JS Party – Episode #97

The wonderful thing about Tiggers

a deep dive into learning how to learn

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KBall, Jerod, and Divya dig deep into how we learn. We look into how to choose what to learn, techniques for learning, and a set of respective resources.



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Alright, hello JS Party people! Welcome to this week’s show. I am Kball, I am your MC for today. I’m super-excited about our topic today, but before we get into that, let us check in with our amazing panelists for the day.

First off, Divya Sasidharan. Divya, how are you doing?

Hey, hey! Pretty good!

Awesome. And I’m also joined by the one and only Jerod Santo.

I’m the only one. I’m Jerod. Hi, what’s up, man?

I do wonder, are you the only one? Or how many Jerod Santos are there out there?

Yeah… There can be only one, in Highlander… I don’t know. There’s probably others, but they don’t spell their name the same as me.

That reminds me of the Tigger song.

The Tigger song? Please, enlighten me.

I’ve gotta hear this.

You don’t know the Tigger song?!


“The wonderful thing about tiggers/ Is tiggers are wonderful things!”

“But the most wonderful thing about tiggers is/ I’m the only one.”

Okay, it’s coming back to me…

“Their bottoms are made out of springs!/ They’re bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy/ Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun!/ …but the most wonderful thing about tiggers is/ I’m the only one.”

I love it!

New theme song. [song sample 00:02:40.07]

Actually, in a talk I gave once – I think I was talking about the JAMstack, or I don’t know what I was talking about…

The Singleton pattern.

Yeah, I was like “The wonderful thing about JAMstack is JAMstack is a wonderful thing” and then I just chuckled… [laughter] And everyone was like “What is she talking about…?” and I was like “It’s fine…”

But you know what - the more fun you have, the more fun they’re gonna have. [laughs]

I agree with that 100%. Hey Kball, can we take a quick moment to plug All Things Open? Because we will be there and have an awesome talk, and I want people to show up and hang out with us.

Absolutely. Why don’t you do your plug?

Okay, so October 14th - that’s a Monday - we will be in Raleigh, North Carolina. Kball will be there, I will be there, Emma will be there… We have a live show on stage, right after lunch, on the Frontend Developer track, I believe, where we’re doing lightning chats. This is like lightning talks, only we’re gonna chat. So you get five minutes, come on up on stage, we’ll talk to you about whatever it is that you wanna talk about, and then when your five minutes are up, we’re gonna do a big gong show thing, we’re gonna kick you off the stage, and then next person comes up. I don’t know about the gong… Still working on that.

This will be fun.

[04:00] But the point is it will be fun, and you all should come. Of course, we’re gonna tape it, we’re gonna produce it, it’s gonna be an episode, so if you’re gonna miss it or you don’t live in a place where it makes sense to make it to North Carolina, don’t have any fear; you will be able to listen to it. But if you wanna come on stage, we will have some swag, and it’s gonna be awesome. So - All Things Open, October 14th. Come hang with us.

Super-cool, yeah. Bring your awkward questions. Try to make Jerod feel really awkward.

And if you don’t, Kball will make me feel very awkward, so… We’ve got it on lock.

That’s my specialty. Alright, so today’s topic - what we’re talking about today is something that comes up a lot in our community because there’s so much going on and things move so fast… The topic is how to learn. I definitely do a lot of questions of where people have challenges learning and doing things, and one of the big questions is how do I even decide what I’m gonna do, what are the best resources…? Some people know “I love Udemy courses.” I’ve got a buddy who’s gone through probably 200 different Udemy courses, and he actually finishes them, which I never do…


…and that’s his thing. But yeah, for a lot of us it’s not clear. And there’s even this question of like “How do you even decide what to learn?” Where do you focus? There’s so many things going on within our specialty, and broadly… So let’s start from there. The panelists - Divya or Jerod - how do you think about “What do I want to focus on learning?”

That’s a really hard one. I find that I always have a lot of FOMO, specifically in this industry, because there’s so many concepts to learn, and so little time… But for me, prioritizing often takes the form of what is top of mind. So if I’m working on a project where it’s actually important for me to learn something, like GraphQL, then I’ll pick it up. Because it’s really hard to learn something when you don’t have a direct application or a direct time and opportunity to use it. So for me, it’s very much a just-in-time learning type deal, where I only learn things when I really need them… And it often fits my learning style a lot more.

I know people who are incredibly able to learn, to take everything in all at once. It’s similar to reading a book - they have to read the entire book in order to talk about the book. I’m not that person. I can jump chapters, and maybe even read the middle section and still be able to talk about it, and at least have an understanding of the total realm that I’m working with. So that’s generally the way I prioritize it, just because I know – it’s very important when you try to think of what to learn, to understand how you learn, as well… Because some people like to learn theoretically - they read a thing, they try to understand why the thing exists, how it works from a theoretical perspective, and then they apply it… And I’m the reverse - I need to know the application of why I’m using the thing, and then I use it; then I kind of learn as I go, rather than try to take it all in at once and then spit it out at the end.

That’s a really good distinction. I remember back when I was in college I studied physics, and I always felt like I was bad at learning physics, because there would be these other folks who would just go so incredibly deep, and they’d understand everything from the bottom up, and they’d just get this really deep, rich understanding, and it was really hard for me to do that.

And then we had a class more engineering and electronics-related, and it was going really fast and you kind of had to start from the pragmatics of “What’s the minimum I need to get to to get this to work?” and very sort of – what you’re describing as application-oriented learning… And suddenly, I was flying, and they were struggling. I think that was the first time I realized that those are just two very different learning modalities. And some topics work better in one or the other.

[07:58] Yeah, for me it’s just such a big question that it’s hard to answer it, because it’s so contextual, and it depends on – okay, what to learn, but why? Why are you learning? It kind of goes back to our conversation a while back about – what were we talking about? Well, how do you know - I haven’t told you yet. [laughter] We were talking about conferences, like how to pick a conference. It’s like “Well, why are you going to a conference? What are your goals?” So the answer to how to learn or what to learn has a lot to do with what are your goals. Are you just trying to satiate a fascination? Well, then just dive into some books and read the deep history, and get in all that. That’s actually the easiest stuff, because you’re already fascinated, so you don’t need as much advice…

Are you trying to get a job? Are you trying to break into the industry for the first time? Well, I think what to learn and how to learn in that case is way different than, for myself personally, what am I gonna learn. I have continuing education needs, I need to stay relevant, but I have a lot of foundation after over a decade in this industry that a lot of people - they need to get that before they can learn the way that I do. And that’s not an arrogant thing, it’s just like an experience thing; I’ve been through a lot of the learning.

So my answer on how I learn - I learn by example. I learn by looking at working code and comparing it to code I’ve written, and then saying “Okay, here’s how I can hop from this construct to that construct.” Well, you can’t really give that advice to somebody who’s in a completely different circumstance. So I think it depends on where you’re at and it depends on what your goals are before you can say “Well, what do I learn today or tomorrow?”

You highlight a really important point, which is trying to discern what your motivation is behind learning something… Because it’s not just about deciding what to learn, but I think we’ll talk about this later - just trying to continue on that learning journey; so if you’re like “I’m going to master GraphQL…” I keep bringing up GraphQL…

It must be on your mind.

I know, it’s on my mind. Or even TypeScript, which is also something which is on my docket of things to learn… But it’s like, if I don’t feel motivated – sometimes there’s an aspect of “I should learn something.” In the community everyone’s talking about TypeScript, and I have this mentality that I should learn it. But at the same time, every time I have approached it, my motivation for learning it and actually understanding it drops, because I don’t actually have that intrinsic reason to learn it. It’s very much like “I should learn it, because the community dictates this particular thing, and therefore I want–” It’s not really a desire, I don’t really want to learn the thing; I just feel like it’s knowledge I should have… And that makes it really hard for me to learn it, because I just feel like I’m constantly just hitting a brick wall.

You just no longer are motivated, because you’re just very easily demoralized… Which is kind of the learning process - getting demoralized is very common. But if you have a purpose and it’s very much like that’s what you want, then getting over that hurdle is much easier, because you have a goal in mind, and you’re able to just push past. But if you’re like “Oh, I’m just learning this for the sake of learning this”, then it’s really hard for you to just continue on that.

For example, when I was in college I was interested in building for the web, and being a web developer… And there was a point where I was like “Oh, maybe I should switch majors to become a computer science major.” And I took a couple of classes, but I was like “I don’t understand why I’m learning this. I want to be a web developer, and none of this applies.” I mean, sure, a lot of the concepts translate now, now that I’m deep into – not really deep into my career, but you know, many years in… Now I’m like “Oh, okay, I see why I should learn specific algorithms, and whatever.” But at the time it didn’t make sense, because it was so abstracted.

[11:56] So for me, going back to what I was saying, “just in time” - when I approach a problem and then it becomes important that I need to know that, then I learn it, and there’s a likelihood that I’ll actually master that technique or that concept, and not the reverse.

Yeah, there’s something really important there. I was remembering an episode we did – episode 80, where we talked with Chris Ferdinandi, who’s the vanilla JavaScript guy… And he brought up this concept that he called “learning inertia.” It’s actually really hard to learn new things, and we have this innate – if we’re not learning new things right now, it’s really hard to get started; we have this innate resistance, and it’s really hard to just kind of sit there… So having some sort of strong motivation that’s gonna pull you and get you moving and get you going is really important.

Now, the nice thing about inertia is once you are going, it’s actually a lot easier to keep going. When you’re discovering new things, you’re getting past those barriers, you’re creating new competencies and creating new capabilities for yourself, that’s exciting; that feels good, and that will keep you going. But if you’re feeling like you’re stuck, you have to, have to, have to find something that is gonna get you excited to get out of that stuck state, and get you past those inevitable challenges where you run into something and it’s just not making sense.

So there’s lots of context in which you learn a thing. One context you may have - and maybe, Divya, you felt this, and haven’t had it explicitly, is like your job demands it. Sometimes your boss comes up and says “Hey, you need to learn GraphQL, because we’re gonna stand up a GraphQL API, and guess what - you’re on the team that’s standing it up.” And now it’s like “Okay, now I have a thing I need to learn, because I want to continue working here and I like to make money, so I’m gonna learn a thing…” That’s one of the easiest, in terms of what to learn… Because your immediate needs demand it.

I think we all have had that circumstance, and that feels very clear, like “Okay, I know I’ve now chosen this thing, because circumstances demand it.” Then it comes to “How do you learn that?”, and I know we’ll get to that next… But the other side of what to learn, which is one that I think we all are struggling with more, and there’s probably more depth to plumb there, or things to tease out, is like investment learning… Where it’s not dictated to you, it’s not completely clear; you have so much disposable free time - and there’s a continuum of how much of that free time we all have… Now I need to choose investments wisely, because we’re all investing in our future, so we don’t become irrelevant, and we wanna keep that job, or get a better job, or whatever it is that we want to do.

Now the question becomes “How do I pick? How do I decide where I’m gonna spend my precious investment time investing in myself?” And Kball, you do this as much as anybody, so I’m curious how you do decide that, because as a consultant and a trainer and all the things that you do, you have to be good at things that are in demand. And maybe not in demand right now, but hopefully in demand also next year, and 18 months from now, and so on… How do you pick what to learn?

Great question. I think about this a lot. I put together a whole framework for myself on it around motivation, momentum and money.

That’s so cool…!

The three M’s.

The money’s gotta be there. The three M’s, or even the three Mo’s. You’ve gotta get your Mo on.

Oh, okay…


Have you written this out somewhere? Because this sounds like a blog post.

It is a blog post, I’ll link to that in the show notes.

Okay. The three Mo’s.

The three Mo’s. It goes up and down, but there’s three very high-level. I look motivation, because I’ve gotta get excited. I’m like Divya - it doesn’t matter how valuable I see this thing is gonna be, if I’m not interested in it, if it doesn’t get me excited, I’m not gonna learn it well. Maybe you hold a guillotine over my head, “You must learn this thing!”, and then I’m gonna learn it - that’s a different type of motivation.


But if I’m not motivated, I’m not gonna be able to do it. The second thing is momentum. Where is this going to get me? Is this something that learning it is going to enable me to learn other things? Is it going to open new doors, is it going to give me new concepts? I think I was much more interested in learning React initially because I saw that it was actually gonna open the door to all the different front-end frameworks. The concepts in React are super-common now, they’re going across all the different frameworks.

[16:19] I would be less interested in learning something that’s very different, unless I had reason to believe that that was going to really pick up a lot of momentum down the road, and really turn into something new, or set me up for something in the future.

And the final one is money. I prefer to work or to learn something on the job where I’m getting paid to do it. Second-level, if I can see there’s a business opportunity, that’s also gonna drive me looking there… And I think that’s for me, honestly, of the three, probably the weakest, but it is the pragmatic piece of me saying “I’ve gotta actually pay attention to how I’m gonna be making money and supporting myself.” And I think depending on where you are in your career, you can prioritize those different pieces differently… And you know yourself.

Maybe it actually doesn’t matter to you that much the motivation, because you have trained yourself that whatever you’re gonna do, you’re gonna do; you’re a strange human being, and I don’t know how you do that, if that’s the case, but… For me, the biggest of those is that motivation. I want to be learning something that charges me up, that gives me more energy… You all know I’m kind of a high-energy guy, I drink a lot of coffee, I do a lot of stuff, and I thrive on that; I don’t wanna be doing something that’s draining me, I don’t wanna be trying to force myself into learning something that is hard in the sense that it’s taking energy away.

Let’s say you put React in front of your face and then you say “Okay, three Mo’s strategy.” And you go ahead and get analytical and rank it out: “My motivation for this is a 2 on a scale of 1 to 10…” Do you average it out and say “This is a 7. I’m going for it”?

No, I’m not that specific. It’s more for me about defining what were the factors that I thought were important, and making it a little more concrete for myself around why am I making the decisions that I’m making, and what were the factors that when I made decision, that I ended up regretting or not following through on that got in the way?

I learned very quickly that if I just focused on money and was trying to learn something just because somebody was gonna pay me to do it, but I didn’t have any motivation for it, I failed. I was not good at that.

I also learned that if I just focused on motivation, and maybe a little bit on money, but it didn’t give me any momentum, it felt like a waste of time. If it was something that was just good for this one job, or this one client - that’s not good enough anymore. I want to be doing something that’s gonna set me up for the future.

The interesting thing about those to me is that the motivation is the one that you can start with as a concrete thing… Because you can’t know if you’re gonna get momentum until you get moving, or don’t get moving. Momentum changes. Money is a big question mark, because certain things look like they’re gonna be financially lucrative, and then maybe they aren’t. So that’s why we talk about investing, like ’Invest at your own risk.”

Maybe you had a Me in there - a mentor. Maybe add that to your list. So you’ve got three Mo’s and a Me, get a Mentor; somebody who’s gonna come and say “Yeah, this is gonna be a way that you can make a living, because I am your mentor and I know these things” or whatever. But yeah, the motivation thing is there right at the outset; it’s intrinsic, right? Unless you said there’s an extrinsic motivation - somebody has a guillotine and says “Learn this or die.” But momentum - you don’t really know until you get moving.

I think you can get some hints on that. And some of that comes from finding the mentors, and looking at what’s going on. React is a good example - somebody coming into the market now might be looking at React, they might be looking at Angular, they might be looking at Vue, they might be looking at Ember, they might be looking at Svelte, and if they’re trying to optimize for money, they’re gonna look around and say “Okay, what are folks hiring for around here?

[20:00] If they don’t already have a position or some sort of opportunity there, and they’re in a place where money is higher on their ranking scale - maybe they’re new, or maybe they’re a freelancer who’s not overwhelmed with work, or what have you, they can look around and say “Okay, if I look at freelancer request job listings, React is an order of magnitude higher than pretty much everything else.” Okay, it might be slightly lower on my motivation scale than learning Vue or Svelte; momentum - maybe I don’t know, maybe I have some feelings, what have you, but the money side, you can often get a sense of “Hey, people are hiring for this right now.”

There are no guarantees in life, but you can get some sort of idea.

I mean, money is a motivator, so… [laughter]

For sure.

Money is definitely a motivator, and how much of a motivator it is depends a little bit on your circumstances and where you are in your career. But you should not feel guilty if you’re in a place where money is your primary motivator. That’s legitimate. If you’re in a place where you are still trying to put bread on the table, or support your family, or support someone else, it’s okay; don’t feel guilty for having money as your number one.

People talk a lot about passion in our industry… This is also a damn good way to support yourself and your family. And if that’s your primary focus, embrace it. That’s fine.

That’s not said enough, I think, just because (as you said) a lot of the times the industry focuses a lot on passion, and almost burning the candle on both ends just because we love the thing so much… But it’s totally reasonable to be a developer who just does it for their work, and just because it pays really well. And that’s fine, because everyone has their own motivator, and if making sure you’re financially stable is your motivation, that’s perfectly fine, and tech is just a means to that end. But I think it’s about finding and being true to what that motivation is, and then also if that drives what exactly you learn and how exactly to prioritize things, that’s great, because most people don’t have that.

Yeah. There’s an undercurrent in Silicon Valley and tech industry of what you might just call “low-key exploitation”, when they only hire super-passionate, work 24 hours a day, or the 996 over there on the Eastern side of the world, which is definitely exploitation, in my opinion… Where it’s like “Only the passion! You’ve gotta care about the passion! You’ve gotta work all the time.” And there’s just like this “Yeah, we’re just trying to get cheaper labor out of the passionate people”, which irks me sometimes.

There’s also a privilege aspect of that, right? If you are a young, single man, who doesn’t have to support anyone, and has a lot of free time, you’re gonna match that “bar” a lot better than if you have dependents, if you have things that you need to care about, if you have health issues, or if you have any other sort of situation going on in your life that is important… So it’s not just an exploitation problem - which it is exploitation - it’s also a discrimination problem.

Anyway, I think we’ve beaten it to death, this sort of motivation, how are we deciding what to learn… Let’s take a quick break and come back to talk about learning techniques; what we do that’s gonna help us learn faster, better, stronger… All those fun things. Alright, catch you on the other side.

Let’s talk about learning techniques. There’s so many things out there right now… There are millions of blog posts, and articles, and tutorials. There are hundreds of thousands of online courses. There are workshops, there are things you can do at work, there are meetups, there are conferences, there are masterminds… There are so many different things. Let’s maybe talk through some of the ups and downs of those. Maybe it actually works best to start with for you personally, how do you learn. What’s the best way for you to learn? Let me throw that first to – Jerod, you made a noise, so I’m gonna throw it to your first. Jerod.

Darn it, I shouldn’t have made that noise. First of all, let me just throw my Amen on top of that. There are so many resources now that it’s like a – what do they call it, like a gluttony of riches, or I don’t know what that phrase is… But there’s so much now. In the old days, when I was a kid, there was nothing on the internet, except for porn, or whatever. But now there’s all these things, and that’s awesome and amazing, but like you said, it can be super-overwhelming, like “God, where do I start? Because I don’t wanna ruin my momentum etc.” So - tons to dig through, a new problem.

How do I best learn? As I said, now, in my career, I learn mostly by example. I read source code, or I read code examples… It depends on what you’re trying to learn. If I’m trying to pick up a new language or a new framework or a new technique, I will read examples. I love “How to do this and that.” There’s a site called X in Y Minutes, which – is that a by-example site?

It’s a really good site. We should link that one up as a resource… But there’s like “Go by example”, all these different “X by example”, where it’s like “Here’s a code snippet in this language that you already know. Here’s how to do the functional thing in this other language that you would like to learn.” I eat that stuff up, and I find it to be a quick way to pick up new things.

In terms of what kind of a learner am I - I’m an audio learner; I like listening. I listen to podcasts non-stop. Not just our own, but hundreds of podcasts. As I’m mowing, as I’m exercising, as I’m driving… I go to sleep listening to podcasts, because I can’t turn my brain off at night, and I learn tons of stuff that way now. It’s like this breadth of learning; it’s not usually a depth thing. You can dive in, but if you wanna go deep into something, get a book, read long-form text about it… But just for keeping up and learning things almost by osmosis, I learn a ton by podcasts, because that really fits my current life. But yeah - learning by example, learn by listening… Those are my two main ones.

Awesome. How about you, Divya?

I find that trying to explain the thing that I learned helps a lot. For example, blog posts is a really great example of this. If you’re trying to learn something and you’re new to a concept, you might take a couple minutes - maybe a couple hours, not minutes; or maybe minutes, if you’re a fast-learner - and then after learning something, or kind of getting a basic grasp, try to write about it. It really strengthens your understanding of a concept… Because now you’re forced not only to internalize it, but also talk about the thing that you learned. It makes you approach that concept from different angles, because as you’re wording things, you’re trying to fight with that concept.

At least when I write, it tends to be me fighting with the concept, and being like “This is how I understand it. I think this is how I understand it”, and then as I’m writing, the process of putting words on a page makes me contend with it on a deeper level than just reading about it. Because when you read about it – I don’t sleep listening to podcasts… That’s actually a whole other level of dedication; I do not have – but I do listen to a lot of podcasts. But for me, it’s still pretty passive… And it’s important, because it still allows you to take in knowledge. It’s a really great way for you to take in things. But for me to actually properly learn something, I need to be active about it.

[28:04] So the passive stuff helps me internalize things, which like - in a conversation, I could bring it up, but I might not be as eloquent with that idea. I’d be like “Oh, I listened to this podcast and they talked about this.” And then the moment someone digs into it, I’m like “I don’t know…” And then I’ll be like “I think that’s what it said”, and then it would just be kind of a very nebulous thing that I have no idea, and the breadth of my knowledge just disappears.

But the moment I try to contend with it actively… Blog posts is a great one. If you do like videos, that’s also a really great way to do it, because you’re actually talking and trying to explain it. Essentially, the act of teaching… I’ve taught before, and it’s really hard, because you have to question your own assumptions. Often when you learn something, you come to it with prior notions of how things work. But the moment you have to teach someone, you have to almost throw all of those assumptions out the window and approach it from where they’re coming from. So if you teach in a class setting, either a workshop or just a general class, people come with different understandings of different things… And so when you teach, you have to try to bring all of those things together. So by teaching, you’re strengthening your knowledge of that domain.

There was a point where I was teaching a data visualization class to a group of master students. I was highly unqualified for this job… But I did it. And I had to teach them SVG, and a lot of web markup and web principles, because most of them didn’t have that background. And so I had to question – because I was like “Oh, data viz - you just use D3, you use the library, it builds stuff for you, you just put the data in and it spits out a graph… That’s very easy.” I mean, D3 is notoriously hard, but from a web developer, you already kind of know those principles. The understanding is you know those things, so all you’re doing is learning the API, and how it works. But often, when you teach it, that’s not how it works.

So when I was teaching that class, I had to actually deep-dive into how D3 was manipulating the DOM, which you kind of have to do if you’re working with it on a project… But there’s a lot of assumptions that I made. And also just how D3 manipulates data… So I’m like “Oh, it takes in JSON, but then it changes the JSON structure so that it’s optimized for this, and then it manipulates the DOM directly, and then it updates the DOM this way”, and I have to know all those things, which I otherwise wouldn’t have known had I just passively listened to a podcast about it. I’m not throwing you under the bus here for listening to podcasts at all… [laughs]

Well, thank you.

I’m just saying that for me it’s both. The passive stuff helps me – I don’t know if you’ve mentioned this, the whole unknown unknowns; so there’s this idea of “I don’t know what I don’t know”, but then podcasts give me an understanding of what I don’t know I don’t know… So it’s like “Hey, there’s this thing that exists”, and I’m like “I had no idea”, and now I know that it exists… And then the active approach to it is “Now I know this unknown. The unknown unknown has become an unknown known…”

You know what you don’t know, whereas before you didn’t know what you didn’t know.

Exactly. So now I can actually deep-dive into it and try to apply that thing, and then I learn that way.

Yeah. I think what you’re highlighting there is that there’s actually a lot of different types of learning, and that different mediums are useful for different pieces of that. I’ve heard this described for conferences as well. I personally find conferences and podcasts and newsletters as really good resources for exposing me to the types of things that I might want to learn about.

[32:04] It gives me a sense of moving those things from the unknown unknowns into known unknowns, where I know they’re there, I just don’t know how they work. And sometimes even to the scent of “Here’s a high-level understanding of how this works. What’s the big picture, what are some of the concepts behind it.”

Then you get down into essentially tactics. “How do I actually apply this thing? How does it actually work? What are the things that I need to type, or say, or do, or whatever, step by step, that are gonna make this a reality?” And there, having articles, digging into – sometimes courses are good for that… But things where it’s very tactical are much more helpful than those big-picture conferences, or listening to podcasts, or things like that.

My flow of learning is I will learn about something existing from a conference or a podcast; once I make the decision I want to go deeper on that, I will often pay for a course to get me over the setup hump, get me over the beginnings of “What is the very get-this-started, get-it-going, get some idea of the things?”

I’m really good at starting courses and going through about a third of them, because beyond that point, I find they’re actually not as helpful for me, and what’s most helpful is, okay, now I have the beginnings, I’m over the hump. Let me take this to a real project, start working on it, and as I run into challenges in the things, I will google those, I will find specific articles for that, I will dive into the source code and understand what it’s doing, I will do what have you… So it’s almost this phased approach of conference/podcast-type things for awareness, courses for foundations and getting me started, and then self-driven, project-based learning for the nitty-gritty.

I like the categorization.

Now, I will say - we’re talking a lot about learning technical subjects… There’s a whole range of other things out there, so I now spend much more of my time focused on learning things like personal effectiveness, personal growth, how am I more just better at getting things done, and being happier and healthier, and productive, communication skills, marketing skills, business skills - all these things that don’t necessarily fit in quite the same way. And for some of those I’ve found–


Podcasts. How do I do a better podcast? How do I communicate better? How do I speak better? How do I structure my thinking better? Those are a little bit different in how I think about those… And for those, I actually find often more interactive mediums. So doing the thing is obviously good. We’re podcasting, we’re getting better as we do it. I listen to every one of the podcasts that I record, as well as others, so that I can listen and say “What did I do right? What worked? What didn’t work?”

So doing the thing is really helpful… But I find for those also an inter-personal touch, so having a coach, doing a mastermind where you’re interacting with other people who are trying to learn the same thing, and giving each other feedback, and “I tried this and it didn’t work, but I tried this and this worked better.” Things like that, that are much more interactive than reading an article or listening to a course, or even listening to a podcast, are far more helpful for those types of – I almost wanna call them higher-level skills. They’re not tactics in the sense of “How do I code this thing?” It’s more like “How do I think about and approach and structure this?”

It also sounds like one of the things you’re highlighting is being very introspective about what you’re working on. For you, for example, you’re doing a lot of podcasting and communicating, potentially marketing, because you’re a consultant, and a lot of it relates to what you’re currently working on, and you’re trying to deepen your knowledge of the things that you’re working on… So it’s similar to what we were talking about earlier, which is like deciding what to learn.

[35:59] Because you’re like “This is the domain that I’m currently working within, and this is the knowledge I need to learn in order to be more effective”, and then you can go down that route now, because you’re like “This is my motivation. It obviously translates into money, and various other things that I need… And I can then employ techniques to learn, which will make me more effective overall.”

It’s interesting that you highlighted that, because it’s very subjective. It’s focused on what you’re working on and what you’re interested in as well, and then that allows you to apply the techniques you used to learn in order to get to where you need to get.

One thing that I find interesting about this conversation so far with the three of us, and even looking at your list there, Kball, in the types of learning techniques, maybe courses is the closest this comes to… But one thing that none of us have said yet - and maybe this is a blind spot based on age; Divya, I don’t know how old you are, but I know Kball and I are similarly-aged… None of us have mentioned the number two most popular search engine in the world, which is YouTube search.

So many people, especially teens on up, are learning first and foremost - they will turn first and foremost to YouTube, for pretty much all learning, and both technical, life skills, how to fix that washing machine… Whatever it happens to be, so many people are learning based on video. I know you do have articles and tutorials on your list, so video could be a tutorial, but… Are we not reaching for video as a learning technique, or we just don’t mention it and we all use it? I don’t use it for learning – like, if I was gonna go learn Svelte today, I would not turn to YouTube, but I feel like probably we’re an aging minority in that regard. What are you guys’ thoughts on that?

I don’t go to YouTube directly, but often when it – I mean, it depends on what kind of learning I’m doing here. If it’s technical and developer-related, I tend to move towards Frontend Masters, and Egghead.io, and things that are curated lists of videos, because I know the quality is very high, and I know that the people and the instructors generally are experts in that field.

YouTube is a mixed bag. You don’t know who’s recording… Anyone could upload a video. Not to say that all people on YouTube are terrible, it’s just a matter of you have to sift through the noise. And when you go to channels where they already curated that content, I know that when I spend an hour learning a thing, it’s going to be top-notch, and I’m gonna learn all the things I need to learn for that specific technique I’m trying to master. So that’s generally where I go.

But then when it’s non-technical stuff, like “Oh, I need to build a shelf”, or something, I go to YouTube, because I’m like “Some dude probably…” – or like dudette, whatever… I usually say “dude” for both women and men; it’s not like a gender thing at all, but anyway…

Fair enough.

Okay, dude.

I generally reach for YouTube because I’m like “Some person in the world has created this crazy…” – like, there’s a person who has this blog called “IKEA hacks”, and I watch that because it’s so fun to just see what’s possible. They’re like “Oh, I made a.. I use the MALM bed but I made it a storage bed using these shelves, and all these things…” So it gives me ideas, or even if I’m building something… This is very specifically homebuilding, but if I need ideas on it, a video is more helpful, because I visually need to see how the pieces are put together, and exactly what tools they’re using, and so on.

Same for cooking… There’s a cooking channel I absolutely love. His name is Chef John. Well, his name is not Chef – well, he goes by Chef John.

His parents named him Chef John? [laughter] It’s like, they knew… How did they know?

[laughs] His name is John, and he goes by Chef John. He has a YouTube video series called Food Wishes, and a blog as well, and it’s amazing just to watch videos of him cooking.

[40:00] I’ve used a lot of his recipes… I think there’s a YouTube channel called Binging With Babish, where he cooks recipes from movies, and he always talks about the videos from Chef John. So for cooking-related stuff, I also go to YouTube. I never read blogs, ever, for food, because all food blogs are terrible. I don’t know if you’ve read food blogs, but they hide their recipes; they’re like “Let me tell you a long story about my life, and my grandparents’ life, and how we moved here…” And I was like “That’s great, but I literally do not care. I just came here to find a recipe for Chicken Tikka Massala (or whatever), and I don’t care about anything else. But I have to read all that, and then there’s advertisements and marketing stuff, and it’s a lot of noise. YouTube will be like “Here’s the video, and here are the steps to do it.” It’s so easy.

So yeah, it depends on what you’re trying to learn, because I think different avenues – I don’t even know if there’s a curated place for finding cooking shows, but usually I just follow specific people; you subscribe, and then you just watch those videos.

Okay, so YouTube is good for that…

But actually – so there is a YouTube channel called Fun Fun Function, which is awesome. When I was – I think this was years ago, in 2014, when I was trying to deepen my knowledge of JavaScript more, because I was doing Ruby and then I was transitioning over… His videos were amazing. But again, going back to what I was saying, YouTube is just like everything.

Okay. Kball, what about you on the YouTube front? Well it leads me to thought as like I agree with you on the curation, Divya, or on the level of quality that you are more likely to have at a teaching-specific site like Egghead, Frontend Masters, and so on and so forth. Does that mean that the people who are turning to YouTube – because by the millions, people are turning to YouTube to learn programming. Are they getting a subpar experience, or are they learning slower or are they struggling maybe because so much noise, not the quality necessarily guaranteed? Just a thought. Kball, you’ve been quiet for a while. What do you think about this stuff?

Yeah, I like video. I don’t consume video very often. I will look to video, once again, when I’m trying to get started or where I feel stuck, because sometimes that gets me through it. I mentioned my process - I’ll go take a course, and there the video is super-helpful.

For a lot of things though, once I have sort of an understanding of what’s going on - and particularly in technical domains, it’s a lot faster for me to read than to watch video… What I will do is I will use video essentially as an audio experience. And particularly for those areas that are less technical, for when I’m learning about communication skills, personal growth, marketing, business… These various things that I don’t have to be seeing the lines of code they’re writing; it’s a concept that’s being communicated. I’ll put the video on and I will not look at that video, I will just listen to it… Especially because a lot of my time for that type of learning is when I’m going on a run, when I’m walking, when I’m exercising, when I’m driving. So I will listen to it in audio. And if there’s a point where I need to see the video for it to make sense, then I’ll come back to that, or I’ll stop running and take a look…

But I use video platforms like YouTube, and a lot of the courses that I’ve taken, if it’s about a concept level, rather than I have to see the exact details of what you’re doing - I’ll use it just for the audio. And part of that is the way that I perceive things. I perceive things faster reading than I do audio, and I’m not super-visual when it comes to how I learn. I learn in words, and I learn faster in words when they’re written. So if I’m learning in words from a non-written source, it’s because I’m in a situation where I can’t be paying attention visually, so I just want the audio.

[43:55] Yeah. I get frustrated very quickly with video when I’m trying to, for example learn – like, tactically learning by example, or watching somebody do a thing. I want to do the thing, or I’m learning alongside. Just the constant back-and-forth of like scrubbing back, seeing what they wrote, watching them type it out again, or whatever - I get incredibly frustrated. Text is such a better medium for that, not to mention because you can actually copy and paste if you want to save the time… But it’s subpar for me in terms of like bang for the buck, so I do not turn to video for those reasons.

And when it comes to – you use basically video as audio, Kball… I’m back to podcasts again. So I’m like “Just the audio, please.” I know there’s lots of YouTube shows which also have a companion audio version; I would just grab that, so I can consume it in ways that are just better fit into my life.

I really like to just bring up a lot of the curated content stuff. They have video and they have the transcribed stuff from the video as well… Which is really nice, because it allows me to search better. Because unfortunately, we haven’t fixed – like, you can’t search a video, or you can’t figure out at what point they said some specific things. But then when you have the transcription of that, you can automatically be like “Oh, at what point in the video is this mentioned?” and then just watch that particular clip.

And sometimes also it’s really nice when a video has really good notes associated with it, or like a blog post or something that summarizes it, because then I can automatically be like “Okay, this video talked about this really broad concept, but then they distilled it down into one paragraph or a couple paragraphs”, with links to code samples… Because I’m like “Oh, I watched this video before”, or “I don’t have time to watch this video, but I wanna quickly look at the code.” So I can just quickly jump in, and then if something didn’t make sense, I can go to the video and be like “Okay, they probably explained it at some point.” So I really want more people to do that.

YouTube is great for when you’re starting out. The discoverability, unfortunately, is not good for YouTube, because there’s so much content… And also, the other thing is you don’t have the ability to – the transcription isn’t great, unless you host or put it in – you have like a separate page with the YouTube video, and then you put all of the content on your own… But yeah, that’s one of the things why I feel like it’s really frustrating.

And I’ve also heard people who create on YouTube being frustrated with the model of how exactly you get paid on YouTube, and all of that stuff… It’s really frustrating from a creator perspective, so I often try to move towards a model where I can pay people, to be like “clearly top-notch quality, so I’m gonna pay for it, because I’m gonna gain a lot from it, and the creator also gains from it?”

Yeah, I feel like the creators who are successful on YouTube, a lot of them use it essentially as a lead generation, right?


“You can get some of it, but if you want everything, you’ve got come over here and actually pay me.” Because yeah, it’s not a good way to get paid. Alright, we are long on this segment as well, so let’s take a quick break and come back at the end with some resources for learning, things that we can recommend to folks, places to go, things to do, maybe some tips, and whatever is gonna help someone in the moment. “I wanna learn this thing, where do I go to do it?” Alright, catch you on the other side, after I go get even more coffee.

Let’s talk about some specific resources and things people can do to learn. We started the last segment with Jerod because he made a noise, so let’s start with Divya this time. Divya, what are some resources that you use, that you maybe have heard about, things that you recommend?

Yeah, so I mentioned this a little earlier, but for tech there’s a lot of curated stuff. Frontend Masters is really good, I really like that. Egghead is another one. And I think Thinkster is a new one that started up; they do videos, and stuff like that, and it’s pretty good as well. Joe Eames does a really good job of – when you want to create content on Thinkster, he essentially coaches you through how to create content and how to be an effective teacher… Because his model is that most content creators don’t approach teaching from the student’s perspective. They often are like “I’m an expert, I’m gonna tell you what I know”, so it leads to ineffective learning, or people having to scrub the video back over and over again.


And so he does it really well, trying to walk people through “This is how exactly the learning process is”, and then he sits you down and talks through how exactly to organize your course, because that’s really important as well. Not just to create a three-hour-long video; that’s very overwhelming for most people. So that’s a really great resource.

There’s a lot of really good videos and content out there, but I like to reach for the curated stuff because often I’m not an expert in the specific domain; I’m gonna talk about GraphQL again - I don’t know GraphQL, or I know it a little bit, because I did the Try GraphQL thing, but I’m like “I need to level up”, because Try GraphQL teaches you basic schema, and whatever… And I’m like “How do you start integrating it into your project?” Just reading a blog post might not help me, and so when I reach for content that someone has created specifically for someone who’s learning and trying to ramp up, then it’s really effective for me to just like “Okay, I’m gonna spend a couple of hours going through this video and this course”, and then at the end of it I actually have knowledge that I can now apply, and I find that incredibly useful.

I feel like the learning resource is so broad… Curated is a really great way to learn. There’s also – if you’ve seen people implement stuff… I think, Jerod, you mentioned this. If someone has already implemented a solution that you’re trying to implement, I often find reading the source code really useful. There’s a lot of terrible readmes out there, and documentation. If the documentation is great, if the documentation is very good, that’s amazing. You don’t have to read the source code. You can kind of walk through the logic, understand how it’s built, and then try to replicate it. If it’s not, you might have to dive into the source code, figure out how people write things… But that often helps me understand and learn patterns. So I’m like “I don’t know how to do this…”

I was working recently with plugins for VuePress, because that’s a project that I’m working on now, and I have no ideas how plugins for VuePress – I know how plugins for Vue work, like Vue CLI, and a little bit about Nuxt, but no idea for VuePress. And for me to learn that, I pretty much found an existing plugin within the plugin for VuePress ecosystem, and then I dug into the source code and I’m like “How are the files organized, and how are things being called?” and then I try to replicate the exact same thing. It’s not super-effective, because you can adopt bad practices really easily… Because someone else might have made a mistake, or done something really hacky, and then now you’re doing the hacky thing without knowing why you’re doing it… Learning is so imperfect.

[52:04] Hm… I agree. Kball, what about you?

Alright, me… I 100% agree with the curation approach, though a lot of what I try to do is I will find people that I really like, that I think their stuff is really good, and follow them. So if you like the Udemy style courses, and you like the fact that they discount them every single month to $10 or $11 or whatever it is… There’s a teacher there named Maximilian Schwarzmüller; I probably mispronounced his name, but…

It sounded good.

…I’ve taken several courses from him on things like React, and Vue, and… He’s phenomenal. He’s great. There might be better teachers out there, but not many. He’s really good, and he sells his stuff on Udemy, so you can get it really cheap a lot of the time. If you’re specifically looking into React, I love the stuff I’ve seen from Kent C. Dodds. I haven’t taken any of his actual courses, but I’ve seen him speak, I’ve read through a bunch of his stuff, I’ve looked at what some of the material he has offered are, and he seems like he’s a phenomenal teacher. I really like the free stuff he’s put out… I can’t vouch for his paid courses, because I haven’t taken any, but he seems really awesome.

And then if you’re interested in the personal growth space - as I said, I’m spending a huge amount of time there these days; that’s a lot of what I’m doing - there’s this guy named Brendon Burchard. He’s very high-energy, so if you’re more of a chilled, laid-back person or you don’t like the super-high energy crazy people, then don’t go there. But if you’re into “How do I optimize my life and my performance and what I’m doing?”, then he’s phenomenal. I really like his stuff. He’s got books, and courses, and live events, and all sorts of other stuff. It’s kind of in the Tony Robbins direction, if you’re into that stuff.

And I’ll do a quick plug - if you’re interested in the communication skills stuff, I just launched a project around that. I launched a website called “Speak. Write. Listen.” You can go to SpeakWriteListen.com. I’m probably gonna be doing some courses and masterminds and things like that through that, but right now I have a daily newsletter that I’m doing, where every day during the week…

…every weekday I send out a relatively short email on a concept around communication. One of the reasons I did that is I’ve found – since I’m fascinated about this topic and I’ve been studying it for years, I’ve found a lot of the stuff that is out there for trying to teach communication skills is very fuzzy. If you search for “improve my communication skills”, there’s a lot about why it’s important, and then there’s this top thing, like “Oh, top ten ways to improve your communication skills. Number one, focus on your communication skills.” [laughter] What…?! There’s all this fuzzy stuff. But there are a lot of things you can do to systematize it.

There’s particular concepts – as you said, I’ve been working on communication stuff for years, and I think if you build up good mental models for how people work and how communication works… And there’s a lot of stuff that can be made much more concrete. And this is something for everyone who is technical, but wanting to take on more of a leadership role - you want to be able to become a tech lead, or a senior engineer… I was chatting with a guy who’s a VP, and he was like “I have this engineer, I’d love to promote him, but he’s not a good enough listener.” Beyond some point, communication skills are what enable you, so I’m launching a project to try to make that easy for you to learn, straightforward for you to learn.

So if you’re interested, check that out. Sorry, minor plug, but I’m super-pumped about it; I’m really excited.

Is there a link to it?

Yes, I will put a link there, in the JS Party chat, and in our notes.

And as I said, I will be launching some educational, paid stuff. Right now it’s all free. One of the things I’m looking at is doing a mastermind, so folks who are in tech, wanting to become more leaders, whether they’re wanting to become a tech lead, they just became a tech lead, they’re trying to figure out “How do I better interact with stakeholders, designers?”, if you’re in the frontend, “How do I interact with the backend folks?”, that sort of thing…

[56:09] People who are trying and actively working on that, setting up a weekly/bi-weekly call where we all work on that together and get better at it… Because I think it’s a skill that has been tremendously valuable for me. It’s something that people have asked me “Hey, how do you do that? Can you show me? Can you teach me?” and it’s something that I think we all have to learn as we go forward… So we’ll be working on that.

Awesome. I’m going to type my email address in here, and get your daily emails. This is very cool. And I 100% agree that high-quality, refined communication skills are absolutely a differentiator… Not just in your career, but in many aspects of life.

So I’ll just give a quick plug – or is it a plug if it’s not your own thing? I wanna talk about freeCodeCamp. freeCodeCamp is where I send pretty much everybody at this point. I’m happy to finally have a place to just send everybody when they’re trying to break into web development and don’t know where to start… And I know they have a certain level of intrinsic - maybe it’s extrinsic - motivation.

This is a serious program, freeCodeCamp.org. They have all these different certifications, and each one is like a 300-hour thing. Responsive web design, JavaScript algorithms, frontend libraries, they have a new data viz certification - at least I think it’s new, because I haven’t seen it before - APIs and microservices… So there’s lots of these verticals, but it’s a very serious course; it’s all completely free, as in the name, but you’ve gotta be self-motivated, because there’s something about putting skin in the game, which kind of has this accountability, which you don’t have here. It’s completely free, so the accessibility is amazing. But sometimes when you don’t put your own money up into it, there’s less of a motivation to complete. So if you are in that circumstance, I absolutely recommend it as a starting point.

They also have a pretty active YouTube channel with those three-hour deep-dive coding sessions that your mileage may vary on, but they have a lot of resources for you there. So freeCodeCamp.org if you’re just busting into it. Everything else - it’s so contextual, it’s hard to give exact resources.

One thing that I like to do when I’m learning a new thing or getting into a new technology is to find out where the community hangs out, and then ask questions. That’s another good way also to vet a community and decide if you want to continue in this place - find out if they have a forum, if they have a Slack, and go just lurk in their Slack or in their forum, ask questions when you have them, and see how those questions are received and answered. Lots of people are super-nice, they want you to learn, they want you to win with their technology, and they will answer your questions. It’s like having free advice online, a beautiful thing, by people who are willing to give it… So I will also say that’s something to do.

If they do not have those resources, then maybe that’s not the community for you; maybe it still is. Your call. But I would definitely recommend getting to know the people who are doing it day-to-day… Because one quick question into a Slack channel can remove a road bump and completely unblock you to continue your learning, whereas maybe you would have googled around and not found anything, and then given up. One person can really remove those barriers, so definitely get into the community and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Disclaimer - I would advise, if you have a question, respect the other people, think it through yourself, google a little bit, make it well-worded, communicate it well, so that you get the response back and aren’t wasting folks’ time… But definitely do that.

[59:48] This is also super-cliché, but I find that when you’re interested in a project, or a framework, or whatever, if you lurk in the GitHub issues, that’s a great way to just figure out what people are working on, or what certain problems might be… And even contributing to it is a great way to start being active in that community.

Open source gets a really bad rep, but I like to think that - as Jerod was mentioning - sometimes you can judge the community based on how they treat you on GitHub.

What do you mean sometimes?

All the time…?

I 100%, all the time, judge the community based on how they treat new people.

Well, it’s the only interaction that you have, right?

Yeah, exactly. So it’s a great way to just vet how the community works, and how they interact with each other or people who are coming in, as well as trying to get deeper into that specific framework, or architecture, or whatever… And also, it is Hacktoberfest this month, so it’s a great way to – if you’re trying to learn a new framework, it’s a great way to dive into, and learn something, and pick something up… Just go through issues, find something that interests you, that you can work on. Oftentimes they tag it as “Good for first-timers.” I think now there’s a Hacktoberfest tag as well, and so there’s a really easy way for you to go through stuff and just figure out what to work on.

Often, whenever a project is listed on Hacktoberfest, they understand that newcomers are gonna be contributing, so they’re a bit nicer. Not that they weren’t before but especially so.


So yeah, that’s another great learning resource. It seems cliché, because everyone is like “Dive into source code”, but… I mean, developers pretty much live in GitHub, or GitLab, or whatever - mostly GitHub - so it’s a good way to just learn something and ramp up really quickly.

And sometimes I actually also find that GitHub – if you work on one issue and you build a relationship with the maintainers, they often will point you to issues to work on, because they’ll be like “We need help”, and you’re active and enthusiastic, and they 1) point you to issues to work on that you might be capable to work on, and 2) they’ll mentor you as well, because they’re like “Oh, we need help on this, and you’re enthusiastic and you have the time, so dive into it; if you have questions, I’ll jump on a call with you or I’ll walk you through exactly how things work”, which is awesome, because you can automatically find mentors in GitHub. Crazy.

Yes. And if you’re interested in learning more about that, there’s actually an episode we did with one of the Node.js core contributors, episode 86 (that we’ll link to) about getting into open source software… Because I do think in technology that is probably one of the highest-leverage places that you can learn. And if you go into it with the explicit goal of learning, you’ll do well.

Also Twitter, though… It’s like, GitHub and Twitter are both places that developers live. [laughs]

Also Twitter.

That gives me an idea for another episode - How to make effective use of Twitter.

How to Twitter.

How to Twitter without being depressed.

That’s it for this week’s episode. Thank you for joining us. Thank you, Divya, thank you, Jerod.

Thank you.

Thank you, all of our live listeners who make this a party every week. We’ll catch you next week!

I’ve stressed so much for this talk… And people were giving me all sorts of tips; they were like “Oh, just smoke a little, take a shot…”, and I was just like “I don’t know, it seems like a recipe for failure.” I mean, to each their own…

Some people, when they do that, it makes them feel better. But I was like, the moment I introduce a substance into my bloodstream - I don’t know…

You don’t know what’s gonna happen.

I don’t know what’s gonna happen.


Also, it just feels like – I mean, I know you can trial and error and see what works, but I was like “I don’t want to do that.” Because one of the talks is gonna go poorly. One of the talks, I’m gonna be like “Oh, someone said take half a shot, half an hour before”, or whatever, and I’m gonna do it, and then I’m just gonna not know what I’m saying…

You’ll totally regret it…

One of the things I try to remember about nerves is the nerves are just telling you that you care about the outcome. They’re not in themselves bad. And there are celebrities who still get nervous to the point of throwing up every time before they’re getting it on stage, right? People who are giving massive tours, or whatever… So it’s not bad that you’re nervous. It’s only bad if it’s interfering with you, and giving you problems, in which case you can do things to try to help yourself with that. But just the fact that you’re nervous doesn’t mean you need some sort of medication, or anything like that. In fact, having those nerves - that’s energy that you can tap into, and say “This is just energy that I care about how well I’m gonna do, and I’m gonna use it to drive me.”

That’s true, yeah. That’s true.

Yeah, I embrace it. I have done the “take a drink” thing. Not because I was so nervous that I needed one, but just experimentally, a little lubrication, but… Argyle is saying “Take propranolol.”

What is that?

Drink some propane before…? I don’t know what that is… He says “Drink propane, lol.”


Just drink some propane, lol. I don’t know, Adam… That doesn’t sound like good advice.

Oh, cool… Okay, I’m gonna look this up.

The other thing… I mean, do what you’ve gotta do. But I would far rather have a panelist who is nervous and excited, and not perfect, but high energy, because they’re using all of that energy to get them, than somebody who’s word-perfect and lethargic, and going through it, whatever… Your energy is way more powerful than your word.

Yes, yeah. I think it’s a balance though…

Sorry, she was over there, googling propranolol. She was ordering some off Amazon while you were talking… [laughter] She’s like “Sorry, what did you say…? I’m buy propranolol…”

I wasn’t sure if it was a controlled drug… Because I was like – it’s a beta-blocker used to treat high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats and tremors. So I was like “This has to be under lock and key, or something…” I have no idea.

Under lock…

I mean, it’s interesting…

Beta-blocker - is that like, the fish? It’s gonna block those…?

“Innocent jitter helper.” Okay… Okay, okay. This is good. This could work. [laughter]

I love this. This is fun… Because Kball is just like “Just embrace the energy!” And you’re like “No, this is much better. I like this better!”

No, because what Adam is saying - it’s not that I get shaky, but I find that my voice modulation changes… So people are like “Oh, it was fine. You were really fine”, and I was like “No. Honestly, my mouth was dry the whole time that I gave this talk, and I didn’t stop. I just went, from zero to sixty words per hour.” Just a ridiculous amount of just word vomit. A 30-minute talk suddenly is 20 minutes because I just sped through the whole thing. So I think it’s more about – I think I agree that the nerves helps in a way, because it translates into energy, but I would like to modulate that energy a little bit more, kind of bring it down to a controlled level.

You do what’s gonna work for you, but don’t feel like you have to… Because I’ve seen you talk, you’re amazing.

I agree.

Oh, thank you.

So don’t feel like you have to. But the other thing is - it’s your body, you do what you want.


Yeah. I think I’ve tried – and I’ve been told this, and I haven’t actually followed, but there’s ways to modulate your breathing as you’re talking, that kind of brings your nerves down… Because it’s a matter of how much oxygen your body is getting. So if you breathe in a specific way, you are able to automatically calm/bring yourself down, and then slowly go through things.

I agree with that, and I think I would say practice that. I would be hesitant to add additional things to your stack. Like, “Now I’m trying to think about my breathing while I’m also–”, and then you get all meta-conscious, and things can spiral. I mean, Kball’s example - he just went and hit the pot here, and it shows, so…

The coffee pot… [laughter] The COFFEE pot…


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