#45 April Wensel encourages us to get in touch with our core values
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Tim Bourguignon 0:06 Hello and welcome to developer's journey. The podcast shining a light on developers lives from all over the world. My name is Tim Bourguignon, and today I receive April Wenzel April is the founder of compassionate coding, a conscious business that helps technical teams cultivate sustainable, Human Centered software development practices, built on a foundation of emotional intelligence. She has spent the past decade as a software engineer and a technical leader at various startups in Silicon Valley as an advocate for a more socially responsible tech industry. She also mentors technologists around the world and volunteers with organizations to teach coding to people from underrepresented groups. When she's not coding or speaking. She enjoys writing, running ultra marathons and experimenting with vegan recipes. April, welcome to the journey.
April Wensel 1:03 Hi, there. Thanks for having me. Happy to be here.
Tim Bourguignon 1:05 Oh, thank you for coming. Um, so let's start with this ultra marathon things. What is it?
April Wensel 1:11 Sure, so an ultramarathon is anything longer than a marathon. So marathon is 26.2 miles. And an ultra marathon is anything past that. So I got into doing ultra marathons because I never used to like running. And then I started using this app couch to five k that basically motivates you to get up from the couch and to run a five K, which is about three miles just a little over three miles. And what I liked about it was it alternates running and walking. So that kind of eases you into that. So I did that in my 20s and got it so I started doing five K's. Then I moved on to 10 Ks and half marathons, I ran a marathon around my 30th birthday. And then I decided I wanted to take it to the next level. So I started training for ultra marathons. So I've done I did 250 K's a month apart, which was interesting. And then 50 Ks just a little over 30 miles. And yeah, it was intense experiences for sure. But enjoyable as well.
Tim Bourguignon 2:19 Do you plan on running some more?
April Wensel 2:21 Oh, for sure. Definitely. running it helps me find peace of mind. And it helps me even work through coding problems or plan my next talk for conferences or whatever it may be. So right now my goal is to run a 50 miler next, which will be quite a step up but should be fun.
Tim Bourguignon 2:40 My trail one.
April Wensel 2:42 Yeah, probably true. I love the trails. I actually really don't like doing road races because they're hard on my knees. And I get kind of bored just looking at you know, cement. So I always do trails, which means elevation, but also beautiful scenery. So,
Tim Bourguignon 2:56 wow, I wish you all the best with that.
April Wensel 2:59 Thank you. I'm actually
Tim Bourguignon 3:01 going to run my first trial marathon in June, so
April Wensel 3:05 Oh, awesome. Good luck.
Tim Bourguignon 3:07 Thank you. I'm slowly ramping up there.
April Wensel 3:09 Fantastic. Yeah,
Tim Bourguignon 3:11 it's, I guess it's gonna be soul crushing. But we'll see.
April Wensel 3:16 No, I think it'll be great. I think you're gonna love it.
Tim Bourguignon 3:18 Yeah, that's fine. I'm afraid.
April Wensel 3:21 I think No, you're gonna love it. You're gonna love it.
Tim Bourguignon 3:24 Okay, um, I really like how you segwayed into it's going from this five K to 210 K to 20 K, or? Yeah, I'm European. So I'm more thinking into Kaizen. Um, I wish I wish our start in the industry would look like that. But quite often, we're just I'm just dropped somewhere and forced to run a first marathon just out of university. How did you look like for you getting into into our industry?
April Wensel 3:51 Yeah, that's true. Um, it'd be nice if there were a smooth path there for everybody. But no, but this keeps it more interesting. But yeah, so I had a pretty traditional background, I started coding in high school. And then I studied computer science in college. And then when I graduated, I started working at Sony, and San Francisco, and started there right out of school. And I learned there that I didn't like working for big companies, because there's a lot of bureaucracy and it's hard to feel like you're really having much of an impact, because you're just kind of this cog in this huge machine, you know, so it just wasn't for me. And so then I started working in a bunch of startups. So for me, it really was, you know, trial and error. So I tried the big company thought, yeah, this is kind of boring and not really very exciting. So I went to the startup route, which is much more exciting. And I got to, there's much more variety. So that was fun. And so I worked at a bunch of different startups for about 10 years up in Silicon Valley.
Tim Bourguignon 4:50 If we are moved to sunny experiment, you went small steps, going, one startup, doing probably a lot of different things and then changing the stack or how did it look? Like,
April Wensel 5:00 oh, yeah, I programmed in all sorts of languages and with all sorts of technologies, even at Sony, like I was working on middleware for PlayStation, so, so that was in like c++. But then also, I worked on tools there as well, since I was a new programmer, they had me work on tools to. And so I use some C sharp, and even like Python and Java to, like a big mix of things. And then at the startups, you know, I got a chance to learn Ruby on Rails, which was something I hadn't touched in school, that was the first language, I think I tried that I hadn't learned any in school. And that was really fun. So I was hired there without having any Ruby background. But they were using Ruby on Rails, and they're like, you know, they could see that I could code so of course, they, you know, were willing to hire me, even though I hadn't used Ruby specifically. And so I learned it on the job. And that was really fun. That was at a company called zoodles. And we were making educational software for children. I was the
Tim Bourguignon 6:03 I'm curious, how was the hiring process being ironed with the technology? Do you don't know?
April Wensel 6:09 Well, I was lucky that the CTO was, he and I sort of see eye to eye I think even now in terms of hiring people who have the foundational skills necessary without concern for the specific technologies. So I definitely now to hire more for attitude and mindset then for, you know, some specific technology skill set, because I think what's much more important is this ability to learn on the job, and the motivation to want to learn on the job. And so, you know, they did put me through, like, you know, like programming things on the whiteboard, or whatever, but, and that's not how I choose to hire people. And I don't really agree with that. But it was enough that, you know, I could convince them that I had the, the technical chops, so to speak.
Tim Bourguignon 6:59 How would you do it nowadays? Yeah, so
April Wensel 7:02 I've led engineering teams and done hiring. And now I advise companies on hiring, definitely an area of interest for me, and definitely no coding under pressure. I think that that rules out a lot of qualified candidates. And so that means no asking candidates to write code on the whiteboard, it means no, you know, forcing the candidate to code in a live editor while you watch, nothing like that, because I think that that creates unnecessary anxiety. And it's also very different from what you do on the job, because on the job, well, if it's a job that I want, it's um, you know, there's collaboration, you, you know, can think over problems, you can discuss them, you can research them, it doesn't, it's not this, like, you know, code with a gun to your head sort of scenario, which it can feel like in interviews. So I'm a fan of having a conversation with somebody about their past work, and asking detailed, technical questions about, you know, their work like, oh, why did you choose to implement it this way? or Why did you make this architecture choice? Why'd you use this framework and keep digging to find out, you know, the, you know, whatever technical familiarity you're looking to hire for, if you ask the right follow up questions, you can kind of tease that out by asking about past work. And it works to for, you know, for students who are just graduated, because you can ask them about school projects, and a similar way to that, or intern projects, or whatever they may have done. So that's kind of my methodology is having a human conversation with somebody, and you know, asking the detailed technical questions necessary to tease out, you know, all the details that I want to know.
Tim Bourguignon 8:47 And you manage to get a glimpse of the mindset as well through this?
April Wensel 8:52 Oh, for sure, yeah. Because you can ask you about, you know, their relationship with other people on the team. So for example, I like to ask developers, how they've worked with product managers, and what that relationship has been like and ask if there were situations where there was a disagreement and how it was handled? Or how do you handle trade offs, discussing trade offs, with designers, or product managers, or anyone else on the team? Because I think that that's a good way to find out if there's empathy there in the person. And if they're, if they're able to put themselves in someone else's shoes and understand that, and you can also, you know, gauge how you can talk to people about how they like to learn things. And that's another way to get at mindset. Because I really like to find people with a growth mindset, as opposed to a fixed mindset and growth mindset, you know, comes from the research of Carol Dweck, who found that people who believe they can grow their skills in various areas are more likely to do so versus a fixed mindset, which says, like, you know, I'm just not creative, or I'm just not good with people. That's one that you hear a lot among developers. Like, I'm good with the code. I'm just not good with people. And then That's a very limited mindset. So I definitely look
Tim Bourguignon 10:02 for that in interviews as well. Fascinating. I've tried to do it a few times, I've led some interviews as well, I find it horrifically complicated to, to get a glimpse of offer mindsets in in a few minutes, I mean, an hour at most of two hours at most, it's always this time box, and I find it really, really difficult to do this.
April Wensel 10:24 For sure, it's definitely it's not an easy thing, it takes practice. And I think there's always going to be some failure on the side of the interviewers, like, for example, you know, of course, there gonna be some people that we don't hire that would have been good candidates, and there's going to be people we do hire that weren't the best candidates, like there's always going to be some failure rate as well, probably. But, um, but I think it does get easier with practice, because you can, you can start to ask the right questions. And, you know, keep a rubric and keep it organized and try to keep it fair to because another thing that plagues interviews, especially in tech is bias. So for example, when I walk into an interview, thankfully, I don't do them anymore, because I run my own company. But when I used to walk in interviews, you can tell in the body language of the people there, whether or not they expect you to do well. So a lot of times, I'd be walking into a room full of men, who were kind of looking at me disapprovingly, giving body language that they expected me to fail. And so it's like, if I do well, at the interview, I'm surprising them because they have that. And it's not necessarily intentional. It's just an unconscious bias. They aren't used to seeing engineers who look like me. And so they're set up to think that I'm going to fail. And so that creates another challenge, which is why to any efforts to minimize anxiety in the interview is a you know, a worth the effort, because then you won't miss out on people who are already dealing with stereotypes against their group.
Tim Bourguignon 11:49 Oh, that's, that's very true. That's very true. I had this experience doing some interviews for for a bank I worked for I worked for, and we ended up after after a few months with realizing that a lot of engineers were 30 years old male, not married, no child, no children. And it was very hard at that point, once we realized that to to counter this, this move. This this ideology was set up already that this was the culture we needed. We wanted to have. And it was very hard to to go the other the other way around.
April Wensel 12:28 Yeah, that's true. It's difficult to turn it around once it once it gets to that point.
Tim Bourguignon 12:32 It is you spoke about the the growth mindset. And this is something I've been trying to, to nurture in the mentoring discussions I have. I've been a mentor, I'm still a mentor and a mentee at the same time. And how do you go about and, and try to, to grow this growth, the growth mindset, in the mind of a newcomer, for instance, of somebody coming out of university or started their their studies?
April Wensel 13:01 Yeah, well, you know, I think a lot of times, because I do a lot of mentoring too. And I think it comes down to trying to find what beliefs are characterizing their attitude towards their ability to grow. So what I mean by that, is, a lot of people have self limiting beliefs, because they've been exposed to so much negativity in the culture, telling them Oh, coding is hard, and you're never gonna be good at this. And it's gonna, you know, whatever negative things or that, you know, you're not gonna be a real developer for many years, or real developers do it this way. And all this sort of negativity and arrogance that leads people to have imposter syndrome, which is, you know, where they believe, like they don't belong, that they're not good enough to be there, which is widespread in tech, a lot of people feel this way. And I think it comes from the arrogance happening in the rest of the industry, kind of people trying to prove that they're that Rockstar developer, or whatever. So when I'm mentoring somebody, I try to break through to find these limiting beliefs that are holding them back. So do they think they're, they're never going to be good at something because they, you know, have been around people who have been very arrogant about their abilities and very dismissive of newcomers. And, you know, so I try to figure out where it comes from. And so when I mentor I try to find out where it comes from. And then that's a good way to get at the root problem of like, what's, what's really holding them back. And then, you know, the most powerful thing in the world is somebody who believes in their own ability to improve. I mean, I think that all progress, all positive hope that I have for the world comes from this idea that people can change. And that means people can improve their coding skills, but it also means they can improve their communication skills. I mean, with compassionate coding, like I teach people, engineers, how to have more empathy. And so that comes from their ability to believe that they can grow their empathy. So it's similar. It doesn't matter whether we're talking about coding skills, or empathy skills. It's all a matter of that growth mindset.
Tim Bourguignon 14:59 Excellent. What do you do at compassionate? programming? no collision coding? Sorry?
April Wensel 15:06 Yes, that's okay. compassionate coding chosen that way because of the nice alliteration of the two C's compassionate coding. So yeah, I've been running compassionate coding since 2016. And I have been, I do a number of things. So one is I teach workshops on emotional intelligence to software engineers. So VPS, or CTOs or team leads will reach out to me and say, here's some issues we're having on the team. And then I'll come in with a half day training session on how skills like empathy, compassion, communication, conflict management, all these things that developers sometimes dismiss as, quote, soft skills. I show how they're essential to being an effective developer. And I actually don't like this term soft skills. I encourage replacing it with a term catalytic skills with the idea that are these skills, like being able to communicate, being persistent being introspective, all of these things, help engineers catalyze the application and acquisition of their other skills. So that's why I call them catalytic skills, so that they're not dismissed under this term soft skills as opposed to quote hard technical skills.
Tim Bourguignon 16:23 Because they're usually the really hard ones to master.
April Wensel 16:27 That is very true as well. So yeah, so So a lot of my work is teaching that. And then I speak as well at events, and company, company events and conferences, on the same on these sorts of issues and how they apply. And, yeah, and I'm working on an online course and a book to about compassionate coding. So it's really it's a new philosophy for doing software development that really puts the focus on the human beings. So instead of it being all about the code and all about the machines, it's like, we're building technology for humans. So let's let that drive. Everything else we do even choosing what framework to use. Let's let the end users concerns and the team concerns let's let that drive, even technical decisions.
Tim Bourguignon 17:10 How did you segue into this catolico? skills? I mean, leaving the technical side, maybe a bit aside and making this your day job? Why are you still doing both at the same time?
April Wensel 17:23 Yes. So that's an interesting question that two relates to a problem I see. Which is that developers like to think you can either be technical or not technical. I am both and I have always been both. And I think it's important for everybody to be both. I actually don't think anyone's non technical ever, because we all have an article called if you can use a fork your technical because I believe that we all have specialized skills. So calling somebody non technical, just doesn't mean anything. And is also usually tied to bias. So a lot of people think, Oh, so you care about people. So you can't be good at coding anymore, right? And that's just ridiculous. And no, I haven't lost my coding skills. Because now I start caring about people. It's perfectly compatible to care about humans and to care about code. And that's one of the main tenants of compassionate coding. So it's kind of funny when people ask, okay, so you don't, you're not technical anymore. Because that's ridiculous. Like, the whole point is, like, this new philosophy is you can be both and we all should be both. I love
Tim Bourguignon 18:17 the, the intro of the Agile Manifesto, that is very often overlook, I mean, not the individual and interactions, etc. But just a sentence that is just above, which is we are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. And I have the feeling that this by doing it is often overlooked, then we're just talking about it and helping people do it, but not doing it ourselves. And I'm guilty as charged there.
April Wensel 18:48 Yeah, I'm not sure. Is that a question? Or I mean, I do code. So I'm not sure what you're getting at here.
Tim Bourguignon 18:53 I mean, that was the the, the presumption I had when when I asked this question. So I'm guilty as charged of making this, this assumption that you can be one or the other. But you're absolutely right. You can be both. My initial question was more going as a How did you? Did you realize that this was a skill you had? And I mean, this catalytic skills skill and in helping people grow into this direction? And how did you decide to make this part of your day job to to leave definitely a part of your technicality aside, and help people do stuff instead instead of doing it yourself?
April Wensel 19:31 So again, I do do it myself. And I'm not leaving any technicality aside, I think that that's not an accurate way of characterizing it is a little bit belittling condescending as well. I'm sorry. No, I Yeah. Um, so no, I decided to do this because the tech industry is in crisis right now. It may not look like it, but it is. I mean, the lack of diversity is not just some little problem. It's injustice in the industry. It's it's, it's You know, it's alarming how poor diversity is in tech. And it's because of bias that goes unchecked. It's because people don't care about this stuff. So that's one thing that got to a point where I was tired of being part of that, that community and not speaking up about this stuff. burnout is a big problem in tech. And it's all related to the same thing, this inability to care about the human side of things. Poor UX is another problem, poor user experience, building unethical products we hear about, you know, Google, Facebook, all the big companies doing a lot of unethical things, Amazon, especially, and it's because we've left that caring for humans out. And so you know, and it affects the bottom line, because when there's conflict on teams, and when you lack diversity, you also lack innovation. So, I after 10 years in the industry, and seeing all of this, it got to a breaking point where I was so frustrated and disappointed and what was happening around me that I had to do this. So compassionate coding came out of necessity, because the industry has so much suffering going on, and there still is, and so I had to do my part to help alleviate some of this suffering.
Tim Bourguignon 21:07 I totally agree. So far, I've only managed to do it, on my free time doing some mentoring on the side. But I would love to, to get in there as well, during my dream My day job. So far, it hasn't didn't work. Did you just create a comic just mid air quotes, you just create a company and get in there? or How did you start this, this movement of yours?
April Wensel 21:30 Well, I was inspired because I in 2016, at the beginning of the year, I also went vegan. So as part of that I went to a workshop on compassion, because veganism is really about having compassion for all life. So compassion is a big part of the vegan movement. And so I learned about compassion. And I learned about some work going on at the greater good science center at UC Berkeley in California. And they're doing research into compassion and how it affects our health and how it affects our business life and everything. And so I started to see peer reviewed literature coming out supporting the idea that growing compassion makes us more effective at our jobs and in our lives, and makes us happier. And so I saw that there was a connection here. And it was something that I saw completely missing from Tech, as I mentioned. And so I put the two together. And that's how I got compassionate coding was the idea that we all need more compassion, and especially in tech, and this was something that I can speak the language of the engineers and help them because I mean, this goes down to the very, and this is why it bothers me so much when people act like it's two different things, you know, caring about people and caring about code. Because good code shows empathy, if you name variables, according to how they'll be most helpful to others. That's empathy that is, you know, a human skill. So this, this, you know, how you do code reviews, growing these skills has a very technical component, to write good code is to write compassionate code, you know, to test your code to write clean code is compassionate for people who will be maintaining your code. So compassion, you know, comes in at the code level, up to the collaboration level, you know, up to how you're affecting your community. And whether you're building software that's hurting people or helping people. So it happens at all levels.
Tim Bourguignon 23:28 How would you go about and start a compassionate coding coaching in a team.
April Wensel 23:36 So how I do it is, you know, I speak with the leadership, I speak with people on the team find out where the pain points are, because again, compassion is just about alleviating suffering. So I find out where the pain points are on the team, even the, quote, technical pain points, because every technical problem underneath it is a human problem. And I firmly believe that and so you know, if it's late delivery, whatever it is, there's ultimately a human discussion that needs to happen. And so I try to tease out what that is, so that I can bring in the skills that will help the team the most. And, yeah, and it's, it's, you know, it's an art, it's a, it's art and science, and it's a lot of talking to people and understanding people, and it's stuff that anybody can start doing by, you know, just caring a little bit more about the people on the team and about yourself, you know, because self compassion comes into this too. Engineers are known for beating themselves up, you know, like, Oh, I'm such an idiot, you know, being hard on themselves. And self compassion is just as important here.
Tim Bourguignon 24:39 Absolutely. And then I would guess you alternate between between training, coaching, maybe pair programming, more programming with a team, just alternately in different roles to get all the different phases of, of the coaching, you could, you could bring to the table.
April Wensel 24:56 Yeah, it all depends on the needs of the team and the circumstances. I love working closely with the teams to come up with what be most effective for them. Cool. Cool.
Tim Bourguignon 25:07 You said you were doing teaching coding on the side to to underrepresented groups, is this part of the compassionate coding as well? Or is this another project of yours.
April Wensel 25:18 This is just volunteer work that I do with various organizations. So in the past, I volunteered with Black Girls CODE to teach, you know, young women of color to code I have mentored with hackbright Academy, which is a coding boot camp for adult women. And here in San Diego, which is where I live now, I was volunteering with a group called the League of amazing programmers, and they have some scholarship students from low income areas. And so I was teaching coding to them. So it's sort of, you know, depends on the time, but yeah, I teamed up with other organizations to do that. And that's just my way of giving back to the community. Because that, you know, it's important to me that, again, like I mentioned, like, we need more perspectives, and more equality in tech, and I try to approach it from every level people who are already in tech, and then the people coming up into tech, just learning to code.
Tim Bourguignon 26:11 Oh, that's really great. Congratulations on that.
April Wensel 26:15 Thanks.
Tim Bourguignon 26:16 Um, we mentioned a bit mentoring and helping people and, and coaching or maybe teaching. Did you beneficiate from all this when you became a developer?
April Wensel 26:28 No, actually, I've never really had anyone I would call a mentor. I mentor myself, I read books that inspire me, and, you know, make out plants for myself. And so yeah, no, I didn't really benefit from any of that. But that said, I can still see a need for it. So that's why I'm happy to help out.
Tim Bourguignon 26:50 Do you wish you had had this?
April Wensel 26:52 No, not really. I mean, I think that, you know, I think that I try not to have, you know, I try to accept things as they've happened. And so, so no, I mean, I think that in many ways, it's made me stronger having to figure it out on my own. You know, and I've and I've had a lot of privileges and other ways, I mean, the fact that I even got to go to college, and study computer science, you know, that's, that's a privilege that not everybody gets. So, so I had a lot working in my favor in that way. So I feel like, you know, we all get handed, the cards, you were handed, and we do the best with them that we can And so yeah, I mean, and even now, like there are people, it just that the path that I'm taking is so different from the status quo. And I'm challenging the status quo constantly. So there's nobody who could mentor me in that because I'm carving my own path. So I think it's just the nature of who I am and what I'm doing in the world, that there won't be people who can mentor me. And, and when I mentor people, I try not to tell them what to do, or anything like that I tried my biggest, you know, the most common advice I give to people is to get in touch with their own core values, and let them let those core values drive their decisions. Because too often, we're looking for other people to make our decisions, whether it's programming, quote, heroes, which I also don't think should be a thing, or role models or whatnot. And I tried to encourage people to instead look within because we all have inner wisdom within ourselves, if we're quiet enough to listen to it, and I think that that is, can lead us in the best direction possible.
Tim Bourguignon 28:23 This is this is impressive. I, I struggled a lot when I became a mentor. When I had the first people asking me a lot of questions and which lead led to mentoring of finding my place as a mentor, finding, finding my balance between will answering when I should and keeping my voice down and trying to push back. And as more question than I answer. This was really hard. How was it for you?
April Wensel 28:53 Ah, yeah, no, I mean, it takes practice, for sure. I mean, I've read books on it. And I have practiced quite a bit. And again, even with that, like, I look within my own values, and I think, Okay, how do I best serve this person, you know, who's coming to me for help. And so I look for how I can best serve them. And I just keep asking myself that. So I keep reflecting on that. And, you know, just doing what I can, because all we can do is our best. So, you know, I don't think anybody's a perfect mentor. But we just we do our best and help out where we can.
April Wensel 29:28 Amen to that.
Tim Bourguignon 29:30 You said before that you've had some some pushback? Yes. Do people push back on what you are doing this compassionate coding?
April Wensel 29:39 Oh, absolutely. Yeah. Um, so the biggest example, I guess, is the whole stack overflow community, which has gone so I put out some vocal. I've been vocal about my issues with StackOverflow. Because I feel like it's a great example of a lot of the toxic problems in tech, and so on. I've been pretty outspoken about that. Written blog posts and whatnot, talk with some of the people at the company. And their community did not take kindly to that. Because they said, No, it's more efficient for us to be, you know, rude like this. And so yeah, so, you know, I've been attacked on, you know, my blog posts and 4chan and like people said horrible things there. So yeah, it's just, um, you know, a lot of people on Twitter, a lot of people make fun of it. Because it's easy, it's a lot easier to make fun of being compassionate than to actually be compassionate. It's always easier to make fun. And so one time, somebody said, oh, what's next compassionate code reviews, which is funny, because that is one of the talks I give is compassionate code reviews, but they were using it as like, something that would be ridiculous. But you know, that's just the nature of the work when you're going against the grain and challenging the status quo, people are going to criticize it. But it's resonating with enough people. And you know, enough people reach out to say, Oh, my gosh, thank you for talking about this. Because a lot of people have been suffering in silence for a long time, and feeling fearful about talking about these things. Because again, they're going to be dismissed as being quote, non technical, or whatever. And so they don't even want to talk about these things. And I'm willing to confront them head on. So enough, people have reached out and been really kind and supportive, that it's worth it to me that I get some trolls and detractors along the way. Well,
Tim Bourguignon 31:25 that's very courageous.
April Wensel 31:26 Well, I don't know.
Tim Bourguignon 31:28 I'm just doing my part. How do you recharge your batteries? To be able to own to sustain all this?
April Wensel 31:34 Well, I've got this nice external charger. No, I'm just kidding. Um, I know what you mean. Uh, I take a lot of baths. And that's really nice. And I live in San Diego. So I by the beach. So I go to the beach a lot. I do yoga, and I run those are. And I read a lot to stuff completely unrelated to coding. And that helps me to because although it's unrelated, I can make the connections. So I'll read a book about relationships or something. And I'll see the parallels to coding and then it will inspire a talk. So even when I'm doing stuff that's not related to my work directly. I'll sometimes, you know, bring it in pull it in somehow. But yeah, but those are the ways that I think that I recharge,
Tim Bourguignon 32:15 but you do manage to, to shut down your brain at some point and, and do something else entirely.
April Wensel 32:20 Mm hmm. Yeah, I think it's important to do that a lot of times, developers think they have to be working on a million side projects, and always coding and all of that. And again, that's part of the toxic culture I'm trying to work against, you know, we need that time to recharge. We need that time away from computers.
Tim Bourguignon 32:35 Oh, yes, we do. Yes, with it. My kids can keep me, keep me. Keep me in check with us. But otherwise,
April Wensel 32:45 I have been guilty.
Tim Bourguignon 32:46 I've been guilty in the past of having too many sides projects at the same time and thinking thinking about my work all the time. And that sure was was not a fun time. Bit of toxicity. Yeah, that would be the right word.
April Wensel 33:00 Yeah. I think we all struggle with that, you know, because there's a lot of pressure.
Tim Bourguignon 33:04 Yes, there is, indeed, there is a need. If you if you could give an advice to newcomers in our industry, either somebody coming from a CS degree or, or maybe somebody coming from a boot camp, since this is really growing in the last years? With what would be the advice you would like to give?
April Wensel 33:25 Yeah, I think the advice that I would give ties back to something I said earlier, which is that it's really worth taking the time to get in touch with your own core values, what you really care about in life, what's important to you? And to question anything that's just accepted knowledge in the industry, because there's a lot of stuff that's been around a while in the industry that we need to question. And so you know, whether it's how to interview people, or something that was written a blog post 10 years ago that people still reference like everything. This industry is young, comparatively, like in terms of the world. And so question everything as you go, and definitely listen to your inner wise mentor to lead the way on your journey.
Tim Bourguignon 34:04 Well, do you do some some meditation or something like this?
April Wensel 34:08 I do. Yeah, I do meditation, not as regularly as I'd like. I've been in phases where I've done it every day. But now it's sort of as needed. But it's much better when you can do it as preventative thing. But yeah, I do enjoy meditating.
Tim Bourguignon 34:21 I meditate as well. And this is this was a realization from for me that I had overlooked a whole part of myself and for for for 30 years or something. And I realized this when I finally understood what what meditation was all about. And there was really a realization saying, Oh, and if I've missed all this, about my life until now, whatever, what have I missed else? What other topic did I overlook? And this was really the start of the starting point to questioning everything. And since then, I've been questioning even more and more and more. So there was really a powerful, real ization for myself.
April Wensel 35:01 That's great.
Tim Bourguignon 35:02 Okay. We, unfortunately are really coming to the end of the time box. Is there any topic that we should have talked about? And you wanted to segue into? But do we missed it on the way?
April Wensel 35:13 Nope, I could just give people my contact info
Tim Bourguignon 35:16 that's helpful for where we'd be the best way to connect you.
April Wensel 35:19 Yeah. So the best way to keep in touch with compassionate coding is compassionate coding.com. I have a mailing list there that people can sign up for for announcements. I'm on Twitter at April wensel. And at compassion code, and that's just because of Twitter character limitations on the user. And, yeah, and coming up in May, I'll actually be over in Europe for the new craft conference in Paris. You will in May, so I'll be speaking. Yeah, I'll be speaking there. So that's, and that's in May. The conference is amazing.
Tim Bourguignon 35:51 After I've been there twice, I'm
April Wensel 35:53 really looking forward to it. Yes. Oh, wonderful. Yeah, I'm really looking forward to
Tim Bourguignon 35:57 say hi, for me for the for the organizing team. They are amazing. For sure. Okay, great. So in May in Paris, people can get a grasp on you and meet you in real life, as some people say. Otherwise, Twitter and compassionate coding.com. Fantastic. Yes. Well, thank you. Thank you very much. I wish you a great time until May.
April Wensel 36:25 Yeah, thank you. Yeah, have a great night. And this
Tim Bourguignon 36:28 has been another episode of developer's journey. We'll see each other in two weeks. But dear listener, if you haven't subscribed yet, you can find this podcast in iTunes, Google music, Stitcher, Spotify, and much more. Head over to WWE WWF journey dot info. To read the show notes, find all the links mentioned during the episode. And of course, links to the podcast on all these platforms. Don't miss the next developer's journey story by subscribing to the podcast with the app of your choice right now. And if you like what we do, please rate the podcast, write a comment on those platforms, and promote the podcast and social media. This really helps fellow developers discovered the podcast and it was fantastic journeys. Thank you.