AIMEE_KNIGHT: Hey, hey from Nashville.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Steve Edwards.
STEVE_EDWARDS: Hello from Portland.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Dan Shapir.
DAN_SHAPPIR: Hey from Tel Aviv rocking my quarantine shave.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: AJ O'Neil.
AJ_O’NEAL: Yo, yo, yo. Coming at you quarantined from Pleasant Grove with my quarantine stubble.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Stubble? I'm Charles Maxwood from devchat.tv. And this week we have a special guest and that's Danny Thompson. Danny, do you want to introduce yourself?
DANNY_THOMPSON: Hi, my name is Danny Thompson. I am a software engineer. I am a meetup leader with a group called GDG Memphis, and I'm happy to be here.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Awesome.
Your app is slow, and you probably don't even know it. Maybe it's fine in most places, but then the customer loads the page up, that one page, and after a couple of seconds, their attention disappears into Twitter and never comes back. The reality is there are performance issues in your app, and they're affecting your customer experience. What you need to do is hook up your app to Scout APM and let it start telling you where the slowdowns are happening. It makes it really easy. It tells you how slow things are and what the problem is, like N plus one queries or memory bloat. It's also built for developers, so it makes it really easy to identify where the fix needs to go. I've hooked it up to some of my apps and I saw what I needed to fix in a couple of minutes. Try it today for free and they'll donate $5 to the open source project of your choice. Just go to scoutapm.com slash dev chat and then deploy it to your app. Once you do that, they'll donate the five bucks that scoutapm.com slash dev chat.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Now Dan and I are fighting over whether or not which one of us invited you on. But yeah, you've got a really interesting story.
DAN_SHAPPIR: I did.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: I'll arm wrestle you later. But yeah, do you want to just give us a little bit of your background? Because when we talked, you just had this really, really interesting story.
DANNY_THOMPSON: Sure. So my background is I have a PhD in frying chicken. So I worked in gas stations for over 10 years, frying chicken. And I found myself in a situation where I wanted to change it and I just didn't know how. And I found out tech was a viable opportunity. For me, I always thought tech was for the PhDs and the rocket scientists of the world. I didn't know it was something for someone like me. And I actually found my way into tech because of a rapper. This rapper was being interviewed because he invested $10 million into a tech company. And when asked why, he said he was learning how to code. And it completely blew my mind. I didn't know this was possible. And next thing I know, I find myself on FreeCodeCamp.org and I start learning how to code from there. And I go to my very first meetup and you know, at this time, I know about HTML, CSS. I made a very simple application that could take an image and add some coloring to it. So essentially, I could cure cancer with code at that point in my life. And from there, you know, I go into this meetup and people are talking, you know, I realized I don't know anything. I thought I knew everything and I know nothing. People are talking about like Java and C sharp and you know, SQL and these are foreign languages to me. But at that point, I got hooked. And I said, I realized very quickly that I'm excluded from the conversation, but I don't want to be excluded anymore. I want to be included. So I just continue to study and learn and grow. And that meetup changed my life. It changed everything for me.
STEVE_EDWARDS: So just out of curiosity, what was your PhD thesis on? Was it different methods of frying or maybe who makes the best fried chicken?
DANNY_THOMPSON: How can we stuff the most amount of calories into one leg? And from there, you know, we kept going and going.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: What was your defense? I mean, no, it's K. Honestly, I've been to some places they need a PhD in when to change the oil.
DANNY_THOMPSON: Yes, so, so true. You know, I always say when I showed up to the gas station I was wearing a size medium shirt. It's not medium anymore, but you know, that chicken went somewhere, but it was a great experience and I'm happy for it and I'm happy that I went through it and it provided for my family. So I'll never regret it.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: So how long ago was that?
DANNY_THOMPSON: I left, I started learning how to code a little over three years ago.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Nice.
DANNY_THOMPSON: Actually, I can tell you the exact month. It was April of 2017. I'm a big believer in writing my goals down on index cards and I placed them on my wall between my computer and my TV. So if I'm ever slacking off, I see them and it kind of reminds me like, okay, I'm about to binge watch five Netflix episodes. Have I done enough towards what I'm trying to reach or maybe I just watch one and spend the other four hours doing something productive towards what I want to do. So I still have that card up from April, 2017 of when I said I'm going to become a developer. And so I wrote that down on my first paper.
DAN_SHAPPIR: You're really goal oriented. Good for you.
DANNY_THOMPSON: I have like, I have this thing where I can envision what I want and I become very laser focused to it. So even for me, and sometimes it's a curse to be honest, because I turned down six jobs in tech before I accepted my first one, because it wasn't what I envisioned. So I didn't take them. And sometimes it can hurt you in that sense, but I knew exactly what I wanted and I didn't want to take anything as a substitute. I didn't want Splenda when I wanted sugar.
DAN_SHAPPIR: And so what did you want?
DANNY_THOMPSON: I wanted a place where I could grow. Essentially, I like upward growth potential. I wanted a place where I could learn a lot of things. So I had learned Java and Angular and that was my stack and the company I went for that I ended up taking the position with. They were in that language, but they wanted me to continue learning, which is something I really wanted. As opposed to just sticking in one little pigeonhole of development. And so a lot of the companies I was going for, they were great companies, especially for our area, but there was no growth available. There was no way to go upward. I was talking to developers that were still stuck in the exact same spot they were six, seven years ago working there, and I didn't want that from them. But the other thing was with that, I utilized those opportunities to bring other people into those positions. Last year, I was able to help 44 people in their first jobs in tech. And it was through that momentum I created a whole network where people were talking to me about companies that were hiring, talking to me about, you know, positions that were available. And instead of me going for them, I would send other people.
DAN_SHAPPIR: You said that you, following that experience, watching the rapper talk about learning to program, you decided, and then the meetup, you decided to learn to program. Can you talk about the process of how you learn to program? Because we know several ways that people can go about it. What...What was your route?
DANNY_THOMPSON: So for me, the only, the rapper was extremely pitiful for one reason. I just didn't know it was possible. Once I knew it was possible, nothing in the universe could distract me or detract me from my goal at that point. That was it. I was locked and loaded. That's where I was going. So for me to learn, I started on freecodecamp.org. And that's the one website that I will recommend time and time again, because what I see with a lot of tutorial websites, and I have a lot of beginners come up to me and I try to offer them advice, most of them are almost handholding you through the process to where you're not really retaining anything. Whereas Free Code Camp just gives you enough to where now you have to search for the answers. And I'm a big believer in when you're faced with an error and you're in that pursuit of that Google search, trying to find it, you're learning more in that Google search than you are from any video tutorial. And that's why I have three rules to become a better developer fast. And there are ABL, ABB, CCC. ABL, always be learning. ABB, always be building. CCC, code, code, code. Always be learning, learn through multiple methods and mediums, whatever you have available to you, use it. And I'm a big believer in learning from two different teachers because no two teachers teach exactly the same. One teacher may miss something that another teacher picks up on. Always be building, build. In tutorials, nothing breaks. In real life, everything breaks. Even a simple CSS attribute can break your whole site build and when you're faced with those errors, don't find the easiest solution, find it on your own. Don't run back to a safety net. And code, code, code, let those fingers dance on that keyboard. The only way the concepts become permanent is by putting your fingers on that keyboard and writing them out. So do that. And that's the same three lessons that I give to everybody. And I think if you utilize that on Free CodeCamp, you're gonna go very far. And then you can start looking at outside mediums where you can get, you know, front-end master, it's an Egghead I-O or Udemy or YouTube. But the one thing I always say about YouTube is it's worth all the money you didn't pay for it. Anybody can throw up a video and it could be terrible or it could be fantastic. It's dealer's choice at that point.
AJ_O’NEAL: So I've noticed, I mean, you've probably seen this too, a lot of people, they get frustrated when they encounter errors initially and they're like, oh, and they feel like it's counterproductive. They're like, oh, I'm just stuck on this error. I can't, you know, but figuring out that it was a smart quote. That's an important step. Like it might take you four hours to figure out it was a smart quote that was your problem, but like those, those encountering problems are not, and you know, in the beginning, they're not counter-learning, they are part of the learning process, they're necessary.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: I just wanted to add in that a lot of times I wind up failing on stuff. I mean, code or other things, right. And it forces me to rethink how I'm doing things. And so it's not just. Oh, this is wrong or this is, you know, there's a better way to do it, but it's also just the idea of, Oh, maybe I ought to approach this in a completely different way. And it turns out that the new way is a better way.
DANNY_THOMPSON: You know, I love that. And one thing that I always say is I love failing. I love failure. Failure to me and facing an error to me just means I'm removing one obstacle on my way to my goal or to success or to finishing this application. When you fail. You know, okay, once I solve this, that error is out of the way and I'm closer to where I need to be. Or you could be like me sometimes and create 7,000 more obstacles. You never know. I mean, you fix one bug, you got 100 more that pop up. But failing is the best thing you could ever do for yourself because that's when you're realizing how far can you go? How far can you go past fixing this? And for me, failure is just one thing that you're going to move on your obstacle success. And once you get to where you want to be, it's worth that much more.
STEVE_EDWARDS: Yeah. A couple of points I want to address real quick. There's a famous quote by Edison, I think it's by Edison, where he talks about all the attempts that it took him to get the light bulb right. And he said, basically, if it took 500, we figured out 499 ways that didn't work along those lines. And then the way I look at it is from, I'm part of a fire department here. And one of the things that our training department always says is anytime we do a drill, we have two results. We have successes and we have opportunities. So yeah, success is, yeah, this worked, we did it right. And then you have opportunities, things that didn't work right, but that's an opportunity to figure out, okay, we know that didn't work, what does work? So that's always been one of my favorite phrases since I've learned that one. And then in terms of YouTube, you mentioned how it's like the web, anybody can throw anything out there. And one of the things you sort of learn with YouTube is, as with anything else, you sort of winnow out, winnow the bad stuff out and figure out, okay, where's the good channels? Who are the people that put up the good stuff? Eric Hanschett, who was on the podcast recently, and I've sort of got to know a little more on his own podcast, Self Taught or Not, they did a thing where they went and listed like 10 channels that are really good for developers on YouTube because they're people that put stuff out. It's good stuff. People get to know them and they have really good reputations because they're always putting out good stuff. So I learned development the same way as you did in terms of being self-taught, having to wait in there and figure out what works and what's not. And eventually you figure out, you throw away the chaff and keep the weed. And so it's just a matter of sometimes listening to other people, Hey, what's good channels. And other times you figure out for yourself, you know, you try somebody else's tutorial and it fails and you figure out, I probably don't want to follow this guy too much, you know? So it's just a matter of figuring out on your own.
DAN_SHAPPIR: Sensei is such a shy and quiet person. I would like to say that AJ also has an excellent YouTube channel with good videos for people who are, you know, learning, learning stuff in the computer field. So, yeah.
AJ_O’NEAL: Thank you.
DANNY_THOMPSON: One thing I'll say to Steve, number one, that quote that you were trying to reference is, I have not failed. I found 10,000 ways that don't work.
STEVE_EDWARDS: There you go.
DANNY_THOMPSON: That's a quote that I even have written on my wall to remind me that failure is okay. And I just kind of want to chime in with even slightly off topic, but you said you're a firefighter. I thank you for everything that you do and all the firefighters and civil servants. If it wasn't for you guys, I don't know who'd be doing it. So Thank you for being awesome and phenomenal in everything that you do. But back to what we were saying before, failure is one of the best things that you could ever go through.
DAN_SHAPPIR: But talking about failure and you were based on your description, my understanding that at least initially you were studying by yourself, you were using online resources, but you were essentially on your own. So when you did run into problems or issues and you did run into or you ran into roadblocks of not being able to figure a certain problem out, how did you go about it? I mean, how did you overcome those kind of roadblocks? And I'm asking this because my eldest son has actually decided to finally start learning programming on his own. And he's taking this actually pretty, very good online course for learning Python. But he is running into all sorts of issues. And fortunately for him, he has me to follow fall back on. So whenever he runs into issues, I can, you know, help him through. Now, obviously, I need to take really take care that I'm not doing the work for him, that I'm not making it too easy for him, or that whenever I show him something that he actually understands, rather than just copied whatever I explained to him, I literally had him go back and like redo all the just to make sure that he actually understood my explanations and wasn't just laying them out based on what I told him. But definitely, if I wasn't around, he did say that he might have quit at certain points because he felt that he ran into walls and he wasn't sure how to circumvent them or get over them. So how did you go about it?
STEVE_EDWARDS: So one of the things I've always heard about pre-code camp, and I've never really partaken in myself, I've just heard Quincy Larson in a number of different places, is that you have the community where you can get online and do pair programming with people and, and stuff like that. So how much of that were you able to do when you're going through the free code camp curriculum or even outside of that? Cause I know that in my own past, when I've had other people that I can bounce ideas off or have somebody look at my code or something like that, it's always been a real big, big help. So how much of that, how much of your coding stuff, I guess, have you done on your own Googling and looking and how much have you done in close cooperation with somebody else.
DANNY_THOMPSON: I think when I was doing Free Code Camp, that pair programming thing didn't exist. I don't know if that's a thing now. I know they have a forum where you can post a question and community members can help answer to whatever may be. So if they do that now, that's pretty cool. I'm a big Quincy Larson fan. I even got to do a meetup with him and Kenzie Dodds and high praises to both of them. And I'll always have the highest respect, especially because they've both created options for people to learn. And, you know, anyone that basically, I'm a big believer in positive impact creates more positive impact. So if you're facilitating the growth for someone else, when they reach their destination, they're going to bring more positivity and help others as well. So I think even, you know, through the platform Quincy Larson has helped create, how many people has he helped reach where they want to reach? And how many people have now turned and gone to help their communities? So I absolutely love Quincy for that. And I've, for me, you know, I think going back to the community, that's how I ended up finding so many mentors. And I had mentors that didn't even know they were my mentor. And I would pester them and come back to them with ideas and, you know, spitball ideas at them and they would answer them. And you know, I would always tell them like, if I'm annoying you, block me. But until I'm blocked, you're letting me know that this is okay for me to ask you questions. And they really, really, really helped me in a major way and learning everything that I know now. And I have a great group of friends that I talk to almost daily on Slack that we basically found each other through those meetups. And there was a nonprofit bootcamp that came to Memphis called Launch Code. And through Launch Code, we all met each other, but the head instructor was my main mentor. I love everything that they do at Launch Code. And I'll always support teaching people for free and things like that. So I love that program and if it wasn't for that program, I wouldn't have met as many people as I've met.
DAN_SHAPPIR: From what you're saying, you're really involved in the community. So you're organizing meetups, you're asking and answering questions on various forums, you're helping people land jobs. You know, we can see pictures on your wall, you have family as well and you're working, you're learning. How do you fit that all into your schedule? I mean, and also at one point, what point do you start kind of thinking about like, you know, yourself and your own personal priorities versus the priorities or the needs of the community?
DANNY_THOMPSON: When I was learning how to code, I was working 80 plus hours a week. For me to learn how to code, I had to create hours that didn't exist. So I would wake up every single day to 2, 3, 2.30 in the morning, and I would study before going to work. And I would have about an hour and a half to two hours a day to study. Then I'd go work 12 to 14 hours a day, come home, raise my kid for like seven minutes and go to sleep and rinse and repeat. Well, through that, I realized before I started waking up early, I would stay up late. And I realized going through that day, my brain was so tired that I couldn't retain anything. So I'd wake up in the morning and I'd study, my brain was so fresh, it was soaking it up all up like a sponge. So even now, I've kind of kept that same habit to where I wake up you know, on most days for 430 in the morning, and I'll start doing things early, like working towards my goals, learning new things, developing things, creating things, you know, coming up with resources. I do that before my work day starts. And that's another reason too, is I don't like to wake up in the morning and then say, you know, I'm waking up because of work. Work shouldn't be my reason to wake up. Work should just be something I do within my day. So I like to enjoy myself before work. I like to enjoy myself after work. And work is just something I do in the middle. When I just wake up for work, I start feeling kind of miserable. Like, oh, the only reason why I'm even opening my eyes is to come deal with some tickets or whatever it may be. So I'm a big believer in doing things before work. So I'll do a lot of things before work. And my entire house is asleep at that time, my wife, my kid. So I can get things done in a very quiet environment and be productive at it. Then my workday starts, they're awake now, we have breakfast together after work. Now I have all this time to where I can play some games with my kid and I can do all these things and I have the rest of the evening. And then I may do a couple of things at night, but I have my family time because what I realized working at a gas station, I missed so much in my work life. I missed so much. I mean, I missed so much in my personal life as when I was focused on working. I missed a lot of moments when my kid was growing up, because I had to earn money for us to live. Now that I have this luxury, I never want to waste that again. I never wanna miss these moments. So we're always doing stuff together. We're going places, doing things. And now luckily, cause I'm in tech, like we were just out of town not too long ago and I got to work while I was out of town, not missing any time away from anybody.
DAN_SHAPPIR: So I don't know if Amy heard, but it turns out that you and she are kindred spirits, that you both are early risers and like to run in the early morning hours.
AIMEE_KNIGHT: This is quite true. Yes. Sorry. Having a server box issues. So I had to jump off. Yep. I recently too started doing like 16 hour fasts, which I find like my brain is very clear in the morning when I haven't had like sugar and all that stuff. I'm Very inspired by your story though. I missed a lot, so I feel like I won't have the greatest questions, but just kind of hearing like your perseverance and kind of the background of where you came from, definitely. I guess a question, how long have you been in this field now?
DANNY_THOMPSON: So I started coding in April of 2017. I've been working for a little over a year. But for me, I could have been here a year and a half ago if I wanted it. Like, I was so I got into this weird thing where I enjoyed, I really enjoyed it and I still enjoy it, helping people land their dream job in tech. It was almost like a drug. It was so addicting to me. And I just enjoyed helping people navigate that process, getting ready for interviews, kind of coaching them on how to fix their profiles. And it got to the point where I was turning down jobs and sending other people to go to those jobs. And a lot of times those jobs weren't matching what I was looking for. But at the other point of it is I wouldn't even go to that first interview just so I can send for other people to go have a conversation with them. Heard about this book called the max coders guide to find your green developer job by chance.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Sure. Yeah. Yeah. That guy, he actually tells you to fight, you know, figure out what you want and then yeah, go find the companies that are going to give that to you. I'm kind of curious, you know, as you work through this process, did you, did you apply some of that? You know, it sounds like you weren't willing to just take any job. And that's kind of different from the way a lot of people approach this.
DANNY_THOMPSON: Right. So, you know, I'm very stubborn and I had a very, very clear vision of what I wanted and I could not accept any substitute besides what I had already, what I had in my head. And so I'd go to these interviews. Matter of fact, you know, I won't say the company's name because we're still on good terms, but the there was a company that I interviewed with and halfway through, I realized immediately like this is not it for me. So I stopped the interview halfway and I was like, I don't, you know, I value my time and I value yours. I don't want to waste either one. This is just not going to work. But would you come back and speak at a meetup? It was a Zoom interview. He just kind of closed the interview and he come to the next day and said, you know, in all my years that has never happened. But there must be something very interesting about this group. Yeah, I'll swing by and check out what you guys got going on. And then we ended up having a really cool speaker at a meetup. But I don't believe in wasting anyone's time. I don't want to waste anyone's. So once I realized that, you know, I cut it off, but I ended up finding my dream job and I'm very happy with where I am. And I preach it all the time. You know, if you're happy where you are and it meets what you want to do, it'll never feel like an arduous task to go deal with it. You will be able to handle whatever you do. You'll be able to, you know, take random requests and not be upset about it. And on top of that, meeting what you want, like helping you and learning new things and you know, things like that, then perfect.
DAN_SHAPPIR: I just wanted to make a quick comment from the perspective of the other side of conducting the interview with a person. I've seen situations where people keep going with the interview, even though it's clear that that person will not be hired because they feel like obligated, because it seems to cut the interview short, or they, and they, and they also, like, when they ask at the end, like, are you going to be in touch with me? They say, yeah, maybe we'll think about it, blah, blah, blah. And you know, some people have called me abrupt in this context, or maybe even slightly rude. But I like, like you said, I hate wasting people's time and raising false expectations. And if there is an interview going on, and like within 10 minutes or 20 minutes, it's clear that this is just not going to happen. I don't really see, you know, obviously, I don't just disconnect the call or tell the person something rude, but I, you know, very politely try to convey the information that this is just not going to happen and to stop it there. Because otherwise, like you said, it's mostly a waste of time for everybody. Hopefully, I didn't hear, hopefully, I don't sound like a jerk.
DANNY_THOMPSON: No, I completely agree because I think, and this is one thing that I value my hours and I try to get a return on my time because then it feels like I'm achieving something. So if I'm spending a couple hours at an interview that I know I'm going to hate working here. And I know that just from speaking to the interview, I realized, man, this company is probably going to not be what I want or, excuse my French, this place probably sucks. Why would I want to waste another two hours interviewing with someone I don't want to talk to. I think it's better for everybody if we're both up front at that time and say, hey, we need to cut this short. But I see the other side of the spectrum too is, if you have an interviewer or an interviewee that is extremely excited to be there, do you really want to shatter what they're going through at that moment and say, hey, I realize you kind of suck. This isn't the place for you to work.
DAN_SHAPPIR: You don't say it that way. I don't say it that way. You say, you know, this is not, yeah, yeah, this is not a good fit. So this is, uh, you know, you're a great person, but unfortunately, you're not what we're looking for, you know, because at the end of the day, you're not going to hire them. You're gonna kind of shatter their dream at some point along the line anyway, in that context. And if you're raising false expectations, you might even do them harm because maybe they'll reject some other offer waiting on you, even though you have no intention of actually hiring them.
DANNY_THOMPSON: Well, I think in that scenario, you just kind of cut the interview a little bit short, and you say, hey, we have a lot of applicants, so if we contact you, you'll know we're interested. Simple as that. You don't need to tell them abruptly, like, hey, this isn't going to cut it or something like that. Just say, if we're interested, we'll contact you. Otherwise, you know...
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: The other way I've approached this myself is also just going in and essentially saying, look, we're looking for somebody that meets these criteria. I know there are companies that will hire somebody or looking for people that meet the criteria that you fit better and may even tell them to go apply at some other places. I know these couple of companies, if I do, they're looking for somebody more at your level or more with your temperament or that they interact with people in a certain way or things like that. Or I may give them feedback and just say, maybe we are looking for somebody with a little bit more experience. You know, if you went and built a project that looked like this, or if you, you know, did these couple of things that would demonstrate that you can actually do what we need, then maybe we can give you another look next time we're hiring.
DAN_SHAPPIR: And the important thing is that, look, you know, whenever we're interviewed and we've all been there, it's, you're putting yourself out there. It's kind of like a first date. I mean, it's like when you get rejected, it really hurts because you're kind of trying to sell yourself. So ultimately, they rejected you. But at the end of the day, you need to remember that they're not rejecting you as a person. They're rejecting you as a candidate for a very specific position. They might be right about it. They might be wrong about it. But you have to remember that, you know, it's not a value call on you yourself as a person. That's something that I think that is critical to remember.
AJ_O’NEAL: Jumping back just a second to the like letting people down softly versus not. I think, to me, I think it's a form of weakness that I personally succumb to, to let people down softly, be like, oh, well, you know, for interested, we'll contact you. I prefer when it's just like upfront, straight, like, but I think you could say it in a nice way. Like, I think what Chuck was saying was pretty reasonable in terms of, you know, you don't have the skills we're looking for. I don't remember the specific example, but there was one time I was interviewing something, I think the process went like that. I felt good about, you know, cause there's definitely times I didn't feel good about the way that I handled things or whatever. I took the week way out or whatever. But one time I remember that went fairly well was just like reiterating like, okay, so we're looking for X, Y, and Z. It sounds like your expertise is really in A, B and C. And it sounds like the career track you want to be on is really an A, B and C. So maybe this. You know, maybe this isn't that good of a fit really just in and that like that interaction wasn't, wasn't bad or awkward because it was, it was super clear. You know, we're just having a conversation and they're saying what, what they know and what they want to do and where their skills are and where their strengths are. And, and it was, I mean, I guess it's not always that easy because sometimes people are too unskilled, but they are doing A, B and C. They're just not as good at A, B and C or, or whatever.But I also like the idea of giving people a chance to prove themselves, you know, say, okay, well, it doesn't look like you're really up to par on A, B and C, but if you, if you can do this task that requires a person, you know, to be at level seven, to be able to do this task, then, then, you know, we should definitely reconsider that. And then a lot of times they're just not going to do it. I did have one occasion where. The person got really angry because they spent a lot of time on the task and they didn't enjoy it. And they came back and I was just kind of like, well, if you really didn't enjoy this and it took you a really long time to do it, like it's just not a good fit. And they were really upset about that because they, you know, had spent so much time on it and it was like, and they hated it. It's like, well, you, you shouldn't have done that.
DAN_SHAPPIR: Oh, but I will add that a special place in hell is reserved for those companies that don't get back to you.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Amen. No, I definitely agree with that. They should be getting back to you one way or the other, right? We hired somebody else. You know, you weren't what we were looking for. But the other thing also to AJ's point, and this was, man, it was my first job out of college. I was actually running the tech support team. But yeah, the development team had some guy come in and he did the whole interview with them. They made him right on the whiteboard because they were those kinds of people. I mean, talented engineers, but anyway. And then they gave him a side project and gave him two hours to build it and he failed to get it done. And so they told him thanks goodbye, and basically said, well, you didn't get it done. So no. Well, he went home and he ground the thing out. And then he came back the next day and showed them the code and they wound up hiring him. So there's something to be said for, look, you know if I'm wrong, prove me wrong. I wanna be wrong and have the best person in there if that's the case. But given the information that we have, I think that kind of feedback is actually helpful. And yes, I completely, 100% agree. Get back to people and let them know either why you're not gonna hire them, or maybe it was, look, you lined up real well, there was just somebody that lined up a little bit better.
DANNY_THOMPSON: That goes to one thing that I always tell people applying for a job that if you can demonstrate passion, an employer will show interest. And by going home and doing that project, you're showing that you're passionate about what you're doing. That speaks volumes. But the other thing is, a lot of people, when they go into interviews, they have what I call like a begging mindset. Oh, just give me a chance. I just need a chance. I think that is the worst thing you can do in an interview because haven't you noticed when someone's asking you for a favor, you immediately like, ah, what is this going to take out of me? What do I got to do to make them happy? Even if it's a friend, it's almost as if it's a deterrent. Don't go in with a begging mindset. You shouldn't go in begging for a chance. What you should say is, hey, I'm coming here, I'm bringing value, I am valuable. I will bring value to this team. If you can demonstrate that you're bringing value, if you bring value, they will bring a checkbook. Simple as that. No one has ever turned an opportunity to make money one way or another.
AJ_O’NEAL: And please, please do not say ever when you're asked, so what is it about this position that's interesting to you? Do not respond. Oh, I'm just looking for a job. Don't say that. One piece of honesty. They just don't, don't say that.
If you're a front end developer looking for remote work, then I recommend G2I a React and React Native focused hiring platform that will connect you directly with their clients that need your skillset. What makes G2I a unique hiring experience is that they spend the time marketing you to their clients of your choice. G2I is a team of engineers that technically vets you upfront. If you pass their vetting, their clients have agreed to skip their initial interview process, saving you time and energy getting your next gig. They take care of all the hard work for you so you can get focused on development. To join G2I, go to g2i.co and apply.
AIMEE_KNIGHT: So that's good advice. I was actually recently talking about kind of these different like strategies to someone and I feel like it is possibly slightly different when you are a new developer as to pose to someone who has been in the industry for a while. I am very happy with my salary. I have never, I think we've talked about this before. I've never negotiated ever. And the person-
DAN_SHAPPIR: I've told you that's a bad thing.
AIMEE_KNIGHT: I'm very happy with my salary. And so what I've done, which is the truth, my first job, they kind of asked me expectations and I gave a pretty wide range, definitely on the low end. And the truth was like, I want to find a place that has, that where they do testing and there'll be some sort of mentorship and wanted to do full stack. And so I viewed it as like setting up my career for success in the long haul, less about salary. And And I say what, like I feel like it's slightly different depending on where you are in your career progression because, and where you are in the interview progression. Now if you're talking to a recruiter, like their job is to get talent for the cheapest price. And so if you're a brand new developer and you are doing a phone screen with the recruiter, you most definitely want to not give a number, not negotiate and just say, I, you know, I do this. If it's true, like I'm in it because I love it and you know, I love learning and those kinds of things and because that's going to be very compelling to a recruiter to get you on to the next process and actually get like a technical screen with somebody because as somebody who's new, like that's what you need. Now again, like I haven't negotiated even to my career like at this point, like six years in, but I feel like, you know, a little bit further and you could possibly negotiate more. So again, that's just my experience and I feel like it's worth sharing because it has worked well, unless I'm some sort of outlier.
DAN_SHAPPIR: Well, I disagree. I think we all have a comment on this. Yeah. Look, you may decide not to discuss your monetary expectations with the recruiter, but at the end of the day, if there's going to be too large of a discrepancy, then it might not be worth all the effort. And so you do want to get it out of the way at a certain point. So either they come to you with a very sufficiently clear description of the type of role that they want to give you and then you can kind of surmise the compensation that will come along with it. Or you need to put that out there because like I said, if you're going to go through that entire process of interviews and then it will just disintegrate because your expectations are too divergent but you've wasted everybody's time, especially your own.
DANNY_THOMPSON: One thing I'll jump on two points. The first is, you know, one thing I always tell people especially when they're going for an interview or to create their profiles on LinkedIn, there's a quote by Muhammad Ali says, I pretend to be the champ even if you're not. When you do anything, you need to show that you're the best at what you do in a sense. So if I'm going to an interview, I'm showing that same thing that I'm very powerful in what I'm doing. Same thing like when for my first job in tech, I negotiated the salary. And what's funny is I come from a gas station background where we deal with vendors and we're always negotiating price points. So when they gave me the salary, it was almost a reflex to negotiate it. And as I was saying it, I was pretty much regretting it at that moment. Like, this is my very first job. They're taking the chance on me. Do I need to be doing this? And they not only did they actually rejected my negotiation and came back higher. And I think through that, I proved that I wanted to be with them, they wanted to be with me. And they're now at a level to where we're both going to be content for a long period of time. I think one of the biggest things for companies is it's expensive to train new people. And there's a, I mean, any developer that joins a job, you're never going to be at your peak on day one. It takes a while to learn the code base and learn how the company works and all the things that they expect. So that's an expensive training period. Would it be easier just to give this person the right amount of money upfront and then they don't leave right away? And I think that's a fair expectation from any company and any future employee to want. So if they can come with a dollar amount that makes you happy to stay, why not do that? Why keep it so low to where you're almost regretful for a long time?
DAN_SHAPPIR: It's funny how companies brag that they have the best engineers but they pay the industry average.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Yeah, I have two comments on this. One is, is the, and just to tie back to what Danny said before we started talking about negotiating salaries and then to Amy's point, one thing that I find is that confident people are really attractive. You know, they're attractive to companies, they're attractive to, you know, potential suitors, you know, in life, it attracts friends, it builds charisma. And so if you're, if you're out there and you're acting like not that you deserve it, but that you're, you're that you know that you're competent, right? You know you can do the job. That's really, really attractive to people. And throwing out a counteroffer is just another way of demonstrating your confidence that you're the person that they want. The other point that I was gonna make, and this is also to both what Dan and Danny said, is I've talked to a lot of companies that they go out and they'll get in touch with me and they're like, you know all these developers, we need a senior dev. And this probably happens about once a month. You know, usually it's in the, the Ruby space, just because I've been in that space forever, but yeah, they're like, we need a senior developer. Do you know any? And I'm like, well, for one, I don't know anything about your company. And so I'm not necessarily comfortable referring somebody to you, right? Cause I want them to be happy with wherever they end up. But the other thing is, is then I'll turn around and I'll say, well, if you can't find a senior, why don't you hire a junior? And they turn around back and say, well, they always leave because they're not making enough. And my point to them is, is, okay, well, once you've trained them for a year, give them a raise, right? Pay them what they're worth. Because if it's worth it to somebody else to hire them, you know, for 20 or 30,000 more than they're making with you, then it's worth at least that much for you to keep them because you've already trained them.
DANNY_THOMPSON: That's such a good point. And Memphis, I'm from Memphis, Tennessee. So Memphis in particular is very old school and they have these crazy expectations for developers. They want someone that has 20 years experience in Dino and 10 years experience in Angular 9. And they don't want to take the juniors. They don't want to look at someone that doesn't have crazy levels of experience, even though one thing with Memphis, we have a lack of talent and jobs. What happens is we end up training talent here and they can't find good jobs and then they go to other markets. So we keep getting caught in the cycle of not having people to fill valuable positions. So I helped organize a meeting with 70 of the biggest city leaders in tech. And I said, we have a big problem. And if we don't, if we don't solve this, what are we going to do? Because I truly believe Memphis has all the potential to become one of the next biggest tech hub cities in America. We have so many global corporations here. Their headquarters are here. FedEx, AutoZone, all these companies originate from this town. And we, they're hiring developers. You know, I helped bring quite a few jobs last year, just showing what we have over here. So if we don't produce this talent, if we don't keep jobs for the junior developers that will become senior developers that will meet the criteria you're looking for now, if we don't do that, then what do we do when we have more jobs than we have talent for? My company actually opened up an office in Denver because they realized, oh, there's no way we're gonna get all the developers that we need here. They didn't want to, they had to. So if we don't produce and provide these opportunities, what can we do?
DAN_SHAPPIR: I'm curious of the people that you interface with or trying, you know, are new to the field, trying to get their first positions. Like what is mostly their background? Do you also see like, do you also encounter college graduates or people that have gone through boot camps or other people that studied like you on their own? So what's the mix?
DANNY_THOMPSON: So okay, this, this will be a slightly long answer though. So for me, I have a mix of college grads who I love to help, self-taught learners, which I love to help, but more so, Memphis is one of the lowest cost of living cities in America. We have an area in particular where the average household income is $18,000 a year. What I'm trying to do is help transform these areas by utilizing tech. So what I'm doing is if I can take one of these people, provide them resources, provide them a meetup space, provide them mentorship, can I take one of them and put them in a developer job to where they're making 60 grand a year? And if so they're now generating the income of three and a half households. If I can get 20 people from that same area, I just changed the neighborhood. Now they're paying more in taxes. The schools are getting more resources. Now their own children are getting more resources. Now we're deterring gang violence. We're deterring drug activity. We're doing all this just by facilitating the growth. This is how we close the income gap. The problem is, and what I truly believe is a lot of these people from these areas don't know it's possible the same way. I didn't know it was possible. Once I knew it was possible and there was a path there, I flew to it and it worked. So a lot of the people that I helped last year come from these areas. So now we're starting to see this trickle effect of where now, and this goes to another point, I always get from people, well, when they start making more money, they leave. Not necessarily, because if you're already comfortable with where you are, what necessity do you have to leave that area? You know, I grew up pretty damn poor. My mom still lives in the same area. And people say, you know, why don't you, you know, what does your mom feel when she sees where you live as opposed to her? I said, she's having the time of her life. She doesn't know any difference. She's, this is where she's grown up. This is the environment that she's always lived in. This is where her friends are and her family are. Why does she want to leave that? It's the same thing for anybody. If you're in an environment where you're comfortable and you, you know, you've got roots in, you're not going to leave just because you're making more money. So now you're investing back directly into those local economies. You're investing into those neighborhoods. You're spending more at the corner store. You're spending more at the grocery store. So those taxes are circulating in that area. So just by providing resources and facilities of growth, you're changing that area. So right now I'm even helping to raise, I think I said this earlier, I'm helping to raise money for a single mother to basically go to a boot camp. She needs the help in learning and they do classes at night. So she has four kids. And this is the way that she can organize that. And this is someone that's making $18,000 a year right now as a restaurant worker, she's a waitress. So if we can help someone like that, you're not only just changing her life, but her four kids are having their lives change. Now they have more resources, they have a parent that's gonna be around more, they have a parent that can provide more learning opportunities for their kids. So why not explore something like that, as opposed to just saying, let me focus on one sector. Let's focus on them all, let's help everybody in any way we can. Positive impact creates more positive impact. If we can create that positive impact in that area that needs it, it's gonna trickle all throughout the city.
DAN_SHAPPIR: Are you getting any sort of assistance from the municipality or the local government or whatever?
DANNY_THOMPSON: So I'm very excited that the city of Memphis has seen a lot of things that we're doing. And they just hosted their very first hackathon where they were coming up with ideas to real life solutions in the city. And we had developers from all over the city, you know, volunteer for it and come out. And Memphis saw like, whoa, we have some potential here that we didn't know existed. And I think sometimes, especially with local governments, it takes being slapped in the face with reality before they're like, oh, there's something here. So I think that opportunity where we carried a lot of the load, you know, and I was happy, I was more than happy for my group, GDG Memphis to be a part of that. And the organizer, Ellen Paddock, which is phenomenal, she really took a lot on her shoulders to make that happen and she fought a lot with the local government and now we've got something that's going to be continuous. And now they're looking at how can we do a hackathon for kids and how can we do this and that. And now I'm actually a board advisor, a STEM advisor on the Board of Education for Memphis to help change the curriculum for the high school students to be more relevant to today's needs. Because a lot of them are graduating and they're not taking STEM classes in college unless they're being forced to because there's no real need there and they're finding out that they're in ill-prepared for even an intro to comp sci class. So I think we have some real potential to make some big change, especially in the younger generation.
AIMEE_KNIGHT: One question that I wanted to ask a while back, and yeah, I guess we're coming close on time, so this will be it at least for me. I apologize if you already talked about this, but I know for me, I was not really completely clear if I was going to enjoy programming initially. And I always go back to, because I used to listen to Ruby Rhoades way back when, and I think Katrina Owen used to be on there and she talked about this book called So Good They Can't Ignore You. And kind of one of the underlying premises of the book was that if you get really good at something, you will eventually enjoy it. And I would say that has definitely been the case for me. I'm saying the latter that like I've I'm not declaring myself great. I'm just saying that I've worked hard and moderately know what I'm doing now, and I really enjoy programming. But I say that because you are saying at the beginning, Danny, about not sure if this was a career path for you. I mean, I definitely didn't think that I was smart enough or any of that stuff. But the book really encouraged me to go forward and now that I've been in it for a while, I really enjoy what I'm doing. And not just that, but as with a lot of people, like was in a not great situation and it's provided me the ability to provide for myself and that kind of thing. Yeah, so I guess my question is like, did you enjoy it immediately or do you think you've like learned to love it the more that you've done it?
DANNY_THOMPSON: So I enjoyed it almost immediately. I think at first I was very confused at where I was going. We take for granted how comfortable we are with HTML to where we don't realize how daunting it is to someone that doesn't know it. Essentially, they're learning a brand new language, but not only are they learning a new language, they're learning a new way to think. So it's scary in the beginning. There's a lot that's unknown, but I always say persevere and go through it and...As you keep going through and you uncovering all these new things to learn, you're just scratching the surface. And I always say to say that you're a developer is to say you're on a lifelong journey of learning. Like it never stops. There's always new updates. There's always new things to learn, new frameworks, you know, Dino just came out. And you know, if you were on Node before, now that's something you want to explore as well. So echo on one thing as well. I always tell people when you're learning, keep learning, keep growing. You're always going to be learning. But when you're looking for a job, a lot of times it's hard for someone who's just entering that market and they don't know how to make it happen and they keep getting hit with no, no, no. If you really want that job in tech, you need to be so undeniably good that they have no choice but to accept you. They need to be like, man, I wish I could turn this guy down, but he's so damn good. He brings so much value to this team. I got to have him. He knows his stuff so well that I just have to have him. A lot of times with you know, self-learners, they rush through things and they rush to the point where they're like, if I hit this milestone, jobs will want me. And I try to always tell them, slow down. Comprehension overcomes completion. Meaning if you understand it, you'll reach your destination much faster, much easier. But if you're going through it, and it goes back to another point that I would say, I'd rather have no opportunity but be prepared for one than to have an opportunity to not be prepared at all. Because when you blow it, not only are you blowing the opportunity, you're really going to hurt when it fails. Like nothing hurts more when you go into an interview with a company that you really wanna be with, and then you realize, oh man, I totally bombed that interview. That's a very painful experience. Instead, I'd rather be very comfortable in my abilities and to echo on one thing as well, to be confident in my skills. A lot of times people associate confidence with being very loud and controlling, and go, no, no, no, no. You can be very quiet and be confident. You can be almost an introvert, but you're so confident in that you can develop a web application that that code will speak volumes for you. Be confident in what you know. And when you demonstrate that, everyone will wanna have you. And I always say, especially with self-learners or beginner learners, like, I wanna celebrate your success. I want you to tell me that you succeeded in getting exactly what you wanted and you persevered and you got it. And I want to celebrate that for you. But the only way that I could ever celebrate that is if you put your fingers on that keyboard and build things. Stop watching so many tutorials that you don't build anything. You can watch a million tutorials and it's worthless if you don't build something with it. So keep building things and in doing so, you're going to solidify your concepts.
AJ_O’NEAL: I got a question for you. Um, cause this is one thing where it seems like a lot of people struggle and need extra guidance. Cause I mean, you're very self-motivated and most people just aren't like that. Right? So your story is inspirational, but for a lot of people, it's not going to be something they can really like latch onto because they don't have that inner drive yet or they haven't discovered it or it's just, but you disagree with this?
DANNY_THOMPSON: So one misconception that a lot of people have about me is I'm not motivated. I've never been motivated. I'm the opposite of motivated. But what I am is I'm driven and my drive is unstoppable. When I pick a goal, I associate my drive with that goal and it will never be stopped. So motivation is almost, you can watch a motivational video and be excited for a couple of minutes, but it dissipates. You need to know, and I always say your goal needs to be so big that it excites you. So like when I wake up at four o'clock in the morning, I'm not fighting my way out of bed. I'm excited to get out of bed because I know by putting in this work, I'm getting to the point where I wanna be. So it's not motivated because motivation is that emotional feeling. My drive is just that mentality that I have to hit this goal.
AJ_O’NEAL: Okay. Well, the question I was going to ask is, like a lot of people have this hard time, you know, you say code, code, code, and I 100% agree with you, but they have a hard time figuring out like, what is it that I do? Because they don't necessarily have enough understanding yet to be able to relate like, okay, here's a real-life problem. And here's how I could think about it in a way that I could code a solution to like, you know, get into it. When you're saying code, code, code, do you have any tips? Like what should someone code or how should they decide what to code?
STEVE_EDWARDS: The answer I've always heard. I'll jump in real quick. Sorry, Danny. You know, when it comes to starting entrepreneurs, starting a business or somebody starting an open source project or whatever, always comes down to spine something that scratches your own itch as compared to, Hmm, okay, let's see. I think maybe I'll make this product. Cause it looks like there's an opening in the market for this Or, yeah, I think I'll do something like this. If you find something that does a job for you.
DANNY_THOMPSON: So, but there's a lot of people that aren't used to that way of thinking.
STEVE_EDWARDS: Like. Yeah, I know. It does take a mindset, but I think once you get to your head around it, then you understand that, okay, it's along the lines of the classic line about, don't be afraid to ask a question because somebody else, it probably has the same question, they're afraid to ask it. Along the same lines you've got something, say you build up a little app and you throw it out on GitHub, pretty soon you start seeing people, oh man, I've been wondering how to solve this thing too. And they start jumping in. But this also sort of ties in with the motivation and the drive, you know, however you want to phrase it. I think we're splitting hairs a little bit there. But the point is, you're going to want to work on something that is doing something that has a valid use as compared to some, there's a term I'm looking for where you make up a task just to show something contrived. Okay, as compared to something that's contrived. So, you know, if you find, I'll say, I keep repeating myself here, just find something that is solving a task for you and that's gonna give you drive to do it because you can see, hey, here's a goal that I'm gonna reach that's actually gonna solve a real life problem. And to me, that's always been the best way to code something, to build something, is to have something real life.
DAN_SHAPPIR: I have to give a concrete example of that. So the company I worked at, I currently work at, which is Wix. The interesting story about them is that the people who founded the company originally had a totally different idea about what it is that they wanted to do. And when they started that company, they came to the conclusion that they needed a website and they were looking for a way to get a good website relatively cheaply and they couldn't find a tool to do that. So they ended up creating a tool to build websites. And that's evolved into Wix. That's what Wix is today, a tool for building websites or a platform for building websites. And that was not the original idea. That was just, like you said, scratching the itch that they had. And it turned out to be a really, really big itch.
AJ_O’NEAL: Wasn't Slack like a game studio or something?
DAN_SHAPPIR: Yes. And then they... And I think they're Shopify. And Shopify, I think they were trying to sell ski equipment or something, and they couldn't find a good software to build an online store. So they ended up creating it and that's what they do now. So, you know, a lot, you know, there's a lot to be said for, for scratching your own itch.
AJ_O’NEAL: So I, I absolutely agree with that question. I'm trying to drive at is with people that are not familiar with that concept of scratching your own itch, like, is there any way to give them like a a booster or a mental model or a way into it. Like one thing I've been thinking about is telling people, just try doing things that you do every day, but script them or write a program for it instead. So figure out how to send a text message, figure out how to send an email, figure out how to open up a web browser, figure out how to, you know, just like small tiny automation tasks to kind of prime the pump. That's what I'm asking, like, how do people prime the pump when they're not yet in that mindset of scratching an itch because they haven't yet realized that they have the power to change the world.
DANNY_THOMPSON: So the exact example I give people, and we've kind of touched on it a little bit, like you said, what do you do every day? If you ask someone like, what do you do every day? It kind of almost is a question that draws a blank, right? You can't really think, like if I put you on the spot, like what do you do all day? And you'll just come up with some vague answers. You can't think of the minute tasks.
AJ_O’NEAL: Netflix, Netflix.
DANNY_THOMPSON: Yeah, well, I always say, look at the last 10 things you Googled. You Googled them for a reason, right? What is the last 10 things you searched? Obviously, if you're building...
DANNY_THOMPSON: Yeah, I always say, look at the last 10 things you search, build one of them. Did you search a dog grooming store? Well time to build a dog grooming app. Did you just search the ice cream parlor around your block? Build that website. It doesn't have to be something so insane. And I mean this in the most nicest way possible. No one is curing cancer by building a side project here. You're building it for practice. You're building it for a portfolio item. Maybe you might hit something, but for the most part, I think you're just padding it out to try and get that first job. Well, pad out things that you are gonna enjoy building. Pad out things that you are gonna understand the complexity of like, you know what the ice cream store serves. You know it's soft serve. You know it's sorbet or whatever. So build that website around them. You can't think of your favorite sports team. Think of the car you drive. Let's make a website analyzing that. Or build a phone website. Every single person has a phone. Build a website that demonstrates why your phone is awesome. Or build a website why your wife is always right. Or build a website why you go do the things that you do. It doesn't have to be so complex. Start small and then as you start building your mentality of, you know, now I'm thinking in algorithms, now I'm thinking of this, now you can solve bigger problems. But start small. We all started small. I always say in tech, we all started very dumb and we learned our way to where we wanted to be. So just learn your way and then you'll start learning how to solve bigger problems.
DAN_SHAPPIR: By the way, a great example of just that, Amy, I think you brought him as a guest talking about boot camps. And he talked about the app that he was building, which I think was for amusement parks, for rides, and because he loves it. So that's the app he decided to build. So that's a great example of that, I think.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: I'm building an app for ice cream because I love ice cream. What's wrong with ice cream? All right, well, we're running a little out of time. Anything else we want to get in last minute before we go to picks?
STEVE_EDWARDS: So real quick, one of the, you know, we were talking about going into interviews and being confident and not being, please, please just give me a job. To me, that struck an interesting note because that's true anywhere, not just in terms of applying for a job. You see that when it comes to interviews, like promotional interviews within a company or a public safety department or whatever. The one that struck the chord for me is you can see that in personal relationships. You know, I've got kids that are 20 and 17 in there in the dating world. And there's a famous book by not a famous book. There's a book I read by a guy, Jim Dobson, where he's talking about relationships. And he talks about, you know, the time where he met his wife and he decided that he, you know, this is when they were in college. And he said, you know, he decided he wasn't going to be the, oh, please, please, you know, take me. He's he went to her and said, you know, this is where I'm going in life, this is what I want to do. I would really love for you to come along with me. If you want to come with me, great, if not, then we'll need to figure something out. And that was the big changing point in their relationship because she saw the confidence in him. He wasn't saying, you got to come with me and do what I want to do. He said, here's where I want to go and I would like you to come with me. He wasn't begging, he was just confident and stated his case and that was the big turning point. And so I see that with relationships with my kids, with people that are wanting to date or or in a relationship with, and I just tell them, always have confidence, but don't set yourself short. Have your pride, have your confidence, and that's what will be attractive to people, is that you have that confidence, that you have the pride, and that you're not just gonna do whatever it takes for anybody else.
DANNY_THOMPSON: You hit on a point that I try to, so I give a lot of speaking engagements, and I go talking at places that wanna hear me talk for whatever reason, but I was talking at Google and I was talking to a room full of prisoners learning how to code in a prison. And I gave both the exact same advice. Be confident in what you're doing. Don't beg for anything because when you beg, obviously it's a deterrent, but more so be passionate about what you're doing. Because even if you're at the lowest level or the highest level, if you still have that passion, you're going to be able to achieve whatever you're set out to do. And the same thing with the prisoner. You know, the deck is already stacked against you. Most people don't want you to succeed at that point. So you need to be so undeniably good that no one can say no. You need to be so passionate that it's infectious and you need to be so confident that no one can doubt you. Simple as that. And I think that applies to that. That's a high bar. I mean.
DAN_SHAPPIR: Kind of related to that, and that will be my final question. So when somebody goes to an interview, do you have recommendations of how to best prepare? Or do you actually help people prepare ahead of interviews?
DANNY_THOMPSON: Sometimes I help them prepare, especially if they're local to my market. I try to learn as much as I can about other markets when people are asking for my help, but it's very hard. You know, there's a lot of unknowns. So right now, two main markets that I pay attention to is Atlanta and Memphis, because they're very similar in a lot of respects. But Atlanta has definitely more opportunities right now as opposed to Memphis. But one thing that I always say is, Learn the broad strokes of the company that you're going to. Like if you're going to XYZ company, at least know what they do. At least know, man, what their mission statement is. Are they trying to ship packages? Well, why are they trying to ship packages? A lot of this stuff is on the about page of most company websites. So at the very least, spend 10 minutes on the company website. Get an idea. Because what's the worst thing to walk into a company and they're like, so why do you want to work here? Well, I don't really know what you do. How are you going to answer that? So it's good to know something. And on top of that, I always say, create a couple of bullet points for yourself. What I like to call your elevator pitch. We know you are amazing. This interviewer doesn't know who you are. How can you convey in the shortest period of time that you are in a phenomenal, amazing human being? Well, the way you could do that is by setting up a couple of bullet points, just your very short bio that conveys that. You're learning, regardless of your level, that you're passionate about what you do, that you're interested in tech, and that you're going to bring value to this company. So figure that out and within 30 seconds into a conversation, you can do what I call peaking their interest because someone that has their interest peaked, they're going to pay attention to you a lot more. But I also say use real-life scenarios of things that you've done. Meaning a very boring answer to this question would be, well, do you know SQL? Yeah, I know SQL. And a lot of people are going to answer that question that way. Instead, you can say, yeah, of course I know SQL because I created this application where it stored city data and it stored city names and I was using SQL queries and all that and tables to store that data. That is a very robust answer. That's going to help them remember you as opposed to the blah. Yeah, I know it. Everyone knows it. Yeah. Now you've given them real-life, tangible examples of what you can do. And you can use that in any language, whether it's Java, C sharp, just use an example on a side project that you did. And that is why I'm so big about creating these side projects, because it gives you multiple scenarios to bring that into conversation. But not only that, it's good to program your portfolio site, because I always say that is your business card in tech. You know, to get forth, in my opinion, there's four things that help you, especially as a beginner or regardless of level, stand out in the interview process. One is you need to have a very strong LinkedIn profile, because 90 million users on LinkedIn are upper management, they're hiring managers and decision makers for business. So why wouldn't you want to be popular in the area that they're popular in? Number two, you definitely need to have a good portfolio site. Like I said, it's your business card in tech. Number three, you have to have side projects that demonstrate your knowledge and abilities of the language. And number four, you have to have a resume that gets you through the door. And for me, portfolio sites don't need to be complex. Most hiring managers don't know anything about tech. They're not tech-savvy. They're just there filling out a job ad. So you need to make something that's slightly aesthetically pleasing to where a non-tech savvy person says, oh, this person may know a thing or two, or this is an impressive website. That's how you set yourself apart.
AJ_O’NEAL: And for the people that aren't front end people, just buy a $30 template and don't redo it in React so that it's super complicated and they can't click the button on the website.
AIMEE_KNIGHT: Please don't write a react app for just like a static page. Please, please don't do that.
DANNY_THOMPSON: I completely agree. And to just say this last thing, the portfolio site that I had that I turned down six jobs and countless interviews and I got several phone calls and the job that I got was literally made only in HTML and CSS. There was no way this site was breaking. It was reliable 100% of the time. It looked great. It did the job and it had three sections. An about me section where it showed me doing my meetups. It had my resume and had my social links and you know, and a contact form thing. That's it, it's not CSS. You don't need anything crazy complex. You just needed to do what you needed to do.
AJ_O’NEAL: And you do need a GitHub page. And if you have projects that have zero commits, make them private, especially now that GitHub allows you to do things private. If you're starting a project as an idea, make it private. Don't, I wanna see, you know, three projects of yours that I can go click and just look at code and see is like, is this a boot, the create bootstrap app or does this actually have content in it? Cause so many times I go to the person's get out page and have to click through six different repositories before I find one that has a commit other than initial commit and hello world or, or whatever. Which I mean, like if that's all you have, I guess that's, that's all you have. But definitely if you have something that's that like has solved a problem for yourself, that's scratched your own itch, make sure everything else is private and just have the stuff public and and make sure you have a screenshot of it, you know, right at the top of the readme and have a how to install it. Cause so many people assume, well, everybody must use create react app or whatever flavor of the week tool it is. And so you've got this great app and you list out six features and I get clone it. And I'm like, now, now what do I do? Like, I don't know what your personal stack is. So I mean, if I'm lucky, I can just run NPM run build and it's going to create a dist or a public folder or something. But if that doesn't happen. Like if I can't run NPM install and NPM run build, like, and even if I can't just put it in the readme of like what the instructions are to view it. And if it needs anything else, like a database or whatever. And if you can get it to a point where you've got a little script that builds the thing and then, you know, can set up the initial database tables and you've got a screenshot, ah, perfect. I love it.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: All right, we definitely need to get to Picks, so I'm going to push this over there. Danny, if people want to connect with you online, where do they find you?
DANNY_THOMPSON: All my social media is the same. It's the letter D, Thompson, and then Dev. So I live stream on Twitch. I'm on Twitter. I'm on LinkedIn. I'm on eHarmony. No, I'm just kidding. My wife will hate that joke. But you know, all my social is the same. D, Thompson, Dev.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: All right.
One of the biggest pain points that I find as I talk to people about software is deployment. It's really interesting to have the conversations with people where it's, I don't want to deal with Docker. I don't want to deal with Kubernetes. I don't want to deal with setting up servers. I don't, you know, all of these different things. And in a lot of ways, DevOps has gotten a lot easier. And in a lot of ways, DevOps has also kind of embraced a certain amount of culture around applications, the way we build them, the way we deploy them. I've really felt for a long time that developers need to have the conversations with DevOps or adopt some form of DevOps so that they can take control of what they're doing and really understand when things go to production, what's going on, so that they can help debug the issues and fix the issues and find the issues when they go wrong and help streamline things and make things better and slicker and easier so that they'll more generally go right. So we started a podcast called Adventures in DevOps. I pulled in one of the hosts from one of my favorite DevOps shows, Nell Chamarill Harrington from The Food Fight Show and we got things rolling there. And so this is more or less a continuation of the Food Fight show, where we're talking about the things that go into DevOps. So if you're struggling with any of these operational-type things, then definitely check out Adventures in DevOps. And you can find it at adventuresindevopspodcast.com.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Well, let's go ahead and get some picks in real quick. We'll try and make them fast. AJ, do you want to start us with picks?
AJ_O’NEAL: Yes, I do. Okay, so first of all, since we're talking about this resume stuff, I found a resume template that I really like. And I'm not an HTML CSS guy, but I was able to get in and tweak a couple of things in the CSS to make it a little bit better for my use case. And I'm also going to link to my resume that's live. And basically, every time I'm courting a client and they want to see like a portfolio resume type thing, like this, this is what I use and I tweak it every single time I'm courting a new client. So I will, I've got things that are commented out and I'll, I'll comment something out and then republish it, or I'll add some new things in or whatever, right? And sometimes I like to screen the clients. So I give them the webpage and tell them they can print to PDF it, or will not screen clients as much as recruiters. If ever I've got a recruiter contacting me about something, I try to see if they can do the work to do the print to PDF. But anyway, it's print to PDF. So exactly what you see on the HTML template is exactly what the PDF becomes minus maybe a half of an EM of line difference on the total page size or something like that. And it just looks, I think it looks really nice and clean. If somebody else has got one to link to, I'd love it if people add that into the comments here as well. But I like it, check it out. There's a link to both the active one as well as the template itself and the couple modifications I made. And then I had a couple of things to pick for this week. I'll try to keep that on the shorter side. Let's see where to go. There's a guy, okay, I've been so frustrated and like I'm watching all these YouTube videos and I don't know if it's something about my behavior, what I've done, but I keep on seeing ads or video ads for VPNs. It can't be something I've done because it's just the videos I'm watching because it's like the content creators are doing their own special ad for VPNs and VPNs are largely a lie. And there's a guy who was one of the guys that was rolling my eyes at with his stupid. Well, he came back later and told the truth and went through one of his own ads, like line by line and basically said, here's where I lied. VPNs don't really do this. And here's why and explained it. And it's, I mean, like I was talking with a buddy of mine about this and he's like, you should do a video. And I came across this thing. It's exactly what I would have said almost word for word. So, you know, if you want to know the truth about what a VPN is and what it's for and what it does and what possible benefit it could have. I'm going to link to this. Well, let me tell you what the title is too. Cause I, if in case you want to search for it rather than visit a link here, it's called this video is sponsored by blank VPN and it's by Tom Scott. And I'm, I don't know. It's kind of weird cause he kind of bit the hand that feeds, but I'm glad that he finally, you know, came out and told the truth. I see so many people that obviously have no clue what a VPN is and they're like, I signed up for such and such VPN. And I've never been better and my internet's super fast and da da da da da and I'm so glad I did it. And it's like, I know that you do not actually use this. You're just doing it cause it's a sponsor. Anyway, that other way, I think I'll save, I got some other picks, I'll save them for next week, but I will touch just briefly on one. Wisdom of the Ancients by Sir Francis Bacon. I started listening to it through a LibriVox recording. Don't really know enough to say whether it's actually any good or not, but seems kind of cool, especially from the perspective of someone from hundreds of years ago. He sounds a little bit more sophisticated and I guess it's translated too, so that probably helps. But it's kind of interesting to think, you know, people hundreds of years ago had a lot of the same types of thoughts that modern, you know, people are having. They just had a different world to live and experience it in. But Wisdom of the Ancients is kind of like how he takes apart Roman stereotypes, not even stereotypes, but archetypes, I don't know what you call them, something to types and applies them to the modern, well, his world, his modern world of like why these things came to be and what they represent. I don't really know how to explain it other than that, but kind of cool thing.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Steve, I know you need to pop over to views on view. Do you want to go next?
STEVE_EDWARDS: Oh, I thought that was tomorrow. Anyway.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Oh, that is tomorrow. I got my days mixed up. My bad.
STEVE_EDWARDS: Okay. I'd be worried there for a second. I'm going to, I got two real quick and one I'm going to play off of AJ. XKCD has a classic cartoon number 979 called wisdom of the ancients. And I refer to it all the time. And it's so funny. The short version of it is somebody who is Googling an answer for some tech problem and they find somebody that had the same question, but then they never posted an answer. And you know, so the guy's looking at a screen going, who are you Denver Coder? What did you see? Oh, you know, because the answer was never posted. So that's one of my favorite ones along with nerds, nerd sniping and Bobby tables. Second is I'm going to go sort of a classic too. I got sucked into watching a very classic movie over the weekend and I ended up recording it and going back and watching it later and that's Casablanca. I hadn't watched it in probably 30 years since I was back in college and I forgot how good of a movie that is and how absolutely stunning Ingrid Bergman was. But just a really good movie all the way around, you know, one of those classics, year of quotes from all the time. But I really enjoyed sitting down and watching that one again. That's it.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Awesome. Dan, what are your picks?
DAN_SHAPPIR: Also start with a commentary on something that AJ said. So I just found this nice quote about how the wisdom of the ancients is still relevant today. The quote goes, the safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato. So, you know, all our thoughts were basically, are essentially based on something from 2,500 years ago. Anyway. My pick, it's kind of a strange pick, I guess. So a month ago, our dog died. It was really, really hard for us. To an extent, we are still grieving. She was really a part of the family. She was nine years old and it happened really unexpectedly and way too soon. My pick is actually the fact that we now adopted a new puppy. So it's not really a replacement. I still see her everywhere around the house but we now have a bundle, a new kind of bundle of joy in the family with this new puppy, and he brings in lots of love and happiness, and we really enjoy taking care of him. So yeah, adopt a puppy or some other pet. So that's my pick for today.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: All right, Amy, what are your picks?
AIMEE_KNIGHT: Okay, I'm gonna go with a tech one really quickly. So because I've been doing a lot more infrastructure stuff and having to level up in those areas. Sometimes it can be hard to... Amazon, GCP, they have so many different services and some of them are not always named, in my opinion, and the best name ever because the name doesn't always say what it does. And trying to find out what it does can lead you down a really big rabbit hole. So this is a post kind of giving a very brief description of what the different services are for AWS. I think I picked one for GCP a couple weeks ago. And then the other thing I'm going to pick, so I think just because of the nature of things going on, I've been trying to order more things off of Etsy as opposed to Amazon, just to try to support smaller business folks right now or people that might be trying to make side income. And as one of those purchases, I'm going to try to pick some more stuff off of Etsy in the coming weeks, but I ordered some masks and these masks are, they're like can double as like a scarf or if you're a girl or a guy, I guess you could pull your hair back with them, whatnot. But I figured those are a little bit more practical for me. So that'll be my other pick. That's it for me.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Nice. So to Dan and Amy's picks, Dan, I'm trying to convince my wife to let me get a puppy. So we'll see how that goes.
AIMEE_KNIGHT: Do it. Do it.
DAN_SHAPPIR: And I do it, but it needs to be in, you know, she needs, you can't just, you know, drop it in her lap. I mean, unless you know, she'll definitely say yes, because it's not it's, it's, it's a lot of work. It's, it's effort.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Yeah,
DAN_SHAPPIR: it's not quite, it's not quite a child, obviously, but it's a lot of effort, certainly in the beginning. And she needs to be prepared for it.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Yeah, I totally get it. Yeah, you have to house train them and stuff. But yeah. And then my four-year-old always reminds me I don't have any hair. I'll tease her. You don't have hair, dad. That's her comeback to everything. Anyway, my picks. So real quick, I'm still doing the One Funnel Away Challenge. I think I might have mentioned that last week. I'm really, really super enjoying it. It is really helping me kind of get my head around some of the marketing stuff that I'm doing. And so I'm going to pick that. I also want to shout out real quick, we're doing conferences for React Native, React, Angular and Vue. I'm starting to put things together for a leadership conference. So I keep an eye out for that. So I'm going to pick all of that. And then yesterday we just went and played kickball as a family and then had a picnic. And I've spent quite a bit of time outside. The people on the call can actually see my face and it's bright red because I've been outside a bunch, got sunburned. But just getting outside has made a major difference for me. So I'm just going to tell people, hey, look, you know, go get outside. Get some sun, get some air. My understanding is, is, you know, the coronavirus doesn't do so well outside. So that's just another reason to do it. But yeah, just go spend some time outside. Danny, what are your picks?
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Awesome. Well, thanks for coming, Danny.
DANNY_THOMPSON: Thank you for having me. Genuinely enjoyed every second of this.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: All right, well, we'll go ahead and wrap up folks. And until next time, Max out.
DANNY_THOMPSON: Thank you guys.
Bandwidth for this segment is provided by Cashfly, the world's fastest CDN. Deliver your content fast with Cashfly. Visit c-a-c-h-e-f-l-y.com to learn more.