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.

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280 RR The Future of Ruby Rogues


1:00 – Addressing the Ruby Rogues rumors

 

3:10 – History of the show

 

6:30 – Why Charles Max Wood does the podcast

 

10:40 – Listener emails

 

13:50 – Moving forward with Ruby Rogues

 

18:30 – Answering questions from the chat

 

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TRANSCRIPT

Alright. I know that people are gonna start filing into the chat room. I don’t know how many people are going to show up, there were 20 people that registered, looks like there are about five people that showed up or ten people that showed up. If you have any questions or anything, feel free to put it in the chat.

I’m just gonna start out by sharing some thoughts that I have as far as what’s going on and where we go from here. If you have any feedback or questions or anything else like that, just put in into the chat. I’m pretty open to answering questions.

There are some things that I really don’t wanna delve into just because I don’t think a fight on Twitter or anything else is gonna be productive. If you want clarification on things, you’re welcome to email me and I promise I won’t blow you off.

Anyway, what most people are here for, if you’re not aware, is that there was a disagreement between some of the other Rogues and myself regarding how the show is run. I’ve had a few people email me and asked about the rumors they’re hearing. Some people are really disturbed by it, other people are just saying, “Hey, I know you’re a good person and I support you whatever you do.”

I found that Twitter really isn’t a place to discuss complex issues like this, I have answered a few emails with people about stuff and really what I’m hoping is that we can all be friendly.

The other panelist actually started a new show, that’s Sam, Coraline, David, and Jessica, started a new show called Greater Than Code. If you like what they brought to Ruby Rogues, then go check it out. I’m hoping that it’s a great show and I’m hoping that what we wind up with is two terrific shows that serve this community.

But what you’re here to hear about is Ruby Rogues. The rest to this webinar or webcast is gonna be focused primarily around what Ruby Rogues is and what I envision it as and the way that I feel about it. And then I’m also going to at the end solicit any feedback or ideas so if you have somebody that you want to have on the panel, you can recommend them in the chat at any point. If there are topics that we haven’t covered in a while or just general feedback that you have about the show as it’s been and how you think it can be going forward, then let me know.

There are a lot of things that I think I want to do a little bit differently from the way that it’s been done over the last year and that’s not a slight on anybody but there are certain things that I think the show is about that we neglected and I wanna get back to that.

Anyway, speaking of getting back to that, the show started back in May of 2011. James Gray posted a tweet, he mentioned that he wanted to see a panel show for Ruby. I’m a big fan of the twit.tv shows with Leo Laporte and I’ve been thinking the same thing but I never actually acted on it until he brought that up so we got together and we put together the show.

I can’t remember where the show name came from but James has sent me straight that he came up with it. We shout to people we knew and Aaron Patterson, Peter Cooper, David Brady, James and I, we came to Ruby Rogues. Within about 15 or 20 episodes, Aaron, who contributes to both Ruby and Rails, and Peter who does Ruby weekly and JavaScript weekly and a whole bunch of other stuff.

It turned out that their schedule just couldn’t accommodate the weekly show and so Dave dropped off and Josh Susser came on to the show. A while later, we added Katrina Owen. This kind of lead into what I consider the Golden Age of Ruby Rogues and again, we’ve had other terrific panelists, we’ve had terrific guests but this was when I most enjoyed producing the show and when I felt like things were really the best on Ruby Rogues, both in terms of what we were putting out as well as the feeling of camaraderie and friendship and just doing great things for the Ruby community.

I think part of it was that we all came from different, very different in some cases, backgrounds and world views. But at the same time when we come together, we can discuss that, we could discuss Ruby, we could discuss whatever we wanted and we wouldn’t offend each other even if we had these differences of opinion.

It was just really terrific and everybody really cared about each other. We all felt like we were a team and the community around the show felt like they belonged to the panel or the panel belonged to them, however you see that relationship. It all felt like we were all part of the same community. It was really awesome and the show was about our mutual love for Ruby and programming.

I’m gonna hold off giving you my conclusions about what the show is but this is a part of it, this is a large part of what I’m looking for in Ruby Rogues and in the panel, is to have that feeling of togetherness and things like that. I want the difference of opinion, I want the difference of background, I want to challenge the way people think about things and I want people to come on the show as panelists and challenge the way I think about things because I don’t get everything right. But at the same time, I want it to be this free flow of ideas and this open discussion of why things are the way they are.

That’s what I felt like we had at that time with Ruby Rogues. We have added other points throughout the show but I felt like it was most consistent then and that’s part of what I’m looking for.

Another reason or another thing that I feel like I need to discuss, openly and publicly, about the show is why I do it. When I started the show with James, it was mostly because I felt like it would be cool to talk about Ruby every week with the group of people that we wind up pulling in as the panel on Ruby Rogues.

However, my why has changed and it’s changed mostly because of the community around the show. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to a conference and gotten feedback about the show on why people love it and just having that, you changed my life or you convinced me to make this with change in career, or we were trying to work through this issue at work and it turned out that your show is exactly what we needed to hear.

I felt like we were making a difference. I found this cheesy quote, I was listening to 48 days Podcast with Dan Miller and he actually read it. It’s attributed to an 11th century monk and I don’t know if that’s actually where it came from and it doesn’t really matter but it really does encapsulate in some ways the reason why I do Ruby Rogues and why I do the podcast in general.

I’m gonna read it and hopefully that gives you some ideas as far as what I’m after with the shows because I think the feeling of this quote really covers what I’m doing. It starts, “When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world so I tried to change my nation. When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family. Now, as an old man, I realized the only thing I can change is myself and suddenly I realized, that if long ago, I had changed myself, I could’ve made an impact on my family. My family and I could’ve made an impact on our town. Theyir impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.”

I feel like this is central to why I do this at this point, why I do the podcast. Besides having the opportunity to challenge my own thinking based on the thinking of others that we bring onto the show, be it guests or regular hosts, it’s an opportunity for me to change myself. We have several thousand listeners that listen every week and this is also an opportunity to help influence those people to be better programmers and to be better people. Through that, to impact the world. That’s what I’m about.

I don’t feel like there’s any single programmer at Facebook or Twitter that can claim that they change the world. There may be the person who came up with the original ideas, maybe Mark Zuckerberg, or Jack Dorsey. I know Evan Williams was involved.

They may be able to claim impact on the world through those systems but eventually, they brought in teams of developers that made that difference and those people are people who influenced the teams of the company, thereby influencing the company and thereby influencing the world.

Facebook and Twitter’s impact on the world is not just through the people who use it but also their impact is felt especially in our software communities as people who work there and contribute there as people contribute and make a difference.

What I’m hoping to do, even though I’m not perfect, is to help you as podcast listeners and programmers and people to do better and to have the impact that you should have in the world by having an impact in teams or conferences or wherever it is that you have reached.

I’ve really felt that especially over the last few days, I’ve gotten a few emails. I’m not gonna name names just because there are people who are upset with me on the internet and I don’t wanna cause these folks any problems or drag them into any of that.

One of them says, “For a long time, Ruby Rogues was the only podcast I followed at all and it and the Parley List were one of my main sources of tech news. But of late, there has been no traffic on the Parley List and I haven’t found the Ruby Rogues podcast very compelling.”

This tells me that we did have an impact and that we haven’t had an impact and that we haven’t had an impact lately. “I hope that you can find a group that turns that back around, but if not, I’ll just have to start listening to JavaScript Jabber.” I think that was a little attempt humor and I really enjoy producing JavaScript Jabber as well.

The last line is, “Thanks for all the hard work you put into the podcast, see you on the internet.” We made a difference for this person. Maybe we were failing them lately but we made a difference for this person.

Another listener wrote in, “I love it no matter who you decide to have on, great job keeping it going.” In other words, they get something out of it every week or at least often enough to where they want to keep coming back.

Another person wrote in and said, “I’m sorry to see you go through this, I am unaware of anything going on. That is until your email came.” Because I sent email at about having this discussion. “I wish you the best and it’s true, things happen for a reason, follow your path Chuck because you’ve made such an impact on beginning developers like myself. Now is the time for you to hear the positive so I take this time to thank you for all your contributions to the community.”

Those are just three examples of emails I got over and over and over again from people who feel like Ruby Rogues has been a part of their life and has helped them advance, be they beginners or intermediate or advanced programmers.

That is, for me, why I do this, is because I know that it makes a difference for some of you out there. I know some people listen, they listen for entertainment, that’s fine too. The fact that I can have an impact on many more people through the show than I can buy engaging with people one on one is really empowering to me. I do try and reach out and help people one on one when I can but I can’t always do that.

That’s where the podcast really lends itself is because then there are hundreds or thousands of people who hear the show and really feel that impact. Given that the show, from somebody’s emails, I as a person matter to some of you. I really want to make the show into what you need. And again, this is a chance for you to chime in and let me know how we can do that, this is a chance for me to listen and talk to people and really just connect and figure out, “Okay, what are we doing right? What are we doing wrong? How can we put together the show that you need?”

I have a few thoughts, I’m gonna go ahead and read them off. Get ready with your questions and suggestions because this is the final part of what I have prepared and then I really want to be able to answer questions if I can and also just have the conversation, “Hey, I want more of this, I want less of that, I want more people like this.”

Here are six things that I’m planning on doing. The first one is that I intend to make myself more available to podcast listeners. I’ve always been doing a 15 minute calls with podcast listeners but that’s kind of faded out. I’m not sure why. Probably because I’m not talking about it as much and I should probably bring that up on the shows more often, but I have some ideas like doing a weekly Q&A call and just allowing people to send questions in that I answer over YouTube or the blog or both.

I would essentially do something like this every week and I’d answer any questions that were sent in ahead of time and then if people had questions after I finish the prepared answers, then they could ask and I could either defer until next week or tell them I don’t know or tell them where to get the answer and just see what people are concerned about, what they wanna know even if I’m not the person who has the answer. I can at least find them and invite them on the show or I can find them and get the answer and give it to people.

Number two is, I intend to have more shows about programming and Ruby. This is Ruby Rogues. I know some people listen and they’re not Ruby programmers. I’ve heard that a bunch, I don’t actually program Ruby but I love the show anyway and I’m hoping that a lot of the technical discussions can transcend Ruby but at the same time, I feel like it is a show about Ruby, it has Ruby in the title and so I’m gonna cover a few more things in the Ruby community as a whole ad see if we can bring Ruby back to Ruby Rogues.

Number three is I intend to spend a lot more energy in reinvigorating Ruby Rogues Parley. Again, I feel like that’s a great place for people to connect. I’ve been working on other things and focused on other things and I apologise to that community because I feel like I really have neglected it but we’re gonna get back to it. I’m planning on posting questions and getting feedback from people and discussing Ruby and just really bringing that Ruby community vibe back to it.

Number four is, periodically, I’d like to have a show where the panelists invite somebody new to the community or to coding or whatever onto the show and answer their questions and discuss their dreams and get a feel for who the new people are in the community and what the community and the Rogues and whoever else can do for them.

Number five is, again, I talked about this, I’m gonna find panelists that have different backgrounds but have that sense of togetherness and teamwork and see if I can create that same feeling that we had back with the grouped that I already talked about.

Number six is, I’m with a little bit of grin, I will admit that I haven’t been doing as much coding lately as I want. I’ve been trying to get certain aspects to the website together. I’ve been working pretty closely now with the podcast editor to make sure that things are up to snuff and just really trying to get all that other stuff going, but I feel like I have lost something that I can’t bring to the show by not coding as much so I’m gonna commit to at least coding a few hours a week and building something in code.

In fact, I may actually record this video, I’m not committing to that because I don’t know exactly what that’s gonna look like but there’s definitely that there. This is gonna be a bit of a different show. The focus is gonna move much more back to technology and Ruby. I stiill intend to cover soft skills and soft topics and careers and things like that as well but the main focus is going to be around helping you as a developer and a person and a professional to grow into that person who can influence your teams and thereby your companies and thereby countries and the world at large.

I feel like we as a group can make that difference even if one of us alone can’t. I know I can’t by myself and I know that other people in the community feel like they have that calling to make a difference in the world and I think if we all work together, we can achieve that.

Anyway, if you’ve been holding back your feedback, there is a chat room. Go ahead and share it. What else can we do to make the show into something that you love or something that you love as much as I really love being a part of the show. If you have questions, I‘m happy to answer them. If you have feedback, I’m happy to hear it.

I’m gonna hang out here for probably another ten minutes. I’m happy like I said to take these questions and just do what I can to get this feedback. If you have other feedback with regards to who you like to see on the show as guests or hosts, that would also be great. Drew mentioned better mic quality for our panelists would be good. That is definitely an issue.

Another issue there is Skype. I’ve been looking into alternatives for Skype. One that looked so promising to me but I could never actually get it to work, ones I got a whole panel and the guest on there, was Zencastr, because what Zencastr does is it uses web RTC to connect everybody to everybody but inevitably one person or two people would not be able to get connected in.

The thing that was nice about Zencastr is that it also records the podcasts all locally. It would record my end locally to me and it would record everybody else’s end locally to them and then after everything is done, then it streams it up to the main server and syncs everything up. What that does is it does a couple of things. One is is it removes any dropouts or issues or anything like that because we have the local recording and then the quality gets better because there’s no network latency on any of it. If I’m having issues with my internet connection then that doesn’t affect things and things like that.

I’ve had a few people recommend that we just basically do double enders which is everybody opens their own recording software, records it and sends it up. I’ve tried doing that a few times with different shows and it turns out to be an issue of herding cats when you have five or six different recordings that you’re trying to get together and we almost wind up using the master recording that had everybody in it.

I’m definitely looking into this issues, I’m trying to figure them out because I want this to be a top produced show that sounds really, really good but at the same time has that free flowing feel of a conversation about a particular topic that people are interested in.

Mark says, “I love the idea of bringing more Ruby into the show. Do you think there will be a delay before the next show is released?” Mark, no, there’s not gonna be any delay. Next week we have Jerome Hartaway from Vets Who Code. His episode is gonna be released, that’s the last episode with the full panel before people left the show and it was a really excellent episode so I hope everybody goes and listens to it.

I also think it is terrific cause, I have some pretty deep feelings about veterans and I think that we should do better to take care of them and so I’m excited to sort of show off the fact that even the coding community has reached out and has taken care of people who have put their life on the line for us.

The show after that will be this. However long this is, this is gonna show up as a podcast episode and that just gives people a clean break and a clear understanding of what the show is going forward so that we can make all of this work. The episode after that is going to be an interview that I did with Noel Rappin. He was scheduled to come on the show anyway.

Anyway, we chatted, we decided that we may as well  just go ahead with it anyway. It’s just he and I and we have that conversation. We have at least three weeks of episodes. That gives me a little bit of time to pull a panel together and make it work. Jordan pointed out that the editing could use more work too.

I’ve posted a YouTube video basically apologising for the quality of the editing over the last three or four episodes and it’s pretty embarrassing when that stuff happens. That said, I did hire this company like two or three weeks ago and they’ve been working on getting these episodes together and we’re working things out so that it doesn’t happen anymore.

If they can’t figure it out, without me babysitting them all the time, then I’ll find somebody else but so far, they’ve been pretty cooperative and have done pretty well at cleaning up their act. They also posted the video or the episodes back out without those issues in them. I’m feeling pretty confident about that. Now, I haven’t gone back and listened to verify that but they said they did and I believe that they did. I’ll go listen to those and make sure that they’re cleaned up.

Editing sometimes is an issue and as I said, I’ve got somebody new working on it and I’m just working out some of the kinks. I appreciate the feedback and I am working on that for sure.

Drew chimed in and said, “My favorite episodes are the ones where you bring on people that are doing Ruby Rails and Entrep for open source projects or building a company. For example, getting GitLab, guys and girls on the show would be cool.”

I agree. That’s definitely something that I’ll put on the list. Caroona says, “I look forward to watching you code. That sounds like an amazing idea. Currently, I’m part of an online full stack web dev program. Can there be an episode regarding any tips, resources on how to find a junior developer position.”

Caroona, you’re in luck. I am workin g on a book on that right now. I’ve done two webinars to that effect. One of them is called Five Mistakes That Are Keeping You From Finding a Job and it’s pretty well focused around this. It’s pretty high level advice. I did have a lot of people ask questions so I did get into the weeds on a lot of things.

The webinar’s about an hour and a half and I’ll see if I can find a link afterward and shoot you an email with that in it. I’ll make sure that it’s up on Devchat.tv as well. I’ll put all webinars, dropped down out there. In that way, you can actually just find the link directly to it. I’ll do that right after this recording. In that way, you can just go straight there and then I’ll put a link to it in the show notes as well.

Overall, I really appreciate everybody coming and jumping on and letting me know what you think. I really want this to be one of the best shows out there and I feel like we can do that, I feel like I’m really focused to get that done. I don’t dwell on the past, I try and learn from it then I just move forward.

I’m really hoping that that’s what we can do here and we can put out a terrific show for people doing Ruby and for people who are programming in general and really helping people become the kinds of people that make a difference out there for good in the world.

I don’t see any other questions or feedback coming in. I’m gonna go ahead and start wrapping up unless somebody chimes in really fast and says, “Wait, wait.” Thank you all for just being part of this community and being part of what makes Ruby Rogues so great to be a part of.

Again, thank you so much for being part of an awesome community that has been a part of my life for the last five and a half years. I’m looking forward to another five and a half years of serving you and producing podcast that make programmers into great people. I’m gonna go ahead and end the broadcast and leave it on that note. Thank you again.

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