#54 David Rael was chosen by the .NET technology stack, not the other way around
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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 received a rail as the host of the developer on fire podcast. Dave is pretty much a colleague, or maybe an arc enemy. I don't know. We'll see. Anyhow, Dave is the father of three wonderful children, husband, podcaster, software developer and an architect. And he delights in technical matters. And in human interactions. I am sure we'll hear today, Dave, welcome to dev journey.
Dave Rael 0:44 Thank you for the welcome, Tim. I'm happy to be here and ready to rock and roll.
Tim Bourguignon 0:49 So so let's rock and roll. Let's do it. We're definitely gonna talk about Devon fire at some points. But let's not start there. Before we come to this, where did you journey as a developer start?
Dave Rael 1:01 Well, I'd say that goes back to my time in university, right. So the the education experience, I had done a little bit of programming here. And there, I had taken a Pascal class in high school. And really, I had I had programmed in basic and logo when I was a small child. And I had learned a little bit about that. And it was something that was interesting and fun, and was always kind of in the back of my mind that I liked that. But it was never something that was really front and center, never something that I thought was a career path. In college, I majored in physics. And that was mostly kind of a default. I really liked physics in high school, and I liked the freshman physical physics classes. And so I decided, well, I need to declare a major, and I can't think of a better one. So it was it was physics at the time. And one of the things that kind of happened during my college experience was that I started tutoring, I started doing these workshops, before a program that was there was at my school, where I would do weekly workshops to help with the fresh freshman physics classes. So the students would come and I would, I would make worksheets with problems. And we'd work through some of those things. And I would answer questions and some of those things. And I kind of got this start of thinking that education was really a thing that I liked. And so after I finished my physics degree, I decided that I wanted to get a teaching license, and maybe I would wind up teaching physics, weather, weather at, you know, college level weather, weather at high school, or some of those kinds of things. And forgive me if the the terms of high school and college don't map on to all of the International types of education experiences, but so I was, I was thinking that I would be teaching physics somewhere. And I did all of the classes to get a teaching license. And student teaching was the only thing that was left to to get my teaching license. And so I decided that well, you know, I well, and the other thing was that they said that you can't have a job during student teaching. And so I thought that well, I, you know, I would like to go ahead and do the student teaching, but I also, you know, wants to be able to feed myself and be able to pay for a place to eat. So I decided I would get a job for a while and save some money, and then do student teaching. And this was 1999, right? So decades ago, and at this time, it was the.com, boom, right to the boom before the bubble burst. And so I mean, programming was something that was was, anybody that was able to write a line of code could get a job as a programmer. And so I wound up doing that I got a job writing code, it was a, it was a system that was kind of this client server application, it was c++ on the server, and there was a Visual Basic client that was running in this customer service center for a telecom company, and I got a job writing that, and something just clicked with that I really got a lot of joy out of being able to see the changes that I would make to the system and how it would deliver value for for the end users of the system, and how they were able to do their jobs more, more easily. And, and better, right, that they could they could do things that they couldn't do before. And it was it was a lightbulb in my mind that, you know, this this education thing that I had, in my mind as a way to really make a difference for people that was still there. And I still still really was interested in that. But the software thing, I just I saw a whole new side of it. It wasn't just fun to solve technical problems. But now all of a sudden, I was I was actually creating something that somebody could use that was a value. And that was where I was like, Oh my goodness, this is this is awesome. And I want to keep doing this and so I wound up having that job for over five years. And and kind of the rest is history. It was that that was that was what what lit my spark what started started the fire in me for for doing software and and it wound up becoming a career and I never did go back and do that student teaching and I've got some other opportunities to do some education. And so I think education is still a part of my makeup. But But software was was the career path that that that started from that experience?
Tim Bourguignon 5:08 That's a very cool twist of events. That's really cool. Absolutely. Yeah. How do you How did you get this this first job?
Dave Rael 5:17 Well, my cousin was working for the telecommunications company that served the the 1414 state region here in the US that was, was my, you know, where I was. So it's this giant company that had just, you know, 10s of thousands of employees and my cousin knew and manager that was looking for somebody, and they were looking to hire somebody kind of on the entry level kind of a thing. And so she got me an interview, right. And so I go into this interview, and I'm talking to these seasoned programmers who know what they're doing. And I distinctly remember that, you know, I had written some code before, but I didn't really know much. And I remember one of the questions, they asked me something about a relational database. And my response was, what's a relational database? And so that was, that was, that was how green I was in the world of knowing something about actually building systems, right? I mean, I, I was able to write some C code, and you know, for my physics program, and electrical engineering, right, we'd written some c++ code to do various things, and, and some, some Visual Basic as well. But and quick, basic was another thing we used in, in the physics program. But it was, it was nothing like the kind of programming and so they, you know, they went ahead and hired me, and I learned on the job and figured out how to be a software developer. And that that was so that was, that was really the beginning of it.
Tim Bourguignon 6:35 Awesome. I love it. And how do you how did you learn in this in this first years, trying to catch up with all the things you You didn't know?
Dave Rael 6:45 Well, I think there was a combination of things there there was, one was that I would join a team with people who, who were really interested in making making a team, right that me being this new, this new green developer who didn't really know much, they made sure to hold my hand a little bit and help me on those things that I didn't know. But but at the same time, they gave me some tasks. And they really made sure that I had some things to do. And it was, you know, it was a giant company with all of the red tape that goes with that, and all of the process and all of those things. So there were, you know, kind of some periods of sitting on our hands waiting for requirements to be developed, and those kinds of things and that are mostly dead, right, those kinds of processes are mostly dead. And we've got agile, at least in name, you know, in most of the world now, but, but they're, you know, there were those boring times, but it was still that I had those chances to learn and I had people who cared about me and doing those things. And there was there was one team member that was really more of kind of the the server side c++ person. And another person that was kind of the more focused on doing this, this Visual Basic client. And so I learned from both of them. And so I got to start to be somebody who was working kind of go between and helping both of them on different pieces of the system. And so I kind of had two mentors that that really helped me out in, in learning how to be a professional software developer, and just growing and being part of a team. And I'll never forget that there was a time that I took a vacation, and I was gone for two weeks, it was it was this European vacation that I took. And it was, you know, some months after I had started working there. And when I got back from vacation, there were some things that some problems that had happened in the system. And they were waiting on me to come back and figure out what was going on with these things. And that was kind of when it hit me that I was a very valuable member of the team. Right. And you could look at that a couple ways. One would be that, you know, that there was there was code written that, that nobody could maintain, but me might be an indictment of the way that I wrote my code, right. But it wasn't really that it was that there was there was kind of this, this consulting group that had come in and written much of the system. And it was, you know, a lot of it was I had figured out how how they had done a lot of the things that they had done after they cut and run right after their contract was up. So so that was kind of the moment that I realized that, that there's really something that I'm contributing hear that, you know, in some ways, I might have even surpassed some of what, what's what some of my mentors are able to contribute. And that was kind of a turning point for thinking Yes, I really am a software developer. And now I can go forward and make this, you know, a career and and that's exactly what I've done.
Tim Bourguignon 9:29 And so how did you go forward?
Dave Rael 9:31 Well, so that's an interesting story, because I was working for a giant company, that that had gone through an acquisition too. And so you know, there there was, there was a lot of things that changed underneath me. And, and, and market conditions changed as well. So I decided that I really didn't want to be at this at this company anymore. And I got moved on to a project where there were a lot of developers and because of I think it really had to do with age, more than any thing, but they, they decided that I was going to join the QA team, which I did. And that was fine. And, and that worked out for a while, then I got moved to another team where there was kind of that same dance of, of that there wasn't a whole lot to do. And I kind of got into kind of a place where I was really bored with what I was doing. And I started, you know, looking around to see what other jobs I could find. And it turned out that the the the boom had gone bust, right that the bubble had burst and the.com, you know, enthusiasm that was there, all of a sudden wasn't there. And so nobody was hiring programmers anymore. So you know, it was it was a complete reversal of fates. And so there was there were really just no jobs to be found. And so as I was, as I was kind of looking for a new job I was, I was bored to death. And this was about the time that that Microsoft had decided that they were going to release their dotnet framework, right. And so I started playing around with some of the betas of dotnet. And that and I got on a team that started doing a little bit of C sharp early, early on. And so that that was kind of where I, I got into the that I was, you know, using this Microsoft stack, and I started becoming a dotnet developer. It's interesting, I've had a few guests on my own podcast, who Nick Molnar was kind of the first one that this idea popped into my mind that he talked about that, you know, there was this kind of that the tech stack that he chose wasn't really so much that he chose it, but that it was kind of pushed on him by circumstances and one manager along the way. And that was kind of the way it worked for me, right, I was on this on this team that was kind of doing half Java and half this this new dotnet project. And it was it was just kind of this circumstance, right that, that there were a lot of people already doing the Java stuff. And so I became kind of, you know, one of the C sharp people there. And that really kind of pushed me into that that was kind of the direction of my career was that I became a dotnet person. And so when when I've thought about this on my podcast, and that's come up a few times that it's a lot like what JK Rowling put into the, into the mouth of the old lawmaker, Mr. Oleksandr. Right, he tells Harry Potter, the the launch chooses the wizard, Mr. Potter, and I think there's, there's a lot to that, that this craft kind of chooses us for what we're going to do rather than us consciously choosing unnecessarily, our tech stacks and our our problems that we solve with technology and some of those things. So, so I kind of the path forward went to that I, I became a dotnet developer. And as as the market started to pick up a little bit more than I got a job at a company that was that was smaller, right? I think I think it was like I became an employee number 25, or something along those lines, right. So it wasn't necessarily a startup at this point. This was a profitable business. That was that was ongoing. But it was, it was a place where, you know, I went from this, this giant company where I was, I was for one thing board. And for another thing, you know, it didn't really even matter to the company's bottom line, whether I showed up or not, you know, early on, I was really getting a lot of charge out of what I was able to deliver people, but on some of these later projects I was working on it was it was kind of like, Well, you know, it does my impact really even matter. So then I went into this company, where, you know, I was I was one of three developers and what i what i did made absolute important impact on what was going on with the company. And so that was, that was another kind of step in that, you know, this really matters. And I made some decisions there that really mattered to the company. And I wound up staying at that company for nine years. And so I got promoted from being, you know, a developer to, you know, whatever levels, it was ultimately, senior developer, and then, and then ultimately, the architect of the, you know, of that business. And that's kind of some interesting topic there about what does it mean to be an architect and some of those kinds of things, but, you know, had several different titles during my time there and, and that was, I guess, kind of the the precession is that those those jobs between, you know, the five year and the nine year stint, that was that was a majority of my career. And so that was, you know, those were my, my formative experiences and where I got to do a lot of seeing different kinds of things, how to deal with scale and, and designing for, for fault tolerance and, and all of those kinds of things. So that was that that was that was kind of the the next the next steps there as far as how that went.
Tim Bourguignon 14:37 Wow, very interesting. Thank you. I would like to rewind a little bit. Before we go a little further 10 years after your your entry in the industry, what you did in that university or didn't do at university doesn't matter anymore. But during the first 10 years, I have the feeling that there's still some kind of of lingering was what what you studied and what you learned? How did you did you grow into this development world? Without having having studied computer science and stuff? Nowadays, we have boot camps and everything. But back then, was it was it usual to to use dism? This this path?
Dave Rael 15:23 Well, I'm, I think there's all kinds of different paths, right? I mean that people have gone into writing software from many, many different routes, many different experiences. So yeah, I don't think it's necessarily a prerequisite for for having a computer science background. And I didn't at the time. Now I did, probably, at some point, I don't know, three or four years after I had started writing software professionally, I decided that I wanted to get a master's in computer science. And so I did start taking some evening classes after work. And so I did go and get a a master's in computer science, which involves taking some some, you know, there was some prerequisites for some of the Masters courses and some of those things that I had to take the undergraduate algorithms and data structures and some of those kinds of things to get up to speed. And so in my case, I did go back and and fill in some of those gaps, I'd say that there is relevance in a computer science education, to the things that you do in software, certainly knowing about asymptotic analysis, complexity of algorithms, those kinds of things, having some exposure to the, you know, some of the fundamental data structures that that are at play in software development. And in in the software world, it's valuable, it does make a difference. But, but a formal computer science education, I don't know that it necessarily really is any kind of an indicator as to whether somebody is going to be a successful software developer or not. So to me, it was really on the job learning and what you learn in a, in a software engineering career has often little to do with computer science. So I think that there were some efforts in the the the graduate Computer Science program that I that I went in, took to do a little bit of project work. And so there's a little bit of trying to learn something about the world of real software. But computer science is really a very discipline, or a very different discipline, I should say, then, then software development, right, I think I think they're very different things with very different emphases. And so you know, learning about operating systems and database systems, and some of those kinds of things, the the relational calculus, and all of that kind of stuff that you learn in computer science, it's, um, it's good to know. But it's, it's not necessarily practical knowledge, in most cases, now, knowing something about kind of the the underlying, you know, makeup of binary search trees, and all of that kind of stuff that you deal with in a database, that that does give you a leg up in being able to understand what's going on and, and does give some insight that helps you to, to better use some of these things. But to me, it's, it's, if you tell me that you have been writing software for five years, or 10 years, or whatever it is, that means a lot more to me than then that you've been to a computer science program or any of those kinds of things. So I think I kind of have a little bit of perspective of both that I didn't have a computer science education, and then I went and got one. And I think I can see that it does make a difference in in being a complete software professional. But at the same time, I think the the time that I spent on it was certainly not there are better ways that I could have spent that time as far as my rounding out of myself as a software professional.
Dave Rael 18:54 Would you do it again?
Dave Rael 18:56 That's that's not an easy question with an obvious answer. I think I would probably say no, I've, I've since soured a lot on formal education and schooling and my my recollection of that experience, right, sitting in those classes with with other students was one of annoyance more of more than anything, I can remember that, you know, the, the instructors would, would introduce some new concept and the, you know, the hands shot up and the question on everybody's mind was, is this going to be on the test, which was so far removed from what my focus was, as, you know, as a professional who was taking these classes, right, I wanted to learn interesting things about software and how it works. And you know, what underlies that in, in computer science. And so, that that was, you know, being there with students was a pretty negative part of the of the school experience. And really, I think, you know, there, there are ways to learn today that are a lot better than then than school itself apart. My motivation to for going to going back to school for a Master's was that, know that that education thing has always been there. And I thought that if I had a Master's, that would help me to be able to be a, you know, teach some some evening classes and some of that stuff in addition to working as a software professional. And I never did wind up going. And in doing that, my, my first daughter was born while I was finishing that Master's. And so you know, what I was doing with my evenings, my, my priorities shifted dramatically now that I now that I was a father, I was not about to give up my evenings to go to go teach college classes. So that, you know, that was that was one thing that that got in the way of that, of course, it was, it was a much better alternative than than teaching college classes. Although I do still like to teach. And that's actually something that I'm doing a little bit more now doing some training, some of those things, going and teaching in a college environment. That's, that's not the place for me. So I guess I've kind of veered a little bit on a tangent here. As far as the the question about what I go back and do that formal education again. So I guess I started by saying that I wasn't really certain, but I think I think I am more certain than I thought that No, I don't think that was that was probably the best path. And I think there are better ways to learn that material now.
Tim Bourguignon 21:15 What kind of learner are you,
Dave Rael 21:18 I'd say I'm pretty versatile. as a learner. I like to read, I think that it's, it's ultimately the the best path to really learn something is to go get your hands dirty, and actually work on something, build a project with the thing. And ultimately, that's, that's probably the way I learned best, I think probably most of us have some element of that. I really like visual video learning too. I think that, you know, things like Pluralsight are amazing with, with what you can gather from video courses and those kinds of things. So I think I learned a lot of ways, but really, there's no substitute for for build something right? Do some dummy project, or maybe a real project, go do something for real with, with that thing that you want to learn?
Tim Bourguignon 22:03 Do you have a graveyard of of tryouts and dummy projects that you started and never finished?
Dave Rael 22:11 Oh, absolutely. Yes. I think if I had been using GitHub all along, we'd probably see a lot of repositories like that. Most of those were on on my disk on some computer somewhere that probably got thrown away at some point. So a lot of them I think have you know, gone to that, that great bits a bit Cemetery in the sky. And you know, as my hard drives have have, you know, as I've gotten new computers and those kinds of things, but yeah, there's there's definitely a lot of stuff that I that I built just to play and just to learn something,
Tim Bourguignon 22:42 though, there was a great webcomic from I think it was comic comic strip, with a nice image of of buildings, and all all very, very neat and tidy. And then the camera or that year, the visual camera moves something like 50 degrees on the side. And you see that all buildings actually just a facade, just just the front side of the building, and the rest is completely open. There was a great metaphor for all the projects we started and never finished. Absolutely. I know the drill. For sure. Okay, so so let's let's fast forward again. You spent nine years in this company? That's right. Yeah. And you went through all the the echelons if there are some, if there's something like this, through the the whole spectrum of development, and then doing some, some senior work, what what would you define as a being a senior? What What is it for you?
Dave Rael 23:38 Well, at the time, I think it was just recognition that, that somebody thinks that you have matured, that you have reached a level of contributing beyond just just being able to to be an individual contributor, right? I think it's senior involves something beyond just the code I write, but that I am making the people around me better. And I don't I think it's something that is open to interpretation, and everybody has a different meaning on that. But when, when I was told that, okay, now, I was promoted to senior that that to me said that, that, that I had transcended being just just an individual contributor, I think, you know, and at varying points, I've had direct reports, and I haven't and those kinds of things, I don't necessarily mean that I'm not just an individual contributor, because I have management responsibilities. I think there is, you know, like I said, with with those people in my initial job that they were teaching me on the fly and that they were including me and what they were doing, I think that's really a part of what being a senior is all about is that the the the people on your team that when when they walk away from from that particular job, or when you do that they walk away being a more complete professional than they were before. So to me that's that's what being a senior is all about. Is that you now that you know and I think everybody has somebody element of that through their interaction, they're making other people around them better. But a senior, I think it's it's a lot more, it's a lot more explicit, it's a lot more expected. And it's, it's probably a lot more effective for somebody who has, you know, who's had those experiences, who's been through the kinds of the kinds of ups and downs that make for a career. And they can they can share those experiences, so that so that the younger folks can learn, you know, from having their own experiences, but also from hearing about, you know, some of the some of the things that from from the folks who have gone before them.
Tim Bourguignon 25:36 Hmm, amen to that. I love this definition. Cool. So where did you go from there?
Dave Rael 25:44 Well, that after, when I finally decided that it was time to leave that place, ah, I had, I had, well, at that job, we had this a bit of an odd situation where, and maybe it's not as odd as I think it is, but several of our competitors had all been acquired by the same business. And so now we were kind of in this place where, where we had multiple systems that were doing similar things in different ways and trying to bring all those things together. And it was at that time that I got promoted to the architect position. And so solving that problem of trying to bring together these incoherent things under a coherent roof, and to be able to continue to make enhancements to the various systems while trying to move forward with building a, building a platform that was kind of the the accumulation of all of these things, and that we could serve everything and make make for a more maintainable experience, rather than trying to maintain all of the disparate systems was that that was kind of my primary responsibility as the architect. And so I became the person who had kind of, we had multiple teams that were working on different pieces. And that started with being different whole systems that had come from different companies, and gradually moved that into the different teams being responsible for different pieces of business functionality. And so it was kind of this transform along the lines of of cons with Conway's Law, instead of having these, these system kinds of focus that we could go into business capability kinds of focus with these teams. And so building that out was kind of really my, my crowning achievement in that particular job. And I find I left there before it was fully realized. And before everything was moved over onto this new way of doing things. But the process was, was well in swing, and I kind of feel felt like I had reached the point where I had contributed what I needed to, to, to move the company forward and get on to that thing, and that kind of the folks who I had worked with that they were ready to take up that mantle and, and just continue the transformation. And so at that point, I started doing just some independent contract work. And so I was working on smaller projects, and in doing some of those kinds of things. And really, that's what I've been doing ever since was that I, I take on a contract, I do the I do what I need to do to deliver some value for for a business. And, you know, as as I've kind of gotten better at that, that thing and and it's at gathering business and dealing with people and, and, you know, actually running my own business that started to take on a little bit. So you know, sometimes it's more the contract work, where I'm actually going in and implementing, sometimes it's more consulting work, whether it's more advice, and some of those kinds of things. And, and then, you know, during, during this whole frame of while I'm doing these contract and consulting work, then I started being a podcaster as well. And so that's a another part of the story of just kind of my journey to where I am and who I am. And, and so that that's kind of the the the gist of where it went from there.
Tim Bourguignon 29:01 Let's go there, what triggered you and decide to YouTube to start podcasting?
Dave Rael 29:08 Well, I had, I had started blogging on several different domains, several different blogs, several different times, thinking and I've heard a lot about that developers should be blogging, and you know, I hear the likes of Scott hanselman preaching about that every developer should have a blog. And I bought into that, I think that there was good reason for it. And I thought that I had something to share, right that my experiences were worth getting out there. And you know, when I would do things like, you know, doing Lunch and Learn kinds of things in the jobs that I had, and with people that I felt like I really was able to, to to help make for better professionals. And so blogging was kind of an extension of that, and I never really did get a giant following via blogging. But I think I started to, you know, kind of hone my writing style and some of those things. I just, I've been a voracious consumer of podcasts for quite a while, I remember, I used to listen to a radio show when I was when I was commuting to and from offices. And it was, you know, I only got to listen to that radio show if I was in the car at the same time of day while the show was on. And, you know, the the experience of all the commercials and all of that stuff. And, you know, listening to the radio was, was, you know, it had a lot of downside, a lot of shortcomings. But I mean, that's, that's just how you consume shows. And then I discovered that this particular radio show that I really liked, that I sometimes listen to, that it was available in podcast form, and that was kind of Eureka, you know, kind of a eureka moment that I was able to listen to the show and listen to the whole thing. And I, you know, I could skip through the commercials and that kind of stuff. And it was, it was just nice. Right? And so I love the medium. And, you know, fast forward today, right? There there is there's content available in podcast form on anything that you want. There are a lot of developer shows, there are, you know, philosophy and news and politics and basket weaving, right? I mean, any anything at all in the world that you can want to listen to listen to, you get to listen to people talking about that. And it's it's just, it's it's a wonderful medium. And so the kind of the combination of the fact that blogging was not kind of the gold rush that it was anymore, right? I mean, you know, Jeff Atwood talked about that, you know, he's been blogging for decades, and it just kind of, you know, that, that he was in it before anybody else was and and so, you know, I think you gained some notoriety that way. podcasting, I think, you know, four years ago, when I started, my show was not completely like that. But a little bit like that. I think, you know, podcasting is the new blogging is, I don't know if I made that up, or if I heard that somewhere. But that's, that's, that's kind of, to me, kind of the, the what life was like, and I think now, podcasts have become a lot more widespread. There are a lot more people listening, but there are also a lot more people making podcasts. But at that time, it was kind of, well, not everybody is doing this, and I'm gonna give it a try. And so I, you know, I thought about what kind of what kind of a podcast would I make if I were to make a podcast? And of course, the introvert in me said, Well, I don't want to have to talk to anybody else. Right? So it was I, you know, I thought, well, maybe this is going to be a bit like a spoken blog that I'll it'll be me solo, just, you know, saying something awesome about software development. But that didn't sound terribly appealing. I didn't think, you know, why would I listen to that, and that that just didn't, didn't pop into my head. And at the same time, I had stumbled upon this podcast called Entrepreneur on Fire. And it was, it was cool. Well, I had I had heard this, Trevor page was was the name of the developer turned Java instructor who, who kind of made a business out of teaching Java on the internet. And I heard him on some other podcasts. And when I went searching for his name, I found Entrepreneur on Fire. And I, you know, when I looked at the homepage of this podcast website, no, of course, I listen, listen to Trevor, and it was great. And I found Tim, Tim Ferriss name on the website, who I also liked a lot. And so you know, I started listening to some of the interviews of some of these entrepreneurs who I had heard of who had followed who I liked, right, and there were several of those kind of, you know, celebrity type entrepreneurs. And it just struck me all of a sudden that the the way that that this guy was going about his interviews with entrepreneurs, that he had some standard questions that he asked everybody, and he was getting them to tell stories, right? Much like you're doing here, Tim, right. You know, that get developers to tell stories, or I'm sorry, get entrepreneurs to tell stories. And it was cool the way he did it, and I thought, Oh, man, this, this would be awesome for developers. So you know, I sent an email to to john Lee Dumas, the host of Entrepreneur on Fire. And it was like, you know, are you okay with me ripping off your concept and turning it into developer on fire? And, you know, he, he responded with an enthusiastic, you know, hell yes, kind of a thing. And so, you know, so I just started doing it, I reached out to a few developers who I thought had stories to tell who people who I had followed and who had inspired me, and I thought, heck, let's, let's go ahead and do this. Right. I'm going to do some interviews and I based on my format, loosely on Entrepreneur on Fire, and that was, that was the startup at and it was, it was a great experience to, to start talking to people and kind of I, I had always told myself throughout most of my life, that I'm good with machines and not good with people. And becoming a podcaster was the thing that really, really got me to realize that, that that was that that was wrong, and it was insidiously wrong and that it was holding me back and it was hurting me. And so becoming a podcaster. I started to realize No, that's, that's not right at all. Good with machines and good with people. And I think that's, that's probably the turning point of my adult life is realizing that hey, you know, I'm, I'm a geek, yes, but I'm not just a geek. And so that's, that's To kind of the biggest insight that I've gained out of the out of the podcast is is just that.
Dave Rael 35:06 Wow.
Tim Bourguignon 35:07 Well, has there been some stages in the growth of your podcast? Meaning changing the concept changing the way you work changing? I don't know.
Dave Rael 35:18 Not necessarily explicitly. I think in the beginning, I followed this, this, this template of standard questions, ask everybody the same questions, get them to tell stories via those rigid questions. And it was some it was a pretty rigid format. In the beginning, it has gotten less. So I went from a list of standard questions to now I have three questions that I asked everybody and the rest of it is just a free form conversation. So it's, it's changed in that way. And I think that's really more of a gradual evolution of the show. And, you know, some of the some of the questions that were that were standard in the beginning have become, I got some feedback from folks saying that they that the answer sounded too much alike. So I dropped some of those. And so it, you know, over time, it has changed a bit, I started having some guests on for a second time where it was just purely, let's just talk and see what see what happens. So, you know, those are, those are some of the things that have changed over time. And, you know, just in the in the beginning, I think some some of the, not necessarily the the way the show goes, but my approach to it has has changed over time. I remember in the beginning, I would send emails to folks saying interview request. And it was kind of a point of different differentiation for me when I went from saying, you know, instead of interview request, now, it's an interview invitation. And I think just, you know, subtle things like that, instead of saying that, you know, I'm a guy who's doing a podcast is saying, I am a podcaster. I think just some of those, you know, just my, my change in attitude about who I am. And what I'm doing with this thing, I think are probably some of the biggest changes that have happened in the show over time.
Tim Bourguignon 36:58 Hmm, makes sense. Makes sense? And what do you see the buckles goings going in the next years maybe?
Dave Rael 37:05 Well, that's hard to say, I think, to to some extent, I've gotten what I need to out of the podcast, I think I have, you know, I have had some inclination at various times that I would like to turn the podcast into my primary source of income. And I think that's, that's something that's possible. But I would have to really change my emphasis, I would have to really market it a lot more than I, that I have. And I would have to add, would have to really chase down sponsors in a way that I haven't, I've had sponsors, but it hasn't been something that was just an obvious fit, where it really worked. So I'm not really sure about that. I think as far as my personal growth, and realizing that I am a people person, and some of those things, I've gotten most of what I am going to get out of the podcast in, in those respects. So I think it becomes a question of, well, what what is my motivation? And I haven't really fully figured out what it is that, that I want the podcast to be what I wanted to become, I think, you know, there's, there are a lot of possibilities. I mean, there, there may be a time when there's a sunset, there may be a time that you know, that this is complete, and this this endeavor is done in maybe that, that it will, it will shift in in some ways to where I talk about some more controversial topics, and instead of being I'm featuring a guest, and it's all about them and all about their story, maybe a little bit more of me comes out in, you know, in what I'm doing. And in some of these conversations, I'm not completely sure I haven't decided what the future of it is. And of course, I'm open to suggestions right from, from anybody out there who's listening who either, you know, new listeners who are just getting into the show who might come across it from from dev journey or, or, you know, people who have listening to been listening to my show, right, you know, I I want to know what it is that it needs to be for listeners and you know, and that kind of thing. So, you know, what's going to be good for me what's going to be good for listeners, I think that'll that'll drive it and I'll figure out where it's gonna go from there.
Tim Bourguignon 39:09 That's the same kind of, of thinking process. I'm, I'm I'm living right now. So I can I can relate to all of the share. My closing question just doesn't fit at all with this discussion. So I have to work to improvise.
Dave Rael 39:24 What,
Tim Bourguignon 39:25 in your opinion, are mandatory or very important skills to become a great podcaster
Dave Rael 39:33 skills for podcasting? I would say you need to, like talking to people is probably the primary thing. Now that doesn't mean that you need to know that you'd like talking to people. I think that's that's the the surprise to me. I didn't know that I've, I've learned that interacting with other human beings is something that really excites me something that really lights me As I like to say, on my show, so it's something that I figured out about myself on the way. So you have to like talking to people, but you may not know already that you do like talking to people that may be a bit of a hidden talent, a bit of a hidden interest that's lying dormant under under the surface of somebody who otherwise thinks themselves a geek. Right? At least, that's, that's been my experience with it. So I'd say that's, that's one is just getting some kind of joy, some kind of charge from, from the interaction with another human being, I'd say another thing is having something to share. Right. And I think that's, that's kind of the thing that motivated me in the beginning that I wanted to get into podcasting is that I had something to share that I thought I needed to get out. I've heard you know, authors say that they had a novel inside of them. And it was more painful to, to have it inside and not out there than it was to to actually write the thing. So I think there's there's probably some analog to that in the in the world of podcasting, and whether whether it's podcasting, blogging, conference, speaking those kinds of things, right, there's, there's something that you have to share that should get out there. And, you know, in, in doing a podcast, where you're an interview, host, often, the focus is more on the other person than it is you I guess that's something I've learned about myself as well, is that I've gotten some feedback from my show, I've heard some criticism, talking about that. I sometimes repeat what the guest said, but a lot more folks than then the critics have told me that the restating something, the way that somebody else has said to, to test understanding to, to rephrase it in a way that somebody else might pick up on that that didn't quite get it the way it was said the first time, that that's a talent that I have. And so I think that's something for podcasters is, is one being able to focus on another person and bring out their story in a compelling way. And to being able to maybe it's a rephrase, maybe, whatever it is, but being able to embellish on their story, not necessarily embellish, but be able to expand their story by by whether restating or asking further probing questions, getting to that essence to bring out the best of the person that you're talking to. Ultimately, I think that's what podcasting is all about.
Tim Bourguignon 42:17 Thank you very, very tender. Thank you very much. So unfortunately, we've reached the end of the time books already. And it's been very, very short. I had so much more questions, but that has seemed fair. Um, so I guess we'll have to wrap up what's on your plate right now? Do you have things coming up that you would like to to advertise?
Dave Rael 42:39 Well, I think the podcast is obviously the first thing developer on fire calm is a great place to go and find me. The other thing that's really on my mind lately, I've I've mentioned my interest in education before I have done a little bit of training lately. And I think that's something I'd like to expand a little bit. So I'm putting my brain around. What can I do to help developers as far as training goes, I have a few things in mind, get classes is kind of the first thing that I've started that I've been teaching a little bit. But I think there are some more things that I'd like to expand into and teaching about. And I'm not completely sure what all of those things are going to be. But and it's not there yet. But I think I'm going to put a page on developer on fire.com slash training, to say just go there to find some resources about what I'm going to be offering and to contribute to, to one of those things that are a value that developers need that, that I'm going to be able to provide
Tim Bourguignon 43:39 awesome addition to their shows. And if the listeners want to start a conversation with you is never been to the right place to start or Twitter or where where should they first hit you?
Dave Rael 43:52 Well, I think developer on fire has the, you know, the show notes pages for all of the episodes and comments, there are a good way that I respond to generally all of those, Twitter is a good place to interact and some of those kinds of things. I'm not an avid Twitter user, but if somebody has something to say if they if you know if I get app mentioned on there, I will generally respond at all assuming that it's something worth responding to which a lot of Twitter isn't but I you know, if if people want to talk to me and you know, do so in in a civil manner, then Twitter is a good place for that and direct messages are open there. So anybody is able to go and get in contact with me there.
Tim Bourguignon 44:31 So you've been warned listeners be civil and you can talk to Dave and hungrier. Well, Dave, thank you very much. There's been there's been a blast.
Dave Rael 44:41 No problem, Tim. Thank you, Joe.
Tim Bourguignon 44:42 And this has been another episode of developer's journey. We'll see each other next week. Bye bye. 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 www dot 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 podcasts and social media. This really helps fellow developers discover the podcast and those fantastic journeys. Thank you