Changelog Interviews – Episode #584

We're flipping the script

with Katherine from Open at Intel & Den from The Work Item

All Episodes

Script flipped! Today we’re sharing two interviews of us on Other People’s Podcasts (OPP): Kathrine Druckman from the Open at Intel podcast invited us on the show at KubeCon NA in November and Den Delimarsky hosted Jerod on The Work Item podcast in February.



SynadiaTake NATS to the next level via a global, multi-cloud, multi-geo and extensible service, fully managed by Synadia. They take care of all the infrastructure, management, monitoring, and maintenance for you so you can focus on building exceptional distributed applications.

FireHydrantThe alerting and on-call tool designed for humans, not systems. Signals puts teams at the center, giving you ultimate control over rules, policies, and schedules. No need to configure your services or do wonky work-arounds. Signals filters out the noise, alerting you only on what matters. Manage coverage requests and on-call notifications effortlessly within Slack. But here’s the game-changer…Signals natively integrates with FireHydrant’s full incident management suite, so as soon as you’re alerted you can seamlessly kickoff and manage your entire incident inside a single platform. Learn more or switch today at

Cloudflare – Cloudflare’s Developer Week is happening April 1-5, 2024. Also you can hang with Adam and the rest of the folks at Cloudflare at the Cloudflare offices in Austin, TX on Wednesday, April 3rd at 5:30pm — register here.

Notes & Links

📝 Edit Notes


1 00:00 Welcome to The Changelog 00:54
2 00:54 Sponsor: Synadia 04:19
3 05:13 Intro to Katherine Druckman 00:45
4 05:57 Why we're at KubeCon 00:56
5 06:53 The early days 02:24
6 09:17 How many shows do we have? 01:08
7 10:25 How many hosts do we have? 01:02
8 11:27 Podcasting is a lot 01:33
9 13:00 An audience proxy 00:57
10 13:57 People are interesting! 00:36
11 14:32 What interests us 03:08
12 17:41 What interests Katherine 01:40
13 19:21 The ability to inspire 00:59
14 20:20 Open source courage 00:46
15 21:06 Podcasting courage 02:45
16 23:50 Breakfast vs travel woes 02:48
17 26:39 The power of podcasting 01:40
18 28:26 Sponsor: Cloudflare 04:01
19 32:27 Intro to Den Delimarsky 00:46
20 33:13 What the heck is Changelog 01:13
21 34:26 Not a co-founder 02:19
22 36:45 Depth over breadth 03:10
23 39:55 The why & how of scale 02:16
24 42:11 Staying small on purpose 02:09
25 44:20 Freedom > money 02:10
26 46:30 Signal > noise 02:30
27 49:00 Being hands-on 01:18
28 50:18 Sponsor: FireHydrant 02:27
29 52:46 Time management 01:08
30 53:54 Maker vs manager schedule 02:40
31 56:34 We really do care 01:42
32 58:15 Community building 01:33
33 59:48 Compounding consistency 02:24
34 1:02:12 Things come and go 02:54
35 1:05:06 Give 'em what they came for 01:40
36 1:06:46 Communication FTW 03:05
37 1:09:52 Just keep showing up 01:21
38 1:11:12 Obvious (but good) advice 02:41
39 1:13:53 Wrapping up 00:26
40 1:14:19 Up next 02:14


📝 Edit Transcript


Play the audio to listen along while you enjoy the transcript. 🎧

First up, Adam and I join Katherine Druckman on the Open At Intel Podcast. Katherine was kind enough to invite us into their snazzy recording booth at KubeCon North America last fall, and we had a blast fielding all of her questions about the early days of podcasting, what interests each of us, how we do what we do, and more.

Hey, Adam and Jerod. Thank you for joining. Thank you for taking a little time out of KubeCon… Because everyone’s super-busy, and there’s too much to see here, and do.

Of course.

It’s a circus out there.

There’s a lot of people. It is very peopley.

We wanted to see every booth. But then we saw how many booths there are, and we realized we’re probably not gonna see every booth.

That’s a challenge, yes.

Yeah. So tell me, what are y’all doing here? You’re recording podcasts too, . This is very meta, this episode.

It is… Yeah, we’re doing podcasts. Normally, we’d get a booth and we’d record from our booth, but we are mobile this year, and we are walking around, talking to people, seeing what’s going on, getting a lay of the land trying to win some socks, and some Lego…

Yeah, there’s a lot of socks.

Trying to win a hundred bucks…

Somebody’s giving like coffee.

A couple of PS5’s… Stuff like that.

So far I haven’t won anything.

Really? I got coffee, you know… But anyway. So for the people who are listening to this someday, somewhere, tell us a little bit about your podcast network… And I would really like to know your story. I’d like to know, how did you get started in this crazy world that is talking into microphones?


How far back should we go?

Go all the way. Tell me, where were you born?

A small town in Pennsylvania… So podcasting, I was working in software, on the frontend, and was working with a couple people that actually produced a podcast. This is back in 2005.

Ah, early days.

Earliest days, yeah.

When it was but a little RSS feed, a little enclosure tag…

And you had to drag your files out of iTunes.

Did you?

Oh, yeah. I mean, early, early days, if you were gonna do actually podcasting on an iPod, you had to actually drag the files into iTunes. Or, I’m sorry, you had to sync iTunes to your iPod. I said it wrong. You had to subscribe, plug it in… Yeah, it wasn’t a drag and drop, but it was a drag.

I forget…

It’s been a while.

It’s been a while, yeah.

It got better.

Yeah. But the cohost of that show couldn’t be a host anymore, and so he’s like “Hey, I’ve got an opening for a host. Do you wanna work with me?” I’m like “Sure…” And the rest is history, in a way. Eventually, we started a consultancy together, and that podcast became an asset of the business. And through some change, essentially, he had to leave the business, and so the asset stayed with me, and I’m like “Well, I’ve gotta keep doing this…” I kept doing it, and eventually evolved the idea into more things. And so taht show was called “The Web 2.0 Show.”

Oh, my gosh, that takes me back.

That’s how far back it goes. But we talked to lots of people., at the earliest of days…

So did I. But not for a podcast, for a Linux Journal, actually.

The GitHub founders were on that show, three months after GitHub’s inception. So we talked to Tom Preston-Werner and Chris Wanstrath in the offices of Pivotal Labs, I want to say May 2008. And I think it was incepted like January, February maybe… So legit right after GitHub was GitHub.

Wild. But you’ve evolved… How many shows do you have?

How many shows have we go, Jerod?

Well, we have the Changelog, which –

The Changelog is the big one, right?

That’s the big one. And that has three flavors. So it’s one show, but there’s a news component on Mondays, there’s our interviews on Wednesdays, and then on Friday we have a talk show, which is recurring guests, topical conversations… And so that’s three different flavors of that show. Then we have other podcasts…

There’s more.

Yeah. I know you have Practical AI.

That’s right, Practical AI, the big hit. We have JS Party, that’s all about web development, we have Go Time, which is about the Go programming language, systems programming etc. We have Founders Talk, which is Adam’s show, and it’s one on one conversations with founder CEOs and makers… Is that all of them? We have Ship It…

Did you say JS Party?

I said JS Party. Ship It is our cloud/DevOps, getting things into production and seeing what happens show… Is that all of our shows?

[00:10:07.17] Request for Commits is on –

That’s retired.

It was 20 episodes? Was it 20 episodes?

A miniseries…

Kind of like that. It had a plan for longer, but it just – the hosts were done with the topic, basically, and they wanted to move on to new things.

So how many hosts do you have under your umbrella? You can’t possibly all do this by yourselves.

So we have a couple of panel shows. So JS Party and Go Time are both community-oriented panel discussions, of which I’m one of the panelists on JS Party, but neither one of us are on Go Time. Go Time has about six rotating hosts, and JS Party has eight… And any show has anywhere between one and three of those people on it, with guests and stuff. So there’s a group there. And then Practical AI is Chris Benson and Daniel Whitenack. They’ve since day one been the Practical AI co-hosts, and so we work with them to produce that show. And Ship It was with Gerhard Lazu, now we’re in the process - we’ve put that on hold, because he got a very busy life at Dagger, and we said “Okay, let’s set that aside.” Now we’re thinking about picking it back up again, with new hosts, so there’s one there… Who else do we work with? That’s it.

Yeah, about right.

That’s our posse. So probably like 12-ish…

Awesome. So people don’t realize I think sometimes how much work a podcast is…

Ah… Preach it, sister.

There’s a little bit of a trend in tech organizations, companies, “Hey, let’s start a podcast. That shouldn’t be too difficult…” But those of us who’ve done it, even a little bit, even for a few handful of years me, are painfully aware that it is quite a bit of work. There’s a lot of research, there’s a lot of post-production… It’s not just hanging out and having conversations, right?


Tell us a little bit… Tell the world, for all the people out there thinking they want to start a podcast, how much time would you say you spend researching topics, recruiting guests, and all of that?

That’s a good question. I mean, we’ve had the pleasure to be able to turn it into a business, and so it’s easier now to be at work…

Right, you have support. It’s not just the two of you.

We have support. We also don’t have other things to do, so we can put a lot of work into –

Right. This is your actual job.

But the answer is constant. I mean, you’re constantly scheduling, you’re constantly trying to see what’s interesting… Because one of the things that we do is we help people realize and know what’s interesting right now, and why. I mean, that’s a lot of why people come to us. And so we have to keep up with all that stuff… It’s a lot. It’s a lot. I don’t know exact hours on research and scheduling… But I mean, scheduling on a podcast is a constant thing; when you have five podcasts a week, it’s just one of the things that you’re always doing.

And you have to have a broad – you don’t have to have deep knowledge, but you have to have incredibly broad knowledge. You have to know a little bit about every single thing there is, practically. And that’s a tough place to be, and I wonder how – I mean, I assume you’re always reading I am…

Just humbleness, honestly… Is it humble to say you’re humble? I don’t know…

No. [laughs]

It’s not. Because we approach things in the lens of being an imposter. So we tend to be the imposter for our audience, in a way…

You’re an audience proxy, yeah.


And we can’t – because our show is so broad, we can’t know everything about everything, obviously… But what we can do is we can use our experience from here and from there to understand areas where we’re not that deep. And just ask questions, obviously, learn their story… In most cases it’s them sharing their story, not us knowing what their story is… And as they begin to share it, obvious patterns begin to emerge that you can pattern-match towards, and apply to pretty much every conversation.

You pick a CEO out here, or a lead dev, or a CTO and sit us down and talk to him, we could probably have a good conversation with pretty much anybody here, with almost no research, really.

Well, it helps that open source people especially are very interesting. They just happen to be interesting people.

Yeah, thankfully.

[00:14:10.06] You’re attracted to the culture, in a way… The culture is different than non-open source tech… And so I think it attracts an interesting group of people. So that’s half the battle, is finding somebody who’s interesting. But yeah, I wonder also, as you say, you approach everything from the lens of an imposter… Again, you talk to so many people – and I feel the same way; we’re in a privileged position. You get to gather information constantly. You’re constantly talking about the next cool thing… And you get people who are incredibly excited about their topics and their areas of expertise. Does that kind of influence what you get excited about? it must at some point kind of narrow it down, and I’m kind of curious to know what you are most excited about, given that you’ve had all of these conversations. What’s interesting to you in the open source world right now?

So… Gosh, that’s a big question. I have asked myself this over time “What is a typical Jerod interest?” Because a lot of times we’re serving our audience. We’re listener-first, we want to serve our audience, so I’m often thinking “What does our listener want to learn about, need to know about etc.?”, not so much what I am. But what I’ve realized about myself at least, personally, over time, is a) I really geek out on open source licensing stuff…

…and I just – I think more so than our audience, I just enjoy…

For some reason, yes.

…the thought processes that go into it… Still being a layman in the area; still bringing on the experts to talk to us. But I enjoy those conversations; they just fascinate me. But then specifically in the craft of software, I don’t really subscribe to like the craftsmanship movement, because I know that was like a proper noun at one point… But I do really enjoy discussing with people who’ve been in the trenches, writing code for many years how they do what they do, and the way they go about making decisions, designing their software… that’s really where I end up camping out. So those kinds of topics myself. What about you, Adam?

Hm… Well, I want to answer one question before, Jerod, because there was many times after a show he would be like “I’ve gotta play with this, right now.” The excitement was just too real.

Oh, yeah.

But I would say, for me, I just like people. I came for the software, but I stayed for the people. And for me, in many cases, I just get so excited about somebody else’s story. Learning about it, helping them realize where they could go and should go… Sometimes dreaming with them and giving them a path… Because they’re just so close to their problems that they can’t quite see the holistic picture. And I feel like that’s kind of like a skill I have, in a way… And I enjoy hearing people’s stories.

So I think that’s what brings it to me. I like open source licensing, of course. I love business. I love the journey of zero to one, what it takes to get there, and then from one to too…

Yeah, getting things started is hard.

Yeah. You know, how do you not only have the idea, but incept it, build a story around it, build a company around it, build a team around it, get people to invest into it, and then actually provide product market-fit and value to customers, and then profit. I like the profit side more than the – I’m all for startups, and you know, what it takes to get to profit… But you know, I like sustainable things, so…

I have a lot of respect for people who get there.

What are you? What do you geek out about?

Yeah, so it’s funny you mentioned licensing, because I really enjoy those conversations, too… Especially in the past several years, you could say, there have been a lot of controversies around software.


4: And I love getting into those conversations. I love hearing both sides. “Here, we were in this tough spot, and here’s the – we made this call; maybe it was the right one, maybe it was the wrong one.” And those are very interesting. I love hearing from experts on licensing. I work with several of them, and that’s really interesting, too. But I’m really excited about security… Because maybe I’m a little paranoid. Right now I’m the most excited about how the open source community is reacting to heightened scrutiny on open source software in particular.

[00:18:21.28] I also really like – kind of along the lines of what Adam was saying, not so much the business side and the profitability side, but I really enjoy the observing the lifecycle of an open source project. What it takes to create something, release it into the world - which is a little bit of a scary thing - and then build a community around it, and get people to actually contribute. Get people to actually want to help you build something and make it better. That’s really cool to me. And getting other people excited about what you’re excited about is also a skill, and I think that’s really fun to kind of watch and talk to people about – I love hearing project maintainers talk about how they get more people to open those pull requests… Because people are taking time out of their very packed schedule, again, to write code for you, or documentation, or tweet for you, or whatever it is that people are doing with any open source project. I think that’s pretty cool.

Yeah, it’s amazing how some people have the ability to inspire others… Like, I’m giving my labor away to the world, open source, and what I’m doing is so valuable and interesting that other people are like “You know what? I’m gonna give mine away, too. I’m gonna actually make yours better. Just give you this gift on top of that other gift.” What’s the fella’s name, Georgi Gerganov, the llama.cpp?

I mean, just in terms of people who just seem like they have that ability… Like, if you watch his repos recently, a lot of it’s like bringing ML model usage to the masses via open source tooling… I mean, the PRs he gets are huge features. Really technical, really interesting… He’s just inspired all these very smart, skilled developers to work on his projects with him, and that’s just incredibly fascinating.

Yeah, that’s cool. And you talked about the word “imposter”, which - well, it’s real. Getting people to contribute is not just about getting them excited, it’s also getting them over the hurdle of being terrified to open the pull request. Being on the other end of it, and being somebody who has opened many a pull requests, it took me years to work up the courage to do that… Because you have the sense that “Well, the people who are maintaining, who have actual commit access - well, they know; they must know way more than I do. Those are the experts. I couldn’t possibly have anything to contribute there. I’ll leave that to people who know what they’re doing.” But eventually, you work up the courage and you’re like “Oh, wait, I actually do know some things. I can help fix this issue and that issue.” But it takes a lot of courage, I think, to get there. If I could segue a bit, kind of like the courage it takes to stand in front of a microphone and hit record… Which is a whole other thing.

And I wonder if y’all could speak to that… Again, you’ve been doing this for so many years, it probably comes pretty naturally to you… But it doesn’t necessarily come naturally to your guests. And I wonder how you help people through that. Because again, it can be intimidating. Now, again, if you’re talking to people who are startup founders, and they’ve pitched their idea to VCs, they’re maybe more comfortable speaking. But when you talk to developers, and people who are immersed in code and IDEs all day, they don’t necessarily have that level of confidence in speaking… And I wonder how you help those people along.

I feel like our answer’s logical… We’re just people, being people with people. Right? We don’t treat them – we come to conversation – when we talk to them, the pre-conversation, so to speak, before we’re actually recording, but it’s prior to what will actually be the show, we’re like “This is the show. We’re just like this.” And they’re like “Oh, cool. Okay, that’s cool.” And they relax, because it’s not us throwing questions at them, and us grilling them on X, Y or Z. It’s just –

Listening. Right?

[00:22:16.00] …it’s just a conversation between people who are geeking out about software, and what it takes to create good software, and good community, and to show up, and to give and to… I don’t know, all the things that are involved in open source, and being a maintainer, a contributor, a community member… And we just have a conversation. And that to me seems like a logical answer, but not everybody’s like “That should be the answer.” Like, it should be somehow different.

Well, I think that that’s true, and I know what you’re saying, but at a more practical level, we do have a process that we take people through, that’s intentional…

And maybe we take it for granted now, because we do it so often…

That’s probably true.

Most likely, yes.

It starts with – like, we have a guest guide, and we send that to them. And we’ve written it, and we’ve rewritten it, and we’ve updated it… And it’s very much like setting expectations. So that’s the first thing, is like making sure they know exactly what to expect, and how they can prepare themselves if they’re a person who wants to be very prepared.

Some people do, yeah.

Sometimes just being prepared is relaxing. For me, I get more anxious the more prepared I get, so I just don’t. But for them, sometimes it does, and so here’s a way that you can prepare. And then when the conversation starts [unintelligible 00:23:19.23] talking about, we say certain things to help relax them… Like, for instance “This is not live. This is going to be professionally edited.” “Oh.” [unintelligible 00:23:27.29]

“And if you screw up, no big deal; you can start over. Our editor’s amazing. He listens to every word that we say. He takes good care of you. He’s gonna make all of us sound way smarter than we are.” And we say stuff like that, which I think helps people relax, and realize that they’re in good hands. And then also, we are – like Adam says, we start talking to them about things that have nothing to do with the show… Usually, what do you have for breakfast is where we start, because anybody can talk about that… And it’s a good thing to ask for a sound check.

It’s good icebreaker.

And we start talking about food. Now we’re talking about food for a while, and then we get into it, we ask them if there’s anything in particular that they want to make sure that we talk about, anything that’s off limit… Just the standard kind of stuff to make people feel at ease, and hopefully forget that they’re being recorded. That being said - I mean, we’ve done this for many, many years, and I will tell you, oftentimes - and I haven’t been able to fix this; maybe you can give me advice. Oftentimes the second half of our show is better than the first half.

Always. Not just often. Almost always.

It’s like, “Can I invert that somehow?”

You’ve gotta warm it up. I don’t know, it’s a thing.

But there’s so much foundation laid that you can’t just edit out the first half and start with the second half…

The struggle is real.

But man, I’m like – once we get rolling somebody, it’s like “This is good. This is interesting.”

Yeah. Like “This is the gold”, and you clip out the teaser from the second half, for sure.

Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

Yeah, I find that exactly – it’s just, you know, human nature. That’s the way we are conversationally, so when we hit Record, it’s the same… Ideally, anyway. Yeah, it’s funny, you said you talk about breakfast… My sound check intro is “Tell me your worst travel story.” Somebody gave me that advice a while ago about sound checks, because people get very animated when they’re ranting about their luggage being lost… Or something like that. And so you can check different levels. Personally, the way I speak - and I struggle with this editing myself - my volume tends to vary tremendously, which is irritating for that core editor, which is me. [laughter]

But it’s true, because you can get very upset. I guess if I was being a psychologist for a second - which I’m not - on that is that breakfast is generally positive, whereas travel stories can be somewhat negative, and it may switch their psyche to be like angst, or upset…

Typically, they just get louder.

But how do you get them out of that mode?

Right. It’s like “Now I’m upset about this travel adventure gone wrong.”

But they laugh about it usually…

The backfire on breakfast is lots of people haven’t had it… Or they’re in Berlin, and so they’re like “I just had dinner”, and they’re not thinking about breakfast, and so [unintelligible 00:26:02.11]

[00:26:06.29] I don’t find that people get into kind of a negative or angry mindset. They actually – they usually laugh about it, because… You know, it usually wasn’t that recent.

We have to try that.

I think that’s a good question.

Make it the plan B.

We should give it a shot and see if –

Because when people talk about – again, we talk to tech people, and they’re talking about projects, and they get really excited about whatever they’re working on, or they’re changing the world… And again, the volume goes up. And that’s the fun part, but you do want to account for that, I think, so… Anyway, it was a fun little anecdote.

So tell me something else. I think we’re kind of running out of time here, but I want to hear, what did you want to share with me maybe that I didn’t get to?

Keep doing it. Podcasting is awesome.

It’s fun, right?

Tell stories, find stories, share them, get people to listen… Do what you can to like find somebody who is less known, and help them become more known, or has a story that can’t quite articulate it, and help them articulate it… There’s so much power in that as indie in media… I suppose you work at Intel, and that’s less indie, but the format is still indie. We have a lot of power. We don’t have to ask for the permission to publish to an RSS feed. And I suppose – that’s why I said in your case you do.

Yeah, it’s empowering. It’s absolutely empowering though. Yeah, yeah.

But the process of producing a podcast or this kind of thing is just like, you have the power to help people find new people across the globe. We can connect anywhere. And thanks to CDNs and things like that, people can download our show fast in Japan. Like, it’s not somewhere in like Virginia, for example. It’s everywhere. Everywhere you can listen to an English show, which is the primary language we do… We have transcripts, we probably should think about transcribing to other languages… But we haven’t cracked that nut of like different languages, but… Keep podcasting. Keep doing it. Don’t stop.

Yeah, I like it. Open source – well, again, I’m completely focused on open source software… But open source is about people, it’s about community… Podcasting is, too. Get to know other podcasters; grab a microphone, hit Record, see what happens. I like it.

Cool. Thanks, y’all.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Next up, this is me being interviewed by Den Delimarsky for his Work Item podcast. The Work Item is conversations on careers and tech-adjacent fields, so this one is more personal to me, how I got here, my priorities, the business of podcasting, not going viral, community building… Stuff like that. I also give some career advice at the end that I think is pretty good… But of course I do. That’s why it’s my advice.

Jerod Santo. Welcome to The Work Item. Great chatting with you.

Hey, Den. Thanks for having me.

I want to right off the bat start with Changelog, because you’re the co-founder of the Changelog, and I myself ran into Changelog in, I want to say 2021, when one of my blog posts on user hostile software got aggregated on Changelog at the time. And I looked at my referrers, and I was like “What the heck is Changelog?” and then I started digging through it, and then I went down the rabbit hole of a bunch of podcasts, and posts, and I saw that this guy Jerod was running a bunch of things, and was popping up and all these podcasts and shows… So tell us more. What is Changlog, and how did you start it?

Cool. So Changelog is - I guess we call it a media company now. It’s a network. We have a portfolio of weekly developer-focused shows that we do… And there’s a news component, which we call Changelog News… And so we are all about the software world, helping people keep up, find interesting things, talk about interesting things, and talk to interesting people about hopefully interesting things. We’ve been doing that for a long time.

I am a co-owner of the business… A little trivia - not actual co-founder, because I joined… I’ve been with the Changelog for over 10 years now. My business partner, Adam Stacoviak, founded it back in 2009 with another guy named Wynn Netherland. Wynn went on to get a job at GitHub. Of course, back then podcasting was just a hobby for everybody, so it was not a business then… And I was a freelance consultant doing software development under my own business name, and loved listening to the show, loved reading the blog, keeping up with open source software through it… Saw it start to fade a little bit, and thought I could help out, as I was a business owner, so I had free time that I could just allocate towards getting involved… And I began blogging for Changelog, and about a year later began co-hosting the show with Adam. And then eventually, it grew into what it was; it’s the two of us, so very much a co-owner, just not a co-founder.

So it was very much a serendipitous kind of transition to becoming the co-owner. It’s not just out of nowhere.

That’s right. So I definitely saw value in it early on, because I was a consumer, that a lot of people didn’t see. And Adam, my partner, had a really hard time getting other people to see the vision that he saw of how valuable this could be for people… But I saw it, because I was one of those people who was like - I loved listening and hearing the lives of software developers, their decision-making processes, what they invest their time in… And then also just keeping up with new tools and techniques as a developer who was really out on an island in Nebraska, working by myself for small clients… I felt very much out on my own. It really made me feel connected to a larger community, and so I decided to invest in small ways over time.

[00:36:16.27] And I could see some value that I guess other people couldn’t see. Adam saw it, obviously… And I guess that proved out to be good, because over time it’s grown and grown, and eventually he began to go full-time, and then eventually I began to go full-time as we scaled down my consulting business. So yeah, it’s gone really well, it’s been kind of organic and slow and steady; that’s one of our monikers. But we enjoy it, and thankfully, other folks seem to enjoy it as well.

Yeah. And you had a blog post recently that was talking about this: “The Changelog has never gone viral.” I think that kind of resonated with me, because you were talking about how if you think about your common podcast, and shows, the virality factor of it comes from - as you called out in the blog post, somebody coming in like “Jeff Bezos is going to be talking on the show”, and everybody wants to share that. But that’s one in a million. And then all the other podcasts, and blogs, and communities have to kind of do this steady, long game. And I think that’s uncommon, because a lot of folks nowadays in the age of TikTok, and YouTube, and – everybody wants to “Have the one viral video that’s going to propel me to fame”, and that right rarely works. And you’re taking the approach of saying “You know what? The long game is what it’s all about. We’re going to take the steady stream of high-quality content, and go from there.” So talk to me more about the motivations that you have for that.

Yeah, so I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t take the viral moments as well; of course, I would be happy to. We’ve had some viral moments with some of our content, it’s just not our podcast content. Some clips, some blog posts have gotten very popular from time to time… But yeah, those are kind of like when you close your eyes and swing the bat, and then you happen to just crack a homerun. And then you think, “Well, that was awesome. But it’s not a strategy. I can’t just close my eyes and swing the bat every time. I’m not going to hit a homerun again.” And so chasing that is kind of in vain. But again, going back to being a listener of podcasts, and a person who has been profoundly impacted by other people’s podcasts, I know that there’s an intimacy in a conversation, there’s a trust that you gain over time with people, and you can rely upon independent podcasters, I’ve found, to really have deep impacts, maybe with a much smaller audience than what you’re going to find on TikTok… But what kind of impact do you want to make? Do you want to make a broad impact? Or a deep impact? Or maybe both… Of course, we would all take both if we could. But given the choice, I will take the deep impact, and that’s kind of what that post was about. It wasn’t complaining that we’ve ever gone viral, it’s just kind of factual, and saying, “Actually, it’s okay…” Because here we are, we are both happy people, who can raise our families, and do work that we’re enjoying, and we can have an impact on people. And it may not be a million people all at once, but maybe it’s a few thousand people in a deep way. And I think that podcasting really does afford that, because of the medium… But it’s hard, and it takes time, and there’s no shortcuts, really, unless you already have an established audience, or some other medium. And so because of that, it’s toil. Like, you know, you’re doing podcasts now. You’ve just got to show up and put out a show every week, or whatever your cadence is, and you’ve got to edit it, and you’ve got to name it, and you’ve got to promote it, and you’ve got to just keep on doing that hamster wheel of content creation, as we come to know it by… And it’s hard to do that over the long term if you don’t have any sort of like positive feedback loops.

So in your case, you are running quite a few shows. I’m the most familiar with JS Party, but you have a few others in kind of the network.

How do you scale it in a way that doesn’t burn you out? Because you are an active participant in a lot of them. You’re not just somebody that kind of sits on the sidelines and says “You know what, I’m just the manager of it. I arranged things, and you all go [unintelligible 00:40:14.21] You actually do this.

[00:40:18.25] Yeah. That’s a hard question, and that’s one that we’ve tried to do, and failed, and tried other things… How do we scale it? Well, the first question is “Do we scale it?” And that’s the first thing that we had to talk to ourselves, like “Okay, do we want to scale it?” Because bigger isn’t always better. What kind of lifestyle do we want to have? And how much do we want to work, and how much stress do we want to have? And so we did at some point decide that the Changelog, which is the oldest show - it’s our main show; it’s what the network’s named after - didn’t have enough… I don’t know, inventory, for what we liked. If you think about, you’ve got 50 shows a year, with a weekly interview. You take a couple of weeks off, that’s 50 interviews a year. And we had listeners who wanted a bunch of different types of content, that that show just could not serve. And so we did want to scale beyond one show.

And so how do we scale it? Well, we first of all scale the voices. We don’t want to just be the two of us on every podcast, because a) that’s pretty boring to have the same two voices all the time, b) we’re not experts in many arenas. So we can be curious, but we can’t have like really good takes… And c) we get burnt out. And so we decided to go out and find like-minded people, who are interesting and want to podcast, but don’t have all of the infrastructure and all of the stuff figured out, the workflows that we’ve just developed over time… And enable them to do shows that we then produce.

I do participate in a lot of those, just because I enjoy it. Adam does as well, and so we end up being on those shows, like JS Party; I’m a regular on there. But there’s a whole bunch of people involved. And then you just scale things the way you scale business things. You hire editors, you figure out more productive ways of doing the same thing, so you’re spending 30 minutes versus four hours, that kind of stuff. And then at a certain point, we stopped. We are pretty much maxed out right now. We do five or six weekly podcasts, and I could not add a seventh right now without significantly impacting my life, which I don’t really want to do. So…

So it sounds like you’re taking the approach that – I think Rob Walling coined the term of like “Start small, stay small.” Intentionally so. Not every company and business needs to be that billion-dollar, massive – like, you can reach a point of “This is actually good enough”, both in terms of revenue, and both in terms of kind of the balance with the rest of your life.

Yeah, you have to decide what you want in life. And if you find yourself in a privileged position to be able to make those kinds of choices, then you decide what matters most. And if more money, and more power, and more fame, or whatever comes out of building the business bigger is what you want, then that’s what you go after. But I’ve always desired freedom and liberty more than money… And so I could make more money with this, but I would be giving up freedom and liberty and time to do other things. And Adam feels the same way, so we’re both on the same page there.

Of course, we have shiny object syndrome, and we have moments where we’re like “Here’s a huge opportunity. Should we seize it?” And we have to talk to each other and make those decisions. But ultimately, we’ve always come back to -we’re really happy to do this work, and it’s satisfying work, and we just haven’t decided to go ahead and scale it to the hilt, and chase the dollars. I think that’s paid off.

There’s been times where, of course, opportunities come by, and you think “Maybe if we took some investment, we could hire more people, we could do more…” There’s so much we could be doing that we aren’t. And that’s really the problem, is like, we could have a whole news wishing. We could have way more written content. We’ve always wanted to have more of those posts, like the one I wrote about the Changelog not going viral. Our whole written side of our business - it’s pretty weak. And I know we could just make that better with money and people. But ultimately, we’ve chosen kind of freedom and lifestyle so far, and I think it’s been a pretty good decision for where we are.

[00:44:19.09] Was there any point in your life where that kind of pivotal light bulb went off about the choice of freedom and liberty versus money? Because I’m listening to you talk about this, and again, it’s a very uncommon kind of mental model. Because if you talk to folks that are starting off in their careers in tech, or entrepreneurs, a lot of them are motivated by like “I want to grab just as much money as I can, as fast as I can.”

Yes… So my first boss out of college also happened to be a pastor at my church, so we had a very close relationship… And I’m a Christian guy, and I read the Bible and stuff, and the Bible says “If you can achieve liberty, seek liberty.” It was like, one of the principles is like “Be happy where you are, but if you can be more free, take more free.” And he impressed that upon me at a young age. And I thought “Yeah, that sounds about right.” And then I started trying to live by that just a little bit in certain ways, and I’ve found it very satisfying to trade that for other things. And a lot of times, that’s money. Often, it’s time. It’s commitments. And then I’ve had times where I went and chased the money, and then I’ve asked myself “Am I better off now, because I’ve got the money, but now I’ve got less freedom, or less time, and more responsibilities?” And I’m always like “Actually, because I’m taken care of financially, my base needs, my family’s base needs, this extra money isn’t adding that much, and I traded in something that was worth more.” And so I think it just kind of proved itself out to be true a few times. And so that’s when I really started doubling down and saying “Okay, I’ve gotta be very careful about saying yes to things that reduce my freedom.”

Yeah. And that’s a very intentional decision that – it sounds also it did not come out of nowhere. It’s not one of those things that it’s like “Oh, it’s good enough.” There’s a mental shift coming with it.

Yeah, absolutely. And so far, I think it’s proven itself to be true, and I’m sticking with it, at least for now.

Yeah. As with any part of life, it comes in waves. So things can change. But I find that an admirable mental model. Now, in terms of the community that you’re running - so Changelog is pretty big. And I see a lot of focus on JavaScript, which is arguably – or JavaScript and the web, I’ll put it this way…

…which is arguably a very fast-evolving space. The meme about there’s a new JS framework coming out every day on Hacker News somewhere, like, it’s happening… How do you keep up with things that are truly important for developers to know, that you bring up on your shows, versus the noise? Because there’s a lot of noise.

Right. Okay, so that’s a hard question, because you spend years and years developing what I’ll just call taste, because I can’t have a better word for it… And then you have some taste, and you’re not sure why you have it, but just because you put the time in. And then someone says “How did you develop that taste?” and it’s like “I just spent a lot of time looking at projects.” I mean, I’ve been doing software development for 20 years. I’ve been in the open source world for a very long time. I’ve seen so many things come and go, I’ve seen things come and stay… And I just – I don’t want to say I have a knack for it; I just think I have a trained sense of what’s good and what’s maybe not so good, what’s worth paying attention to and what you can probably skip, that I just use that knack, because I’ve just developed it over time.

[00:47:50.23] Also, of course, we have feedback loops. We have other people who are smart… You know what your friends are into. JS Party is a good example. That’s a show with eight people on it. I’m just one of the eight. And I have a very specific purview of the world, I have my own tastes, I have what interests me, and they all have that exact same thing. And so I listen to them, and I say “What’s interesting to you right now?” Or I’ll take a link and I’ll send it over to Nick Nisi and say “Hey, is this something that you think is worth us talking about on the show?” And he may be like “Yeah, let’s get them on the show”, and so that’s a positive reinforcement of “Okay, this was a good decision.” Or he’d be like “Hm… Maybe, maybe not.” And you’re like “Okay, maybe that’s not so interesting.”

So it’s being plugged in to other people who are doing the same thing, caring, and then also just putting the time in, and trying a lot of stuff. I mean, I’ve played with so many software projects over the course of my career that I just have developed the skill of kind of spotting what’s worth paying attention to and what’s not. And of course, I still screw it up sometimes, and I chase the shiny object, and then it’s like “Well, it turns out that wasn’t sustainable”, or something like that. But that’s as best as I can explain it…

Yeah. You’re still actively developing. You’re an engineer [unintelligible 00:49:02.13]

Oh, absolutely.

It’s not just you reading the news, you’re actually using things.

Absolutely. And that’s really been another principle of mine, is like I cannot simply become a talking head. I had a teacher in college who was an adjunct professor, and he taught databases… And it was a night class, because during the day he worked on databases. And he was my best teacher in college, and he was an adjunct professor who was just doing it as his day job… And the full-time professors, who like their entire job was just to teach C++ or whatever, they were very unplugged. They were behind the times. They didn’t teach me very much. And so that guy was a good example for me of like “You know what - learn from people who are still doing it, because they just have the real world experience.” And so I always want to be still doing it, and not just talking about it, not just teaching it… And so yeah, I actively write code as often as I possibly can, and play with things myself, and get my hands into the mud.

Break: [00:50:04.09]

How do you find the time for all this as a podcast host, entrepreneur, and engineer? That sounds like – it’s a lot. It would eat out of 24 hours in a given day, easily 23.

Well, that’s a good question. I guess on top of that I also have six children that we homeschool, and other things going on… I coach basketball at night… I’ve got lots of things, so not much time. I don’t really have a great answer of how I do it. I have to be judicious with where I invest my time. I have to not do things that waste my time. I had to set aside time for certain things… But I’m always prioritizing, like what has to happen today, what has to happen right now. Like, there’s a show that goes out by 5pm - that’s gotta happen. And then after that, I can do these other things. And so it’s just a constant battle, which just like always asking yourself “What’s the most important thing right now?” and realizing that actually trying the stuff, coding the stuff, building stuff has to be in that list of most important things, and keeping it there. That’s probably the best way I can say that.

And once again, that theme of being very intentional about how you spend your time.

It’s also hard to prioritize things, because I’m assuming if you’re running that many [unintelligible 00:53:56.03] I’m sure the business evolves quickly as well, and you need to catch up with a lot of things… And jumping in between kind of business mode, versus software engineer mode, versus “I’m a father, and I have to deal with this…” It’s a lot of context switching.

It is. Have you heard of Paul Graham’s “Maker’s schedule, manager’s schedule”?

Yes. Very classic post.

That really did help me be able to know what mode I’m in. So as a small business owner, I’m both a maker and a manager… And as a podcaster and an editor, I’m constantly in communications with people about scheduling, and rescheduling, and “When does this have to happen?” and “This goes out this day.” And so there’s very much this manager scheduler thing, where I’m emailing, I’m calendaring, I’m doing all these things. And then I have to be able to also just sit down and edit, and master, and produce a show, which could take three hours. Or add a feature to our website, which could take four hours. And so you really have to switch into maker schedule, and just like go deep work focus mode, and be able to block those times. And that’s a struggle too, because one thing can pull you out of maker mode, and back into manager mode, and I struggle to keep those things away from me… But I try my best. It’s tough.

Yeah. And especially in the tech space, where you kind of have to jump between a calendar invite, you have a meeting, and then after a meeting you have half an hour empty before the next meeting… How do you feel that half hour? Do you actually kind of jump into the zen focus mode? Because that’s hard. I don’t know if half an hour is enough. I don’t know, it’s not for me.

Yeah, I don’t think so. If it’s not two hours, I’ve pretty much got to stay in manager mode. I do follow the – this is embarrassing, I don’t even know if this is actually in the GTD book told me this, and so I assume it’s in there… Which is if you can get it done in two minutes, just do it right now. And I think that’s in there, but I have never actually confirmed it myself, so I don’t want to spread –

I think it is.

Yeah. I read it a long time ago. I think it is. Yeah, it’s basically get it done now.

I use that constantly. Like, is it less than two minutes? Just do it. And especially when I have half an hour… Because think about how much you can get done on the on the manager mode in half an hour if you’re like “Okay, what are all the things I can just get done right now?” Mostly it’s emails, it’s calendaring, it’s a few decisions here or there… Maybe it’s fix a bug real quick… But if you don’t have two hours - I mean, what can you really get done that’s intense?

[00:56:26.18] Yeah. Especially the calendar slice of like 30 to 50 minutes slices… Not very efficient for anyone.

Now, in terms of building a developer community - so arguably, you’ve built a very successful community, with kind of a podcast network around it… What do you think kind of sets Changelog and the work that you’ve done apart from the myriad of other developer communities that also might have a podcast or two? It seems to be the yearly trend, where new things are popping up. But Changelog kind of has stood the test of time. What sets it apart?

You might have to ask our community for that… I think, from my perspective, we really do care, and I think a lot of people are community-building, but they’re doing it because they want to have a community… And a community is not like a toy that you have, or like a thing that you acquire, like you’d buy a car. Like, it’s a bunch of people that enjoy the same things, or rally around a common cause… And again, some of it goes back to the time; we’ve just been doing this a very long time. And how do you build a community? Well, you do the same stuff over and over again, and then people see you doing that stuff and they’re like “Hey, I like that stuff too”, and then you’re like “Alright, come do it with us. Come hang out.”

And so I think there’s a sincerity. We really do care about the people that we talk to, and talk with, and hang out with in our community… We’ve also – we don’t have a huge community. I mean, there’s bigger ones out there, but we’ve just kind of, again, slow and steady rolling down the road together; you just pick up people, and then they become – there’s people in our Slack community that have been hanging out with me for years. And we know them very well, just because that’s what happens over time. So a little bit of sincerity, a little bit of just sticking to it, and providing a place that people actually want to hang out.

Are there any aspects of that community-building process that you’re undertaking that you’d say are unique to Changelog? Because you kind of alluded to the fact of like this community in Slack, and there’s so many of them that keep popping up… And I get invites all the time, like “Oh, join this product manager community. The slack with 12 people”, and there’s just a lot of them. And it all at some point devolves into community members sharing links to blog spam, and blog posts, and it just becomes like “Alright, this is not a community. This is just like a link aggregation service that is kind of useless.”

[laughs] Yeah… And we’ve definitely had people that pop in and want to use our community like that… And that’s been the main moderation move. I mean, because we have - I don’t even count; there’s thousands of people that hang out together. But probably like regulars, that are like regularly chatting, it’s probably like 100 of us, with thousands lurking… Which is totally cool, because I also lurk in other communities as well. But the main moderation I’ve had to do is like “Hey, don’t come here and just spam us with your stuff.” Because people want to use communities for exactly that; act like they’ve been here for a while, and like “Hey, I’m just running a survey.” It’s like, you can’t just come in here and pop your survey in, sorry. So we are pretty quick on the Delete button for that kind of stuff.

I don’t think there’s anything, and I don’t think I have any tips or tricks or anything unique to us. We’ve been putting out shows for a long time, so people that like our shows like to hang out together, and that’s kind of just the way it is.

Were there any moments since kind of you started working on the Changelog, that kind of looking back you’d say are your biggest lessons? And it sounds a little cliche, but effectively maybe things that you’d say like “Wow, that was a teaching moment.”

Like a moment that I learned something, or a moment that I –

Probably for you, yeah.

[01:00:13.03] So this wasn’t a moment, but I think that – it’s taken time, but it has been profound to me, learning the power of just consistently showing up; like, just the consistency, and how compounding consistency is when you’re building something. I think that we’ve had times where we’ve been less consistent, even with just production. So I don’t know if you listen to podcasts like I do, but I’m also a podcast listener to this day…

Yeah, of course.

And I have podcasts that I love, and they become a part of my life; I integrate them into my life, and I expect them to be there for me at certain times. So if the show that usually publishes on Friday morning doesn’t publish that week, or it’s like Saturday afternoon, maybe I’ve just moved on and it doesn’t fit anymore. So podcast listeners - they’re hard to find and acquire as like somebody who’s going to be there… But once they listen, if you give them good stuff consistently, they’re gonna listen for years. And I’m one of them. I will listen to a show for years. But it has to fit into where I fit it into my life. And so that habitual listener, which I don’t think many people think about, but we definitely think about, is the one who can’t wait for your show to drop, because they’re used to it dropping at this time or day, and it’s already – it’s their Friday afternoon jog, you know? Or it’s their commute on Monday morning, or whatever it is. And during times of inconsistency, we had a really hard time building anything… Even though I think the quality was there of our shows, and we were putting all the effort in, but we were just inconsistent, and those shows just stagnate. But just the consistency… Whatever cadence you decide, whether it’s weekly, daily, bi-weekly, monthly… And I think weekly is the best balance of all of that, which is why most of our shows are weekly… Just staying consistent, and just like being there for people is really something I learned is just very effective, and it makes things grow. And that took a while to figure out.

What’s interesting about this, specifically into kind of the domain of podcasts, I think that consistency is especially discouraging to newer entrants, because podcasts kind of blew up, we saw a few years back Spotify got into it… And there was this kind of flood of new people coming in and saying “I will have a podcast, too.” And then two episodes in, four episodes in, five episodes in, they still don’t see like the thousands of followers coming in… And people are just kind of like “Ah, I’ll skip this week. I’ll skip next week. Oh, we’ll do it next month”, and it just never grows. And it kind of struck me that there was some stat shared recently, that was like the median podcast length is seven episodes, after which people just drop off. They just completely lose the desire to continue [unintelligible 01:03:00.02] And then the podcasts that do survive, like JS Party, like podcasts in your network, are the ones that kind of keep on pushing, despite the fact that maybe the growth is not as astronomical initially as you hoped it would be.

Yeah, that rings true. And I definitely – we’ve been doing it long enough that we’ve seen so many people come in and start their own podcasts… And some are scary, from like “Okay, they’re gonna take some of our audience away.” Or they’re big names, or they have a big budgets, and large organizations behind them. Of course, at a certain point, all enterprises need to have a podcast. And we’re sitting here, thinking like “Is anybody going to have time to listen to our shows when they’re going to be listening to some FAANG member’s show, some large entity that has a huge budget and can put out all this stuff?” And you know, most of those are gone now. I mean, so many podcasts are just gone. Even the good ones, sadly, don’t survive.

[01:03:58.02] We have in our portfolio shows that are like – we’ve had trouble keeping all of our shows alive, and we’re trying really hard, because they have to be sustainable. And yeah, the consistent ones, the ones who are dedicated - which really does require you to have some sort of… I don’t know if extrinsic is the right word, but like some sort of other motivation that’s feeding it in order for you to continue. Like, there’s some shows where it’s friends getting together and talking, and they’ll do that forever, because they just enjoy getting together and talking. And maybe it’s their excuse to talk once a week or once a month. And those shows are awesome. And those people tend to survive, because they just love to get together and talk about whatever the hobby is.

And so that’s just one example of like that’s their motivation. It’s not the audience, it’s not the listens, it’s not the money. It’s that opportunity to get together. And so if you have something like that… In a lot of cases it’s your own learning, like “Well, I’m just learning. I want to keep learning.” It’s a good excuse to talk to smart people on a microphone, who otherwise wouldn’t like spend an hour with you. But now they’re going to teach you stuff. That’s a great motivation, that keeps podcasters going, and eventually those podcasts do grow.

It’s an interesting balance though, because you kind of talked about the example of friends talking… And this was another thing that, especially in the past few years, like since the pandemic, you saw people kind of jump on the mic, and they’re just like “Oh yeah, two friends talking.” They’re just kind of rambling for like an hour. And then you start listening to that show and it’s like “Well, but nothing useful for the audience was actually there.” It was just two people talking. So it’s kind of the balance of “Sure, they’re not maybe motivated by growing a large following, but at least the content is somewhat useful.”

Yeah. Which - I mean, to a certain extent I was contradicting what we do, because we don’t really do any of the “just friends talking” stuff. We do joke around, and we’ve added a talk show to our lineup which is more chill and more conversational than our other shows… But we’re about education, really. And so if we’re not exposing you to new things, or new ideas, or new people, what are we really doing? We’re not going to talk about the weather, or our food, or that kind of stuff, and just waste people’s time… Because I got very frustrated with podcasts where I’d show up for the topic, but the topic would be buried 20 minutes into small talk between the two hosts… And it’s like “Let’s not be those people.”

So there’s definitely a time and a place, and certain – I mean, if it’s a show about movies, and friends are getting together to talk about a movie, but then they’re talking about what they had for breakfast the whole time, it’s like…


This goes to another one of our mottos, which is “Give the people what they came for.” We very much believe in giving them what they came for, and not something else. And so yeah, there’s a balance there. I’m just saying that if you get together with friends, and you enjoy that, you’re more likely to do it ongoing… But maybe your show just stinks anyways, I don’t know.

Well, it totally makes sense. And so in the context of the work that you’re doing with Changelog, one of the things that you do - sometimes I see these very interesting off takes that you get. And these takes are so some things like wasted time, if you’re spending a lot of time building your like editor configuration, and all these things… But the other piece was something that stood out to me recently where I ran into one of your clips that was soft skills, and the focus on importance of soft skills for developers. And this is something that a lot of developers neglect.

And as a podcast host yourself, as somebody that runs a community - sure, you are the one that appreciates kind of the value of soft skills the most. How do you see developers in the modern tech space evolving those soft skills? …because I see it so commonly, where folks have a hard time kind of communicating their ideas, they have a hard time soliciting feedback, and reacting to said feedback, they have a hard time putting things in writing… There’s a lot of these things that are not implicitly kind of technology-related, but are key to success. And something that, again, you said it and it just went off for me, as like “Oh my gosh, this is like exactly that, but I wish more people knew about it.”

[01:08:02.11] Yes. Well, I can’t speak for all of the developers out there, or the engineers, or the programmers, whatever they want to call themselves this time of year… And maybe I’m in a bubble, because we do tend to speak with developers who like to speak on podcasts, and they’re very much – they’re polished with some of their, at least communication skills… Which - for me, communication skills are the cross-cutting, most valuable skill you can have in your life, the ability to communicate. It helps you in your career, it helps you in your relationships, it helps you get what you want, it helps you not get what you don’t want… I mean, to be able to communicate - which is a very hard thing, and one that I think all of us are still constantly learning how to get better at or not - is a superpower… Especially for software engineers, where you already have a power, but you can’t necessarily wield it to its full strength without being able to convince somebody that this is a good idea, or defend a decision that you made. Or show your manager that you are very productive, and here’s how you went about solving problems.

I mean, it’s so valuable, and I think that the people who are plugged – at least the people who are plugged into our community know that, and they seek ways of improving that, and so they’re reading the books, they’re listening to the podcasts, they’re trying to improve not just their engineering skills… Because at the end of the day - yes, programming is hard, but it’s nowhere near the hardest thing that we have to do in our jobs. And the people who realize that are the ones who transcend, and they get the promotions, and they get the raises, and they start their own businesses, and they just have success. And the rest of them - we just stay writing code. And some people are happy to do that, and that’s fine… But there just isn’t really a path to progress if you’re not willing to round out, make yourself a full-fleshed human being.

Do you think that you being a podcast host and kind of running your podcast network helped you hone that skill, of communication?

Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Just the ability to listen, which is really hard for a lot of people… Because – and for young Jerod as well was more difficult… Because I was more waiting for my turn to talk when I was younger, because I was going to show you what I know… Like, you show me what you know, and I’ll show you what I know. I wasn’t ever listening. I was just waiting for my turn. And I see that, especially in young people. But I see that in lots of people, where I can tell “Oh, you’re not listening to me. You’re just waiting. You’re waiting for your turn.”

And as an interviewer - of course, the main thing that you do, the main thing that you have to do is listen… Which is hard, because life is distracting, and my thoughts are very entertaining to me. And maybe yours aren’t quite as entertaining to me right now, because you just keep talking, and I’m trying to… You know, it’s hard. And of course, just by interviewing people hundreds of times, you’re going to get better at it. You’re going to start listening more, and reacting to what they say, and not just reading the next question that you’ve written down. And I was terrible at that. But then I did it 100,000 times, and now I’m just a little bit less terrible than I used to be.

It comes with experience.

Yeah, absolutely.

[01:11:08.25] And consistency.

That’s right. That’s how you get the experience. You keep showing up.

I love this. I feel like this show was packed with a lot of gems that are honestly reusable in a lot of domains, not necessarily tech. But I always wrap up the episode with a question for my guests, that is, if you think of a piece of unconventional advice, that stems from your experience, that you would advise somebody younger, that is early in their career - maybe they’re contemplating of starting a company similar to the one that you’re working on right now… What would that be?

I don’t know if this is unconventional, but I think it’s perhaps so obvious that people don’t say it, and so I’ll just say the obvious… And I will say that if you do this one thing, regardless of your career path, you will find success. It’s not complicated. It is hard, and it’s this: when you tell somebody that you’re going to do something, then you do it. No matter what, do it. That’s it, that’s the tip. And that applies in any career. And that’s so rare, to find somebody who consistently does what they say they’re going to do; they follow up afterwards, they send that email, they deliver the message, they finished the chore, they do the backup… Whatever it is. If you just do the things that you said you were going to do, you will be so valuable, to so many people; not just in the workplace, but especially in the workplace. And everybody will want to have you around, and they’re going to want to give you things to do, and they’re going to invest in you… Because that’s a very hard thing to accomplish. But if you just set your mind to it, like “Oh, I said I was gonna do this. I’d better do it”, and then you do it, you’ll find success.

I love it. Especially given that it’s very easy to slip out of that mode. And what you just described as it’s being very common in young people - you definitely see a lot of that, like “Oh yeah, I’ll give you that review by tomorrow.” And tomorrow comes, the review’s never there… Like, “Oh, it slipped my mind. I’ll do it later next week.” Then next week comes, and it’s still not there…

There’s 1001 reasons why you might not get something done… But if you’re the person that does get the thing done they said they’re gonna do, people will just bring you more and more of work, more and more business, more and more raises… Because that’s so valuable. It’s just reliable, and a finisher. It’s easy to start things, it’s hard to finish them. So if you become a finisher, then you’re on the right path.

Unstoppable. What a way to wrap up this episode. Jerod, thank you so much for being here. Where can folks learn more about the things that you build, the things that you do?

Pretty much all of my work in this domain is found at

Then we’ll make sure to include the links to all the podcasts, Changelog… It’s all in the show notes, so make sure to check it out. Jerod, thank you again for being here.

Thank you. This was awesome.


Our transcripts are open source on GitHub. Improvements are welcome. 💚

Player art
  0:00 / 0:00