The home team chats with Adam Lear, a staff software engineer on the public platform at Stack Overflow. They discuss GitHub’s move to put prebuilt Codespaces into public beta, the people paying millions for virtual real estate, and the downsides of microservices and CI/CD for developer productivity.
Geriatric millennials unite.
Learn more about GitHub’s move to put prebuilt Codespaces into public beta, plus check out CodeSandbox, home of self-proclaimed lazy developers.
Meanwhile, in blockchain: Polygon, a solution designed to expand transaction efficiency and output for Ethereum, raised $450 million “to consolidate its lead in the race to scale Ethereum.”
Is Decentraland the most annoying blockchain project? The competition is fierce.
The 2022 Java Developer Productivity Report found that microservices and CI/CD are decreasing developers’ productivity, not increasing it. The team talks through what that means.
This week, Ben recommends the book Appleseed by Matt Bell, Cassidy recommends the productivity app Centered, Adam points listeners to Unix-like operating system SerenityOS, and Ceora shouts out Tanya Reilly’s talk-turned-blog-post Being Glue.
Find Adam on LinkedIn here.
Ben Popper Here, in our year of the Lord 2022, what is it that attracts you to a new IDE when it's going to cause you problems, you're going to have to learn new things, and it's going to give you bugs. Why make a switch like that?
Adam Lear Oh, that's an excellent question. So, I've been using Visual Studio pretty much since I started as a developer, I've always been doing C-Sharp of some kind. And so lately I've been using Visual Studio 2022. And at first, switching from 2019, it felt better. It felt snappier. Once I turned off all of the code suggestions that kept screwing up my muscle memory on typing, then it felt a lot better.
Cassidy Williams So it was slowing you down.
AL It's not the CI/CD pipeline. It's my actual IDE that's causing 90% of my problems. The other 10 are just me.
[intro music plays]
BP As large organizations find themselves navigating their way around hybrid cloud, developers are being asked to shift their priorities as well as their mindset for this new world. For insight on new cloud architectures, deployment strategies, and the shifting culture landscape, tune into Cisco's podcast, Cloud Unfiltered. Here comes the URL. It's cs.co/podcast.
BP Hello, everybody. Welcome back to the Stack Overflow Podcast, a place to talk all things software and technology. I am Ben Popper, the Director of Content here at Stack Overflow, joined as I often am by my wonderful co-hosts Cassidy and Ceora. Hi, y'all.
Ceora Ford Hi!
BP So for those who don't know, Cassidy Williams helps with our newsletter, a co-creator and designer of the key, and Head of Education and Developer Experience at Remote.
CW Yeah! Good memory.
BP Boom. Nailed it. And Ceora Ford, another host on the podcast, and is a Developer Advocate at ApolloGraphQL.
BP And today we are joined by a colleague and friend of mine, Adam Lear, who is a Senior Software Engineer at Stack Overflow. Hey, Adam.
AL Hey, hey. I have upgraded. It's staff now. I'm in the bigger leagues. I don't know what it means, but I have the title.
BP Good for you.
CW Nobody knows what those titles mean.
BP I am now a Senior Director, which matches my identity as a geriatric millennial. So I'm both senior and geriatric, whatever that's good for. Alright y'all, so we're going to do the show the way we've been running it for the last few weeks. We're going to start with some news. Microsoft GitHub on Wednesday said customers using its code spaces, hosted development environments, can try out pre-built systems in a public beta test. So a pre-built code space, it's a template with some source code, code editor, extensions, project dependencies, commands, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And you get all this pre-packaged instead of building from scratch. Let me throw it to the three people on the call who might actually write code for a living, not me. What are your thoughts on this?
CW It's not particularly novel, in my opinion. Like it's cool, but it's not like other things haven't been doing this. Like if you wanted to do a CodeSandbox and say, I want to start with a React project, you can click a button and it's just done. Ceora, you worked at CodeSandbox, right?
CF I did, I did. You're absolutely right. You all know I'm a lazy developer.
CW Aren't we all?
CF I'm all for anything that's going to make getting started easier.
BP No, you say, "Make it more accessible to everyone."
CF Exactly. That's a better way to say it. But if the pre-built code spaces does that, takes out all the annoying stuff like dependencies and starter templates and stuff like that, I'm all for it. You know I don't have a problem with it. The sooner you can get to building the important stuff, the better.
AL It kind of makes me think of Glitch a little bit, but it's on a broader scale. And I know internally, one of our developers here, Sammo, he's been trying to get Stack Overflow running inside a code space. He's made some good progress on it too so far. Well last I heard, we can at least run unit tests in it, not necessarily do a full app load, but maybe someday we'll be replacing our local development environment with a code space. And the less setup it has the better.
BP I like the idea that we're going to get to the point, Adam, where it's like, you know how the goal is to run Doom on anything? Like, "I can run Doom on an SD card." So it'd be like, "I can run Stack Overflow on my MP3 player, no problem."
AL There we go. Instead of the data dumps that we do now, we just ship you a little device, maybe with the key connected to it, so you can just grab what you need and move on.
BP Exactly. But Cassidy, I like what you're saying. This is more like a forward-thinking company, like Glitch or CodeSandbox is kind of offering that. So this is the big player in the space kind of trying to play a little bit of catch up and do some of the things they see people are interested in that are already out there.
CW Right. And I could see it being really useful for enterprise teams too, because I used to work at Amazon, I have friends who are over at Google, my sister's over at Meta. And a lot of their code bases or at least certain teams, they basically have to go into a virtual machine anyway and write their code on a machine anyway, that isn't on their own device. And so this feels like it's just a more accessible way of doing that without having to run some kind of virtual machine to run a whole actual computer to run an IDE that's already hosted elsewhere.
AL Oh, that's a good point. I mean for us, it would also enable designers to be able to spin up the app real quick without having to go through all of the local setup and having the hardware to do it and maintaining it and making sure in the six months since the last time they really needed it that nothing broke.
CF At CodeSandbox one of our biggest user bases, I guess is the fancy way to it, was students. So students a lot of times when they're learning, you want to teach them the fundamentals. Nobody wants to say, “Here's how you do this, and here's how you install this, and then you have to set this up.” When you're teaching a class, you would rather skip over that and get to the nitty gritty and maybe go to the specific details later. So this could be great for students as well. There's a lot of great use cases for something like this so I think it's cool.
BP Yeah, and what you're saying makes sense. We talked about this, I think maybe it was you Cassidy back when you were at Netlify, but like, an area where you can just do some staging for developer productivity, but then also you can be like, "Hey design, come in and look at this, and play it, tweak it here," or, "Marketing, you're going to be a stakeholder. Here, come in and look and play around with some of the variables," without actually letting them in to muck up the real codebase.
CW Right. That's something that Netlify did release while I was there. It was like collaborative deploy previews. And so let's just say you did launch a page, but you wanted to put it on a branch, for example, you didn't want it to go live yet. You could give that link to anyone on the team, whether they're design team, marketing, anyone, and they can mark it up. They can say this needs to be adjusted and stuff like that. And it would go directly into the pull request for people to update. It was really sick, honestly, and still is. It's really, really cool, and I could see something like this being the next level of it and integrate with something like that really well.
BP All right. So I have one here that I know will raise some hackles, at least Adam and Ceora, I know your feelings on this particular part of the space. But Polygon, which is a company in the blockchain space, raised $450 million to build out its developer ecosystem. And so I guess there's two things we could do here. We could weigh in on our thoughts about this, but more broadly, what this makes me think is will there inevitably be a pretty big shift of developers moving in and trying out this area of technology and experimenting with it and getting their feet wet simply because there's so much money going into that area for them to hire? Part of it might be actual interest in the technology obviously, but some of it is just resources flow into an area and so inevitably some headcount is going to follow. But, let me step back and let people weigh in.
CW I have a very cynical view on this. I may not be alone. You know how sometimes when the world is being wild, you're just like, "I'm just watching our world be dictated by some rich people and I have to follow." I feel like a lot of blockchain stuff and interest in blockchain stuff and the motivations behind Web3 and everything is that. Where it's just because there's so much money going into it, because rich people say money should go into it, it is growing. And I'm sure that's a very, very, very cynical point of view. And once again, we've talked about all the various use cases on this podcast about certain things that could be useful, but people follow money, and because people have money flowing in that direction, that's where people are going to go.
CF I have a couple thoughts on this, too, that probably align a lot with you, Cassidy. I think another thing with it is like, obviously this company is getting $450 million just to build out their developer ecosystem. That's a lot of money. So I do think that this is a similar thing happening with a lot of crypto companies where they're raising tons of money, they're hiring like crazy, they're giving astonishing salaries to developers of all levels. So I think a part of it is money. I do think a large part of it as well is fear of missing out. I've heard a lot of people say that they don't want to be left behind, that they would rather be ahead of the curve. And because it's still a relatively new space they want to be one of the decision makers to kind of shape where it goes in the future. I think that is wishful thinking to think at this point you can do that, but power to the people who think that way. I've talked about this before, I tend to be very cynical when it comes to anything so I hope that I get proven wrong as far as that's concerned. But I do hear a lot of people say, "Oh yeah, I want to be one of the ones that helped shape this space." And I'm like, "I think it's already shaped as far as it's going to go." You know what I mean? I don't know, but that's my thought as well.
AL I feel kind of similarly. Plus one to all of that. I mean, blockchain as a technology has been around for what, 10 years now? Something to that effect. So I feel like the core building blocks, no pun intended, are pretty much in place. So far, I haven't seen any application that to me felt practical or significantly different from what you can already do without Web3 and without the blockchain. But maybe additional resources, more minds put to it, maybe something will come out of that. I would be happy to be proven wrong.
BP All right. So I'm just going to come to the blockchain's defense and then we'll move on so I don't get piled on. A couple of things here. One, yes, we've heard about blockchain for a while, they're obviously raising money. What exactly are they doing? So just to dive a little deeper, there are projects like Decentraland, and OpenSea, and UniSwap that rely, at least in part, on this Polygon chain. And so there's an unbelievable amount of activity there. Whether we think it's activity that is long-term good for the world or will be a flash in the pan, UniSwap, in the span of a few years, has grown to where people are trading billions of dollars on it everyday. You can have your views on whether or not they should be trading, but it's basically grown into like a full-size stock market in no time. And OpenSea is sort of the equivalent for an auction house for NFTs and art. You can have your view on them, but people are creating and getting paid and trying to bet on art. And then Decentraland is the most annoying, but people are paying millions of dollars to own virtual real estate, and I will not have you say that that is not a consumer use case.
CW Virtual real estate? Like in Second Life?
BP Yes, exactly. So Decentraland is just like a big Minecraft Second Life style place, but people for years now have been buying and owning land there and then developing it and this and that. And then they sell it for ungodly amounts of money. So haters gonna hate.
CW That blows my mind.
AL There was a rave on Decentraland a couple of weeks ago I think. There have been videos floating around Twitter.
BP It's a community of like-minded individuals.
AL It's a thing. But seriously, I hope someday in my life I have millions of dollars to invest in virtual real estate. That's I think all I'm going to say about that.
CW I'm just saying if I have millions of dollars, I'm going to spend it in real life, and probably get away from all of this.
CF I will say though, I've seen so many tweets where people are like, "So many smart top-tier developers are moving into the crypto space." And it's true. There is a huge migration of developers who are moving on to fintech companies. I've seen it happen so often where someone's like, "My new opportunity is at this crypto startup." So I do think this is indicative of a bigger change in the tech industry.
BP Yeah. There is an idea we've discussed a few times on the show, which is that every generation of developers wants their chance to build from scratch, or if you've got to create Web 1.0 that was fun, Web 2.0, mobile web, social web. So it's interesting to say, "I'm going to get in on what's still the ground floor of Web3." And then just, there's a bunch of stuff in here about all the different hubs they're opening across different parts of Africa for people to build on Polygon. And I do think if you come in and there's obviously already extremely established players who own big parts of the web, or own mobile, or own social, it's exciting as a young person to be like, "Well, there's still some greenfield here. We haven't totally figured it out so this is my chance to get in when there's still a lot of potential ahead." But we can disagree about what kind of potential there is for the blockchain.
CW There is so much potential. And the thing is, I genuinely do see great use cases for things like innovating in the banking space, because banking is ancient, especially in the United States, and from what I've seen is so many years behind other countries and so many things like that. I genuinely think that there's room for innovation and if this is the solution, that's great. What I don't like to see is people creating scarcity when there doesn't need to be. What's great about the internet and about the web is that things can be free and open, and if you want to own space on the internet you can just create it. You don't need to buy it and someone else might take it from you. Copy it. That's possible. So creating all of this kind of scarcity at the cost of the environment and at the cost of people's wallets who wouldn't necessarily afford to be able to get in on the ground floor of things, that's where I am more of a skeptic.
BP That's a fair take. All right, let me push us forward here. We've got two topics of the day. So, this one is from developertech.com news. It's about Java developer productivity. So the main idea here is, developers are finding that microservices in CI/CD are decreasing rather than increasing their productivity. So I'm interested in takes here. I think this might be kind of the old style of the pendulum that swings. We need to get more abstracted, now we need to get less abstracted, more centralized, more decentralized. Back and forth. So the tools that we thought were going to help us now maybe are overbuilt. But yeah, give me some thoughts on what you're finding in your work or with the people around you when it comes to microservices, CI/CD. I know microservices, many, many times on this podcast have been, "Oh, it will solve all our problems. Oh, it's actually introduced 10x the complexity. Sorry."
CW I don't think there's any developer out there who has been like, "No! Tests have never blocked me from merging anything." It's just a thing that happens. And so this news story does not surprise me because there've been so many times where I'm like, "Ugh, just because I had an extra line break here or something, or the linter is really, really strong, or these kinds of other CI rules that are very, very picky or causing issues," I can totally see that. And there's pros and cons to it because if you let it be relaxed then your code base quality could go by the wayside. And so there is a fine balance I think to all of this. Also, for those listening who don't know what that means, it's continuous integration.
CF I've definitely had a lot of roadblocks with CI/CD, especially as someone who's newer. And initially in my first developer-ish job, I didn't really know much about tests and things like that, or anything about how CI/CD works. I had a broad super, super high level understanding of what dev ops was in the first place, but never had to build out any kind of CI/CD pipeline or anything like that. And it definitely for me was a huge blocker, especially when you're on a team where you don't have as much opportunity to peer-program with other people and get mentorship. It was definitely a blocker sometimes where you're trying to merge something, even something simple, like edit some copy on the company's website or whatever. And you run into issues with the CI/CD and it definitely I think can become a blocker and sometimes it is necessary, but I do think it has huge potential to become bloated in a way where it's just too much and starts to do the opposite. I mean, I think we have to think about what is developer productivity, right? Is it our product being relatively error free but taking longer for us to build? Or is it us breaking things but building fast. What does that mean for you and your team or your project or whatever. So I think that's definitely a part of it, but depending on where you fall on that will dictate how you feel about whether or not microservices and CI/CD really affects your productivity.
AL Based on just this little article report that we've all looked at here, I was kind of not sure why microservices and CI/CD were talked about in the same way.
CW That's true they're different things.
AL They're very, very separate things. You can do CI/CD without any microservices or the other way around probably. I don't know why you would do that, but that sounds painful. And even within the CI/CD space, there's so many things you can do with that, right? But yes, you could be running all of your tests as part of whatever steps you have. You could also just compile things and ship them to production right away. Maybe don't do that, or at least be very careful. But to me, those tools are really about making sure that the entire dev team is kind of on the same page when it comes to at least some sort of baseline quality of code that's going to be ready to go. We can all agree, okay, let's run our linters earlier. We all agree that we should format our code a particular way. What's the best way to actually make sure that that happens and that becomes part of the CI/CD pipeline in most cases. And I think there's definitely a trade off there though between the time it takes, the more steps you add, the longer it takes. Maybe some things become required to actually deploy something, maybe some don't. It really kind of depends on the team. And in some cases, honestly, just the severity of things being built out. If we have an urgent bug, well some would argue that's probably not the time to actually go lax on your checks fixing something like that. But maybe that's the time where you can kind of abandon the linter for five minutes.
BP Yeah, I think that makes sense. From a less technical perspective, it's sort of the endless debate of like, rules and structure are going to help ensure that nothing breaks and we actually go faster like Ceora said overall. But the other flip side of that is like, well things just feel increasingly bureaucratic and there's so much red tape. And so for me building it it feels like a real slog. So the end user experience might benefit, but the developer productivity might suffer which is an interesting conundrum.
CF On the microservice side, I think the point the original author is trying to make is that although both things are in two different realms, they somehow both can impede developer productivity although that was not the original intention. I'm kind of a fan of microservices because I think overall it's better to use microservices instead of building everything out yourself. Like I said, I tend to be a very lazy developer so I don't want to have to build anything I don't absolutely have to. I think a lot of bigger companies–
CW Have a gigantic monorepo of all the things?
CF Right. Yeah, I think a lot of bigger companies choose to build all their tooling and things like that internally themselves, but I think that could be a huge barrier to entry for especially smaller teams. So microservices could definitely help with that. We've discussed before on the podcast things that could be detrimental for a team if you're relying on too many microservices, but I don't know. I like to think in general they're pretty cool. They kind of help more than they hurt I would like to say, but I don't know.
CW It's also not always third-party microservices, too. Like you can build all of your microservices in-house and stuff. And I think that's what this one is talking about.
CF Oh, is it? Oh.
BP I do think that this is like one of those things where they did a survey and there were two things that hurt developer productivity that they wanted to put in the headline. They're not necessarily related, they just took two things.
CW It reminds me of the debate with TypeScript where if I'm building my own side project in something just for myself, I'm not going to use TypeScript. It's just going to make the whole thing so verbose and so strict on everything. But if I'm building something with a team, it's kind of nice to have those guardrails in place and rules so that way things can't go awry and everything is clean and kept in check. And some might still say that it's still overkill, and then other people are just like, "No, I need this because otherwise my code will be trash." It's a balance with everything.
AL I'm kind of curious on the survey, too, if there was any breakdown by size of project. Because as a company grows and the project grows, your build times will go up just because you have more things to build, more classes to compile or whatever. There's always going to be some sort of little bound on us, as fast as you can get it.
CF Yeah. But I also tend to be of the opinion that not everything has to be super fast. I don't know, I think sometimes companies are obsessed with like, "We’ve got to build fast, and innovate fast and just fast, fast, fast." And I don't know if I agree with that all the time. I feel like it's okay to sacrifice the speed in order to have better code, if that makes sense. Yeah. That's the sentence I'm going to stick with.
BP All right. So we have Adam on the show who has a ton of experience at Stack Overflow. So I feel like I want to spend the time we have left just going over something that's a little bit more personal to you. Adam, you were asking around internally some questions about how to debug locally, Stack Overflow in Rider and Windows, but the more interesting question here I guess is, why change from Visual Studio to Rider here in our year of the Lord 2022? What is it that attracts you to a new IDE when it's going to cause you problems, you're going to have to learn new things, and it's going to give you bugs? Why make a switch like that?
AL Oh, that's an excellent question. So I've been using Visual Studio pretty much since I started as a developer, I've always been doing C-Sharp of some kind. And so lately I've been using Visual Studio 2022. And at first switching from 2019, it felt better, it felt snappier. Once I turned off all of the code suggestions that kept screwing up my muscle memory on typing, then it felt a lot better.
CW So it was slowing you down.
AL It was. It's not the CI/CD pipeline, it's my actual IDE that's causing 90% of my problems. The other 10 are just me. So anyway, we now run Stack Overflow on .NET Core so we have a bunch of developers who have been developing on a Mac instead of Windows which is kind of great. And they've been using Rider from JetBrains, so I figured I'd give it another shot. I tried it I think a couple of years ago, maybe a year ago. And like you said, the learning curve was a little too much for what I wanted to deal with at the time, so I went back to my comfortable spot. But I figured I'd try it again. And I don't know about y'all, I'm one of those people who likes to change up my environment a little bit once in a while. I'll swap in a different keyboard, it's like getting a fresh notebook basically. Sometimes all we need to kind of unblock is a slight change, and so changing the IDE kind of fit that a little bit and honestly, I love Rider right now. The search is a lot faster, IntelliSense doesn't break half the time. I don't want to be too critical of Visual Studio. It is still I think one of the dominant, if not the dominant, way to write .NET stuff. But so far, very positive impressions.
CF Yeah. That's an interesting thing you mention about changing up your environment to kind of give you a little spruce in your daily routine. I recently spilled salad dressing on my keyboard and my keyboard isn't working anymore, so I had to order a new one and it hasn't come yet but I'm all hyped up. I keep checking the tracking every day and I feel myself getting more interested like, "Maybe I can try out a new project or whatever." And then it kind of clicked for me. I was like, "Is this why people are so obsessed with set up and keyboards and different things like that?" Because I feel myself being more interested in writing and coding now, and the keyboard isn't even here yet. So now that you said it it kind of clicked in my head, so yeah.
CW Humans crave novelty, and when you're staring at code and stuff all day, it's nice to change things up. And I'm really curious about Rider now. I admit I hadn't actually seen it before. I have seen other JetBrains products. They have a cool JetBrains mono font that I like to use. But it seems neat. I'm looking at the website now. I haven't done .NET in literally 10 years, but it seems sick.
BP I think the sort of kick in the pants that Ceora was talking about and novelty, it's also like the beginner mindset. You come to something and you're new and you're forced to learn, that gets the creative juices going and gives your brain that extra energy, and then that can spill over to whatever the regular work is you're doing which is nice.
CF Yeah, absolutely.
BP All right, everybody. It is that time of the show. We are going to shout out some recommendations of things we enjoyed and we think you might, too. So this week I will shout out an interesting book that I've been reading. It's called Apple Seed and it imagines a sort of futuristic world with a lot of robots and genetically engineered farms, and then ties it back to sort of an early pre-industrial America that was being colonized and skips back and forth between those two times. So yeah, Apple Seed. You can get it in bookstores or grab it from the library or whatever. I've been enjoying it. I'll put the link in the show notes.
CF Cool. That sounds interesting.
CW I'd like to recommend an app called Centered. It's something that I kind of dabbled with at first and now I'm really, really into it. And it's a productivity app so you can find it at centered.app. At first when you look at it you're just like, "Okay, it's a glorified to-do list. Is that it?" But then once you actually use it, what's cool is it relies on the flow concept. You know how when you get into flow and are really, really productive? What you do is you kind of say, "Okay, here are the tasks that I want to do during a given flow session." And you can assign how much time you want to give yourself for each of those tasks. And then when you click 'Start Flow' it plays that kind of brain music that makes you work, and I don't know how the science of that kind of stuff happens, but where it's kind of repetitive but a good rhythm. It plays that, and there's like a little coach that kind of keeps an eye on you where if you start farting around on Twitter, he'll be just like, "Hey, are you staying focused?" And you'll be just like, "Ahh, okay." And I've gotten so much done with this app where I was kind of just trying it as an experiment, and now I'm kind of obsessed because I've gotten more done using the flow app than I have in months. If it's in the app, it's going to get done and it's going to get done in a certain amount of time. And if you go over time it doesn't punish you, it's just like, "Hey, just so you know you're over time." It gives you breaks. It's really good at just kind of keeping you focused, and for someone like me who likes to dabble on Twitter or other various things throughout the day, it's been really, really helpful for me to get stuff done.
CF Is this a mobile app or like a web app or both?
CW It's a desktop app. I think you can use the web as well, but it works on Windows, Linux, Apple.
CF Very cool.
AL I want to shout out something completely unrelated to anything that we talked about today. But I've been watching a lot of YouTube, and in particular, I got really into this channel by this person who works on their own Linux OS or Unix-like OS. So Andreas Kling has a channel where he works on SerenityOS and kind of takes you through basically his work sessions on the project. And I've picked up a lot of cool tips for just how I approach development myself, breaking really big seemingly impossible things down into more manageable bits. The project is in C++ of course, which I do not know, but I think I'm starting to pick up some things as well just by osmosis.
CW It's like, "So many asterisks!"
AL Yeah. So if you want a chill development channel to follow, maybe also get involved in the project if that's your bag, SerenityOS.org has links to all of the things that you might need.
CW That's so cool.
CF Cool! The thing I want to shout out is a blog post, but it is basically a talk that was turned into a blog post by the person who gave the talk. So the person who gave the talk, her name is Tonya Riley, and it's called Being Glue. And it's basically about this thing that happens when you are on a team and if you're the kind of person who likes to fill in the gaps, you're like a facilitator, that kind of mindset, you start to kind of do a lot of the managerial work that usually managers do, or project managers do. And it kind of turns you away from doing your primary job function, although you are supporting the team. And this is a trap that a lot of people can fall into, especially when they work on a small team or when a manager leaves or coworkers leave or whatever the case may be. And the downfall is that because you get stuck doing this glue work, or the stuff that keeps the team together and on track, when it comes time for performance reviews and stuff like that, you tend to not get the promotions because you're missing out on your primary job function because you're doing all the glue work. So I really found this blog post really useful because I read it months ago, and I re-read it again, and this time I took little notes on it or whatever. And I just think it's a really helpful career reminder for a lot of people. Because doing the glue work feels productive but it's not really, for you. Like if you don't want to be a manager, if you don't want to be a project manager, then maybe it's not best to do this kind of work. So the blog post kind of breaks down how to get out of the habit of doing that and get back on track.
BP It's also hard to say no. If you're a kind person and you want other people to like you, you're just like, "Oh yeah, I can help with that.” But it's just something to be like, "No. That has nothing to do with what I'm focused on or my KPIs."
CW I just pulled it up and it resonates so deeply. I've been mentoring this one gal who is early at a startup and literally the entire list of glue work that she lists on this blog is what this gal is doing. And I do think that it's a good thing if you're recognized for it. And if they realize that this is becoming part of your job, let's compensate you fairly for it, give you titles for it, that sort of thing. But if it's just resulting in you not getting your code done, that's where it starts to become a problem.
CF Yeah. Or if you do want to be a project manager or you want to be a manager of your team, it makes sense to do this work. But if not, maybe you should kind of rethink what you're doing with your career. And it goes through ways that you can do that. So it's super, super valuable if you find yourself in that position.
AL I've also found myself kind of in a slightly similar position a few months ago. I've been at Stack Overflow for 10 years now. As the team grows and we hire more and more people I ended up just fielding a lot of questions and a lot of onboarding things and little things here and there. So I've had to learn to at least put Slack on mute for a bit and not feel like I have to jump into everything even though I naturally want to help people, and I want to be helpful, and I want to support everybody that I work with, but sometimes I just need to make sure I get my own things done as well.
BP I would be interested to know at a company like Expensify, where you only get raises or promoted based on what all of your peers say about you, maybe the glue person really can thrive in that environment because everybody likes you.
CW Once again, if you're recognized for it it works. But if it's just like, "Wait, no. What was your technical contribution?" That's when it starts to get hairy.
AL Typically I have been recognized for doing that, but I've started to kind of back off a little bit for personal reasons. I like coding. I miss it.
BP All right, everybody. Well thank you so much for all the recs and the conversation. We really appreciate it. Let me see if we've got a fresh lifeboat. I will shout it out and then we will say goodbye. So then we don't have any new lifeboats, that's when I get to go to the weird badges. "Ask a well-received question on five separate days." Who was curious today? Thank you to Abhishek Chakraborty. Awarded one hour ago. Abhishek, you have been very curious and maintain a good reputation, so congratulations to you. All right, everybody. I am Ben Popper, the Director of Content here at Stack Overflow. Find me on Twitter @BenPopper. Email us email@example.com, and leave a rating and a review if you like the show.
CW I'm Cassidy Williams, you can find me @Cassidoo on most things, and I'm the Head of Developer Experience and Education at Remote.
CF I'm Ceora Ford, I am a Developer Advocate at ApolloGraphQL. You can find me on Twitter. My username there is @Ceeoreo_.
AL And I'm Adam Lear. I'm a Staff Software Developer at Stack Overflow. You can find me on Twitter if you like retweets of memes @AALear.
CW Don't we all?
BP All right, everybody. Thanks for listening, and we will talk to you soon.
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