[00:00:00] SY: Okay, so we are all sold out of earlybird tickets to Codeland. But regular tickets are now available. They start at 99 bucks, and they get you talks, a workshop, great food, great people, all in New York City on July 22nd. Go to codelandconf.com for more info. Link is in your show notes.
[00:00:29] (Music) Welcome to the CodeNewbie Podcast where we talk to people on their coding journey in hopes of helping you on yours. I’m your host, Saron, and today, we’re talking about open source at big companies.
[00:00:42] This episode is very special because you get not one but two guests. You’ll be hearing from two amazing people and big time contributors to the world of open source. They’re going to share their personal experiences getting started, what it looks like to do open source at big companies like Microsoft and Capital One, and how newbies can join, too. Now, here’s the thing. These interviews were recorded a while ago, and some things have changed. Jessie actually works at GitHub.
[00:01:12] JF: Hi, I’m Jessie Frazelle. I am a software engineer on open source things like Linux and containers.
[00:01:18] SY: Which was acquired by Microsoft, so I guess she still kind of works at Microsoft. And Bryan.
[00:01:24] BL: Hi, I’m Bryan Liles.
[00:01:26] SY: He works for VMware.
[00:01:27] BL: I’ve seen open source before I think people really called it open source.
[00:01:31] SY: Even though these interviews were done a while ago, they were just too good not to publish. So here they are. Oh, and we’ve got a new installment, our third one, of Tales from the Command Line, where we talk to Scott McCarty about his experience going from a teeny-tiny six-person startup to working on open source at one of the leaders of open source, the very, very huge company called Red Hat. All that is coming up after this.
[00:01:59] As you know, I’m a podcaster, and I love talking to people and hearing their stories, and I love it so much I actually host another podcast called Command Line Heroes. It’s produced by Red Hat. And in that show, I get to talk to tons of people doing incredible work in open source. But besides awesome interviews, it’s also got sound effects, background music, you know, creative audio stuff. So if you’re looking for some more awesome tech podcasts to fill your feed, check out Command Line Heroes. Go to redhat.com/commandlineheroes. Link is in your show notes.
[00:02:35] If you’ve got a personal project, a small business, or a big business with lots of data, Linode offers you secure hosting for all your infrastructure needs. They are a Linux Cloud Hosting provider where you can get a new server up and running in under a minute. Plans start at one gigabytes of RAM for just five bucks a month. And with the promo code CodeNewbie2019, you can get a $20 credit. So go to linode.com/codenewbie and give it a try. Also, they’re hiring. Check out their jobs at linode.com/careers. Links are in your show notes.
[00:03:10] SY: If you’re listening to this, you’re already on your way to changing your life through code. At Flatiron School, you might end up with a job, a promotion or a better salary. But that’s just the start of changing your career, your life, and the world. On campus or online, you’ll join a community of learners that are empowered to change their future in the rapidly growing tech field. A bold change begins with a single step. To take yours, go to flatironschool.com/codenewbie. Link is in your show notes.
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[00:04:09] SY: You are not just a container nerd but you’re also a huge open source person. Tell us about your experience with open source.
[00:04:16] JF: Open source has been like a driving factor for my career, and I love it for that because it’s given me like a way to show my work, I guess. And there are some, of course, downsides to open source, but I really do think for a way to kind of get your career started, it’s great if you get a really good community. And I was lucky to have the potential to grow at Docker in that community. Being a maintainer is hard, but other maintainers actually commiserate with you. I think the whole community around it is really great though.
[00:03:48] SY: How did you get started in open source?
[00:04:50] JF: Yeah. I think it came from mostly Docker, like I wanted to fix some bugs and the people there were really cool and it was awesome.
[00:04:59] SY: So your first open source contribution was Docker?
[00:05:01] JF: I think actually it was probably to like some random project before that, but like my significant contributions after that were also Docker, yeah.
[00:05:09] SY: So one of the big problems I guess, concerns, issues in the CodeNewbie community is finding time for this, right, because if you want to use open source as a resume builder, portfolio builder, if you want to use it to not just learn but prove your skills, and hopefully get a job with it, it takes more than just fixing some typos or, you know, updating some links, like you need to actually like code code and make interesting and significant contributions. So how much time would you say you spent on this? And how did you schedule that? Like how did you manage that time and fit that into your life?
[00:05:49] JF: Yeah. So I think that’s really actually the sad thing about open source is that people have to do it outside of work, usually, like it is very rare to get a job working on open source projects. And so I am just a huge nerd who has no life, [Laughter] and I would just spend my weekends contributing to open source projects, which sounds super lame, and I totally understand why no one else does it because, you know, they have lives and like now I actually have a life and I’ll get like a GitHub ping on the weekend and I’m like, “I’m doing things.” But yeah, it was just like out of boredom and nothing else to do, I guess, and being super hermit-like.
[00:06:29] SY: Yeah. Okay. So you made time but you also had time to spend on this?
[00:06:34] JF: Yeah.
[00:06:35] SY: That’s what it comes down to?
[00:06:35] JF: Yeah.
[00:06:36] SY: Okay. Cool. So for people who maybe don’t have all the time but, you know, have kids, family, friends, whatever it is that, you know, means they don’t have an entire weekend to give up to doing open source, how do you recommend they use the limited time they have to maximize the outcomes, right, to maximize their contributions and really use it as a way to learn and build really cool stuff?
[00:07:00] JF: One of the things that was nice was that if there was a bug in something that I was working on for actual work, I could then spend work time on fixing it if it wasn’t open source projects. So I would almost say like when you find a bug, try to advocate to, you know, your manager or someone that it would be worth it for you to dig into the problem and maybe contribute back, which would then spare some cycle in your actual workday.
[00:07:28] SY: That is a really good idea, yeah, especially if you’re in a position where you’re… already doing some coding and you’re in that world seeing if you can take a couple of hours and put it towards this open source thing. So you have been a contributor of open source, a maintainer, and now you’re at Microsoft also doing open source things. What’s it like to work at a really big corporation doing open source?
[00:07:53] JF: It’s kind of awesome. I actually just love the whole irony of being a Linux person at Microsoft.
[00:08:00] SY: I love that, too.
[00:08:01] JF: Because I’m like a huge troll. That really just gets me on a deep level, but they love open source. When I worked at Docker, we worked with the Windows team on getting Windows containers to work and they were the top contributors to Docker, like I think that the main person just passed me on the contributors to Docker. So they’ve made significant contributions. It’s crazy just to see how their culture has changed, and I actually even get to work with some of them, who I worked with previously, which is kind of also why I joined because they’re awesome and I love them. And they really want to be open, transparent, and they’re really good at it.
[00:08:38] SY: So why? Why are they doing this? And I feel comfortable saying this because I used to work at Microsoft as well. They, you know, gave us an amazing venue for Codeland. So I’m a huge Microsoft fan for very personal reasons. But the general reputation among developers for many, many years has not been favorable. And it feels like it’s a recent thing where that’s shifted, and I’ve seen a lot of developers get excited about Microsoft. Why is this happening? Why are these changes taking place?
[00:09:07] JF: I mean, I’m not even sure how to answer it. It must have started with, obviously, someone very high up since culture changes from the top. So maybe like Satya or something, but there is an unreal amount of people in like at least the new Microsoft, all of them want everything to be open, which is really cool. But I’m unsure why.
[00:09:25] SY: Yeah, yeah. I’m like, “What? What’s going on? I want to have some conversations with some people up there.” What does it mean for a corporation to be very pro open source? You mentioned that they actively contribute and they’re big contributors to projects, but what else? Like what else can a corporation do, has Microsoft done to be very pro open source?
[00:09:49] JF: Yeah. So say like on the weekend, you know, I coded up some tool or something that I was using. I could just open source that on my own, which is really nice, and I actually came to just think about that in a very privileged way because I was so used to just doing that. And then I talked to a lot of people from other companies and they’re like, “No, the IP stays with the company always.” And I was just like, “Wait, what?”
[00:10:10] SY: Right. What does it look like from a financial perspective? Because one of the big frustrations that I hear from open source maintainers, especially ones that are doing it… you know, there’s a sole maintainer, there’s no big company behind it, is that all these corporations use it, they contribute to it but they’re not like funding it. How have you seen that work at the corporate level?
[00:10:32] JF: Those are the saddest stories and it makes me really sad, especially things like Bash or Curl. The things that everyone uses, that is terribly sad. There are of course these, you know, software foundations and I have a lot of opinions on them. Some are good and some are bad, but I do think that they give an opportunity for corporations to give money to the projects. And whether or not the foundation handles that well is up to the foundation and whether you have a good one. But I wish there was a better way to actually just give the money straight to the maintainers.
[00:11:09] SY: And I think that’s one of the ideas behind like Ruby Together. I know there’s a couple of other ones that try to do that where they have a single place that you contribute to and then that… I don’t know what the percentage is but I think the majority of that money goes to the maintainers and you know kind of funding projects like that. What are your opinions of initiatives like that that are trying to better financially empower maintainers?
[00:11:32] JF: Oh, I think those are great. Like all of the… there’s another one like Code Collective or something I think.
[00:11:37] SY: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:11:38] JF: Yeah. Those are amazing because they don’t have to go through this foundation. Like I think that I just have a bad feeling with foundations that something is kind of sketched. But yeah, I really just want to be able to be like, “Here is money. Take it. Do what you want.” Because I trust the maintainers. I was one of them, like they will use it for good and not for evil.
[00:11:57] SY: Yeah, absolutely. What are some of the concerns you’ve had of foundations? I don’t think I really know much about how they actually operate and what it looks like, but what are some of the hesitations you have around them?
[00:12:06] JF: So I think like in the past, a lot of them were being used for pay for play. So someone would give a bunch of money to a foundation and then they’d be like, “We need this one feature,” and then they have a seat on the board of this foundation. And so they would push for this feature, say it was stupid and nobody actually wanted it, then it would actually get into the project because they were on the board, they paid a bunch of money, and it was there.
[00:12:30] SY: Yeah. And that was actually one of the things I was thinking about with Microsoft as well, because having a corporation back an open source project by having, you know, their own employees work on open source is really awesome because now there are people who are spending real time on it. But the other side of it is how do you know the corporation isn’t kind of steering that project in a way that only benefits them?
[00:12:54] JF: Yeah, that’s the fear. A lot of that we dealt with at Docker too with contributions coming in from different companies that we had to collaborate with to get to a place that we felt comfortable with merging it. So I think it’s all about compromise. And a lot of these open source engineers, they understand that. It’s like you get some, you give some.
[00:13:17] SY: Yeah. So what are some of the open source things that you get to work on?
[00:13:21] JF: So I’ve been contributing to Go and Kubernetes for a while. So I’ll of course continue doing those things. And then I’m also just interested in fixing bugs with regards to Go on Windows subsystem for Linux, which is like this Linux interrupt for Windows where these calls are translated into Windows’s calls. So there’s a few Windows Go specific bugs there that I’m going to try to fix, and then a bunch of my coworkers are super awesome that they just hired at Microsoft. So I think that we have some things that we want to work on as well that will also be open source. I don’t know.
[00:13:59] SY: So when you think about the future of open source at Microsoft, where do you hope it gets to?
[00:14:07] JF: Currently, I feel very comfortable there being like we think that we should work on this one thing, and then I really doubt that anyone would say no at this point. So I hope that that continues because I feel very comfortable doing things to benefit the community at this point.
[00:14:26] SY: And so I know that open source has been a really big part of your career. It’s like literally what you do for your job. But if you are not being paid to do open source as your main job, how important is contributing to the average developer, specifically if you’re a newer person trying to get started and you’re trying to figure out like, “Where do I invest the limited time that I have?” How top of the list should open source be?
[00:14:54] JF: I would say it should be like your first go-to. If you do want to spend that time on coding something, I would say definitely find a project with a good community that you want to be a part of. And hopefully, that community is very supportive and they will guide you through this contribution process in a way that is, hopefully, less painful than it should be. But yeah, I mean I guess it’s like really hard getting started out in open source because it’s hard to find those projects, and there is of course always open source drama. So I mean, if anyone was to go to a project that they didn’t know about, there’s always Go and Kubernetes where I am there and can be pinged at any time. So I know those are trustworthy, and then I know a lot of people in the Node community who are super helpful. So that is a good one, too.
[00:15:44] SY: Yeah. Yeah. And you mentioned culture and community a few times and, you know, I think we all know that open source can be not the nicest place to be all of the time. And so if you are trying to figure out what community to be a part of if you want to generally get the vibe and see if you would feel supported in being there and contributing to that project, what are some good ways to evaluate a community?
[00:16:11] JF: At this point, I’ve mostly come to evaluate it based on, you know, finding people from underrepresented groups in those communities and then talking to them about how they feel about it because I was the only female engineer at Docker or working on the project for a very long time. Random people on the internet are very rude sometimes. But if you have like your tribe of people that you feel comfortable being yourself around, that’s super helpful. So I like to find, you know, other women to like get their feelings on it. Obviously, there aren’t that many in open source, but Kubernetes actually has a really great community of women. But yeah, it’s freakishly hard to feel comfortable in a space where you are new.
[00:16:54] SY: Yeah. And I think for me, one of the things that makes it a little bit hard to evaluate… you know, besides the fact that whenever you are trying to interpret written communication, you don’t get body language, you don’t get tones, so you kind of don’t have a lot of those other tools to assess like, “Is the person joking? Are they serious? Are they trying to be a jerk?” You know, you can’t always tell tone, but I feel like when I look at GitHub issues and pull requests, there’s also a certain efficiency that I see in the way people talk to each other that can come off really rude if you’re not used to reading things that way. Do you know what I mean?
[00:17:37] JF: Oh my gosh, yes. Yeah. No, this is a serious problem. The problem is that maintainers see this as a fire hose, but the contributors see it as a very delicate like one-off. You know, so they will… you know, and things with smileys like put emojis. But the maintainer is like, “I have 40 of these to get through so I’m going to be very short and quick,” but it comes off as so rude. It is so rude, honestly. I saw myself doing it and I was like, “That is not what I meant at all. I just don’t have time.” So I started ending things with a smiley or like making like a nerd joke here and there. So yeah, I think that you just really have to spend the time to not go through them like a fire hose.
[00:18:17] SY: So if you were in the community and you’re trying to get work done and you deal with some of that negativity, some of that actual like intentional negativity, what is the best way to deal with that? Because I think that’s, you know, a big fear is someone says something to me that’s racist, sexist, otherwise, just mean and then I’m like, “Oh, crap.” Like you know, my feelings are hurt but also like what do I do now? How do I get out of this? What are the next steps for that type of situation?
[00:18:43] JF: The way I deal with this is really weird because I got a lot of hate in the beginning days of working in open source like people used to come into our dev channel on IRC and call me very bad names and then just like exit.
[00:18:57] SY: What?
[00:18:58] JF: Yeah. It was like really weird. Like my team hung out. They’re super awkward. I took it as like when I work on open source projects, that’s not me. That’s like this like container girl or whatever. And then I kind of disassociated myself from that person so that they aren’t dissing me, they’re dissing this person who works on open source. It’s like really weird and kind of like how Jenn Schiffer does those like satirical posts and those aren’t her, that’s kind of how I get through it, I guess.
[00:19:23] SY: But is there a process for like reporting it? Is there someone you can totally talk to? Yeah, what does that look like?
[00:19:30] JF: So you can block people on GitHub now, which was not a thing back in the day and that’s really good. GitHub has a ton of safety tools now. It is absurd. Their safety team is amazing, like I love them. And then if you’re committing to a project, make sure there’s a code of conduct if anything ever goes down. And then make sure that those people who go through the code of conducts are good people and that they care. Sometimes the code of conducts are just there to be there and they aren’t enforced in.
[00:19:55] SY: Yeah, absolutely. Or sometimes they’re there and they’re not really easy to find. So, you know, they’re not actually helpful to the people who need them. Yeah.
[00:20:02] JF: Totally.
[00:20:03] SY: So how many years have you been involved in open source?
[00:20:06] JF: I guess like four now.
[00:20:08] SY: Nice. Yeah. Have you seen any changes over those four years?
[00:20:12] JF: Yeah. I mean, I at least now have a ton of women friends who commit to open source, which is awesome. And I really think just the community around containers has grown so much that I feel comfortable being myself there, which is really, really great and I want now… like my goal is to get more people to feel this way because it’s so much fun building things with your friends and kind of like just making it go boom.
[00:20:40] SY: What was your favorite open source moment?
[00:20:44] JF: That’s so hard because I love new contributors and watching their face when their pull request gets merged. It is the greatest thing. It’s also like it’s the same thing as when containers click for people and it’s like the sense of joy and just like knowing that the possibility is out there to continue down this road, I guess.
[00:21:04] SY: Yeah. Yeah. So what advice do you have for people who are just getting started with open source, maybe thinking about it and trying to figure out, you know, “Do I really want to go down this road and figure this out?” What advice do you have for them?
[00:21:17] JF: Do not be intimidated. I was always intimidated by, you know, the maintainers or all these people who kind of review code. They’re humans, you know. They have flaws. They write bugs. Don’t get nervous that, you know, they won’t like you. (Laughs)
[00:21:32] SY: Yeah. Yeah. They’re all human. That’s what you got to remember. You know, all you see is an avatar and a username and you forget that they’re real people behind that. So good advice. Yeah. So next let’s move on to some fill in the blanks. Are you ready?
[00:21:46] JF: Sweet. Okay.
[00:21:47] SY: Number one, worst advice I’ve ever received is?
[00:21:50] JF: So any advice that would make me feel like I’m not going to be myself and be genuine, I cannot listen to. I don’t have a specific instance, but there are those times where you’re like feeling, “No, that’s not what I like,” and just believe in yourself.
[00:22:06] SY: Yeah. Good one. Number two, my first coding project was about?
[00:22:10] JF: It was one of those GeoCities sites back in the day, and I added glitter.
[00:22:16] SY: Very cool. How long did that take you to do to figure out?
[00:22:19] JF: A very long time and I’m sure I copy pasted something from somewhere to do it.
[00:22:23] SY: Yup. Number three, one thing I wish I knew when I first started to code is?
[00:22:29] JF: Everyone is human and all your heroes have flaws.
[00:22:33] SY: Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. Was there a particular hero or moment where you were… what’s the word, disenchanted maybe where you kind of realized like, “Oh, this person is actually just a human being and maybe a little bit like me”?
[00:22:48] JF: Oh, yeah. So one of like the people who I worked with on the Go team was like one of my ultimate heroes for the longest time, I mean still is obviously. Ian Lance Taylor, he wrote like a bunch of compilers. He’s like super nerd and super cool. And so he merged one of my patches to go once, but it was something where in the patch itself I wrote like, “I really don’t like this code.” Like, “I’m looking for some advice as to like how to make it better,” because I hate the way that I made this patch, but like I need to know how to fix it. And then he merged it and I was like, “Dude, like did you not read my comment about how I hated this thing?” And it was like right after I had just joined Google so I did it like on our internal hangouts and I think he was just like, “Ah.” He was like, “I didn’t see a better way.” And I was like, “But you’re like super human. How did you not see a better way?”
[00:23:36] SY: Yeah. What do you mean? Yeah. Coming up next, we talk to Bryan about his experience working on open source. Bryan has been doing this for a while, way before it was this mainstream thing that everybody was talking about. He shares how he got started and how open source has changed over time. We also have a brand new segment of Tales from the Command Line coming up. This one is focused on going from a super small company to a huge company. All that after this.
[00:24:07] We’ve talked about open source a bunch of times on this podcast, but frankly, open source is so big and complex and fascinating that it needs its own show, and it has one. It’s called Command Line Heroes. It’s produced by Red Hat and it’s hosted by me. That’s right. I’ve got another tech podcast talking to incredible people about all things open source. We talk about the history of open source, the introduction of DevOps and then DevSecOps, and we even do an interview with the CTO of NASA. And that’s just the beginning. We also dig into cloud and serverless and big data and all those important tech terms you’ve heard of, and we get to explore. If you’re looking for more tech stories to listen to, check it out at redhat.com/commandlineheroes. Link is in your show notes.
[00:24:58] DigitalOcean is the easiest way to deploy, manage, and scale your application. Everything about it was built with simplicity at the forefront; setting, deploying, even billing. Their support is amazing. They’ve got hundreds of detailed documents and tutorials. So if it’s your first time deploying an app, they’ve got great tools and community to make it nice and easy. Try DigitalOcean for free by going to DO.co/codenewbie and get $100 in infrastructure credit. Link is in your show notes.
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[00:26:50] SY: Tales from the Command Line. It gives us a chance to dig into one particular part of the episode and hear a different perspective from a really experienced developer in the field, Scott McCarty.
[00:27:02] SM: Yeah. My name is Scott McCarty. I am a principal product manager and I focus on containers, like all the technology within containers that enables Red Hat Enterprise Linux and OpenShift.
[00:27:14] SY: Let’s begin. So you actually transitioned from a very small six-person company to a really big one called Red Hat where there are thousands of people doing all kinds of work in open source. And so I’m wondering when you go from such a small company where I assume you’re wearing lots of hats and doing just a ton of responsibilities and now you have a lot more help and support at Red Hat, what was it like to do that transition specifically in the context of working in open source?
[00:27:49] SM: I went from a six-person, essentially, startup where I was a sysadmin to Red Hat as a solutions architect. So I changed roles, I changed companies, and I changed the size and type of the company tremendously like, you know, went from six people to 3200 people when I start at Red Hat.
[00:28:07] SY: Yeah. It’s a big change.
[00:28:09] SM: It was a huge change. And so it’s funny that you asked. So as bigger company, we have these people to support you in. That’s the funny part. So you do not feel that feeling. In fact, it felt like an ocean, like you were swimming in an ocean and it was terrifying. The six people, I could go to the owner of the company and be like, “Dude, what do we do?” blah, blah, blah. You know, everybody was in synchronization like every day all day, like you knew exactly what everyone else was doing. You knew where the projects were. You knew what was going on. You just had this sense of security with your day-to-day life. With 3200 people, you have that sense with your local team. So like I would feel that with the salesperson I was attached to and the inside rep that I was attached to, and then that was about it. Like honestly, it was like a two, three-person team instead of a six-person company. And then as you mature, you’re really honestly out there by yourself a lot. You’d end up going and meeting with customers by yourself, and you got really good at just coming back to the mothership, digging into like our internal wiki, meeting people, networking, figuring out, “Oh, who’s the expert in X, Y, Z,” like compilers or whatever. And you try to find out who that person was and reach out to them. But actually, it was in a certain way pretty lonely, like you’re like kind of constantly building your network. Now, seven years later, seven and a half years later because that was back in 2011, I’ve changed roles like three, four times. I know probably a thousand people at Red Hat. Now, it feels like home. Now I know way too many people. It’s ridiculous. Like we’ll be at a conference, I’m like, “Hey, how’s it going?” blah, blah, blah, and we like all know each other. And it’s super fun. It’s like a family now.
[00:29:41] SY: Yeah. So when we talk about open source on the show, usually, we’re talking to individual contributors, people who are doing stuff in their free time, on the weekends, you know, after work, you know, trying to get involved, trying to help the community in their own little way. What does open source look like at such a huge company like Red Hat?
[00:30:01] SM: When you’re in a six-person company, you go up to somebody and you go, “Hey, Bob, change this. We need to change this.” And they’re like, “Okay. Cool.” And you hash it out, right? Like whereas this, you’re like, “There’s a lot of race conditions with a lot of people.” So like a race condition in programming is like when you set a variable and this other thing doesn’t get updated then it doesn’t read that variable right. That happens a lot with people, right? Like there’s an information synchronization problem. It’s like CAP theorem problem, consistency, availability, partitioning. You know, people are partitioned from each other like if there are salespeople on the field and they haven’t read the blog entry yet, they don’t know that it’s happening. They don’t know what’s happening. So you end up with these race conditions.
[00:30:38] SY: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
[00:30:38] SM: I mean, that’s actually the amazing part is that you can get 13,000 people to consistently kind of have a similar opinion about certain things, not everything. And in fact, that’s probably healthy but about certain things?
[00:30:48] SY: Right. Yeah. The synchronization.
[00:30:49] SM: Yeah. It’s amazing that it works. And then you’ve got to be very comfortable with getting that feedback. That’s hard in a big company. It expands your mind a little bit and that you have to be comfortable being uncomfortable getting feedback, doing presentations and kind of seeing when people critique you. And there are some really good presenters and really good… you know, people that are very good at messaging and vandalizing things and taking that criticism and integrating it, that’s hard in a big company. Like in a small company, you just think it’s okay, like nobody actually critiques you very much. They’re like, “Oh yeah, blah, blah, blah. It’s great.”
[00:31:19] SY: There’s no time.
[00:31:20] SM: Yeah, because it’s a small pond. And honestly, maybe they’re not better at it than you. And that’s the challenge. In a big company, there’s somebody better than you in almost everything you do. That’s kind of weird. That’s a realization. It’s hard.
[00:31:34] SY: Yeah. So tell me about a recent open source project you did at Red Hat.
[00:31:39] SM: So recently, I’ve been working on this project called Linux Container Internals, and it’s essentially a project to help teach people about the deep dark details of like container engines and images and hosts and registries. And it’s along the lines of the original Linux Kernel Internals class that used to be taught by Red Hat. And I remember wanting to take this class for like years and years because like I wanted to understand like the deep API interfaces within the Kernel and things like that. We started this thing to like basically teach the same level of detail around containers. And essentially, it uses this platform called Katacoda. It allows the user to like kind of read some text on the left and then there’s a terminal brought up on the right. So like to the spirit of Command Line Heroes, it’s a way to run commands and you can click on code in the text and it will automatically run, and it’s really cool. It allows you to get very technical and kind of run these experiments where you show people how to run the experiment and then they kind of see what happens and they go, “Oh, okay. I see the Kernel does this if I do this, I see. Oh, the container engine does this if I do this.” And you can start to get this kind of cause and effect like experimentation, like learning by experimentation.
[00:32:47] And so last week, I’ve been working on this for probably two-ish years and I’ve had some internal, you know, at Red Hat, some contributions. But recently, like two weeks ago, we had our first three/four PRs or pull requests from external users, and that was really cool. These were people that didn’t work at Red Hat that had somehow come upon it. I’m not even sure how they came upon it. Maybe they found it on their own on the internet. And they basically were like, “Oh.” And they were going through it and they were like, “Oh, I really like this,” but these typos here, blah, blah, blah, or these typos here. And it’s weird when you’re reading your own stuff you don’t notice like small problems with things and they noticed them and so they submitted them and I was like, “Oh, this is really, really cool. They actually went through this in detail.” Basically, you’ve fixed the problems and then submitted these changes to me as a pull request. And I looked at them and the guy that runs the Katacoda, Ben, said it to me and said, “Hey, there are pull requests for this.” I was like, “Oh, that’s really cool.” So I approved them. I looked at them, I reviewed them real quick, and I approved them, and then they got merged into the class. So it was really cool. And so it’s production. It’s like live. You can interact with it right now, like it’s on learn.openshift.com. So it’s really cool.
[00:33:49] SY: And was that a project that you did specifically as part of your job description? Is that something you did kind of on the side that, you know, I’m sure Red Hat appreciated but was more for you, or how did that fit into your position?
[00:34:02] SM: You try to find the stretch goals or stretch projects that kind of push the boundaries of everything. So I would argue that this training class that I built is a little bit technical marketing, a little bit product management, a little bit evangelism, a little bit engineering. It’s a little bit of all of it and it’s kind of a platform for like even my Sprint team to kind of… it’s like a way that we can talk about containers and kind of put some of our demos in there almost and then show them as experiments. So it’s a little bit of an incubator. For engineering, it’s a little bit of an incubator for sort of evangelism and technical marketing. It’s a learning tool. Like it’s a little bit of all of the above. And so yeah, I would say it’s somewhat in my job description, somewhat not. Like this is definitely still a stretch goal where I’m going above and beyond. But it’s like definitely in the spirit of Red Hat. Everything at Red Hat happens by, we joke, by cabal. So like it’s like a few people get together and go, “We’re going to build this thing,” and then they just do, and they’re like, “Oh, that worked. That’s pretty cool.”
[00:34:56] SY: Yeah. Very cool. And now, back to the interview.
[00:35:03] I’m so, so excited to talk to you about open source because I feel like there is an overwhelming consensus in the tech community that open source is this magical, amazing, wonderful place. Everybody should do it. Everyone should try it. If you’re not doing it, you’re missing out, you’re going to ruin your career. And you have different opinions about open source. I’m so excited to dig into that. But I want to start with acknowledging the fact that you’ve been coding forever. You’ve been coding for over 20 years. You’ve done it all. You’ve done the startup thing, the corporate thing. You studied computer science. Throughout all those years, what’s been your relationship to open source?
[00:35:41] BL: Ah, so I’ve seen open source before I think people really called it open source. But actually, my first introduction to software was my dad said, “Hey, you want a computer?” I said, “Yeah. It sounds great.” And he says, “You can get a computer if you learn these manuals.” And he brought home some operating manuals that he had picked up from the army. So my first language was C.
[00:36:00] SY: And how old were you?
[00:36:01] BL: I was about 11 or 12.
[00:36:03] SY: Wow.
[00:36:04] BL: So this would have been in the mid-’80s.
[00:36:07] SY: So even at that age when you looked at those manuals and you’re learning this language, did you have any idea that it was a job, like a career, or was it just this thing that your dad challenged you to do?
[00:36:18] BL: Actually, I had no idea. At that time, I wanted to be an accountant, or I wanted to actually go into investment banking and be a stock broker and be super rich.
[00:36:28] SY: Did you ever get to the point where you were making games?
[00:36:31] BL: Oh, so I’ve never really made games but what I did end up doing was writing what we call Demos. They were short for demonstrations of what a computer could do. So back when I was doing this, there were no GPUs, there were no video cards. What you would do is you would just write… basically, write to your VGA and you would write your music and your animations on assembler and you were just trying to make your computer screen light up and your little soundcard buzz.
[00:36:59] SY: Okay. So once you learned that, I’m going to assume you also grew up and you went to high school and you went to college, you became an adult, you started this really awesome career. Did open source continue to be in your life in some way?
[00:37:12] BL: Oh, yeah. So I was one of those kids who always like the challenge. Before the internet was a real thing, we had BBSs and I was on a particular type of BBS that was on something called FidoNet and there’s just a collection of dial-up BBSs that we could actually send messages back and forth. So I learned how to write software to manage some of that, to write games in that. And then what I ran into is that first of all, I learned… my parents weren’t wealthy at all. Windows is expensive. So I learned that you could get 30 floppy disks and you could download a Linux distribution. So I did that. And that was a labor of love. Took about a week to get it all done. And at this time, I couldn’t afford anything that really did X well. So what I would do is I had learned at the command line. I had a shell prompt and it wasn’t dash at this time, this was Bourne shell, pre-Linux Version 1.
[00:38:05] SY: Okay. So at what point did open source become open source?
[00:38:09] BL: I started realizing it after high school. So after ‘94 into ‘95 when I had my first job, I was working at an internet hosting company and started learning about all this software that we didn’t have to write, that we could download and customize and compile. And we would write things and share things back.
[00:38:29] SY: Interesting. So it was a thing that you did because you liked sharing, or was it because you hoped that by sharing, you would learn more yourself? Like, was it truly is altruistic as people make open source out to be at that point?
[00:38:44] BL: So I never looked at it as being altruistic. I just looked at it as you are part of the community. And to take from the community, you probably should share from the community.
[00:38:53] SY: Yeah. So at what point did you start to see a culture forming around open source in the way that I think it exists today where it’s, you know, everyone should be contributing, we should all make pull requests, it’s your, you know, your job, your duty to give back. Has it always been that way or was there an inflexion point, a moment where you started to see that kind of take shape?
[00:39:17] BL: Where I really saw it was probably in the introduction of Ruby on Rails. So 2007, 2008 is when I ever started really getting into the big communities and seeing how everyone contributing back and how I could contribute back, and just to make someone’s life better or they’re making my life better. You know, that was a framework that changed the way that we thought about web development.
[00:39:42] SY: Interesting. Okay. So with Ruby on Rails, what was special about that where you started to feel like there was a culture? Is it just, you know, DHA, the creator of Rails, just being a really huge champion or was it something else? Yeah.
[00:39:56] BL: So it wasn’t even that. It was something that was approachable and around that time is when I decided to venture out and start going to conferences.
[00:40:04] SY: Yeah. So fast forward to today, what do you see as some of the big differences between those original early Ruby on Rails days in open source and what open source is right now?
[00:40:17] BL: Well, I can tell you this. I’ve seen a lot of people make a lot of money. What I started seeing is that people were able to use this free software and use it for, you know, just personal gain not to, you know, anybody else’s loss, but to their gain, to leverage themselves, you know bigger companies or leverage themselves, influence in where they want it to be and I loved it.
[00:40:38] SY: Yeah, and that’s what I was wondering is do you see those successes as a net positive for the entire community or do you see that possibly detracting from the spirit of sharing and being open?
[00:40:52] BL: No, I think it’s a net positive. There’s projects that they’re like TensorFlow where you can do pretty neat machine learning things at a higher level of a mathematician that you might be than you would be able to do 10 years ago.
[00:41:07] SY: Yeah.
[00:41:08] BL: And you can find that everywhere.
[00:41:10] SY: Yeah.
[00:41:11] BL: So I do think that open source has been a great thing because a lot of these things would never have been designed kept up, and hoarded up inside of a large company. It would’ve been wrong.
[00:41:21] SY: So it’s not just individuals who’ve made a lot of money off of open source, it’s is also just really big corporations, I don’t know, you work for a big corporation as well. When you think about the number of companies who, and I think Instagram is famous for this, who have used open source tools, as you know, a core part of their business, their platform and ultimately their success, does it feel weird at least that big companies are, you know, making so much money but the people who were building these tools are doing it for free?
[00:41:55] BL: No, it doesn’t feel weird that they’re using it. It feels weird whenever corporations or companies or anyone expects an open source author to go out of their way to support them for no money.
[00:42:06] SY: So is this a mindset that you have come to over time or have you always felt that way?
[00:42:12] BL: I probably have always been like this.
[00:42:14] SY: Really?
[00:42:15] BL: You know what? I think I have a weird outlook on life. I’m one of those people who thinks that you only need enough money to have everything you want. And then after that it’s too much.
[00:42:26] SY: I’m not one of those people.
[00:42:27] BL: Don’t get me wrong. I demand a fair paycheck.
[00:42:30] SY: Right.
[00:42:31] BL: And I think I get paid very well. You know, I just want what’s mine.
[00:42:56] BL: You know what? I might feel a little salty about it.
[00:42:58] SY: Okay.
[00:42:58] BL: But you know what? I would probably sleep on it and then get over it because I would actually leverage that. I would say. “Oh, yeah, by the way, I wrote this thing that made them billions of dollars.”
[00:43:08] SY: That’s true. Yeah.
[00:43:08] BL: I think once you put an MIT or BSD on something, that’s it, that’s a choice. I mean, that’s how I look at it.
[00:43:14] SY: So when you think about, not necessarily the compensation factor because, I mean, I think it’s amazing that you wouldn’t… I would be angry as hell, let me just put that, you know, on here for the record. I’d be so pissed if I made this open source project and someone made billions of dollars and I didn’t. I would feel very strongly about that, but I respect and I admire that you would find peace in that and you’d be fine with it. But do you worry at all about corporations using open source for their projects, for their company and potentially using it to the point where open source is no longer for the benefit of the larger community and it kind of sways in favor of the corporations. And what I mean by that is, you know, I love the idea that as a maintainer, as a contributor I am not at all pressured by corporations saying, “You should do this, you should do that.” But at the end of the day, if they sponsor the open source project, if they hire all the developers for that open source project, if they just, you know, set a nice email and say, “Hey, you should really do this because I’m a big company,” it’s pretty easy to sway people to doing what, you know, want them to do in this context. So do you worry about the influence of corporations?
[00:44:25] BL: One problem I would have is if I wrote some software and then I found that it was used in a weapons system or something like that or way to go look inside a sanctuary city and go find undocumented people, that would bother me more than making money. I don’t want my software used for evil.
[00:44:42] SY: Yeah. So let’s talk about how open source has changed specifically for a newbie. I feel like nowadays, there’s all this encouragement and support for beginners, for new programmers to get into open source, to make that first pull request, has that always been the case? Is it always been this big push for beginners to be included and participate?
[00:45:04] BL: No, no. And I actually do enjoy seeing people encourage beginners to participate but then the other side of me is thinking I wished they could go through a little bit of pain, then you know what you’re fighting for. But also on the flip side, I do enjoy that it’s easier to learn development now, you know, you have these free code schools, you have free tutorial sites, you have things like Stack Overflow, you have Twitter and you have so many people sharing so much source right now and ways where you can just download it and copy and paste it in. I appreciate software now and I think I have a different understanding in a lot of the people.
[00:45:41] SY: How many languages do you know?
[00:45:42] BL: Probably over 20.
[00:45:45] SY: Wow!
[00:45:46] BL: I could sit down, I can write OCaml, l could write Scheme, I could write Lisp, and I could tell you the difference between them and then go, “I could actually just name these things off or I can actually just write these languages.”
[00:45:56] SY: Wow! That’s really impressive. How long did it take you to get to that point?
[00:46:00] BL: Well, I learn a new language every year.
[00:46:02] SY: Oh, okay!
[00:46:03] BL: So you get to know something hard and you know a programming language. So something hard, something tha’s not trivial, probably something it’s math related or something that is more complex it will take you more than one sit down to do. So know that, just know that in your mind fundamentally. For me, it’s Monte Carlo simulators and really, Monte Carlo simulators are for the uninitiated is imagine you were predicting the world by rolling dice, because you can, you’re just doing probabilities, probabilities, probabilities, you can write whole simulators with this. I know how the math works. So when I want to learn a new programming language, I write a Monte Carlo simulator in that programming language. And then when I want to learn a new technique, I just learned a new technique in a language I know well.
[00:46:45] SY: That is so fascinating. I love that you have a specific technique because that’s the thing too. Like when I think about, “I want to learn a new programming language,” my instinct is I guess I’ll go get a book about that. But I like your strategy, that’s really neat. So do you have a favorite programming language?
[00:47:00] BL: These days it’s Go.
[00:47:02] SY: Okay.
[00:47:02] BL: And I don’t know why. It’s not the easiest thing to express all my ideas in.
[00:47:07] SY: It feels like the cool kid on the block though.
[00:47:09] BL: You know what? It is, but I find that it’s easy and it’s expressive enough and unfortunately the kind of software that I write is all written in Go these days or could be written in Go, so it’s a good language for me today.
[00:47:22] SY: Yeah. So going back to open source specifically for newbies, there is this very… I think widely accepted belief that you have to do open source in order to increase your chances of getting a job and increase them significantly. So one of the best things you can do for your career, especially when you’re trying to get that very first job where you don’t have, you know, a huge resume, you don’t have a lot of job experience is to spend all your time doing open source contributions, building up that portfolio, and that can be your resume. How true is that really?
[00:48:00] BL: So it’s interesting because I look at GitHub resumes and I look at portfolios, but really we don’t know how you coded that, how long it took you to code it. I actually tell people there’s a couple of ways to do it, getting into the industry and this is one of them. But another one is if you are in college and you are doing computer science, go work in a big company, you might hate it for a year, but do it for two years, put that big company in your resume and either decide to stay or then leave. And the reason I tell you to do that is because big companies pay more than smaller companies. So at least while you’re trying to figure out what you’re doing in life at least you’re getting paid for it. But for people who, you know, who have real life problems where, you know, college is not affordable like I was, well I’m going to tell you that it’s going to be a little bit harder and you should attempt to write code, but don’t think that just because you have a portfolio that you are somehow going to get these jobs because I really want to see if you understand software fundamentally. So it’s not just about the code you wrote, sometimes it’s about how you can process code.
[00:49:04] SY: Okay. So as a director and a principal software engineer and someone who has a lot of people working under you, how do you personally evaluate people’s skills? Do you yourself put a lot of weight in that GitHub portfolio? Do you generally find out, you know, what they’re made of through a conversation or how do you evaluate folks?
[00:49:26] BL: So I’ll tell you interesting enough people who apply to positions where I work and who would apply to banks don’t even have GitHub portfolios. But as in the past I’ve seen them and what I did with those is if someone gave me a code portfolio and we were setting up an interview, what I would do was tailor an interview around that. I will take a project and we would walk through it. “Hey, why did you make this decision? Why did you make this decision? Are there any tests? What could you have done better here? Given the resources and things you’ve learned since then, what would you do in this situation? What would you do in that situation?” So we’re using your portfolio to get you in the door, but we’re going to quiz you to make sure that you understand it in the context of what we’re doing and I’ve seen a few companies take that and that’s actually my favorite way to do interviews these days. We’re really just going to take real work, sit down at a computer, and talk about your software.
[00:50:16] SY: So what advice do you have for beginners who keep hearing that they should make their first pull request, they should join this community, but feel a lot of anxiety and a lot of fear around doing so?
[00:50:30] BL: Stop measuring yourself to other people’s standards. Like if you want to do a pull request, just do one. If you’re not ready, don’t do it. And you know what? I can’t say that you’re not going to find someone who’s not going to be a jerk to you. You’re going to have to learn to ignore them. You could only measure yourself against yourself. So as long as you’re good person and you’re not doing bad to any others, don’t worry about it.
[00:50:52] SY: How important has open source contribution been to you personally? Has it been a big part of… specifically you are building your career?
[00:51:02] BL: No. I mean I’ve done open source here and there. I’m more of a personality and a motivator and that can actually write software too. It’s just one of the outputs of the things that make Bryan.
[00:51:14] SY: Okay. So you have always done it. It’s always been there. It’s been a part of your life, but you wouldn’t say it’s been a major force in your career.
[00:51:23] BL: Nope.
[00:51:24] SY: Okay. That’s kind of comforting especially considering that you’ve been in tech, you been coding for so many years and you’re obviously very successful and you’ve done so much. It’s nice to know that you can make it that far and you can be that successful without having to do open source.
[00:51:41] BL: Yeah, but keep in mind it is not been easy.
[00:51:46] SY: How so?
[00:51:47] BL: I’m not going to go into all specifics, but I’ve heard things where people have told me, “Well, you can’t code.” And I’m like, “All right,” you know, during a job interview. So like, “You can’t code.” I was like, “Well, you’ve never asked me if I could code.” Everything, even for people like me like you see me as some kind of success, I look at it as I’m just a person who’s worked really hard who doesn’t know how to quit.
[00:52:08] SY: Another part of your story that I really appreciate and I think our community will appreciate as well is that you studied computer science, but you don’t have a computer science degree. And even though the path has been hard and not golden, you’re doing pretty well for yourself.
[00:52:24] BL: I will say this. My parents come from the Deep South and my father joined the military to eat, not because he wanted to be a military man. He was in there for 20 years, 20 plus years, did very well. But what I found out is my parents said, “You’re going to go to college,” because they knew that college was some path to success. They didn’t even know what it was. So after high school, I went to a school and it was not cheap and a company offered me basically minimum wage and minimum wage was better than schoolings and I moved up and slowly moved up and slowly moved up, but I quit school, but I never stopped learning. So 21 years ago, I’ve read more math books, more computer science books, more philosophy books than I think I ever would have read in school, and the best part about it is I was able to apply them to some place, something in my life not just this theoretical thing.
[00:53:18] SY: So how did your parents feel when you quit college?
[00:53:22] BL: Oh, they were heartbroken.
[00:53:24] SY: Yeah.
[00:53:25] BL: But you know what? They supported me and now my dad just tells me all the time how proud he is.
[00:53:29] SY: Do you ever regret not finishing your degree?
[00:53:34] BL: Yeah, I actually regret not applying to Carnegie Mellon MIT and Stanford because I see what the leg up it gets you, I see what the cultures there gives you and the community of smart people and the access to cool technologies and smart people teach you.
[00:53:49] SY: Yeah. So I’ve asked a bunch of people who have computer science degrees on the show, I’ve asked them, you know, how important has it actually been in your career development and the answer, the most popular answer I’ve gotten is, “It’s helped me get that first job, but in terms of actually doing the job and doing all the jobs after that, I’ve really just had to figure that out as I did the work.” From what you’ve seen of your peers, what you see in the people that you hire, do you feel like that’s true or do you have a different opinion on that?
[00:54:22] BL: I know, I do feel like it’s true, but then I’m also jealous that I got to waste time and write a file system or the beginnings of an operating system. I’ve done some work into that only because I’ve had to but never just out of, “Hey, let’s go write this thing we’ll never use.” I’ve never had that chance. So I do think I missed out on some of those experiences which maybe makes me miss out on some of the context that I could have. But for the most part, I think it is for getting that first good job.
[00:54:49] SY: Yeah.
[00:54:49] BL: And you know what? Where you start is where you’re going to be relative to your finish. So if you can start further along that game of Candy Land, you might finish quicker.
[00:55:01] SY: Yeah, absolutely. So I know that there are a lot of folks listening who don’t have computer science degrees, probably won’t get one, won’t have the opportunity to get one, what are some things that you’ve done in your journey or you feel has helped you make up for the fact that you don’t have that official degree?
[00:55:21] BL: Well, the first answer is I’ve written a lot of code. And what I want you to do is write a lot of code not because it’s useful, but I want you to get used to writing a lot of code, solve this problem this way then solve it again another way and then find another way to solve it. And really what you’re doing is you’re training your brain to have responses whenever you hit a certain situation and you can get this experience even if you have another job or you just, you know, just write some code on the weekend to say, “I’m going to sit down and solve this problem three different ways.” And do -- what else would I do? I’ve watched a lot of code videos too, all these code video conferences that are on YouTube, on Saturday morning I’m always watching one and I just put them on the background, sometimes I didn’t pay attention, but at least I’m hearing all the words. And if something gets interesting, then I pause it and go back and pay attention.
[00:56:08] SY: Wonderful. So now let’s move on to some fill in the blanks. Are you ready?
[00:56:13] BL: Yep.
[00:56:13] SY: Number one, worst advice I’ve ever received is?
[00:56:16] BL: That you will never amount to anything.
[00:56:18] SY: Somebody actually told you that?
[00:56:20] BL: Let me tell you how this happened. I figured out at ninth grade what GPA I needed to get out of high school. It was a 1.9, which means I could actually fail classes and never do the homework, but always do well on a test and they thought I was some kind of weirdo. I know, I just said, “I just gamed your system.” Don’t do this, kids. It’s not safe.
[00:56:41] SY: Yeah.
[00:56:42] BL: But I did it. And my parents had to go to the school and defend me and they still bring it up that, you know, this guidance counselor told you that you would never amount to anything, that’s how kids never amount to anything. There’s a reason why districts with a high number of minorities don’t do well and it’s money, it’s the help they get. So I almost became a victim of the system, but I was too stubborn to do that.
[00:57:03] SY: Too good at losing.
[00:57:05] BL: Yes.
[00:57:06] SY: Interesting. When you heard them say that, did it hurt your feelings at all?
[00:57:11] BL: Oh, yeah. Yeah, it hurts and don’t get me wrong, I have feelings, my feelings get hurt, but never defeated. I turned those hurt feelings into, “Well, this is how I’m never going to be in that position ever again,” and that took a long time. Like I said I had a lot of Ls earlier, I’ve lost a lot, like I’ve made every silly mistake you can make.
[00:57:30] SY: What helps you bounce back?
[00:57:32] BL: Well, these days, you know, my family, so I have to bounce back. But before it was the alternative. The alternative was if I don’t do well at this, I’m going to have to get some blue collar job, work outside, and I’m not built for that, or even worse, you know, I might do something illicit and go to jail. I’m not built for that. So please understand, I’m not exaggerating. A lot of people I grew up with are dead, in jail, have been in jail, and I just didn’t want that life. This was my alternative.
[00:58:03] SY: This was really your only choice, you have to go.
[00:58:05] BL: Yeah, this was my choice and really it was I saw some real things growing up and I just told myself at a young age, “There’s no way I can do this. I’m just not built for it.” So this was my alternative, staying inside, like I never went to parties in high school because of, you know, there is issues. I’m worrying about a party getting shot up and I have seen it and I said, “This is not the life for me.”
[00:58:29] SY: Number two, my first coding project was about?
[00:58:33] BL: You know, I can’t remember exactly what it was about, but I know it was something copied out of like a Byte Magazine.
[00:58:38] SY: What is that?
[00:58:39] BL: Byte Magazine is actually out of existence now. They used to post code in there just pages and pages of code.
[00:58:46] SY: Wow!
[00:58:47] BL: And I’m sure my first thing was probably a game or something like that where I typed it in over a couple days just transcoding it in and then I probably took it and tried to make it better or change a color or change the sound and that’s how I started developing.
[00:59:03] SY: Interesting, copying and pasting from physical paper. Mind-blowing!
[00:59:08] BL: Yeah, crazy.
[00:59:10] SY: number three, one thing I wish I knew when I first started to code is?
[00:59:14] BL: That you could actually make a lot of money doing it.
[00:59:17] SY: Yeah.
[00:59:18] BL: I had no idea you can make money doing this whenever I first started. I just thought, you know, computer guys or actually and I am going to say computer guys because I didn’t see a lot of computer women. And you know what? Pause the podcast and then go look up computer person or computer programmer in Google right now and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about. That’s what I looked at computer people as. And one thing I didn’t know was that you could make money and be successful and have a happy life doing this or that it was like a thing that a person of color could do or be accepted in because we didn’t hear about this.
[01:59:56] SY: At what point did you realize that you can make a lot of money from it?
[01:00:00] BL: Actually the first time would probably been in the mid-90s whenever I was working for a company that IPOd and I saw the kind of money that these founders were making and I was thinking to myself, you know, I’m 20 years old, “Well, you know, they’re smarter than me because they’ve been in the industry a lot longer than I am, but I work with them every day.
[01:00:17] SY: When you saw those founders that get so much money from the IPO, did it make you think, “Oh, maybe I want to start my own company and have my own IPO”?
[01:00:26] BL: No.
[01:00:27] SY: Really?
[01:00:27] BL: No. I’ve done this, and no, it’s not for me. Actually I don’t think management is for me. I am old-school. Just want to write software, leave me alone, and you know I mentor people, but running a business is way more than being a developer.
[01:00:43] SY: Yeah.
[01:00:44] BL: And you know this.
[01:00:45] SY: Uh-hmm.
[01:00:46] BL: I mean just imagine with all the code newbies and all the prep and all the setup they get to do and then you have to write software sometimes too. And I see when you reply to emails and I’m never awake past 10 o’clock. So some people do, I don’t have that interest. I just want to do my thing and at the end of the day go do something else.
[01:01:05] SY: Yeah. Yeah. Fair enough. Well, thank you so much Bryan for sharing all your knowledge about open source and career and all that good stuff. You want to say goodbye?
[01:01:13] BL: All right. Well, thank you all for sitting through this. You know, it is a little bit unconventional of how I did this and I’m just one data point of how it can happen and I’m only here to show you that you can make your own way. You don’t have to be that person that does those things to get the success. You can actually get it a different way.
[01:01:34] SY: And that’s the end of the episode. Let me know what you think. Tweet me at CodeNewbies or send me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org. For more info on the podcast, check out www.codenewbie.org/podcast and join us for our weekly Twitter chats. We’ve got our Wednesday chats at 9 P.M. Eastern Time and our weekly coding check-in every Sunday at 2 P.M. Eastern Time. Thanks for listening. See you next week.
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