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Interview with Kalid Azad (part 3 of 3)

Published 1/30/2017

In today's episode, I finish my interview with Kalid Azad!

Today's episode is sponsored by Headspace. Headspace offers you guided meditation that you can take with you, and does so in a beautifully made native app experience. Headspace is also hiring! Head over to https://Headspace.com/join-us to learn more about the openings.

Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
And I think programming, you learn sort of the ins and outs, you have a bite and you have a binary number and there's all these little properties you can put in. And so like an ISPN number or other things can be, you know, maybe they're encoded in a way that has all these useful properties. And instead of just being an auto incrementing ID, there's all these things that you can add to it. And I think that's sort of like the intuition that I hope people get from programming versus the specifics of like a four loop or something. I mean, for most people, I don't think that's that useful. And it's more, hey, can we be structured about how we approach things? Hey, everyone and welcome to Developer Tea. My name is Jonathan Cutrell and in today's episode, I finished my interview with Kalid Azad. As you've probably already heard, if you're listening to the third part, this interview with Kalid has been such a fun discussion and really enlightening Kalid is a very smart individual and I hope all of you have been inspired and you learn from him as much as I have been learning from him. Don't forget that we have the JavaScript January Developer TeaCode Pen contest. This is still running. You can tag a pen on Code Pen, just a normal pen. You can tag it JavaScript January or JS January as well as Developer Tea. And you can have spaces or no spaces. It doesn't really matter as long as you have those two tags. And the pen has to be JavaScript oriented as to rely primarily on JavaScript for its main functions, its main features. And whichever pens get the most hearts with those two tags that rely on JavaScript, there are going to be six winners in this contest. Whichever top six pens with the top six numbers of hearts, you all are going to win a year of Code Pen Proce. Go ahead and get entered into that contest. It will run until February 5th. So we are almost done with this contest. Really excited about the entries. Thank you, of course, to those of you who have entered the contest already. By the way, we'll be announcing the winner to the JavaScript January contest on the Spek Slack community. If you can join that by going to Spek.fm slash Slack, make sure you join the Developer Tearoom. I'm sure we will make a quick announcement in the general channel as well if you forget to join the Developer Tearoom. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode of Developer Tea. I hope you enjoy my interview with Kalid Azad. I was about to say structured data, right? That's really what when we say we want people to learn, everyone needs to learn how to code. What we're really saying is we want everyone to learn how to think about these blobs of information in their lives and how to apply conceptually, you know, how do I organize information? How do I search information? How do I apply this to my physical life? How can I, I mean, going back to the road example? How can I navigate without my phone when it does? You know, like exactly. And really, when I say I want you to learn how to code, it's because learning how to code has taught me in many ways how to think better. And it sounds so simple. And that's why, you know, obviously we can't campaign for thinking better, right? Like, that's a, that's a, so we, we attach it to coding or we attach it to math. And really what we're hoping is for people to be educated on, okay, here's like, for example, I was thinking about structured data and specifically about objects versus arrays, right? A list of things versus a key value store of things and trying to think of a physical object or physical representation of this. It's like houses versus apartments, right? A house is like an object where you have keys and values. You can only get into one house at a time. And an array is like an apartment where you enter the building and all of the apartments are in the same building. And it's such a weird, like, maybe not even that useful way of thinking, but it informs so much about what you could do with that. You could take that and apply it to, for example, logistics. You could apply it to delivery systems and say, okay, we want to deliver to apartments last because we know we can get all of the apartments done much faster than we can get the houses done, right? Very simple things like that that if you learn how to think, if you learn how to structure information around you or structure information and text that is otherwise unstructured, well, now you can do really interesting stuff with it. Exactly. And I think a key element too is there's a lot of structured and like mathematical things out there already. And it's just kind of up to human beings to notice them. So, you know, exponential growth, I think, is discovered in the, or E, I think was discovered in the 16 or 1700s. So, you know, bacteria colonies in yeast and we had interest in all these things for a long time. But then I think it took Napier and Euler to figure out, oh, there's this idea of like an underlying rate that can be computed and there's like a natural log and all these things. But we basically kind of noticed these things. They're sort of pulled from it. So the same thing with this kind of computing mindset where, hey, in my, in my everyday life, there's a lot of things that are fairly computational, especially in like the modern world where we have all these, all this technology around us. But it's just that a lot of times we don't recognize it. So like to a Roman, the idea of having numbered roads is crazy. Like, what do you mean? Like, this is road one and road two and road ten. Like, you don't have, you don't call it the, like the glorious green path and the beautiful red path. Like, you're actually numbering your roads. Yeah. It's easier. I mean, but to them, it seems like crazily scientific. And to us, I mean, I'm not even sure what the analogy would be like having like an equation. Like, what's the name of this road? It's the parabolic, you know, X squared road. Yeah. And it's like, why would you call it that? It's like, well, because it curves in such a way and it's really easy to think about when we know it. And it's just, to us, it's kind of comically precise. But I think in maybe in the future, we have something similar where we're basically, we understand things so well that what looks super scientific to us now, you know, to like a child is just normal. Yeah. Yeah. And I think it has become that way in certain areas that we haven't really, like, it's hard to recognize because we are in the context, right? Like, we're kind of embedded already into it. And so, you know, the level of knowledge about, for example, the obvious one is children who pick up a phone, you know, before they even know how to read, but they know how to swipe. There's this really interesting intuition that's happening there that later on in their lives may give them a much higher level of dexterity with the tools they use than we have now. And just viewing that, watching that, you know, obviously we had similar things when we were growing up and our parents had similar things when they were growing up, the progression is very interesting. But I think this idea of, well, I mean, what you're doing with better explained is, is spreading this concept of intuition, it's spreading the concept of looking at things and finding the underlying system and finding how they work. Very, very powerful. And I think it's a really good mission. So real quick, we're going to, we're going to pivot and talk about that history for just a few minutes before we wrap this thing up. Sure. It's been around for 10 years now, a little over 10 years because it started in 2006, right? Yep, near the end of 2006. Okay. So, yeah. Right at 10 years now. And so rewind, if you can, rewind your brain back to about 10 years ago. What was the first, I guess maybe 10 and a half years ago, whenever you first started formulating this? What was the, like the spark that really lit the fire, that sounds super cheesy, but what was the thing that really just compelled you to start? Sure. So I began, better explained, I guess in college is after, or I began taking notes in college after I had a super frustrating math class, my freshman year. So I had always enjoyed math in high school and growing up. And then when I now realize I was in a very poorly taught math class, and of course, I just thought, oh, something's, you know, things aren't clicking. Something's wrong with me. Like I just got a study harder and I couldn't at the time see that, oh, like the approach was actually not that great that we were taking. But I remember cramming for a final and finally some analogies came to me that made like months of studying just snap into place. And it was simultaneously relieving and frustrating. It was kind of like, it's almost like, hey, you know, somebody pointed out you had like, you know, food in your mouth or food in your teeth. It's like, okay, thank you. But oh my god, the, could you have told me like a week ago? I didn't know. I like a seed. So it's kind of like, oh my gosh, like why, like why did we spend all semester learning? And this was like a vector calculus class. So we're learning about vectors and like rotating things and twisting things. And there was really very, very little visual intuition. And I just made some diagrams that seemed to help me a ton. And I was so, I was angry and happy at the same time. It was, I remember that feeling very well because it was so weird. It was like, angrily happy or something. I was like happy and frustrated. And it was like this weird combination of emotions. And I remember thinking, oh my gosh, like I would have, I can't even, I would have paid anything to have avoided the frustration that it has. It's like a feeling of loss almost, right? Loss. It was just kind of like this wasted effort. Like I just wasted all semester cramming. And it was for no reason. It wasn't like I was getting better at the concept. I was, you know, spinning my wheels for so long. And finally, I got some traction on this analogy that helps. And I, so immediately I just started writing down these things. And I said, okay, like for myself too, I didn't want to forget it. And also it was, hey, if it, if it helped me, maybe it would help somebody else. So I started taking these notes down. And in college, I kind of put them on my college website. And they got pretty, or, you know, a good amount of traffic then, but I sort of just left them up there. And then I started working for a couple years and I'd sort of forgotten about it. And then I decided, okay, I want to kind of leave my first job and try some startup things. And so before I left, I was just writing down ideas for projects. And so I have this idea book and I was just kind of journaling. And one of the ideas was essentially that I started learning site based on these notes. And I remember thinking, okay, what should I call it? You should have used my name, like calladazard.com. I was like, ah, no, it's not really about me. And also my name is probably hard to spell if you never, like, it's not a common name. So I'm like, okay, pragmatically speaking, it's probably not a great domain to have anyway. But then I realized, oh, better explain. Like I just want to explain things better. And so it's not about like the best in the world. This is the greatest thing ever. It's like, no, this just helped me. Like this is better than what I had before. So I just want to share it. So I basically just got the domain and I started transferring over my college notes. So I think the idea happened in probably May. And then I started putting the notes together and transferring things over in probably September of 2006. And then that December, I started copying over a bunch of my notes. And basically 2007, I just went crazy and started writing a lot. And so then, yeah, basically 10 years later, here we go. It's about 160 posts over that time. So it's not a huge amount. It's about, on average, about one post a month, I'd say, for over 10 years. But thankfully, because you're evergreen, you sort of, it's built in this kind of reference library of intuitions that each of them kind of over time collect people. It's very interesting how simple it is, isn't it? So it's not like you had this master 10 year plan already laid out in front of you. You experienced something of what you at the time at least felt like was insanely valuable intuition or insanely high amount of value in this information that you couldn't find anywhere else. And basically, you just shared it. And it's a very, it's a common business model. More common than people recognize, I think. You scratch your own inch, certainly. But then you turned around and said, hey, look, this is how I figured this thing out. And it's not like a massive business, you know, spreadsheet where you're doing all the numbers on whether or not it's worth it to post about this particular intuition, how many people are incalculous this year in high school? No, that's not what it was about for you. And so I think a lot of people, they lead up to the release of something or the creation of something. And they spend too much, perhaps a crippling amount of time trying to evaluate whether or not it's worth their time. And I do this sometimes on a day to day basis, I'll spend too much time making my, my to-do list for the day. When really I know pretty much the most important one or two things to do. And one of the, I actually use, there's a guy named Donald Miller. He has a excellent podcast called the Story Brand podcast, you know, regardless of your opinion on, on that particular stuff, he has this really cool day planner that I use. And one of the things that he has on the day planner is if I could do this day over what would I do differently. And the point is to actually do that at the beginning of the day, rather than at the end of the day. So you're kind of predetermining the things that you're going to screw up, like the things you're prone to mess up that you've done in the past and you're fast forwarding and doing like a post-bornum on the day if it fails. Really interesting concept, but I use this time and sometimes I'm sitting there looking at my schedule for the day or I'm looking at my list of to-dos for the day and I'm thinking, well, is this actually worth it? I'll go down a rabbit hole of deciding which things should really make it on the to-do list. And that's totally, it's just another level, it's like a high level of procrastination really. Yeah, no, that's like, I like that acknowledging that you're likely to mess up on things and addressing it before you do so. I like that sort of psychological game there because it's true. I mean, I fall into the same things. I don't see myself as a very disciplined person at all. I'm not, basically, I acknowledge my own lack of discipline and therefore my approach is to say, hey, as long as I have, again, like the evergreen motivation, so I'm going to fall off the wagon. I'm going to post more frequently and less frequently and I'll be motivated or not. But as long as I have this warmth to coming back to the project, then I'll continue getting up. So sort of that, like, you know, I'll come back to the gym because nobody's going to yell at me for being missing and that's why I come back. So I sort of, I'm not whitenuckling it and hoping that I can't, you know, break my streak or something. I say, okay, I'm going, like, let's just pretend, actually another exercise I do is just pretend today you've already been slacking for like a week or a year. Just whenever happened, I mean, it's very likely that there's going to be a point where you do slack for a week or a month or something. So just pretend that's already happened. Do you have the warmth in the project to come back to it? Like do you feel any guilt, you know, and then you can sort of put yourself in that mindset. So I tried to find ways to visualize that scenario happening where, yes, at some point, I will have forgotten or not been anything and let me come back to it and can I kind of work through that? Maybe I have some guilt or something lying around. Okay, let's try to work through that as well. So I think that's a great exercise. Another thing too is for the project itself, yeah, I sort of had this kind of intuitive, kind of hunch or whisper or something in my brain, which is that there's got to be a better way. And so I think seeing the analogies work so well, it basically gave me this, this is the kind of, I guess, I suppose like the iron determination that there, it's almost like a philosophy of life, but I basically believe that pretty much anything can be understood intuitively. There's not, it's not necessarily easy to find that intuition, but there is a way that can, it can make sense. Like I don't think the concept is, it's not supposed to be intellectually only, you're supposed to feel it, you're supposed to understand it as much as you understand a circle. Basically the difference between a circle and parabola, like a parabola can become a circle in terms of understanding. Like there is a way to get it to click to that level. We just haven't, we haven't maybe practiced or found it. That's just sort of an underlying belief. And so I kind of, that drives me in the sense that I know at some point, it might be a year. I mean, I've had intuitions that have taken years. I have like a text file and basically, you know, for each topic and I'll think about it for a little bit or something down, I'll come back to it and maybe, you know, months or a year later, something snaps into place. Oh, that's what's going on and I write it down and then I try to turn it into, basically as soon as I have an aha moment, I try to write it down into an article just because there's a, there's kind of a freshness there and there's an excitement and I'm motivated to write about it. And also I think there's like a genuine, like it's hard to, it's hard to remember what something is like. It's hard to remember what it's like to be confused a long time ago. For example, like, like even learning to read, I can't remember learning to read. I can't remember looking at a letter and not knowing that it's an S or like a W, like, I just can't remember that at all. So it's hard to write, like if I were to write kind of a teaching, you know, teaching kids how to read post, it would be really difficult because I can't empathize with that problem. Right. And so I try to, I try to capture it right when it's happening because I can say, oh, like this thing really bothered me and here's how I fixed it. Right. Yeah. So I think I've really detailed directions going back to our previous discussion about memory. It's like trying to give detailed directions to a place you haven't been to in 10 years and a different city, you know, like, exactly. You know about where it is. You remember it and you remember kind of how you got there. And you know how you would get there now from where you are maybe, but, but trying to tell someone who's in that place really detailed and specific, you know, don't turn left there. That's, you know, the map is wrong or something like that. That's a really hard thing to do. And I tell people this all the time, especially young developers, don't waste the opportunity to teach while you are learning. It is super, super important that you take that opportunity because once you get too far away from that subject, you know, regardless of the subject, whether it's writing letters or writing JavaScript, right? It is JavaScript January, by the way. I thought I'd mention that on Developer Tea, but regardless of what you're learning, whatever you learn, you will be most able to teach directly afterwards. And there is, there are a few minor exceptions. Some teachers gain intuition by being around the people who are learning and seeing the patterns of learning over and over and over. So they can see kind of, kind of stay connected to that, right? But if you, if you walk away from it and you haven't been mirrored for a while and you want to teach it, it's going to be a lot harder to remind yourself the mental disposition of someone who doesn't know what you know now. Exactly. And I think another benefit is that I, I realize this too, I want to learn from somebody who was kind of in my shoes and then overcame it and not someone who was already at an ex, so we kind of look to role models. So let's say, hey, should you, should you take workout tips from like Arnold Schwarzenegger or some bodybuilder? I mean, yeah, they probably have very deep insights, but they are, they're super motivated, they're determined. It's like a life mission. It's like getting basketball tips from Michael Jordan. I mean, his tip is going to be practice eight hours a day or something. You know, it's going to be something like, like, to get to, you know, to get to that level, it's a certain level of performance and things, but maybe that's not where you are. I would rather get basketball tips from like a good high school player who plays a few times a week and, you know, hey, what's worked? Because they're kind of more in my environment and they're your next step up, right? They're my next step exactly. And so even for workouts, like, hey, getting in shape, let me get tips from somebody who was in, started where I was and what worked for them versus someone who maybe was already interested in fitness your entire life. And so it's like the tip is to, you know, start when you're five years old or something. You know, there's a lot of empathy that comes from that. And so my, my, my approach to writing is, hey, I'm writing for sort of a curious person who's willing to learn. I'm not trying to, you know, if someone doesn't like not at all, I'm not going to try to, you know, convince them that they need to like it. But for someone who's reasonably interested, it's like, hey, okay, there's an intuition here that we can go through and let's walk through it together. So you sort of, you know, you have an audience wherever you're starting from, there's an audience of people that are in similar shoes to you. And you can relate to them much, much better than the ideal professional could. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Well, I mean, it's like installing a 300 horsepower engine on a scooter, right? Like, it's exactly not going to work. It was never intended for that. If you want a faster scooter, that's not the route to go. You don't aspire to become something overnight. You aspire to become something through progressive, progressive steps. And yeah, there are times where you make major jumps. Those aha moments, maybe those, those particular times, maybe that jumps you up a little bit more than, you know, one small step might. But certainly the idea of progression and patience. And in the learning process, you know, your brain can only move so quickly, right? Especially as you get older, your brain becomes less pliable, et cetera, et cetera. Hopefully we have all done enough thinking about this at this point. And those of you who have listened to the developer, we talked about that. The plasticity of your brain over time, it's harder to learn new information when you've already coded information into your brain for so long, right? But still is certainly possible and becomes more pliable as you engage in learning actively. So one of the reasons why I recommend constantly learning is to keep your brain pliable, to keep yourself moldable. It's kind of another tangent there. But yeah, stair stepping your progress and stair stepping your expertise. You're looking to jump from zero blogging to white paper level quality info. Like that's probably not going to be an overnight process for you. Exactly. And I think there's a sphere that, oh, you know, I'll waste time if I don't, you know, I should do what Michael Jordan did because he is at the end point and I just want to get the direct path. But I'm, again, I'm personally okay to zigzag a little bit. Like, yeah, I get the advice from the high school, the good high school player. Yeah, it's not the best, but, you know, I get better and then maybe if I get to that level, then the good college player and then, okay, maybe then like a European league NBA player, then, you know, the American, like if you're going that on that path and for a lot of things, like it might sound like, oh, that's suboptimal because you could just try to follow the NBA advice on day one. But again, there's this motivational element, right? So if the payoff to getting better on Michael Jordan's plan is 20 years or 15 years, it's going to be really hard to say, motivate. But like, but the high school player, maybe there's something that he can give you that will make you better that week for your record game. And then so like it's, you know, there's all these other elements. And so that's kind of the global variable that we don't see is that there's this motivation element, which might be based on how quickly you're seeing progress and so on. So the Michael Jordan path might work if you are that determined. But for most of us, you know, if you, like I acknowledge my own limited motivation. So then I say, okay, well, given that I'm a, you know, just a human being with limited motivation on a machine, what path can I take that's going to keep my motivation high? And having, even if it zigzags a little bit, as long as it's fairly enjoyable, I don't mind taking a little bit longer. So better explained in the post I read about this too. I had some thoughts previously and I kind of worked through these around. Oh, for like a blog. I mean, it wasn't really ever, I didn't start it intending to become a business. It was really just kind of a creative expression or looking out for that. But then over time, it started turning more into a business as well. But they say, okay, it's been around for 10 years. Like shouldn't it, like shouldn't I be a bazillionaire by now? Like huge projects, right? But like I don't, I mean, maybe, maybe I could have pushed myself harder, maybe, but I kept my motivation and I feel like I want to do this pretty much for the rest of my life. So that outcome of having a like a lifeline learning project, like I, I can't really argue with that. I say, okay, is that a bad thing? I don't know. For me, like I'm pretty happy. Like it maybe it could have been faster, but I don't, I don't really worry about that too much. And so it's sort of, yeah, maybe you take advice from the high school basketball player and maybe you could have gone a little bit faster if you'd followed different advice. But if you were motivated the entire time and if your goal is to have lifelong learning, like, like in my goal, in my case, it is, like I don't want to risk burning out or getting discouraged because that stops the whole process. So I'm trying to keep, you know, keep them momentum up. So sure, maybe it takes a few extra years compared to going super, you know, white nucleate and going really deep into it. But okay, if it takes a few extra years to make it into whatever it can become, that's okay for me. Like I don't, I'm not, you know, beat it myself up about that kind of thing. It falls right in line with the philosophy I've talked about it on the show before, but building small things, right? One of the best paths to learning, I talked about this with West Boss as well, is the small chunks, right? You do something for a day or for two days even and build a small project with whatever thing you're trying to learn or really dive into one particular thing for one day. And what you get is this like this super fast feedback. Like if somebody can hook me going back to the basketball analogy, if somebody can hook me in by saying, hey, in 30 minutes, you will have a better shot. Like you're going to be able to, you will have a better form for shooting free throws in 30 minutes. Nothing else about the game. You're not trying to, you know, figure out the business of the NBA. You're just focusing on this one minor thing, but the payoff is immediate, right? So that feeding right back into the motivation, because very few people get motivated by really large long running projects. And it's not that large long running projects are a bad thing, but rather that most of the time those projects succeed when they're made up of a ton of tiny, you know, smaller projects. Incredibly important, I think, to maintain that motivation by having consistent and regular wins. Exactly. Yeah, taking small steps. And I think I subconsciously fell into this just because blog posts tend to be just by their nature, you know, like I think my average post is like 1,300 words or something. So it's not gigantic. So I think just knowing that that was the size of the thing I needed to make and made it more approachable versus trying to say, okay, I'm going to write like essays or white papers or like giant reports or something. It's just, oh, I think there's a quick blog post. And at the same time, there's this huge kind of Pareto effect where 1,300 word blog post can convey so much intuition compared to, you know, like the, or even 500, I mean, I think my most popular post is like 1,000 words or something. And it's on combinations versus permutations. So like ordering lists and things and that kind of think about that. And it was just kind of a quick, it was a quick throwaway post in my mind. Like when I wrote it, it was like a half a day or something and it's kind of had an intuition and wrote it down. And now it's my most popular post. It's like 10% of all my traffic is just that one post. And it wasn't trying to be a big thing. It wasn't this big, huge lesson on the ins and outs. It's just, oh, here's a little intuition and boom, like it just sort of hits. So I think you're sort of also when you let yourself have these small projects, you're kind of, you know, buying more lottery tickets, so to speak. So that's another kind of aha moment is especially with evergreen content. It always has a chance to be useful. So you know, you write something yet 2007 and then it's still useful today. So I have one of the three or four post that is in 2015. One of them eventually became a top five post. So it was on cross products, which is kind of like a way to manipulate vectors. And so it ended up just being a popular post. When it was, when I wrote it, it wasn't very popular. But then a year later it became really popular and now it's like a top five post. And so it's one of those small little things that I didn't know ahead of time would be popular, but with enough at bats, with enough lottery tickets, one of them will hit eventually. And so you sort of just have that gentle process of just keeping, you know, keeping that momentum up. And again, that's kind of my, I keep saying it, but my long term goal is not to have an individual post burn me out or anything because it's not worth it. I just want to keep the process going where I always feel like I can make a new post post. Yeah. Yeah. That's, that's so good. I do the same thing with Developer Tea. Obviously I have three episodes per week rather than one episode every two or three weeks. And the idea is that, you know, these smaller chunks of content, smaller projects, obviously I'm a big fan. But buying, buying a lottery ticket, I love that analogy because you never know what thing that you will say or there's always, you know, random quotes that are tweeted that were said on Developer Teaeither by me or by a guest. And I never, in that moment planned, like it was an a master plan of this is the one tweet or this is the one quote that's going to make it, you know, to the top of, you know, that's not the, that's not the plan. And usually people who do that, unfortunately are sorely disappointed that it didn't get as popular as they wanted it to. So instead, I say things or I compose episodes around an idea that I think is valuable enough for me to keep track of. It's almost like a journal in that way. And I would imagine that you would say something similar about better explain that you, you, and you even said this about at the beginning of our interview about going back and listening to Developer Tea. There's episodes of Developer Teathat I've totally forgotten altogether. I probably will do a duplicate episode with very similar ideals or very similar points because there's episodes of the show that I've done that I've actually just totally forgotten that I did. And that's the way the human brain works. We're intended to forget, but having that, having that constant output, that constant small piece is like throwing out a big wide net and seeing what you can catch. Exactly. And yeah, I mean, I've essentially write things down because I know I'm going to forget them. It's kind of funny, so many parts of the site are just me acknowledging my myriad limitations and saying, okay, how can I, how can I work with these? Like I, I guess I've turned into a pragmatist, like instead of hoping that I'll be super disciplined every day, it's like, okay, I know I'm not going to be disciplined sometimes. So how can they be gentle enough with myself that I will come back when I inevitably stray? Okay. Cool. And then I'm going to forget things. So how can I write something down in a very clear, friendly manner that I want to read my own writing? Like, I, you sort of, I'm trying to make things, I mean, I guess it's, I don't know if it's selfish, but it's really just like, hey, like this is, you know, a collo, this trying to educate collo, basically because I know I'm going to forget. So, sort of acknowledging that reality, I think if you're looking for, and this kind of comes down to those worryiness and goodness goals and things like, if you're looking for validation, then that's kind of this external factor, which might influence, I think people might say, oh, I, I can't make a small poster, a small program or something because it's not good enough. And it's like, well, that means the real reason you're making it is not just to explore, but it's because you're looking for validation. And that's a deeper issue. And you know, there's all sorts of things that might underline that, but at least even acknowledging it might help resolve a little bit. So you sort of separate yourself from the work where you're just exploring and you're, you know, looking into things and you're curious and you're not doing it to kind of get something else out of it directly. And I think there's a kind of gentleness. I mean, I, for better explained, I didn't start it to make it a business or something, but it's done better in that regard than things that I had started to make businesses. So it's kind of as weird. It's, oh, it's, it's a paradox where by not trying to make it into something big, you have a better chance of actually becoming bigger. Yeah, that is a paradox. So it's a very interesting paradox, actually. Yeah. And like, you can't fool yourself. You can't say, oh, I'm just going to pretend to not care, but I really do care. It's like, no, I'm just putting it out there just because I'm just having fun with it. And I think there's kind of, there's something that shines through in a lot of work when, like you can sort of tell, right, with like music or art or anything. If somebody was just having an enjoyable time, there's something, it's, there's something communicated there, which I think draws people in when they see it. And, but you can't, you know, if you're doing it for that purpose to, you're trying to make something just to draw people in, I think people sort of see through that. Yeah, people are very good at decoding. This is something I read and how to win friends and influence people of all things. Great book, if you haven't read it, go get it. It's free, probably online somewhere. Fantastic, fantastic book. But one of the things they talk about is, you know, if you're trying to forge relationships for the sake of yourself, people will see it. You can't, you know, you can't use a device of genuineness without being genuine. You can't send an email to a client for the sake of your own gain without them noticing how bizarre it feels, right? There's something off there. And there's some level of human intuition where we can pick up on that manipulation. So give people more credit than, than you are giving them. If you are doing that now, give people more credit and I would say, you know, take some time to really consider is what I'm doing actually genuine. It's kind of a weird value to determine, but am I actually doing this because I care about, for example, Developer Tea, do I, am I actually doing this because I want Developer To quote unquote, level up in their career? If I heard that from someone else, my immediate reaction would be, oh, is that really what you're doing? Yeah, it really is what I'm doing. It's why there's like 350 episodes of Developer Teathat are totally free and you never have to, you know, I'm not going to belabor the point of how much I'm giving away. That's not the point here. The point is if you want to be motivated by something and if you want to, if you want to actually capture people's attention, genuineness isn't, isn't an option that's required. Exactly, and I think it's required from having people believe in, you know, in your mission or what you're doing, but also even just for your own health, not sanity, but exactly. Like it's really, I don't know. I think that's one thing I've learned over time too. Like I have to be honest with myself about what's working, what's not working, what I'm excited about or not. So, for example, one thing I also struggle with a little bit is that, you know, like you read math books. If somebody were to tell you, okay, make a math lesson on some concept, you know, most of us would say, well, okay, the average textbook, we sort of, we list the definition and then there's like a theorem and a proof and maybe some practice problems. But I just had to admit to myself that isn't like, maybe it's just me, but that's not that interesting to me and I don't feel like I really learn it properly that way. Like what's, where's the analogy? Where's the diagram? Where's the plain English version of it? Like I have all these things that I need. And so I had to be kind of authentic to myself and say, hey, if I'm going to be true to myself, I need to include these things. And maybe it doesn't look professional. Maybe I have for one of my posts, it's on the gradient, which is like this, yeah, it's kind of a vector concept of like moving to like the best location. And so I had this analogy of you have the Pillsbury doleboy in a microwave and you want to heat him up. So like you're moving around the microwave. And it's this kind of funny, weird analogy. But it's like, for whatever reason that one just came to me and it's like, I said, I'm going to go with it. And to say, oh, you have a spaceship and you're trying to move through the atmosphere and Mac, no, like that just didn't do it for me. So I had some funny little analogy that I thought of and I just had to be honest with myself. So I think for your own, for your own works sake, it comes out better, I think when you acknowledge what's working or not and when you're, yeah, that's a serity with yourself. Yeah, this is something I struggle with with Developer Teato be honest. A moment of vulnerability. Because some of the values that I hold and some of the ways that I would argue in person are different than the ways that I would talk on Developer Tea. So in some ways it's constructed and I had to be a little bit more careful with how I speak to listeners on the show. But that's also a function of knowing who you're speaking to. I don't think that I'm constructing it in order to manipulate people as much as I am constructing in order to communicate well. And there's a big difference. I genuinely want to communicate well and I genuinely want to do, you know, to accomplish the things I'm trying to accomplish. And so, you know, there's a big difference between just being, quote, yourself, right? And then being genuine. I can modify the way that I would speak to you, you know, my diction is a little bit more clear when I'm talking on microphone for this podcast than it would be if I was just out with friends. And so I think there's an important fact to bring out here because a lot of listeners to the show, you've probably listened for long enough to remember, we talked about branding and how important having a brand for yourself can be. And a lot of people encode that idea of having your own brand or of marketing yourself as disingenuous, right? As that is actually not genuine. But that's not true. And composing yourself in a particular way for the sake of doing something genuine, that can be just as genuine as you lighting, you know, lighting loose all your faults, right? Exactly. And I think being yourself doesn't mean that you don't acknowledge the background and so on of the other person. So if I'm talking, you know, to my parents or to a friend or to a younger person, I mean, who might, you know, who I am, is not that as different, but I might present myself a little bit differently just because I know the relationship and, you know, there might be a comfort level or like you said, when you're speaking, you know, on a podcast, maybe you're more clear with your diction or you're pacing and so on. And it's not that you're not yourself. It's just that you're trying to empathize with your audience so you can connect with them, you know, in a better way. And so that's, to me, that's a genuine expression of interest and it's not trying to, you know, bamboozle them with some kind of technique or something. It's just that, oh, I'll talk more clearly because it'll be easier to understand. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah, that's very good. And then it's a really good way of thinking about personal brands is my brand is intended to show you that I'm empathizing with you, right? Or to be an expression of empathy, right? To make me more accessible to where you are rather than being this like enigma of a figure that's really hard to get in touch with. Exactly. Today's episode is sponsored by Headspace. If you don't know what Headspace is, let me set up this scenario for you. Everything that we do, everything that we engage in, we need to practice. Many different ways to practice any given thing, but everything that we want to be better at, we have to practice at it. And one of those things that we all as developers really should aspire to become better at is the practice of focus. We need focus in our lives and we need mental clarity in our lives to be able to produce the best work to solve difficult problems and to reduce the distractions around us, right? These are things that are not really, they aren't really optional for the average developer. We can't allow ourselves to be distracted and also expect to level up in our careers. Now, as I said, there are many ways to practice just about any given thing, right? You can practice focus by actually going through your day and then evaluating how well you focus. That's kind of a passive way of practicing focus. An active way of practicing focus would be something like meditation. And that's exactly who our sponsor is today. It's an application that makes meditation simple. This is a iPhone or an Android app. You can find it in the App Store and you can try it for free. It's Headspace, right? Headspace is sponsoring today's episode. And they are also a company that is growing incredibly fast. They have over 10 million downloads worldwide. This concept of meditation is taking hold. There are plenty of people who are benefiting from it and then sharing their stories. And it crosses over, you know, the boundaries of different cultural norms. It crosses over belief boundaries. So if you haven't tried meditation, I would highly recommend this, especially as someone who uses your mind each and every day. Your mind very much so needs something like meditation to work properly. So go and check it out. I've used Headspace for over a year on and off. I'm not super great at my meditation practice. I'll be honest with you. Every time that I feel unbalanced or I feel like I need a little bit of clarity, I need to have a jolt of inspiration. Usually the first thing that I go to is meditation. And the first thing that I think about when I think about meditation is Headspace without fail. So they are building world class engineering team, as I said before, with teams based in San Francisco and in Los Angeles. So if you're interested in joining a company that's working to improve the health and the happiness of the world, not just a small group of people, but everyone in the world can benefit from meditation. You should apply. You can go to headspace.com slash join dash us. Of course, that link will be in the show notes. You can go to directly to spec.fm slash headspace all one word to go directly to that job page. Thank you again so much to Headspace for sponsoring today's episode of Developer Tea. Okay, so all of this to say, we've come to a close here. Developer tea is supposed to be short, but these interviews when they go this well, it's so hard to cut things short. So hopefully, hopefully people have listened all the way through the end of this one. This might be one of the first interviews to go to three parts by the way. Oh, that'd be great. We'll see. So, two things, one, if you could go back and redo one thing that you did along the way with better explain. If there was some like a turn you took or a decision you made or something that you maybe a bad habit, you picked up along the way that you sense had to remove from your every day, what would you do differently if you could? Oh, good question. I guess the two things from a practical point of view, I wish I started my email newsletter sooner. So, just from the mechanics of running a site or business, so when I started the site, I had an RSS feed and that's how I had subscribers. Of course, RSS kind of like Google, they shut down Google readers and so on. So RSS sort of died in the mid or late 2000s. Then suddenly, you're trying to scramble to get your readers connection back. So then I started an email list I think in 2013 and so that's been going really well. Email I think is one of the most long lived forms of keeping in touch with people. So I'm hoping that method will last for a long time. So I wish that I had started with the more permanent system or at least a system that wouldn't be at the mercy of kind of external technologies as much. And so that's one thing I do fear about Facebook and Twitter and so on is that you're kind of, you're sort of a sharecropper on their land and they kind of control the connection to your audience. So if they decide to charge you or if they shut down or if they changed their plans, suddenly you have to rebuild your audience again. So I thankfully, I'm actually glad in a way that Google shut down Google reader because it kind of forced me to realize that needed that versus going for two decades and then having a shutdown. So that would have been maybe kind of from a tactical point of view what I would have done differently. And then I guess from a personal sort of approach, I think it's hard to say, like I'm not really a big fan of regrets. So to speak just because I think everything shapes you. And so for me, for example, the frustration of my first math class, do I regret that? I did at the time. I hated being in that class. But looking back, that class made me start better explained. I think if I had a normal class, you know, so yeah, it's hard to say like a problem or something that a mistake. I mean, maybe it pushed you to push you in a direction to fix it. And without knowing about the problem, you never would have fixed it. So me realizing that I wasn't learning in a way that was effective, it was only highlighted by having a really ineffective class. So it's sort of, there's kind of an ebb and flow there. But I do wish, and this is something I still work on is, yeah, giving myself permission for those small steps. I think I'm much better at it, allowing myself to make these small little changes. And it comes down to that separation of the work from your value, you know, your worth or whatever emotional attachment you're putting to it. I think it would have been helpful to have separated that earlier. But at least I feel like I'm on the path of that now. So I still have dozens or maybe hundreds of half finished drafts that I feel like aren't ready or I need to do something to fix them. And then I kind of know though that it would still be useful. If somebody is trying to learn about this topic, whatever draft I have would still be useful. I think there's an intuition there. Maybe it's not as polished as I could make it, but it still will be helpful. So I'm still trying to give myself that permission and sort of separate that kind of the work, you know, from the process. So that's, it's an ongoing thing and I think I'm thankful. I've made a lot of progress. But I suppose if I could have worked in that earlier, that would have been helpful. Yeah, that makes sense. And really good answers because I do agree that the things that you, that you go through the negative experiences or what is, you know, what in our minds may be negative experiences. They are certainly usually instrumental in shaping us, particularly the very negative, like the spikes in either direction are instrumental in shaping us because we respond to those things more often than not. And so a lot of the time, you know, for example, some of my kind of retrospective perspective on Developer Tea is a result of me having gone through a bunch of frustration too, right? Me encountering a lot of that imposter syndrome and feeling like I was being, you know, disingenuous by applying for jobs in this field. And I just didn't, I didn't want other people to feel that. So yeah, absolutely. I'm with you. 100%. I agree that our pain and our mistakes, you know, it's not the best idea to look at those and try to reduce them as much as it is to simply learn from them in one way or another. So very, very good stuff. The other question, you know, I'm not going to ask you the two questions that I always ask my guests on Developer Teabecause I asked you the first time you were on the show. So these are the, these are the two questions I've replaced it with. The first one was if you could go back to the beginning, what would you change? The second one is you're looking to the future now for better explained. What do you see kind of emerging into the future? Is it going to be, you know, basically remaining in the same, in the same field, but with more insights? Are you going to change the way you're doing things, new formats, anything like that? Oh, great question. Let's see. I'm, I've had a few longstanding dreams, I suppose, where I think for what are, and this is again, one of those things where I've kind of made attempts and starts and it hasn't quite been the way that I like. So I kind of keep working on it. But one project that I would like to make is sort of an intuitive Wikipedia or essentially kind of a glossary. So Wikipedia is meant to be a reference. Like you go to a topic and you're just going to get a bunch of details and it's, it's factual and correct, but it's not necessarily meant for a beginner. And so what I would love is for any topic, it math, it could be programming. I mean, practically speaking, that's what I know the best. So that's probably where we would start. But essentially saying, okay, I want to learn about a measuring numbers. What's like a best diagram on that? What's the best analogy? What's a really good example? What's a plain English, you know, two sentence description? And finally, what's like a succinct technical description? So basically having kind of the intuitive glossary version of pretty much any topic that you feel like you could just quickly look up. So I think it's kind of funny. Dictionaries have failed us because I would never look up a measuring numbers in dictionary to learn about them. Because it's another black hole, right? It's another black hole and it's like a dictionary, the point of a dictionary or maybe a glossary or something is to say, you don't know a concept, you look up in dictionary and then you learn it. Like isn't that the goal of a dictionary to teach you about something that, but we know that for a lot of concepts, it's not going to work. Like if I look up the color red in a dictionary, it's not going to work. And why is that? Well, it's not in color. And it's just kind of ridiculous. We just know you don't look up red in a dictionary and I'm kind of thinking, well, why not? Why couldn't they have a diagram? Why couldn't they just add things beyond text? And so the advantage of dictionary is that you know it's succinct. Like at least I know if it's a word, I can get a definition in like a sentence or something. And so why don't we have that for math? It's not trying to teach you. A dictionary is not trying to teach you about the history of red and the meaning and all of that. It's just, here's what it is in three seconds. Here's something useful about it. And so I feel like Wikipedia doesn't really, it's not aiming for that. And just a lot of sites aren't trying to help people get that really quick intuition. And so that's my, I suppose, philosophy of the world is that there is something really quick, really useful that we can share about something and we're not going to be experts, but it'll make us enjoy it a lot more. And by the time we do read the Wikipedia article, we at least have a frame of mind where we can understand it a lot better versus just starting from scratch. So it's almost like the serious version of something like urban dictionary, right? Where you get like the cultural and the multiple definitions with better examples and there's more context and it's like a smarter, it actually assumes that you're intending to use the information rather than like a one to one, right? With the color red, if you look up red in the dictionary, it would say a color, like a color that you would find on a stop. I mean, I don't even know that they could do that. A color of the most common color for roses or something like that, right? Whereas with what you're talking about, you could use it to say, okay, red typically is used to evoke these things. Here are some particularly important uses of red. For example, stop signs or red may also evoke these emotions. It may evoke a sense of caution or a sense of emergency. And all of those things put together are so much more informative, but it's kind of that gap between an encyclopedia and a dictionary, right? Where the dictionary is way too prescriptive, but an encyclopedia talks about history and it, you know, what you're saying is very true that Wikipedia just doesn't, it's not where I go to gain an intuition, right? I'm not going there to, I'm going there to learn about the etymology of something or to learn about, you know, how, what its place in history was, not about how I would use it today. Exactly. Yeah, it's a kind of comprehend, and I can't, I haven't really put my finger on how to describe that, but it's sort of, yeah, kind of an intuitive dictionary or something that's just trying to, I imagine, I have all these little scenarios in my head, but imagine that you had a 30 second phone call with yourself before the start of a class. So you could go back in time and you could call yourself and say, Hey, you know, Hey, young Jonathan, before you start this math class, here's 30 seconds. So what would you say in 30 seconds before starting a certain math class? Like you're not going to say, Oh, the way to do, you would just say, Hey, think of it like this. And here's the key intuition and, and you know, visualize this and imagine a mountain or something or imagine the pills redoboid. Like I would be talking about analogies and metaphors. And I'm trying to think of what's the high value really like dream 30 second introduction to something. Man, that's really cool. Yeah, it's just like, what could I do with 30 seconds? And I wouldn't, I would say, Hey, look at it, you know, go to Wikipedia afterwards, but right now, just think about this. Yeah. And this will help you. And I feel like there, there's kind of a gap there. So yeah, I've been ruminating a little bit on, on how to just make something like that simple and, and ideally, you know, collaborative and, and voteable and things, but not have it turned. Like I'd rather have, I don't want it to be like one problem with Wikipedia is that inevitably it just grows. Like every article will just get more and more details and then you have this giant thing. And so I might even say it's almost like a Twitter style restriction where every topic can be no longer than some, some amount or something. And it's really just to kind of distill it down into, you know, don't, um, brevity is a virtue in a lot of cases. So, you know, don't let brevity fall by the wayside for the sake of completeness. Just, just, let's get it across as quickly as we can. So something we talked about on our last interview and something that everyone, everyone at least needs to go to better explain and look at college explanation of this. Um, but you can also go and listen to that interview as well. They're, they're, they're adept model. Um, I think it would be really interesting to see you weave that into this platform, whatever the platform ends up being and say, okay, these are the areas that you can explain through, right? This, so using adept and at the bottom, you would have a very short technical description. But, uh, with the top being, hey, like most of this content is going to be intuition building, right? And, and hopefully having some level of, of, uh, completeness or, or, uh, uniformity between one thing and another, I think using that adept model could be an interesting opportunity for that. Thanks. Exactly. And that's one thing I was hoping to build in is basically for any topic, what is the best analogy or like the highest voter analogy, highest voter diagram? Like, like, shouldn't there be a diagram, like, like every math concept, shouldn't there be a diagram for that? Like, isn't it weird? Like, shouldn't there be like for everything? Like, for everything, like, every single, I mean, like 99% of the time I see the, the, uh, formalized formula, notation formula for a math concept and then way down the page, I see a picture. And I'm like, the picture is what I wanted to see first. Like, right. Exactly. Yeah. And just to understand the form, exactly. And so the, the same thing, like an example, shouldn't there be one, like really good example for every concept, like a real, and ideally real world sometimes it's not possible with math, but just like what's like the best example? So for example, uh, information theory, you know, we talked about the highway system. Information theory is the, the field of logic or math that deals with, you know, utilizing information in the most compact way. That's very, it's very technical. Hey, you know, you know how the highways have a pattern in the numbers? That's kind of what we're talking about. And suddenly that is a super familiar system or ISBNs or something. Like there, there might be some example that we can draw on. That's really common to people or an analogy, like something else. So I feel like why doesn't every, I kind of have this mental checklist, which is a topic that I'm trying to convey. I should, I should give you these five things, like an example diagram, um, all these things, that way you at least have some hope of understanding it. And so exactly I'd love to have maybe each topic as a checklist and each item is, like, like, you know, like the top, the top thing in each item is, is what you see and then you could expand it out and people can vote on the other ones. Like I would love to have, you know, I'm getting really excited, but I'm trying to think of some way to do this and not, I don't want to over-engineer it. I want to make it pretty simple, but making it easy to collect the best examples, diagrams, everything for a topic and then you sort of get this urban dictionary from math, so to speak. Yeah, absolutely. Being able to look through multiple examples or multiple diagrams would be hugely. I mean, that's what I use Google image search for the most probably is, it's figuring out like, what is the shape of this problem? What is the shape of this solution? You know, how does, for example, with JavaScript, since once again, going back to JavaScript January, understanding how React and Flux work. You know, you hear these buzzwords in the development industry and you hear that it's going to change your life, it's going to make everything better, but to really understand how it's going to change your life and make everything better, you have to go and learn, you know, for three days and use the thing before you ever even see how it's going to, you know, make things better. Now, developers have gotten better and better at this, showing things and giving videos and talks and there is more content out there that shows that stuff a little bit more upfront and there's demos and that kind of stuff. But a lot of the time, you know, when I'm at the very beginning of learning React and Flux, I had to go and watch like five or 10, 20 minute videos before I really understood what was going on. Now, I could get the basics of it, but how it changed the way that I was doing things already or how it made things better, that was hard to get an intuition for until I started using it. So, I think this is such an interesting concept because visually seeing the data flow, for example, for React, where is data coming from, where is it going and, you know, knowing how that changes with Flux was a big moment. Exactly. And I do the Google Image trick myself when I'm trying to learn something. I usually, I'll look at the Google images before the regular web search results, like the Fourier transform. Yeah. Yeah, you know, it's like, you're going to get some web results and you'll see the formula bits, where is it used? And suddenly, you see all these pictures, like audio signals and maybe like you see all these waveforms and you sort of get an intuition really quickly that something's going on with these patterns and these cycles and sometimes there's little interactive applets and things. And I'll try to play with that first before, yeah, I mean, we know, I let's use the color red example just because it's so visceral. Like we know that if you're going to show somebody or somebody's curious about red, like an alien asks you, what is red, you're going to show them an image. You're not going to go to Wikipedia and read them the description of the wavelength or whatever. So we just know that red is something that you need to experience. And to me, it's, well, math isn't that different. Like math is just, it's another thing that you can actually experience. Like you can describe it and we can get super technical and we can talk about the history and all this stuff. But there's still a kind of experience element to it. And I think all of that historical stuff, it's a little bit more easily appreciated once you have an experience. So suddenly, you experience it first and then you go to the technical and then you understand a little bit better. Yeah. Definitely. I think, you know, with math, not to belabor the point, but because it can be expressed in technical terms and because it is taught in technical terms, we tend to want to explain it once again in technical terms rather than showing it, right? And colors are not taught in technical terms. That's, it's almost like we learn those correctly, right? Like we learn those as children. We learn those with toys, you know, it's a yellow duck. Like we learn that from a very young age. And then later on, you know, only when it's really necessary, do we actually get the formalized introduction to different wavelengths, right? And colors that we, like you were saying, fuchsia, colors we can't see, way down the road, figuring out, okay, what are the properties here that I could use with colors that I didn't know before? Without the intuition, the experience, learning the basic what is read, well, that happens with a much simpler, to your earlier point, everything can be simplified to an intuitive level. I think colors are really massively complex topic that we teach children that barely know how to talk yet. And it's, you know, we understand colors from a very young age. So what can we do with math or what can we do with programming or with information theory or even language? What can we do with these things to make them more accessible at an intuitive level first as a very, very interesting discussion? I think it's the future of education, to be honest with you. Yeah. And actually, you just, the way you're describing it, it made me just have a little aha myself is that I think the reason why colors and touch and sight, you know, like music, you don't, you can analyze music, but you can appreciate it directly. And colors, you see them and then, you know, texture, you feel it and a lot of, you know, activities, like you feel them physically. And I think it's essentially because they're tied directly to one of our senses. So we have, you know, sight sound, hearing, taste, everything. And it's almost impossible not to experience it. Like you can conceptualize a color, but it's really difficult to not see it. Like somebody shows you a red ball, you're going to see the red and there's kind of a wordless experience that's happening before you even start talking about it. But the problem is with math and a lot of other concepts is that we only have this kind of mental experience. It's not like a physical sense that is kind of like directly here. And so in some ways, our words and all these things get in the way. Like we, we're not directly experiencing them. We're sort of covering them with like this level of words and extra analysis and thought. And so that kind of gets in the way. But I think there is kind of a way to taste math, sort of speaking. That's kind of what I, like that's sort of what's happening. I mean, at least that's what happened to me when I, when I visualized it. And I think when you visualize math, that's happening, you're kind of experiencing it wordlessly. Like you're sort of seeing something happen, but you're not putting all these descriptions on it. You're just kind of, whoa, like something cool is happening here. And I think that is maybe what I mean by an intuition is that you're along with the description that is there and it's true. You also had the flavor come through, which is kind of inexpressible, but it's giving you this understanding, which makes the, the technical description so much more vivid. So I think that might be it so that like our senses are directly wired to our brain so we can't help but experience it. But with math, we have to kind of learn how to experience it. Well, it's very interesting that you mentioned that because I think, you know, in the same way that we experience different senses, different ways and what you were talking about earlier with the dictionary and trying to describe red, it's very difficult to put that into, you know, words. Part of this is because all of our formalization and all of our descriptions and numbers themselves really, the letter form of a number, all of these things are just symbolic, right? They're, they're abstractions of the underlying reality. This is getting metaphysical really fast, but the description of something is not the same as that thing. And so when you start trying to describe something to another person, you have a large, a large gap to make up that otherwise, you know, if you, if you go down to the lower level of the abstraction a lot of times, you're going to learn the underlying concept better faster, right? The idea of, of binary or of, of, you know, creating a system of binary switches and structures and that's how a computer works, right? If you, if you give a child a, a railway set, then they have a way of making the train go to different places, right? And if, if they combine multiple switches for the train, then the train can end up, you know, going on many different unique paths depending on how you change the switches around. And having that kind of, that level of intuition and then you can say, hey, you know what, binary is kind of like, kind of like that train set you had. When you combine multiple true false statements together, you can come up with really complex and really powerful structures that power, you know, many other things, right? So, and then you can use that to abstract into different areas and all of these things can happen because of that one single idea of the switch. If we could gain that level of intuition for everything we learn, I think we would learn a little bit better more completely. Exactly. No, and that reminds me too that a lot of the times the words kind of keep us in a box, to some extent where we have one interpretation of something. Yeah. And suddenly we think that, you know, X means Y, like a circle means round. It's like, well, it also means symmetry. Yeah. It means constant rotation. It means, you know, it's, it's an infinitely cited polygon. It means there's, you know, 50 interpretations of a circle. And so sometimes those words and descriptions that we use are basically just like, there are a, a property, but not all the properties. And so that's kind of part of learning as well as that I keep myself, like I'm, I'm constantly willing to be surprised by very simple things like addition and counting. And I think actually in computer science, especially one of the hardest things is counting, like combinatorics, like how many possibilities emerge when we have these circumstances? It's so difficult, like there's so many ways to consider this and this. And so it's funny counting in a lot of ways can be some of the most difficult parts of math. And it's just that we have this great school association with counting. So we think it's so, you know, simple. And there's a lot of kind of weird corner cases and things. So I've kind of learned to, yeah, not, not be too, you know, tied to any specific interpretation and say, okay, this is my, like, college 2017. This is what college 2017 thinks about circles. And then in 10 years, who know, like, I mean, I'll probably look very naive. And it's okay. Like I missed this property that's super fundamental. And so I think having that willingness, and again, it's about not taking things personally, like not seeing all the elements of a concept doesn't mean anything. It doesn't mean anything about you. It just means that you had a certain interpretation. That's what you were taught. You know, you stumbled upon a new interpretation. And it's maybe it's more useful. But you don't have to feel bad or, you know, bad about yourself that you didn't see all the big picture in the beginning. Yeah. Yeah. I think anybody who's listening to this, if you are not inspired to go learn something new today, then maybe, maybe you won't be inspired today to learn anything. There, if you are interested in hearing more from Colin, obviously betterxplain.com. The email sign up is right on that front page, isn't it? It is. Yep. And on each poster's a little after the post thing. I don't do the annoying, like, over, oh gosh, those things killed me. This full screen overlay. Oh, yeah. Like, hey, you know, especially when you're reading an article, you haven't even read it yet. And they're like, oh my gosh, no, that thing kills me. So basically, yeah, the homepage or just after an article. I went to Twitter to complain about one of these recently. And then I remembered that I tweeted that I'm only going to use my Twitter account. It's a challenge to only use my Twitter account to encourage, to teach and to inspire people. So no complaining on Twitter anymore for me. But I was going to complain about these nag pop-ups. And I'm sure there's a lot of people who are listening right now who have gotten great conversion rates from these things. I'm, you know, no shame on you or anything. But I personally would not ever implement a nag screen that says, no, I do not want to make more money. Or the guilt nag. Oh, yeah. It's like this false dichotomy thing that they're playing off of. And you have to click the no, no, I don't want to get smarter. It's like, yeah, yeah, yeah, no, I want to stay in the ignorant cave and not, yeah, or something. Oh my gosh. No, I mean, I think in certain circumstances, I know they're effective in a lot of ways. But my goal is to, I mean, I'm my own reader, you know, so I often read my own article. So like I don't want to be blocked from reading my own stuff with like a pop-up or whatever. And so I'm not going to do some special, like, oh, only college gets to see the normal version of the site or something. It's, I just try to make something that would be okay for me. And I'm okay if it takes, if it's slower, slightly slower, then it would take otherwise. It's okay. I mean, again, I'm planning this for decades. So let's say it takes, it takes an extra two years because I didn't harass people. Okay, fine. You know, like it's not, to me, it's not a big problem. I feel like it was, it was earned more that way in a way. Yeah, I mean, there's that, I guess, and also just I, I think I have my philosophy. And again, everybody's got different styles and things. But so far, I've been trying to follow my intuition about what I should be doing. And so my intuition is probably wrong in a lot of things. I'm sure about business. I'm not some ex, like I'm learning a lot of business and marketing and, you know, sales and all these things. I'm learning it on my own too. But I'm just, I'm just trying to follow my kind of good intuitions. And so one of them is that I'm trying to empathize with people and just treat people as I would want to be treated. So how would you want something explained? If you can't read an article, how would you want to be presented? If I was to ask for your email address, how would I do that? You know, so, like, I'm just trying to think for myself, like I'm imagining, you know, every reader is another college. And so how would college be called? Yeah. So, yeah, I feel the same way. One of the reasons why most of the episodes are short is because I wanted, you know, I hated super long podcasts, which is ironic for this episode. But I was going to say, I don't, I'm sorry. No, it's actually, it's actually, I think the content is, is, periodically, we have these long, these long episodes. And it's only because I believe the content is so worth, worthy and worthwhile. And so it's certainly, certainly not a problem. So, yeah, go and, go and sign up for better explained emails. I get them to my email address, you know, every time, college, since on out, it's, it's sit to my email. I don't even market as red until, until I read it so that it's sitting in the car. We all have, I'm sure, overflowing inboxes, some more than others, but that is one of the emails that I do let come to my inbox because I've gotten so much value from, from the stuff that you do. On behalf of, you know, all of the members of the community who read what you do, thank you very much for, for following that and, and really pushing that agenda forward of delivering value that you yourself find valuable. It's, it is a, I do believe that you have a gift for intuition and, and I don't know if that word is, is off limits or not, but I think that you have a talent for intuition. That's probably a better word to use for that. So thank you, thank you very much for, for what you do. Oh my gosh, thank you so much. It's wonderful to hear. I think the most I can hope for is somebody gets value out of it and, you know, knowing that it's useful for you is, is awesome to hear. Thank you. Colin, thank you so much for being on the show today and I hope that you'll come back again one day. Maybe another year goes past and you have another set of, of insights to share with our listeners. Oh, I love it. I would love it anytime. All right. Perfect. Great. And let me stop the recording. Wow, that was awesome. That was great. Almost three hours. Listening to today's episode of Developer Tea, my interview with Kalid Azad, Kalid is such a great thinker and hopefully you were inspired by him like I was. Thank you again to today's incredible sponsor, Headspace. If you are not meditating yet, then I would recommend you go and check this out, especially if you haven't meditated because you thought it looked weird or it looked too spiritual or something like that. There are plenty of people of all different beliefs, all different backgrounds that are using Headspace to improve their mental health and even their physical health. There are some studies that show that meditation can improve even your physical health. So go and check it out headspace.com. If you're interested in working for a company that has mental health at the front of their vision all the time and go to headspace.com slash join dash us or you can go to spec.fm slash headspace and go directly to that job page for Headspace. Thank you again to Headspace for sponsoring Developer Tea. If you don't want to miss out on future episodes, make sure you subscribe. And I haven't asked for these in a while but I would love to hear your reviews. You can always go and leave a review on iTunes. Thank you so much for listening and until next time, enjoy your tea.