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Interview with Brad Frost (@brad_frost, part 1)

Published 3/20/2017

In today's episode, I interview Brad Frost, known for coining the term "Atomic Design." Brad literally wrote the book on this subject, and now consults with companies on how to express their brand from language all the way down to the smallest piece of their UI.

Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
What do you call it? Atomic design or if you want to call it component creation or something entirely different? Today's episode we're going to discuss what it means to break a design down into its smallest components. And I couldn't think of anybody better to discuss this with than Brad Frost. Today we'll be interviewing Brad Frost. My name is Jonathan Cutrell. You're listening to Developer Tea. My goal on this show is to help you as a developer level up in your career in whatever way possible that I can help you. Whether that's some form of virtual career coaching or if it's bringing people like Brad on to talk about these concepts that are so important to our careers, I want to help you develop the mindset of a great developer. So that's my goal here. It's going to require some hard work, it's going to require dedication on your part. But for those of you who are willing to put in the hard work, for those of you who are willing to dedicate yourselves to becoming better to leveling up in your career, then this show is dedicated to you. It is entirely made for you. So thank you so much for listening to Developer Tea today. I'm so excited to have Brad on. I'm going to get out of the way and get started with this interview with Brad Frost. Welcome to the show Brad. Hey, thanks for having me Jonathan. I'm really excited about this. I've been kind of following your work off and on. In fact, we were talking before we started recording about how you came to chat in Nuga once. I'm pretty sure that was the first time I had heard of a atomic design. If I remember correctly, you had already authored that concept at that point, is that correct? Yeah, yeah. It's been around since I've been working in this fashion for since 2013. It's evolved as a concept and I've put it into different formats as far as mediums, air concerns, blog posts, conference talks and stuff. It's been eventually turned into a book, so it's been a nice evolution. Awesome. So we'll go ahead and announce. We're going to give away five copies of atomic design the book, which by the way, where can people find out more about that book? Sure, it's at atomicdesign.bradfrost.com. There you go. I have the whole thing available to read online, but if you want to get a paperback version or sort of an ebook or Kindle version or whatever, I have those as well. Awesome. For the people that we give these away to, you can choose the paperback or the ebook. We might just do both. We'll see. We might just do both. On this show, I usually ask two questions at the end of the interview, but I've decided to switch it up a little bit. I'm going to ask one of these questions at the beginning of the interview because it actually opens up kind of an interesting type of conversation that I end up wanting to have at the very end of the interview. So I'm going to switch it around a little bit. And the question is really simple. What is one thing you wish more people would talk to you about? Totally smokes. That's a very deep question actually. I'll say just for the sake of sort of going in a non-industry related topic, I love talking music. Music is my life. I always consider myself a musician first and foremost, but I've just spent a long time. I love it. I have a great appreciation for it. I studied it in college. I've learned music theory and forgot it twice. I love popular music. I love all sorts of different kinds of music. So I love geeking out about that stuff. You can talk gear. You can talk, you know, different, whatever. But yeah, that's one of those things whenever people sort of learn that about me or sort of other people that have sort of followed my work or whatever. Those very special times, whatever you can really sort of get lost in a conversation about music. Because it's something everyone loves. You know what I mean? It's such a universal language. And everyone has some opinions about music. They enjoy some things or despise other things. So it really is such a bridge into sort of connecting people. So I love any and all opportunities to talk about music. Sure. Yeah, absolutely. So it's interesting because we talked about this, I don't know, countless times on the show. There's, well, let me ask you, do you find yourself running into a lot of musicians in the web design industry? Yeah, I have a blog post that I've been trying to publish for the ages. And maybe this will be the spark to finally get it out the door. But yeah, I was sort of, I've joked around about starting a podcast about, you know, web people who are designers or developers or whatever who also happen to be musicians. And I have a theory on it. And it's because basically what web design is is sort of simultaneously, you know, in art, you know, this very sort of abstract thing, like having this sort of, you know, intuition about, you know, design principles and sort of color, shape, and, you know, proximity and all of that and having a good sort of eye for that stuff, which is, you can't, you can't sort of, you know, quantify that stuff. But then it's also ones and zeros, it's also code, it's logic, it's programming and sort of the same thing goes with music, right? It's simultaneously this discipline that's locked up in notation and there's, you know, specific rules about avoiding parallel fists and stuff like that. But at the same time, it is also this totally, you know, abstract thing, like you can't, you know, you can't just be a machine and play music back with, you know, the same, same sort of art. Yeah. Yeah. That a human can. So, so I love that. It's sort of like balances this, you know, it's grounded in sort of like logic and reason and discipline and stuff like that. And there's a lot of people that are attracted to this field for those very reasons. But then there's, you know, the, which is, I would equate that to someone who's used to, or enjoys working in sort of a more structured format, you know, someone that's reading music, whether at a piano or in an orchestra or something like that. But then of course, there's people, I consider myself more this kind of person, but like someone who can listen to a song and just play along with it or just sort of have a feel for a groove or something like that. And I think that a lot of people in our field are attracted to the field for those reasons, you know. That's sort of abstract. You can't exactly touch it, but it's more a feeling sort of thing. So I love that. There's a lot of parallels between the two and I consider myself to be really fortunate to have fallen into a field that I think activates both sides of the brain and sort of has that same sort of play. Yeah. I have a similar theory actually. So and I actually added a few other hobbies to this list, or not even hobbies. I mean, you can, their professions for quite a few people, but woodworking is another one that's very similar and actually flying. So like pilot piloting an airplane. So and the theory that I'm and maybe this overlaps entirely with yours, but what I think it is, at least for me, because I also am a musician. And I would say probably half the people at the firm I work at, whiteboard are musicians and as we didn't all start a band and then start a web firm. I think what it is is the ability to take this very common tool, right, like a guitar or a laptop. Things that are relatively accessible to the average person and then master that thing, right? Maybe a little bit less so for a pilot, but certainly for woodworking. The tools for woodworking are the barrier to entry to getting the tool itself. It is relatively low, but the mastery of that tool and wheeling that tool, there's an art to the actual wheeling of the tool itself. And then the outcome is quite expressive, right? So we have these constraints of the tool and I guess you could take this and apply to art, you know, your tools being a paintbrush and a canvas. But it seems like this outcome concept of, okay, I'm going to solve something. I'm going to make this functional thing that also has expression laid on top of it. And I'm going to master my tools in the process. That's really interesting to me. A lot of people that I've talked to, even in not just in web development, but also in general computer science. A lot of them also have this overlap with carpentry and metal work and that kind of thing because they have these very basic tools that they're using to build these pretty complex stuff. It's a really interesting concept. So what do you play, by the way? What instrument do you play? Now pretty much everything that our setup has been a long time in the making and so we have a full sort of spread, which is great. But sort of by trade or whenever I play in bands and stuff like that was always a base player. So what about you? So I started out on, I guess technically I started out on piano when I was very young. Like most musicians, you have this few piano lessons that get you at least in the door of music theory. But I consider my primary probably guitar. I also play bass. I also play Manelin. So it runs the game and I played saxophone in school and I mean pretty much anything that I really decide to play for the day. I can pick up and learn enough to play something useful. It sounds like maybe you've played some in some jazz kind of ensembles. No, I did have that. Really? The sax player in my band in college was a jazz guy. So some of the stuff rubbed off on me a little bit. That's it. But bizarrely it was always more like I don't know where this came from in northwestern Pennsylvania but I always gravitated towards funk stuff. Totally sort of like grub oriented stuff. But yeah, it sort of also just came up through classic rock and stuff and basically playing all Led Zeppelin records with my brother and my cousin. So Jon Paul Jones was in my DNA as a bass player. I guess. Sure. Yeah. No, it is really funny but as you were sort of alluding to earlier, it's like you have these sort of simple tools and as you grow, as you develop either as like a developer or in any really in any craft, there is this sort of focus on initially sort of mastering the tools and sort of like getting to know the tools and knowing what they can do and seeing how far you could take them and sort of focusing on like the sort of technical application of things. And then sort of I feel like once you hit a certain level, there was a period of time where I was learning, I was learning fast and furious like how to actually play the bass. And just seeing how fast I could play, how many notes I could play, just like stuff at all in there and start listening to more technical music and stuff like that, stuff that's just like totally burning a fretboard down or whatever. And then of course like as you start sort of getting your head around that stuff, you start learning restraint and you start learning like when stuff like that is appropriate. And once you have like a better mastery of your tools and know what they can do, you sort of know you start then focusing on like when is it appropriate to shred a big bass? What is it appropriate to reach for this like crazy framework or something like that versus just sort of doing something a little more reserved or simple or something. So I find that fascinating and I think a lot of sort of creative fields go through that as well where it's you know it's because there comes to mind where it's like you know early in his career, you know just extraordinarily talented in all sorts of ways. Like he could do this like really hyper realistic stuff or like crazy impressionistic stuff. And then like you know once you have like a mastery of that you're like okay well now I'm just going to sort of devolve into this like child like you know sort of like whether it's Cubism or whatever else is like these things that aren't sort of technically. Right. Yeah. Technically outstanding. I mean they are in their own right but it's like deconstructing things because he's has a mastery of the other stuff that came before it I guess. Yeah. It's amazing how applicable this is the more I think about it the more applicable it seems you know for example as you master object oriented design or something like that you start to recognize that all of the things that you could do and all the things that you learned in like syntax land when you were learning a language is very similar to you know becoming extremely proficient in terms of speed right but then you start recognizing okay the purpose of this code is far you know far different than just for me to express myself all throughout it right. And so then you start using more common methods or you know the abstractions that you use are a little bit more appropriate. So which actually leads me right into a really good first question about this craft and it's kind of based on your recent tweet about abstract the Netflix series abstract. Oh yeah. And to be fair I've actually only watched the first episode I've heard it's really quite good. The first episode I enjoyed a lot and I've heard some folks talk about the series as if it's kind of like ER is to doctors or like cooking shows are to you know quote real chefs but I'd love to know first of all what are the what are a few of the insights that you took away from the show. Oh it's interesting I'm really curious to what you're saying. So some people sorry to before I answer I guess so some people are reacting to the show as if it's like this sort of very one dimensional view of yeah yeah so the the armed you know it's like the world is appreciating design for the first time and I've been appreciating it for 20 years or whatever the number would be and so all of this is old news to me it's not interesting because it's you know whatever whatever thing that they they come up with and yeah I rejected it pretty quickly because I was like man it's just it's hard to love something with that perspective you know. Yeah I think so I think it's it's very bizarre like I think different different people get into their worlds whether it's you know they're they're hobby their profession or whatever they care about you know to the point where they're unable to step outside of their own perspective and and view something from another angle or view. One thing I like to tell myself whenever I'm either writing a blog post or giving a presentation or something is like at one point in time you didn't know what you know now and so you need to communicate with that stuff in mind you know especially if you're man you're making a a series on creative professionals for Netflix that's obviously like a broad audience you're not going to like get some like next level design critiques in there. Right. It's it's God get outside take a walk whoever's saying that stuff. No I really so the series I guess the best way to put it is in summary is they they follow different people each each episode is dedicated to a person who is at the sort of top of their their game and their respective field. So the one is on like set design and other ones in Illustrator someone else is a shoe designer for Nike and stuff like that. So it's really cool to get you know to unpack their their process how they got to where they they got you know what they've stumbled over you know what what their challenges have been and stuff and and why I love stuff like that. Another great sort of parallel if people are familiar with the song exploder podcast I absolutely absolutely love that podcast. Basically they take musicians and then they deconstruct the song this basically talk about you know what how yes I remember hearing about this. Yeah like how a song came to be and what I love about whether it's abstract or song exploder is that it's sort of just totally wipes away that notion that design is is magic or you know there there are people that have it and they and other people that don't and it's I'm not saying that that the people that are being featured in here are on these shows aren't talented if are from it but what it does is it just sort of exposes the fact that the creative process is not some magical thing it's a lot of trial and error it's a lot of hard work it's a lot of rejection it's a lot of you know happy accidents like you you know you spill something somewhere and then that becomes the motif for the whole thing and it's it's it's crazy and like on song exploder podcast you would absolutely love it it's like you know you hear these these great musicians talking about things and and they're like oh yeah we're recording this track and you know this this Bozo knocked over the mic stand and you know but because we had this cool effect sort of running through the mic or whatever it sounded really cool and ended up being sort of like the thing that makes the track and and I love hearing that stuff and yeah especially you know again sort of coming back to so I was saying earlier about like how you know you have you have to recognize that not everyone in the field has is coming from the same experience or you know has the same level of experience or has the same background as as as yourself so I think that for a lot of young people entering the field it's really intimidating to hear people who have been doing this stuff for years and years and years and it's like man I like you know how am I supposed to get to that level or whatever but whenever you actually deconstruct how something you know show how the sausage gets made and stuff it should be like a big sigh of relief for so many people just because it's like oh wow like you know I struggle with that same stuff you know like right and it does it just I don't know I love I love stuff like that especially whenever you know if you're big enough to get featured on a you know a Netflix show or something right here you've clearly done something right in your career but again like the stories they tell you know just sort of hard work and perseverance and of course you know like luck and privilege and all of that stuff just like and by capitalizing on that stuff and and doing good work and then that catches the eye of the next project you know client or whatever and then that snowballs into that and it's just I love it I absolutely absolutely love it and I want more people that work in our kinds of fields to to recognize that it is a journey and yeah and it's not so failures if full of failures and and you have to approach it with a sense of humility like people that that walk around and sort of a spouse opinions like you know the like odd you know these idiots don't know what they're talking about and I do it's like holy smokes like you know we we're in extremely fast moving field that's only existed for a couple decades or whatever right it's like to have an arrogant attitude for something that's just totally wide open and creative and all of that is just I think really damaging so so I hope more people watch shows like that and listen to podcasts like that and and hear you know hear that it's all right to to fail it's all right to to work hard on something it's all right to to get lucky and you know sort of just if it opportunity falls in your lap like recognize it and take it where you can and I don't know and believe in yourself and your ideas and like don't feel like you have to follow a script and stuff so I don't know there's a lot to take away from from that show and stuff but I do think so many people and you know I get a lot of emails from aspiring you know web designers and stuff for people that are in school or in their first job and stuff and a lot of people they are looking for concrete answers for sort of like how to you know get to the sort of peak of of the field and stuff and the answer is really you know you just gotta just gotta do it and and don't be afraid to we're gonna get right back to the interview with Brad Frost in just a moment but I want to take a quick break to tell you about another project that I've been working on that I think you all are going to absolutely love it's called soft skills weekly and just go to soft skills weekly dot com to sign up it is a weekly email that I'm creating it's a list of links that I find to be valuable that are you know some kind of discussion on soft skills and it pretty much anybody who loves this show will also love soft skills weekly it's really a simple idea I take the things that I'm coming across in a given week the articles discussions podcast episodes books that kind of stuff anything that I find to be valuable I'm saving that and then I'm curating five to ten links on a weekly basis and I'm sending those out to people who are subscribed to this it's kind of an insider's list into the the various content online that I believe to be valuable for those of us who are concerned about soft skills and if you're listening to this show then you're probably concerned about soft skills for yourself go sign up use a good email address one that you check on a regular basis you can go and sign up at soft skills weekly dot com of course we will never spam we'll never sell your email address or anything like that soft skills weekly dot com now let's get back to the interview with Brad Frost action is really kind of the the underlying the binder of all of of all of the people who are successful you know we try to we try to determine their patterns and we try to determine their their you know what is consistent between person a and person b that and they're successful right or or amongst the thousand most successful developers what are they doing that's consistent and you're going to find that there is only one thing that is 100% consistent between all 100 of them and it's just action that's the only thing that's 100% consistent yep that's a great way to put it you're going to hear people talk about routines you're going to hear people and there's nothing wrong with studying this stuff right like maybe there are some things that you can find out that that can point you in a direction but you're going to hear people talk about you know what what is your creative routine or when do you wake up or what do you have for breakfast like there's there's all these things that we can you know hyper focus on and try to optimize our life and really the biggest factor is whether or not you're actually just putting your feet on the ground and walking you know actually doing something with it yep yep absolutely and and I also to talk about that especially with a lot of people you know they they sort of wonder you know how did you come to you know speak a conference like I want to I want to speak a conference as well like what you know what do I do and you know typically my my advice to them is I say well you know start writing you know like what do you what are you passionate about what do you what what turns you on or what what what are you struggling with at work or did you have like an aha moment or did you solve a problem or whatever you know share share that in in in writing like share that on your on your personal site or whatever people are always like oh you know like you know I talk about this stuff but you know this person's already said it and as as said it better and stuff like that is like no you don't understand like you have a perspective that is unlike anyone else on this planet and by you sharing your perspective you're going to come at it from undoubtedly a different angle than that person who you think said it better and we do we all we all sort of collectively like read and listen and sort of hear people talk about yeah what's working for them what's not working for them and it might just be that person's perspective that that's the thing that goes for someone else now I get it there is there's a lot of fear a lot of fear out there for from for people going like yeah I want to do this stuff but you know you know reasons a through Z for not doing it and yeah just get on the ground and walk I love how you said that yeah I think you know I want to hyper focus in on this on this idea because of all the developers you know out there that are successful in speaking you have a long long history in speaking I guess over over seven years I believe if I if I read the your website correctly you can check fact check me bread for Brad Frost dot com but anyway this this something that I've and that I want to focus on is this concept of focus you've been relatively relatively focused with a few branding messages atomic design is probably like if people know you for something they're they're going to know you for that right and so I think the big question for you know people like me or other developers who are listening to the show is you know you you've kind of found your thing that that seems to resound pretty well with people and was there you know is there a process that you went through or was it just kind of process of elimination or experience or you know that that finding that thing that's going to resonate as well as that you're certainly there's a lot of luck involved with that but I'd love to know kind of how you stumbled on this on this concept or if you you know if you really intentionally sought it out to begin with it's interesting oh there's a few different directions like it I could go with this I guess but let me interrupt you for two seconds I'm sorry no problem I see a picture online I think it is of you and your dog and I I'm pretty sure I'm hearing a dog snore yeah you absolutely are and it's 100% fine I just wanted to make sure that I that I wasn't doing something on my end that is that is not a sort of a low frequency sort of weird glitch there no snoring cold dog yeah that's just one of the make sure that's excellent we're good all right so continue on on how you on this a higher end yeah so so I guess I guess I'll set the stage so atomic design in general for the uninitiated I guess is a sort of a methodology or sort of a mental model for how to think of user interfaces is sort of deconstructing user interfaces into a few different stages basically like in nature atoms combined form molecules which combine further to form organisms or a more complex objects and which combine further and so on and so forth so we could apply that same sort of model to our UI's right where we take a button in a you know form field those are sort of our atoms right input in a buttons label and then that's sort of combined together into a relatively simple component that I dubbed it you know a molecule right so this relatively simple component that you can now chuck in anywhere you need to include sort of like a form field right so a label can define an input and then clicking a button will submit that form field for like a search form says like a search form molecule and then that search form molecule exists in a more complex component right something like a header is is a place where you'll see a search form so that header is an organism right this more complex component so it's all components but it's like sort of relatively complex levels of components and so that's that was sort of the we'll say the differentiating thing between you know what atomic design is versus these concepts that have been around for ages and ages so that's back to sort of you know how this came to be it isn't that I have invented anything new far from it I mean modular you know object oriented programming predates the web by a long shot you know what I mean but it's it's just now you know in the in recent years has been sort of finding its way into sort of the front end of the pool I guess with with things like bootstrap and foundation and stuff like that and I'd been sort of working on sort of patterns I was fortunate enough to get into responsive design sort of right at the ground level I was working at an agency at the time as a as a mobile web developer in the sort of M.D.A.s like pre you know the iPhone had just come out I got in this job and I was like a dedicated mobile web developer and so you know I was fortunate enough it was like sort of a big branding sort of agency or a digital agency but we'd work with like big brands like Nike and stuff and so like I had the opportunity to work on like this new thing for this new device that Apple was putting out called the iPad like before it was you know released so as you know we that's also yeah so it was like total you know when I talk about luck it was like being at the right right you know place of the right time and stuff and but in having to learn like how to make you know web experiences that worked on these you know these phones and this new thing called the Motorola droid and stuff and in the iPad and so that sort of you know I was fortunate to get into that and realizing that oh what's not actually that everything's hard like some of this stuff is actually sort of it's easy to see how it's going to scale from large to small and whatever but but this these bread crumbs or whatever this pattern is particularly difficult to convert on small screens and large screens and everything in between or this data table or something or this navigation pattern like how do we do that and so I made a resource called this is responsive which is a sort of collection of responsive design patterns sort of like vanilla very sort of vanilla sort of patterns for like here's one way you can do a responsive table yeah here's yeah exactly so so that was cool and that ended up working really well so that's sort of how I got into sort of thinking about patterns and just in general where it's like okay like we can sort of break these things down a little bit and and sort of fiddle with them on their own and at the time around that time you know bootstrap had come out and you know some organizations have started launching large scale responsive redesigns and Starbucks was sort of the first one that released alongside their new shiny website the pattern library that that made that up so it's like here's some of the patterns that we are using to create the new Starbucks dot com and that was awesome I mean that was like a big you know really pivotal moment of course more and more people started coming out with this stuff and I absolutely love it as somebody that was you know sort of working in that area and stuff and you know I dove head first into it and I guess like where atomic design came from is that I was I was a little bit frustrated just because it was like okay and and this is still the case with things like bootstrap and foundation and really any sort of UI toolkit where it's like here's here's the ingredients and then it's like ingredients question mark in the middle final pages and it was like it was like yeah you just put them together and then it's like well yeah but like but how exactly and so that's yeah sort of atomic design adds sort of like a couple you know steps in between that allows you to sort of you know traverse between you know here's this button in the abstract versus you know and then we're able to put that button into the context of the search form and then we're able to put the search form in the context of the header and then put the header in the context of the home page and stuff like that right so that by providing like those extra steps it allows you to sort of you know paint the full picture and allows you to not just sort of go like okay cool we got pages and we got components that make up those pages which has been the case in like any you know any sort of like backend language or whatever you have like an includes folder or whatever in your in your CMS or whatever but it's like this sort of takes it and stretches it out a little bit and that helps teams work more effectively as I've found yeah and it's it's really interesting because you know this this concept is kind of being naturally discovered again through things like react for example right the if you're doing it if you're doing it the react way at least or the suggested way then you're breaking things down into you know the smallest component ultimately following a lot of the principles of atomic design whether you call it that or not and it's been pretty powerful in in constructing you know these from from the programmatic perspective or from the developers perspective it becomes a lot more a lot easier to manage you know state and that kind of stuff yeah so so you know and we don't praise react or any other particular thing on the show but the concept of of breaking things down into smaller parts and composing them this is something that you know as you said it's it's not new but it certainly is is important right and and we're rediscovering new ways to apply this this concept of composability yeah yeah I think that that's really well said and again like it's funny you know sort of being on like the front end of the equation and sort of you know I tend to see myself between sort of a bridge between the sort of design and development worlds I'm not like a you know a programmer and stuff and I've certainly not you know anyone who's going to be like wowed by something you know a concept like this is not necessarily a developer just because it's like well yeah this is how I've been you know making things for years and years but even if that you haven't been it sort of explicitly sort of you know calling it something or you know applying some sort of like deeper level aside from like I have in my wordpress theme or whatever it includes folder or something like that but it is becoming more and more important because it sort of I think why this is such like a hot topic now and why things like on the development side that you know things like react to where it's components all the way down and you know just at why everyone in all the design tools are that talking about components and nested symbols and sketch and stuff like that is is because we have this plethora of devices and environments and screen sizes and capabilities and like basically our UIs need to go more places than ever and we don't have we're not tripling our budgets in our timelines and stuff like that we're not we're not it's not like hang on like now I need to reinvent this thing for this size sort of screen or whatever so it's like we need to find efficiencies and so that's where I think a lot of this stuff is really coming in handy and of course we're under the gun to launch more features more content more you know stuff faster than ever before and so you know you do once you solve a problem once you'd like to not have to solve it again and again and again so so I'm happy with how things have progressed over the last few years and I'm extraordinarily encouraged certainly on like the sort of front-end side of things and you know and on the design side of things that a lot of people have embraced these concepts and stuff and of course on sort of the more to the metal sort of programmatic stuff like it it seems to you know seems to work out pretty well to evolve and stuff yeah so so it's good it's I think it's it's really great to see that stuff and I'm again I wish I was a better developer and I need to roll up my sleeves and sort of like get more in the weeds with things like react and angular and all that stuff but like having you know sort of dealt with it as like a consultant yeah absolutely these things make sense so it's it's promising for sure for sure yeah I think you know a lot of this is really about language like a dug up a tweet that you sent you said I consider a design system to be the collective guts including components guidelines downloads etc and the style guide is what houses at all and it's interesting because we we get into these you know it's important to have these these definitions that we share between us and other people and because the definition is the is kind of like a heuristic that you can point back to you have this this component the only reason the component is important is not because you know you didn't have the code to go and pull out it's because you've contained it in something and you've given that thing a name right yeah yeah and I think sort of coming back to your your previous question and this is sort of the other direction I was going to go and is like there is something to a buzzword there is something to to a name sort of it's it sounds gross a little bit like things like branding and buzzwords and stuff typically have like negative connotations I think a little bit yeah there is something to be able to encapsulate in a whole concept in two words and again like this stuff is nothing new and and I'm certainly not trying to take credit for like object-oriented programming or you know object oriented designs or modular design and stuff again these these are old concepts or whatever but for whatever unholy reason like you know I was just I was you know at the right time at the right yeah the right time right place and like gave something a name and this has happened with responsive design this has happened with Ajax this has happened with any number of of technologies and stuff but to be able to have that shorthand to yeah that that nomenclature to be able to say like the responsive design and even though responsive design by definition is three CSS concepts it grew and became synonymous with all that goes into making a great sort of multi-device web experience and to be able to say responsive design instead of having to say a paragraph of words that explains like why designing different yeah screen sizes and is important like that's huge that that does it helps us do work together and and again so so there is something to two buzzwords I guess that that can help sort of facilitate you know better work between teams but it is it does come down to figuring out like what the right words are for you and your team absolutely the team at general electric wrote a post about how they sort of started with a atomic design as sort of you know a nomenclature I guess and you know sort of struggled with it like they found themselves tripping up over the over the the names that I had sort of like laid out and that's and they ended up sort of taking it and sort of modifying the language to work for their team and you know the article itself had a bit of stank on it or whatever but like but like the spirit of it I was yeah absolutely yeah this is this is this is what it's about this is about you know design systems in general it's like this is like you know define the language define the principles define the tools and and sort of you know syntax and whatever that works for your team and that's going to allow you to do good work together and you know it's it's not going to be the same at a different place and that's okay yeah yeah it's it is interesting because you know when we when we have a shared language so we can do a word study here for a second or like a a linguistics study so much of of what we do in our jobs really is just simply communication that's what code is it's me communicating to other developers you know some kind of specification for what they're seeing and so at least on the front end that's what it is so if I rewind my life back to when I was you know five or six years old if I heard the word unicorn it meant something to me then right that it doesn't mean to me today or at least it means something entirely different to me today because we have this shared like pointer right we took this concept and and we we put we we layered on new information we layered on more on top of that and it's a cultural thing we had to understand how much how much weight our culture puts on language and it's going to carry into into subcultures like for example front end web developers we have a subculture we have a shared language and you know our culture for example in you know a thousand BC the the city of Rome I believe I'm gonna get my history wrong didn't exist right so after that now we point we point to Rome as the cradle of civilization so when somebody says Rome all these thoughts are conjured up and all this information is carried with this one syllable word that hasn't always been there it's not like inherent in that word and we layer on top of it so that's why I think these buzzwords are so important they provide us with so much meaning and connotation and we shouldn't just discount them because we hear them often right yeah I think I think that's totally true and and again like the the negative connotations around certain words and so just Ajax and stuff you know again yeah as as a great example of like something that was like sort of scoff that and whenever you sort of read articles on like Forbes.com or whatever that like mentioned you know sort of certain trends that that stuff is always my favorite you know like as a I do a lot of consulting so I'll go in and talk to a bunch of companies and give talks and workshops and whatever and it's so funny to you know walk into a place and and say certain words mobile first is another one that's it that I love because it's like you you read you read some like sort of Forbes article about what mobile first means or Wall Street Journal talking about mobile first and then you sort of you know here and developer talk about mobile first it's like what a what a funny what a funny what a funny just sort of experience hearing we almost get territorial over it right yeah well and that's and that's where it's a lot of fun like for me like you know going into talk at all these companies like I would be like mobile first and let's sort of like here's what that means and here's sort of the different ways is it's construed by different sort of parts of the organization or whatever and I always have people come up afterwards and they're like oh thank you so much like I've been arguing with my boss over this for weeks and weeks and it's because you know somebody you know the designer is reading a list apart and you know the the CTO or a CMO or whatever is reading you know Forbes and the developer is reading a Y-combinator yeah yeah exactly so so I don't know again yeah words words and symbols and stuff are really interesting and and you're totally right cultural cultural things so and I'd say that you know a big part of my job now is sort of helping organizations with that like helping sort of define that culture it's like you have a choice you know you have you have a say in what you want atomic designer mobile first or responsive design to to mean to you all so long as you all have the same definition of it and you're able to sort of act if someone says atomic design and even if it's something totally at odds with what I've put out and I've I've been at those places and stuff so long as it works for you like there's not an issue so long as you're able to collectively establish you know sort of shared value shared language and stuff you're and and are able to do good work as a result um you know you could call things like crazy names and yeah sure so why not yeah so I don't call it nesting dolls or something yeah exactly exactly so yeah it is fascinating though to see it all play out and like there was a sort of another one that sort of pre atomic design um sort of without I'll spare you the story but the the concept of being future friendly was sort of like another buzzword that I was partially partially involved with but again it was like progressive enhancement yeah exactly it's like to be able to say a couple words and encapsulate like a whole lot of other words I think is really powerful and important thank you so much for listening to today's episode of Developer Teawe're going to follow up on this discussion on the power of words and the importance of language and I'm going to have a kind of a homework assignment for you in the next episode if you don't want to miss out on that episode then today's homework assignment would be to subscribe in whatever podcasting app you use now the second thing I want you to do today is go and sign up for soft skills weekly head over to soft skills weekly dot com and put in a good email address one that you will actually check and you'll get that weekly email thank you so much for listening and until next time enjoy your tea