STEVE_EDWARDS: Yo, yo, yo, coming at you live from Portland, Oregon.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: We also have AJ O'Neill.
AJ_O'NEILL: Yo, yo, yo, coming at you live from Cryptopia.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Cryptopia, I don't even know what that means. We have Seth Ganship here. Oh, go ahead.
DAN_SHAPPIR: Yo, yo, yo, coming to you from Tel Aviv.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: I'm Charles Max Wood from Top End Devs. And I picked the topic this week. We're gonna talk about online events and online conferences.
Hey folks, this is Charles Max Wood from Top End Devs. And lately I've been working on actually building out Top End Devs. If you're interested, you can go to topendevs.com slash podcast, and you can actually hear a little bit more about my story about why I'm doing what I'm doing with Top Endevs, why I changed it from devchat.tv to Top Endevs. But what I really want to get into is that I have decided that I'm going to build the platform that I always wished I had with devchat.tv, and I renamed it to Top Endevs because I want to give you the resources that are gonna help you to build the career that you want. So whether you wanna be an influencer in tech whether you want to go and just max out your salary and then go live a lifestyle with your family, your friends, or just traveling the world or whatever, I want to give you the resources that are going to help you do that. We're going to have career and leadership resources in there, and we're going to be giving you content on a regular basis to help you level up and max out your career. So go check it out at topendevs.com. If you sign up before my birthday, that's December 14th, if you sign up before my birthday, you can get 50% off the lifetime of your subscription.
DAN_SHAPPIR: also cool.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: So yeah. So, you know, and then I'm putting them together for React, Angular, all the other communities that we serve at, at Top End Devs. And so I wanted to just talk through, Hey, you know, this is an opportunity for people to come and meet people and participate and, and stuff like that. And I'm doing them a little bit different from sort of your, Hey, we're just going to stream you a bunch of talks and then you, you put your feet up and eat some pizza there are some other opportunities in the platform I'm using for people to interact. And so I just wanted to talk through, hey, look, you know, if you're not able to participate in the community, yeah, how do you take advantage of these kinds of conferences and meetups in order to move ahead?
DAN_SHAPPIR: By the way, I don't know how much, if you guys know how difficult it can be for people from certain countries to actually attend conferences or events in the US. I luckily, so in order to visit the US from Israel, for example, at least for now, I know that they're trying to change that, but at least for now, they actually need a tourist visa. And it turns out that because of COVID and whatnot, the line to get an appointment, like in order to schedule an appointment at the embassy to get a visa, a tourist visa, it's like, I don't know, something like 12 months ahead. So you literally, if you want to travel, you need to plan for at least a year in advance or something like that. It's really nuts. As I said, luckily for me, mine is good for five or six years more, but a lot of people just can't visit the US even if they want to.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Right. I've seen that and then I've also seen, okay, so then they hope that there's a conference nearer to them, but that's not always a good option either due to timing or it's in a country that's just as hard for them to get to or they can't afford the travel. Right. But yeah, you know, all of those things come into play and I really want to provide people the opportunity to see and hear from the people who are building the technologies that they use and to get the best practices from people who are out there talking about what goes into what they're doing, right? And kind of get the latest and greatest methodologies and have the opportunity to interact with other people in the community. And as much as it's nice, you know, I was at a conference last month for podcasting, right? And it was awesome to just sit and chat face to face with people that, you know, are in the community and connect with people that I knew from the community before and stuff like that. It's just, it's just not always a realistic thing. I mean, I live in the U.S. and it's still hard because if, if I go to a conference, my wife then has to pick up the slack, getting my kids to school. She's got to make sure that you know, all the other bazillion things they have going on that week happen. She's got to fight them to get their chores done and all the other stuff that I typically do as well as the stuff that she does. And so sometimes the logistics just don't work out. And so, you know, whether, whether you have,
DAN_SHAPPIR: so you're saying that when you come back from a conference, you usually don't come home to a smiling spouse. Not always,
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: no. And, and you know that it's not her fault. It's not my fault. It's just, you know, it's just the way it goes. Yeah.
DAN_SHAPPIR: So I want to start though with like hit you with with a tough question about that because while I totally get the value of attending a conference and you know, in engaging with the community, learning new stuff and new technologies when it's online, when you're effectively sitting in front of your computer as it were and watching a video, how is it better than watching a video of a past conference on YouTube?
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Right. So there are a couple of things and this is just the way I do things, right? I've seen them run different ways where it's not really that different, right? I mean, you plug into the stream, you get the talk and that's it, right? I mean, you know, when the talk's over, you're done. You don't really have any way of interacting. When I put on these conferences, I usually give the speakers an option. They can either prerecord their talk or they can give it live. But then what we do is afterward, we do a 15 minute or so Q and A, right? And so if you're there live and you're picking up on what the talk's about, then you get that opportunity to chat at or however that works, right, with Q&A. A lot of times I'll just bring them on video if they wanna be on video, otherwise they just type their question in. But then they get an answer in real time. So that's one advantage. The other advantage is there's usually an ongoing chat of some kind. And so you can discuss and learn about whatever the topic is as you watch the talk and so you have that opportunity to grow and, you know, and interact with other people as the talk is going on.
DAN_SHAPPIR: So basically like a Slack channel or a discord or something like that, that people can take advantage of the fact that many people are watching the same content at the same time and then can provide feedback or chat with each other, ask questions, et cetera.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Yep.
DAN_SHAPPIR: By the way, have you considered making some of the sessions like quote unquote panelist sessions where people can actually fire a question off of Discord, let's say, but then instead of also answering on Discord, actually read out the question to the relevant person on the panel and have them answer live, real time.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Yeah. I've done that in the past for some of the online conferences that I've done. I've done that just one-on-one. So like 2020, we did that with Douglas Crockford. I mean, he just showed up and answered questions. DHH is going to do that for the Rails one. And I'm totally good with that kind of a thing, you know, or having a panel because all of these different pieces of software allow you to bring on multiple people as presenters or panelists. And yeah, that's, that's ultimately what I like is I like that kind of real time interaction and giving people the opportunity to participate.
DAN_SHAPPIR: Yeah, I totally agree. In that context you know, so I actually attended a physical conference today. Uh, it was, uh, react next in Tel Aviv, fairly large conference, uh, several hundred attendees coming over from the States. We had several other presenters from overseas, obviously many presenters from Israel as well. Turns out that react is pretty popular here. Although I was joking that like, uh, half the talks weren't at least half the talks weren't really about react were more about web development in general, even just development in general. I don't know if that's a good thing or bad thing. But anyway, what I wanted to say that from my perspective, maybe the best thing was better. I think that I don't know if I would say all the talks, but certainly many of the talks was what's often called the hallway track. You know, meeting the various people, engaging with people, you know whether it's waiting for lunch and talking to people or just, you know, hanging out at the various booths, talking to a lot of, you know, a lot of the other attendees. I also happened to know a lot of the speakers. So that was a lot of fun. Do you think that you can achieve a similar experience using something like Discord or Slack? How do you, how do you, do you liven up this sort of conversation?
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Right. So it depends, right? And I've done it, I've tried to do it over Discord and Slack and they don't really measure up. I mean, to be perfectly honest, the system that I'm using now is called AirMeet. And you can actually just set tables, right? Where people can go and they can join a small group of people who are discussing whatever. And the reason that I like that and the reason that I see that work out is effectively people can sit down and they can join a conversation that's just kind of happening in the hallway. But it's not chat, it's video. And so they're part of a video chat. It's not recorded or anything. But you can kind of set those up. And then the other thing that I tend to do and what I'm looking to do.
DAN_SHAPPIR: I apologize for interrupting just to verify that I understand what you're describing. It's like an impromptu zoom or teams or whatever where you
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Yeah,
DAN_SHAPPIR: basically and everybody can talk or is there like a moderator? How does it?
STEVE_EDWARDS: Yeah, the common phrase that I've heard for that is the hallway track.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Yep.
STEVE_EDWARDS: You know, so you have different tracks for your different topics for your conference, but the hallway track is the informal or everybody's outside. And like you said, Chuck, you can go home and watch the videos later. Although granted, sometimes there's, there's some benefit in being in particular presentations and then maybe being able to go up and talk to the presenter afterwards and clarify some questions that you didn't want to take up everybody's time with, or even talk to other people in the class. I had, I'll never forget. I was in a presentation one time back at a Drupal conference years ago. And after the class, I had somebody come up to me because they saw the picture on my laptop without hood and realized, Oh, it's from Oregon. That must be the guy that I worked with before, you know? And so we struck up a conversation and got to talking about stuff. And I can remember seeing, uh, an owner of a Drupal module, which you think of as a library as a generic term. And he and I had been working on something online together and we sat down and talked something out for a few minutes and probably saved a lot of messages on an issue just by sitting down and talking for a few minutes. So the hallway track definitely is a place where a lot of stuff can get done in a short time, much shorter time than it would take online.
DAN_SHAPPIR: Yeah, I think there's another advantage in conferences over just watching videos on YouTube. Usually, at least for me uh... and i think it's true for a lot of other people maybe probably most other people as well is that you usually watch a video on a particular topic when you want to learn about that specific topic so let's say i want to again you get the web performance example let's say one i've heard something new about web performance I want to learn about it then I look then I google search for it but I probably will also go on youtube insert for there and see if uh... any good talks come up and and you know listen to them probably at 1.25 speed or something like that. But what the conference gives me is like more of, like I listen to a variety of talks that I might not otherwise have even considered listening to or attending. And the fact that I'm allocating like a couple of hours just to sit down and learn stuff is something that probably won't happen on its own if I'm just going to watch videos. I know that some places organize like, you know, at lunchtime that people sit together and watch videos together, but I don't know how much actually happens in practice with an actual conference. You know, you go into a talk, you're not sure what exactly you're going to learn. And more often than not, you do actually learn new things and things that can definitely help you in your day-to-day job or, you know, advancing your career or whatever. So I definitely see the value. And saying, okay, like this day on this date is going to be set for just learning new stuff. And I'll do that by attending a conference where I'll hear a bunch of talks. And I can, as you said, I can also engage with and ask questions and follow up and stay connected to maybe some of the presenters or some of the other attendees.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Yep, absolutely. And one of the things that I advocate with the top end devs method is you learn something new every day and it can be something small, right? Watch a 10 minute video or go read a section out of a book, just a small section where you pick something up, right? Cause if you're consistently moving the needle every day, uh, you know, you make 1% worth of progress, that's 37 times growth over the course of a year. And so if you can just pick that up, right? And so the conference is kind of a way of accelerating that a bit, you know, cause you get intense activity over however long the conference is, but yeah, you can go and you can pick and choose the topics or the things that are of interest to you. And then yeah, you can go network or take advantage of the other things that are offered from the conference the rest of the time. But yeah, you spoke to companies doing like lunch and learns and things like that. And my experience is, is that you'll get somebody who's gung ho about doing it for a month or two and then they get busy.
DAN_SHAPPIR: Yeah. Kind of tapers out. Yeah. One thing that might also be interesting, I don't know if you've tried it in the past would be uh once the schedule is set and you've started uh... enable enabling people to register is that in the registration form you also will have like an option to send specific questions or suggestions to some of the speakers like i would love for you to talk about that or maybe you can answer that and maybe then you know either they address in the talk itself or like it said uh... when engaging with attendees after the actual talk. But, uh, so being able to like know that something that is of interest to you will likely get addressed is also another, uh, potential benefit over just watching a video where you don't know whether or not the thing that you want to know is actually going to be touched on at all.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Yep. Absolutely.
DAN_SHAPPIR: Hey, AJ, you're awfully quiet.
AJ_O’NEILL: Well, you kind of bringing up the things that I was going to say anyway. I mean, my major thing is that I find there's more going on in the hallways. I mean, if I'm going to a conference, the two things I wanna do is present on something because that's one of the best ways to get introduced to people. And I do a lot of the local conferences, so I get the opportunity to do that. Whereas the big ones, you probably can't take the opportunity to present at as easy. But taking the opportunity to present introduces you to a lot of people. You'll find a lot of biz devs are there and they are looking for people to get on their team and whatnot. So when I was young and fresh out of college, that was extremely instrumental for me. And then, like y'all were already talking about the hallway track is that's where I find the best information and just striking up a side conversation with somebody at a table over lunch, I, Hey, what did you think about this technology? So that's, that's when I think of a conference that those are the things I'm really looking for more than a training and, and yes, I was kind of interested to hear how do we translate that into the digital world and, and yeah, for me personally, I find online a lot more difficult because I am ADHD and in the literal sense, I have an extremely hard time paying attention and conversations if we're not either drawing something or working on something, you know, when it's a one person to many people type of situation. I literally have self-talk in my head about, oh, pay attention, wait, what was that?
DAN_SHAPPIR: Does it happen to you when you yourself attend a physical conference, it's being part of the audience?
AJ_O’NEILL: Sure, but it's a little bit easier when things are tangible and real and you're part of a group reaction to things. So people are asking questions, it's very very fluid. I like the idea Chuck was talking about having the video session where it's still got that live element to it.
DAN_SHAPPIR: By the way, just a comment on something that you said. You said that attending some of the bigger conferences can get you obviously more challenging or more difficult or less likely. I totally agree. But I also think that that's not a reason not to try. I usually submit to several of the big conferences. Now, obviously, I get, you know, plenty of rejections like I think most everybody does, unless, I don't know, unless you're Adi Osmani or Kenzie Dodds or whatever, but I also get accepted. So I, prior to COVID, I was able to attend something like two or three large conferences a year as a speaker. And so far since COVID ended, I've already attended two, well, quote unquote, large conferences as a speaker. And let's, and you know, we're only halfway through the year. So I'm hoping for a third. So we'll see. What I usually do, by the way, is I usually submit something like three or four sessions trying to increase, you know, improve the odds. And you know what? And it works on occasion. And on occasion is all I need.
AJ_O’NEILL: So what's the benefit that you get out of that, Dan?
DAN_SHAPPIR: Well, first of all, a couple of things. First of all, I have to say that many times these larger conferences involve travel. And now that our kids are grown, my wife can often travel with me, in which case we kind of turn it into a vacation. Like this time around, the conference, it was JSConf in Budapest in Hungary. And after the conference ended, my wife and I took a car. We toured a bit of Hungary and also Slovakia and Poland before flying back to Israel. So, you know, it was a short vacation together with the conference itself. It was about a week and a half, but still it was really nice, especially since we haven't done something like that for a long time because of COVID. So, and you know, the conference usually pays for at least my travel. It pays for the hotel room for both of us. Sometimes they even pay, although more often they know they don't. And it counts as work days, the travel itself. So I don't need to take the extra vacation just, you know, for the day of the flight there and back. So there are a lot of benefits associated with, with the actual, just the travel. Now, usually the bigger conferences also have some of the bigger presenters, bigger presenters, I get to engage with them as well often very interesting. I've made some good friends that way. It's good for your personal brand. I mean, you know, the fact that, like I said, I spoke at a JSConf or at a Riley Fluent while it was going, or at the Mozilla View Source. All of these conferences, they help you with the next conference that you try to then attend as a speaker. You get your name around. And also being on this podcast actually helps in that regard. So yeah, I enjoy it. And I like talking in front of people. What can I tell you? It's more exciting to speak in front of 600 people than it is to speak in front of 20, if it's like a small meetup. So yeah, it's fun, I enjoy it.
STEVE_EDWARDS: I never would have guessed you'd like to talk, Dan. Ha ha ha!
CHUCK: Ha ha ha! Ha ha ha!
DAN_SHAPPIR: You should have said, I never knew you ever shut up. That would have been more-
STEVE_EDWARDS: I was trying to be polite. I was trying to be polite.
AJ_O’NEILL: I thought that joke was reserved for me. Everybody's taking my stuff today.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Yeah, the Birds of the Feather was kind of where I drew the topic specific tables idea from. And so, and I've seen it done where, yeah, you had the Birds of a Feather kind of ongoing throughout the conference, right? So they were all in the same room or the same two rooms, and then you just rotate topics every hour. And then I've also seen it where they basically had a Birds of a Feather hour. And it was just, hey, we're going to do them all at once. And, you know, they're all going to be in these, these rooms or these spaces. And yeah,
Hey folks, I'm here with JD from Raygun JD. I have to complain. I mean, when I started in tech, like 20 years ago, one of the first things they taught me was to use tail and grep to find the problem on a server. And, uh, I don't do that anymore. Um, I have to say Raygun kind of solves that problem for me and picks up all the stuff that really is relevant to the request or whatever that came in. I'm curious, do you find that with kind of the oldsters like me, a common thing? I think there's definitely better approaches to solving some of these problems now. I always used to think of logging. I heard this great analogy once. It was like, logging tools are like coffins. Things go in there. They very rarely come out. And you feel safe because it's there. But there's so much noise. Understanding what's important and what's not takes a lot of effort. Yeah, and I mean, you know, often I talk about Raygun's crash reporting product as being like a black box flight recorder. Like just tell me when the plane blows up because I need to fix that really urgently, you know? And that's been hugely valuable. You don't need to tell that. That's true. You know folks, you should just go get Raygun and then you can see when stuff breaks, what matters. You can get it at raygun.com. They actually are doing a free trial, so go check it out.
DAN_SHAPPIR: You know what could be lots of fun? I don't know how easy or difficult it would be to organize, but I'm thinking it might be really interesting to try is to have this kind of a interactive Jace Jabber podcast episode where we can bring, you know, like, uh,
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: I've done that too,
DAN_SHAPPIR: attendees on the podcasts in real time, as it were, have them talk with, with us about whatever and then turn it into an episode. So, you know, one of the benefits of attending the conference is that you get to be on this podcast.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Yeah, we've done that in the past too. And that's a lot of fun. Sometimes it's a little bit of a logistic logistical thing just because usually when you invite somebody up. So we probably want to line those people up ahead of time. And the reason is, is because then we can invite them in and they can be approving because you have to prove in your browser let me use my microphone and my camera on this website, and blah, blah, blah. And so then we could just have them all ready to go, right, when it's time to bring them in. And yeah, we could, we could just have them either sign up and we know we're gonna have two or three people, or they could submit questions, and we pick the questions we wanna take, or yeah. But yeah, you would have to have a ticket for conference in order to be a part of it.
DAN_SHAPPIR: Yeah, I think that would be great. Like when people register, you could say, you know, I want to, I would like to participate on the podcast and then you say, okay, the first five people that sign up like that, uh, we'll get a chance to participate or something along these lines. I think that could be really cool.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Yep, absolutely. And yeah, that's, that's always fun too, because we get to talk to people who love the show and they get to talk to us. And so it's kind of a win-win.
DAN_SHAPPIR: I have to say that, for example, at JSConf, I had Quite a number of people come up to me during the conference and tell me, hey, you're Dan Shapir, you're on JS Jabber. We really love the podcast. We enjoy it a lot. Some took pictures with me, which made me feel like a celebrity. And that was funny. Yeah.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: I've always thought that was funny when it's happened to me. It's always a little bit strange, too, because the rest of my life, I just walk around like a normal guy. So I'll clear up.
STEVE_EDWARDS: Somebody wanted to take a picture. If somebody wanted to take a picture with me, I would remind them that I'm the host with the face for radio. So I'm not sure if they'd...
DAN_SHAPPIR: I don't think any one of us would win a beauty contest. Let's put it this way.
STEVE_EDWARDS: Oh, AJ's got the closest. He's got all the hair still as compared to the rest of us.
AJ_O’NEILL: I didn't want to be that guy, but I was going to say... Yeah.
STEVE_EDWARDS: That's why I said it for you, AJ, to make it sound better.
AJ_O’NEILL: I appreciate that, because I do feel rather beautiful.
DAN_SHAPPIR: Especially with that purple background.
STEVE_EDWARDS: Remember it's not paint. It's lights, not paint.
AJ_O’NEILL: Yeah. It's amazing. Yeah. People think that it's paint.
DAN_SHAPPIR: I still think that it's paint.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: So one other thing that I wanted to bring up was, and then you've already kind of mentioned it, Dan is the,
DAN_SHAPPIR: Hey, you painted your room again.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: He said it to change colors for those of you who can't see the video,
AJ_O’NEILL: but everyone.
CAHRLES: All right. So one other thing I wanted to bring up is just the videos afterward. One other thing that I have seen work out for some people is they buy, they pay for the videos after the fact, right? Because maybe they didn't know about the conference. And so, you know, they pay for access or they miss some of the talks because they were doing hallway track kind of stuff or they had an emergency at work. But, you know, whatever, you know, however that goes together, essentially what I've seen is, you know, people get on afterward and then. We usually do have a slack or something for people afterward, right, who have participated in the conference one way or the other, right? So they'll get on and they'll say, hey, I watched the video and I liked this, or I watched the video and I had a question about this, and then the community will often join in and help them out with stuff. So that's also been a positive thing in my experience with these online conferences. It's kind of the camaraderie you get after the fact.
DAN_SHAPPIR: By the way, an interesting thing that I noticed in the conference that I attended today was that quite a number of people were using VS code as their slides, whatever.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Oh, interesting.
DAN_SHAPPIR: Yeah, like they were creating MD5, MD, sorry, markdown files within VS code. And so that way they could easily transition in between showing actual code and showing the slide. They didn't have to jump between environments. But I still found it odd to see can't see dots, for example, going from slide to slide by switching tabs. It was kind of strange. I don't know.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: I've seen a few people do that with, yeah, VS code or Vim or Emacs. I've also seen systems where they're kind of set up so that you can build your slides with Markdown and then have them rendered in a browser. And yeah, that's always that's always fun and interesting to see them do whatever. One of the things that I've seen that was really cool is that, yeah, if they're in an Emacs or Vim, is that you can do the inline execution. And so they have everything set up and then they'll execute the lines of code as they go. And that's been interesting to see that.
DAN_SHAPPIR: Oh yeah, or for example, if they have code examples, instead of typing everything out, they have it in Git and then they just get the various commits and and that way they just update the code interactively within their environment without having to type out everything. It's, it's interesting. Yep. Yeah.
DAN_SHAPPIR: By the way, what do you consider the big advantage of that over just using something like a Google Slides or whatever?
AJ_O’NEILL: Because I can't figure out Google Slides.
STEVE_EDWARDS: It's not that hard.
AJ_O’NEILL: I beg to differ. How do you turn off dag on smart quotes? Do you really want people not be able to copy and paste your code because every brick in quote is a smart quote and the line breaks aren't right? No, I, I used Google slides, but it's always really annoying to have to go paste something in a code formatter and then come back. If you use markdown slides, then you can just have prettier or whatever your, your formatter is. You know, it's just going to work automatically because it's just an MD file. So when you put a JS block and you save the JS is going to get auto indented or, you know,
DAN_SHAPPIR: Yeah, I get, I get what you're saying. I get what you're saying. I usually try to avoid putting too much code in slides. Anyway, if I, if I do end up, if I do want people to copy paste code, what I would usually do is put it like in a gist or something and then put the link to it in, in the, in the speaker notes so that when people that later get the slides, they can then just, you know, click that link and get it to code that way. But you're right. If your talk is like lots and lots of code, then Google slides or PowerPoint or whatever is probably not going to be the best environment for you.
AJ_O’NEILL: Well, just take a look at this real quick. Click on the link and see the little live.
DAN_SHAPPIR: No, I already did. I already did. I'll look at it after we finish.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Yeah, because I was going to say.
AJ_O’NEILL: You look at this five second demo and to me it's like, bam, yes, that looks, and then you see what the, the, the markdown looks like for it. And it's, yeah, that's, that's what I want. I want something that's simple and easy and gives me a big return without a lot of effort. And that's what, that's what at least MD slides gives me as opposed to Google slides, where I feel like I have to spend so much more time on the, you know, the things that aren't important to the presentation and not part of my skillset as as a coder.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Yeah, I'm with Dan though. I tend to not try and put so much code into my slides or presentation. Give them enough. If I do put code in, it's enough for people to get the idea of what I'm talking about. And then for the rest of it, yeah, I'll link out to a gist or a GitHub repo or something with the code in it. So people can actually go see it.
AJ_O’NEILL: Well, I get that if you've got a hundred lines of code, but I'm talking about just little snippets of two, three lines of code. I mean, if you're getting a, given a technical presentation, aren't you going to have two or three lines of code on at least half your slides?
DAN_SHAPPIR: It depends. I mean, not necessarily.
DAN_SHAPPIR: Also, again, most of the talks that they give are interactive and I'm thinking about the audience that are actually like, you know, sitting in the room with me or in the hall and I, what they're going to like stand up with their, their phone, take a picture and then copy the code out that way. Yeah.
AJ_O’NEILL: If they've got an iPhone, yeah.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: that's yeah. The other thing that I've done though is I've actually just taken screenshots of code.
DAN_SHAPPIR: Or you can put in a QR code in the slide itself that that would link to the gist.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: That, yeah. Well, that's typically where I go. Yeah.
AJ_O’NEILL: It's not, I think maybe we got a little derailed. It's not that I'm expecting people to copy the code. It's that I don't want smart quotes in my code period. It looks really unprofessional.
STEVE_EDWARDS: Yeah, I, I, I agree with that.
AJ_O’NEILL: Every time I see a blog post with smart quotes or Prizo with smart quotes. It's like, you're not a real coder. Get out of here.
DAN_SHAPPIR: Or a bar const with a capital V or C.
AJ_O’NEILL: Uh, yeah. Yeah. I spent, that was one of the things, you know, in, in Google, I mean, what I typically do is I would open up just now I actually open up bliss is where I do most of my little note taking things rather than than just, but the, and that gives me a, a block of text that's just plain text and so that I can type there and then copy and paste. And so that's, that's what I end up doing a lot. But anyway, my point is just that I like, and then you can host it on GitHub pages and you can give people the link and then you can, you know, go back and add the video to the first slide and stuff like that. So I, I, I really do like the, the markdown slides. I think the idea of the VIM and the, the VS code slides is, is it's interesting, but I much prefer the pre-rendered and, and I'm not opposed to the Google slides. It's just that for me, it seems like it takes, it just takes a lot more time to get it to do what I want it to do. And I'm fighting against the tool because it's not a tool that's built for that purpose.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Yeah, I do want to what's the right word?
AJ_O’NEILL: I want to track.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Well, no, because I think I think we're close to on track in the sense that I effectively want to talk through just for a second, the ideas behind presenting at an online event versus in-person event. And I've gotten this feedback from some of the speakers where it was hard to gauge where the audience was at because they're not right in front of you, right? They're not sitting out effectively in the same room as you. And so anyway, so sometimes it's a struggle to get a read on, oh, this is resonating, this isn't resonating, things like that. That's part of the reason why I typically will let folks pre-record their talks if they want and then do the Q&A afterward is because then they can get a good flow, right? They can go back and they can watch it, make sure the flow is how they want it. And then they can come and they can answer questions live. But the other thing is, is that if you are going to present online, what I've had people do, and this has worked really well, is typically most of these systems, AirMeet's the same way. You can join it on your phone as well, join the talk. And there's usually an open ongoing chat in there. And so then you can just follow it, right? And so then if people are reacting in the chat, then you can kind of keep an eye on that and see, oh, okay, you know, people are understanding this or they're stuck on this, because people will interact with the chat during your talk.
DAN_SHAPPIR: I will say, yeah, that's interesting idea because I must say that like when COVID hit, I initially, and like travel became really difficult and all the in-person conferences just stopped. Well, initially I spoke at something like four or five, six, something like that, virtual conferences. And I stopped. And one of the reasons that I stopped was that it was just so dang hard and unrewarding. That very often you just found yourself like quote unquote talking to the wall and you have no feedback whatsoever. If you're able to create an environment where I'm not talking about the people who pre-record their talks, obviously that's gonna stay the same. But if you're doing the talk live, you can get some sort of feedback as you're doing the talk without getting too distracted. That's great.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Yep, absolutely. And so, yeah, so that's one mechanism. Another mechanism I've seen people use is having somebody else in the room. I've also had people effectively give their talk, but they wanted some level of interaction from me because I was on the call. I was on as a host. And so all of those can work. So if you just, you know, you just work it out with, with whoever you're doing it with. Yeah. For some people it's more, it's more natural to do it as kind of an interview style with slides and talk through it with the host. And there's nothing wrong with that format either. So just be aware of kind of what's going to get you the right kind of flow. Cause I've seen people too, I've had friends that, you know, they gave like online talks for an actual conference or they've given online talks for an online conference and they were very stiff and when it came right down to it, they were better off doing it a different style. And ultimately, we're there to serve the audience and so the other style would have been fine, right? Even if it's kind of non-traditional.
DAN_SHAPPIR: Yeah, you know, the funny thing is that, you know, you might think that doing a conference online would be easier, especially for people who are like have this sort of like newer speakers or, you know, kind of frightened of getting up in front of lots of people and speaking, but I actually find it to be kind of the reverse. And the funny thing is, so people have asked me like, don't you have like stage fright? And the point is, and that's why I said crowd fright, is that in Hebrew actually you don't say stage fright, the actual expression is crowd fright, that you're afraid of speaking in front of crowd. And I say, no, what I have is a no crowd fright. I'll go to a conference and speak and there'll be nobody in attendance. And that can be to an extent how it feels when you're doing it in a virtual setting. So yeah, anything that you can do to increase the engagement, I think, is beneficial for the people attending, obviously, but also for the speakers.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Right.
STEVE_EDWARDS: That's true. I mean, if you think about it, that's true for anybody. I hear that from comedians or public speakers. One of the things that you talk about is is feeding off the reaction of the crowd, you know, sort of being able to read, are people getting into it or is everybody snoozing in their chair? Because my talk is really boring. And so if you're, you know, all you can see is yourself giving the presentation. It's really hard to get that feedback, you know, unless people are typing into the chat, this is really boring, dude, spice it up, you know, or something like that. I gave a, it's been a couple of years. I can't remember when that was Chuck, but I did a presentation at one of your online conferences and it was sort of interesting because I can remember going along and talking. And it was a presentation that I had given in a local view meetup here in the Portland area prior and just feeling like I'm sort of yelling into the abyss, you know? Yeah. I want to say, is anybody out there? Hello? So that can certainly be disconcerting. I'm not sure if there's maybe a way you can with air, what do you call it? Air show? Air meet.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Air meet.
STEVE_EDWARDS: There we go. Yeah. I got every other air combination, but the right one you know, way to show people watching you. Although that can be sort of weird to see all the little screens of people staring at you as you talk, but that, that crowd feedback certainly is important in giving a presentation for sure.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Yep.
DAN_SHAPPIR: I will say something interesting about that. If you do happen to speak at international conferences or at least conferences that are away from, you know, the country where you live, there can be interesting cultural differences that can create these sorts of unexpected interactions. Like you might like you would say something that would like raise a laugh in one crowd, but then you're in some other country where people are much more reserved and everybody will just, you know, stare back at you. Or you can't always expect people. So like if you have like an interactive talk where you expect people to like, you know, raise their hand or ask questions. And then again, you might be in some country where that's usually sort of not done and people would be much more reserved. So that's also something to take into account in these kinds of situations.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Yeah, absolutely.
STEVE_EDWARDS: Or worse yet, you use some sort of joke or slang term and it turns out to be a term that's incredibly offensive in the language of the home country.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: I will tell you though that a lot of times if you're a foreigner, they'll give you a ton of slack. Right?
STEVE_EDWARDS: Oh, for sure. I would hope so.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: So if you commit a faux pas and it's like, they'll understand, you know what, this speaker's from this other place. You know, they clearly don't have the same taboo on the subject that we do. Anyway, I'm just going to encourage folks go to topendevs.com slash conferences and you can go see the conferences we're putting on. I've put a bunch in through the end of the year and we're actually looking for speakers if you want to speak. There have been a number of speakers in a number of communities that kind of have gotten their speaking start at one of these conferences and then have gone on to speak at, you know, some of the bigger conferences.
DAN_SHAPPIR: Yeah, I definitely think that this kind of a conference can be a good way to start. You know, if you're really worried about the way that you express yourself, then you can indeed record in advance, have it edited, or do a couple of takes until you get it just right. So it can definitely be a big advantage for certain people.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Yeah.
AJ_O’NEILL: So I should have brought this up way earlier. What I found is that a lot of the most interesting talks are just stories. That like I said,
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: oh yeah,
AJ_O’NEILL: hallway talk, right? I'm not, I'm not actually there to learn something in a setting where I'm sitting in an audience, because as I said before, I kind of zone out and I have trouble paying attention with things anyway. But, uh, one of the, the, the coolest talks that I saw, I had no business being at a programmer conference. It was called the original skunk works. If I remember correctly, I'll, I'll post it in the the show notes as well. And it is this guy who's obsessed with planes just talking about how he loves planes. And the tie in that he you know, brings it all back around at the end saying, and this is how you have a great development team. I think the whole thing was BS in terms of, I don't necessarily believe what he believes about. It's not necessarily BS, but I just don't necessarily believe what he believes about what what's going to make a team great. But it was such an interesting talk. And that, but again, at an in-person conference where I'm paying primarily to just be with other people, it makes a good talking point and it's, and it's interesting stuff. How do you think that kind of thing works in the online conference space? Is it better just to do something that's interesting and gets attention or do you want to deliver content that's more help people learn or what do you think?
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: So my experience is, is you want a good mix, right? So you're going to want some of the ones where somebody's just, you know, kind of seat of their pants, giving a talk, you know, you want the content to be good, you want it to flow, you want it to engage, you know, you're going to have some of them that are pre-recorded that do kind of the same thing. And then I didn't mention this, but I tend to do this, especially with people who are well known, is I'll just bring them on and we'll just do an interview, right? And so we'll have that back and forth, one on one while we're recording effectively. And so I did this for a podcasting conference, podcast growth summit. And yeah, I mean, I pre-recorded the interviews and then posted them for the summit. And, and that worked out pretty well. And so there's, there's definitely a mix. People do identify with the stories, right? And so that's always a positive way to go if people have a good story to tell. But yeah, not everybody's a good storyteller and not, and that's not always what people need or want, but yeah, I definitely encourage stories. I encourage stories for the podcast too, because people, people like to hear them. They like to hear what somebody else kind of went through and what their experience was, as you know, as they kind of work through a problem. And so, yeah, I'm always big on the stories, but it just depends on the format and how you want to present those.
DAN_SHAPPIR: I think a great example of that, by the way, in the context of a podcast was the episode that just came out, our conversation with Annie Sully from Google about Core Web Vitals where we talked about how Core Web Vitals came to be, why they chose those metrics and not others, how they even thought about it. And so rather than talking about this or that approach for improving this or that Core Web Vital, the whole concept of how they came to be, what was the thought processes, the interactions between people at Google who came up with these things, I thought that that was really interesting. And certainly, provide a lot of context that even I didn't have after all these years of dealing with this tech.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Yep. Yeah, well and you kind of get to, it humanizes the problem. It makes it so that it's not just this abstract thing that somebody experienced or some problem that eventually somebody's gonna have to solve somehow. It's a thing that a person actually went through and you kind of get to go on that journey with them and identify with the process that they went through and that's really powerful, especially if you're take a specific action or do a specific thing. And so yeah, I agree with you AJ that, yeah, tell stories for sure. And if you can make your whole talk a story, people will definitely identify with that in meaningful ways.
Hi, this is Charles Max Wood from Top End Devs. And lately I've been coaching some people on starting some podcasts and in some cases, just taking their career to the next level. Whether you're beginner going to intermediate and intermediate going to advanced. whether you're trying to get noticed in the community or go freelance, I've been helping these folks figure out how to get in front of people, how to build relationships and how to build their careers and max out and just go to the next level. So if you're interested in talking to me and having me help you go to the next level, go to topendevs.com slash coaching. I will give you a one hour free session where we can figure out what you're trying to do, where you're trying to go and figure out what the next steps are. And then from there we can figure out how to get you to the place you want to go. So once again, that's topendevs.com slash coaching.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: All right. Well, I'm going to push this into picks. We've got about 20 minutes before my next thing. Steve, do you want to start us off with picks?
STEVE_EDWARDS: Yes. Yes. Someday you're going to remember to keep saying the best for last, but until then
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: I will, I'm working on it. I'm sorry.
STEVE_EDWARDS: I will satisfy the desires to get the dad jokes quickly. Okay. First of all, I'm going to start with a shameless plug which is, I guess, my pick too. So I have been, as a view developer, a few months ago, I started working on a course for a website called View Mastery, which is a pretty well-known website for lessons and views, and it's on a very basic course on Nuxt 3, which is the latest version of Nuxt that has been released, and as of yesterday, my first session is out. It's an introductory course, and View Mastery's tweeted it out, and they sent out an email as well. Somebody from View Mastery sent me a message this morning about the number of people that were signed up for course updates. And I'm like, oh my gosh, I live up to those expectations. But it's out there, it's called Next Three Essentials. And as an added bonus, worked with the guy who did the video editing for me. And each lesson includes a sort of outtakes type thing where I do a dad joke for each session. So there's six dad jokes and six sessions coming. So hopefully that will increase the enhancement of the course itself. And speaking of dad jokes, let's get to them right away. So first of all, what is the difference between a literalist and a kleptomaniac? Anybody know?
AJ_O’NEILL: Well, first of all, what's a literalist?
STEVE_EDWARDS: Somebody, well, I'll have to give you the answer now, AJ. So a literalist takes things literally, and a kleptomaniac takes things literally. I'm a little slow. Ah, dang. I wasn't ready on my own jump jokes there. Thank you.
AJ_O’NEILL: That was good. That was good. I liked it. I liked it. I gave that one a thumbs up, a triple thumbs up so that it wouldn't lose the thumbs up on the double thumbs up.
STEVE_EDWARDS: Okay. So basic question here. Do trees poop? Of course they do. Where do you think we get number two pencils?
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Okay, I like that one. Yeah.
STEVE_EDWARDS: Number two, number two pencils, right? Okay. And then finally, so. A weasel walks into a bar and the bartender says, wow, I've never served a weasel. What can I get for you? Anybody guess the answer? Pop goes the weasel.
DAN_SHAPPIR: Oh, I prefer the previous two. Pop goes the weasel?
STEVE_EDWARDS: Yes. That reminds me of one of my all time classic jokes that's gotten one of the best responses when I first started doing this. And basically when I, I've decided that when I die, I want to have a closed casket funeral but halfway through, I want the organist to start playing Pop Goes the Weasel over and over until everybody's staring at the casket in anticipation. What's wrong? Yeah, that's- Can't you just imagine that? Pop Goes the Weasel, oh, that'd be so funny.
DAN_SHAPPIR: Yeah, maybe you can rig the casket with some spring mechanism or something. That would be more funny. I'm sure. You might have to take somebody off ahead of time. Shoot your body out of the casket or something.
STEVE_EDWARDS: Yes, so anyway, those are my picks.
DAN_SHAPPIR: You know, like people say, when I die, I'm going to donate my body to science fiction.
STEVE_EDWARDS: Yes, I was going to say that's a great Steven Wright joke. I'm donating my body to science fiction.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: All right, AJ, what are your picks?
AJ_O’NEILL: Oh, golly gee, Willikers, what do I have for picks? So one thing that I'm going to pick, you know, because I've become a turntail. Actually, that's not the right word at all. A turntail is when you're afraid of something. Turnt coat? No. Turnt coat is when you switch to the other side. Wait, what am I looking for? Yep. Anyway.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: I don't know.I don't know what you're trying to say.
AJ_O’NEILL: Yeah. Well, Steve, you should just read my mind, but anyway, so there's a service called crowd node that I built a CLI tool for, which is a way to it's basically a high interest savings account for the dash digital currency where the annual percentage yield is around 6%, which given something that on any given day might go up or down by 25%, I don't really know what that means, but anyway, I built this tool as part of dash incubator and I just thought it was really kind of cool that it, you can get a 6% interest on, on something. Cause that's kind of a lot. And it's not, there's so much in the web three space about staking this, that and the other, and it kind of seems like a scam because it is, but the way that crowd node works is that the dash reward system is primarily based not on mining, but on service nodes. So nodes that actually add tangible value to the network rather than just burn coal. And it, you have to stake or basically just hold in savings a certain amount of money in order to run a service node, which is part of the guaranteed mutual interest. You don't want to do something that's going to cause you to lose money. Therefore you are less likely to run a rogue service node and in aggregate, very few people would be willing to risk lots of money in order to do something nefarious. So crowd node allows you to, because most of us don't have $50,000 laying around worth of dash crowd node allows you to invest smaller amounts or put into savings. I hesitate to use the word invest because it's not that kind of investment, but you know, basically put into the savings account you know, maybe a dash or 10 dash or a hundred dash or whatever, and then be able to get a return on it incrementally rather than having to have the full 1000 dash and able to do that. I just thought it's kind of, it's kind of cool. And so I'm picking a crowd node and also I'll link to the CLI tool that I built. I guess if you want it to be really cool, cause it's not something where I'd say, Hey, go put your us dollars into dash. And because you, you have no idea whether it's because because unfortunately, something happens over in some other cryptocurrency that has nothing to do with Dash, and then the whole market fluctuates by 20% and dash is part of the whole market. So that that really sucks. So I wouldn't say to anybody, hey, go, you know, go turn dollars into dash, other than that, I think the dollar has done worse over the last two years than any cryptocurrency has. But except for that, that one that actually caused the entire market crash. If you pick up work, from Dash. So they have these basically, there's marketing work to do, there's programming work to do, there's design work to do, there's all types of work, if you're interested in reach out to me. But if you work in Dash, and you're getting rewarded in Dash, then it kind of makes sense that way to put it in there. And so I've got some dash that I've put into crowd node, because I made dash building the crowd node CLI tool. And I don't know, I just kind of interesting. And I don't know, I don't I don't have enough of a well formed thought about it to actually say anything useful. Sorry, it's just it's just interesting. And then other than that, let's see, I just finished a book recently, Uniquely Human. It's about autism, people with autism. And it's also just about people in general, which is kind of the title of the book, Uniquely Human, because the people with autism that the author represents are not they're not doing autistic behaviors. They're doing normal behaviors that are being presented in a way that is not normal, you know, so people get frustrated, they rock back and forth, they, they clench their hands, they, people don't understand something, they repeat it two or three times, all of these behaviors that are often typified as autistic behaviors, are actually behaviors that if you look at any individual, they present all of the behaviors, it's just that in people with autism, they the behaviors group together in ways that are that the regularity of the behaviors is not typical and talking about how not trying to force people to be different than who they natively are, but rather working with people where they're at. It's just, it's a good people book. But we got it because our son is too young to have any diagnosis or anything, but he's definitely not the typical baby. And we are kind of thinking that we may have to, well, this book is good for us, regardless of what the outcome is or what the diagnosis ends up being or if it just goes away. But he's obviously not a typical baby and we're trying to work through that. And this book is one of the books that we selected and it's been really good.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Cool.
STEVE_EDWARDS: I've often wondered if it's just because you scared him so much AJ, but considering that it's not just you, I'm guessing that's not the case.
AJ_O’NEILL: No, my wife felt that he was different in the womb. She felt that something was that his mannerisms in the womb were just, I mean, she normally had one other kid, but she had a premonition while, before he was born and then after he was born, that just little things that, you know, only as the parents could you ever give any credence to, because no doctor or anyone that's interfacing with the baby outside of that would have enough exposure to say that this particular behavior doesn't seem usual or lack of behavior. But over the months, it's becoming more clear that, well, I mean, we've seen things improve, but he basically just doesn't, he doesn't react to things in a normal way. He doesn't react to, to touch, to his name. He's extremely interested in textures, which all babies are, but he just seems to be even more so. I don't know. It's that that could be its own long conversation.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Yep.
AJ_O’NEILL: For parents out there, just always, always, always, always, and just any medical condition, condition, anything because you know you and you know your kids better than anybody else does. And doctors are looking at averages on aggregates and they're not the, you know, they, there's a book, how doctors think that's a really good book to go in tandem with the uniquely human fear for anybody that's in one of those scenarios.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: right, Dan, what are your picks?
DAN_SHAPPIR: Well, AJ has just caused me to change my pick or actually add anot her pick. Let's see if I'll keep the others. It's a book I read a long time ago, but I still recall it. I actually have it here in front of me. I don't know if you've heard about it. It's called The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon. And what's interesting about it is that it's a murder mystery, but it's told from the perspective of a 13 year old child with Asperger's and it's, it's told in the first person, so it's, it's pretty amazing to put, to be placed in the mind of a person who has this syndrome or whatever it's called. I don't know the exact term, certainly not in English, but it's a really good book. And if you kind of want to better understand different perspectives that people may have, I think that it's well worth reading and it's just a really good book. So that would be one pick. Another pick that I have is, as I mentioned during our conversation today, I attended a conference here in Israel I think I mentioned it uh... react and next conference and one of the speakers in fact the the person opening the conference was can see dogs and interestingly started uh... his presentation by having everybody get up and do some stretching exercises and i could tell that some people in the audience I had a bit of a difficulty with it, which brings me to the importance of taking care of your body. You know, we work in a profession where we often work long hours, sitting down, sometimes with stress, not necessarily eating right. It's important to take care of your body, to take care of yourself, you know, exercise, eat well, do stretches, whatever. Just make sure that, you know, your body is where you would like it to be. I try to work out at least three times a week and I have to say that it does wonders for my well-being. So that would be my second pick. Another pick that I have is, as we were talking about virtual conferences, I'm actually scheduled already to speak at one in July, July 22nd. It's actually a two-day conference in each day a week apart. So it's July 22nd and July 29th. I'll be speaking on the 22nd. It's called web directions. It looks to have a very, uh, good lineup. I don't know if they have, uh, if they're employing any of the ideas that we discussed here are probably not as many. Also, I don't know if this will come out in time for people to actually register for it, but in any event, if it does. You know, as I said, I'll be speaking on July 22nd. I'll be speaking about the weak references, the memory management. This is actually a topic we discussed on a previous episode on our podcast, but you know, obviously with slides, I can get more into technical details and APIs and stuff like that. So even if you've heard that episode, I still think it's worthwhile. So that would be my second pick. And my last pick as usual is the war in Ukraine heard some terrible news from there in the past day or two about Russians firing cruise missiles into supermarkets and into shopping malls and lots of people civilians getting killed and this is just terrible Another aspect by the way is that Russia is preventing Ukraine from exporting grain turns out that Ukraine is one of the bigger suppliers of grain in the world. So this will undoubtedly eventually result in hunger in various third-world countries, especially. So that's another aspect of this whole humanitarian disaster. And this whole situation just upsets me very, very much and makes me really sad. And those would be my picks for today. And sorry for ending up on a downer.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Yeah, I'm just not going to say anything. The whole situation is so sad over there. My pick, so I'm going to start out just by shouting out about AirMeet, airmeet.com. It's, it's a system that I'm going to be using for both the meetups to allow people again, to have conversations and stuff outside of the presentations. And then for the conference conferences. So I'm pretty happy with it. It's, it's working pretty well and I, I'm looking forward to continuing to use it. So AirMeet that's A-I-R AirMeet.com. And then, you know, I'm also Riverside.fm is kind of a handy one again for doing the podcasts. And so I'm going to pick that as well. I'm also going to start posting the videos I've decided to YouTube. Um, it's probably news to these guys. I was going to send out an email and I just haven't yet, but yeah, we're working that out. And anyway, wait,
AJ_O’NEILL: so people are going to see me picking my nose today? Uh-huh.
CHARLES MAX_WOOD: Well, not today. I figure I'll give you a fair warning so you don't pick your nose on camera,
AJ_O’NEILL: but, uh, or at least I pick it at the red town.
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