The Main Thread

Episode 07 Transcript

Episode 7 Transcript

Welcome back to The Main Thread!
we're talking about community building in and out of the office.
Our guest,
David Cunningham runs a MeetUp in New York City called New York Tech & Beer.
And it's exactly what it sounds like: a place for techies to hang out and get to know each other over a couple of brews.
David is passionate about bringing people together and I love how he turns that passion into action.
As you're listening,
I want you to think about the roles you play in your own community.
Maybe you're the social planner,
maybe you coach Little League or maybe you're a dungeon master,
whatever it is.
Did anyone ask you to do that or explicitly give you that authority? Or did you just gravitate towards your interests and put yourself out there?
what about work?
Are you defined by the title given to you by your company or do you put yourself out there to take on broader roles that align with your strengths?
I think you're gonna love hearing from David who has figured out how to do both.
Let's get into it.
welcome back to the main thread.
I am Brian Ogilvie along with my co-host Alex Gaiser.
And we are joined today by our friend David Cunningham,
who's a senior engineer and project lead at The New York Times.
He's also a community organizer in the New York tech community.
you wanna give us a quick rundown of who you are and how you got to where you are today.
Uh Yeah,
So I uh started out uh studying another kind of engineering,
mechanical engineering and uh picked up software after graduating college,
started writing scripts on the job.
And uh now I'm here.
How did you transition from that other type of engineering to the engineering you're doing now?
Um So I,
I got a degree in mechanical engineering and then I got a job as a system engineer um for a aerospace contractor and we were doing like requirements analysis and stuff that I wasn't really super excited by as far as like uh as far as a primary um career path.
And so I in the,
in the area I was in,
in the,
in the town I was in um in that company,
they all their work had to do with information technology.
So it was like data science and analysts and system engineers and software engineers.
So I didn't really have like an option to find a mechanical job within,
you know,
that and I was kind of had to decide whether I was going to go to another job and look for something mechanical or really get into software,
which was kind of my second love.
There was something I always,
was interested in.
so at one point in a project we needed,
some stuff automated and,
it was just,
we were doing all this stuff manually and with files and stuff.
And so I started writing programs to automate it and they let me just do that full time because none of the other system engineers wanted to figure out how to do it.
um I started doing that full time and then uh picked up stuff along the way,
took modules online and read a bunch of books and talked to software engineers whenever they would uh put up with me.
and eight years later,
I'm a full time software engineer.
That's awesome.
You know,
we're still doing that.
We're still talking to software engineers whenever they'll talk to us.
So that's how,
that's how we're still trying to build ourselves up as uh as better engineers and better members of the community.
The reason we wanted to have you on the show today,
David is because uh you were an instrumental force in getting us integrated into the tech community when we first joined a few years after you did.
And I've always just been so impressed by your ability to build a giant network of people who become friends,
become professional contacts through your work with New York Tech & Beer and,
now you've got a new MeetUp that I'm sure you could talk about at some point later on in the podcast.
I'd just love to know how you got started in all of that,
in building communities the way that you do and,
and what goes into sustaining them and all of that?
I guess,
going back a ways,
I was always a person who kind of felt comfortable taking the lead on little things like,
socially and stuff.
maybe I was a bossy kid.
I don't know,
but I didn't mind being like the one to,
kind of point the group in a direction if no one else wanted to.
and um,
I also kind of was comfortable with bringing people together,
you know,
for one thing or another and kind of,
I always liked kind of connecting people.
And so in college I,
uh I was captain of an inter mural team and I was on some other clubs and,
after college I um put together this trivia group that went on for a year and then this,
trail running group that went on for a year.
different things also,
I've had like a few fundamental moves um,
since I graduated high school.
So when I,
I was in high school in Maryland,
I went to a school in Denver.
where I didn't know anyone and my parents moved to Asia when that happened and then I went to,
transferred to school in Nashville and then I,
where I didn't know anyone and then I graduated,
went down to,
Aerospace Town,
didn't know anyone there.
And then finally in New York.
and like I had some summer internships where similar for at least the summer where I,
it was in a random place and didn't know anyone.
so I've had all these huge,
Uprootings sort of and,
and one big thing that I uh learned from that as far as meeting people and meeting new people,
which is something some people would never really have to do if they stay in the same place or basically at the same place for a long time is,
uh that groups like MeetUps,
everyone's there for a common purpose and,
you know,
they have common interests depending on what the,
the premise of it is.
But they also, anyone who's had a group like that,
generally speaking isn't,
you could be doing that activity alone.
A lot of the times,
you know,
they could,
they could be playing piano or whatever and people are there to either network and,
or make friends,
like everyone is there for that common purpose in most of these groups.
And so I found that was the best way to really,
find people who were open to making friends.
about four years ago I just on a whim,
looked up to see if there was like a,
like a beer/drinks,
meet up for techies that met,
kind of frequently or at least,
just in general.
I was like,
for a beer/drinks,
meet up for techies.
And I went on MeetUp and there was one and it was in Brooklyn and it met like,
once every,
month and a half and I was like,
I'm never gonna,
really make friends that way.
I had been to other MeetUps where you, a one-off event or something and like,
you really generally need a couple,
like couple,
collisions with someone before I think you really start like,
you know,
clicking if,
if there's that potential and yeah.
You gotta get your reps in.
Yeah, you really do.
You know,
if you're lucky sometimes,
but like,
you know,
it's after the first hangout.
But I think like,
you know,
like relationships,
most friendships aren't love at first sight.
They're love,
you know,
after a couple of days.
so I decided just on a whim that afternoon on July, 2019 to start a MeetUp.
That was for that purpose.
and I called it New York Tech & Beer because I like the sound of that and,
started doing events,
I created it on MeetUp,
created a little website for it and our first event was like,
like a week and a half after I created the thing on MeetUp,
we did events every week for the first nine months and then after the lockdown,
we did virtual and park and then came out to the bars um later and,
you know,
we're about 125, 130 events in now.
Um Four and 4,
4.5 years later.
um yeah,
it's been a lot of fun.
That sounds exactly like what we learned.
We--Brian and I--both went to a talk last night and the themes that they touched on the talk was about being a staff engineer and how to reach the level,
very close to the theme of this podcast, and everything that they mentioned was making multiple points of contact with people,
building relationships,
being a leader.
All of that sounds like it translates directly from your experience,
building up New York Tech & Beer.
So I was curious if you could talk about how New York Tech & Beer has helped you professionally or just any advice you have for people like me and Brian trying to build a community here,
sort of with our podcast (who definitely don't have the energy...
We don't have the power to build our own MeetUp community).
We can barely show up for a podcast.
It's a little bit more asynchronous,
little lower weight,
lower key.
Um Yeah,
you know,
so I'm a software engineer by day.
Um So I guess,
it has helped me professionally.
like if I were,
if I won a coding competition or I was,
on the side built like a startup or something,
you know,
that would have a certain weight as far as getting like another software engineer job or getting a,
you know,
better software engineer job or whatever.
Um This is something that's a little more tangentially related though.
I think we can get into why,
you know,
it is,
I think important in a lot of ways to like a software career.
But um you know,
I think,
I think it's helped me in that.
I think people like people who are plugged into the community at large.
And um I think there's,
you know,
it shows it,
there's things that,
you know,
running something like this can indicate about,
you know,
your willingness to plug in and your willingness to take initiative on things that I think people like and there's,
you know,
a leadership element.
So I,
I think it's helped.
I mean,
I've had a lot of interviews where people have brought up how,
you know,
how they thought it was like a,
a neat thing to do.
So I think there's the one aspect of,
has this community directly influenced your career in terms of people knowing about it or anything like that.
But then there's also the aspect of like skill transfer. Has what it takes to manage this community...
Have you learned anything doing that?
And have you used those types of skills for,
when say you need to build enthusiasm for a project?
Because sometimes that's one of the biggest roadblocks in the way of a highly complex project getting across the finish line is that there's just not enough enthusiasm around it or people knowing what it is or wanting to be involved in it and help out or even just something as simple as building relationships with your colleagues.
I um I think I've definitely learned a lot about taking initiative um leadership.
So I,
you know,
I organize Tech & Beer.
We've done about 130 events.
I've been the host for most of them.
I'm lucky enough to have friends that have helped,
helped host uh some as well,
but I've been the host for definitely the vast majority of them.
And I think that like the act of waiting at a venue for 10,
20, 50, 100 people to show up at night and you being the first face they see and you,
you know,
talking with them engaging with them,
you know,
you know,
it's kind of like the 1000 hours a little bit I think.
Or Malcolm Gladwell's like uh 10,000 hours, is that what
you mean?
Not the way I do it.
Um No.
Um we could get that down to one thousand.
we can get it down to all that.
that's the American approach.
Let's just stick to 1000.
but no,
you know,
I think I've gotten like,
those kind of 10,000 hours in some ways where,
I think I was always a pretty outgoing guy,
but I'm,
I'm pretty fearless when it comes to new people when it comes to talking,
you know,
to a group when it comes to talking to people.
Um And in general kind of sticking my neck out when I think like,
there's something worth doing or saying.
Um And,
you know,
I think,
um the,
the act of,
you know,
running this and hosting is,
is one thing like skill that's definitely served me.
Um And,
you know,
I think as a result,
I also just like the confidence I've gained um with regards to organizing things,
organizing people,
organizing events um has helped me in um helping my teams at times with organizing things for them,
some social,
some more professionally oriented and we could get into that.
But um yeah,
I think that's one thing.
It's also just a whole constellation of cool skills that comes with um organizing these if you,
if you try to like,
master all the elements.
Um So,
it's been,
it's been interesting,
I'm always amazed when we talk that you're playing with some new technology and like stuff that I just never even heard of.
You're like,
did you know that I found this place where we can customize a QR code that will allow people to just register for your mailing list with one,
you know,
snap of the camera?
that kind of stuff.
But it also looks cool.
It looks like our own custom logo,
that kind of stuff.
It just like, you seem so curious and you're always just trying to find the next way to keep things interesting for people and market it and make sure you can include more people in the community.
I think that's so awesome.
it's a labor of love.
I enjoy it.
One thing that came up um recently is how difficult it is to build these skills.
Uh generally lots of times people give the advice of,
you know,
"Just get better at communication,"
but this seems like a good way for you to build those skills in real life in a real practical way and skills that are can be very difficult to learn.
I think there are different kinds of communication,
you know,
so there's um different context you,
you know,
you have different um ways you discuss things or the ways you,
you hash things out,
you know.
So like with Tech & Beer events,
a lot of the communication is on the more casual end.
But also like I work with,
I like reach out to bars and I discuss with them and maybe a little negotiation to get,
you know,
them to help us with some things,
you know,
um in return for us bringing them business.
you know,
there's some communications like that,
that I don't know that I would get much of in my day-to-day job,
you know,
like customer relationship type things.
And then with like the um AI event,
those are tech talks.
So that's like another type where I'm finding speakers and working with them and collaborating with them and um you know,
figuring out if what they,
their proposed talks work and,
you know,
how to massage it and all that stuff,
you know,
I think in,
in all those regards,
I mean,
really socializing and leadership,
I really think are a practice thing.
And I think um you aren't always given those opportunities to practice,
you know,
in your day-to-day life.
Like if,
if you're not going out a lot for one reason or another,
and then,
you know,
you might only socialize with a very limited set of people that you already know.
um you know,
as far as leadership,
you know,
if you're not like,
you know,
an engineering manager or something,
you might not be at least explicitly granted opportunities to,
to lead and to,
you know,
to get practice in that.
Um So,
I think this has been a really cool way for me to get practice a lot of practice in all those things.
and that's been,
that's been really neat and,
you know,
I think some of that comes down to finding ways that you can,
do things like that.
And I think the big thing is that people don't always ask you to do them,
you know,
or people don't always come to you and tell you that they want you to do a thing.
and especially when it comes to leadership,
I think very rarely do people explicitly ask someone else to like lead the way.
But people in my experience are often very happy to be led.
If you,
you know,
have a good purpose.
Um If you have something compelling that you think,
you know,
would be,
would be worth doing,
you can find people who,
you know,
are willing to work with you on that.
Um So,
I think like,
you know,
this has been a,
this is an example where,
you know,
no one told me to make the MeetUp but doing that has granted me a lot of um I guess a lot of opportunity to practice a lot of things that if I just stuck with,
you know,
my work duties,
I don't know that I would have gotten a lot of experience in the last four years.
Can you talk a little bit about when you say "practice"?
Like I assume that it's not necessarily a skill that has 100% success rate,
Correct me if I'm wrong.
But I'm assuming that the first time you held your MeetUp,
you didn't have 40 people show up or 50 people show up,
You had to start with something and take that leap of showing up at a bar and seeing like,
is anybody gonna come? And,
and then iterate on your process.
how do you,
how do you make those adjustments?
How do you actually practice,
as you said,
how do you actually practice this to be
sure you're actually building a community that people want to be a part of?
Oh man,
I could,
I could probably write at least as,
as a,
a novelette um or a novella on uh on that,
you know,
there's a lot that goes into it.
Um I think,
you know,
um I guess at least trying to summarize,
I think initially there's finding people and so that's like finding the right platforms where the people you want um are, right?
And this is kind of um some of this is kind of marketing 101.
you know,
like just finding where your,
your demographic is and,
and you know,
and putting the word out there.
Um So like MeetUp is a good place for organizing things because that's the most common one,
people generally get to,
but there are other ones.
So then two is quality of experience for like event management when they get there.
You want them to feel good about being there and feel good about it after the fact. Three is retention of the people who do come to events.
So like,
you know,
not everyone,
some people,
maybe they weren't super into it or they were,
but they don't wanna,
you know,
they wanna just don't wanna be bothered,
but like,
for everyone who's game,
you want to try to keep a line open with them after the events.
Um and that can be like, get their email and so you can send them a newsletter. That can be add them to like a WhatsApp chat or some,
some chat chat group giving them the Instagram, and they follow your Instagram and then you put stuff out on the Instagram,
you know,
on the Instagram story.
So we do all three of those among other things for the people that have,
have demonstrated that they're interested enough to come to an event,
which is a pretty high bar like asking anyone to go anywhere is,
is a lot to ask.
It's so hard to get anybody out of their apartment.
It's so hard.
And you know,
that's one thing I love about organizing these is like every time I host an event and like 40 50 people come,
it's like,
you all just came for this like uh you know,
and it,
it definitely drives me but you know,
of those people that,
you know,
actually made a point to come out trying to,
keep the line open.
You know,
that's a very special thing.
you know,
whether you're,
you have a product to service,
you know,
an event,
you're running events,
keeping that,
that line open in one way or another.
I would say those are like the three big ones.
It's like,
it's like finding the people where they are, giving,
you know,
delivering on what you're promising them and then,
um and then,
you know,
keeping them,
keeping them in the loop afterwards.
I'd say that's like the high level.
All of those seem like valuable skills for any aspiring staff engineer to have,
don't they?
It's amazing
the corollaries. Yeah, I think,
I think,
I think,
uh I think that that's,
uh I think that's a pretty good argument for how community organizing outside of work is,
is a good,
uh at least a good way to build the skills that you need as a,
as a,
as an engineer,
you know,
as you move up.
Um I was kind of curious if you've had any experiences with building community at your workplace or if that's something that's been at all helpful for you.
Um You mentioned to me one time that the workplace is another community and that kind of blew my mind because,
you know,
you think of your personal life and your work life as separate things for good reason.
But then the idea of building a community in your work,
the same way you would build it outside of work is interesting.
You spend a lot of time at work.
Makes sense.
I think,
you know,
when we think about community outside of work,
You think of like,
uh your church or your,
your kickball club or whatever,
Like community,
I think the way we think about it generally is that it's this fluid thing, and we all are like playing our part and you,
anyone can be anything in the community,
in a
Like you can try to be the mayor. Who you are in the town you live in is something that is seen as flexible and it's something that you could theoretically change at any time,
you know,
your perception,
your role.
I think in,
in your job in,
in companies,
we're often,
I think much less disposed to think about ourselves that way,
in that flexible way,
So you get hired,
you're given like a title,
Like in your town,
you're not like David,
the this or whatever,
you know,
you're just David,
but in a company you're given a title and you're given,
you know,
a contract that kind of lays out all the things that are expected and not expected of you and you know,
that's all well and good.
But like,
you can also be more or less or different than that,
you know,
in your company,
like your company is also a community and that,
aside from what is expected of you contractually,
you can define what you are in other ways.
Um And,
you know,
that includes leading,
you know,
if you're,
if you're,
you know,
a mid-level software engineer or even senior, junior or whatever,
you're often not asked or given explicit opportunities to lead and,
you know,
it may not be in your control whether you are like,
you know,
the head of some project that they've,
you know,
laid out or something,
but you can lead in different ways.
A few examples,
one are like,
you know,
team events,
it may seem trivial,
but like if you're the person who organizes like a happy hour for your team,
even at the least,
you know,
the one that I think that shows that you're plugged in to your team as a community rather than just as like this capitalist entity or whatever,
you know,
it shows that you're plugged in.
Um And,
and I,
I really think that's looked upon positively by both your teammates and,
you know,
you're trying to,
you know,
be the change you want to see in the world or at least in your team,
it can garner a lot of goodwill in different directions.
And then there are things like you can do like uh organize things that are more involved so you can like that are more,
I guess I should say,
work related,
you can organize a hackathon or like,
a doc rewrite day or, on the even more technical side, you can look around and see,
this would be a cool project and maybe they don't have time for,
you know,
to invest you or other people in it.
Maybe they do.
But you could be the one to bring that up and,
you know,
write up a plan on your own and say this would be a cool,
I don't know,
microservice to create,
you know,
I wrote up a tech plan.
No one asked me to be this person,
but I'm just gonna like,
put my foot out there and like,
we'll see how people feel about it,
you know,
and I think in that way,
just like your company is a community in that respect,
you know,
and that like we can be who we want to be in our company in more ways than our,
you know,
what's written on our contracts.
Um And,
you know,
not everyone wants to do that necessarily,
not everyone wants to,
you know,
to do a whole extra project or make a whole extra plan,
but there's a lot more benefits.
Uh You know,
and you're sticking your neck out a little in,
in whether they'll buy into whatever thing you're trying to do.
you know,
on different levels from a happy hour to like,
you know,
proposing a whole new,
team project,
you know,
you can,
you can try to be that change and,
you know,
and see,
you know,
where it gets you and,
and the cool thing is that when people do buy into it,
then you're the,
you're the nexus of that thing,
you know,
and it can be something casual or it could be something more serious,
but just like in your,
you know,
your community outside of work,
if you,
if you make a point of leading something,
being the nexus of that thing is a very special result of that,
that I,
you know,
that is hard to achieve just by waiting for someone to ask you to do something.
my manager and I were having a conversation today and he was encouraging me to be willing to take more risks in the way that you're talking about right now,
like stick my neck out there even though no one asked me to provide leadership or guidance in a certain field.
Like it's,
it's on me to sort of stick my neck out and say,
you know,
I think there is a great way we could do it this or here's a suggestion even though I have that nervousness in the back of my mind like,
hey man,
nobody asked you.
But you know,
it's like if you want to provide that kind of value to the world,
you have to sometimes just go and start providing it.
And then sometimes people say,
no thanks.
We don't need that right now.
And then you respectfully say,
no problem.
But if you don't go try,
then you're depriving everyone of what you might have to offer,
which they might be needing.
And I've learned as I've,
and the,
and the more senior I've gotten,
the more I've learned that all of that becomes dramatically easier and dramatically less risky,
the more people you have relationships with,
which is another way that building this community can really help you: getting to know lots of different people and then you're a known quantity.
So then when you say this is the thing that needs to be done,
they know you,
you're not some random person who's suggesting it,
they at least know you at least on a personal level,
which is how a lot of these things,
you know,
that's the difference maker.
A lot of the time,
whether we like it or not,
it's like being personable.
I like it because I like people,
but that's an important thing is being personable.
And I think another thing is like negotiation.
Um you know,
that there's some of that and what I do is like an organizer with like venues and,
and other relationships.
you know,
I think,
I think that's another thing that,
you know,
as an engineer,
you don't necessarily get a lot of experience with,
but that's like a big.
I think an undercurrent in some of these things in terms of like,
if you're trying to lead something,
understanding that some of this stuff is a negotiation,
sometimes they'll be like,
we don't need that,
you know,
instead of just saying,
maybe being like,
but do you need half of that or do you need this part of that or something?
And thinking in terms of these decisions between two parties,
whether it's you and your boss or what have you are not like binary,
they don't have to be binary.
You know,
it doesn't have to be either they choose or you choose.
It can be like some something in the middle.
you know,
that's just,
I guess another example of like where getting practice in that,
whether you're doing it,
you know,
through taking initiatives at work and learning how to like navigate that or,
you know,
making a community outside of work or both,
you know,
that's a,
that's definitely a,
a valuable skill.
That's awesome.
We're getting close to time,
but I'd love to hear just a little bit about if your efforts here in the communities you've built outside of work have provided the impact that you hoped it would on your personal life and on,
on the community at large.
I think people,
people definitely ask me a lot about why I started Tech & Beer.
You know,
I host events every week or two.
And um so I meet all these new people,
every event and,
and a lot of them ask me that and it's,
it's hard to answer,
I think,
you know,
some of it comes down to,
it seemed like a cool thing to do.
And I think I've always felt like being the person to make something like that happen and connect people and be that nexus has always been a really exciting thing for me.
And I,
I think it's,
you know,
it's a,
it's kind of a sacred thing to me,
like being the person that creates a marketplace for relationships and for people to connect and for people to find friendship,
you know,
find a job, being the person that,
that facilitates that to me is like a very special thing.
I think that we are in some really fundamental ways,
We're very communal creatures.
So I think that we need community,
we thrive with community and we struggle without it.
Um You know,
there's studies that show that loneliness is,
is as bad a health problem as some major things as far as like causing long term illness.
you know,
doing that has always been something really satisfying for me.
I think as far as what I've gotten out of it,
Tech & Beer has gotten big enough now where I'm really kind of honored that I'll go to some party and I'll meet a techie from New York and they'll have heard of Tech & Beer and I,
they've never come to it but they're like,
I've seen that.
That's really cool.
I think,
seeing that people over the years we've had regulars have come to the event for years.
you know,
and maybe not every single event but they've come for years or some came for a year and then they come back two years later.
you know,
seeing that people get that satisfaction,
enjoyment out of it,
I think is big,
you know,
and then I think,
like we talked about,
you know,
just all the skills that came with that and all the practice that gave me with things that really are relevant to other facets of life in my professional life.
it's been a really fulfilling thing for me.
That's awesome.
That's awesome.
All right,
I think that's the one! That's the single-tear closing monologue moment we were looking for.
It's perfect.
So I'm gonna,
uh I'm gonna,
uh I'm,
I'm gonna move us to Picks and Plugs.
I think it's time.
uh David,
we'll start with,
Just give you a chance to make any plugs you want.
I know you've got some MeetUps.
Uh Anything else,
uh You want to share with our listeners?
Uh The floor is yours.
Um Yeah,
so there's the MeetUps,
there's New York Tech & Beer like we discussed.
Um and we do uh happy hour socials about every two weeks.
They're a lot of fun.
And New York AI Users Group,
um which are AI tech talks.
We have two speakers come once a month,
we reserve a whole space.
Um And they come and give a tech talk and then there's social time after that's a lot of fun.
Um Both of those you can find on or um or
those are the plugs.
Um And you said we want to do a pick.
something you think our listeners would benefit from. Anything,
It doesn't have to be tech related.
so this was one thing since we're,
I guess we're talking about community building in this episode a little more than we're talking about like,
you know,
algorithms or,
you know,
so the more tech heavy stuff,
um One thing that was really helpful for me um that I read in the first like two or three months of starting Tech & Beer was called "The One-Page Marketing Plan."
it's kind of like the crash course for a lot of key marketing,
like concepts,
especially for like a small organization.
Um and,
you know,
promoting something that's small where you don't work for a giant corporation with a massive budget um or any budget,
you know,
and that was really relevant to me figuring out how to be more methodical and promoting the MeetUp and how to like,
connect with people,
figure out,
you know,
what they were getting out of it,
what they wanted from it and whether we were meeting that um and,
you know,
keeping in touch with them.
So it was just,
it has a cheesy name,
but "The One-Page Marketing Plan" was uh super interesting and informative for me in like being an organizer.
What's up?
I also want to plug New York Tech & Beer.
Uh And the uh the AI Talk Tech talks,
the New York AI Users Group tech talks because Brian and I are both alums of that.
Um That's how we met David was New York Tech & Beer actually.
Um So we've been going to that for a long time.
Um And so if you're listening to this and you haven't been to either of those,
you should definitely go.
So I know it's maybe a little bit obvious,
but that's my plug as well as David's plug.
Um But so,
and then I just have a bunch of picks other than that.
Um first is because I was recently reminded of it because it's an amazing book and I try to leaf through it as much as possible is "Designing Data Intensive Applications."
That's basically your one-stop shop uh giant,
you know,
Walnut Cracker of
a textbook for anything related to like big cloud engineering topics.
Um It's got 100 different little things in there that are really useful,
something as basic as from Kinesis Streams all the way to like,
just like charting rules.
it's awesome.
Um And it got plugged recently,
so now I'm stealing that other person's plug.
and then I have two youtube videos.
I've been rewatching.
I love Scott Wlaschin.
at least,
I think that's how you say his name.
he's got a number of functional programming videos.
they're really cool.
Those are,
and I rewatch them every couple of years and every single time I understand about 6% more.
So I'm gonna add about 20 understanding about 22% of his,
of these two videos.
But um the first one is "13 ways of looking at a turtle" that's uh basically writing a little uh a program to like do drawing as if it was on the head of a turtle moving it around.
It's a classic problem.
I'm not doing it justice,
but then there's 13 different design patterns that you can use to build that turtle and then "functional design patterns."
This is just going through a number of like common functional design patterns,
but it's just generally a good intro to like how to write functional code and like the general principles for writing functional code.
Um And he's also just a very fun speaker.
Um Yeah.
Uh So I I pick I'm plugging both of his videos.
Those are my two picks.
Uh Scott Wlaschin's,
"13 ways of looking at turtle" and "functional design patterns."
Uh I love that you uh you brought up "Designing Data Intensive Applications."
We're actually going through it in my book club at work right now.
And it's really great.
I actually have not read it before.
This is my first time.
So it's,
it's good stuff.
I am also gonna pick a talk (coincidence there).
This is an oldie but a goodie.
This is a talk that Rich Hickey, who is the creator of Clojure, gave at Strange Loop
back in 2011.
The talk's name is "Simple
Made Easy."
And this talk,
he basically outlines the difference between easy,
which means at-hand, nearby,
easy to grasp, versus simple,
which literally means not complex.
And as engineers,
he ties this into the concept of software engineering,
we often reach for the easy thing,
the way that solves our problem very quickly.
And that can, down the road if you make too many of those decisions, lead to tremendously complex and not-simple software.
Whereas if instead you reach for what's simple,
even though it might not be easy in the time.
If you consistently make those simple decisions,
the decisions that remove complexity,
build simplicity over time,
you will find that what you're building is easy.
So uh and it's a strange paradox between,
if you,
if you focus on simplicity,
it's easy to use it later,
it's easy to build.
It's easy to maintain.
It's easy to be the right solution.
Whereas if you focus on easiness,
you end up with something that is complex and very difficult to maintain and work with. Anyway,
it's great.
It's about an hour long.
Um But it's worth a listen.
A really a good one.
If you haven't listened to it before.
That brings us to the end of Picks and Plugs. David,
we wanna say thanks so much for being here.
This was great and,
and thanks for running your MeetUp.
I mean,
this has been a great community building opportunity for us to just be a part of the community that you've built.
And it's been great for the last few years that we've been involved, and just really want to thank you for your time on the podcast today.
Thanks for having me on.
This was a blast.
All right.
that's it for today.
We'll catch you next time.
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