The Ruby Rogues

The Ruby Rogues podcast is a panel discussion about topics relating to programming, careers, community, and Ruby. We release a conversation with notable programmers and Rubyists each week to help programmers advance in their careers and skills.

Subscribe

Get episodes automatically

245

245 RR The Charles Max Wood Interview with Thom Parkin


This week, we’re bringing to you a behind the scenes look at the man behind the mic and the guy who puts out over 5 hours worth of free audio content per week to support the development community: Charles Max Wood.

Long-time listener, Thom Parkin, asked Chuck if he would sit down and do an interview with him to describe all the interesting things he’s been up to and his goals for the future. In this interview, Chuck gives listeners a behind-the-scenes look at all of his podcasts, the DevChat.tv platform, RailsClips, his remote conferences and his upcoming book that will focus on tips for getting hired as a developer.

This episode is sponsored by

comments powered by Disqus

TRANSCRIPT

[This episode is sponsored by Hired.com. Every week on hired they run an auction where over a thousand tech companies in San Francisco, New York, and L.A. bid on Ruby developers providing them with salary and equity upfront. The average Ruby developer gets an average of 5 to 15 introductory offers and an average salary offer of $130,000 a year. Users can either accept an offer and go right into interviewing with a company or deny them without any continuing obligations. It’s totally free for users. And when you’re hired, they give you a $2,000 signing bonus as a thank you for using them. But if you use the Ruby Rogues link, you’ll get a $4,000 instead. Finally, if you’re not looking for a job but know someone who is, you can refer them to Hired and get a $1,337 bonus if they accept the job. Go sign up at Hired.com/RubyRogues.]

[Snap is a hosted CI and continuous delivery that is simple and intuitive. Snap’s deployment pipelines deliver fast feedback and can push healthy builds to multiple environments automatically or on demand. Snap integrates deeply with GitHub and has great support for different languages, data stores, and testing frameworks. Snap deploys you application to cloud services like Heroku, DigitalOcean, AWS, and many more. Try Snap for free. Sign up at SnapCI.com/RubyRogues.]

[This episode is sponsored by DigitalOcean. DigitalOcean is the provider I use to host all of my creations. All the shows are hosted there along with any other projects I come up with. Their user interface is simple and easy to use. Their support is excellent. And their VPS’s are backed on solid-state drives and are fast and responsive. Check them out at DigitalOcean.com. If you use the code RubyRogues, you’ll get a $10 credit.]

THOM:  This is Thom Parkin here with Charles Max Wood from DevChat.tv. And it was quite a few years ago that you and I got together. We had an interview for an article I wrote for RubySource.com. But if I recall at that time you had barely a hundred episodes of the Ruby Rogues. And now as we begin 2016 you’re approaching the 250 mark. I know James Edward Gray, one of the co-founders, David Brady, Josh Susser, the people that I’m familiar with having been a fan since episode 7, are not there any longer. But you’ve got a whole new group of people there keeping the Rogues alive.

CHUCK:  Yeah, it’s kind of funny. So, David gets a call every week. He just is busy. I still consider him a regular but yeah, he isn’t on every week. Josh for various reasons wasn’t able to do the show anymore. James also had some things that he wanted to pursue and decided that Rogues was something that he needed to not do anymore so he could pursue those other things, which made sense. Katrina got involved with doing training with Sandi Metz and had some other things going on in her life, so she backed out. But we’ve got some really great people to go on the podcast. And Avdi’s still around. So, it’s been great.

It’s kind of funny people ask all the time, “Well, how do you pick the people that come on the show?” And especially since we have people like Coraline and Saron and Jessica who are not white men. Basically they’re like, “Well, are you just going for diversity?” But the way I pick panelists, and it’s funny because this is the way I do it on all the shows and the way that we’ve done it on the Rogues in the past, in the past it was much more of a democracy. At this point I kind of just make things run. But the way that we get people on the show is that if I have an interview or if we have somebody come on the show as a guest that I thought went really well and we have an open spot then I’ll invite them on the show, is the way that it works.

THOM:  That’s terrific.

CHUCK:  And so, that’s how we got Jessica. I really liked her episode. I actually met her in person at a conference before. We did put it forward to the Ruby Rogues Parley community to see what they thought. And ultimately it all kind of congealed upon her coming on. Saron had a terrific interview with us. We were super excited about the episode that we put out with her. And so, we decided to say, “Hey, why don’t you come be a Rogue in residence?” and by the time her six month residency so to speak was over, we wanted to keep her. So, that worked out there. And again, we had Coraline on, had a terrific episode with her and it just worked out. So…

THOM:  Isn’t that the story behind Avdi too, right?

CHUCK:  Yeah.

THOM:  That’s how Avdi came along.

CHUCK:  Yup, yeah. He filled in…

THOM:  Yeah, so that’s…

CHUCK:  A couple of episodes and then we said, “Well, stay,” because Peter and Aaron [backed out], yup.

THOM:  So, that’s kind of in the history.

CHUCK:  Yeah, it’s been the history of the show.

THOM:  Yeah. Well, that’s great. And what you say about diversity, that is just kind of a lucky side-effect.

CHUCK:  Yeah.

THOM:  I know that’s a big deal in our community right now. But talented people are talented people. It doesn’t really matter how they part their hair.

CHUCK:  Yeah. It was the same on JavaScript Jabber incidentally. We had Aimee Knight. We didn’t actually have a position open. And I was like, “We have to have her on this show.”

THOM:  [Chuckles]

CHUCK:  And so, yeah…

THOM:  Now you bring up JavaScript Jabber. Yeah, your DevChat.tv brand is becoming quite prominent because you’re making huge contributions to the Rails community [inaudible] the JavaScript community. But I know that you’ve got a series of… I can’t keep track of all the podcasts you’ve got. I’m a regular listener of Ruby Rogues and I listen to the JavaScript Jabber occasionally trying to understand Angular. But you’ve got a litany of things that you’re doing. Keeps you busy.

CHUCK:  Oh, yeah. Yeah, so…

THOM:  So, tell us a little bit about the other things.

CHUCK:  Well, I know people are curious. So, the way that I’ll explain it is I am personally involved in five of the shows on DevChat.tv. That is Ruby Rogues, JavaScript Jabber, Adventures in Angular which you’ve mentioned both of those as well, iPhreaks which is an iOS podcast, and The Freelancers’ Show which started about the same time as JavaScript Jabber and is focused on freelancers and how to run your business. So, we have those five.

Last year we added two new shows. I don’t actually host those or I’m not really involved with them other than helping them with hosting and sponsorships. Those are React Native Radio. So, if you’re into React and you want to build mobile apps, or if you’re into React Native and you know exactly what I’m talking about with it, that is a podcast that started toward the end of last year. And it is run by Nader Dabit. And he does a terrific job on that. The other one is Web Security Warriors. AJ O’Neal from JavaScript Jabber wanted to start that. He pulled together the panel. I actually guested on that one once. It’s been a terrific run as well. I think they’re actually recording right now as we speak.

THOM:  [Chuckles]

CHUCK:  Which is kind of fun. But yeah, it’s been kind of nice to be able to provide a platform to people who have expertise outside of my own and let them do whatever they’re going to do. And so, it’s been awesome and I really, really enjoy it. There’s also RailsClips. And I may talk about that in a minute but I kind of got behind on videos on RailsClips. But I have a whole bunch of them that I’m getting ready to release next month. So, keep an eye out on that if you are subscribed to that. And accept my sincere apologies for being a little behind on that.

THOM:  Well, I’m happy to hear that as a subscriber. Yes [chuckles] I’ve been kind of curious about that. I was proud to support that project when you started it. Another thing that you’ve done, it’s really kind of groundbreaking, was the remote conf. I know the JS Remote Conf initiative. I wasn’t involved in it but I say the work you did on it and was curious [inaudible] talk about that.

CHUCK:  Yeah. So, last year I did JS Remote Conf for the first time. Incidentally, and this kind of speaks a little bit to the way that I operate, I got an email from the guys that put on Podcast Movement which is a podcasting conference that’s held every year. Last year it was in Fort Worth. The year before that it was in Dallas. Next year it’s in Chicago. And I got an email from them and they were saying, “Hey, we’re going to try this remote conference thing.” And what they did is they did… I think it was two or three nights a week for two weeks. They had two speakers on each night. It was a podcasting conference. It was specifically focused around business for podcasting, which of course is where I’m involved. I didn’t start out podcasting for business but it kind of grew to that point. So, I was very interested in it.

And as soon as I saw the format I was like, “Programming needs this.” So, I set up my own conference, remote conference, before I attended the Podcasters Business Summit, which is what it was called. And so, I went to Podcasters Business Summit for the two weeks they did it. And then I did JS Remote Conf for the first time the two weeks after.

THOM:  Wow.

CHUCK:  So, I’m a little bit impulsive on some of this stuff. But…

THOM:  [Chuckles]

CHUCK:  Ultimately it was a lot of fun. It was a huge success. I didn’t know if it was going to take off. I kind of threw it together about a month and a half before the actual conference. People were gung-ho about it. We had 120 attendees. It was…

THOM:  Wow.

CHUCK:  It was a huge success. People loved it. People got really excited about it. And I didn’t even know if I was going to do it again, because I just was trying it out. So…

THOM:  Yeah.

CHUCK:  A few months later I was like, “You know, let me try this with the Ruby community.” So, I pulled together Ruby Remote Conf and I did that one in June. And we didn’t have quite the same attendance. Of course, I didn’t get the word out as well either. But we still had about 50 or 60 people attend that conference. Had some great speakers. Obviously I have pretty good connections after having done 250 episodes of Ruby Rogues.

THOM:  [Chuckles]

CHUCK:  So, I knew who to invite. And we could get them to come. And that was really exciting because then these terrific talks about topics that are interesting to Ruby developers were now out there on the web. And people didn’t even have to travel in order to be able to participate, not just as participants in the conference but also be able to ask questions during the Q and A. The system we’re using now, you can actually pull people on screen and they can look through the webcam and see the person and everyone else can see them as they ask a question. Most people just ask…

THOM:  Oh, wow.

CHUCK:  through the Q and A system if they want. But it’s really exciting the way that we can interact these days. And so anyway, we pulled that together. It was a pretty awesome conference. And then in August things had slowed down for me. It turned out that doing the podcast two days a week… so, I record… I’m actually changing my schedule but the way I was doing it then I was recording Ruby Rogues at 10, Freelancers’ Show at 12 and JavaScript Jabber at 2 on Tuesdays. And then on Wednesdays I would do iPhreaks at noon and Adventures in Angular at 3. I had a mastermind group at 10am on Wednesday. And I just didn’t have the time to coordinate everything outside of that for the podcasts and do the podcasts and hold down any kind of contracting.

So, contracting kind of disappeared on me more or less. And it kind of left me in a financial bind. And so, when I was coming up on… I had people going, “Do it for Angular. Do it for Angular.” So, in July I started pulling it together. And in August I kind of launched and I said, “Hey look, we’re doing an Angular Remote Conf. Who’s interested? Who wants to be involved?” And again, I had people coming out of the woodwork going nuts, getting all excited about it. I did some marketing. My mastermind group actually got on my case and said, “If you want this to be a success then you need to make a plan.” So, I made a plan. I listed out 20 things I was going to do between basically the middle of August and the end of September when the conference was to get the word out. And that conference was a resounding success. We had over 150 people at the conference. And it actually allowed me to reset on all of the financial things that had been building up, up to that point.

So, it saved a bunch of trouble for me. I was actually able to pay down, because we were behind on the mortgage. That’s another story. But it actually brought me current on my mortgage, saved my house. So, it was…

THOM:  That’s wonderful.

CHUCK:  It was this amazing thing. And afterward, people were saying, “This is so great. Why can’t we have one of these every month?” And so…

THOM:  Wow. That’s a lot of work though, isn’t it?

CHUCK:  It is a lot of work.

THOM:  It’s a whole lot of work to put it together.

CHUCK:  It is. But at the same time, I was thinking, “Okay, whatever.” I had one or two people say it. So then, I pulled together Rails Remote Conf in November and did that in November. And I had similar numbers to what I got for Ruby Remote Conf. Probably a lot of the same people. And it occurred to me at that time, again people were coming out of it going, “This is great. Why can’t we do this on a regular basis?” And I thought, “Okay, well why can’t we do this on a regular basis?” So, I started ramping up for JS Remote Conf to do it a second year. And I was like, “You know what?” and this is me being impulsive again, I said, “Let’s do it every month.”

THOM:  Wow.

CHUCK:  So, I picked topics for each month and scheduled a conference for each month. So, we just finished JS Remote Conf. Next month is Freelance Remote Conf. The month after that is Ruby Remote Conf. The month after that is iOS Remote Conf. And the month after that was going to be Podcast Remote Conf but I had so many people saying, “Where’s the React conference?” so I switched the topic. And then I had a whole bunch of people saying, “Well now, where’s the Podcast Remote Conf?” so I still need to schedule…

THOM:  [Laughs]

CHUCK:  The podcasting one. It’ll probably be in October next year. Or this year, not next year. Next year is this year.

THOM:  2016, yeah.

CHUCK:  2016. October 2016 is probably when it’ll happen. September or October. So anyway, I’ve gotten a huge response for the conferences. I’ve had a whole bunch of people buy three, six, and nine conference ticket packages. And it’s just blowing up. And people are really excited about it. And so, it’s an exciting way for me to give to the community in a way that they really appreciate. And it’s a way for the community then to support me in giving them this content.

THOM:  Right.

CHUCK:  So, it’s been tremendous. And really, a lot of fun.

THOM:  That’s great. Well, you know I believe good fortune comes to those who work the hardest. [Chuckles]

CHUCK:  Yeah.

THOM:  It’s not something that just occurs. You’ve done a lot of work and you’re getting some of the [inaudible] some of the benefits.

CHUCK:  Yeah. It is really interesting though. Some of the people…

THOM:  That’s an interesting idea, though. Isn’t that a first? Sorry to interrupt you but I really think the idea of doing technical conferences entirely virtually kind of sort of makes sense if you think about it. Because like you said, using the technology. But I think you’re a pioneer as far as that’s concerned.

CHUCK:  Yeah. I don’t think of myself that way for a couple of reasons. Mainly because it wasn’t my idea initially. I just stole it and applied it to…

THOM:  [Chuckles] Okay.

CHUCK:  Communities that I had. But I mean, the thing is that it does make a difference out there in the community. There are a lot of people that are just coming into the programming community and they’re going, “Oh, I can attend a conference for a hundred dollars,” or $200 if they don’t get in on the early bird. But it really has that impact. It’s like, “Oh, okay. I can afford this. I can go and be part of the community from wherever I am.”

The other thing that really makes a difference for a lot of people is there are people in remote areas that it really takes some effort to travel. And they don’t have meetups in the areas that they’re in. And so, for them to be able to plug into the tech community once a month is a major thing. And finally, I got a lot of emails from people in the US and Canada. You’d think they’d be able to travel to conferences. But they’re life circumstances don’t permit them to. So, they’ve got some family issues. Somebody that they have to take care of 24 hours a day or even just I’m not comfortable traveling and leaving my wife with the kids for a week, which is reasonable.

Again, everybody’s life circumstances are different. I’m not going to comment on whether or not it makes sense because everybody has to make that decision themselves. But since they can’t travel they can’t go to these conferences. Or their boss won’t give them two days off to go to the conference that is in their backyard. So, they’re able to drop $200 and show up to a conference. And again, participate in the community. They participate in the chat rooms. I tried doing forums with them. The forums didn’t really take off. And it was really more hassle for me than it was worth, because all it really turned into was a way to share links to the conference sessions after the fact.

THOM:  Mmhmm.

CHUCK:  So ultimately, I just nixed that. I’m just going to put it on AllRemoteConfs.com. But it was really funny because all these people are going, “Yeah, I just, I can’t travel to conferences but I can sit at my desk and watch it.” Or, “I can sit at my desk and watch it while I work and my boss doesn’t care.” And so, they can’t get time off. They can’t do this, they can’t do that. But this works for them. And so, I feel like I’ve reached this whole demographic in the community that needed something like this anyway. And so, it’s not just a…

THOM:  [Inaudible]

CHUCK:  “Oh gee whiz, look what I’m doing,” but it’s actually, “Hey look, I can make a difference for you.” And developers at least in developed countries like the US, they’ve got no problem paying $200 for that content.

THOM:  Right, right.

CHUCK:  And for the involvement that they get in the community. So, I feel like I’m making a difference there, too. Some people want them to be free. The podcasts are free. I spend half my week putting free stuff out. And so, I really don’t feel bad charging. The other thing is, is the amount of time I have to put into these conferences, I really do need to get paid for it. But if I could make it all free and make my living, I would totally do it. But anyway…

THOM:  Yeah.

CHUCK:  It’s just fun. It’s a lot of fun. I can interact with these awesome speakers. People appreciate it and I’m able to reach out to the people who don’t get the chance to interact as much.

THOM:  Yeah, I think that’s wonderful. I appreciate it as [inaudible] that community that does take advantage of the free podcast, by the way.

CHUCK:  Yeah.

THOM:  [Laughs] And so…

CHUCK:  Oh, and bless you for doing it. If it helps you out and makes the community better, I’m totally happy with it.

THOM:  Absolutely. Yeah, well that’s the great thing about this business, is it’s very communal. Everybody wants to help everybody. We all want to share and try to help everybody to be better at what we do. So, as a result of all this you are working on a book?

CHUCK:  Right. So, there are a few things going on here. Let me just follow up on the conferences real quick. So, the 13 conferences this year minus Podcast Remote Conf because I haven’t put it on the website yet, all those are listed at AllRemoteConfs.com. You could still get a season pass. It’s probably still the best deal because there are still 12 conferences left this year it’ll get you access to. But you can also get nine, six, or three depending on what makes sense to you. Depending on how people buy, I may remove some of the middle options. But yeah, so anyway I’ve been noodling over other ways that I can reach out to the community. How can I help people? How can I find out what people need and then make sure that there’s something out there for them?

And the book kind of came out of me doing 15-minute calls with podcast listeners. So, if you listen to any of the podcasts or if you don’t, you can get 15 minutes of my time. And what you do is you go to whatever show you are [inaudible], so let’s say Ruby Rogues since we’re talking about Ruby Rogues. You go to RubyRogues.com/15minutes. And that will take you to Calendly where you can pick a 15-minute spot on my calendar. And then we’ll talk. And I’ve talked to probably a couple of hundred developers at this point for 15 minutes about whatever they want.

I usually ask them a question, too. What shows do you listen to? Where do you usually listen? Which episodes have been your favorite? What kinds of things are impactful to you? And what are you struggling with? But then a lot of times they’ll ask me questions and that tells me just as much about them. And I usually ask personal details, too. Are you married? Do you have kids? Do you live with your folks? You know, whatever. So, that I can kind of get a feel for who these people are. Because I don’t want them to be listeners. I want them to be real people and I really want to have that story behind them.

And a lot of people that came onto those chats it turned out were new people, new to programming. There are a ton of new developers coming into the field right now. Through the bootcamps, through self-teaching, through online courses, all kinds of places where these people are finding and learning and growing a passion for programming. And what their question has been to me, I’ve been asked this dozens of times, how do I get a job? How do I know I’m ready to get a job? How do I get that junior developer job? How do I move from junior developer to senior developer? And these are the questions I’m getting. How do I know what to do? How do I find the jobs that are out there? Because everybody they talk to is looking for a senior developer, not a junior developer. And so, they’re trying to make that leap and they’re having trouble doing it.

And I thought, “Well gee.” There are advanced developers that I’m sure I can build a product for and make a buck and it would help them out. But these junior developers really don’t have great guidance on this. The bootcamps aren’t teaching them how to find a job. Nobody else is helping them to find a job. They’re lucky if they find a mentor and the mentor will help them find a job. And I know several people who have done that. Other people just apply to everything and eventually somebody goes, “Okay, we’ll take you.” But for a lot of these folks they don’t know which jobs to apply to. They don’t know how to actually make the difference. Some of them think they’re going to go to the bootcamp and graduate job-ready which most of them don’t. So, it’s really kind of a tricky thing. How do I get that job?

And I’ve given all kinds of advice over the last year that I’ve been doing these 15-minute calls. And it occurred to me, with all the advice that I’ve given I should put it all in one place so people can get it. And so, that’s the book I’m writing, is how to find a job. And it’s going to be focused on junior developers. But it’s not going to be exclusive to junior developers or new developers. It’s going to be mostly focused on, how do you meet people? How do you find out what the company wants? How do you get noticed by the company? Because if you’re in the stack of resumes, they’re going to prioritize that stack and they’re going to start culling at the top. And if you’re brand new you’re not going to be on top. So, how do you get noticed? How do you get that traction? How do you get the hiring manager to tell you what you need to do so that the next time you come back to that company you know that you have the skills and the type of personality that they want to bring you in?

And there are all kinds of things that people can do. A lot of them are somewhat non-conventional. Some of them I haven’t seen anybody do except for the one or two people I told to do them and they worked. And so, I want to…

THOM:  Wonderful.

CHUCK:  I want to put them in the book and say, “Look. If you go and do these things, if you go and ask if you can sit in their office and do your own projects, they probably have a desk open if they have a job requisition open.” So, just go sit there until they hire somebody and say we need your spot. Go out to lunch with them. See what they’re talking about. Build some plugins for their system.

There’s a company up here in Salt Lake called Instructure. And they have an open source learning management system. They also have a closed source learning management system. That’s how they make their money. And there are business reasons why they open sourced their learning management system. But they have a plugin system for it. And you can build plugins for it without too much trouble in Ruby on Rails. So, you can build them in PHP and whatever else, too. The way they do it isn’t specific to it. But go sit in there and build a plugin or two for it and ask for help and offer suggestions that would make it easier. And voila, all of a sudden you understand their system. You’ve got all this experience. They know about what level you’re at because you’re asking them questions. They like you because you go to lunch with them and just talk about Star Wars.

THOM:  Right.

CHUCK:  And so, you could get the job.

THOM:  Or they see that you’re there every day. They know that you’re going to be there on time every day.

CHUCK:  Right.

THOM:  You’re consistent. You’re reliable. Yeah, these are all things any job… these are the kind of things nobody can teach you.

CHUCK:  Right.

THOM:  You have to sort of learn on your own.

CHUCK:  Yeah.

THOM:  But that’s right, yeah.

CHUCK:  Well, the other thing is that if you have an in at a company… so let’s say you don’t have the time to do this which is again, it’s totally reasonable. Everybody’s life’s a little different. You don’t have time to do this. I mean, just knowing somebody at the company and having them follow up with the hiring manager, “Hey, did you check out my friend Joe? Hey, did you check out my friend Joe? Hey, did you check out my friend Joe?” “Okay, we called him in for an interview,” because, “Just get off my back,” right?

THOM:  [Laughs] Right.

CHUCK:  “Joe’s awesome. Joe’s awesome. Joe’s awesome.” They have this preconceived notion of you when you come in. So, why not? And people talk, “Well, that’s not fair. They should just take that stack of interviews and they should just hire solely on merit.” But even then, even if you’re going solely on merit off of the resume, as soon as they walk through that door, before they say anything, the hiring managers looked at how they’ve dressed, what they look like…

THOM:  Yes.

CHUCK:  All these other things. And whether they know it or not they’ve made a whole bunch of judgments about them. So, if you…

THOM:  Right. We’re human beings. That’s the way we interact.

CHUCK:  Yeah. So, if you can stack the deck in your favor then you can get a job. And that’s what this is about, is look, here are the things that are going to make it so that they’re going to feel good about hiring you. And that’s ultimately what it’s about, is that they feel good about hiring you. And then once you’re hired, then you prove out whether or not they made a good decision.

THOM:  Exactly.

CHUCK:  So yeah.

THOM:  That’s brilliant.

CHUCK:  So, that’s my book.

THOM:  I think that’s wonderful. I wonder if you considered writing the book more as a series of video or audio [chuckles] since that seems to be your… that’s your expertise.

CHUCK:  Yeah, that’s my intention.

THOM:  Is doing video and audio.

CHUCK:  I think some people just consume better that way. And so, I do plan to offer a package that…

THOM:  That’s true. That’s true.

CHUCK:  has the audio book in it that I’ll read myself because I have all the equipment to record it. And then also…

THOM:  [Chuckles]

CHUCK:  Do a vid, yeah do a video series and just say, look, here’s how I put my resumes together. Because face it. Some companies, you can go in there, you can be the hiring manager’s girlfriend or boyfriend and you still have to submit a resume even if they know that you’re the perfect…

THOM:  Right.

CHUCK:  person for the job. So, here’s how you…

THOM:  Yeah.

CHUCK:  put it together so that they feel good. They can take it to their manager and they feel good. And then you know, here’s how you do this. And here’s some dialogue. And I may bring some of my friend in to play hiring manager. And, “Oh hey, I was just wondering if you have a desk where I can just sit and work.” And just play out some of these dialogue and things so that people kind of get the idea.

THOM:  I think there’s a certain irony in the fact that you have done so much that you’ve put yourself in the position where you can’t take on contract work because you’re too busy. You don’t have a regular job. But that makes you qualified to write a book on how to find a job. [Chuckles] There’s a certain irony to that, I think.

CHUCK:  Well, these are all the tactics that I used when I was looking for a programming job.

THOM:  Right. Oh, these are all things that apply.

CHUCK:  I was working tech support.

THOM:  Apply to everybody.

CHUCK:  I got passionate about Rails. I started going to the users groups. And then I started talking to all these people. And that’s the way it worked out. But yeah, it is funny.

THOM:  Yeah, those of us… I was going to say those of us who’ve worked for many, many years know that it’s really about meeting people and interacting with people and knowing people more than being the person with the perfect skills. There is no person with the absolute perfect skills for any job. Every job is a little bit different. But making yourself as you said, making them feel comfortable about you as a person and part of the team is extremely important. And you’re right. A lot of people don’t… that’s part of experience which comes from many, many years of doing it.

CHUCK:  Yeah.

THOM:  So, it’s great that you can share that experience. That’s another wonderful gift you’re going to give to the community. That’s exciting.

CHUCK:  Yeah. There is going to be a section on leveling up. And the reason is because these people aren’t job-ready when they come out of the bootcamps. And they…

THOM:  That’s true.

CHUCK:  They don’t have the skills, frankly. They don’t have enough experience to look at a problem and go, “That’s how I should solve it.”

THOM:  Mmhmm.

CHUCK:  And the companies need that. It doesn’t matter how good a candidate you are if you don’t have those skills. So, there is a base level of skills that you need and a base level of experience you need. And I’ll cover that in the book, too. Here’s how you get to that base level so that you can actually show them that you can contribute at the level they need. But yeah, most of it’s going to be focused around the other tactics. Because if you’re good enough, then it just comes down to how well I’m marketing myself. How well am I getting that recognition?

THOM:  Absolutely. So, you’re quite a busy guy. And I know you have a family, too. And I hope they get to see you often enough with all these things you’re doing. Is there anything else?

[Chuckles]

THOM:  You’ve got a long list of things you’re doing.

CHUCK:  Yeah, so it’s interesting. I have a goals list. I talked about a lot of these goals on the Freelancers’ Show a week or so ago. And basically there are a couple of things that I’ve got going on that have kind of come out of the woodwork. One is that obviously for RailsClips I have a number of videos that I plan to release this next month, which would be February 2016. React, I get people asking me about React all the time. And so, I’ve gotten to the point now where I think I’m actually going to start a React podcast.

THOM:  Wow.

CHUCK:  So, I’m going to pull a whole bunch of people together and start it up. I expect it’s going to take off. A little spoiler, you can get the top 10 episodes of the JavaScript Jabber show either by… I haven’t put the form on the website yet, but you can also do it by texting JavaScript to 7656-CODING. I don’t know what that comes out to in actual phone number, numbers. But anyway, and I’m finishing up that Drip campaign. It’s not quite done but it’s about ready to go out. So, by the time anyone hears this it should be out there. And of the top 20 episodes, five of the top ones were React.

THOM:  Wow.

CHUCK:  Off of JavaScript Jabber. So, it’s definitely something that people are picking up on. There are some really interesting paradigms with what they’re doing with reactive programming and functional reactive programming. So, it’s super exciting. There’s a lot of stuff going on there. And then I’m also going to be doing some traveling for conferences this year. I didn’t do as much last year. I think I made it to RailsConf last year. I don’t remember. It could have been two years ago. It all kind of blends. Anyway, I’m probably not going to make it to RailsConf this year. I might make it to RubyConf though, depending on when it is and what I have going on. RubyConf wasn’t possible this last year because we had a baby. But anyway, I am going to be at NG-NL. That’s the Netherlands Angular conference.

THOM:  Angular?

CHUCK:  And that’ll be in February. So, if this comes out before that conference which is on the 18th of February I’m going to be doing a meetup on the 17th of February somewhere in Amsterdam. So, watch my Twitter feed and I’ll let you know where that is. I’m also going to be in Las Vegas for MicroConf which is in April, the beginning of April. I was looking at being in Texas in March but I don’t think that’s going to happen. I will be at Mountain West Ruby Conference which is in Salt Lake City, which is actually a 30-minute drive from my house. So, I’ll probably see if I could…

THOM:  No excuse.

CHUCK:  Yeah.

THOM:  No excuse not to be there, right?

CHUCK:  It’s the last year they’re doing it though. Anyway, so I’ll probably be at that. Ng-conf is in May also in Salt Lake City. So, I’ll be at that as well. I’d like to do a meetup for that as well the night before. Or maybe one of the nights if they’re not having a party which they tend to do every night of that conference. The conference actually sponsors a party and anybody can come. And then I’m hoping to make it out to some conferences later in the year but I don’t know what those are yet. But yeah, I usually wind up in Las Vegas a couple of times a year. So, if you’re down there just let me know. And then we’ll work something out so that we can get together.

THOM:  Just in case somebody listening to this doesn’t know, how would they get in touch with you?

CHUCK:  So, Twitter’s a good way, @cmaxw. You can also email me. I know people hesitate to share their emails. I don’t. I don’t care. Send me an email, chuck@devchat.tv. I tend to get behind a few days and then get caught up. So, if I don’t reply to you right away, don’t get offended. It’s just the way that I work. I get heads down on a project. Like I’m probably going to disappear into this book today and tomorrow. So yeah, I’ll come back up for air on Monday and I’ll reply to emails. [Chuckles] But yeah, by all means shoot me an email. Also LinkedIn. I think it’s LinkedIn.com/in/charlesmaxwood. If not, just do a search for Charles Max Wood and I’m sure you’ll find me. Those are the ways to find me online. You can send me a private message on Twitter. But I have a lot of those so, I’m still working on getting through those. But yeah, if you @mention me I’ll probably get back to you in a week, because that’s how far behind I get on Twitter.

THOM:  [Chuckles]

CHUCK:  So anyway, email is probably the best bet. And I’m not shy about sharing other contact details. Also if you want to talk to me for 15 minutes just go to RubyRogues.com/15minutes and pick a time. And that will…

THOM:  Terrific.

CHUCK:  That will all work out there, too.

THOM:  Well, thanks a lot, Chuck. Thanks again for spending time with me. It’s always fun to talk with you. We’ll do this again but I promise we won’t wait three years like we did between [chuckles] these two. And maybe…

CHUCK:  Yeah, we should…

THOM:  Catch up with all of your activities. Well, with the book especially. I’d kind of like to know the progress on the book.

CHUCK:  Yeah. So right now, I’ve kind of got it mostly outlined in my head. I just watched a video on how to get your rough draft done quickly by Pat Flynn if you’re a fan of Smart Passive Income. That’s what it is. I’m like, SPI. Whatever SPI stands for.

THOM:  [Chuckles]

CHUCK:  So, he has a video. It’s about 20 minutes but the last five minutes of it is him pitching a series of books that he’s writing. But yeah, it’s pretty good. So, I’m going to be massaging my outline into sticky notes and then back into an outline, just because the outline has been a little bit painful to work from. But yeah, my intention is to actually get a rough draft done within the next week or so. And that’s because I’m going to be appearing on the Code Newbie podcast with Saron Yitbarek who you may know from Ruby Rogues. And I want to be able to mention the book on there as well as some of the podcasts and stuff. I know she has some specific things she wants to cover on there which is fine. But yeah, so that’s kind of the deal. If you run a podcast or know a podcast that you’d like me to appear on so they can ask me questions like this, I’m also open to that.

THOM:  Terrific. I know this is unfair to ask you but do you have any timeline of when you think that book would be ready and available?

CHUCK:  I am seriously hoping to get it out next month, along with all those RailsClips videos.

THOM:  Wow. So, February or March of 2016.

CHUCK:  Yeah.

THOM:  I look forward to it.

CHUCK:  Yeah. I may spend some time writing the book on the airplane. It’s a long flight to get to Amsterdam.

THOM:  I know. I’ve been there. It is a… if it’s your first time you’ll enjoy it. It’s a beautiful place to visit. But yeah, it’s a very long flight. [Chuckles]

CHUCK:  Yeah, I’ve been to Europe before but I haven’t been to Amsterdam. I lived in Italy for two years as a Mormon missionary. And so…

THOM:  Oh, wonderful.

CHUCK:  If the flight is anywhere as long as it was to get from Salt Lake City to Venice, then yeah.

THOM:  [Chuckles]

CHUCK:   I have some idea. That transatlantic flight, I remember getting off the flight, walking through the airport in Rome, and feeling like the whole earth was kind of moving underneath me.

THOM:  Yes, yes. [Laughs]

CHUCK:  And it took a little bit of time to get used to not moving.

THOM:  Not moving and not being in the air, yes. [Chuckles]

CHUCK:  And then the other thing is it’s a nine or ten hour time difference.

THOM:  Right.

CHUCK:  And that’ll throw you for a loop. But yeah, I’m really looking forward to it.

THOM:  It becomes more difficult as you get older. It becomes even more difficult, too. For some reason the body’s just not as resilient [chuckles] to that change.

CHUCK:  But yeah. I do plan on doing meetups in whatever cities I wind up in this year. So, if you’re in those areas then by all means, come and see me.

THOM:  And you’ll be broadcasting through Twitter probably where you’re at so that…

CHUCK:  Yes.

THOM:  people can find you.

CHUCK:  And I think I’ll probably also put videos into the podcast feeds and just…

THOM:  Excellent.

CHUCK:  “Hey, it’s me. I’m going to be in,” wherever.

THOM:  Right.

CHUCK:  [Inaudible] We’ll make that happen. But those are always fun. Last year when I was in Fort Worth for Podcast Movement I got the word around to a couple of users groups and we had about 10 people go to a barbecue place, which barbecue place in Fort Worth, oh man, good food.

THOM:  [Chuckles]

CHUCK:  But it was just fun to chat with people as normal programmers and see what people are dealing with. Because as much as I’d like to think that I’m involved in people’s day to day, in a lot of ways I’m not. I just, I don’t work for a company day to day. And so, by hearing that they have the same concerns that I do, it really helps. It helps me stay grounded in what we’re putting out there for people. And it also just helps me understand who’s out there and put faces with names and understand who’s out there and who they are and not just as a podcast listener or generic programmer. And I’m doing air quotes around both of those. And it really does. It makes a big difference for me to be able to feel like I connect to people and understand where you’re at. Even though I know you feel like you’re connected to me, it’s nice for me to have that the other way.

THOM:  Absolutely. Well, that’s wonderful. When you get that book ready, I would be proud to do a proof-read. I have a strange, I say it’s a gift that’s a curse. I cannot look at anything, any written word, without the grammar and spelling errors just jumping out and smacking me in the face.

CHUCK:  Oh, nitpick away, dude.

THOM:  Yeah, I’m really good at proofreading. And actually, I’ve been doing that a lot for, actually for RubySource. Every time somebody writes an article, a lot of people are… English is not their native language. And so, I’m going through correcting their grammar. But if you want that help, I’d be glad to help you. I’d be proud to say I was involved in it.

CHUCK:  Yeah.

THOM:  Well, as I said it’s fun to talk to you, honestly, being able to talk with you. And thanks a lot for sharing all this. I hope this is helpful for you. And as I said, I’m proud to have been a part of it and maybe we can do this on a more regular basis. Not necessarily monthly, but more regular basis.

CHUCK:  Yeah.

THOM:  Help keep the thing going.

CHUCK:  Yeah, sounds good.

[Hosting and bandwidth provided by the Blue Box Group. Check them out at BlueBox.net.]

[Bandwidth for this segment is provided by CacheFly, the world’s fastest CDN. Deliver your content fast with CacheFly. Visit C-A-C-H-E-F-L-Y dot com to learn more.]

[Would you like to join a conversation with the Rogues and their guests? Want to support the show? We have a forum that allows you to join the conversation and support the show at the same time. You can sign up at RubyRogues.com/Parley.]

x