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In this episode, we get to speak with software engineer educator, Kent C. Dodds. We discuss community, giving back, and future technology.
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Brian Hinton: [00:00:00] welcome. I’m Brian Hinton
[00:00:28] Frederick Weiss: [00:00:28] and I’m Frederick Philip Von Weiss. And thank you so much for consuming the Thunder Nerds, a conversation with the people behind the technology, That love what they do…
[00:00:41] Brian Hinton: [00:00:41] and do tech good.
[00:00:43] Frederick Weiss: [00:00:43] Ah, thanks to everyone for watching the show again. And if you have questions, please ask them and we will answer them in the order they are received.
[00:00:54] And also, if you can please go to YouTubes, go to YouTube.com/ThunderNerds. Subscribe, hit the notification bell to get seven years of good luck, Brian…
[00:01:06] Brian Hinton: [00:01:06] Hinton, seven years. Yeah, I’d like to thank Auth0 as this season sponsor, they make it easy for developers to build a custom secure and standards-based unified login by providing authentication and authorization as a service to try it out, go to Auth0.com.
[00:01:25]Also check out them out on both YouTube and Twitch under a username. Auth0. They have some great developer resources and streams, and of course, avocado labs. They as an online destination that their developer app gets run, where they organize some great meetup events. Again, thank you all and check out Auth0.com today.
[00:01:47] Frederick Weiss: [00:01:47] Yes. Thank you so much Auth0, and Brian. Thank you. So let’s go ahead and get to our guests without any other further dues ado. We have software engineer, educator, Kent C. Dodds, Kent. Welcome to the show. Welcome.
[00:02:05] Kent C. Dodds: [00:02:05] Thank you. I’m super happy to be here. We’re super
[00:02:07] Frederick Weiss: [00:02:07] happy to have you can. How are things going for you?
[00:02:10] How you been. what’s up. What’s new for you, Kent.
[00:02:13] Kent C. Dodds: [00:02:13] Oh what’s new. It’s actually mostly I’m working behind the scenes on some stuff. There’s I’ve been, I write a blog post every week and I do like my regular stuff. I have three-minute podcasts and stuff that I keep up with, but nothing big and exciting.
[00:02:27]Yet I’m working behind the scenes on that sort of thing. My biggest exciting thing was that thick reacting and that took a lot out of me. So it’s yeah, just kinda chilling, hanging out with the family a lot.
[00:02:39] Frederick Weiss: [00:02:39] Nice. And just to say hello to everybody that’s seen. Hi, thanks to everybody for watching.
[00:02:44] And apparently you also really love the Thundercats reference. Yes, I do.
[00:02:52] Kent C. Dodds: [00:02:52] I didn’t grow up with under cats or anything, but my roommate in college, just thought they were the best. And yeah, I definitely caught that reference.
[00:03:01] Brian Hinton: [00:03:01] Yeah. I always loved that. Love thunder cats. And what’s the other one?
[00:03:04] That’s silver Hawks or silver Hawks. Yeah.
[00:03:11] Frederick Weiss: [00:03:11] Yeah, that enemy, the weird squid guy. Super cool. Love it. Speaking of weird squid people, let’s talk about what’s going on with currently the COVID. How was that affected you? And obviously, we have some corner turning that we may be approaching soon with vaccines being distributed to everyone.
[00:03:32] What’s how has this first, how has this affected you and your professional life? And how’s the outcome going forward, look to you.
[00:03:40] Kent C. Dodds: [00:03:40] Yeah. So 2020 was the year of like pain and suffering and 2021 is the year of hope. And I was working remotely and everything already. Lots of my workshops were remote.
[00:03:52] And I don’t think I was impacted as much by COVID as lots of people. But I certainly was, my kids started doing school at home and so my wife had to take care of them and I needed to take care of the younger kids who weren’t in school. And so yeah, it was definitely tricky, but, I wasn’t hit as hard as some people were, they’re single parents or they both of the parents need to work and so you need to figure out different things.
[00:04:14] So I was really lucky in that way that it didn’t impact me as much as some of my friends and family. Yeah, like as far as this year, I’m totally excited about vaccines becoming available. I’d say I’m cautiously optimistic about the future here.
[00:04:31] Frederick Weiss: [00:04:31] It’s good to be cautious. Who knows what happens?
[00:04:35]I think there was some stuff written about the vaccine in South Africa that with the blood clots, et cetera, things like that. But it looks like we’re doing pretty good with the three vaccines that we do have available in the States. So let’s all cross our fingers and toes and hopefully, that will get distributed soon.
[00:04:54] Kent C. Dodds: [00:04:54] Yeah, absolutely. I, it’s really hard to know what to believe, right? Because you hear stuff like that. And you’re like, it’s how many cases are there? What, who’s financing this report, right? It all comes down to where’s the money coming from. That’s where the incentives are as far as business is concerned.
[00:05:09]And so you just, you don’t know what to trust online because you hear such a wide variety of reports on different things.
[00:05:20] Frederick Weiss: [00:05:20] So you talked about that you have kids, you have three children if I’m correct where your children. Wow. Okay. Let me, I ABC you everywhere, but let me, and then I’m sure you alphabet get this all the time, but where do you find the time? Where, how do you do what you do? You put out a lot of content.
[00:05:43] You have four children. I have one child and I can’t find the time to do what you do.
[00:05:49] Brian Hinton: [00:05:49] Could you explain the clone in the closet behind him?
[00:05:53] Frederick Weiss: [00:05:53] Do you have a clone? Could you
[00:05:54] Kent C. Dodds: [00:05:54] confirm that? No. Yeah, I like first I wanna I’ll just say that having one child is a lot of work. So it’s I sometimes I feel weird when people compare it.
[00:06:05] Cause I am child number 11 of 12 in my family. Wow. That’s impressive. Yeah. So I’m like fours, like whatever, but I don’t know it. My wife is a full-time mom and she has been since we started having kids. And so of course that helps an enormous amount. And and. I dunno I focus my effort on like, when I’m working and when I’m with my family, I’m with my family and I feel like I do a pretty okay job.
[00:06:32] And I do have a blog post called how I’m so productive that I wrote back when I did have a full-time job. Cause now I’m a full-time educator. I work for myself. I do whatever I want. And whatever I want happens to be very public. And so you see all of the things that I do. But when I was at PayPal, a lot of people were like, how do you do all this stuff and have a full-time job?
[00:06:50]And so I have that blog post to people can go take a look at, cause it is maybe a little more relatable to people than I am right now. Being self-employed.
[00:07:00] Frederick Weiss: [00:07:00] I like we have one of the comments here. I don’t have children and I can’t do what Kenny did. So maybe we can take it away from the whole thing about you having four children and talk about how you actually do what you do.
[00:07:17] Where did you get the inspiration to be an educator? Why are you and in this industry where does the passion come from and we’ll start.
[00:07:27] Kent C. Dodds: [00:07:27] Yeah, sure. I’ve always been a teacher. I am a member of the church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints. And when I like all the way back to when I was a kid, we were spoken church.
[00:07:37] It was just like an expected thing that you did every few months or so. And so I getting up in front of people was something that I became comfortable doing at a very young age. And it was just a very natural thing for me when I started learning how to write software to get up and teach what I’m learning.
[00:07:54]I volunteered to be a tutor and help people in our classes. And I hosted a mini-workshop that I put together for my classmates. It just was something that I enjoyed and I’ve come to learn also that it’s a great way to solidify what you’re trying to learn. And so it’s a great mechanism for.
[00:08:11]For learning and getting really good at whatever it is you’re trying to get good at.
[00:08:16] Frederick Weiss: [00:08:16] Yeah. The learn, teach
[00:08:17] Kent C. Dodds: [00:08:17] code kind of thing. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And I spend a lot of time. Thinking about it as I’m learning a new thing. I don’t just gloss over the things where like I hacked something together and then, Oh, it works.
[00:08:29] Let’s move on. I, that’s not what I do. And this is why I’m really bad at like hack night projects and stuff. Cause I can never finish. I have to understand exactly what’s going on and why things are working or not working. And it’s the teacher side of me because I’m always thinking if somebody were to come to a workshop that I was giving teaching about this, they would ask me why and I wouldn’t be able to answer them and I need to be able to answer them.
[00:08:51]So yeah, I, I don’t know. That’s where things come in. And when I started getting money for this, started like paying my mortgage and stuff, then it was like, Oh wow. I can take this thing that I enjoy on the side. And I can build up this passive income stream and pay my mortgage and.
[00:09:07] And that’s that was pretty cool.
[00:09:12] Frederick Weiss: [00:09:12] Let me think of two that you have this I don’t see this very often, but I see that you have this transparency page on your website that communicates exactly. If somebody is going to contribute what that means, where the money goes, where did that idea come from? I love that idea. I think more people should have something along those lines.
[00:09:31] Do you mind elaborating on where the Phil Collins, the Genesis came from?
[00:09:35] Kent C. Dodds: [00:09:35] Yeah, sure. Yeah, so it was a few weeks ago, actually, this page is pretty new. And clubhouse was getting really popular and people were excited about it. And I was just concerned because I had no idea where they made their money.
[00:09:48] And and I’ve over the last few years have just started to realize that. Like money is where businesses get their incentives. And so if you understand where the money’s coming from, then you have a much clearer picture of the angle that they’re coming from. So for example, if there’s a news article that is very like talking very antagonistically about renewable energy and then you find out that it’s funded by big oil then.
[00:10:12] Oh, okay. That makes sense. Maybe I should research this a little deeper and see where their stats are coming from. So yeah, the money you got to follow the money to get a sense of where whether they’re going to sell the user’s data in the future and stuff. So anyway, they, lots of companies don’t tell you where their money comes from.
[00:10:30]Or like we know where their money comes from. And it’s the reason that lots of the incentives are screwed up like Twitter, Facebook and Google are really great examples of this. And I, as a co-op house was getting popular, I was just tweeting about how I think, Hey I’m just a little bit concerned about where like whether clubhouse is going to do right by its users when it starts to actually need to make money.
[00:10:49] And and I said, I think every company should create a page that says where their money comes from. And if they don’t know yet, like they’re just getting started, then they should say make it stand on. Whether they’re ever going to sell their user’s data and stuff like that. So some of the things they will do and they won’t do things.
[00:11:07] And then I realized, wait for a second, I have a company. So I was like, Oh, I guess I should do that myself. And so that’s where the transparency page came from. And actually, I have removed some sources of income because they didn’t align well with my mission. For example, I took YouTube ads off of my YouTube channel.
[00:11:25] Because my mission is not pushed any further forward by showing people ads before my videos. That’s not where I’m making my money, right? Like there, there are plenty of YouTube creators. They’re making money on YouTube. That’s their thing. My YouTube stuff is three-hour live streams of me just like coding and stuff, or I have weekly office hours and they’re recordings of that.
[00:11:46] So that, I guess it’s useful, but it’s, that’s not where I’m going to get my money. That’s where I go to say, Hey, like I’m creating content. You can trust me. I’m a creator. And if you want to more of this and higher quality and whatever, then you can go to courses and stuff.
[00:11:59]So that’s any way the transparency page helped me focus a little bit more on my primary mission as a company which has been a really positive thing. I’m really glad about this transparent transparency page, and I hope that we get on more companies doing this sort of thing.
[00:12:16] Brian Hinton: [00:12:16] Yeah, definitely. I love that. It should just be something that’s like privacy. Like we are, we’re so concerned about privacy. But like the same thing we should be concerned about, what governments, get their money in and even in some sense where they spend their money.
[00:12:29]Yeah. I love that. Going back to what you said earlier about how you’d like to dive deep into what you’re working on. I can always tell him, Oh, he’s working on something. Cause all the types of your posts right now, I’m like, He’s totally going to be writing something or updating something Epic react or AR he’s doing something TypeScript right now.
[00:12:47] So I’m just curious, are you what are you working on now with TypeScript? Cause I assume you’re about to do
[00:12:52] Kent C. Dodds: [00:12:52] something. Yeah. So that actually goes back to the productivity question where people say, wow, he just does so much stuff. And I guess so, but I think we all do a lot of stuff.
[00:13:01] I’m just extremely public about it. There are very few things that I do not share with the world of what I’m doing from a business standpoint. And yeah, like you see me talking about remix and TypeScript is because I’m using those tools right now. And it’s, they’re just like constantly on my mind.
[00:13:17] And so yes, I am working on a TypeScript thing right now. I’m in the, I’ve been using TypeScript for three years, but I’ve been not on more on the abstraction side which is different kind of TypeScript than building application side. And I want to get into teaching people how to write TypeScript to build applications.
[00:13:54]I shouldn’t say a lot, but if you are that person, you’re in a very small niche of the jobs, there are most people are way into TypeScript. So anyway, there are a lot of people who, or a fair amount of people who don’t want to do TypeScript or they’re new to TypeScript. And so I want to have this TypeScript course that I can say, Hey, go take that.
[00:14:11] If you haven’t had much experience or you want to just freshen up and then and then you can go through the rest of this stuff. So yes, there is a TypeScript thing coming, a lot of TypeScript things coming your way from me.
[00:14:22]Brian Hinton: [00:14:22] Yeah. It’s I just love seeing how much you share it. I w I wish more were more people were as open because you’ve basically built actually, let’s just get into that the kind of topic that I want to.
[00:14:34] Talk about this episode as a community and building a community. So your openness, I think, has been like a big catalyst for that. And I’ve noticed that you’re literally everywhere can like, like nine
[00:14:46] Kent C. Dodds: [00:14:46] clubhouse. I don’t have an iOS device. So
[00:14:50] Brian Hinton: [00:14:50] maybe next week, the other day. Yeah. The other day we use Crossy and via at work.
[00:14:55]And I was like, I just happened to go the NPM page to look something up. I was like what the heck? I feel like at this, I think I have far to look at our packages. At least all of them might have your lines, your name somewhere in there. But anyway how did we talk about, you get into teaching, but how did the community aspect really start were like your discord, for instance, I know has, 10,000 plus active users where did that all begin?
[00:15:43] And talk with each other. They’ll be able to help each other. And cause I, I can only scale so much. This is why I created the online courses because when I do it as workshops I can’t scale very well. It’s very expensive. And so it’s not very accessible and so I can make it a recorded workshop, but now it doesn’t take my time.
[00:16:00] And so I can drastically reduce the price. But you lose that side of being able to learn with other people and have access to the instructor. So I make up with the access to the instructor by doing my office hours every week and people, anybody can just come and ask me questions. But then I also have the community where people can go and talk and with each other and help each other out.
[00:16:21]So I started with actually spectrum spread spectrum. chat and that worked out okay, ish. But as I was ramping up Epic react, I just thought, I feel like. We’re missing something here. And I knew that react to flax and moved over to discord. They’ve been there for a while. I wasn’t really involved, but I decided, I’m just going to try it.
[00:16:39] And I created discord in an hour made the images and whatever. And set up the roles and stuff. But I think it was before I opened it up or no, it was, yeah, it was after I really wanted to make sure that people who joined the discord would read the code of conduct.
[00:16:56] So that was a very important thing to me. If I’m going to be in charge of this, I am going to make sure that it’s a safe space for people. And so I created a bot that would not let you in until you read the code of conduct and Like it’s okay to be able to enforce a code of conduct by banning people from the server and stuff.
[00:17:14]But I also wanted to get email addresses and stuff as well. Not only for managing the code of conduct and stuff but also this is my community, I’m offering this service. And I think that it’s okay for me to ask for your email address so I can let you know when I’m doing stuff. And so the bot is responsible for just onboarding, asking their name and getting their email, making sure that they read the code of conduct.
[00:17:36] In fact, it says, do you accept the code of conduct here it is. And they of course say yes. And then it asks, okay. So because you read the code of conduct, you must know what email address we send violation notices to, and Oh shoot, I guess I need to open the code of conduct. And yeah, I, they, I forced them to open the code of conduct at least And and they go through that.
[00:17:56]So because of that friction that I’ve added to join the community, it’s a very high-quality community of people who are actually active. We don’t have any drive-bys and you’d be surprised, the number of people who joined the discord and then realized that they created a new account instead of logging into their existing one.
[00:18:14] And so we have none of those because people realize that, and then they sign in to their right account and then they join. And so it’s actually very high quality. I did that. Oh, that happened to you.
[00:18:27] Brian Hinton: [00:18:27] Oh yeah. I totally accidentally created an account
[00:18:29] Kent C. Dodds: [00:18:29] and I had to fix that. I did the same thing in another community.
[00:18:33] And so now there’s this nebulous account just hanging out in some community somewhere. We don’t have any of those. And so that, that is like the, when we say we have 10,000 members, that’s a high activity actual people who participate in the community. So it’s a really awesome place.
[00:18:47] I, I love it. There.
[00:18:48] Brian Hinton: [00:18:48] Yeah. And you even then your open-source the bot too, so that, yeah. Yeah.
[00:18:53] Kent C. Dodds: [00:18:53] I know of at least two other communities that are using the bot. They like forked in, did their own thing with it. Yeah.
[00:19:01] Brian Hinton: [00:19:01] Yeah. And piling onto the whole being efficient with your time, as the learning groups too.
[00:19:06] That’s an incredible concept. Could you tell us a little bit about the learning group? Yeah.
[00:19:11] Kent C. Dodds: [00:19:11] So when I did, I was creating Epic reacts I, I was going to go and just record all the workshops. Cause I’d given them so many times I was ready, to just pull the trigger and go, but I decided I just want to do one more time.
[00:19:27] We’ll just see, make sure that everything flows nicely and everything. And so I scheduled eight workshops and I opened it up where people could just buy a ticket to all of them. And so then over the course of two months, they’d go through all of these workshops. That’s very fast-paced. People don’t normally go through Epic react that fast.
[00:19:43]But yeah, so what I found in that process was that the people who, and there were like 30 people who went through all of it It went really well for them being able to get to know the other people who are learning. And I won, I didn’t want to lose that by going to record. And on top of that, when I do live, I also do breakout rooms where you’re in a group of three or four other developers working through the exercises together.
[00:20:08] And I didn’t want to lose that either. And so I wanted to have some way to say, Hey, basically Epic react is supposed to be all of the good parts of workshops with the none of the bad parts and all the good parts of a recorded course with none of those bad parts. So that’s like the best of both worlds.
[00:20:22]And the problem with going recorded is now you lose access to the instructor and you lose access to other learners. And so learning clubs are supposed to give you access to other people to learn and bounce ideas off of. And then my office hours give people access to me to ask questions in a live setting.
[00:20:40]And so what a learning coach is basically my bot facilitates getting a group of people who want to go through the material together and it’s, it doesn’t have to be any of my material too. Like we have we’ve had people going through like some rushed course and a VIM course and a bunch of others.
[00:20:56]But the idea is you have this curriculum you want to go through there, there’s a specific schedule. And then you use the bot to let everybody know that this is the thing that’s happening. People sign up on your form that you create. And then you create a little discord DM, or lots of people just make an entirely different server and go through the curriculum together.
[00:21:15]It’s been really successful. We’ve had I dunno, maybe two dozen learning clubs that people have started for various. Most of them are my content, but yeah, for various things and there’s always like the really excited everybody starts off really excited at the beginning.
[00:21:28] And then it kind of tapers off in there maybe four or five people laugh. But even if it’s just to that is a success because of the accountability that you get by going through the curriculum together I can’t tell you how many books and courses that I’ve bought that I haven’t gone through at all, because I just have no accountability.
[00:21:45]And having a group of people that I feel accountable to make me more likely to go through it and I’ll just get more out of it. So it’s been really successful. That’s community
[00:21:54] Frederick Weiss: [00:21:54] with you. If you have a bunch of people together and everybody’s learning together, and you’re talking about the same things, like whether that’s a conference room where we used to go to or a book club, or what have you a mastermind, like when you have that kind of pseudo accountability where it’s, we all want to learn that same thing, you just get so much out of it.
[00:22:14] Kent C. Dodds: [00:22:14] Absolutely. Yep. Yeah, it’s been fun.
[00:22:18] Brian Hinton: [00:22:18] One thing, one thing I’m curious about as someone who’s an educator, what, how do you decide what to, what you’re going to actually create? Like what’s your like, How do you get the vibe of the feel of the room, so to speak? Yeah, I think
[00:22:35] Frederick Weiss: [00:22:35] I know the answer to this.
[00:22:36]Kent C. Dodds: [00:22:36] A lot of people will do like a Twitter poll. What do you want me to teach and stuff? I’ve done that in the past. I’ve found that I’m much more successful if I just teach whatever I’m hyped about and excited about at the moment. There, there’s always a, unless I decide to go into some like very niche topic of something there’s always going to be a market for whatever I’m excited about.
[00:22:54] And and I’m always way better equipped to teach the things that I’m excited about. This is why I haven’t actually. And taking the time to create a TypeScript course until now. Because I haven’t been super psyched about TypeScript for the years that I’ve been using it. And so now I am using it a lot and I’m getting excited about it.
[00:23:13] And then it’s B just become naturally interesting to me. And so that’s why that’s the next thing for me. Yeah, I think that it’s going to wish we
[00:23:21] Frederick Weiss: [00:23:21] got a, we got a comment about that. Yeah,
[00:23:24]Kent C. Dodds: [00:23:24] Yeah. It definitely is. I like those sorts of comments. They’re really validating to me cause like I’m in this box, I’m by myself all day.
[00:23:34]And I, of course, have to be a community. Yeah. They keep you there. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. And so when I hear people outside of this box that says that what I’ve created has been helpful to them. It is just really validating. So I appreciate comments like that. Thank you.
[00:23:50] Brian Hinton: [00:23:50] Yeah I’ve definitely loved and share the beginner react one way.
[00:24:16] Kent C. Dodds: [00:24:16] Yeah. That’s my approach for teaching things in general, if I can help it and actually react testing library came out of that method of teaching. So what I like to do is if we have time for it, I want to take the subject that we’re trying to learn an abstraction and remove the abstraction for a second and do what the abstraction is doing in a small way.
[00:24:50]And I feel like people are able to draw a line around abstractions a lot better if they understand at least at a basic level, what that abstraction is responsible for. So when I was getting into teaching testing libraries and enzyme was the thing at the time I wanted to say, okay, so let’s take react Dom, and we’ll render this to this dev that we have to create ourselves and all of that.
[00:25:11]But the jump from what you could do with just react on dot render. And enzyme was just enormous because there were so many utilities that enzyme offers and then you have to choose between mountain render and shallow and all of those things. And that bothered me a little bit. And so I was looking at the exercise where let’s just do it with react.
[00:25:28]And I said, you know what? That test is actually not that bad. And I, compared that to the test I had to write with enzyme is like, what? Like there are so many concepts in here I don’t want to even not only I don’t want to have to deal with, but there are lots of other things that I want to tell them.
[00:25:41] I was going to make a list of here don’t do these things with the enzyme. Cause it just enabled me to do a bit, a lot about things. So I was looking at that and I thought, you know what. I could probably just write a little utility around this react on dot render thing, and then just go with, run with that.
[00:25:55] And I did this was like two weeks before I was giving a workshop at Trulia to 60 people. I decided to create a new library and teach them to use my brand new library. It’s I’m glad that worked out. I was like, Peter, I went to front-end masters and did the same thing and that’s a that was recorded and everything.
[00:26:13] Yeah. I’m really glad that reacts.
[00:26:17] Brian Hinton: [00:26:17] That’s great. That’s a little last minute.
[00:26:20] Kent C. Dodds: [00:26:20] Yeah. Yeah. I was convinced that the enzyme was harmful. And it was now the there were some things, if you used it in the right way, it was fine. The problem was that it was just so easy to use it in the wrong way and the documentation.
[00:26:33] And like comments and get a hub, all encourage people to, to write implementation detail focus test and that just was not great. So yeah, react testing library is now the most popular and recommended testing library. So that ended up being pretty successful.
[00:26:52] Brian Hinton: [00:26:52] Nice job. Getting back to the community too.
[00:26:54] One thing I’m curious about do you have LA what are your next goals with it? What do you, what are the next steps for the community that you’ve built as it continues to grow?
[00:27:04] Kent C. Dodds: [00:27:04] Yeah. A few months ago these aren’t the next steps, but these are recent steps. I realized that the community was growing beyond a KCD.
[00:27:11] Like it, wasn’t just here’s the place that I’m talking about, Kenton his stuff. And I had my office hours on there. I would do live streams on there. And there were a couple of people who were making a name for themselves, within the KCD community. And I thought like I should just figure out a way to enable these people to serve the community in the same way that I do.
[00:27:31] just because it’s the KCD to the community doesn’t mean I’m the only one who can post office hours and stuff. And in the spirit of clump house, I created this thing called meetups which is a command that you give to the bot to schedule a meetup. You can list yourself as one of the people that people can follow.
[00:27:47] And when you schedule a meetup, all your followers will get a notification that you are streaming. And so this could be like anything it’s basically what clubhouse is except you also have video and the screen-sharing capabilities and stuff, but you can talk about baking or you can talk about politics, or you could talk about coding, does it like whatever it goes.
[00:28:05] And so now we have people who. Are hosting their own meetups and they’re doing their own office hours and stuff like that. So that’s what I’ve been thinking about for the community is how can I make this just bigger than myself? Because I think that my mission is to make the world a better place through quality software.
[00:28:20] And that there are a lot of people who can help me in that mission. I don’t have to do all of that by myself. And there are people who are willing and able to do that within the community. So that’s where I’m thinking about what the, what I’m thinking about with the community is how to enable other people to push that mission forward.
[00:28:37]Frederick Weiss: [00:28:37] Let me ask you then if that’s what you’re talking about, where, what does that look like? Hypothetically, like best case scenario with three years, five years down the road what does that look like?
[00:28:47] Kent C. Dodds: [00:28:47] Yeah, it’s a little bit tricky to measure make the world better, I’m just mean
[00:28:52] Frederick Weiss: [00:28:52] hypothetically, like if you had your choice.
[00:28:55] Kent C. Dodds: [00:28:55] Yeah. So I’m mostly interested in Like lots of the developers that I am teaching, they’re working for a company that’s trying to do something useful in the world. At least, hopefully, I can’t really control that, but that’s, I have to go with that assumption. Otherwise, I would do nothing. So I assume that people are working for companies or building companies themselves that are making the world better.
[00:29:16] And if I can help them to level up their skills, to be able to push their company’s mission forward, then that’s success in my mind to take it even a step further, more on a personal level. If I can help people get a pay raise or a promotion or a job in the first place that also helps their corner of the world be better for them.
[00:29:36] And that’s also like something that I’m thinking about pretty often. And I. Really enjoy it when I hear people telling you I got a job because Epic reacts that this happens every week or so somebody else says something like that. And that is really validating to me because that’s right on point with my company.
[00:29:54] Brian Hinton: [00:29:54] What do you say on the flipping on the opposite end all being validated. Fantastic. But what happens when you reach the, what do you do when you reach those low points where it’s harder for you to get in front of the computer and record something or, work at all?
[00:30:08]What are you, what are some tips and tricks for people?
[00:30:11] Kent C. Dodds: [00:30:11] Yeah. So I have the benefit of being committed to not having deadlines. I don’t make deadlines for myself. I don’t tell people when something’s going to be out. I do have a partner company in particular egghead.io. They are my primary partner for most of the things that I do.
[00:30:27] And we have plans that we make together. And then when we’re getting closer to something happening, then we schedule a date and sometimes we’ll share it since actually, we won’t. But I don’t really schedule something to be completed until I get really close to that thing being done. And because of that, I can say, Hey, this is the plan.
[00:30:45] This is the next thing that I’m working on, but I don’t have to have anything delivered or whatever until like ever honestly. And so that kind of makes it works. And of course, this is nice just because my business has been financially successful and there’s a recurring revenue stream, a passive income stream.
[00:31:02]That means that when I have those slumps, I can just go hang out with my kids and I don’t have to tell my boss or anything that I’m not working today. Unfortunately, that means that’s not exactly relatable to everybody. I know some of you, I go to the job and you can’t just tell your boss that I’m not feeling it today.
[00:31:16] I’m doing it
[00:31:17] Brian Hinton: [00:31:17] now.
[00:31:20] Kent C. Dodds: [00:31:20] Yeah. So I have had those experiences before and sometimes it’s nice to switch gears and do something else for a little bit. And most employers are totally like they have plenty of work for you to do you just say, Hey, listen, I’m just really struggling with this a little bit.
[00:31:35] Can I help Jane out with her thing or whatever just to change the pace a little bit. Yeah. And that I’ve done that in the past and that’s worked out pretty well for me.
[00:31:45] Brian Hinton: [00:31:45] So when will the discord bot actually start teaching or replace you.
[00:31:52] Frederick Weiss: [00:31:52] That’s a great question. I’d imagine that’s in the future soon.
[00:31:56] Kent C. Dodds: [00:31:56] You know what? You probably you’ll know when that’s going to happen, because I’ll be tweeting about AI a lot and I’ll be like, I’ll make an AI course or something. And by the time that’s done, nobody will need to take it because AI will take over the world. And so nobody needs to coat.
[00:32:11] Frederick Weiss: [00:32:11] We just got to find out where Sarah Khan heirs and make sure she’s safe.
[00:32:14]Speaking of your courses, I just wanted to bring up this cause I’ve, I’m sure things like this that you read all the time and for audio listeners thanks for creating react testing library. I’m used to ignoring the test before and I hate them. I hate. Writing them now things become better.
[00:32:34] Thanks for your testing article. Like how that’s some great feedback. So how does that make you feel and how does that help you become motivated to do more of this?
[00:32:43] Kent C. Dodds: [00:32:43] It makes me feel great. It, it is super validating. Thank you for saying that to him. D I’m not sure if I said your name, sorry. MITIE I’m not sure. Sorry. But yeah, it is validating, and at this point react testing library has pretty much won the hearts of most people. There are plenty of people who are still like mocking things a lot and they want to use shallow and stuff. And I just okay, that’s if that’s what you want to do, but yeah, lots of people are really happy with that.
[00:33:07]I’ve written a lot of articles about testing. In fact, I’m just going to check right now on my blog for the number of articles that I have with testing. Tag.
[00:33:18] Brian Hinton: [00:33:18] Oh, I was going to guess. Sorry.
[00:33:20] Kent C. Dodds: [00:33:20] Sorry. Yeah, we’ve got I’ve written a lot of articles on testing, and yeah I don’t know how I became the testing guy, to be honest.
[00:33:28]I know-how now, like I can tell you this story, but it was never a plan of mine to be the testing guy. It just happened because I started writing tests. So this is the way that happened is I got into open source. I was like writing a library and I thought it was cool and whatever, but every time I made a change, I’d have to open up this little demo that I had.
[00:33:48] And I test everything manually. I was like, what pain is that? And so I, this guy at work taught me how to use mocha. And so I started using MOCA to test my stuff automated. And I was like, wow, this is amazing. I like, I have the thousand little Kent’s running around, making sure everything works.
[00:34:02]And so I just started testing everything. And when you do something enough, You start developing opinions because of your experience. And just because I naturally share the things that I learned and just share what I think is important that I share my opinions. I started tweeting about it and writing articles about it.
[00:34:18] And and then I became the testing guy. I made a course about it. And yeah it’s really nice to hear that my articles and my open-source software have helped people out because that’s not the only reason that I create this stuff. The big reason is that I want to remember it.
[00:34:33] I want to learn it. I want to really understand it. But’s a big reason that I create this stuff is to, to make the world a better place. And I’m hoping that this stuff is going to help people be more productive. And yeah, when I hear stuff like that, it makes me feel validated
[00:35:51] So I recorded a couple of videos to show you a couple of cool additional things. And I replaced a few things to make some changes. So yeah, things do evolve over time. It, most of the time it’s coming out of not out of Hey, we’re going to do things fundamentally different from the way we’ve done it.
[00:36:06]I haven’t made huge changes like that. But it’s Hey, there’s this cool new tool that means that you don’t have to do all this weird stuff. Do
[00:36:13] Brian Hinton: [00:36:13] you, do you ever feel I know I personally do. I imagine you do too. Oh, overwhelmed by. All that actually is available.
[00:36:23] Kent C. Dodds: [00:36:23] Yeah. I dunno, like actually, yeah, so people will email me all the time and say, Hey, look at this cool tool that I built.
[00:36:30] Or most of the time it’s something that they built that has been really helpful for me. And lots of the time it’s like something very specific for a specific use case that I don’t know anything about, or I don’t I know about, but I don’t really have use cases for it or whatever.
[00:36:44] And so those are pretty easy. I just say, Hey, I’m not your target audience. And thanks anyway. But yeah, there’s just, there’s a huge, I get emails and tweets all the time from people saying, Hey, check this thing out. And I just sorry, I can’t check out everything that people tell me about.
[00:36:58] So I, you just choose which things you’re going to spend your time doing and then move forward.
[00:37:03]Frederick Weiss: [00:37:03] There’s only so much time in a day, and there’s so much technology that we could explore. And that’s why there’s. An array of people that, excuse the pun, an array of people that we could depend on and ask them their opinions as well.
[00:37:17]I wanted to also ask you about the podcast. How’s that going? Or are you still continuing that?
[00:37:23] Kent C. Dodds: [00:37:23] Yeah, so I am Eventually I’m going to start work on season four. I think I have three seasons. And yeah, I’m definitely planning on making that a thing again. Or, so the reason that I did the seasonal release thing where I just released the whole thing, I’ll all at once kind of Netflix binge style.
[00:37:54]But yeah, and then I have a podcast on Epic react and where I’m the guest in a podcast where I have guests. And so I’ve done all this podcasting thing a lot. And one thing that I’ve learned is that. It can become a chore. It just takes a lot of work. I’m sure you two both know, takes way more work than I ever expected.
[00:38:13]Yeah. And especially when you’re doing I did the live thing like you are and when you want to have a consistent time every week, we do it there. This time finding guests that can just happen to make it at that time is very difficult. And yeah, it was, it just became too much and that’s why Java script error kind of fizzled out.
[00:38:30]And so when I decided, Hey, I want to do this podcast. You think I want to have guests. But I don’t want to. Have to go through like finding guests all the time and stuff. So I’ll just do a bunch of episodes, record them all in rapid succession. I’ll do two or three a week and then we’ll put them all together and just ship them all at once.
[00:38:47] And then there’s no expectation on consistency from me. Nobody people will ask me, but they’re not expecting something every single week. And so that just reduces the amount of I don’t know, the effort now I’m doing a daily podcast, but it’s three minutes long. It takes me like four minutes total to do the whole
[00:39:02] Frederick Weiss: [00:39:02] thing.
[00:39:02]Could you imagine if you had a wait like a week for a new Wanda vision to come out like I just want to sit down, watch the whole thing and about one day and that’s it. Yeah, I guess
[00:39:13] Brian Hinton: [00:39:13] I just want you to know Kent. I am expecting podcasts from you. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:39:16] Kent C. Dodds: [00:39:16] And I do get that quite a bit.
[00:39:18] People are like when on season four coming out and that’s fine. I don’t feel too pressured by that. But season four is going to happen. I have a couple of people in mind that I’m probably going to invite on. But yeah, it’s, I don’t know. I haven’t started I, it doesn’t actually take a ton of work.
[00:39:34] Egghead helps me with that a lot. You’re not
[00:39:37] Brian Hinton: [00:39:37] doing anything right? Yeah.
[00:39:41] Kent C. Dodds: [00:39:41] Busy was fun. The reason I started podcasting in the first place was I was driving in my car, listening to a podcast and they would talk about something and I would start talking. I would like to respond. I’d be like, no, that’s not how it works.
[00:39:52] Or I’d say, Oh yeah. And then this they respond back. No, they never luckily they never did. Otherwise, you were like
[00:39:59] Frederick Weiss: [00:39:59] talking to the TV.
[00:40:01] Kent C. Dodds: [00:40:01] Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And so I was like, you know what, I’m just going to start doing this myself. I need to, I want to participate in these conversations. And so that’s why I started podcasting.
[00:40:26]So it’s not really a chore to me. But it does take time. And yeah. That’s why I just decided to let’s do seasonal and then I can just do it whenever I want. Yeah.
[00:40:35] Brian Hinton: [00:40:35] Yeah. Same with us. We really enjoy just connecting with people. I know my big thing is I always want to humanize people because people look at you can’t get people to look at you and they’re like, it’s Kent.
[00:40:47] And I’m like Kent is four kids. He just ate the lasagna last night,
[00:40:51] Frederick Weiss: [00:40:51] yeah. Our big thing is really just to get to know people like Brian said, people put people on these weird pedestals, et cetera, but what actually drives you to do these things? And yeah it’s great talking to you and getting some of that.
[00:41:05] And like you said, getting the opportunities to talk to some of the more interesting people, which is presently something that we’re all participating in.
[00:41:15] Kent C. Dodds: [00:41:15] Yeah. It’s fun.
[00:41:17] Brian Hinton: [00:41:17] Yeah. Frederick, do you have any further questions or would you like to move to the lightning round? I
[00:41:23] Frederick Weiss: [00:41:23] think the lightning rod round Brian I would like to do that.
[00:41:27] Kent C. Dodds: [00:41:27] I am comfortable. I’ll be honest. When I saw this, I was like, Oh no, I’m really bad at lightning. I am. I just ramble a lot. I just talk a lot, so yeah. Yeah.
[00:41:37] Frederick Weiss: [00:41:37] Ready to ramble. Ramble time lightning round rambling.
[00:41:42] Brian Hinton: [00:41:42] Ramble time. Yeah. Yeah. So I’ll ask the question first and Frederick, can we just go back and forth?
[00:41:47]My first question would be where do you mind not waiting?
[00:41:52] Kent C. Dodds: [00:41:52] Where do I mind not waiting? Yeah. Oh, it’s like, where do I mind? Just like hanging out or yeah, you’re in line somewhere where you’re just like, I’m cool with it. Yeah. I don’t know. I hate waiting at work. There’s nowhere that I don’t mind not waiting.
[00:42:11] Frederick Weiss: [00:42:11] That’s a fine answer. Kent, let me ask you a serious question. What do you find to be your most favorite quality about yourself?
[00:42:20] Kent C. Dodds: [00:42:20] Ooh, this is a sort of question that I would ask my kids, as for they can feel good about themselves. I feel like we don’t love ourselves enough. So yeah, that’s a great question.
[00:42:28]I am a very driven person. I‘m, I get really committed to things and I like that about myself. Good.
[00:42:35] Brian Hinton: [00:42:35] Nice. Okay. Imagine this you’re in the circus. Can you, would you rather be the person with their head in the lion’s mouth or shot out of a cannon
[00:42:46] Kent C. Dodds: [00:42:46] shout out of a cannon for sure. Okay. That sounds awesome.
[00:42:49] That would be so fun.
[00:42:52] Frederick Weiss: [00:42:52] Kent, if you can not be around a computer ever again for some hypothetical circumstance, what would you do professionally?
[00:43:02] Kent C. Dodds: [00:43:02] I would write a book a fantasy novel. That’s that’d be really hard to do without a computer though.
[00:43:09] Frederick Weiss: [00:43:09] It is possible. There are typewriters. Yup.
[00:43:12] Kent C. Dodds: [00:43:12] Yup. That’s what I would do.
[00:43:15] Brian Hinton: [00:43:15] Okay. You go on a trip. You, your plane crashes, a Castaway style with Wilson and everything. You hit your head, you wake up somehow you made it back to land. You only have one technical skill that you still have. What is that technical skill?
[00:43:30]Kent C. Dodds: [00:43:30] Shoot I with all of the skills that I have right now, I would still die.
[00:43:37] So it doesn’t make a difference. What I choose.
[00:43:39] Brian Hinton: [00:43:39] Oh, you made it back to the end.
[00:43:41] Kent C. Dodds: [00:43:41] Oh, so like I survived. Okay. One technical skill.
[00:43:48] Frederick Weiss: [00:43:48] There you go. That is technical skill. Okay. Kent, imagine this, you come home. Nobody’s there it is late. It’s like one, two 30 in the morning. It’s raining. Pouring you open the door, you see a
[00:44:05] Brian Hinton: [00:44:05] ghost. What do you do?
[00:44:07]Kent C. Dodds: [00:44:07] Invite them in, no, they’re in the house. Yeah. Yeah, sure. They’re going to come in anyway.
[00:44:12] So may as well act friendly.
[00:44:17] Frederick Weiss: [00:44:17] Would you like some tea come on in
[00:44:20] Brian Hinton: [00:44:20] what chores do you absolutely hate doing?
[00:44:23]Kent C. Dodds: [00:44:23] I queen toilets like cleaning the bathroom. I hit that.
[00:44:28] Frederick Weiss: [00:44:28] Nice. All right, Kent, what are you listening to for fun right now? Are you listening to any certain kind of a podcast or something
[00:44:37] Kent C. Dodds: [00:44:37] such as that? Yes, I am always listening to a podcast.
[00:44:40]One thing that people know about me is I listened at three X that’s how fast? So here’s here, I’m listening right now too soft skills engineering. And
[00:44:49] Frederick Weiss: [00:44:49] this is,
[00:44:55] Kent C. Dodds: [00:44:55] I didn’t do a lot of podcasts at very fast speeds. And soft-skills engineering is a favorite. I’ve got I listened to a lot of Tesla stuff. So I’ve got tastes, Tesla, daily and ride the lightning, the Tesla, and the official podcast. I love dark net diaries. I listened to a lot of books, so I like Brandon Sanderson.
[00:45:13] I’m a big fan. And yeah, like some self-help books and stuff like that. I’m a listener of syntax and planet money. Yeah, so I listen to podcasts a lot. Writing excuses is writing podcasts. I listen to. And then I, when I’m coding, I just, it doesn’t matter what it is and it can have lyrics or not.
[00:45:30] It doesn’t matter. I don’t even realize it. Sometimes it can sometimes I’ll realize that there it’s really dirty or something. You’re like, Oh, shoot, kind of skip that because I just did not pay attention. But I do need something when I’m coding.
[00:45:45] Frederick Weiss: [00:45:45] Gotcha. Yeah, it’s funny. You mentioned that I heard just the other day Dave ripper on a shop talk.
[00:45:51] He was talking about how all he does with podcasts is listen to them at two X, et cetera. And I could imagine going back to listening to them at just regular speed. I think a lot of us do that. We just rush through, I want to get the info.
[00:46:05] Kent C. Dodds: [00:46:05] I know like our brains are really capable. People who are blind are able to listen to it like six X or more.
[00:46:12]So lots of that is because of the parts of their brain that are processing vision or have been retrained and stuff. But yeah, our brains are amazing. And I worked up over years to get to three acts and, but it means that I have to be very focused. I either I’m just sitting there listening to it or I’m doing dishes or driving or something that like, I can just put on autopilot sometimes, literally.
[00:46:34]And and so I can listen. Otherwise, I’ll miss stuff. And I’ve just not
[00:46:37] Frederick Weiss: [00:46:37] cleaning the toilet. Yeah.
[00:46:40] Brian Hinton: [00:46:40] I’ve definitely watched your videos too at two X cause I like move faster cats.
[00:46:45] Kent C. Dodds: [00:46:45] Yeah, that’s impressive. Cause Eric had added the ability to slow down videos because of me
[00:46:54] can’t but slower.
[00:46:59] I talk fast. I don’t like wasting people’s time and I don’t like my time being wasted either.
[00:47:03] Brian Hinton: [00:47:03] Would you rather be able to copy and paste to real-life or undo?
[00:47:09] Kent C. Dodds: [00:47:09] Oh, I find myself trying to do command F in real life, like finding a lot undo for sure. It’s actually pretty easy. I make mistakes all the time.
[00:47:31] Kent C. Dodds: [00:47:31] Sorry, I’m thinking about that last one. I’m going to change my answer to compensate. I was just thinking if you undo every mistake you make like you never really learned anything.
[00:47:42]And and sometimes you don’t realize that the thing you did was a mistake until later. So yeah I wouldn’t want to mess with time.
[00:47:48] Brian Hinton: [00:47:48] So wait, you’re undoing your answer. Now
[00:47:52] Frederick Weiss: [00:47:52] you realize the thick layer of irony here.
[00:47:58] Kent C. Dodds: [00:47:58] I can’t do that. I guess I just gave that ability away. Yeah. Okay. So you wanted advice for someone who’s just getting into programming?
[00:48:20] Kent C. Dodds: [00:48:20] Yeah. That one’s actually really tough.
[00:48:22]I have made a living building or creating material for experienced developers. I don’t teach brand-new developers. A whole lot people need, I have assumptions that you have knowledge. And because I haven’t created anything, I also haven’t gone through anything like the mind mechanism for learning this stuff was just playing around with things a lot.
[00:48:59] That’d probably be a good place to start.
[00:49:02] Frederick Weiss: [00:49:02] Oh yeah. We’ll add that in the show notes. That’s a great one.
[00:49:04]Brian Hinton: [00:49:04] What do you miss most about being a kid?
[00:49:11] Kent C. Dodds: [00:49:11] When I was in fifth grade, I was homeschooled. And I would wake up at five in the morning and my mom would have a checklist, actually, something like this. This is what I do now. And she would just, every, all of my homework assignments for the day, I would get them all done by nine. And then I have the whole day to myself to do whatever I wanted.
[00:49:28]I miss that. Now I have that, but like now I have a wife and four kids. I need to look after it when I was a kid. It was just like, I do whatever I want and nobody relies on me. No, I can’t. Your mom’s awesome. Yeah, that was awesome. I really loved that year. It was actually a transformative year.
[00:49:45] That’s like where I got my drive and my productivity, just like I have a checklist, I just get it done. And then I can do what I want.
[00:49:54] Frederick Weiss: [00:49:54] Love that. Brian, do you have anything else?
[00:49:56]Brian Hinton: [00:49:56] I’ve. I have two more. I just want to know, like in the 11, so you’re 12
[00:50:00] Kent C. Dodds: [00:50:00] I’m number 11 of 12 or
[00:50:02] Brian Hinton: [00:50:02] 11 and 12.
[00:50:10]Kent C. Dodds: [00:50:10] Because then defined wasn’t a function,
[00:50:12] Brian Hinton: [00:50:12] because he didn’t know how to express himself.
[00:50:14] Frederick Weiss: [00:50:14] Brian’s joke of the week,
[00:50:18] Kent C. Dodds: [00:50:18] those punny jokes, people will find that every five or six videos, I have a break and it’s just a broken video. It’s two minutes long of me saying, Hey, let’s do, let’s just take a quick break. And I show them I can have dad joked.com. And we just look at random dad jokes like three or four of those.
[00:50:36]Cody, the koala bear also joins us and Oh my God, that’s
[00:50:39] Brian Hinton: [00:50:39] awesome.
[00:50:43] Frederick Weiss: [00:50:43] Kent. We’re at the end of the show. And I just want to make sure that we’re telling people where to go to find more information about you, obviously your website, which is Kent C Dodds, two DS, and the s.com. You’re also on YouTubes. You provided a URL, C D I M slash YouTube. Do you have the Twitters, you were at Kent C Dodds on the Twitters and get hub slash Kent C Dodds.
[00:51:10] I imagine everywhere that anyone would book, if I go to the Kent C Dodds, they would discover you that’s
[00:51:19] Kent C. Dodds: [00:51:19] the case. I don’t think there are any exceptions so far.
[00:51:23] Frederick Weiss: [00:51:23] Yeah. Great. And the last thing I love to ask the guest is, do you have any final words of advice for our audience?
[00:51:33]Kent C. Dodds: [00:51:33] So my father-in-law likes to say ask, Hey Kent, is it more important to be a hard worker or to be smart?
[00:51:40] And he says it’s more important to be a hard worker and is more important to be a hard worker or to be nice. And it’s more important to be nice. And it doesn’t matter how smart you are or how hard I work or you are, if you’re not nice then you’re missing out on a lot that the world has to offer and the world is missing out on a lot that you have to offer as well.
[00:51:58]So that would be my parting words of advice. Be a little introspective and think about how you can make yourself a little nicer.
[00:52:07] Brian Hinton: [00:52:07] I like that. I love that. Yeah. Thank you so much for spending your evening with us time. I always say it’s the most valuable thing we have and free to spend a little with us.
[00:52:17] That’s great. Thank you
[00:52:18] Kent C. Dodds: [00:52:18] so much. Thank you. I appreciate you giving me some of your time and the audience as well.
[00:52:23] Frederick Weiss: [00:52:23] Yeah. Thank you so much, Ken. And thanks to everybody again for watching the show. Really appreciate it. We’ll catch you next time. Thank you so much, Kent. Take care. All.