Software Developers Journey Podcast

5 Amitai Schleier on buying your freedom to do what you like


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Tim Bourguignon 0:00
This is developer's journey. My name is Tim Bourguignon. Thanks for joining. A few months ago, I had the chance to interview. You might know him from his podcast in three minutes. If you don't know the podcast, well, you should definitely try it. Listen to it. It's absolutely gorgeous. I mean, I was very generous with his time we spoke for well over an hour. And I am absolutely sure you will love this episode. This is the first interview I publish here. So I would like to say a couple words about it. I've been recording a few interviews, some of them in German, some of them in English, I still don't know how I'm going to handle the German ones. But I would like to start publishing some of the the interviews I record in English. This will come in addition to the walking podcasts or episodes, I have published until now, I would very much like to play on both fields, on one side, providing you with regular updates so that you can really follow the thinking process and the writing process. But on the other hand, I was lucky enough to have those discussions with incredible speakers. And I cannot keep those for myself. Do people communicated their developer's journey or their journey in general. And this is something that is too good for this for this project. Until very recently, the interviews I recorded were pretty long. So this one included. Recently I changed the format and started recording half an hour interviews, which is way better. So you'll have to bear with me for a few interviews with that long discussions and a whole lot of content. And after a while, we will come back to shorter ones a bit more focused. So you will get a mix and match of those interviews and those walking podcasts starting well. Now, without further ado, here is I mean,

Tim Bourguignon 2:27
it's kind of crazy to see you live right now.

Tim Bourguignon 2:30
I feel with the with the old Twitter and and the giants are minutes everything I know you know you well, right. But

Amitai Schleier 2:40
it's just a feeling, I guess that's a really cool thing to hear. I mean, it's I heard it from actually a co worker that I hadn't been on the same team with for a consulting company. And we had a lean coffee at the same client. And it was the first time we had met each other. And he had read my blog stuff and listen to agile in three minutes. And he said, I feel like I know who you are already. And you are the same is what I felt like after you got. So it's good. I really it It feels good for me to know that I'm representing my real self when I do that stuff.

Tim Bourguignon 3:09
I'm sure you treat it. As I said in an email, so I'm kind of pondering writing a book, or a new book or something like this. The more I search about it, the more I realized there's a lot of things already in this space that I hadn't found before. So that will be part of the the questions I have for you. And well, the whole idea was how do we teach? And how do we learn? This all comes from my for my background, more and more as I was a developer and I still consider myself one. Although I haven't made a comments in a professional space, like for ages. In the last years, I've been Scrum Master a giant coach and sub project manager and it's all occasion. But well, I suppose even myself as a developer, but with something like 70 or 80 interviews, so job interviews in the last year and 200 profiles screen, etc. And I kind of stumbled upon the whole

Tim Bourguignon 4:20
How do people learn

Tim Bourguignon 4:23
topic? It's, it's bugging me. It's completely bugging me to see always the same profiles of people that kind of lead themselves carried by the flow and don't seem to care really much or don't seem to understand what what a well rounded human being in the development space should be. And so I started writing down things about this. So it started with was the topic of ethics too much, so much. Well, I'm mixing a German in there. Yeah, that might happen sometimes. So for instance, the topic of ethics. And it started with all discussion about Uber, the whole data, data against from Uber and the NSA stuff, and then Stumbling on this, or building it and building up on those topics. So now I have something like 30, or 4040 different topics I want to address is it's kind of growing. It's growing by the minute. And I expect coming out of an interview with maybe a couple more. So

Amitai Schleier 5:33
I'm guessing your challenges as the product owner of this kind of book, what not to include, because it's such a big topic.

Tim Bourguignon 5:41
Yes, it is. So I give myself a hard, hard limit. I want to stay under 100 pages. And I'm not allowed to play with the font size. But yeah, I want to tackle the the student market or the the, the I wouldn't say newbie, maybe that one, that's the that's, that's in the air right now. The other one market, and I think interesting that goes above 100 pages, will will the risk of being skipped and not read, I have a I have trouble reading books that are three or 400 pages. Because I have a small son and I never get that much time. So I need short chapters and something like really high pace. So I think for me for I would appreciate something something shorter. But so that's that's for the whole whole background of the whole thing. And what's what's what I would like to discuss with you, the more the first of all the teaching part and the learning part. So as I understood, you have multiple cycles in your in your past. And then the whole agile, the whole company structure and the whole maybe million years, I will put in some editing isn't there, but we'll come to that. But let's start from the beginning. So this this this cycles you had in your life? How does it change how you learn? Just some some some tips for me. And yeah,

Amitai Schleier 7:21
I did just sort of touch on it in the last three minutes, which was just enough about me so that people would maybe give me some feedback, because I haven't gotten a lot, I get a little bit. But nobody really says, you know, here's what about the show really works for me, here's what really doesn't, I was trying to make a little more personal so that people would. So to go a little more detail with the with those little cycles. There were several times and I think at this point, it has to say something about my character, because he's happening several times that I go into some kind of an endeavor, whether it's high school, but everybody is expected to or college where I'm from everybody's expected to and get to a point where it's not working for me. And at the time, it seemed like a fault of mine, or a mistake of mine, because everybody else didn't have any trouble finishing high school or college. But now I see it as a gift that none of the none of the paths that people are expected to follow in life. I've been able to just follow. Either I've run into something about it, that doesn't work for me. And I don't resolve it. And I simply don't follow that path. Or I run into something that doesn't work for me. And I resolve it well enough, eventually. And then I do follow some version of that path. So for high school, for instance, I knew I just had to get done because there was the ticket to get out of the house. And I did to get out of that. for college, it took me two tries. I didn't mention it in the episode, but so I dropped out when I was about 19 and got my very first job, which was at a company in the town where the university was, which was not where I was from. And they they were the kind of companies that it was the early days of internet services and anything that your company wanted you to do. They suddenly did it. So network access to one. They had a partnership with SGI back when that was anything that mattered. IBM stuff Lotus Notes, mail servers, Unix web design, I was the cross platform web design guy. And my knowledge about web design is still stuck in 1999 and I got paid $18,000 which is nothing. It is Oh nothing I lived in an apartment that was above a garage, behind the fraternity house. Okay, I was thrilled because it was just enough money to afford that and some food and to get on the bus every day. And freedom. Yeah. And so that first step was lucky really, I got the job because I knew someone from playing Ultimate Frisbee. Okay, he knew that I wasn't a complete waste. And he figured he could get his company to hire me for something. And that was what something. But so what that did for me was I dropped out of college because I didn't. I had the intellectual capacity, whatever that is, for whatever the coursework is. But I didn't have the patience, because I was still very much a teenager in my brain with the the fast feedback not being fast enough. No patience, no delay, gratification, nothing like that. And I think part of that was good. Like, the reason that I needed that kind of feedback is that I didn't know what I'm here for. And until I know what I'm here for, I don't know what I should do this, I'm going to class that isn't answering that question, then I'm just I'm doing the wrong thing, writer, right. I didn't have the words for it, then. But I had that sense. So I just ran out of patience and didn't do a good job and started playing with computers and suspicion that at least, that dulled the pain, and maybe it would be a marketable skill. And that's what I found in that first job is that there was this one way that I had made myself a little tiny bit useful to people. And that became the yardstick that I measured myself by. And it became the way that I can tell if I'm doing what I should be doing. Because there's lots of things that interest me, but to what end. And this was a way for me to figure out that I have a place in the world, at least one, at least a tiny one, where there's work that I can do that matters to somebody that helps some. And it was a very small somebody, and it was a very low level of skill. But that feeling that feedback of this is this is a direction I should go in this direction. And I should make myself more useful and find myself a bigger place was the beginning of these cycles, as I think of it.

Tim Bourguignon 12:20
Did you realize back then, or is it something that you realize? Later on looking better looking back at it?

Amitai Schleier 12:28
Well, I didn't, I didn't realize it was going to be such a high value for me in my life. To figure out if I'm useful and make myself more useful. I knew that it put me at ease emotionally. Just about immediately when I found that and it must have been I know something important. I didn't know for what then it was.

Tim Bourguignon 12:53
Yeah, I am just jumping. I had this this question for for way later. I finally listened to all your Scrum Master toolkit podcasts. Yeah. Yesterday, if I finish this on time, I was I was amazed by your last last comments about one word here, right this about thinking of becoming a therapist, beginning. Wishing, haven't really interesting because I don't have the same the same path. But I always wanted to become an architect. And the real, the real kind of Yeah, the real architects also buildings and stuff. And something like being 14 or 15. I started working in this space, and soon realized, well, no, that's not for me. Wait to me too much paperwork and wait. Too few drawing and real work on buildings. But somehow I ended up in software, software, architecture, building stuff. And now sliding in the in the in the empowerment and helping people. But it's also something that I absolutely didn't realize back then and realize only a couple years ago. And you seem to have had similar press thinking about something when you were younger, and then coming back at us from a completely different angle, but doing the same thing.

Amitai Schleier 14:15
I wish I could say like a plan or something. mentioned architect. My experience is the son of an architect. My father was one. He and he did a lot of his work in Chicago. That's why we were there. What he seemed to get that was fulfilling out of that kind of work was probably a model for me that I only realized much later that it's so cross disciplinary, you have to have this engineering skill, just to even be in the game. But then you have to have this artistic taste and discernment that sets you apart from somebody that can make rectangles. And, and then beyond that, what he had trained for originally what he had wanted to be that he was thwarted into architecture was a diplomat. Okay, he grew up in Israel. And he dreamed of being posted to the North African countries, and building relationships with those countries and friendships with those people. And there was exactly one university when he was growing up in Israel that had a foreign affairs kind of a diplomatic program. And after a year, this is kind of funny, I guess, in retrospect, the department imploded for political reasons. its own university political reasons. Yeah. And so he was kind of adrift looking for Well, this is everything that I dreamed of, and I have to find something else. And a cousin of his that he was close with said, well, you have an artistic temperament. That's a tough life. But if you're an architect, you can get paid for it. And he said, Okay. So, so another aspect that I think was fulfilling for him is the, the client communication and relationship, the problem solving relationship. And he actually got to us, that aspect of it, the diplomat aspect, in one of his clients was in New Zealand, it was it was the Maori. And he was working on their meeting houses, which are holy places that they have their their family ceremonies, or community ceremonies. And he was doing I forget the exact context. But there was a project for the Field Museum in Chicago, which he was also restoring. And they wanted to put a Maori meeting house as an exhibit permanently in the Field Museum. And the Maori were not interested, they have them all. In New Zealand, they have them where they want them, that's fine. And somehow, he, he struck up a relationship with the right people, and made them a deal. And they were willing to do it with him, where they put one in the Field Museum. And that means that Maori around the world whenever they want to have use of the meetinghouse in the museum. And so he got to put not only his architecture skills to use, but his diplomacy skills to use. And so that's, that's the kind of stories that I heard about as a kid of this is a fulfilling kind of work, that I have the the math brain and I have the art brain, and I have the human centered brain. And for me, that human centered brain was a late arrival. I started out as a programmer, because I didn't want to talk to people, and understood computers and people didn't make sense to me. This, I think ties back to what we said about the first question which these these cycles of me trying to do something that is a path that everybody else is on, and having it not work for me. And another gift about that is that when I get something to work for me, it's not usually natural talent, it's usually unselected. It's usually strategy. It's usually, if I need this to work, then I got to figure out how. And that has been a real blessing as what eventually became a coach, because I'm less like Michael Jordan, where I have this immense talent and I couldn't explain to someone else how to do it. And more like Phil Jackson, who coached the bulls, who played in the NBA for a long time, but not because you know, he was tall, he was athletic enough, but he wasn't gonna beat anybody purely by being athletic enough. He stayed in the league because he was smart. And he figured out how to be a great teammate. And he could always explain to you why he was where he was, he had he had something in mind, he had a reason for it, that he had figured out, he was wily, it was clever. And that kept him in the game. And because his success was through the intellect, he was a world leading coach. He's probably I think he won the most championships of any coach in the NBA. So I like to think of myself as I'm going to be like somebody, not like Michael Jordan, maybe like Phil Jackson. And I have I'm lucky in that sense that that anything that I figured out how to do well in the workplace, is because I tried things first, that didn't work. And the only way I got things that didn't work was by thinking about it.

Tim Bourguignon 19:14
Okay, so you're really able to verbalize what's what's what you're doing, and then come back to it and really reel off maybe know it beforehand and realize it beforehand. And that's something you described in the in something like Thursday episode, I think, the coaching you did in the company, so going one week, doing coaching for another for another team inside your company, and you are really, really

Tim Bourguignon 19:46
what's the word for it?

Tim Bourguignon 19:49
But you really knew what you were doing. It was not something like it sounded like it. Not not realizing it in retrospect. And okay, I did this I did this and did this and it worked. But I purposefully do did this and purposely did that and knew exactly what I was going to get out of it.

Amitai Schleier 20:08
Interesting that you heard of that, I guess. Yeah, I guess the rest of the story is all the times that I interacted with people not that way.

Tim Bourguignon 20:16
Okay, okay, no, that's a good, good. So that's something I really cannot do myself. I'm kind of a gut feeling person. I'm really reacting to things. That has caused me a lot of painful fights with managers or people that felt threatened by stuff that came out of the blue. Because I just saw an opportunity and say, okay, right now I have the right, the right the stars alignment in the team to try something new. And I cannot wait for it. I cannot explain it to the other peoples. I have to, I have to start. Right, exactly. I have to stop right now to plant the seed right now. It won't work. And often people just don't get it. And I get in trouble afterward.

Tim Bourguignon 21:06
But it's simply the other way around

Amitai Schleier 21:08
from what you expected with your players. And no, I think for me, I also I'm very emotional in the moment and intuitive about what needs to happen next. And then I guess what I'm good at is the rationalizing back to what I must have been thinking through to have that feeling. I can at least come up with one explanation. But it is it doesn't it feels emotionally driven for me to I go and ask some questions. And then I have a guess about what to try. And I might not be able to tell you why. That's the guest that I came up with. Although I usually can. But I think I didn't answer your question from before. I talked about my dad as an architect, and I never came back to what the question was.

Tim Bourguignon 21:57
We were jumping out from from topics to the surgeon every No, no. The question is, are there just just anchor points and just to drive the discussion? And so let's do the discussion in another direction? What makes an excellent developer in your mind? Or let's say above average?

Amitai Schleier 22:21
Yeah, I'm thinking about the distinction that I want to make, if any. On the one hand, I don't think that I ever have been an excellent developer. And on the other hand, I think that I am one. And I'm trying to think about which definitions I'm using on the one side and the other hand. Yeah, so Okay, I got it. The coffee is still working its way through. Okay. So I never have been an excellent developer in the sense that I never got much of a computer science education. My first time in college, I took the intro to computer science, which was in c++, and I got a C plus, not to plus, it's just one plus, in the class. Yeah. Although I didn't make a lifelong friend who was the recitation instructor. Because there was a homework assignment where you're supposed to take input from the user, and they give you a number and you factor it into the prime numbers that go into it. And I guess the goal was to learn how to use a for loop. But because I was a math nerd, as a kid, I had an optimization where the for loop wasn't from two to the number, it was from two to the square root of the number, because you keep track of your prime factors. And there's one on this side of the square root, there has to be one on the other side of the square. And he hadn't seen it before. So he said, this is cricket. These guys screw up, but he's all and thing, and I want to get to know. And later, that's the guy that hired me into my first programming job a few years. And so that's, that was a formative thing. Maybe we should talk about that in a bit. So not an excellent developer, because I never had much computer science education. I had that. When I tried to come back a couple years later, I took systems programming and data structures and algorithms, neither of which I did well in. But at least data structures and algorithms made its way into my head that a lot of people have thought about a lot of these things. And there are ways to characterize them and talk about them. And next time you're in a situation, you don't have to do all the thinking yourself. That could mean that was helpful and gave me like a mental framework for the way that you store the data affects the way that you can use the data effectively. So that was, that was one thing that I learned, but I didn't get, you know, most of the stuff, excuse me, most of the stuff that all my programming friends learned I never learned and they're always surprised that I'm getting by without it. And then just in terms of like, how many languages do I know not many? How many languages though? Uh, well, definitely not many. Can I program my way out of Mission Impossible like some of these friends can? No, I would need a lot of, you know, StackOverflow and Google and books and teammates. So just as an excellent developer, in that definition, no one ever had been, what I have worked my way over to, I wasn't excellent. This to begin with either is figuring out who needs this. And how can we tell whether they got what they needed, and then figuring out whatever I have to figure out to get there. In other words, learning. And there has always been, I think, a strength of mine. And I've really honed it, because I know in this field, I can't know nearly everything there is to know. But I can figure out how to focus on what there is to know next, and then acquire it, and then figure out what to do next, and then acquire and have that be directed by again, being useful to the person that I'm trying to be useful to.

Tim Bourguignon 26:05
That's interesting, being useful,

Amitai Schleier 26:08
it's likely coming over I think, thinking for me, just just want to be useful.

Tim Bourguignon 26:13

Tim Bourguignon 26:14
can completely, completely relate to that. So I have the same feeling the I had the CS class, I wasn't good at it either. But I and my programming does a lot with Stack Overflow and, and taking out right and left. But that's exactly what I'm what I'm getting at right now is, is for me, being a good programmer, is mastering the rest is being being good enough, in the in, in the programming part. Good enough to. So I'm kind of putting what you said upside down. So good enough, and being able to get the next piece or knows where to get the next piece in the programming side. But being excellent in the rest being such a well rounded person that you can you can I want to say fix, but I don't have any better words. So fix fix the problems you have in the in the in the car spot, with people skills with getting the rights, getting it right the first time on in terms of requirements, if then with what you are doing, and not how you're building it, etc. And, and this is what they miss. In a lot of people. I see more and more people coming in saying I'm, I'm the best at GE whatever.

Tim Bourguignon 27:36
I say well, cool.

Tim Bourguignon 27:38
But how well can you implement exactly what the client wants? Well, he has to describe it, right? Yes. And how are you ever helping him learn this? I'm not

Amitai Schleier 27:50
by then we maybe we can have you in this corner of the room. But we can have you in the senate we're having?

Tim Bourguignon 27:57
Exactly, exactly. It's like I can give you a module, but I have to describe it. So well. That's actually I can pay for and other people, another person doing this, right for the first time. So it's kind of exactly what I'm getting at. There's this dichotomy between the good programmer and the good human being. And, and for me, it's one It must be one one and only a single person.

Amitai Schleier 28:21
But yeah, it's hard to get. I see what you mean. And that yeah, that's so that is I agree with that.

Tim Bourguignon 28:29
And if I can put one word I often see the the the adjective senior. So I'm a senior developer. What does it mean to you? Have you seen this before? I have,

Amitai Schleier 28:41
it puts me off a little bit. And I guess when I hear it, I assume this person doesn't want to be treated as Junior but I don't know what they're good at yet.

Tim Bourguignon 28:52

Amitai Schleier 28:55
I got to find out, you know, when they say the senior, they don't want to be lumped in with some other programmers that this person may have heard of. Okay. But it's it's also a title you give yourself so I still have to figure out what you're good at.

Tim Bourguignon 29:11
Okay, do you have any expectations?

Amitai Schleier 29:16
expectations that that are borne out in reality or expectations that I keep being disappointed about? Either way?

Tim Bourguignon 29:27

Amitai Schleier 29:31
I guess I have a tiny expectation, which is I don't like people who label themselves more than they have to. Because I don't like to label myself more than I have to. I was trying to futz around with my with my job description on my company's intranet. And it started off with consultant and coach or something like that, because that's what they hired me has. And I kept messing with it because I didn't I didn't like that. My company also has a software development. And I would like to eventually be on one of those teams. And I want to position myself as somebody who is separate or other. That's another theme in my life is to make myself be able to be included. And so I felt like the the name under my name was something that would make people feel not connected to me. And so I change it to something that maybe could be okay. And I ended up with Team problem solver. I don't totally love it either. I just I don't love the label of any kind in general. So somebody says senior programming to me, what I'm hearing from them is, it's about their needs. It's about how they've been misperceived in the past, or how they've been perceived they weren't comfortable with in the past, just like any any street sign, or any regulation, it's always a reaction to something that happened. That was the opposite of that. Yeah,

Tim Bourguignon 31:00
it can be the I mean, I have a senior in my in my tie a job title as well. But that came from the from the company structure, okay. So, but I try to have a definition for ice in the background. So when if somebody has asked for it, so I could give my definition of it in the context of their workplace, or in general, um, it's kind of pretty general, I would say,

Amitai Schleier 31:28
let's see.

Tim Bourguignon 31:30
And, for me, the senior is that I'm, it kind of relates a bit to mentoring. And I kind of have the willingness to, to, let's use the word mentor to mentor, somebody that would be described as a junior. So I'm not only I this is this is the the, the different levels that I see. The juniors is primarily somebody that is going to be

Tim Bourguignon 32:05

Tim Bourguignon 32:07
episode absorbing knowledge. And while creating value, and the senior is somebody that's going to be radiating knowledge, while creating value, and helping other US absorb it. And so you can be an excellent programmer, which I'm certainly not, but not be a senior, because you won't you're personally concerned about the work that you're doing, and how you're doing it, and less about your team, your co workers and our team with teammates and how they are doing. This is this is the dichotomy I found in, in the workplaces I work for. So I really enjoyed working with seniors that that really wanted other people to do well. And that's, that's where I'm kind of getting at. And this is how the company I work for right now sees it. And also, that's kind of

Amitai Schleier 33:04
nice, I would use it, I'm gonna restate it. So that if, if there's some kind of an average developer, in terms of how much they know, and how much they like to share or learn, senior is above average, and how much they know and how much they like to share. And junior developer is below average, and how much they know. But above average, and how much they like to learn something.

Tim Bourguignon 33:30
I'm almost quite okay. I wouldn't see the senior as, as above averaging what they know. They're certainly not knowledgeable. But they shouldn't be shouldn't necessarily be, necessarily be prime experts in everything, or in. So it's more it's more about the the willingness to share the willingness to teach the willingness to bring people forward. This is what makes a senior for me.

Amitai Schleier 34:01
Just got a little antsy there. Yeah.

Tim Bourguignon 34:04
You were kind of

Amitai Schleier 34:07
doing a thought experiment. Yes, sir. And whether this label, so I would love it. If that was a widely shared definition, that everybody that was saying senior developer in the world meant, I like to share what I know. I don't know if it's true.

Tim Bourguignon 34:25
It is definitely not true.

Amitai Schleier 34:27
About just definitionally. The first two weeks on this job, there were five other guys that were also hired, and they were all in various developer roles. And I was intended to be in a coaching role. And what they did is they gave us the Catechism of here's Scrum. Here's XP, this is our company values. We work this way. And it's important at least when clients ask you to be able to answer certain kinds of questions. And of course, you need to know for yourself the reasons why we're doing this if you don't know it already. And I was first of all, I was thrilled because I wasn't doing doing Explaining for the first time in a long time. And also, it was really exciting because what they gave us after a day or two of that was, now you have we can have, here's a project idea that one of our executives had, do it and practice this stuff as you're doing. And that was cool. And the reason that I'm using that, as my thought experiment now is, a lot of the guys in the room are young kids that know JavaScript, like the back of their hand, my JavaScript is still from 1999. But so they were super expert at that. And I would bear with him. And I could, I could follow patterns that had already been followed in the code, but I didn't really understand what's going on some time. And then the flip side of that is that we needed some kind of, we pick somebody's laptop to be the build server. And nobody knew how to write a shell script, the way that I know how to write shell script, which is what we needed to automate and maybe have the computer shout if the build is broken, or whatever. And so as far as they were concerned, in shell scripting, I was senior. And as far as I was concerned, in JavaScript, they were senior. To me, that is roadblock in the label itself, that it says it's something about the person. But it also if it implies anything about the state of their knowledge, then it can't be about the person and has to be about an area and some function of the person and the area. Something like so. So that's one possible objection. And other is that at the client, that my, my company is this, I guess it's our biggest client now. Our delivery lead is looking into some kind of mentoring program. And she asked what I thought about that. And I said, first of all, I've never been formally anyone's mentor, and I've never had a formal mentor. And I'm kind of uncomfortable with concept. I don't really like the idea that, you know, there's a mentor and a mentee, and one of them is the Jetta. And with Mr. pedo on, and that all the learning is unidirectional, or, you know, slightly less bad, but all of the subject learning is unidirectional. And then maybe the learning about how to do the teaching, comes back in either direction. I don't see it that way. And the informal relationships that I've had, where I have learned or been helping others learn for their own careers. I have experienced some things and thought about those things, you've experienced other things and thought about those things. But neither of us has a head start on the other or a pedestal over the other or status, or the other. And especially the relationship isn't formal, I, maybe that's my hang up. But I've never been comfortable with formal relationships in an org chart in the first place. I don't like being in power, I don't like other people being in power over me. I don't like traditional forms of authority, I have a very particular definition about what I think and authority is. And it just doesn't have a place for me in a learning relationship. For me, I don't know how universal that is, either. But when I have learned the most it's been because I needed to, which is again, back to that feedback loop about what somebody needs to get done and what I have to figure out to get it done. Or, and or when I've been accompanied by someone who needs to learn it also, or can help me learn it as I go. Because they're their expert about that thing. Okay, and I think it would have gotten in my way, if if someone said, for instance, in that context that Roland was the senior developer, or Roland was the tech lead. And I was the junior developer, whatever it was, I think it would have hindered me. I just what, yeah, you know, this is an insight about me also. So this is good. I like to put myself in situations where I have to be a little better version of myself than I already am, in order to succeed. Not too much, but some. And if I come into the situations with a label on myself about where I'm coming from, then I've anchored myself in the wrong direction. So again, like a junior developer or a senior developer, I think that it It promotes in my head at least, a more fixed mindset, which is exactly what I don't need. And so I just like to think of myself as myself. And then Push you that self is to solve the needy problem and carry that with me for next time. But I think they will. Maybe I'm unusually allergic to the labels? I don't know. Because like I went off on a huge tangent.

Tim Bourguignon 40:13
No, that's that's perfectly right. Yes, the so I see different difference between senior in experts, for me senior kind of relates to the person and experts relates to a topic. And that's how that's how I made the distinction. But But you're right in what you say. So if you use senior emboss, in both in both worlds, then you have a problem. Because you can be a senior JavaScript and and a senior in my definition of things, and you don't know what to it's kind of a relation to the architect. So what's an architect is an Enterprise Architect to the project. Our project architect is a developer that knows how to architect this code. Well, it's Yeah, don't get me started.

Amitai Schleier 40:56
But I hear architect is someone who likes to tell other people what to do.

Tim Bourguignon 41:01
That's another definition as well. Yes.

Amitai Schleier 41:04
I may have my own problems that I'm bringing to the forefront here. Yeah, that's good.

Tim Bourguignon 41:11
And on the mentor side, yes, you're totally right. I can relate to that as well. So for me, the mentoring is not something you need directional. It's not something that is purely bidirectional in learning and teaching in the other direction. And the only the only experience I have I never had a mentor myself. But I kind of stumbled upon a mentee a couple years back. And that was one of our junior regeneus, or just coming out of high school that just started started with working with us. And he had a lot of questions on how the company is making money. So how, so we will the company is kind of doing projects is kind of doing support is doing further development. So third level support and logical English like, well, implementing new features in a in an old product. And also slave handling. So sending consultants right and left. And so he was really interesting in the whole, in the whole spectrum of how we make money, how we make sure that if a consultant suddenly has no gig anymore, we still have a mattress and cetera. And this is something I was I was really eager to move to understand myself. And he pushed me in there. So I could I had a head start. So I could answer a lot of questions. But I was forced to, to introspect and search for it myself. And this evolve into a kind of a weekly discussion, or we're working on the same project right now. So it's easy to to talk every week on on the site. But then this is how our mentoring kind of relationship evolved. And now I know it's been on code has been on architecture has been patterns, but also an entrepreneurship and learning never seen. And so this is really going both ways.

Amitai Schleier 43:07
It started with very smart questions like How is this a business? How am I going to get paid? What do I have to do to make the company money? Really? Yes.

Tim Bourguignon 43:18
It was was really smart questions. Guys raise money from but he is he was really an unexperienced and able to pinpoint the the right questions. So that was good. And if I can drift. So I want to be respectful of your time. So I go on and on with a couple questions. And I would like to talk about about millennials. So the the new hires that will have probably never experienced the the height on waterfall project, and will jump right away into this kind of a giant mindset. And have you experienced, such a coworker is ready.

Amitai Schleier 43:58
I suspect some of those five that started with me a year ago, are young enough and green enough to have skipped that part. And they came into a company where they're not going to have that part. Although we may have clients that, put them up to it. But maybe their first experience, sort of the normative definition of how a project is well done. Isn't that so maybe, yeah, I think I must have

Tim Bourguignon 44:24
Have you noticed something different about them about how they approach projects?

Amitai Schleier 44:34
Thinking about it, it's been what I've been at for the last year is not that I've been in a safe installation at a large company with not millennials at all. So I'm trying to think back to the impression I got to lose. I think I don't know enough to say yeah, I haven't I haven't been in the fire with them. Okay.

Tim Bourguignon 44:57
Okay. Um, then then on different different angle? How much do you need to know about about projects, projects, to be to be a good developer? How the project is driven, how the project is reported how the project is set up? And this is something you could completely ignore. But I don't think that's healthy. And how much do you need to know? I think it ties back with our discussion about being an excellent developer.

Amitai Schleier 45:30
And excellent developers to me. And I think to you, a developer that wants to know as much as they can about the context that they're doing their development, the development in, because it's not just sit in the corner and do your programming. It's somebody whose needs are going to be met, or maybe not somebody's problem is going to be solved or maybe not somebody whose money is going to run out or maybe not. And the better developer you are, the more you want to know about that, whether it's in Project form, whether it's the product development situation, I think that's that's part and parcel of being an excellent developer, is that you have a concern for it's not that you don't see value in the division of labor, that there's somebody who is more focused on that than you are, that's probably okay. But it's also probably okay for you to know as much as you can, before you dive into being busy.

Tim Bourguignon 46:28
I just said, you kind of identify other people needs. Is this what we should be after?

Amitai Schleier 46:40
Well, my bias is yes, because the only thing that has helped me figure out what to do with my career since I was 19, is to be useful to people. So that's the only answer that I know. And I think it's a good one. Useful is a is a handy conversational shorthand for somebody else thinks that what I did was was good for them. But if you go a little bit deeper, it's not just that, you know, I can, I can file my Excel spreadsheet, whatever it is a little faster, or that I can turn around this process a little less error prone, whatever it is, it's, I have a job to do, I have a self concept, I have loved ones, I have a limited amount of time on earth. And I want to spend a little less of it on this dumb Excel spreadsheet, or I'm going to spend a little bit of it, less of it, filing that process with mistakes in it. And then I want to go home with a concept about myself, also having been useful to someone else with the work that I did. And so this is this is sort of a chain of I have succeeded as a developer, when someone else in their work has succeeded at being more useful to whoever they're useful to. And my job is as an accelerant as a catalyst. And if you think about it in those terms, maybe it isn't so different from coaching. It is

Tim Bourguignon 48:14
it just makes me smile. You know, Scott hanselman.

Amitai Schleier 48:18
Another man. Yeah, I haven't listened to him.

Tim Bourguignon 48:21
He is a he's a Microsoft, employee and kind of evangelist or whatever. And he tweeted a few years back, people if you're not, if you're not say or if you're if you're, if your code is not saving babies, you need to chill out.

Tim Bourguignon 48:40
And I love this course. I just love it.

Tim Bourguignon 48:44
It's exactly right. And one of the answers were from one guy was was well, but what if it is? And the answer was, well, then you don't have enough coverage.

Amitai Schleier 48:57
Saving babies, you should probably chill out too, and make sure that you're reading carefully. Exactly.

Tim Bourguignon 49:04
So yeah, it's really, really stood out as being helpful to something having a purpose, which was one of the key elements I took from your last day for the purpose. Well, I'm watching the time. Yeah, still have governments. And you said at the beginning, we should come back to a lot to networking. You were introduced in your first job was this from this teacher? Assistant was a teacher by Canada, and how much did networking play a role in your career? Donna?

Amitai Schleier 49:40
To begin well, more, I think about it a lot. To begin with, it was something that people said you should not work you should at work and I was super introvert. And I knew that I didn't know anything about anything. And I did not feel comfortable going up and you know, elbowing with people at parties or whatever. But even at the beginning of my career, every job that I got was always through somebody that I knew I never got a job with a cold interview off the street. Because I was not a college graduate, I didn't have a traditional background. I didn't have a long list of technical skills. But whenever there was somebody that could vouch for me, that said, Listen, he'll help, then I would have an interview. And every time I had an interview, I have a job offer. And that was kind of my pattern for a while. I think I recently in the last few years, kicked it up a notch further, which is that Twitter has been an immense help to me, in being able to get into conversations with people when I was trying to make the career change from having been a developer having been a product owner, and Scrum Master. But it kind of sequestered in a big dumb bank that was not agile, happy, I didn't feel like I had a community of practice, anywhere near my profession, and I was looking. The people around me didn't seem to value what I value, they valued the results, they valued the high value, the low cost, low risk. But then when I would explain how I did it, they suddenly didn't want anymore. It's very strange. It was a very confusing time. And so I was looking for who out there cares about what I care about. And I was lucky to find ways to get into conversations with those people. There's some some mailing lists for coaches, people on Twitter that I found to follow and every now and then, because it's so constrained, I felt bold enough to reply sometimes, because I'm not taking a lot of their attention, I'm just taking a little. And if it's a good reply, maybe I can, I can bother them about it. And from there, it just kind of built up. And then you know, when I had this idea to make this tiny podcast, people seem to be drawn to it, it seems to have gotten me into more conversations. I would say in the last couple of years, networking has become more something that I do more intentionally. Because I feel much different than I do when I was younger, there are some things I do know about. I have changed my personality quite a bit so that I can talk to whoever. And I no longer feel as a result, that networking is something gross that sales people do. It's it's something that regular humans do. And I'm a regular human sometimes. It's been something that definitely in the last year two has become more intentionally part of my my toolkit.

Tim Bourguignon 52:48
Okay, and I agree with you. So I heard this, this, this, this advice a lot when I was younger, and couldn't really relate to it. And now that I'm on the other side now say, hey, young guys, you should do it. How would you convince young your younger self to be able to do anything? So doing it?

Amitai Schleier 53:13
I don't think I would, I was very stubborn, still am. I think I might try. But I might also recognize that that young guy. He was he was much better at single focus concentration than this guy is. And he was using it. He was putting his nose into a book or putting his nose into a programming problem. He was trying to learn the way that he was able to learn at the time. I wouldn't I wouldn't tell him to change, I would just tell him. You know, maybe it sounds weird when your dad says it. But we've older uses it, maybe you don't have to have such a strange reaction to it. And when the time comes, it'll be a little easier. Because the advice came from me rather than from from that.

Tim Bourguignon 54:00
Okay, so maybe I kind of as a closing question on this topic, that almost how how, how much of a negative impact could have such a such kind of advice, how to be an excellent developer I've had on your, on your past self, that would lead to you not being the well rounded person you are right now. You see what I mean? Yeah, if we change the past, and we change you're you right now. And maybe you're the past you you followed is exactly the one you should have fought to come where you are. And if we should tweak something in the past, and maybe we change something and what do we miss now? Exactly.

Amitai Schleier 54:48
Yeah, that's a cool question. I've had a couple of chances to think about that based on how my life unfolded. One of them was the university that I really wanted to go to out of high school for computer science was Carnegie Mellon, which is one of the top computer science programs in the in the world. And they admitted me. But they didn't give me as much money as the school that was not as good that I didn't want to go to nearly as badly. And at the time, that was a big concern. And so I went to the school that I needed the money. And then I had a bad experience and dropped out and other things happened. And I met that recitation instructor and life unfolded as it did. What if I had gotten to Carnegie Mellon? How do I know I wouldn't have dropped out of there? Who would I have met, I have no idea, maybe not as good as people. Maybe they wouldn't have bent over backwards for me, because there's enough smart people around there. Whereas in Case Western and Cleveland, we were few and far between. So I had to speak up for each other. I honestly have no idea. I do give thanks, now that everything has kind of evened out. And I found a path that works for me that I had that path that I was on. Because I really don't know if I had gone a different route. What I would have failed to learn. Because I had a lot of failures, I had a lot of chances to learn to get here. Still have probably lots more in front of me. Just I'm not very

Tim Bourguignon 56:18
sure, hopefully.

Amitai Schleier 56:19
Yeah. So. But that was that was crucial, because that recitation instructor at Case Western that kept an eye on me, I went off to work for a.com in Boston for about a year where I was, this is in 2000 2001. In the.com era, I was the the local desktop support for the people that were in the office. But not mainly. But I was also the sysadmin for the servers that ran the site, but not mainly. And then I was the web developer for the site, which would have been mainly if I had any time left over from the other two. Everybody wondered why I'm not getting anything done. So at the end of that, my friend back in Cleveland, he had an inkling that maybe I had learned enough about programming, that maybe now is the time. And so he did this kind of informal, just over, I am talking me through designing a text editor. You're writing a text editor? What are you thinking about? What are the actions the user needs to take? How are you going to represent that? Have you thought about this edge case, just explain to me your thought process, your problem solving process, just to see if I was ready. And whatever that conversation once he decided that. And so he had been at this company for a few years, even though he was a year younger than me. He was just on a very accelerated he was grown up all the time, I was

Tim Bourguignon 57:51

Amitai Schleier 57:52
he went to his employer. And he said, I have a reputation with you now, as a as a focused, effective person, I'm going to risk it, because there's a person I think you should hire. And he's very non traditional looking. And maybe it doesn't look like a good idea. I'm pretty sure it is a good idea. And I'm sticking my name up. This is a friend. And he said, so bring him in as a as a contractor for the summer, don't pay him very much. If it doesn't go, well, you're done. If it does go well make him an employee don't pay him very much. And I'll handle you know, he said, I'll handle the part where we have to teach him a lot of stuff, because I didn't know anything. And so they went for it. And he taught me the basics of Java and object orientation, and TDD. And this was this was again, a lucky thing for me I wasn't the millennial but I landed in my first real programming job, not having learned enough in college to have to unlearn anything on an XP team. They were doing XP, so much that they brought in Ron Jeffries for a week just to make sure. And I didn't really understand much of it at all, because I didn't know enough about why all those things were important. I did understand that I was surrounded by people who are every bit as smart as I was, and then some, which by itself was exhilarating. And then I did understand also that they to every single one of them believed that it was not sufficient to be smart to do good work. You also had to pay attention to yourself as you're doing it. And so, all these little habits that I have now, like one thing that I remember learning during the firehose, that was that time in my life was you to do like an integer comparison with the with the constant on the left side. So you couldn't make an assignment by mistake, but you had to like because Tyler would tell you, if he did one equals instead of two, stuff like that, that's one that I remember. There are also dozens and dozens and dozens that I didn't understand at the time. But I did pick up that they had this pattern of behavior, where it's not just that I'm doing thing to get it done. It's also that I'm seeing how I'm doing the thing, so that I can get it done better so that I can get everything done better. And I took away with me in about 10 years later. That was, that's what I thought that was what was imprinted on me as how to be an effective programming T was how these people behaved. And the fact that they thought XP was the stuff. So I got real lucky with my networking, but but having one optimization in my for loop present regret. And having the teacher that noticed it and thought that there was something worth pursuing. It we like changing.

Tim Bourguignon 1:00
:57 Yes, it is. Looking back, the past was always on, you realize there is one small, secure things that was throw everything out, was the same for me for going to Chicago would have been missed that my whole life would be totally different. That's

Tim Bourguignon 1:01
:15 cool. Um, just a couple more minutes. I

Amitai Schleier 1:01
:19 do. And I definitely want to make sure I talk about music, because I didn't Sure Sure. Well, what question do you have in mind,

Tim Bourguignon 1:01
:29 I would like them to make a just a sidetrack on a giant terminates variant. I'm kind of done with the whole all the points I wanted to talk about. Music is certainly one you didn't talk about in the in the past. So yeah, that's touching on music.

Amitai Schleier 1:01
:48 So in the same way that Chicago was life changing for you in New York, when I went back to college, when I was 26, was life changing for me from saying, I actually did get all the way through all four years, and graduated Finally, when I was 30, which is and the other is that I met my fiancee. If I had not gone to New York for this for this program, and the way that I landed a particular graduate program, a lot of networking. So I had gotten involved in 2001 2002, in developing VSD, which is an open source operating system, and package source, which is the cross platform Unix manager that originated for nobility. And I was still living in Cleveland at the time, there were no other net BSD developers there. In 2004, I went to visit my sister who was in New York. And while I was there, I wanted to meet some of these characters that I've seen behave so colourful, on a mailing list. And so I met a couple of them in person. And at the time, I was thinking about which universities I was finally going to apply to was 25. And I was explaining, you know, I'm not exactly like a, like an incoming freshman, because I'm not 18 anymore. And I'm not exactly like, like a transfer student, because I haven't recently been to university. And I definitely don't have any professors that are gonna recommend it. So for each of these places that I'm looking like a serious universe like Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon, again, all the really good places that I, I wish that I had gone in the first place. For each of them, it's called their admissions office and find someone that I can explain my peculiar situation and get, you know, a one off piece of advice. And some of them said apply as a transfer. Some of them said apply as a freshman. And I was talking to two net BSD guys explaining this. And one of them said, Oh, well, have you heard about Columbia's School of general studies? I said, because so. So Columbia is an Ivy League school, but I didn't know anything about it. And the school General Studies was made something like a century ago for I guess, for people on the GI Bill to be able to get an education, real education, so American soldiers returning from for more. But it's what it is now is just a non traditional route for adult students to get a real liberal arts education. And so it wasn't going to be like night school, it wasn't going to be Community College. This is maybe your 26, but we're going to give it all to you. And I had no idea until one of them explain it to me because he was there he was finishing up. And so he took over and that wound up being absolutely my top choice. And they took me and I went there. And that was a huge life decision. That was again afforded by the networking. And what I did there was to get a music degree, which is what I thought of it, but also before I lose the thread when I graduated To net BSD developers who were friends of mine from beer in the New York area, who were at this where they were at Morgan Stanley, and they were in IT security, I didn't know anything about banking, anything about it security. But they had a software product that they had thrown together that they needed someone to maintain. And they hired me for it, because they knew that I could handle it just early. So again, net BSD got me to the right University, where I had the right experience where I was able to get a degree. And that got me into a job where I was able to learn everything I needed to learn to make the jump to what I'm doing now. And again, it was because of people that I knew, it's always been people that I knew. I think the job that I have now is the very first one where it hasn't totally been people that I knew, although somebody that I went to high school with, wound up working for them at the same client and probably put in a word for me after a while. So even then it was people that I knew he may. He's also done that guy, Eric Dietrich, isn't it. He writes a blog, okay, so. So he went to high school with me, and he wound up in the same place. And he did go to Carnegie Mellon. Okay, that's a connection thing. So I want to talk a little bit about music. My undergraduate degree that I did get when I was 30 isn't music, what I really want to do with my life is to compose. And I see being a developer and coach as a means to that end, I can't but I think there's also a feedback loop. Well, because having a career in music when you're not super talented at performing, which I'm not, is a really difficult one. And I also reflected on when I've been a full time programmer, and I had ideas for programming projects, I would come home at night, and I didn't want to do them. So I thought, if I have a music job, then I'm not going to go home at night and want to compose Hmm. And I've been able to do enough of the one and the other to see that they actually recharged each other one of the best work environments I've had was when I could work from home and my last job, I had the keyboards next to each other, I had the computer in the big screen here. And I had the piano and the music stand here. And when I needed a break from the programming, I would play the piano. And when I came back I was energized my brain was working well, was good for everything. And so knowing about myself that I have these two different kinds of thinking that I do, the one that is very focused feet on the ground, people oriented problem solving concrete. And on the other side, kind of head in the clouds Follow, follow my creativity, not for anybody else, but me. And that I like doing both and that they recharge each other makes me want to design a life where they're both part of it. And so I know that if I were somehow able to, you know, win the lottery and then only compose music, it wouldn't work very well, because I would be in the cloud the whole time. And if I, if I only do software development, it's pretty fulfilling the way that we do it now where we're coaching and working in teams. But there's still something about music that that is missing. There's some aspects of fulfillment that I get only from music in life. And so I get about 85% fulfilled from my data. But it's not the whole story. And so what I'm trying to work my way toward is, how can I make myself as expensive as possible, which I think is equivalent to saying, How can I make myself as useful as possible? It should be How can I like what is in me that I can offer all together? All at once? That is so useful to someone, they would pay a lot for it. And I'm working toward that, and then use that to do less of it. So that I don't have to work 40 hours, maybe I can work 20 and have that be enough. And then with the time leftover, be with the family that we hope to have an make music that I hope to make. So it's all part of a plan. Sort of as much as anything that I've ever been able to plan.

Tim Bourguignon 1:09
:22 Yes, isn't it always Yeah. But this is really funny. I interview the developer, I know from from conferences, and he said kind of the same thing. He discovered sports something like midway through his career. So he something like 15 years of experience right now. And five, six years after starting he realized something was missing and started jumping headfirst into into sports. And now it's something exactly what you say it's the balancing act that he needs to be energized in his in his in his development carrier. You really needs this on the side.

Amitai Schleier 1:10
:01 And it's pretty good.

Tim Bourguignon 1:10
:03 Very cool. Well, I hope I hope it works out for you. I thought he can do the jewelry, the podcast, the Enter programmers, that ring a bell? No. Could you send it to me? Yeah, sure, I'll send you the link right after it's a discussion from from three or four guys. One of them is john Sonmez. Maybe you've heard her name before, the author of soft skills. And the Simple, Simple Programmer, I think this is blog. And so they're just discussing stuff on Skype and recording it and publishing this as a podcast. But the the key, the key piece, the key element is they are all kind of programmers growing into intrapreneurs, and they want to buy the freedom. And that's exactly what to say, how can we make ourselves so expensive, then we don't have to write to work too much anymore, and do really the things we want.

Amitai Schleier 1:10
:56 That's cool. I have to send you a link to Eric Dietrich, my friend because he's writing, please. He's writing a book. And he has some blog posts that are related to this. It's called developer hegemony. And he says that if developers realize it, they have all the power in the workplace. Because everybody needs what we do. Yes. And based on that, here's what development based workplaces should look like. And maybe what careers should be shaped like for developers? Hmm.

Tim Bourguignon 1:11
:30 And have you heard about the book, the new kingmakers

Amitai Schleier 1:11
:34 that's called? No. There's Eric's book.

Tim Bourguignon 1:11
:43 It's exactly what's what's happening right now. That's the part I more or less talk about in the epic. Chapter. It's, we are the ones that are at the we developers are the ones that that are the beginning and everything, of everything. We see how products are built, and we see what's what comes in and what doesn't. And after us, there's no money, nobody who still sees the whole picture. It's a black box. And if we don't raise the hand and say, Well, this is not the case. This isn't what what happened with Volkswagen, for instance, if we don't raise my hand, then then it's, it's gone. And nobody will. And so yeah, we are we are the ones the key piece that needs to speak, the key piece they can make or take, and that's or make or break. And it's That's incredible. That's incredible power, but also

Tim Bourguignon 1:12
:47 really

Tim Bourguignon 1:12
:49 a problem, I guess, we really have to be mindful about it.

Amitai Schleier 1:12
:52 And it seems to be I think this maybe ties back into excellent developer, again, it's a huge responsibility, that there's a certain level of skill you have to have, at the code part of it to know for sure what it's doing, and the inside of it, to be able to say something. And so maybe sort of excellent developer is this to be able to say there's a problem when there's a problem, because one you're able to tell, and two, you're able to tell it to somebody.

Tim Bourguignon 1:13
:24 That's true. That's true. And we're all really well over time, and want to break into much. Still a minute for this sort of podcast. Yeah, yeah. And I'm, it's the first time I'm writing that much, was not publishing right away. So what what you're doing is, you have this one week, well, more or less than and in the last weeks, but you are holding this, this really hard deadline of one week and then publishing it. Yeah. Which I totally respect that. That's, that's really, really amazing. And I did that for a while with my blog. So I'd had the same thing in the publishing and, and just not caring of refining it too much. But now I'm kind of trapped in the other way. So I don't want to write something that that I published right away. But kind of thinking about it. And how did you lose yourself from from refining and refining and refining and refining? Is it only the deadline if you have more tricks about this?

Amitai Schleier 1:14
:25 Well, I wouldn't say that I stopped. I say that the time box helps. The way I think about it is it's if if I'm sketching out an episode, it's hopefully I've had an idea since last week and usually two weeks from now I have a guess about what I'm going to do. And then after I do this week's I the guest goes away. I have a different idea. I have a backlog, but it's really just it's just an icebox. I don't go in there, but if I'm really stuck for what should I even do, I'll look in there but that doesn't happen. I just do whatever I feel like I showed based on what I just did. In fact, for the last several episodes, I really wanted to do something about how do you know that what you have? is a team or not? And why does it matter whether it's a team or not? And so I thought what I was going to do after the mob episode was, if you're not working on the same problem at the same time at the same computer, what makes you a team? Because obviously, if you're modeling, you probably are one. And but if you're not, you might still be one. How can we tell? I thought that was a great logical progression. And I couldn't figure out what to say about it. So that happens, too. But the process for me is generally I have a topic in mind, I don't know exactly what I'm going to say. But I feel I feel energetic enough about it that I'm going to fill up the screen into with just hear things I want to make sure that I cover or here's some wordplay of how to hear the different senses of the word, so on and so forth. And then I get to where I have more than enough words, and I'm not worried about that. Then the hard part, which is the editing, editing, editing, editing, editing, and that it can be anywhere from two hours to four or five. So I wouldn't say that I I've gotten past the refining, refining, refining. I think that's still, if there's a bottleneck in the process, it's there. It's just that I'm not really comfortable with skipping very much of that part. Because I really don't want to waste anybody's time. And if it's not a really good three minutes, I don't want to put it out there. Okay. I maybe have gotten a little better at it, but not a lot.

Tim Bourguignon 1:16
:50 Real quick, but from what I see.

Amitai Schleier 1:16
:52 Well, I mean, in terms of speed, thank you, by the way, but I I don't feel like I've mastered What is it about this process that is slow, so that I can make it faster? It's still slow. It's still frustrating, and still something that if I'm not in the right frame of mind, I can't even start. I have to bring the right energy to it. The time box is, I think, for me the enabling constraint. I think if I didn't have a time box, I would I would never know when I was done. And I would feel like there's always better that I could do. And there wouldn't be some kind of a deadline, making me do something. And if I didn't have that, I wouldn't, it would, it would just seem like it's too hard. So I'm not going to start because I'm a perfectionist, and it's I need I need somebody to release any of my own self, to force me to stop at some point. Because that's what let's start.

Tim Bourguignon 1:17
:49 Okay, and how do you feel about the episodes that are out there? Do some time I've saved them? If I if I had saved this? How do you come up? How do you how do you handle this?

Amitai Schleier 1:18
:00 I do have that? There are episodes that I feel like I really nailed it with that one. And then there are episodes where I feel like Well, that's an episode. Okay. And then I do sometimes have insights afterward, there's there's always, I think, almost always at least one wording or other little tiny edit that I think of after it's published. And that's also been good for me to just say, Well, too bad that you're not attending it anymore.

Tim Bourguignon 1:18
:37 Okay, so maybe it really the time boxed and ready to do something about this. I have the exact same experience I'm writing in the morning, I just wake up really, really early, and meditate a bit and then just go on gone writing. And I have a list of all the chapters are all the essays I want to write. And I'm writing wildly up and down and at some point, right starting at the beginning and really grasping with what feels right right now and not at all picking one one subject and say okay, now I need to write on this one. That's kind of the main things very unsecure having the energy is not there, then well, it's great. No, we know you're trying.

Tim Bourguignon 1:19
:19 Oh, cool. Um

Tim Bourguignon 1:19
:23 one last question, though, the more the more I read about this or the more right on right on it on work on it. I realized there are some some resources out there. So for instance, I discovered a couple of days ago, the the book the passionate programmer from Chad Fowler. I didn't know about that one before. And that's too bad because it's a really good one. Apparently.

Amitai Schleier 1:19
:44 He had a terrific blog post, maybe like a year or two ago about if he was going to hire a programmer who he wants to hire. Okay, and there was something like 12 characteristics. Let's see. I want to hire I think it was called. Yeah, exactly. Okay, cool. And it really appealed to my ego because I felt like I matched. Well, and not only that, but then my friend, the one that that hired me and taught me everything, who has gotten pretty good at stuff himself since then, he said, he made a spreadsheet of all the people that he thinks of as the best people that he knows. And he measured them on all these characteristics. And he put me up. So it really feels

Tim Bourguignon 1:20
:40 good to be late.

Tim Bourguignon 1:20
:43 Great, great. Great. Have you read the book?

Amitai Schleier 1:20
:45 No, I haven't. Okay, I made a little window here for it. What's so good about it?

Tim Bourguignon 1:20
:50 I don't know. I just wrote right around read the, the, the listing of the chapters, and thought it was really insightful. So really interesting topics, a lot of developing soft skills about yourself about a bit of psychology. But I just downloaded it on my Kindle and will read it during the holidays. We'll see whether it's and I read soft skills from from john Sonmez. Which was very good, but not what not at all what it expected. So way more on the on the entrepreneurship side and being financially, financially safe and making this the safe bubble for yourself to be able to experiment and do what you want. And less on the wall, how to be a good teamwork team worker or a good colleague, and it was more what I was expecting with soft skills,

Amitai Schleier 1:21
:43 but sounds like a long title. And then it's a good book. Exactly, exactly. I

Tim Bourguignon 1:21
:48 was using them because I would like this title for work.

Amitai Schleier 1:21
:50 But I don't know where I heard it. But I heard it from some places that soft skills are actually the hard ones. Yes. So maybe there's a there's a title in there somewhere.

Tim Bourguignon 1:22
:02 Well, I kind of settled on developer's journey. I really like the idea of, of continuous learning something that you never achieve, because, again, to achieve it, and the book kind of relates this, it's something I want to craft for for a while, but I once as I said, but I'm sure I'm sure people was way more experience can tell, oh, I would like to take something out of it. And still surrogates to relate to it and read something and and say, Well, okay, that that's true. And maybe I've grown since then, and I can add something to it and it's become something different.

Amitai Schleier 1:22
:40 So would, you mentioned that you you have to have some discipline about when you write and when you stop and all that. Do you have reviewers yet, but you want to have a look at what you're doing.

Tim Bourguignon 1:22
:51 I do have a couple of ones, if you want to be part of them. If it will help you I would be happy to read definitely.

Tim Bourguignon 1:23
:00 As you can look.

Tim Bourguignon 1:23
:04 Well, we're well over time. I'm sorry for that. But anyway, thank you very much. I was really nice jet. Yeah, very nice.