Coworking: Grit or Quit & Polish Week at Craftwork

Show Notes

This week we're digging into when to hold on and when to call it quits when it comes to a business. The team at Craftwork is paying down tech debt with Polish week. We also chat about USB hubs, llamas, and how to get started on YouTube.

  • CJ: Polish week at Craftwork - cleaning up code formatting, todos, tests, UI polish and clean up, DX clean up, etc.
  • Colin: Coworking space deep dive
    • Running numbers on business models
    • Using chatGPT to run forecasts
    • Sustainability
    • Book: Quit by Annie Duke
      • Grit vs Quit
      • Sunk Cost & Identity

Full Transcripts

CJ: Welcome to build and learn. My name is CJ.

Colin: And I'm Colin, and we are back to catch up on what we're building, what we're learning after a few little tech snafus, we are, we are back.

CJ: Yeah. What do you Okay, so now? Yeah, what do you think? What do you think it was? We got like, totally kicked out? Totally. Ah,

Colin: a lot with the different USB hubs that are out there. So I used to have a CalDigit hub and for some reason, so like what I'm talking on right now is an XLR mic with a Focusrite Scarlett Solo. And then I have a Sony, I think it's a 1000 or something like that. Camera is my my camera and we don't even use the video for this. So it's kind of overkill, but like, for some reason, the CalDigit cannot power both of those. If I plug each of those things into my Mac, it works fine, but wasn't enough ports. To do all that and have like a monitor so I had another hub and I was like trying to daisy chain them which made it worse and it's unclear when when these companies make them because it's supposed to be I think each of the USB C ports are supposed to be thunderbolts but I don't think that's the case. So it's just tricky because they all look the same, but like some of them are Thunderbolt and some of them are not. And so you have to know like which one is which. And so ultimately I, I kind of wanted to get a new monitor for another reason for a gaming reason. And so I, I used to have a gaming monitor here at work and now I've moved the monitor home to use for Microsoft Flight Simulator. And and my new work computer is one of the Apple studio displays because it has four. USB and one Thunderbolt on the back, which it's from Apple. So I don't understand why they're not all Thunderbolt ports. Like just make them all Thunderbolt. I don't understand. Maybe it's an interoperability thing with non Apple stuff that they want to make sure that you can use everything. But I had everything running into the studio display and then into my Mac with one with one card, which is great. And I've been able to use that in calls at work and stuff all week just until we joined Zoncaster and then everything just stopped working. So,

CJ: That I don't know how that's not a thing, right? Like we went through the pandemic, every company should be understanding that we want to sit down and plug in one cable and have all of our stuff work. And then if we want to go sit at the coffee shop, we can just unplug the one cable, go to the coffee shop and sit down. We shouldn't have to plug in 25 different cables to get our camera and our mic and our, uh, yeah, the monitors and whatever, all up and running. It's so frustrating. I don't know how it's, this is like not a solved thing.

Colin: It has to be an interoperability thing. Cause I can't imagine you're in a meeting and you're like, we're going to put four ports on it. One of them is going to have all of the throughput, but what if we added three that only do a little bit? It's like something's up there that it has to be for a reason. It's probably costing components and stuff too. And this monitor you is not cheap by any means, but like I spend so much time in front of this screen that it's just, I can already tell a huge difference. And I had like this crazy, like FPS, you know, gaming monitor and I'm writing code. So I don't need to have that. And now that's at home where I can actually take advantage of that stuff. So,

CJ: Mm hmm. Nice.

Colin: yeah.

CJ: Yeah, I, the other thing that has been interesting lately is we've been using tuple a lot for pair programming and this week mob programming, which we'll get into a little bit later. But one thing that I learned this week was about. The tuple multiple cursors versus single cursor. Cause a couple of times I joined the calls and people were like, whoa, what just happened? Someone stole my cursor. I can't move it anymore. And I was like, what the heck is going on? And I think I had like the single cursor. And maybe my mouse was just like ever so slightly moving across the screen. And so like nobody could do it or something. And so because of just a little bit of drift and some one small config it kind of like jammed up the whole thing. And so I thought maybe it was something like that. Like I know to make tuple do what it does, I'm sure they've got to do a lot of like wild operating system stuff to take over and then present multiple cursors and things, but yeah,

Colin: and, and with very little latency, right? Like you've got those mouse changes happening on multiple screens across time and space. Nice.

CJ: we've been doing these mob pairing sessions for one hour in the mornings a day. One of us will volunteer to just write code or like do a project that we have on our plate for that day. And everyone on the team follows along, which right now it's just four of us, so it's nice and cozy. And eventually as we grow, I think it'll be a kind of a cool way, but definitely a great way to cross pollinate different things that people are doing, like not only just showing what they're working on, but how they approach problems and how they debug. And so we had Drew. Go through and show us some you X UI changes based on kind of like how he approaches thinking through those those problems. And then Nick showed us some cool stuff about how to fine tune GPT and like a bunch of Python tools for. You know, like building out your JSON L files and then also just like training. And then Mike showed us some react native stuff, just kind of walking through, this is the react native app and kind of how to start it and how to run it and how to debug, you know, how do you actually open the debugger, like the console to see your console logs and things like that and react native. So that, that mob programming thing has been pretty fun and like a really cool way to learn. So yeah, really, really enjoyed that.

Colin: That's cool. It's kind of a fun way to kind of push forward the culture and knowledge to and spread it out a little bit. So we we do some knowledge shares, but they tend to be like slide presentations about

CJ: Hmm. Mm

Colin: getting in and doing it. I like that idea of like, I'm going to work on this anyway. And so I'm going to open up, you know, tuple or whatever and let other people join in, even if it's just to watch, ask questions might actually keep me more on task to get it, getting it done faster when other people are watching.

CJ: Do you do a lot of pairing?

Colin: Not really, no I did a little bit more at Orbit when, when time zones worked, but not, not so much today. Most of it's marked down and, or like sample apps and just trying to get things running. And that voice thing that I was tinkering with, I might need to pair with somebody on just because it still isn't working, but yeah, maybe that's an area where we might be able to add more, more of that. Yes.

CJ: who I think the first time I met him, like four years ago or something he was like, Oh yeah. Anytime you want to pair, just let me know. We should, we should like set up some pairing sessions. And I learned so much from him. It was wild. So we paired a lot on the code gen pipelines for Stripe. Like as I think I was working on. Code gen for stripe. net. And he was working on like the underlying framework that was like for building all of the code gen tools. And so he would jump in and just teach me like a million things in an hour or two hours or whatever. And then that ended up being something where I was like, okay, Hey, this is like a really valuable thing. I should set up more pairing sessions with more people so that I can learn from them and you know, maybe there's a couple of things they'll pick up from me. And I think it decreases a lot of back and forth over Slack and decreases a lot of back and forth over like GitHub. PRs sometimes too. And so yeah, I don't know. I'm really curious to see how this mob pairing thing goes into the future. I think we expect maybe to do like one a week going forward. So yeah, I'll try to report back and see how it impacts our small team at Kraftwerk.

Colin: Yeah. Nice. Yeah. I liked the idea of a Polish week too. I mean, I think a lot of companies try to do some sort of like, I dunno, bug bashes don't always feel super satisfying because if it's like if it was important it should just be prioritized into normal work but I get it there's sometimes where it's just like here's a whole basket of things that one on one they might not take very much time but they just there's always something that's more important and we're gonna Just take a week, pause, and just get through a bunch of that, you know, tech debt. And then some of them, in like the case of Discord, some of them are just like low hanging fruit that like we can ship and developers are super excited because they thought they were never going to get it. And we, we shipped it. So,

CJ: Yeah, this was actually Drew's idea and I think Drew and Mike put it on the calendar. In August, they put it in on the calendar in November and then it just showed up and we're like, okay, I guess this is the week where we're going to polish stuff. And it's so yeah, polish week is kind of like any sort of cleanup you want to do. Like anytime you leave a comment in your code, that's like to do make sure this works in this edge case, or, you know, you've got some tests that are commented out, or you've got, in our case. In the early days I was scaffolding just like a ton of stuff to get things built out really quickly and a lot of the scaffolded views are like not even used and some of the yeah, there's just like a bunch of cruft that we didn't actually need. There was some stuff in the jumpstart template that we're not using. There was. Just a lot of things that we were deleting and then tests that were just flaky. So we're fixing those and lots of little things like that. And it kind of acts as like a, a palate cleanser almost from your day to day, like feature building and just like. I don't know, kind of stressing about, okay, I gotta, you know, peel off this century issue and go solve this real quick and then get back to my grind of working on this giant form somewhere in the belly of the application. And kind of like zooming out and being like, what are all the different little quality of life improvements that we can do, whether it's like actually in the UI for the team or for customers, or if it's in the code for us. So,

Colin: Yeah, I actually really think that those things are like personal to like, I don't think it would work if a PM is like, here's the things we're going to work on for polish week because, you know, those things that are hidden in drawers that need to be cleaned out, right? You've got the junk drawer, you've got the extra views and you're like, Oh, every time I run into that, I'm like, I should fix that. But I'm working on something else. And it's just going to be satisfying to like retool and it's like setting up your workshop. It's like, okay, I've cleaned all my tools, put everything away. And then next week, when we start back into future work, like I'm going to just feel a little bit lighter and a little bit more excited to get in there. You know, we go fast, you know, we go slow to go fast eventually. Right. So that's

CJ: Does like a database dump and it was always so frustrating because It was really, really confusing. I kind of like just sketched out, threw it up so that people could use this, but I never went back and cleaned it up. And when it worked, it looks like a giant error. And when it didn't work, it looked like it worked. And so it was like this very, very confusing thing. And so that was like one that I had a lot of fun with going back and like colorizing the terminal output and stuff like that. You know, making some prompts in the terminal that were like, Oh, do you want to, you know, redact all the data now? Or do you want to do this step now? And then you know, using a couple of libraries or features of Ruby that I don't usually get to use around, like, you know, working in the terminal for uh, like grabbing standard in and standard out and standard error and messing around with the output from some PG. Like dump command or whatever. So that was, that was tons of fun and definitely I think will be quality of life improvement for me. Cause people won't be slacking and being like, Hey, did this thing work? I'm like, yeah, trust me. I know it looks like failure, but it worked. Just, yeah, we'll fix it later. Kind of thing. Like anytime, I guess like maybe, yeah. Anytime you say, yeah, we'll fix that later. Just, that's like something that you might want to clean up in a polish week. So,

Colin: that's tricky because rake tasks don't always give you a lot of visibility or like, can you, can you do like inputs mid rake task? Like run through some stuff and then do like a, a chomp type thing.

CJ: Yeah, I was, I was surprised you can do like, yeah, you can do like gets dot chomp or yeah, the chomp is like just cleaning up the new line or whatever, but you can do gets or get s or whatever, get string. And then that will like read in terminal input. I don't know. How deeply, or like how far down the rabbit hole you can go by building like a whole Thor CLI class thing that gives you options and whatever, but it was enough to just, yeah, just stop and get us and, you know, prompt for a little bit of input and then check, you know, like, did they type Y or did they type N like, you know,

Colin: Well, have you seen have you seen like the, the libraries from charm, charm. sh?

CJ: I've heard of this, but I haven't actually used it yet.

Colin: Yeah, I mean, it's similar to like a Thor. It's just like really cool utilities for designing terminal interfaces. And so like you can have modals in your terminal interface. You can have the ability to toggle like with alt tab and stuff in between different tabs. And so it like gives you a UI and they have some one called lip gloss that helps you add a bunch of cool designs. And there's an animation library. So you can have like little dancing parrot and stuff in your all that stuff in terminal. You know, it's extra tooling, but it can, if it's, if you're reaching for these tools that have like a lot of options and you want to maybe have someone who It's not afraid to like accidentally drop a whole database or something when they're running some rake tasks like it can help to have those like back office tools. I know you guys have like administrate and a bunch of other admin things to which you could just put a button into that and say this is where this is where we're going to go do. I think most companies have that like scary admin panel that never gets enough love and it doesn't have any styling and it's probably using some auto gen thing but i'll say like we have one of those at discord even so

CJ: Nice. Nice. Yeah, Stripe 2. Stripe 2. I mean, like, uh, yeah, I assume everywhere has to have that, right? Like, you, at some point, you need a way to Quickly build these interfaces that are for internal users only. And for like very specialized internal users. And it's like, okay, do we want to invest a ton of time for something that three people are going to use or one person's going to use? I don't know. So co working space, business building week. Is this a, is this next week? Is it this week? Mm

Colin: So this is something I wanted to talk about on the show, just because I think if anyone's interested in, you know, indie business just thinking about when, when you're working on something and you're trying to make it work, like, when do you call it? When do you walk away? When do you, how do you figure that out? Or how do you, you know, do you stick with it? And, you know, a lot of, there's a lot of mantras out there with like, you know, Not quitting early and like if you endure and you keep pushing through like eventually it's going to work but sometimes things don't and i've kind of been circling around this it's it's It is working with the co working space. And so Instead of working on and building code things outside of my normal day job I've been more focused on this right now because it needs the attention is that Especially after COVID, we've been getting a lot of new members, but the numbers are just not doing what they need to. And so we had to like, look back and figure out like what, what happened? Is our pricing wrong? Is this something that people want? We're busier than ever. So it doesn't seem like that's the issue. And so it kind of went down this, this rabbit hole. And I'd listened to this book quit from Annie Duke in the past. And I'm re listening to it because it's very, just. Timely, I don't think that it'll hit the same if you're not going through something like this right now. Like a lot of it feels like common sense, but there's a whole thing in there about grit versus quit, where again, we, we laud and celebrate this grit that you're going to stick it out. No matter what you got the Airbnb stories of people sleeping on the floor and all this stuff. And then all of a sudden things change, but like we've been doing the collective for like 14 years and you know, there's all, there've been phases of this. It's like, Oh, we don't know if it's going to work. And then something happens and it makes it, it makes sense. And usually the something happens is that we pay more attention to it. And we put focus on it and it grows, which, you know, most businesses, you don't have the luxury to be able to like walk away from it and just keep, let it keep growing. And so that, that makes sense. And so the other thing that they talk about in the book though, and Andy Duke is a professional poker player. So quitting is very much a piece of this is that you can't go all in on every hand and be successful. You have to know how to use information to maybe, you know, lose one battle to win the whole war type of thing. And when I was doing this, I was just playing around with like, what does it look like for us to raise prices? What does it look like? Do we even have the right mix of prices? Is it, you know, we added new memberships after COVID because which I actually think is where most of our issues is coming from Is that pre covid our cheapest plan was 200 a month now our cheapest plan is 100 And so that means we need twice as many people to even hit that same number And so we're looking at that the difference is that there's a lot of people who only want to come in so many times because they have a home office, they have, like you were mentioning, the setup at home, and they, they have a pretty good schedule around that. But some people want to come out once a week, some people can't work at home and they need to come in, and so it's a pretty interesting mix of that and just kind of re looking at all that. Has been a good thing for me to do this week. We talked about the changes to chat GPT and open AI last episode, but I was running a lot of these numbers and just dropping them into chat GPT and kind of saying, like, take these and forecast them out a year, two years. What does it look like if we do this if we do like an annual upfront option and with and without a discount or raising prices for people who, who are monthly, but then locking in the price of their annual, it did a pretty good job. It sometimes it got confused as to which number was which but then I clicked on the analyzing tab and I don't know if you've seen this, but like my brain broke a little bit when I saw it because I opened it and it was like writing Python code. And just to be able to see, because like, I understand the whole like prose piece of this is that it's looking at what the most next, you know, likely word is, but it's like writing code. And so there is it, I don't understand how it could possibly do that.

CJ: Yeah, yeah, there's like, I was blown away by that to the uh, by default, like an LLM is like not good at math, right? If you ask it, what is you know, if there's three people in a room and there's four pizzas and there's six slices, like how many slices can each person eat or whatever, like it can't figure that out. just based on the things you're giving it because it doesn't know those exact numbers in a text that it's read before probably like

Colin: and so what's the next probable person, like, how many pieces of pizza did the person eat in a book that it read once, right?

CJ: exactly and then just spits out yeah it'll just be like whatever whatever number it's seen before because that's like the token that it knows next but yeah they're like code the code execution or whatever i can't remember what's called the whatever gpt4 where it will write the code for you to answer the question that that has been kind of like mind blowing So yeah, this is a pretty sweet though that the analyze the analyze step. I think a lot of people are kind of freaked out too by what is this black box doing? And like, what are the, yeah, what are all the citations? Like, where's it getting the information? How do you make sure that you're. Attributing your sources and then how are you finding the answer to that? Like, how can we check your work sort of? And so it feels like an important step. I think right now, if I remember correctly, it only runs Python. Like it only knows how to execute Python. And. Yeah. So I wish it would, you could just tell it, like write it in Ruby and then run the Ruby, like to figure out the answer or whatever. So were the numbers based on the, the numbers that you saw and the stuff that you learned from Annie Duke's book, do you feel like you're able to sort of like draw a line in the sand and say like, okay, if we make this change, then by X day, if we don't hit. Y number, then we'll change prices again, or we'll kind of like re evaluate or yeah. So like, what's your, where are you at right now? Mm. Mm. Mm.

Colin: what I, what I really enjoyed watching the Python do was seeing how it was. Like it's what I would have had to do by hand in the spreadsheet and I was going to, and I just wanted it faster and I wanted to run it a bunch of different ways really quickly. And so what was interesting is that like we, we were under this assumption that like raising prices would be like a silver bullet. And the problem with rising prices, as most people know, is that you rock the boat for all of your customers. Right. And so I was looking at it and it's like, it's not going to make a huge difference versus getting like three or four more members. So what can we do to go get four more members? Unfortunately, it's like four more members at the more expensive membership. So it'd be like, like eight of the lower price membership. And this is where it points to maybe that membership is just too low or maybe we need to get rid of it. Versus rocking the boat for all 80 members and asking like, Hey, we're going to raise prices. Cause when you raise prices, you may have turned, you may have people who are just like, yeah, the, what I was paying was the most I was willing to pay granted. We haven't raised prices in forever. And everything around us, I think everyone. can agree is more expensive. And that includes running the service. Our bills got more expensive, things like that. We're also what I feel like is the top of the market for this. In Reno, like there's one other coworking space that's not run by the university. There's one by the university, but I don't really count it cause they have different finance like situation. But the other space is only a hundred a month for what we charged two 50 a month for. And We are, we are definitely better in all different ways, right? And so that's why we can command that price and we barely make it work at that price. So I don't know how they make it work. Maybe they aren't, maybe it's credit cards, maybe it's money that they've raised, whatever that looks like. And that's been the tricky thing is a lot of times I would just go. Think like, let's go get some money to give us some cushion to figure this out. But like borrowing money from a bank is very, very hard right now. And it kind of always has been with this business. Like they don't see it. Like, I mean, even for software, you aren't able to go to a bank and get like a bunch of money to go quit your job and go work on a software product because it's high risk. They'll give you money for a mortgage because there's a house that they can take if, if you don't pay. So it's interesting that as much as banks like to be business friendly and stuff, it's like, even if we just need some money to figure out some stuff and we know that it will be good in like six months, you have to do it yourself. And so I've kind of. Unfortunately, unfortunately, Ben, that bank is that I'm kind of covering the difference for now and that's where it's calling in like you just asked like what, what is the book pointing to? And I do think coming up with a date of like, if this is still not working by 2025 or something like that, we need to reevaluate it. I don't want to make any like, like. Knee jerk decisions right now based on what I, what I've seen, but there's a lot of sunk cost fallacy involved. There's also I think in the book they talk about identity like if it's something you've always done or is part of you It's hard to quit those things I

CJ: one question is like about the WeWork stuff that just happened, like, what is your take on, on their, I think they just filed bankruptcy, right? Like WeWork as a co working space, like, like they were, I think they were kind of like the most well known co working space out there. So yeah, like what's your, what's your hot take on the, the, we work situation.

Colin: Yeah, I mean, I think in bigger cities, it might affect co working spaces, but for us, it doesn't. Indie co working spaces are doing better than ever. There's more of them. They're, the difference is that they're not VC backed, right? WeWork was too, too funded and it became this very strange, Like it was not real estate. It was like coworking service model, but they had over leveraged just too much funding and they were, their spaces to outfit one space is extremely expensive. And then if you've ever been in one, they've got a lot of staff and that is expensive. Right. And most coworking spaces that are indie are either. run by an owner who also does a job during the day and they sit at the front desk and they do that. And they can even only do that for so long. We've done that. I've had it be my full time job. I've had it be my part time job. Now it's kind of, I'm trying to be like the board of directors of it and not be in the business every day. But yeah, I think like some people in bigger cities like the, like the bigger competitors, like industrious and things like that, a lot of them were smaller and they're actually taking over some of WeWork's leases because they've already been built out and they're already ready. And WeWork was the one who footed the bill for most of that. And then they sell it for pennies on the dollar and, or. The lease reverts to the landlord and the landlord's like, I need someone in here. And so industrious or somebody like that takes it over. And they've grown a lot slower and more level headed so they

CJ: Mm

Colin: actually make money.

CJ: I see. So here's another curve ball or like question for you. Like one way that I could see changing the economics would be to like offer more expensive memberships. Mm hmm. That are, that have access to exclusive perks. So one example that comes to mind is the, the like accountability sessions that you're doing right now. Like, I don't know if you charge for that or whatever, but like, I could imagine that being extremely valuable to people who want to be held accountable and want to show up. And so like maybe there is a 300. 400, 500 a month thing. And that like unlocks these sort of like premium features or these premium benefits, maybe it's five, six, 700 a month. And it also includes like. You know, business coaching and I, so like thinking back to my time at the collective, a lot of what attracted me to it was that I know, I knew there was a lot of developers that worked out of the collective. And so I wanted to help build my network in Reno of other developers. And so I yeah, so kind of curious about the composition of the. The members, if you're down to share that, like, I assume most are kind of like freelancers, entrepreneurs, indie hackers, or like remote employees. And then like, is there something you can lean into? That's like, okay, we are the coworking space for developers in Reno. And like, you can come and we're, we're going to have like, Weekly developer meetups, and we're going to have these accountability sessions and we're going to have X, Y, and Z that is going to increase your overhead because like someone has to run those, right. But also like, it could be kind of like pushing into like this premium level where maybe it doesn't matter if the, if you lose or you churn out a few members who are paying a hundred bucks a month, because you can get some of these more sort of like hardcore, serious, engaged members that are. At like a higher price point. I don't know. Curious, your your thoughts.

Colin: Yeah. I like that. I think if I was 10 years younger, I would be all over it. Right. It's we, we kind of started that way. And we were a little bit closer to that. We don't charge for the cultivation accountability group and stuff like that. It's a, you just have to be a member to do it, which helps when we do tours and stuff, but it's tricky because when you offer more at a higher price point, I do think you, expect more right? And then if it's not working out, then you turn and so it's tricky because it's not that I, I mean, I already spend a lot of time on the business, so it's not that I don't want to spend more or rather I cannot spend more, right? From a sustainability and not burning out perspective, like this is my second job and I need to have like one and a half jobs, not, not to so. That's a little bit of it. I like the idea though, like the accountability thing could be an add on. I think we've moved away from being such so focused on software, which is interesting. Like it's just not. A lot of the engineers, we get some of them but some of the folks that we've been getting, we have two members who are awesome that work for Penske, which is the truck trucking company. And they started out in trucking and now they're like heads of data science and analytics, like which Penske is very focused on personal development and growth and moving between teams. And they've been there for years and years and they've, they took those stepping stones and now they're like. We are here once a week. Now we want to be here every day, you know, and things like that. So like, that's the kind of thing that I really like and they're developers now, but they weren't when they started which was interesting. We've also, I think the, the time that we made the most amount of money was when we ran a developer bootcamp, but that comes with all sorts of issues, as you know.

CJ: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. It's tough man. It is.

Colin: business

CJ: Yeah, right. Yeah. So like going back to the, going back to like the quit thing, I have been, it's been on my reading list for a super long time. I think maybe you told me about it like years ago or something, but I have been nervous to read it. Cause I feel like sometimes I feel like quitting is. Like me failing or like admitting to failing in some way. And so I am nervous that I'm gonna read it and it's gonna convince me to quit a whole bunch of stuff. . So I don't know. What, what was your biggest takeaways, like from, from the book? Mm-Hmm?

Colin: if you mix this with essentialism or atomic habits and James Clear, like if you think about the things that you want to do, like when I think to, like, how do I create space to work on this calendar app, or I have some ideas for a GitHub app. It's like, and then I'm like, where am I going to find space and time in my day to do that? Right. It's quitting things so that you can get to the things that you really want, or in essentialism, it's, you know, people doing so much that they. are run ragged and then they're not even present and at home when they're at home, right? Their, their relationships, their friendships, things like that start to dwindle and it's just not sustainable. That's like the equivalent of burnout. And so we, I think we start spinning a bunch of plates and we're afraid to fail. So we just never stopped spinning some of them that don't serve us anymore. And that that's more what the book is about is that we want to identify things that aren't serving us and we can. quit those in a way that doesn't feel like quitting or failing rather. And that it's not a bad thing, right? That like, if you go all in on this hand that you know is going to just take you to the cleaners, you don't get to stay in the game. You are done, right? And so quitting this hand means you get to keep doing something that you want to do longer term, and that's great. But some of the things you're like, yeah, I've been doing this forever because we started doing it and we've always done it, but we don't really know why we do it anymore doesn't really, you know, we don't know, in our case, it's like, do the members still want that? Do I still want to show up for it? And I think that's natural. The longer you do things like I'm kind of, maybe this is a phase that I'm going through, but like, I'm also evaluating the developer meetup like this because it doesn't serve me the same way that it would. me 10 years ago. And I wonder if there's a new person who is, who was me, right? That, that, who's the new Colin that can run that, who was going to get a lot out of it. We both got a lot out of those events. Right. And it's just sometimes. the night just doesn't make sense for me. And, you know, the, or the, or it's just sometimes really hard to get people to speak. People really like that it exists, but no one wants to give a talk, things like that. And so in coworking that, that comes up a lot where people try to event coordinate. the whole month and then no one comes to all the events cause there's either too many or it's just like, yeah, we like that you do them, but we're really busy. And I would say again, after the pandemic, a lot of people are a little bit more choosy with where they spend their time. Cause they have to be.

CJ: Mm-Hmm. . Great.

Colin: Yeah, I would not be afraid of reading it. I think it'll help set a few things free. There's the thing, this is kind of like Burning Man type of thing, but like there's this quote from Burning Man where it's like, don't divorce your parakeet. Which is that like a lot of people go to Burning Man or maybe you go to some. camping trip or some life changing like you go to Europe or New York or whatever. And you're like, I'm going to move here. I'm going to change everything. Right? Like you need to give yourself time. So like read it, give yourself some time to process it. And then like write down what comes from it for you. And then revisit it and see if it's still something that's true. Like you know, people go to Burning Man and then they try to like upend their life and quit their job. And, you know, leave their partners and all this stuff. And it's like, I think you miss, miss some of the points here of of what's going on, but yeah, it can, it can give you a good lens for at least reevaluating why you do some of the things that you do.

CJ: Love it. Yeah. Okay. Should we, you want to talk about YouTube stuff?

Colin: Yeah, let's do it. So I guess this is in the favor of stopping some things so that I can start doing other things is Be curious what kind of tips you have for like getting started with YouTube because I've been kind of toying around the idea Do I do I want to start just twitch streaming? And then maybe push those to YouTube or keep them separate, whatever. Some live streaming feels daunting for other reasons. But it's also sometimes easier just to hit play and go or hit record and go and, and not worry about editing and all that stuff. But then I need to like, feel like I have to do a bunch of prep work know what I'm going to do on stream. So curious what, what tips you have there is, you know, is this a, just do it and be embarrassed first couple of times or, or, or how you go about it.

CJ: Yeah. I think it is to get started. I think it is one of those things where it is very much just flip on the camera and do it. And the first, I, I think the wisdom is like do a hundred videos. And then once you've done a hundred, you can start worrying about like making improvements or whatever, but even in. Like after you do one video, you'll be like, Oh, I need, I definitely need to change X, Y, and Z after you do two videos, I definitely need to change X, Y, and Z. So it's, it's all about putting in the reps in terms of, would you, do you want to stream to Twitch and then push to YouTube or vice versa? I think it kind of depends on what you're comfortable with and Twitch tends to. attract a different style of, or like a, not a different, but a very specific style of live stream that is totally valid on YouTube. I think you can stream to both Twitch and YouTube from many of the streaming platforms at the same time. And if you want to kind of like I don't know. I, I think I wouldn't worry too much about getting everything set up to stream to like all the different places. In the beginning, I think it's fine if you want to start small and teach something that feels so, so, so beginner and so small that it's like, this is like ridiculous that I'm talking about this right now. because I think you'd be surprised at how many people will find value from that and it also like you will get a ton of value just from trying some super, super small little thing. So yeah, I would say like the first and biggest piece of advice, just like flip on the camera and go in terms of screencasting and teaching code, I don't know, I'm assuming that's like what you want to do, but maybe you want to do gaming or something else. But

Colin: Yeah. I think mostly code, but more like building apps together type of thing. So like instead of play together, it'd be built together or something similar. I think that doing kind of like the mob pairing that you were talking about, because I don't get to do a lot of that in my day job, doing that with other programming creators and stuff like I, like my friend, Aaron, like you, whoever else would be like, just get on and build a fun thing together. It's like a live stream tuple or something, could be fun.

CJ: Okay. So that, yeah, totally. Awesome type of content that people get really engaged with and they'll follow along like the entire journey because they want to watch, like, how do you make decisions about all these different things? In that specific case, I would probably try to like record everything, like record your whole process from start to finish and include that. Even if it feels like, gosh, I'm spending a ton of time debugging this one stupid little thing or whatever. Like what I. Have done several series is I'll build something like I'll build a project from start to finish. And if I find myself in the middle, like Losing 45 minutes down a rabbit hole trying to debug something, then I'll still shoot that and I'll still keep the video in there, but I'll like speed it up. So that's like 700 times speed, you know? So it's like,

Colin: Yeah,

CJ: you know, just kind of like moving through it. And people do this like really fancy, but it doesn't have to be anything fancy. Like you can literally just like record yourself, record yourself talking.

Colin: yOu throw the Spongebob like five days later.

CJ: Yes, exactly. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Like you can get super, super fancy with editing too. Like I, my style right now of editing is like, I want to spend as little time as possible editing. That's like not the fun part for me anymore. And so I

Colin: tape basically.

CJ: Yeah, exactly. And then I will, I'll cut it up a little bit in ScreenFlow, blur out API keys, and then pull it into Descript, remove filler words. And then like I move my camera input around a little bit to like show and hide it. But other than that, I'll just like basically ship what I recorded. And yeah, like it doesn't, it doesn't have to be super heavy handed. It's not going to be great in the beginning. But the more reps you put in, the more comfortable you'll get. And yeah. If you sort of consider, like, think of it as like a zoom call where you're doing one of those lunch and learns at work, right. Where it's just like, Oh, Hey these are a couple of my peers who I expect to have some experience with writing code. And I'm just going to walk them through something that I learned or something that I think is interesting or something that I think is cool. And, hopefully they learn something. If not, whatever, like this is like just for me and for the fun of the process.

Colin: Yeah,

CJ: couple of resources that were Valuable for getting like the stripe quality content up to snuff was this how to egghead how to egghead. com slash instructor I can't the yeah the founder and the company egghead that puts out a bunch of developer courses They have a entire like Documentation and series for how they do it and they have some really good settings in there for like how You know, what frame rate your camera should be at and how big your screen font should be and things like that, that you don't have to, then you don't have to like think about is this font big enough and record and stop and like, I don't know, how does it look and

Colin: yeah nice.

CJ: and then, yeah, like Aaron Francis shipped screencasting. com. I haven't watched any of them yet, but it looks really good. So I'm excited to go through that eventually. Those are kind of like. I would say like developer content and screencasting specific, and then just like general YouTube tools. I use a tool called TubeBuddy. I use it a little bit less now, but that's like a Chrome extension that you can install. And they have like different tiers with different features, but with the base one installed as you're browsing YouTube, it'll show you all kinds of cool stats. And like they have a bunch of like SEO tools and tools for a B testing your thumbnails and a B testing your descriptions and like really, really fancy stuff. So that's a good one. And then think media, Sean, And, or Cornell and Ali Abdul, these are two just like super famous YouTubers that also make content about making content. And so Sean in particular has like a bunch of camera videos. And

Colin: Yeah, I follow Ollie's YouTube and really, really like it. Yeah.

CJ: nice, nice. Yeah. So the, I went through his Skillshare course. He edits with Final Cut Pro. I use ScreenFlow. So like none of the actual detail, like technical details made sense, but like his approach to like, Oh, I'm going to splice it here and splice it here because it seems more natural. Yeah. The storytelling, but also like just like actual cuts, like J cuts and L cuts and like different crossfades and like really, really basic video editing stuff picked up from there. But yeah, again, like, I don't think you have to look at any of this to get started. Like, in fact, I would recommend like not just like, yeah, flip on the camera. You've got like your, your setup right now as you have it. Looks amazing. Like this is what you have now is easily 10 times better than what I started with and, uh, people, it's like thousands of views on those old videos. So like, uh, I

Colin: Well, and if you drop this into a thumbnail, like you're not even really going to see it. Like the audio being good is important. And then from there, it's the screen. So I remember because I did some videos for our boot camp. That then somehow got picked up as like videos for some other bootcamp and the accidental hack that I did was it was like a building Pinterest in like six videos and I think it was only five of the six videos ever got released and so like all of the videos had comments about where's the sixth video.

CJ: yeah, yeah, yeah,

Colin: And I was like, oops, I don't know how I actually think that all of the content was in the five videos, but they were like mislabeled as six or something. And, and just like, it was getting so much engagement, but it was like either a, that it was like, now it's been so many, it's been like since 2015 or 16. So all the people that comment on it now are like, this code doesn't work. This gem is like malware now. Because I think we were using we were using like an image upload or whatever the popular one paperclip or whatever it was at the time. And there was some sort of malware going around and it's like, well, that's, that's why you that's why you use Twitter and Google and read, read up on the GitHub issues.

CJ: Mm hmm. Mm hmm. Totally.

Colin: Oh, that's super helpful. And I think I'll have a little bit of free time over the holidays. And I think I just need to need to do it.

CJ: Cool. Yeah. I think, yeah, maybe listeners can expect to see a link in the show notes in a future episode. Well, yeah, we'll drop it. We'll drop it.

Colin: I think one last thing on that would be how do you feel about your name versus like a channel name as where you're going to build your little YouTube empire?

CJ: Had I done it, uh, in retrospect, I would have used the channel name. I used my own like personal Gmail account and it's like, that's my YouTube channel is my actual Gmail accounts, YouTube

Colin: it's like CJ Avila or

CJ: Yeah, exactly. It's yeah, it's CJ Villa and like, I just renamed, you can rename the channel, handle whatever you want, but it's yeah, if I were doing this again, I would have come up with some. Like outlaw videos or, you know, whatever racing video,

Colin: is all under his name on his YouTube as well. So I

CJ: it.

Colin: I think Ali is. And then, you know, I think you've got the big ones iJustine and stuff like that, that's kind of like a channel name and their name, but

CJ: Yeah. Like Traversee media, Traversee is his name, but his, like he now has like this media empire. Chris's go rails. Like that's perfect. Right. Go rails as a company could be sold to someone else and someone else could make content and it could all be about Ruby on rails and Chris could be like, no longer involved. But there's no way that like the CJ Avila channel could be sold to anybody and like just picked up by some other person to keep making content. That's like the only, I guess that's the only thing that I would consider, but yeah, maybe that it depends on what outcome you're looking for because as a personal brand, it does help me directly

Colin: That's what I'm focused on more. I have no, no intentions of building a thing to sell it more, just building a personal brand and audience.

CJ: Got it. Yeah. So in that case, it is like a pretty legit resume point. Like, or, you know what I mean? Like kind of, it's, it's sort of like if, and when I need another job or gig or something, you know, I can be like, Hey, check out my YouTube channel. And that's like all me. Whereas that might be a little awkward if it was like, check out my YouTube channel, it's like outlaw devs or something, you know, like which.

Colin: Quit your job.

CJ: Yeah. Yeah. I don't know. It might be some something. Yeah. That's, I guess that's the trade off is like, do you want this to be an independent thing that you're creating and investing into? Or do you want it to be your personal brand? I guess it's kind of like,

Colin: Cool. I'll play around with that a little bit. Super helpful

CJ: Yeah. Awesome.

Colin: This is like a little bit of a meta business episode, but we can't talk about code all the time, I guess.

CJ: True. Yeah. Right on. Well, yeah, as always, you can head over to buildandlearn. dev to check out the resources and links and things that we talked about. And that's it for now.

Colin: I'll see you next time.

CJ: All right. Bye friends. All audio, artwork, episode descriptions and notes are property of CJ Avilla, Colin Loretz, for Build and Learn, and published with permission by Transistor, Inc. Broadcast by