, Twilio, like, just so floored, like going back all the way to like, why, why I enjoyed programming so much to begin with. Like, these people were just these types of tools, and kind of like that first wave of like dev tools was, like, you know, like, how I mentioned having kind of my own my own brushes and his own canvas. And suddenly like, these people, it wasn't just brushes, they were handing you like, what's a better version of a brush? Whatever, anyway, it was just like, suddenly, you're just like, wow, like, not only can I build whatever I want, like, now I can build whatever I want. Like, I don't have to go figure out how to like build a payment gateway, I can just make an API call to this company and do it. I don't have to go figure out how to like send a text message through telecoms, I can just make an API request to Twilio and handle it. And like, I don't have to figure out how to like, go deploy this somewhere. Heroku can do it for me, like there are all of these like, like that dev tool. First dev tool cohort was like, mind blowing to me, in a sense of you, like before, I was like, Oh, you do anything? And I was like, No, you really can do anything, like holy. This is so cool. That like, I can glue together a few of these systems and build like, stuff I could have only dreamed of. But that same like, you know, we felt like that same thing didn't exist for for video, like, you know, the stripe for payments, the Twilio for telephony. That same kind of abstraction layer wasn't there. So especially coming out of the meetups in the conference, all that sort of stuff. That's what we when we left and joined together and started Starbucks, which is where I am now

Tim Bourguignon 38:09
that that isn't impressive how old things are connecting somehow. I mean, it's kind of always the same when you look back and see where the dominoes failed and then rewrite the story. But but it really makes sense. However, she took its place and at some point culminated to two marks nowadays. That's yeah,

Matthew McClure 38:30
it is. You know, I it's funny it's yeah, I hadn't in some of these hadn't tied all of these things together really until kind of thinking through this it's not quite as straight of a line is like it feels like but it's the line certainly exists between between, you know, 12 year old me making dumb T shirts and MCSE today

Tim Bourguignon 38:55
so what's the what's the the core value add former for MCSE nowadays, and have you reached it already?

Matthew McClure 39:06
You know, I actually think so when we first started the company in like 20 I think very, very in a 2015 very beginning of 2016 we had this thought of like we're gonna do all things video, like when you when you say like, not to harp on stripe, but I think Stripe actually does a really excellent job of this and the sense of like, at least for me, if I'm gonna if I'm doing anything that touches money in any way, I'm going to check stripes Doc's first and see if they can just do it for me. I'm familiar with their API works. I trust them. And so I'm always gonna check their Doc's first if I'm if I'm doing something that's money, money or money adjacent. And so we want to do that for video. It's like, oh, I want to add, I want to add video, some into my app. Like right now you have to know so many different like video is such a complicated topic. With so much nuance so many ways down the stack that It's like, okay, well kind of at your time you don't want live or On Demand or these days real time or like all the you have to know about transcoding and bitrate ladder like even video now has gotten so much more complicated than it was in 2010. Because at that time, it was just like, oh, you need three different video types for the different browsers. But it was just like, Okay, you need to transcode your video into like, Hu six, four and ogg. And you're fine. But these days, it's like, yeah, okay, all the browser's kind of support one codec. That's the least of your concerns now. So now it's like, okay, but now I need like, adaptive bitrate streaming, which is like, not just three to convert. Now, I need like, eight versions of every video so that I can deliver to people at different so the yeah, whatever. Anyway, not to get too in the weeds of the video specifics. But somehow video got way more complicated. It's gotten better for the for the end user. But it's gotten so much more complicated as developer working with it. And so we wanted to be able to say like, okay, you don't, don't think don't think and sense in the sense of in terms of transcoding and bitrate ladders and delivery and all these other things. But it's interesting video, like, I want to add, like, I guess similarly, your stripe like think instead of just, you think payments, think video. And I think we're finally there. I think there's an interesting shift. I think people used to think about like, real time is a very different type of video, like, it kind of wasn't thought about as video for years, there's like, live and on demand. And then like, real time is a very specific thing that you would talk about otherwise. And then I would honestly talk it up to some point during the pandemic, like, real time, like people, when people say like, oh, I'm working. I want to add video to my app. It could literally mean any kind of video, real time on demand live, and the lines between them, especially if you're somebody that doesn't come from the ecosystem have blurred so much. And now we do all support three. And so I think actually, we're finally to that dream that we had in 2016. To be able to say, like, I want to do something video. Let me go check the MAS Doc's. They can probably help and like that's like, yeah, it's, it's mostly true and broad strokes, which is really fun.

Tim Bourguignon 42:17
That is cool. That's very cool. When we go to advice that I always use is is, is to go back to one piece of your story and ask you for any advice. And for you, I cannot use that because I know which one is going to come. I'm going to twist a little bit and say well, when you finally found your your your mojo back when you finally found, okay, this advice of not doing your hobby or not transforming your hobby as your day work was crap, or at least in your case was not a good idea. And you finally said okay, now let's go in there. What were the forming advice that you got from from people around you that really helped you embrace this and run with it?

Matthew McClure 43:03
So when I, when I did find, like when I find when I found my way back to tech as a yes. As a as a as a career after college. Yeah. After college or during college, because this was during college that I like worked at that consultancy, or what would be the advice? What was the advice that people gave around me that that led me to embracing it?

Tim Bourguignon 43:28
Or helped you embrace it even more? Because I think you were embracing it quote, unquote, alright.

Matthew McClure 43:36
There's actually a funny, I'm not sure this totally answers your question. But it's, it's a, it's another, it's another pivotal moment that like, God, I don't know what my life would look like without this. So working for that AV company, and the startup was kind of happening the same time, like, startup obviously wasn't paying. So it was like working, I was basically working two full time jobs, I'd go to the go to this job at the company, and then go from there to the incubator, and work until I effectively passed out and then go home. And that's what I did every day. So still in Athens. And one of my roommates in college, and really good friends had moved to was moved to San Francisco for a job. And he was like, you really need to be here. This is like, this is your nerd home. You should you should be you should be here. You'd love it here. And I was like, Oh yeah, that sounds that sounds great. He's like no, really you should you should move out here. I was like, Okay, I'll yeah, I'll move out there. And he was like, Okay, we're gonna try to find a three bedroom so he had moved he was like looking for something with his with his with our other friend. Or I didn't know who was his friend, but like I knew him adjacent. Anyway, So at the time, they were living in an extended stay hotel together in San Francisco, and then like going and leaving every day to like, go do their apartment search. And the market was crazy, it was really difficult to find a place to begin with even harder when you're like, two kids fresh out to two guys fresh out of college that have this mysterious third roommate that the landlord can't see. And so it's like, I think they were just getting their butts kicked every time I like, Okay, do I accept like, the family of three that wants this three bedroom? Or do I accept these two, you know, early 20 Somethings the landlord, you know, and honestly, in their, in the landlord's defenses, that's a pretty easy decision. And so every time they would call me keep in mind rent in Athens and Atlanta, I was like, kind of living between the two at the time was dirt cheap. I think it was paying 300 bucks a month for my for my bedroom. And like a two bedroom house in Atlanta, like, and I was commuting a few days a week to Athens. Which admittedly was a really great deal at the time. So every every week, I would get a different call from my friend being like, okay, rents actually going to be this much. It'd be like a few $100 more. It's like asking me this question is like, kind of getting increasingly nervous because I hadn't didn't have a job in San Francisco yet. And I remember he finally he finally called me like, Okay, we found the place you sign the lease? Is this much? And I just remember being like, I think it was like, yeah, it was like, 1300 buys a bedroom. And I was like, That is not going to work for me. Like, oh my gosh, like I was incomprehensible. And I was like, I can't do it, man, like, find another roommate. And I also gotten a full time offer for the AV company. He was a very clever, he's very, he's very clever. And so he had asked me if I wanted a full time job, I'd said no, he had given me the offer anyway, and then like, just started paying me the money. Which is honestly, like, at the time, I was like, why would he do that? And like, but it was very clever. Because then suddenly, I was just like, You know what, I got a pretty good like, I could move back to Athens full time. The pay, especially for an area like Athens. I would be very comfortable. It's this is fine. Like so it's like very easy just to be like, You know what? I'm good. My friend was just like, no, like, Screw you. You're not, he's like, You need to be out here. We're getting this place, and we're not getting a roommate, it's you, and you're just going to owe me the money for rent. Until you move out here. I'm gonna pay the rent, and you're just gonna owe me whatever until you move out here. And like, in reality, I should have been like, no, like, I don't know you like, but it worked. And so I was like, okay, and around the time when I had swiped right on Zencoder. Anyway, I really do think if he hadn't, if he hadn't played hardball, there has been like, no, like, you should move out here. And he forced me to and I think that I don't know if that's advice or just bullying. But it, it worked. And it was like a really pivotal moment in my career. Because I went from, I don't know, staying comfortable and doing doing what has this comfortable just like doing like, you know, somewhat interesting things. I don't know it, it opened my world up. And suddenly I was I was working with with, well, I kept working with relationship coworkers, because I kept through that. And but like, suddenly, it's like, we had been kind of the tech guys at that company, the people. And so suddenly I'm like, everybody at this company is our great engineers. It was a company full of people that were pretty senior. And so like, I'm the one like, junior developer there and like, yeah, it was it was this transformative moment. And it totally started by my friend kind of being a jerk, and believe me to come out here. I was in his wedding as soon as wedding a couple weeks ago. And it was like, You're right. He was like, Hi, now

Tim Bourguignon 49:11
let's see the the upside. This was a friend being a friend.

Matthew McClure 49:16
That was a friend being a friend. It really was.

Tim Bourguignon 49:20
That's life story. And that's certainly answers the advice piece, friends being friends. You should listen to them!

Matthew McClure 49:26
Yeah, yeah. Friends being friends. You should, I think. Yeah, there's a piece of like, well, anyway.

Tim Bourguignon 49:37
We could talk more and longer and even longer and we haven't scratched the beginning of your stories but that's the end of our time box. Matt. It's been a fantastic ride, seeing where you've been at how you fought against this career. And finally embrace it and moved to San Francisco thanks to this friend and and the rest of history it would say thank you very much for telling us this stories.

Matthew McClure 50:00
Yeah, thanks for. Yeah, thanks for pulling that out.

Tim Bourguignon 50:03
That was all you! Matt, where would be the best place to go to continue the discussion with you.

Matthew McClure 50:10
Ah, yeah.

Tim Bourguignon 50:13
The meetup probably?

Matthew McClure 50:14
Probably the meetup. Yeah. SF video tech meetup SF. SF ideo.org. We try to livestream them. But being in person is awesome versus going to be. Yeah, they're there last Thursday of every month. And then demuxed, the conference, it's going to be mid October, we don't have the we don't have firm dates yet. By the time hopefully by the time this is live, we'll we'll have the CFP open and dates you go check that out. So that's demuxed.com. This year will be 2023.demuxed.com. Very, very original. You can find me on Twitter at Matt_McClure. Or if you open the chat box on mcse.com. Like it'll, it's pretty easy. It'll eventually find its way to

Tim Bourguignon 51:01
Anything else so you want to plug in, timely on not?

Matthew McClure 51:06
I mean, if you're if you ever think about doing some of the video tiral, mocks, we released a player that's pretty fun. It uses web components and all sorts of fun new technology just released real time. Hopefully by the time this comes out all those are like old hat and super like. You know, everybody's like, Oh, yeah, most real time who doesn't use it? But yeah, go yeah, go check it out. And I'm curious if anybody like, you know, the promise, the goal there is to do something with video comm check us out. And if if anybody checks it out this listen to this. And that wasn't their experience paying me [email protected] And I'd love to hear about why.

Tim Bourguignon 51:44
People, let's do it. And if you missed any of the links, scroll down. There'll be in the show notes. Matt, it's been fantastic. Thank you for the ride.

Matthew McClure 51:52
Thank you so much. It was really it was really give me your time. Appreciate it.

Tim Bourguignon 51:55
and this has been another episode of Developer's Journey, we'll see each other next week! 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 the show appears on, on our website, DevJourney.info/subscribe. Creating the show every week takes a lot of time, energy, and of course money. Will 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 DevJourney.info/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 or per email [email protected].

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