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How To Make Small Things A Big Deal, Plus: Celebrating 2 Million Listens!

Published 11/11/2015

Thank you for helping Developer Tea make it to 2 million listens! This is a major milestone for the show.

Not many external resources were mentioned on today's episode, but I'd love to invite you to leave a review on iTunes!

Today's episode is sponsored by Digital Ocean!

Go to https://digitalocean.com to get started on cloud hosting. Use the promo code DEVELOPER TEA at the checkout after you create your account to get a $10 credit!

Follow @DeveloperTea on Twitter | Leave a rating and review for Developer Tea on iTunes | Join Spec's Slack community for free

Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Hey everyone and welcome to Developer Tea. My name is Jonathan Cutrell and today I am so happy to announce that I'm celebrating two million listens, two million unique downloads of Developer Tea. And that is thanks to you. You all have been such an incredible audience of people and developers all over the world have listened to the show in over 180 countries. It's incredible the response that the show has gotten and it's all due to all of you. So thank you so much for actually listening to the episodes for asking questions, sending them in via Slack and the email and engaging with me on Twitter. Of course all these things, by the way, will be in the show notes. If you haven't engaged with them, you are welcome to because the show is not over. We're going to keep on making the show as long as you all enjoy it. So thank you so much for listening to Developer Tea. I encourage you to go and subscribe so you don't miss out on any future episodes of Developer Tea. But today is not just about celebrating. I want to give you guys something of value to walk away with. So I'm going to be talking about how to make small things a big deal because Developer Teastarted out as a small thing for me. Before we jump into that, I want to thank today's sponsor Digital Ocean. Digital Ocean has been a sponsor of the show for quite a while now and it's a huge help to the show that we have these awesome sponsors. So thank you Digital Ocean. We'll talk more about what Digital Ocean provides to you as a developer later on in the episode today. So I want to talk about four concepts that have really helped me along the way of growing Developer Teabecause I know a lot of you are trying to grow your own products or you have an idea and you just don't know how to follow through with it. And really these four concepts I think are going to be really helpful for you to start something. Specifically for those of you who are struggling with starting something, actually getting the ball rolling and I'm going to jump right in. Number one, start by stripping away all of your assumptions. Start by stripping away all of your assumptions. Now what does this mean exactly? Well as a developer, you probably hear a lot of things on a day-to-day basis, whether that's from your coworkers or your boss or perhaps it's even from me on this show. And what I want you to do is take a second and strip away all of the assumptions that you have, which may be a little bit difficult. So let's say for example that you wanted to start a podcast, which is what I did. I'm going to use my own self as an example. I assumed that I needed to have a bunch of guests lined up and that I had to have a great website set up and that I had to have a bunch of time on my hands in order to make that happen and that the podcast episodes needed to be an hour and a half long. Now once I started stripping away all of these assumptions, I realized that going against those assumptions actually provided the biggest opportunity for this show. For example, I didn't have to have a website right away. I didn't have to have long episodes right away, which meant that I didn't have to spend all day editing. I didn't have to spend all day coming up with the content. In fact, there is a great niche for short podcasts. I realized this when I first launched the show and that is what enabled the show to become my small thing. It was something that I could launch over the course of a weekend and in fact most of the work happened over the course of a weekend to launch Developer Tea. So I encourage you to try to strip away each and every one of your assumptions and determine if it actually is necessary. If each of those things that you already assume is true, if they're actually true. And you will find that some of them are true. For example, to start a podcast, you really do need to have good audio and so you need to have a minimum amount of decent quality audio gear. But in those spots where your assumptions were wrong, there is a possible huge opportunity waiting beneath those wrong assumptions. This is particularly true if you are looking for a job and you assume that you're not qualified because you don't know what every single acronym on the job description list actually means. That is absolutely not a reason to not apply for that job. And in fact, most of those acronyms are written by people who also don't understand what those acronyms mean. So don't assume that you are not cut out for a job even if some evidence points to that effect. For example, the evidence pointed to the fact that my podcast should be long because I don't know, all other podcasts seem to be pretty long. And so to have a successful podcast, to model myself after a successful podcast, I also needed to have long episodes. But in the case of actually applying for a job, if you have never applied for that job, then you don't really know whether or not you're going to be successful. If I never actually put the podcast online, put my short form podcast online in a sea of long form podcasts, then I very likely would never have found success in the podcasting world. So start by stripping away your assumptions because there's a very likely opportunity underneath those assumptions if you can get past them. Number two, never be afraid to ask questions. Never be afraid to ask questions. There are two types of people that you're going to want to ask questions of. The first is you. You need to be able to ask yourself questions. And the second is the people around you, your friends or your colleagues or even total strangers to be able to start something that you want to carry through with. You are going to need help. You're going to need the input from other people. So let's start with the first one. Let's start with asking ourselves questions. If you are afraid to ask yourself questions, then you're going to have a hard time taking a new job, for example, or going after a new opportunity. You have to be able to ask yourself questions, ask yourself what you want in life. And then obviously you have to have honest answers. If you can't have honest answers with yourself, then of course the questions are useless, right? So you need to be able to ask yourself questions and then answer them honestly. Am I enjoying my job? Is there something that I really badly want to do? Am I actually not that interested, but I feel like I should. For example, for a very long time, I felt like I needed to create an app to put in the app store that the opportunity was just too compelling that it was going to be such an exciting opportunity to put an app in the app store. And while I still have that in the back of my mind, I actually want to make this podcast more than I want to make an app on the side. So you have to be able to ask yourself these kinds of questions. And this goes right along with number one, by the way, being able to strip away your assumptions. You have to be able to ask yourself, well, why do I think this? Where did I learn this? Am I using information that makes sense? Is this a credible idea that I have? Or is it something that I'm assuming that I should strip away and understand the underlying motivation for my belief in that particular thing? Now as you practice asking yourself questions, you're very likely going to find yourself at a dead end very often. You may ask a question that has a very simple answer of, I don't know, or I don't really care. And you have to be okay with these answers. These are perfectly acceptable answers to questions that you ask yourself, especially subjective questions. There may be a lot that you don't know or that you don't care about. And that's totally fine. As you go throughout the process of starting something new, especially business ventures, but if you're starting a new job, for example, it may be that you don't care where you live, or you may be in the small population of people who doesn't really care how much money you make, as long as everything else about that job lines up for you. If you never asked yourself that question though, it is very possible that you would take the bias of the people around you and apply it to your own life. For example, one job may have a much larger salary, but you don't really care as much about salary as you do about other things, but you might be more tempted to take the job with a larger salary because that is the bias of the general population to care more about money than they do about other things. So ask yourself questions, and you also have to get comfortable with asking other people questions. I needed help with Developer Teavery often. In fact, from the very beginning, I was asking people what they thought of the title of the podcast. I didn't close myself off to the help that other people provide, friends, family, and strangers. I asked people to rate the show. In fact, I'll ask you right now. It helps me a lot for you to rate the show, and I have grown the courage over time to ask the listeners of the show to go and rate and review it on iTunes. If you want to start something, you have to have the courage to talk to other people and to interact with them. Really, the way that we work best as people, the way that we function best is when we help each other out. You can't do anything great without the help of other people. Now of course, you also need to be willing to give help to other people. You can't just expect these things to go one way, but when you ask other people questions, you are opening yourself up to the massive opportunity of seeing things from another person's perspective. That is something that you can never do on your own. That is one of the reasons why it's so important to be able to interact with other people, to ask for help, or even ask somebody to share their experience with you, to tell you a story about their lives. That wraps up the first two concepts that have helped me grow Developer Tea. Number one was start by stripping away all of your assumptions. Number two is never be afraid to ask questions both of yourself and of your friends, your family, and total strangers. Interacting with other people is absolutely necessary to be able to do anything of any significance really. To start a new job or create a podcast or build an app or whatever it is that you want to do, create a business, go to school, all of these things take the help of other people, they take interaction. Now I want to take a break and talk about today's sponsor, Digital Ocean. Digital Ocean is such a huge deal to Developer Tea. They've been a sponsor for quite a while now, and I love Digital Ocean because they provide a fantastic onboarding experience. Number one, but number two, they provide a great value to developers. They have a fantastic platform of SSD cloud servers that you can spin up in less than a minute. You guys have heard this before, but it's still true. It's one of the best products on the market for this particular use case, especially, let's say for example, that you have a side project that you're trying to get started, just like this episode is talking about. You need that overhead to be super small. If you have five bucks in your pocket, then you have a month of service on Digital Ocean's bottom level tier. By the way, Digital Ocean is providing you with $10 of credit when you sign up using the code Developer Tea. Of course, that will be in the show notes, but if you are looking to start a new project or pour over an old project, in fact, Whiteboard is probably going to move all of our Linux-based projects over to Digital Ocean very soon. If you are looking to do that kind of thing, Digital Ocean is a fantastic solution. The icing on the cake is that the interface is just really nice to use. I really enjoy Digital Ocean's interface. Beyond that, they have a ton of learning articles specific to Digital Ocean, but also just learning articles in general about open-source stuff. Those resources are totally free. You don't even have to have service with Digital Ocean. Go and check it out digitaleation.com. Of course, the link will be in the show notes as well as that special code. Thank you so much to Digital Ocean for being a great sponsor for Developer Tea. I'm talking on today's episode about how to make small things a big deal for you. When I say small things, I typically am talking about small efforts that turn into bigger things later. Obviously, getting a job is not a small thing. Going to college is not a small thing. The steps that get you there, each of those steps, is small. That job application that you choose to fill out, for example, that is a small step, but it turns into a big deal. Taking that step, having the courage to fill out that job application or having the courage to, for example, apply to that college, those are the small steps. Having the courage to start the code for an app that you've been wanting to build for a long time, that is a small step. The third concept is exactly about that. It's about the size of these efforts. Number three is start with something that you can do in a single day. What can you do in a single day? Now, there's a ton that you can do in a single day. For example, I actually started Developer Tea in a single day by recording my first episode. Did I launch the podcast in one day? Absolutely not. Did I create the website for the podcast or the entire marketing plan for Developer Tea in one day? No, absolutely not. But what I did do is I went from not having a podcast to having a podcast in one day. It just happened with that one episode. Now, am I saying once again that you're going to experience wild success as a result of that one day? No. In fact, with a venture like this, it could take you years to see any wild amount of success. But that one step that you did today is literally, it is literally infinitely better than doing nothing. If you say that you have something that you want to build or if you say that you want to start a business or you want to go to college as cheesy as it sounds, as silly as it sounds, that first step, that first day of work, that is when you go from having done absolutely nothing to having started doing something. And that is the biggest hurdle for most people. Once I created my first episode of Developer Tea, then everything else came after that. It became a real thing. The psychological hurdle had been accomplished for me, and that made a huge difference. And I think it can make a huge difference for most people as well. Once you take that first step, a lot of us have experienced this encoding, for example. We have some trepidation about a piece of code that we know we're supposed to write. And once we actually open the file to write the code, a lot of that trepidation ends up going out the window because we just get started, right? The importance of having things like boilerplates is based on this simple idea that if I have a few of those first steps done for me, taking step number two and number three and number four becomes a little bit easier. And I can explain to you the psychology here, but I know that it's a real thing and I know that I've experienced it, and I think that a lot of you have experienced it as well. So start with something that you can do in one day. And that's a very practical tip, but I hope that it inspires you to actually take one of the days that you have off, for example. Let's say a Saturday afternoon to actually do the thing that you've been saying you want to do. Go ahead and start with the smallest piece of it that you can start with. Once you get started, you now have some level of investment. You've gotten over that psychological hurdle. Start with something you can do in one day. Okay, number four, find a cadence and stick to it. Find a cadence and stick to it. I've been doing Developer Tea every week since I started. I haven't missed a single episode. And in fact, for a little while, I was doing four episodes a week rather than three. And I've kept this up all while having a full time job while maintaining my marriage with my beautiful wife, while also going on vacation, going and speaking at a conference, I've gone to another conference just to attend the conference. I've gone out of town multiple times to visit family. I've been able to keep this up because I've dedicated myself to the cadence of three times per week. And I've done that for many different reasons. One of them is to deliver all of you value so that you can expect Developer Tea to be in your pod catcher, whatever podcast app you use on Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Of course, if you are subscribed. So you can depend on that. If you go to spec.fm on a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday, there's going to be a new episode of Developer Tea every single one of those days. Again, I do not understand why this works. I just know that it works well for me. Once I dedicated myself to that cadence, once I decided that there was going to be a schedule, I haven't had much of a hard time making that schedule happen. If I didn't have a schedule that I stuck to, if I didn't commit to a cadence, then when things like vacation or holidays come up, then I'm not ready for them. In other words, you guys wouldn't have episodes of Developer Tea for a couple of weeks. And it's very easy to lose momentum when you fall off the grid like that, right? Develop a cadence and stick to it. Whatever it is that you are going to work on, whatever thing you want to build, or whatever initiative you are trying to accomplish, stick to your cadence, develop a cadence, and stick to it. What should your cadence be? Well, that is a question that you're going to have to answer for yourself. Of course, there are some limits here, right? So if you want to, for example, I don't know, run a marathon. Well, you can't just run every three to four weeks, just like go outside and run a mile. That's not going to get you to that goal. There are some limits to what your cadence has to be. I can't release one episode per year. I can't release one episode per month and expect you guys to really engage at a deeper level with Developer Tea. So find a cadence that accomplishes the goals. But of course, each and every person has their own goals, obviously, and each and every person has their own situation with their job, with their family, with their friends. So you're going to have to figure all of that out on your own. I can't answer that question for you, unfortunately. But what I can say is once you find that cadence, you want to stick to it. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode of Developer Tea, four concepts that have helped me grow Developer Tea and to accomplish this huge thing with you, all the two million lessons. I'm so thankful for each and every one of your time on a weekly basis. Number one, start by stripping away all of your assumptions. Number two, never be afraid to ask yourself questions or other people questions. Number three, start with something you can do in one day. And number four, develop a cadence and stick to it. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode. And thank you to today's sponsor digital ocean dot com digital ocean is a fantastic platform. If you are looking for a cloud SSD host solution, you can get started with as little as $5 a month. And of course, you get a $10 credit. If you use the code that can be found in the show notes at spec.fm. If you are one of those people who has helped the show reach two million downloads, I would be so honored to see your review in iTunes. That is the best way you can help this show out and it helps other people find the show who may be interested in it like you are. Thank you so much for listening to Developer Tea. Make sure you subscribe. And until next time, enjoy your tea.