Johnny Boursiquot and Bill Kennedy joined the show with Erik and Carlisia to talk about a hard subject — Imposter Syndrome. Not often enough do we get to have open conversations about the eventual inadequacies we all face at some point in our career; some more often than others. You are
Linode – Our cloud server of choice. Get one of the fastest, most efficient SSD cloud servers for only $5/mo. Use the code
changelog2017 to get 4 months free!
Fastly – Our bandwidth partner. Fastly powers fast, secure, and scalable digital experiences. Move beyond your content delivery network to their powerful edge cloud platform.
StackImpact – StackImpact is all about profiling and monitoring for Go. Laser focus on the performance of your Go applications.
Backtrace – Reduce your time to resolution. Go beyond stacktraces and logs. Get to the root cause quickly with deep application introspection at your fingertips.
- This episode is direct product of listening to our listeners
- Erik faced his biggest fear and gave this talk at KubeCon
- The Imposter’s Handbook by Rob Conery comes highly recommended
- Check out #speaking in Gopher Slack
Free Software Friday
- Erik - Polybar - A fast and easy-to-use status bar
- Carlisia - Play With Docker / play-with-docker.com gives you the experience of having a free Alpine Linux Virtual Machine in the cloud where you can build and run Docker containers and even create clusters with Docker features like Swarm Mode.)
- Bill - Pachyderm lets you store and analyze your data using containers. All things gonum
- Johnny - Spectacle allows you to organize your windows without using a mouse.
Alright, welcome back everybody for another episode of GoTime. Today is episode #30. Today’s show is actually sponsored by StackImpact and Backtrace. On today’s show - myself, Erik St. Martin, Carlisia Pinto is also here…
And Bill Kennedy is joining us, as well.
And finally, if you couldn’t tell from the excited announcement, we also have Johnny Boursiquot on the call. How are you, Johnny?
I’m doing very well.
Last episode we had the fun, and if you listened to it and it didn’t sound as entertaining as you thought it would, look for the raw, uncut version in the show notes, and it becomes even more funny. This episode we’re going to come closer to the heart of this episode and have some deep conversations about impostor syndrome, and especially with so many of these conferences coming up and doing call for papers and a lot of meetups looking for people to give presentations. Now is the time to step out of that fear and start submitting some talks and blogging and talking about the stuff that you love.
If you are joining us live, feel free to jump into the GoTime FM channel on the Gophers Slack. This can go back and forth if you guys want to ask us questions. If there’s anything that any of us on the show have done, successes or things that we’ve talked about that it appears we’re very knowledgeable on, challenge us on that. I know myself, I’m happy to explain where my level of understanding actually ends, because I think it’s important to tear down these walls of perception where we look at somebody from the outside and we assume that they have some level of knowledge, but really we only see the parts that they share.
Any thoughts, anybody wanna kick off this conversation?
Well, I think it’s good to start with the definition… We have to sort of understand the problem.
I was just gonna say that.
[laughs] See, we’re thinking alike already.
Yeah. Because I think sometimes maybe we mix up impostor syndrome, which can be a very debilitating thing, with just lack of confidence, which is a different thing. Also not good, but it’s different.
I think it’s hard though too, because I get into debates too, and if Brian were on the show, he’d call me on it too, because Brian’s been beating that dead horse for years with me, to kind of get onto my own way. But I think that there can be a difference between confidence and insecurity and the effects that impostor syndrome has. Me personally, I’m pretty bad about it and everybody took years to convince me to speak publicly, and the only reason I agreed to do this show was kind of forcing myself to get out of my comfort zone.
[00:03:45.18] But I’m confident in my abilities. I know I’m a good programmer and that I build good things, but when it comes to getting out in public, that changes. Does that make sense? I think people can be confident in their abilities, but still kind of have that fear of kind of like exposing themselves publicly.
Yeah, I mean… If you’ve ever felt like a fraud, regardless of your level of knowledge on any given topic - if you’ve ever felt like a fraud and you thought that exposing yourself to the world would confirm those feelings… The struggle is real; you’re actually suffering from impostor syndrome. It’s pretending to be others looking at yourself and criticizing yourself.
It’s sort of a lack of understanding of how you should see yourself, your self-worth, your self-esteem. I’m pretty sure it’s a psychological problem, to be able to reflect on yourself in that way.
I think that the problem isn’t just in technical stuff; I think it’s really about personal happiness in all of life. It’s interesting, I was at the doctor’s office and I was talking to one of the nurses, too; somehow we got in a conversation, and I brought up the whole why I don’t use a lot of social media, especially Facebook.
People like to call each other out on Facebook and stuff like that, but more importantly for me is it’s that constant view of the curated content from people. You only see the best of people’s lives, and you think everybody else is happier than me. Everybody else is living this perfect life, and only I have problems. I think it’s the same thing when we look at people we admire in the technical community too, because we see all the good stuff they put out; we see it after it’s been through ten revisions. We don’t see the behind-the-scenes and what going on and their own insecurities.
We perceive them to be at some level, and then we hold ourselves and compare ourselves to that perceived level, and not the actuality of it.
That’s the key, I think you’ve just nailed it right on the head there… It’s the comparing yourself to everybody else, and you don’t know their circumstances, what got them to where they’re at, or you don’t know the total level of preparation they had to put into whatever it is that you’re judging them based on.
I always have to remind myself that the only person I should ever be judging myself, my character, who I am too, is me from yesterday. If I’m always saying, “I need to get better than…”, it’s going to be better than me from yesterday, not everybody else out in the world. Their circumstances and mine are different, it’s not the same thing.
I sometimes feel like I’m living a double life, because I work really hard to try to make sure that what I’m communicating is accurate, but I always internally have this lack of confidence, that I’m gonna say something wrong… Which is why up until really recently I haven’t seen a lot of meetups record; I love talking at meetups, but I haven’t wanted to record too much because it’s like my safety blanket to say “If I made a mistake, at least the world isn’t gonna see it.”
But when I get up in front of that group, I’ve gotta shut that off and say, “I’m up here and I’ve gotta pretend I’m an authority on this and I’ve gotta be that person” and when that’s over, I go back into my panic mode, like “What did I do, what did I say? Is everything gonna be okay?” and then get the courage to do it again the next time. So it’s crazy.
It’s funny you say that, because it’s kind of the same thing from my perspective too, and for years I’ve avoided public speaking and blogging about stuff. I just wanted to work on cool stuff, I didn’t want to share it out of that fear. Even the podcast… We’re on episode 30 and I’m just starting to get to a point where my anxiety isn’t just making my heart pump out of my chest every time the mic turns on.
People don’t see that, right? They see the outward perspective, and you’re analyzing everything you’re doing, and every uhm and uh and nervousness and things like that, but most people don’t realize, so they perceive that you’re this walking ball of confidence, just walking out on stage, preaching to people and stuff like that. They don’t see the nervous wreck that everybody is for months beforehand, preparing.
[00:08:19.29] Although there are some people who can just do it. Brandon Philips from CoreOS… I watched him backstage, he’s just working on his computer, just waiting for them to tap him on the shoulder and be like, “Alright, you’re up”. He just goes on stage, and everybody else is just kind of like rocking in their shoes, comforting themselves before they go up on stage.
Yeah, we have to sort of disassociate the knowledge that you as a presenter, that you’re gonna sort of relay and how you’re gonna do that, the knowledge that you have that you wanna impart, from the delivery and how smoothly or not smoothly it can go. These things should be separated, because one thing is something you’ve already learned and you just wanna relay some insights to others who might be struggling with the same thing, to sort of help them out in that way, but the other part is a completely different set of skills. It is a public speaking set of skill, and that is a completely different art.
Some people take years and years to master it, and to your point, to some people it just comes very naturally. But you have to detach those things. Your inability to deliver a great talk should not be coupled with what you know; you can’t tie those things together in that way.
Yeah, I wanted to touch on that point. Before that, we’ve never really defined what impostor syndrome is, and I wanted to read the entry on Wikipedia. It says here it’s a concept describing high-achieving individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud. To draw on this point, if you are going to speak at a conference and you don’t have a ton of experience, then another thing too is that some people are not amazing speakers, but they are fine going up on the stage and doing their best; they’re not gonna put in the time to become great speakers, they don’t have it in them, but they speak well enough and they’re fine.
I think I’m a little bit like that. After I spoke a couple times, I’m like “Okay, I can do this… No big deal.” But I’m not a great speaker. It takes time and experience, and you have to practice.
It’s a skill, like anything else.
Yeah, and some people practice a lot, and they are terrible. But some people just haven’t had the experience and the chance of exposure, and I really wouldn’t want these people to label themselves as having impostor syndrome. All that there is happening is that you just haven’t been exposed to the experience yet, and that’s very natural and normal and healthy for you to have that little bit of struggle. Take baby steps, do a meetup talk and then graduate to a conference talk. It’s not impostor syndrome if you feel nervous about going to speak at a conference.
This is a nice tie-in into the whole meetup and sort of leveling up to a full conference with a larger audience. Those baby steps that you’re talking about, you can take them within the context of a small audience. Your local Meetup group is a perfect place to do that, because it’s a much smaller audience, chances are you already know a lot of these people, you go to the same Meetup every month… The comfort level there is gonna be much higher.
That’s like your training ground to be able to deliver a talk, make mistakes and get some constructive feedback and learn from those experiences, and then sort of build up to the point where you can actually submit a proposal to something like GopherCon where you’re gonna have 1,500 people looking at you.
[00:11:57.09] You’re not gonna go 0 to 100 and expect to have the best result possible. That may happen, but to those that it happens to, those are outliers. For the vast majority of people I know who do an excellent job of delivering a talk, they practice their hearts out. They put in time and time and time again.
Bill’s on the call, he likes to say he’s an impostor, but I’ve seen Bill deliver several talks, and he is masterful at it. He walks the room, he works the room, and that stuff doesn’t come just naturally, I know he practices.
This stuff is not gonna come easily, but there are ways to level up to that, and you are going to find there are people within the community who are willing to also help you with that.
And lightning talks are another way to do it. Some people don’t realize that the level of the time that goes into creating a talk, how many months sometimes some of these talks that we see… Most people don’t just turn it on; there’s a lot that goes into doing that, and that dipping your toes in… The 0 to 100 thing - there’s some people, especially an unnamed member of this show (Brian) who pushed hard for me to speak at a conference with 1,500 people for the first time I spoke in front of people… But the reality of that though is that I did have some dipping my toes too through organizing GopherCon, having to get up and at least do intros and things like that.
And this show - basically last year, for 2016 I set a goal that I wasn’t gonna hide behind the curtains out of fear anymore, that I was gonna start doing things to start putting myself out there, and this show was actually one of the things I forced myself to do, because it’s consistent putting yourself out there. I think that that kind of warmed me up to it.
The interesting thing is we look at Bill speaking or things like that, but here is kind of like a fun thing to think about - Bill and I, and Brian, all worked on a book together, so this is kind of fun, because Bill will commonly make comments to people, especially in the GoTime channel about things I could teach people. But I constantly look back at some of the stuff Bill’s doing in training and think Bill knows way more than me. So it’s circular. We’re all constantly looking at each other, thinking that everybody is smarter than us.
Yeah. Dude, I went through I think half of the month of November and December - I went through this period in my head that I didn’t know enough to be teaching because of all of the new stuff that’s going on around, just like Docker, Kubernetes, all the new improvements… And I sat there, I literally had to get myself out of this funk that I have to stop teaching, because I don’t know enough.
For me, I don’t have the problem delivering the message, I’m lucky that way… But I’m constantly questioning the message, and my thoughts, my ideas and my philosophies, and “Are they good enough? Are they right?” I always feel like I’m on the opposite side of everybody else, but I think what causes me to feel like I’m an impostor is my thoughts, my ideas, my philosophies. Maybe they’re not good enough, and I shouldn’t even be saying these things to people.
There’s a healthy balance… In my career I’ve seen myself evolve in a way that I know what I don’t know, and I know what I can speak confidently about. When I’m not confident about something, I’m willing to say “Well, I don’t know enough about this.” It’s being able to have that retrospect, looking at yourself and saying, “Well, here’s what I’m confident about, and here’s what I don’t know and I need to beef up on.”
[00:15:44.24] The people who work the hardest at understanding where their gaps are, what they need to work on, what they need to study - those are the people who are continuously improving themselves, those are the people I wanna model myself after. The thing about, “Oh, it’s gonna come naturally” - again, those are outliers. The vast majority of people who are really good at something, they work at it, and being able to identify that, you have to sort of be very careful that you’re not drawing yourself in impostor syndrome in that sense, but really get the benefit, the good out of that sort of fear, to say, “Hey, I know what I don’t know. I need to work on that.”
The interesting thing though too is there’s kind of two additional factors with putting yourself out there to teach somebody something, whether that’s training or giving a talk or writing a blog post - at the end of the day, you’re trying the technology you have and educate people. There’s two sides to this. One could argue that maybe there is somebody who knows this topic better than you, but are they also willing to put in the time to produce the content? That may not be true, which means that you do a disservice to the people who don’t share at least the level of understanding that you do, by not sharing, because the person you fear is smarter than you isn’t going to produce that content anyway.
Secondly, mentoring people is a great way to learn yourself, because you do not want to teach somebody incorrectly, therefore you’re going to be more careful and make sure that you fully understand the things that you’re about to tell somebody. I can tell you that going into the book and coming out of the book, I know way more now about Go than I did before we started on the book.
When you sit down and you start working on that, you’re like “Wait…” You start questioning your own assumptions about things.
It all sounds like work to me. I mean, if you’re willing to put in the work to get better at something, whether it’s a talk or whether it’s writing a book, it all comes down to work. Once you’ve done the work, being able to tell yourself, “Okay, I am prepared. I have done the work. I can have confidence in that.” Now, the rest might not be up to me. How people see me, that’s outside of my control, but I’m gonna do the best I can and I know what I’m talking about. The rest - you just leave it be. It’s going to be what it is going to be, but after you’ve done what you need to do, you can just be confident and reassure yourself of that.
Florian made a really good point that I wanna bring up - every once in a while you’ve got to have somebody validate what you’re doing, even if it’s months later. Without some level of validation - at least I know for myself… Every once in a while, that’s the pickup that I need, that somebody says “Thank you.” Validation becomes important, or at least for me, it could completely just shut down.
I think that getting validation is good and it helps gauge you, but I think it can become toxic too, because then you’re constantly seeking validation to be proud of your own accomplishments, and that’s not good either. You’re never gonna be happy, and people see that. It happens all the time at conferences, speakers will have people come up, and they’ll kind of like hang on every word and things like that, looking for the speaker to be like, “Yeah, that’s awesome, you’re doing good work.”
It becomes hard, because if you’re not excited and proud of your own work, it shows in your delivery. You’re gonna kind of hang, waiting to get that feedback, whether you’re watching the audience or not, and it’s gonna show, you’re not gonna deliver the powerful thing.
That’s kind of like, you know, Bill, when you get up and talk, you have this way of talking, right? That’s because you just turn off your mind. You just get up there and deliver, and you don’t really think about what everybody’s thinking at that moment; you go home, and then think about it.
I do, but you also want to at least – okay, maybe I’m teaching and I’m gonna give a talk at a Meetup… I want somebody to feel like they got something out of it, that there was value in the last 20 or 30 minutes of you spending time and me being there, and teaching you these things, and I’m not teaching you incorrectly, I’m giving you something that’s gonna be positive…
[00:20:06.20] You absolutely shouldn’t be looking for the validation, but I know for me every once in a while it’s nice to get it, because I think it helps me remember why I’m doing a lot of what I’m doing, and it helps me to move forward.
So I wanna kind of talk a little bit about the sources of impostor syndrome a little bit, but I think before we do that, let’s take a quick sponsor break.
Okay, so we are back and we’re talking about impostor syndrome. Before the break we were leading into validation and things like that, and I wanted to talk about some of the causes and lead into it a little bit with our perception of other people being kind of a primary cause. But I think another one too is that we’re becoming increasingly more a generation of developers who had past lives and kind of came into engineering by one means or another, which means there’s a lot of autodidacts and people who are self-taught, myself included.
I think that can also play a huge role in it too, because you feel like because you don’t have that computer science degree, that you’re constantly looking for a way to prove that you share the same knowledge and skill set as these people you’re surrounded by that have masters degrees in computer science. Does anybody feel the same way?
I constantly feel like when I’m in the company of said people who do have those advanced levels of knowledge, that the moment they start talking about the highly technical stuff and start talking about how you optimize this and start throwing terms around that I’ve never heard before and that I don’t come in contact with day to day in what I do for a living, then automatically I’m like, “Oh man, I’m out of my depth here. If they turn to me and they ask something, how am I going to answer it?” and I start to panic a little bit. I have to catch myself, I have to seize myself and not let that drag me down. Because 9 out of 10 times there will be something you can contribute, there will be an experience that you’ve had that can impact the way that conversation unfolds. You should never discount your own experiences. If you don’t know what a term means, heck, I go back to my desk and I google it. I’m like, “Okay, that’s one thing I didn’t know.” So you see these things as opportunities for learning from others who are a bit more advanced in their careers that you are, but never discount your own experiences. Those things are valuable, because those experiences are different from theirs - you have different contexts, different knowledge, different things you can bring to bear in that conversation.
If you know the answer, it’s easy. If you don’t, it’s impossible, right?
But different people work on different things, and Damian Gryski really helped me with this. Damian is amazing, right? He knows the algorithms, he knows a ton of things, and there are times when I sit back and I go, “God, I wish I knew half of what he knew”, and at one time he literally helped me through it and just said, “Bill, this is what I work on, this is what I do. This is not what you’re doing, you shouldn’t expect yourself to be knowing and doing these things.”
That really helped me put in perspective what I know and where I’m at, depending on where he is and where he’s at.
[00:24:15.16] I’ve seen some stuff by him where it’s like, “That’s it. I quit.” [laughter] So I wanna make a quick point about that, too… I’ve had the opportunity to speak with some people from the Go team that work on compiler stuff and everything, and we were kind of having a similar conversation. We see it as like, “Oh my god, I could never work on a compiler, that’s just crazy. Only ridiculously smart people do that.” But similar response - they’ve spent their entire careers working on compilers; to them, it’s just natural evolution. It’s kind of that perception, we put it there.
The other question, leading back to the whole autodidact thing - does anybody here have a formal CS degree?
I have an undergraduate degree.
What about you, Carlisia?
Same, my CS degree is a graduate degree.
So I’d like to hear the other side of it, because this is interesting. As somebody holding a degree, do you get similar feelings of insecurity when you’re around somebody that appears to be - at least from an outside perspective - to have more knowledge than you, that did not go that route?
I don’t even have to be necessarily around somebody like that… Just being around myself. [laughter] Literally, every once in a while my confidence goes down to a level – this happens once in a while, not all the time… Once in a while, my confidence just dips and I have to go on LinkedIn and look at everything that I’ve done, because that’s what I forget. And I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I have a CS degree… It’s a masters degree - that’s amazing!” Then I pump myself up and like, “Wow, I’ve done this project and that project”, and then I pump myself up.
I have to go and look at my resume multiple times a day for a few days to bring my confidence back… [laughter] Has anybody done that?
Look at your resume?
Yeah, to pump yourself up!
You’re just like, “I wish I could be that person… If I was just as smart as that person…”
“I’m not a failure, I’m not a failure, I’m not a failure!”
Exactly! I’ve done stuff, I’m not a failure, I can do things like these!
I don’t know, I think for me – especially when we’re talking about the validation, I feel like sometimes getting the validation makes me feel worse. I feel like almost like the whole impostor side of it, it’s like “Oh, crap, it’s gonna be worse when it’s discovered I’m not as smart as that.”
But speaking to the whole constantly reminding yourself aspect, I’ll constantly fight stupid issues, just environment issues on my own development workstation; I’ll be like, “Why am I a programmer? Why did anybody give me a job doing this?” It’s just funny.
I only have an undergraduate degree, but when I meet people that have PhD’s almost in any field, I just respect that so much. I know how much work goes into it, and that can be intimidating for me. But I feel like the undergraduate degree I have, which I got almost 30 years ago, isn’t even relevant to what I’m doing today.
But it certainly helped though, right? You have to admit that it provides a foundation.
I think what it helped is not the tech that I worked on 30 years ago, but the problem-solving aspects of it more than anything else.
[00:27:51.14] That aspect is very relative, because for me it helped tremendously. I had to go to school and get that degree to be able to be a programmer. Because I’m a woman, I wasn’t into gaming – like I said before, I got into gaming and then got out quickly because I could be addicted to it… And none of my friends were programmers; I didn’t have that environment. I wanted to program, but I didn’t have a place to go and do it.
Now, some people have friends or they are on IRC or whatever, they found their niche and they get it from that environment. I think it is good to have a degree in general, because when you go to school it teaches you how to learn, more than anything. It also teaches you to handle a lot of demand in a tight timeline, because you have to deliver stuff in writing, you have to write a lot.
That’s kind of where I go with it too, because I constantly go back to the “Should I go back to school” thing, even if it’s not for computer science. Everybody’s like, “Well, why would you do that? You’ve got a pretty good career going for you now. You wouldn’t make any more money, or anything”, and it really comes down to that. Outside of what your major is, it rounds you out. When you’re in a room with a bunch of people who have formal education, who are going to discuss literature and things like that, when you wanna write blog posts or books or things like that, you learn to write well, you learn to speak well, you get a vocabulary…
There’s a lot more to be gained from college than just your major, and Marcus kind of brought it up here in the Slack channel, too… A lot of the stuff with algebra and physics, and things… I’ve lasted most of my career without more advanced math knowledge, but now I’m getting into – you wanna change and you wanna do new things, and now the things I’m excited by - I need that math knowledge that I don’t have because I never went.
You kind of get trapped in these things, but there’s also the other side, like interviews. Big O notation - that’s asked so much, so…
There’s one dimension I’d like to sort of throw in there, if I may. For a lot of us - and I think Carlisia touched on this a little bit - a degree helps to legitimize our knowledge. As Carlisia says, being a woman, having that degree helps in a way, because it helps her sort of stand out in the eyes who believe that “Oh, without a degree she wouldn’t be as good as what she’s doing; she had to go to school to get that knowledge, otherwise she wouldn’t be as good”, which sort of flies in the face of – those who actually teach themselves, they know how to learn in that way. We don’t all learn the same way. Some people need the structure of school to sort of get through something, and that’s not wrong, that’s just the way they learn; we’re not all the same.
Speaking as a black man, I know that I didn’t need a degree – actually, I got my degree way late into my career, but I noticed certain things, certain subtleties… Until I got that computer science degree, it’s almost like I wasn’t legitimate in the eyes of some. I saw I needed to do that. So for some of us, it’s not just a matter of getting it to help us with problem-solving and getting some fundamentals under our belt, it’s a social barrier that we must cross to legitimize ourselves in the eyes of some.
That’s a very good point, that Johnny brought up. I actually wasn’t even thinking about that… When I mentioned that for me as a woman it was good to go and get a degree, what I had in mind was, “Where else would I learn it?”
[00:31:51.01] My friends weren’t doing it, they weren’t even interested in computers; I didn’t have that environment around me, so for me to get that, I needed to go somewhere “official”. But now that you said that, I just wanna add… Pretty much the same thing you said - if I didn’t have a degree and if I had learned on my own, it would be ten times harder for me to 1) get a job programming, and 2) get a good job programming.
I remember two or three years ago I was interviewing with a company that pinged me, I thought they were interesting, so I went and talked with them. One of the programmers there, he looked at my resume, he looked at me and he said, “Why are you interested in programming?” So at this point, I’ve been programming for ten years, and I’m like, “Dude, out of all questions you could ask me, you ask me this?”
For people who interview me, don’t ask me this question, please! [laughter] I mean, seriously! I’m going for a programming interview, I have been programming… It’s one thing, “Why do you like programming and wanna get into it?”, but you got into it, you kept doing it for years… You could get out, right? But no, that’s what I’m still going for, and it’s because I like it. I have to prove to some interviewers that yeah, I do like doing this. And I really do.
The point is, the degree really helps people look at my resume and say, “Okay, she really is into programming.” People wanna hire people who like what they do… So it’s a big deal.
It’s actually interesting that in the era that we’re in now it still carries a lot of weight in job descriptions and hiring. I spent five years or so as a senior engineer at Disney, working on really high profile stuff, and one of the managers who became my manager partway in – it’s funny, we had like a one-on-one, and during one of the interviews he’s like, “You’ve gotta be one of the best - he called me a kid then, I was in my 20’s - kids on my team. If I had interviewed you, I wouldn’t have hired you. No degree? In the trash can.” It’s crazy that we’re still in this time where so many people are self-taught and it does carry weight.
But I think it also carries weight for us internally, too. You use it as your own internal gauge, right? Like, “When do I know enough? When do I feel qualified?” If you’re self-taught, you don’t have that gauge. Nobody gave you a certificate and was like, “Yup, you know everything you’re supposed to know.”
Out of all of the talks that I have right now scheduled for this year, the one that is freaking me out is the one that I got invited back to my college to give a couple of talks to the students in the faculty. That one is freaking me out. Freaking me out.
You have to inspire, Bill.
I know, but I really don’t feel like I should be standing up in front of the faculty, telling them anything. I think it ties back into the fact that they’re PhDs, faculty there… I don’t know. I know it sounds crazy, but impostor syndrome x 1,000 right there.
It’s interesting though, because when you go to a talk – let’s play the other role of it, right? When you go to a conference and you attend a talk, are you looking for that entire talk to be nothing but new information that you did not know? Or does it have value if you just walk away learning one new trick, or something that you didn’t know already?
[00:35:48.13] I’m willing to bet for most of us it’s the latter; there are some people who have much more stricter scales, but for the most part we just wanna learn something. It’s probably unlikely that you’re gonna get up in front of people and everybody in the room is gonna know everything that you’re about to say to them.
Let me say this - when I want to learn a subject, or want to learn a subject better, I get two or three books, at least, because I wanna have different takes on the subject. If I’m listening to a conference talk and that conference talk has material that was talked about at another conference, I still get a lot from it. It doesn’t have to be brand new, shiny material. What I want the most is that person’s take on the material.
Judd White in the GoTime FM channel brought up a good point, too… He said that he thinks the audience is often a lot more forgiving than you think. I think I would go out on a limb here and say that they’re always more forgiving than you think. We like to put in our head that somehow our lives are going to come to an end as we know it if we mess up a line on stage, or our live demo doesn’t work, or things like that.
But everybody - and we’ve talked to the speakers at GopherCon, too… Everybody here wants to see you do well. There’s nobody in the audience hoping you fail. And even so, even if you mess up, most people don’t even notice. They’re too busy in their own minds and worlds, and if they’re that engaged in your talk, then they don’t care about the little thing you messed up.
I think that’s the great aspect of it, just to consider it in that terms - even if you did extremely bad, it’s not gonna affect your career and life, it’s not over. The next day, nobody even remembers. Everybody’s leaving the conference or the meeting excited about something. Nobody’s leaving all pumped up like, “Oh my god, you know what happened?!”
For me, when I look back at some of the most inspiring talks I’ve seen at conferences, I don’t remember the highly technical ones. There might be one or two that might have basically opened my eyes to a whole new different way of doing things, but it’s nothing that I couldn’t have found out of eventually or learned about with some googling or by reading a book; there was nothing earth shattering. But the ones I remember the most, the ones that had the most impact on my career professionally are the ones where the person is telling me a story.
Going back to what Carlisia’s saying, “What is their take on it? Tell me something, walk me through a journey… In the 20-30 minutes that you have on stage, walk me through something, give me a perspective that I perhaps have not had, that more than likely I’ve not had because I don’t have your context, I’m not in your situation. You’re gonna bring something to me with that story.”
Learn to tell stories. If you get anything from this whole podcast, as far as I’m concerned, is if you learn to tell stories, you find your voice in there, because then it becomes yours, you own it. You’re telling your story, not just regurgitating a bunch of technical facts; try to make somebody feel like they were there with you. Paint me a picture, walk me through a journey with you. That’s way more important to me than just giving me a bunch of technical facts.
Yeah, share your passion with the world. It’s like a smile, it’s infectious. Some of my favorite parts about going to conferences aren’t the learning. Like you said, you can watch that video later, there’ll be a blog post. Going to the conference for me is about the exhilaration; everybody around you is so pumped about this technology. You go home invigorated and ready to code and work on your passion project, or some cool thing at work you were struggling with.
[00:39:57.29] You come out of it with a fresh mind, and that’s what I love the most about it. Anybody who can engage and tell a story and share their passion with me, I can connect with that.
It is time for our second sponsored break.
So we are back, and just before the break we were talking about giving presentations and engaging the crowd and sharing your passion. Bill, you were about to say something…
Yeah, I think I would like to see more conferences get rid of the Q&A after a talk. If I’ve ever had a bad experience, it’s during the Q&A. That gives somebody an opportunity to just not be everything we’ve just talked about, right? About you being up there, and – oh, questions kill me, man… And I can’t think fast enough sometimes. When a question is coming at me, I gotta think of the question, what they are trying to ask me, give an answer… My hearing isn’t that great either, so when I’m on a bigger stage it’s panic time, it’s almost impossible, and I think that can lead sometimes to me also feeling like an impostor, because I can’t answer the question.
Matt just said he’d be in favor of not having questions, so we actually have no questions at GopherCon this year, at all. We did panels last year, but we’ve been slowly cutting them out. We’re trying to find a way to make it work, because I think people want to try to ask questions, but to Bill’s point, it tends to be speakers’ primary fear, interestingly enough. Because they can feel that they can rehearse the talk enough, they can write it down word for word and just rehearse. But those questions, it catches you off-guard, you don’t know…
I remember when Adam and Jerod from the Changelog first interviewed Brian and I for the Changelog about GopherCon 2015 - I remember being paranoid for like a week beforehand because I didn’t know what they were gonna ask. Nobody likes to feel like they are unprepared; especially in those situations, being in front of so many people, you wanna feel prepared.
I had somebody - this is how bad it can be - just recently at a Meetup during a Q&A session say something to me, and they said it with some anger to them, right? And again, I can’t hear and I couldn’t process it fast enough, and I hate drama, so I just backed off and assumed he was right, and tried to change. But for two days after that, when I had moments of thought in my head, I kept trying to relive that moment to figure out, “Did I say something wrong? Was he right?” It took me a couple of days and now I’m over it, but it can extend beyond even just that moment, it can linger a couple of days while you’re trying to figure it out.
[00:43:38.13] And there’s this weird atmosphere though too, because there’s a couple of conditions too that happen, even outside somebody stomping the speaker and just kind of throwing them off their game. You have people who aren’t courteous to others on the mic; they just want to talk and just tell a story about their own project, seeking validation from the speaker, and it’s kind of monopolizing the mic, and there’s no real question, there’s no real value for anybody else except the speaker being like “Yeah, that’s cool.”
There’s situations like that that can happen, so all in all, the Q&A thing gets difficult to do. Then you have other people sometimes who, because of their insecurities, need to try to stomp the speaker, so they can basically live vicariously, right? Like, “Okay, I don’t need to speak publicly, because Bill Kennedy spoke and I’m smarter than him, so therefore I could speak if I wanted to.” These are just kind of the types of personalities, and stuff. There’s just a lot of weird things that can happen with the Q&A, and it’s just easier not to do it, and to let people catch them in the hallway.
Somebody was saying they found it hard to go to speakers in the hallway. I think people should question that assumption… Because even though I’ve always had a problem getting up on stage or putting myself publicly, I have always seen other people as people, so I’ll walk up to speakers and talk to them.
I think you should, I think they’re excited about their topic, they wanna talk with other people. And to Bill’s point, he wants that validation, he wants people to come up and tell them, “Oh, that was awesome. I love this”, and ask questions about this. But that’s more of a one-on-one, rather than being put on the spot in front of a bunch of people.
That is way easier said than done though, Erik, you have to admit. While it might come easy for you, I know I’ve been in situations where I’m like, “Oh man, this is so-and-so…”, because you’re idolizing them in some way, because they’re doing the things you wanna do at that level. It’s like seeing a Hollywood superstar that you really admire; you’re almost like, “Wow, should I even go approach them and talk to them?” You’re scared. It really puts fear into you. How do you deal with that?
Yeah, so a little bit of that is that you have to take it out of your head. You’re measuring them based on your perception of them, right?
I went to a MySQL conference one time where the lead MySQL database engineer there was sitting by himself at the bar. Nobody would go up and talk to him. I was just like, “Really?!”
And don’t start out on technical stuff, just start talking about dumb stuff… In that scenario, I walked up and I just started talking to him about like “It’d be interesting to know how many hard drive failures they have just in a day, at that scale”, and that’s just kind of how the conversation started off.
I’ve been to Ruby conferences and talked to speakers about sports, and things like that. They’re people. Everybody’s just people, and it’s unfair to pedestal people like that. Even ourselves, we all have insecurities. You only exacerbate the problem for both you and them. Now they’re sitting there alone and they’re like, “Wow, did I really do that bad? Nobody wants to talk to me?” You know what I mean?
I know I personally make it a point to - when I go to conferences, I try to formally [unintelligible 00:47:29.03] with people, and the best way I found to do that is to try and get personal a little bit. Not about the talk they just gave or some deep technical concept or what not… We might be part of the same industry, it will naturally come up, but it’s not forced. It’s more about, like you’re saying, they’re people, they’re humans; they have a life outside of this conference, outside of this talk they just gave.
[00:47:53.07] So if you really are interested in getting to know people, you’ll find that you develop friendships and relationships much more easily by talking about something other than the highly technical stuff you just went through.
You disarm them a little bit. They’re probably there, insecure about their own talk, and it allows you to help them bring their own anxiety down by just talking about things that are just real, things that don’t have to make them think about, “Am I about to answer this question correctly?”
How about you, Carlisia? Are you able to just kind of walk up to people, or do you have the same reservation?
I guess it depends… I’m pretty good at walking up to people and just talking to people. For example, I was at GopherCon UK and I wanted to talk to Peter Bourgon, and he always had people around him. I’m like, “I don’t have anything interesting to say to him. I’m sure those people have more interesting things to talk to him about”, so I never got to talk to him. So it depends, I guess… If he was alone – actually no, he was alone one time and I still didn’t go… [laughter] Which is silly, because I talked to him on Slack every once in a while, but…
I’m sorry Peter, because I’m about to get you swarmed, but if anybody wants to meet Peter and has not, and is kind of like fearful there, he is one of the most down to earth people I’ve ever met. Just a really nice guy, really interested in hearing what other people are working on.
If you see him at GopherCon this year, you should definitely walk up and talk to him. He’s a ridiculously nice guy, and smart, too. So he’ll make you feel good about yourself and dumb at the same time. [laughter]
I’ve got a question for the group, Erik. There are at least 20 people if not more listening to this podcast who probably would love to give a talk, but are hesitating, either because of this fear, or they don’t feel like they have a topic, or several other things… So what do we tell these people to give them the confidence to try to put a proposal together to be part of - if not just GopherCon this year, but all the other conferences that will happen throughout the year?
I have something to say. Giving a talk - any talk if you haven’t given any talk, is terrifying. Now, I don’t know how it will be for other people, but I will share my experience. The first time I ever gave a talk, I think it was at an internship I was doing, and every intern needed to give a presentation at the end of the internship. It was absolutely terrifying, because there were PhD’s, my boss, my co-workers, who were real developers, and I’m just an intern, what do I know? And I had to give a presentation about a project I worked on. I was so nervous, but I had to do it. I would have backed out, but I had to do it; it was part of the deal. It was nerve-wracking.
The second time I gave a talk, I don’t even remember… It was like a third nerve-wracking. So it’s not going to be nerve-wracking every single time. The first time is going to be terrifying, and then it’s going to get a ton better - or maybe not, but the point is you need to do it. If you want to give talks - and not everybody needs to do it; it’s not mandatory that you do it, but if you want to, find a meetup… Like we always say here, find a meetup, give the talk, or just find a few friends and get them on Hangouts and give the talk to them… Because the first time is really truly is going to be terrifying. Truly, it is. Now, it gets often better… That’s what I have to share.
[00:51:55.04] It is a skill just like any other, and you get better at it by doing more of it. To use a now cliché term, “lean into it.”
You get better, but my point is… I gave a couple talks last year; I gave two lightning talks at GopherCon - one at GopherCon and one at the opening party, and then I gave a keynote talk at Golang UK. And I’m not super good, but I wasn’t terrified, because I had given some talks before. So yes, I’m going to get better the more talks I give, but I’m talking about the terrifying scale. When you’re terrified, you get paralyzed; you have to get over it, to the point where you’re not paralyzed anymore. Then you can focus on getting better.
My thoughts and experiences mirror that, too. I had minimal speaking experience. I had done a couple meetups, things like that… I had done some training in a small group, 20 people, something like that. I had done I don’t know how many episodes of this podcast by that point, and house notes and intros and stuff like that for a couple of GopherCons, but I was outright terrified. And the only reason I did it was because I convinced myself last year that I was going to, that I was going to submit. Kubernetes is a related group, but not directly my people, so I submitted to that conference, because it was also a project I was really excited and passionate about. But the whole process, I was terrified. It took everybody a while to convince me to actually submit, and then it got accepted and it was like, “Oh, crap… I wish it wouldn’t have gotten accepted”… I could have just felt better that I submitted, right? Like, “Check! At least I submitted…”
The whole process for the months beforehand, it was terrifying, and even stepping out on stage - terrifying. Even afterwards, on that link that Adam posted in the channel for the Linux.com or whatever, that mentions the talk - I saw that this morning and I was like, “Oh, crap… I just want the video to disappear into the ether.” There’s nothing exciting about the process. I don’t know whether anybody’s just like, “Oh yeah, here we go!” I think especially for your first couple times, it’s going to feel terrifying and you step out of your comfort zone a little bit. It’s rewarding, too.
Well, I’d like to make a proposal, since I have the mic, I have the platform here… I think this would be a good opportunity - basically, try to help your fellow community members. If you are a meetup organizer, I’d recommend that you put together a safe space, an environment where those who are willing to step up, those who haven’t given a talk before or who are still trying to get over that fear of giving a talk… Maybe it’s their first one, or maybe it’s their 15th one, it doesn’t matter; if they are willing to step up, create a safe space whereby everybody already knows that “Hey, we are here to practice our delivery” or “We are here to practice how we give talks”, and allow everybody to feel free to sort of give constructive criticism. You know, “This is what you did well, this is what you didn’t do so well. You had too many uhms, too many pauses.”
You create a safe space whereby you have a technical topic that you’re talking about; you’re still talking about Go or whatever your topic happens to be for that particular meetup, but you’re creating an environment where in 10 or 15 minutes, a lightning talk or a longer talk, you allow for that constructive feedback to happen. And it’s safe, and you know that you’re not being judged on how well you know material or whether you know it or not; you’re being judged on your delivery, and you get to work on that together.
I’ll challenge meetup organizers to sort of, in an upcoming meetup, create a meeting that’s all about everybody getting better at giving a talk. I think they will also get better for it.
[00:56:08.08] I think challenge the community, too. There’s a number of people in the community that do help everybody with their proposals and their talks. I was fortunate enough to have a number of people help review my talk many times throughout its development; Bill Kennedy and Brian Ketelsen a couple of times, over Hangouts, doing little runs of it and stuff like that.
People wanna help, so reach out… Like, “Hey, I’m thinking about doing a talk”, and I’m sure that you will get lots of volunteers of people who will help review it or listen to you and give feedback and stuff.
On top of that, I challenge all organizers of conferences to help facilitate this. We want new blood, right? There’s a bunch of conference circuits where it’s the same group of people talking; they just kind of move from conference to conference. We want fresh blood, so I encourage conference organizers to get involved. Pair them with people who have spoken prior years, to help mentor and give advice. That’s some of the stuff we do.
Another thing that we do - a lot of the people don’t know… If you ever see myself, Brian Ketelsen and Dave Cheney leave a party early, usually it’s because we’re going back to a hotel room and letting some of the speakers do dry runs of their talks in a hotel room, and we kind of give advice, and stuff like that. I encourage people to do the same, help support your speakers. You want them to be successful, because you want them to go on and speak at other conferences. Let’s help everybody grow together in that way.
Yes, I want to +1 everything that Erik said and focus on the part of getting somebody to review your talk is essential. I wouldn’t go without it if I were a beginner speaker. There are multiple dimensions to speaking on the stage. One is your preparation, the other one is your physical presence, the presentation of your person… There’s a lot you can do in your preparation, and having somebody watch your talk and give you feedback is going to make your talk better, and it’s also going to frame it in your head in a way that you wouldn’t have – you can go over it by yourself a million times, but you won’t get it as well as you will if you have somebody giving you feedback and pointing things out.
Just the fact of getting that other person’s presence and the feedback will help you frame it in your head, the talk. This is true for me, but I think it’s also true for most people.
And I think that if it’s your first talk, talk about something you’re extremely passionate about. That, at the end of the day, is what people are going to take away. Some of the best talks I ever heard didn’t teach me anything, they just got me thinking differently, and were very engaging.
You’re going to do much better talking about something you’re really excited about, like Brian’s case, and stuff like working on a little Gobot stuff for the smoker; you get pumped about it because you love barbecue, so you wanna just share that with the world, and it becomes much easier; it doesn’t become so challenging, like “What am I gonna say? Am I gonna say this right?” because you’re just sharing something you love with the world.
And you can turn anything into a story. I had a hard time looking at my own talk for the conference I spoke at back in November, because it was Kubernetes and this large scale thing, and there’s a lot of technical details there, and it’s like “Well, how do you frame that?” How do you tell a story? How do you get people engaged in it? What if there’s no new information, it’s just using Kubernetes components? And I put a spin on it. The first 5-10 minutes of the talk I taught people how cable television works…
[01:00:16.00] So at the very least, if you learned nothing new, you’ll walk away at least knowing how the cable coming out of your wall works, how does video get there.
People actually really liked that. I got a number of people who came up to me afterwards that thought it was really cool, and kind of questioned “Being a technologist, how did I live so long and never questioned how that actually worked?”
I think we can all frame things and bring in interesting views and teach people stuff that they may not know, and people will walk away with something from the talk. But definitely share your love and passion, whatever you do.
Same thing here - I think some of the best episodes on this show are when people bleed a little bit of themselves into the show, they let people in on a personal level a little bit, whether that’s through humor, or just kind of deep sharing of their feelings and stuff like that - that’s the stuff people really cling to.
I agree. And circling back to the topic of preparation, I think it was said by somebody here, there are so many people in the community who are totally willing to help. If you can’t find somebody, ping somebody - one of us, or anybody - because you’ll be lead to somebody who can help you with preparing or presenting a conference talk. There’s a lot of material on the internet, too. I wanted to mention that GoBridge has a repo with guidelines for putting together a talk, and Bill Kennedy is very willing to help, and I’m saying this with his permission.
He already announced that himself, so you’re in the clear. [laughter]
Yeah, we’re in the clear… To the point that we have that document out in GoBridge that can really help you prepare for presentations, I’m really out there, I’m willing to work with everybody who wants to give a talk. And even if your talk doesn’t make GopherCon, there’s so many other conferences out there that it’s worth your time if you really want to give a talk. Even if you don’t have a topic right now, but you’re just like, “No, I wanna give a talk”, reach out to me and we’ll find what that topic is and I’ll help you prepare that talk and we’ll submit it to GopherCon or anything else that’s coming up.
If you have inside of you this desire to really try to give a talk, it’s something you wanna do, let me know.
And for those of you listening, you should really take this to the heart. This is from somebody who’s given lots and lots of talks, who’s very experienced at this, so this is the stuff money can’t buy; definitely take advantage of it.
I challenge everybody… This is a new year - everybody set yourself a goal… Do some public speaking. If you’ve always been afraid of it, do one thing this year. Pick one event, do a meetup, do an online meetup, do a lightning talk, if you don’t wanna prepare a 20-minute or 40-minute presentation… Just share some sort of love. Tell me that you can’t stand your dog waking you up in the morning, so you’re building an Alexa plugin to tell Alexa to let the dog out. Just share something, and get over that fear and realize that it’s not what you put it in your head as, it’s not how you make it out to be the experience. Get used to it, and start thinking… We have the whole impostor syndrome we were talking about earlier on the show; a lot of people - myself included - you go to a conference and you start thinking, “All these other people are amazing speakers. What are they gonna think of me? I’m not a good speaker, I’ve never spoken before”, and the reality of it is none of them care; they’re too focused on their own talk and delivering it well to really care about how much experience you have or how well you do on your talk.
[01:04:13.18] Let’s start to accept that people are people. Approach them, treat them as you would anybody else at a party that you don’t know who this person is. You do yourself and them a disservice. Let’s start thinking that what we see of people is only what we see and that our perception may not be the reality. If I post pictures of some tinkering with hardware or software-define radio and it was like, “Oh man, Erik knows that, too?” No, I don’t. [laughter] Software-defined radio - I know zero. I’m struggling just figuring it out. Hardware - I can tinker, I can build stuff at best, I am not an electrical engineer.
Let’s start to accept that maybe we’ve built false perceptions of people and we’re holding them to a standard that maybe we shouldn’t, because it doesn’t do them service and it doesn’t do you service.
I think another thing too is if you are at a talk and you see a mistake that was made, or something wasn’t a hundred percent accurate, keep it to yourself and go to that speaker after, and just ask them if they want that feedback. Some speakers don’t want it; it’s solicited, at the end of the day… Because we all wanna improve, we wanna know what mistakes we made, we might be giving that talk a couple different times and we all wanna be accurate in the things we’re saying. But don’t do it during Q&A, try to do it privately and ask that speaker if they’re interested in the feedback. Then it will be well-received and it will be great, because the next talk is just gonna be better.
But you get bonus confidence points with the crowd when you point out what they said wrong, right? [laughter] That’s the way it works, right? No?
Stop the speaker!
Oh my god!
It doesn’t work like that.
Just me? [laughs]
On the same note, if you watch a conference talk on YouTube, remember to give it a thumbs up. It’s nice for the speaker when they go look at their video and there’s a bunch of thumbs up. If you like it, of course.
That’s true too I guess in the same spirit of the Free Software Friday. Let people know.
Yeah, I have to make it a point… I forget. I watch so many YouTube videos and I forget, and I have to make a point to remember to give a thumbs up.
I have a bookmark open here and I totally forgot to talk about it when we were talking about the self-taught and autodidact thing. There’s a book by a gentleman named Rob Conery and it is called The Imposter’s Handbook. I haven’t read the whole thing, I’ll be honest there… But I’ve read parts of it and it’s actually really cool.
It’s coming from the perspective like, if you’re self-taught and you don’t have the formal CS degree, and you feel inadequate when people talk big-O notation, or lambdas or P vs. NP and all that stuff. That’s the frame of mind this book comes from, and it’s actually really cool.
Do you have a link?
Yeah, I’ll grab that.
It took me two full days to understand P and NP, and I still think I’m about 50% on the way there, so yeah… Those things are not easy for me, I can tell you that much.
I remember the first time somebody tried to explain the big-O notation to me…
I remember the first time that I had to tell a colleague when he was writing a formal proof for something, and he wrote some calculus down and I had to admit that I didn’t know what the weird-looking E was. [laughter] The summation…
[01:07:54.18] That’s why impostor syndrome is very serious. We all have confidence issues. On a good day we might not have any, on a bad day we might have a lot, but impostor syndrome is paralyzing, and when you have it, it makes it really hard for you to learn new things. Because you look at something and you just go, “Oh, I can’t possibly learn this. This looks hard and I feel incapable.” It’s important to identify if you have impostor syndrome, so you develop some mechanism to get rid of it or minimize it so you can move on and learn things.
The whole point of it is that you have learned things, you have been accomplished, but just imagine how much more you could accomplish if you didn’t have that blockage.
And I think it also helps to quickly reach out to friends. I talk to Erik and Carlisia every day… Not every day, but maybe once a week we have these types of conversations and we help each other through it. You can’t suppress it down, you gotta talk about it and find people that you trust to have those conversations.
And let people push you a little bit, too. To the group here, and Brian in particular, because he’s known me the longest - everybody’s been slowly pushing me, like “You gotta do this, you gotta do this, you gotta do this…” So let people push you a little bit out of your comfort zone.
Adam’s hiding behind the forth wall here, but Adam has tried to get me on camera for two, three years for GopherCon, for kind of like grand vision and love and experience and behind-the-curtains type stuff, sharing with the world, and it’s like, “Nope. Camera? Run!”
I wanna second that… Make sure you have or you develop a group of friends that you can have safe conversations with, that when you’re in doubt and you’re doubting yourself, you can go back and say, “Hey, I’m having a really hard time with this, but I need to move on. What do I do?”
You don’t need the right question, you just say, “I’m having a hard time”, and they’ll help you move on. I have people that I do this with, like you were saying. With the GoTime co-hosts and producers - we talk a lot about this stuff, and other people too that I have as resources. It really helps make a difference.
Something that I tell a lot of people too, if this is holding you back at some level - I have a mild form of Tourette’s… My daughter has it more advanced, with vocal ticks. She’s amazing… She’s in college and she deals with that. I have a mild form of Tourette’s, and when I get really nervous, it can get bad. That’s a fear of mine too, sometimes, when I’m out on stage. I have trouble watching videos, because I see the ticks. It drives me crazy.
I’ve shown Erik a video and Erik’s like, “I don’t see anything”, and I’m like, “Dude, look at this, this, this and this.” So if you also feel like “Maybe I have - not necessarily Tourette’s, but some sort of handicap and that’s gonna cause me to have problems, I’ll also try to fight through that as well”, if this is something you really wanna do.
I think we’ve had a long engaging discussion here and ran through time, so we’ll skip over the projects and news. Does anybody have something they wanna do for #FreeSoftwareFriday?
Yeah, I have one quick thing.
[01:11:52.28] Okay, hold on… Before we move on to that, let me just kind of close out the last thing. So we talked about this breaking out of your shell… Let’s make 2017 that year, everybody. I wanna see everybody try to submit some talks or speak at meetups, or start meetups and just kind of break out of that comfort zone. Let’s make this the year.
Agreed, let’s do it!
So on that, #FreeSoftwareFriday. Johnny, you had something?
Yeah, I’ve been using this window management tool - a sort of without a keyboard kind of thing - for a long, long time; it’s called Spectacle. You can go to SpectacleApp.com, I believe. and you’ll be able to download it. It’s a quick and easy way to just use your keyboard, to just slide windows to the left, to the right, different monitors, compartmentalizing different areas of the screen… It’s been really helpful for me to help keep on top of the different several windows I’ve got going on. So shoutout to the creators of that project, it’s really awesome.
That’s awesome. This is for Mac?
Awesome! I need to remember that, because I’ve always been looking for apps to do window management when I’m on my Mac. Alright, who’s next?
I can go next. This week somebody showed me a tool that is like Go Playground, but for Docker, and it’s really cool. This tool was made by Marcos Nils… I’m sure I’m not saying his last name correctly, sorry Marcos. He’s from Argentina. He did this tool - it’s basically a virtual machine on the web, where you can run Docker containers and create clusters with Docker features, like swarm modes. You can also pair-program… It’s really cool, you should check it out. Did you guys know this tool? I’m gonna paste the link. I had never seen it before.
No, I haven’t seen it either.
There’s the link on the channel.
How about you, Bill?
This past week I’ve spent a lot of time with Daniel Whitenack working on our data science class, and been learning a lot about Pachyderm and a lot of the data science packages like gonum. It’s amazing to me what’s being developed in this area right now. What I’m learning - because I didn’t know anything about what really data science was up until really the last couple of weeks… Really cool stuff.
Awesome. Alright, so I have something that is similar, but different to Johnny’s… It’s called Polybar. If you listen to this show, you know that I am a huge Linux and i3 window manager fan… So it has like a title bar that has the workspaces in there and things like that, that are standard. But this is actually kind of like a new i3 bar where you can kind of put stuff in there, and it’s got a lot more styling to it, clickability, and there’s sliders, and stuff. If you happen to use i3 window manager - I guess it works with anything too, if you used Awesome, or a number of other window managers that would work just as well with it. But if you’re looking for a more fun and expandable bar, then that’s a good one to look at. It used to be called LemonBuddy, I think; it got renamed at some point.
Before we close out the show - Johnny, you’ve got a shoutout?
Yes, I do actually. My first one is really to the Baltimore Go community. I recently relocated from Boston after spending 13 years there; I was a co-organizer for Boston Golang and Boston Ruby. Upon relocating down to Maryland, I needed some new tech friends, so I figured, “Hey, there’s no better way to do that than to actually start a meetup”, and a Go meetup is one of the best ways to do that. It’s been growing… Every time we meet there’s a few more people showing up. I just wanna give a shoutout to them, especially those that have been coming consistently, month-to-moth. We are growing, it’s great to see that, so I’m hoping to replicate the same sort of growth success story that I saw in Boston, and to really establish a thriving Go community in the Baltimore area.
[01:16:07.24] My last shoutout is to you - yes, you, the one listening to this show right now, that’s dealing with impostor syndrome, and you’re sort of thinking, “Okay, how do I muster up the energy and the courage to rise above it?” Know that you are not alone. The internet’s got lots of resources… Take advantage of some of the resources that we’re pointing out during the show, and know that I’m rooting for you, I’ll be right there; if you wanna reach out, there’s plenty of people that will help you do this. You are not alone. Best of luck to you!
I’d like to add to that… There’s likely nobody on this show that is less secure than you. Or… Yeah. Man, double negative’s are hard! [laughter] But everybody here on this show is just as insecure. Some of us more than others, but there’s nobody on this show that feels confident in all of their abilities, all day, every day. It just doesn’t happen like that. Like Johnny said, you’re not alone. Feel free to reach out to us, too. We’re happy to talk about some of the stuff behind the scenes, too. We’re getting a little more public during this episode, but I know I’ve had conversations with several people behind the scenes and shared personally what it’s really like behind the scenes, versus the public perception.
And back to our point before #FreeSoftwareFriday, make 2017 the year that you step out of your shell and get out in front of people, even if it’s a five-minute lightning talk. Meetup organizers, organize lighting talk night, where every talk that night is lightning talks. No one person talking the whole meetup, just ten five-minute talks, and let people just get that five minutes. They can rush through it and feel done, and then they can feel confident the next time, where nothing bad happened from that five minutes. “Maybe I’ll do another one.”
So helpful… Let’s do that.
With that, I think it’s time to wrap up the show. I want to thank everybody who’s here on the show, especially coming in and sharing your deep personal fears and feelings on things. Huge shoutout to our sponsors, StackImpact and Backtrace - without them, we couldn’t keep doing this show, so definitely go show them some love.
Definitely share this show with fellow Go programmers. This one isn’t necessarily just Go, so if you know somebody who has impostor syndrome, send them this episode… Have them join and listen to every episode. We are GoTime.fm on the web - if you haven’t subscribed yet. We are @GoTimeFM on Twitter. Github.com/gotimefm/ping if you wanna be on the show, if you have comments, if you have topic suggestions. With that, goodbye everybody! We’ll see you next week.
Bye! This was fun!
Our transcripts are open source on GitHub. Improvements are welcome. 💚