A Mortal Kombat Rampage for Pole Position on Galaga

This week Josh, Ben, and Starr talk vintage console games and announce details about Honeybadger's upcoming RailsConf blow out. The episode then pinballs over to dismissing FU money, insights on hiring and more. Hold on to your headphones!

This week Josh, Ben, and Starr talk vintage console games and announce details about Honeybadger's upcoming RailsConf blow out. The episode then pinballs over to dismissing FU money, insights on hiring and more. Hold on to your headphones!

Show Notes
Links:

RailsConf
Waza
Remus & Romulus
SAML
DHH
Tableau
Calendly
M Night Syamalan

Full Transcription:
Josh:
It all started with Remus and Romulus, am I right, Ben?

Ben:
Oh, yes.

Josh:
Yeah.

Starr:
Oh my gosh, Remus and Romulus, those were the names of our first two servers.

Ben:
Our first database servers

Starr:
Our first database servers, I'm sorry.

Josh:
Was it Snickers was the ...

Ben:
Yes, Snickers was the first.

Josh:
Yeah, Snickers was the first.

Ben:
Yeah, so back in the day when we actually named our servers we named them after candy bars, so we had-

Josh:
First came Snickers, then came Remus and Romulus, and would you say that today Honeybadger is kind of in the late ... Like the decline of the empire stage?

Ben:
I hope not, no. We're still-

Josh:
I hope we didn't predestine ourselves ...

Ben:
Right.

Josh:
... with our server naming.

Ben:
We're still in the vigorous days of the republic.

Starr:
Yeah, I mean, we're referencing the Roman Empire, right? Remus and Romulus, they were ... You just said that they were like the, sort of like second servers that we set up, and before that was Snickers. I just wanted to say that you're implying that in the foundation of the Roman Republic before there was Remus and Romulus, like the official story, there was somebody named Snickers who really kicked it off?

Josh:
There was a Snickers, yeah.

Starr:
Little Snickers ...

Josh:
Snickers was the god that no one talks about.

Starr:
Yeah ... Maybe Snickers was the name of the wolf that raised Remus and Romulus, right?

Ben:
There you go.

Josh:
Right.

Starr:
Okay, that's a good name for a pet.

Ben:
I like it.

Josh:
Snickers the wolf.

Starr:
I love that so much! I love that so much, oh my gosh.

Ben:
Now we need some-

Josh:
I am totally going to name my next dog Snickers, by the way.

Ben:
That's awesome.

Starr:
That's a great name.

Ben:
I miss that server.

Josh:
Yeah, that was a good server.

Ben:
The good old days.

Starr:
Welcome to a special Valentine's Day episode of FounderQuest. We're talking about love. We take reader questions on romance, and how to ... I'm just kidding. We're going to be talking about ... Last episode we talked about, briefly towards the end we talked about how we were going to be doing the Honeybadger ... What's the official branding? What are we officially calling it? The Indie ...

Josh:
I think we're calling it the Honeybadger Indie Lounge.

Starr:
I like that. You know what would be even better than that?

Josh:
Tell me.

Starr:
The Honeybadger Indie Ultra Lounge.

Ben:
With sprinkles.

Josh:
Yeah, with sprinkles.

Starr:
Overstuffed furniture in there ... I don't know. I've never been to an ultra lounge-

Josh:
We should give out Snickers bars.

Ben:
I was thinking the same thing.

Starr:
Yeah, you should.

Ben:
You can have that party pack of Snickers in a bowl. Yep.

Josh:
In honor of our first server, yeah.

Starr:
That's a great idea. Actually, I've been legit hungry at conferences, so I feel like we'd get a lot of traction if we just had like a fruit bowl, just like bananas, just like free bananas.

Ben:
That's a good idea.

Josh:
We're going to have something really good there.

Ben:
We're working on getting a popcorn cart, actually.

Starr:
Oh, really?

Ben:
Yes.

Starr:
That's so cool.

Ben:
Yeah. Because who doesn't love popcorn?

Josh:
It's good to snack on, yeah.

Starr:
Maybe we should explain a little bit about what the heck we're talking about. We're talking about ... First of all we're talking about RailsConf. RailsConf is going to be when, like in May?

Josh:
Yeah, I think it's in early-

Starr:
It's in May, it's in Portland ...

Josh:
The first week.

Starr:
Portland is the Pacific Northwest, we're in the Pacific Northwest, so we're like, "Okay, we've got to really represent." If it was across the country, I mean, let's be honest, we just couldn't be bothered, but ...

Josh:
Also we have ... This is part of our origin story. We kind of launched at RailsConf, Pdx ...

Starr:
That's right!

Josh:
Was it RubyConf or was it RailsConf?

Starr:
It was RailsConf, yeah.

Josh:
It was RailsConf. Yeah, last time RailsConf was here ... I forget what year that was, it was ... I know it wasn't like 2012, but it was like a couple years after that, within that time span I think. Yeah, we went to RailsConf and we couldn't afford to sponsor, because RailsConf is a pretty hefty sponsorship price-

Starr:
Josh, we couldn't afford tickets.

Josh:
Yeah, you're right, we couldn't afford tickets, right?

Starr:
We didn't even get to go inside, we just sort of hung out in the hallway.

Josh:
We did the hallway, yeah, the hallway track. We basically bombed the hallway track, and put stickers on tables and things.

Starr:
Yeah, that was a lot of fun. That was one of the first times I've actually spent much time in Portland, so ...

Josh:
I totally forgot that we actually couldn't even afford tickets.

Starr:
Yeah, I remember sitting outside in the hallway ...

Josh:
Good times.

Starr:
... doing some client work for somebody, because I was still freelancing part-time, and just sort of doing that, and felt like such a rebel.

Josh:
I'm trying to remember that ... I don't think ... Was that before Waza?

Starr:
I don't know.

Josh:
If so, that was like my ... I had never been to a conference before.

Starr:
No, Waza was first because we met at Waza, right?

Josh:
That was first ... Oh, that's right, I guess you're right, okay. Okay, so I've been to one conference before.

Starr:
Cool.

Josh:
RailsConf is back in Portland and-

Starr:
RailsConf is back ... You know another cool little-

Josh:
This time we can afford tickets.

Starr:
You know another cool little sort of like circling of the circle? I don't know, looping back of the snake that eats his own tail?

Starr:
Yeah, so Portland has this awesome video game and pinball bar space called ... What is it called?

Josh:
Ground Control.

Starr:
Ground Control, it's amazing. That's where I first learned to enjoy pinball. That was actually on the night that I'm talking about. GitHub basically rented out Ground Control and opened it up to RailsConf people, and I looked enough like a RailsConf person that I sort of snuck in and played a bunch of pinball for free on GitHub's tab. This time, though, this time we're going to be actually renting out Ground Control ourselves, right?

Josh:
For a ... Yeah, for a little party on, I think it's on the first night-

Starr:
Yeah, a little shindig.

Josh:
The first night of RailsConf ... Yeah. We're also doing that. We're doing two things, we're doing the Indie Lounge and we're doing a party. That's going to be really fun, because the party is going to be free to play, like all the retro arcade games will be free to play, and we're-

Ben:
Except for Galaga, Galaga will not be available because I'll be playing it all night long.

Josh:
Ben has Galaga reserved.

Ben:
I've got dibs.

Starr:
VIP Galaga.

Josh:
I guess I better get on that, I better go stakeout my machines early.

Ben:
We're going to do a signup for this, we're going to send out invites and allow people to register, because we don't have capacity for the entire RailsConf population to go to the event, so we're going to have to limit it, but we should put that on the registration form, like your name, your favorite video game, so that we can warn people, "Oh, there's a lot of demand for Pole Position ..." I don't know.

Josh:
Oh, yeah that would be ... You got to get there early.

Starr:
I don't want to get between the nerds and their games. That just seems like a bad place to be if we're trying to engender goodwill. I just say let them fight it out, I mean it's Lord of the Flies out there, we all know that.

Josh:
Yeah, that's true.

Ben:
You have to play Mortal Kombat to find out who gets to play the game they want to play.

Starr:
Yeah ... What was the thinking behind doing the ... The lounge bit, the Indie Lounge, or Ultra Lounge as I'm calling it, is-

Ben:
With sprinkles.

Starr:
That's a little bit of a different deal than you usually see at conferences. Most of the time you go to a conference and it's just kind of like the company, they've got reps there, they've got maybe demos, maybe they're giving out little koozies or something with their logos on it, or maybe little flashlights or some other stuff that will get lost in your backpack and you'll never see again. What are we trying to do? How are we trying to change that up?

Josh:
There's always been a problem ... We've always had a problem at RailsConf ... Like I said, back when RailsConf was in Portland and we couldn't even afford tickets much less sponsorship, even then in the years after that, as a small bootstrap company, even though we started attending and stuff, we still couldn't afford some of the sponsorship tiers at the larger conferences that a lot of the larger companies are doing, so we'd have to kind of improvise or come up with our own things.

Josh:
I always thought it would be cool if there were a way to involve some of the smaller businesses, and even maybe solo or individual developers, so that they can come and have a semiofficial place to hang out, and talk to people, and that sort of thing. That's where this lounge idea kind of came in, the idea is basically ... We're kind of like the headlining sponsor, but we're going to be involving some of the other small businesses in the Rails community, and then hopefully there's going to be ... It'll kind of be like a meeting place for all of the, I guess, indie creators in the community, or whatever you want to call them, like the MicroConf crowd, even.

Starr:
Yeah, and just to warn you, this isn't like an ambush ... We're not trying to just get these people in a corral so we can just like have our salespeople swarm on them? We don't really have salespeople. We're just legit trying to-

Josh:
Yeah, we don't have salespeople.

Starr:
We're just legitimately trying to sort of foster community amongst people like us, who are sort of building things, and sort of out there trying to do stuff at a scale that's not sort of this big corporation thing-

Josh:
Yeah, well that's the other thing, we don't ... It's not really our style to go set up a demo booth and have salespeople try to sell developers walking by on Honeybadger, right there in your face. We kind of just like to chill, so this is a place to chill, and it lets us put our name on it and gives somewhere, the people can come talk to us or whatever. We can do other cool things around this lounge. This lounge idea is, it's like a meeting ... We can build things around it that I think are pretty interesting as opposed to the, like Ben was talking about, like handing out keychains or something

Starr:
What do you mean ... What sort of things could we build around it? I mean we're not going to hold you to this because it's all ... We have the lounge booked but we don't have every single detail worked out. Anything that we say is sort of tentative, I think, beyond this point.

Josh:
Yeah, I don't have ... I mean, I don't have any super crazy ideas, really. The party, for instance, we're doing this also, we're doing this party that we're hopefully going to ... We might involve that in this a little bit, I think some of ... We might offer some of our ... We don't have official co-sponsors yet, we'll be announcing that at some point, but the idea is that we're going to make ... I think we're going to have some sort of mini, kind of like a prospectus where different people can participate at different levels, if that makes sense. I'm not quite sure what all those levels will be yet, but it'll be like you can get your logo on the banner for the lounge, for instance, and we'll promote you as a part of our promotion to our customers as we kind of get this thing out there to people.

Starr:
I've got to ask you a tough question, Josh.

Josh:
Uh-oh.

Starr:
Does this count as multilevel marketing?

Josh:
I think we could go there. If you recruit ... We recruit you, and then you recruit several of your friends to join you at the lounge, and then they can recruit their friends.

Starr:
Yeah, but do you ... If you buy a spot in the lounge do you get to put up your own little tiny banner with tiny little logos on it?

Josh:
A tiny banner ... Okay, yeah, I see where you're going. We could have sub-prospectus, and then a sub-sub-prospectus that we ... Prospectuses, everyone gets their own prospectus that they can then sell to their people basically.

Starr:
Yeah. Unlike a multilevel marketing thing it's not actually a scam and everybody gets to have a good time, so ...

Josh:
Yeah, I like it.

Starr:
Well, I really like this whole direction because ... I don't know, with marketing stuff like this it's really hard to tell ... Okay, it's really hard to draw a straight line between some effort like this and a signup. Occasionally some people will come by and be like, "Oh, I signed up because I saw you at this place," but for the most part you don't really know. One thing I really like about our marketing efforts lately is that ... They're all things that I just think are good, they're just good to do in the world, and I'm just happy that we're doing them. Obviously I hope that we get good ROI on it, and if we somehow magically learn that we didn't we'd probably have to stop it, but in the meantime I'm just sort of glad we're doing it. It makes me happy to sort of be in this community like this.

Josh:
I don't know, Starr. You can just buy things, you can buy things for yourself, and not everything has to have an ROI. We could just buy ourselves a RailsConf lounge if we just wanted one for us.

Starr:
Like just for us?

Josh:
Just for us, like this could ... We could just ... We don't even have to let anyone in. This could just be ... This could be a place for Honeybadger people to hang out. It doesn't have to have a return on investment necessarily.

Starr:
Can we get a scary bouncer and put them outside the door with a little velvet rope.

Josh:
Honey badgers only.

Starr:
Yeah, and we'll leave the door open so people can look in.

Josh:
Right. I don't know if this is ... We're not hiring tons of people ... We actually are hiring one person right now, but a lot of companies that go and sponsor conferences, they're doing it because they're hiring. We do happen to be a developer tool, so any kind of goodwill that we can build with other developers obviously is good for us long-term, and I think that's been our approach to conference sponsorships, is that we're kind of just out there building goodwill with developers and ... We've never really had a good way to tie this sort of thing to the bottom line. I think that's fine, I think it's cool to do stuff just because you want to do it, or it's fun.

Starr:
Yeah, and also we're kind of like, sort of writing a perceived sort of injustice in the world a little bit, because ... I mean I remember when, back in, when was it? Like 2015 or something, 2014, where there were just Ruby Conferences every ... Every two weeks there was a Ruby Conference somewhere in the country. We sponsored pretty much all of them except for RailsConf, because RailsConf basically ... It would have been like, our budget could have gone to all of the Ruby Conferences in the country or RailsConf.

Josh:
Yeah, it's like all of them combined.

Starr:
It would have cost the same. Yeah, all of them combined or RailsConf. Which, I understand why they do that, it's a big conference like the biggest one, but it's just like ... It's just ...

Josh:
Supply and demand.

Starr:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Ben:
I remember back in those days, when we were talking about that sort of thing, and I remember saying, "Oh, wouldn't it be awesome if someday we could have that booth, that we actually had the money to be able to do that?" And here we are, we do. Isn't that awesome?

Starr:
It is awesome.

Ben:
Dreams come true.

Starr:
Dreams come true, it happened to you.

Ben:
That's why I like to say that we're living the bootstrapper's dream, because at first it was, "Let's get enough money so that we can actually stop doing freelancing." We got there, then it was, "Oh, let's get to a point where we can do this kind of fun stuff," and we got there ... It's great, I love it, I love this life.

Starr:
Can anybody tell me who came up with this idea of the lounge?

Ben:
It's got to be Josh's idea, it sounds like a Josh idea to me.

Josh:
It was a Josh idea.

Starr:
You are a genius, Josh. You are a fricken genius. I'm so glad you did this, because honestly ... Let's be honest, if we would have gotten a normal booth and done the normal booth thing, I would have shown up, I would have done my part manning it and smiled at people, but honestly I would have been just terrible at that. That just does not play to my skills.

Josh:
Yeah, that's the other part of this lounge, is that none of us wanted to actually have to stand at a booth. No one in the company wanted to man a booth, so we were like, what can we do that doesn't involve tying us to a place for the entire conference? We like to move around and talk to people, and also go to the talks and things, so ... Yeah.

Starr:
Yeah, so we should think of the things that always, that we find annoying about conferences, or that we would really appreciate when we go to a big conference like RailsConf, and then try and provide those in the booth to some degree, right?

Josh:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Starr:
Wouldn't that be nice? Like the bananas, free toothbrushes ... I don't know.

Josh:
Yeah. Yeah, we're going to ... I think we're going to do-

Starr:
Lots of places to sit quietly.

Josh:
I don't know, I haven't confirmed the details on this yet, but the idea is that we're going to have a place for people to bring some of their swag and stuff, if you've got your own product or business or something. We're hoping to have a place to at least hand out some stickers or small items. We're not going to have a bunch of different t-shirt tables or something. There's this ... Actually they did this at RubyConf and they've done it some of the past years, but the rule is kind of that if you're an unofficial ... If you're not a sponsor but if you are a small company or something, or a developer and have your own thing, you can put your stickers on the tables that aren't being used around the venue, for instance, and everyone does that. My thought was this kind of gives a way to legitimize that a little bit more too. We're going to be hopefully encouraging people to bring their stickers, and small items like that to hand out.

Ben:
Who knows? We might even do a podcast interview on the show floor. We might talk to some of our indie developer small biz friends ...

Starr:
That's right, yeah, we talked about maybe doing that. That would be fun. Yeah, so-

Josh:
Meet the listeners.

Ben:
Yeah, that'd be cool.

Starr:
I should say at this point if anybody is interested in co-sponsoring or, I don't know, being interviewed or whatever ... All of this is kind of up in the air, but you're always welcome to contact us, slide in our DMS at Twitter, @FounderQuest, or email us at wherever.

Josh:
... like ideas for things you'd like to see at the lounge, we're always open.

Starr:
Yeah ideas of things you'd like to see at the lounge at Honeybadger.io.

Ben:
Any particular snacks you'd like to have.

Starr:
Snacks

Josh:
Popcorn toppings.

Ben:
We have confirmed, though, that there will be power.

Josh:
Power is a big one.

Ben:
Yes, we are going to have places to plug various kinds of things in, so if you want to rest your feet a while and rest your battery a while, you can come and hang out with the Honeybadgers and charge up.

Starr:
Oh, that's good.

Ben:
Here's some stories of the good old days.

Josh:
There will not be Tesla parking.

Starr:
No Tesla parking?

Josh:
Leave your Model 3s at home, we're only charging laptops and phones.

Starr:
How indie is this going to be? Should I bring my NES or something and CRT?

Josh:
I think that ... Yeah, that would be cool.

Ben:
You might run into some problems with the venue. They get pretty strict about what kind of equipment you can have there.

Starr:
Oh, they don't like it if you bring your own equipment?

Ben:
Not at all. Like, "Oh, you want a power cord with that power? Oh, that's going to be an extra charge."

Starr:
Wow ...

Josh:
Right, okay ... Can we rent an NES from the venue, do you think?

Ben:
That's an interesting idea.

Josh:
I mean it is Portland, Portland's pretty hip that way.

Ben:
True. Oh, I know, I know, we need to rent a Galaga upright video game. That would be awesome.

Josh:
We could, yes, have that, an arcade cabinet ...

Ben:
Yes.

Josh:
... at the booth ...

Ben:
Yes.

Josh:
... to promote our ...

Ben:
We have to get Ben on that right away.

Josh:
... off the books party.

Starr:
The thing I don't like about arcade cabinets is you've got to stand up.

Ben:
Well, yeah.

Starr:
I do most of my gaming reclined.

Josh:
We could make some kind of ... I don't know.

Starr:
That's why I never get into PC gaming. Let's be honest, I don't want to sit at my desk and play a game ... If I'm playing a game I'm laying down on my living room floor.

Ben:
Okay, so here's something completely random, speaking of reclining ...

Starr:
Okay.

Ben:
I walked into my office this morning, and as you know my office is upstairs from a wine tasting room, a retail little place, establishment. Of course they're not here at the time of the morning that I get here. I'm walking in, unlock the door, disarm the alarm, and I'm looking around, and they had this little display of little wine paraphernalia things you can buy, like, I don't know, whistling wine stoppers or whatever. They had these socks, a pair of socks, and the socks ... One sock says, "If you can read this," and the other sock says, "Bring me some wine." If you're reclining and you've got your socks on, and your feet are out, and you're like, "Hey, if you can read this, bring me some wine."

Josh:
Oh, I see, okay, they're like reclining socks.

Ben:
Exactly.

Josh:
Nice.

Ben:
There you go. While you're playing your video game, Starr, you can recline, and you can be like, "Hey, hook me up here."

Starr:
There we go. The main thing I'm getting from all this is wine ain't as fancy as it used to be.

Josh:
Right, it's not.

Starr:
That's the impression I get.

Josh:
When you have special socks ...

Ben:
We will not be serving wine at the lounge, sorry.

Starr:
It's like, "Janet, get me my wine socks! I'm going to drink some wine!"

Josh:
If we do it'll be out of a plastic bag.

Starr:
There you go.

Starr:
Maybe I'll just bring my ... I'll get my big 20 inch professional, sort of CRT video monitor, and my NES, and I'll put them in a big, black plastic trash bag, and I'll just wheel them in, just like, "Oh, just taking out the trash." Then I'll just open up the front and there it'll be.

Josh:
You just have to be a rebel, don't you, Starr?

Starr:
I do, yeah.

Ben:
Maybe we should do special giveaways at the lounge. Maybe, like, if you bring us a box of Voodoo Doughnuts then we'll give you a month free of Honeybadger.

Josh:
We're just going to do promotions to get stuff. No one's invited, you can bring us donuts and leave them at the door, and we'll hook you up with a free account.

Starr:
I like this, I like this whole corruption vibe. I like this, yeah. I could get on this gravy train. I think we've been sort of like upright citizens for too long. It's time to cash in, boys. I'm sorry.

Josh:
Honeybadger is going criminal.

Starr:
We're pivoting, Josh, that's what that's called. When you do that that's called pivoting, when you go criminal.

Josh:
Right, okay, yeah.

Ben:
Fortunately we have a business model already that works, so we don't have to.

Starr:
Yeah, we're not really criminals, we're not really ... Okay. Okay, I know ... I know you see all the work you've been doing in the PCI compliance, whatever compliance, just like crashing down around you, like Godzilla or Rampage, my favorite video game from the '80s.

Ben:
That's an awesome game. Josh, what is the game you're going to be playing all night at Ground Control?

Josh:
I don't know. Maybe pinball. Pinball was pretty fun.guess it was last year, we went to the Pinball Hall of Fame and got to play some super, super cool ... It's like a pinball museum. Yeah, I'm a big fan of pinball now.

Starr:
My big insight, my big pinball pro tip is that you don't press both flippers at the same time. That was a habit left over from childhood.

Starr:
It's both of them, you're guaranteed to have one of them hit it, but actually it's a trap, it's guaranteed to not work as well.

Josh:
Yeah, it doesn't work.

Starr:
All right, so ... Do we have anymore stuff we should say on topic?

Josh:
Come check out the lounge ... Ben, I probably will be playing, now that I've had a little chance to think about it, I'll probably be playing Street Fighter or a Street Fighter-like game, the fighters.

Ben:
You do seem like a Street Fighter kind of person to me.

Josh:
Actually I like Mortal Kombat better, but ...

Ben:
Yeah, no doubt.

Starr:
I challenge you to a Street Fighter duel, Josh.

Josh:
I like that ... You got to have the mortality.

Ben:
It'll be fun, it'll be a blast if you want to come hang out, sit on the couch with us for a while ... It's going to be great.

Josh:
Yeah, details forthcoming on bringing swag and whatnot.

Starr:
So the other things been going on is that we've been interviewing and hiring, or not hiring, we've been interviewing and working on the hiring sort of process for this new position of ours ... Ben has done a ton of interviews and Josh and I have talked to two people who have, I guess, made it past Ben's rigorous dragnet of competency.

Josh:
Ben kind of like ... Ben's Honeybadger HR and I'm kind of ... Well, I guess we've ... We've joked that Starr is like hype, like the hype man or whatever.

Ben:
The hype man, yeah.

Josh:
I feel like in this instance I've been the hype man to your HR, because I've been basically just trying to dump job candidates on you. We're up to how many, like 43?

Ben:
50.

Josh:
50?

Ben:
Yeah.

Josh:
It was 43 yesterday, so we got like ...

Starr:
50? Oh my gosh.

Josh:
50 people have applied to our job so far.

Ben:
Yeah, not bad.

Josh:
Not bad, yeah.

Starr:
That's crazy. It started out slow, I thought it was going to be a little bit sparse, but no.

Ben:
Yeah, it did start off kind of slow. Josh's hype man abilities, when he sent out that newsletter it got a lot of people-

Josh:
Sending out emails ... The podcast also helped, we've had a number of people come through the podcast, so if you're listening think you for applying.

Starr:
Is this the email you wrote as part of the Leveling Up mailing list?

Josh:
Yeah

Starr:
What's Leveling Up and what is the email?

Josh:
Leveling Up is our weekly newsletter, or I guess it's every other weekly, but it's articles for how to level up your career as a web developer. The email, I mean we don't really do expletives on FounderQuest, do we? It's titled F That Money, and there's a lot of cursing in it, and it's basically about how Silicon Valley culture sucks. We don't like ... We're not in this to make a shit ton of money, basically, we would rather have a shit ton of freedom than a shit ton of money.

Starr:
I just want to point this out because it may not come through over the audio as well as it does when you're reading it, but the F That Money is a corruption of F You Money, right?

Ben:
F You Money, yes.

Starr:
VCs and stuff are always going on about like, "You want to get F you money where you can just like ..." I don't know, if your neighbor is bothering you you just buy their house from the property management company and kick them out on the street ... That's like F you money.

Josh:
Raise the rent on them until they have to break their lease.

Starr:
Yeah, which I know is the American dream for a lot of people, I'm not denigrating that at all whatsoever. We all got to have our own goals in life. Josh is talking about F That Money-

Josh:
That is not ours.

Starr:
F That Money ...

Josh:
It's kind of a contrast, where you're not trying to screw over other people, but you basically don't have to do ... I think that the real idea behind it was that a lot of people that have that mentality of, "I want to make that kind of money someday and have that kind of power," they spend their whole careers working crazy hours, and trying to get ahead, and doing the whole whatever it is ...

Ben:
Hustle culture.

Josh:
Yeah.

Starr:
In the end, let's just say it, most of them don't, most of them-

Josh:
Do you get it? No, you probably don't get it anyway.

Starr:
You probably don't get it.

Josh:
You don't have to make ... You can make good money, money that lets you live the life that you want to live, you don't have to overwork yourself, you can spend a lot of time with your family, and you still make a lot of money, let's be honest.

Starr:
You can be like, "Oh, my rich neighbor doesn't like my band practices and I guess is trying to buy my house ... F that, I own my house."

Josh:
Exactly. Yes, that is F that, that is the F that money. Thank you, Starr.

Starr:
You're welcome. I'm all about the metaphors.

Ben:
Yeah, Josh, that email did drive a lot of our applicant traffic, and the blog post was good ... Yeah, the FounderQuest podcast ... What's been great about the podcast, and basically being who we are just recorded in sessions once a week, is a lot of people have had a chance to learn about how we operate at Honeybadger, and who we are, and that resonates with a certain set of people, and those are the people that we want to attract to our job posting, and so they apply ... It skips a lot of stuff. They're like, "Oh yeah, I already know about how you do things, and I'm down with that, so let's talk about the job." That's been helpful.

Starr:
Yeah, I never thought that would be a benefit of the podcast. I think it really has been, I think we're pretty ... We're not really putting on much pretense here.

Josh:
Yeah, I got called unprofessional by a few people and ...

Starr:
What?

Josh:
Ben had the insight that if you're like ... If you don't know at this point that Honeybadger isn't exactly professional ... I mean, it's Honeybadger.

Ben:
It's got to be us.

Starr:
We need a flag where it's like if somebody uses SAML login, or somebody ... If we have a compliance agreement with some company they don't get the F That Money type emails?

Ben:
They don't get the cool stuff.

Josh:
I thought about putting some ... We could put, yeah, like a whatever, a rating level on the newsletter and then have options where people can choose the content they want. Then I could just go wild.

Ben:
PG versus mature audience kind of thing.

Josh:
Yeah, exactly.

Starr:
One thing, can I just-

Josh:
Can I just, before we move on from this, can I just thank the person that said that that newsletter was the, and I quote, the "greatest marketing email they have ever received" ...

Starr:
Oh my gosh, really?

Josh:
Yes, at least one person said this.

Josh:
That made me feel good.

Starr:
Aw, that's so great, Josh. You deserve that. You deserve that, you do really good work, and I'm not being facetious at all.

Josh:
Thanks.

Ben:
So true.

Starr:
Yeah.

Josh:
Yeah, I'm pretty great.

Starr:
Aw, what a great thing ... Oh my gosh. Okay, okay ... Yeah, so I guess more of that ... You just need to ... We should just unchain Josh, we've been holding him back for too long.

Josh:
Yeah, just going to go full on DHH

Starr:
Just full Badger, give them the full Badger.

Josh:
I think DHH was the original Honeybadger.

Ben:
As I was going through the candidates this week and feeling a little overwhelmed by all of the screenings that I've bee doing, I did have the thought, maybe we didn't time this correctly. Maybe we should have waited until RailsConf, and we're having our lounge, and we could have a little sign saying, "Oh, and we're hiring," and then ... That's what everyone does, right? You advertise that you're hiring when you're at a conference. Then 30 seconds after I had that thought I had the thought, if we had more responses that probably wouldn't be great for me.

Starr:
Yeah, that's true, and it would probably make it a little bit less fun just having to deal with all that.

Josh:
This is why companies have HR departments.

Ben:
That's true.

Josh:
We've discovered it. Otherwise the founders sit around on phone calls, 10 phone calls a day.

Starr:
I love how we just rediscover all these sort of principles, it's like ... We started out, we're like, "Oh, these stupid companies, they don't know what they're doing ..."

Josh:
We don't need that.

Starr:
Over the years it's just like, "Oh, okay ..."

Josh:
I get that.

Starr:
We're going back to the first principles of running a business here, we're building really from ground zero.

Josh:
Yes, we're discovering ... Yeah.

Starr:
I feel like we're in sort of our mid-20s, where we're learning that maybe our parents weren't entirely just stupid ...

Ben:
Right, right.

Starr:
I don't know. Still, we still have that rebel attitude, because we haven't been crushed by our 30s yet.

Ben:
Right. That's totally right. Even though we haven't had the, I don't know, the 2,000 people or so that applied to Basecamp's job recently, I'm quite happy with the number of people that we've got, because yes, I am talking to most of them, and that would be one heck of a lot of people to talk to.

Starr:
It's really been interesting for me because ... I'm finding myself sort of on this other side of the sort of interview chair, table ... It's virtual because it's all online, but ... More and more, and it's kind of interesting how ... I don't know, I guess whenever I interviewed for positions before I always kind of just had this vague idea, like I didn't really know what I was supposed to emphasize about myself, I just kind of created, "Oh, in general I am a good programmer, I'll try and demonstrate that to you ..." Sort of being on this side, it's really interesting how ... It's like, no, I've got a pretty good idea the sort of things that I want to see, and there's a very big difference between sort of the people who sort of deliver those in their applications and stuff, and the people who don't. This is just like a personal thing, too, this isn't ...

Starr:
I'm not even saying that you guys have the same experience, but it's like, it's very obvious to me when a candidate is just very impressive. A lot of times that impressiveness doesn't have anything to do with resume or sort of past coding skill or whatever, it's just sort of the level of attention that they bring to the actual sort of job application, and the, sort of like take home ... We're paying people to do a take home assignment, like the level of attention that they bring to the take home assignment is like ... Are they carefully thinking things out? Are they putting themselves in our shoes and trying to be like, "Oh, well what would they want? How can I fit into that role?" Versus, "Here's all about me ... Here's all about me and you can decide whether or not I fit this role." It's not like that latter approach is terrible or anything, but it's just there's a huge difference between them. One is just like, "Oh, okay, yes, this is exactly what we need."

Josh:
I think the same thing works here as works in sales and marketing. In marketing you don't want to make it about you, you want to make it about them, so I mean you're really selling yourself and ... Yeah, no one wants to hear all about you, they want to hear about themselves and how much better their lives will be if they, whatever, have the product, or have you working for them, et cetera.

Starr:
Yeah. Personally, again, this is just personal, but I feel like in interviews there's a tendency for people to ... It's like you ask them a question and they're like, "Okay, what's my experience that I have with regard to that ... If I don't have experience I'll think of something adjacent to it, and then I'll just kind of talk about that to sort of prove that I know what I'm talking about," and that is okay, but the thing that really ... A different approach that really works well on me is to ... If this person just really sort of dug in with sort of questions, and be like, "Well, that's ..."

Starr:
Maybe they don't actually have experience in a specific technology, but maybe they're asking me some really good questions, trying to understand the context around the problem, and maybe parts of that are similar to things that they've done before and they bring that in, so it's not just completely ... There's something to back it up but it's more ... I don't know, it's like ... It's more demonstrating sort of a command of the sort of like understanding a problem, and being able to work on solutions to it, as opposed to sort of command of a specific technology.

Josh:
Yeah, it seems like asking good questions has been one thing that has set some people apart so far.

Starr:
I'm just saying this because personally I never ... It came as a surprise to me to notice these things.

Ben:
Yeah, and it's interesting to see the level of effort that people put into the initial application, so ... Back in the olden days before email you had a cover letter, that was all nicely formatted and printed out on heavyweight paper, and then you had your resume, also nicely formatted, printed on heavyweight paper, and you put that in the mail ... These days we still use those terms, cover letter and resume, but I think the point of the cover letter is to get me to read the resume. You want, as a candidate you want to convince that hiring person this resume is worth a look, because if you're Basecamp and you've got 2,000 candidates it takes a long time to through every resume.

Ben:
We need a little bit of incentive, why am I even spending more than 30 seconds looking at what you sent me? If your cover letter or your, what's now basically the email that you send, if that is like, "Here's my resume," okay, well ... That's like zero effort, thanks a lot for playing. If you write something like, "I found this job because I always listen to your podcast, and it's awesome because X, Y, and Z, I relate to it in these ways ..." Blah blah blah blah blah, at least give me a paragraph or two of some context about why you even care and why I should care.

Josh:
Or a haiku.

Ben:
Or a haiku, yeah. This time in the job post ... I always like to put something kind of weird in a job post, this time I put, "Send us maybe some poetry." It was an optional thing, it wasn't required.

Josh:
Honeybadger themed.

Ben:
Yeah, Honeybadger themed poetry, and we got two, two individuals sent us some poetry so far out of the 50, and one was a haiku, and to top it off the haiku included memes. Of course, of course I'm going to talk to that person, no question we're going to have a chat, even if it's just for me to say, "Thanks for doing that," versus the person like, "Here's my resume, let me know."

Starr:
That's so funny. That's not just in tech too, people don't really ... For some reason a lot of people don't know about the cover letter thing. My wife likes to help people with their resumes, and my wife is a huge ... It's kind of a hobby of hers and she's a huge proponent of cover letters. She got this job at Tableau, and a ton of people applied for it, it's a very good company to work for, and she didn't have a ton of experience ... Her experience was not super exactly the right experience you would want for that position, but they told her later that she just nailed the cover letter so well that they had to talk to her. Yeah, cover letters, super big. Then if you really want to really sort of impress, tailor your resume to every job application. If certain stuff in your resume isn't applicable to a particular position just don't include it, or maybe stick it down at the bottom or something.

Ben:
Yeah, that's huge. That happens even more rarely than a good cover letter. I understand, I've done the job application process before, it's tough if you're shotgunning your resume, but at the same time we have had some people say, "You know what? I'm not shotgunning my resume, this is the only job that I'm actually applying to right now, I'm happy where I am, but this job posting sounded so cool I just had to apply." That makes a definite difference. Of course that resume is just for us, and that makes a difference.

Starr:
That's amazing. I feel like we're doing good work.

Ben:
Well, we'll see ... I mean, we've stayed around this long. I've been taking all those in, using our applicant tracking system, my side project SaaS that's been running for, what? 13 years now.

Starr:
38 years.

Josh:
Which is awesome, by the way, it's been nice.

Ben:
It does what it says, so I'm happy.

Josh:
It works, yeah.

Ben:
All these resumes are coming into there, filtering through them, contacting a good ... Well, I contacted everyone, at this point we're not so overwhelmed with people that I can't personally email every one of them, so I do that. I don't see a reason why you wouldn't unless you do get to the volume that you just ... I don't know, we're not a super big corp so it's not a problem. I think that's just being polite.

Ben:
If someone takes the time to email you and say, "I would like a job," I think it's reasonable to respond to them and say thank you, "We're going to pass, but thank you." Yeah, so I'm contacting everybody. A good chunk of them, I'm doing an initial phone screen, a Zoom screen with, and basically Calendly is awesome, I basically just send them, "Hey, I'd like to have a chat. Thanks for applying, I'd like to have a chat with you. Please hit my Calendly link and schedule a time with me. If there's a time that doesn't work for you please let me know," because we do have people from all over the world. Sometimes their awake time is not the same as my awake time, so I give them some flexibility.

Ben:
Calendly has been awesome for scheduling. Then we'll have like a 30 minute chat, and talk about their questions about the job, about Honeybadger, and we talk about what they're up to. I love these chats, actually, I love meeting new people ... I don't love big parties, I'm not like a ... Well, I don't drink, so that makes a lot of parties un-fun, but I'm also, I'm not-

Josh:
Makes all parties boring.

Ben:
I'm also not really into the whole cocktail, lounge, let's all get 100 people in a room and everyone's chatting, and you can't hear the person that's two feet in front of you ... I'm not a big fan. That doesn't mean I don't like talking to people, I love talking to people, I love one on one conversations. This is a good chance for me just to meet a bunch of cool people who happen to be interested in Honeybadger, which is ... I mean that's a point in their favor, right? I'm having a lot of fun ... We did about, I want to say I've done 10 to 15, somewhere in there so far, of these screens, I have five more scheduled for next week.

Starr:
Oh my gosh.

Ben:
Yeah, I've been busy, that's what I've been doing all week long, because it takes some prep time. Each one I've got to review the stuff, and think about the questions I want to ask, and things like that, take some of those afterward ... They've been great. The next step, it kind of varies, after we do the screening either we will have all three of us chat with them, like a one hour scheduled meeting where we can dive into more detail about their experience and Honeybadger, or we have them take a take home assignment. This has worked out really well. Last year when we hired Kevin we had an assignment, and the thing that's been awesome about that is just having ... Being able to see how people work. We don't give a whole lot of direction. We do pay for it because we don't believe in asking people to do unpaid work-

Josh:
Yeah, we always pay people.

Ben:
It's been really cool to see the differing interpretations of what we ask for come back, and even the questions that come back, like, "I'm not sure what you meant by this ..." And that gives us some definite insight as to how it will be working with that person. We don't do pairing, so we're not sitting there looking over their shoulder, so they do have to figure some stuff out, even in a regular work day. This gives us a good chance to see how that's going to be.

Josh:
Yeah. Especially in the remote environment, one of the big things for me has been how they communicate, especially through documenting what they did, or their work. That's a huge one.

Ben:
Yeah. It was interesting, last round when we did that some people, again, like the cover letter thing, some people just phone it in, they're like, "Oh, here's the bare minimum that's going to get the requirements done," and then other people were like, "Oh, I've really thought this out, and I put some work into this," and I mean, that shows obviously.

Starr:
I like that we're saying this honestly, because I feel like it's legitimately something that a lot of people just don't know, they haven't been taught it, they haven't had parents or whatever, and their first jobs were like, "You've got to write a cover letter ..." How would you know that if you hadn't been exposed to it? Yeah, it's good to sort of say that. I really like ... I think we've been fairly sort of transparent and explicit, so I like that.

Josh:
Yeah, I have not personally taken ... I didn't take the traditional career software developer path. I freelanced for 10 years basically, I haven't even really had a real software development job, and I was always nervous about the idea of interviewing because I didn't have any experience with it. Now, being on the other side of those interviews, and also just knowing some very experienced career developers and listening to them talk, it sounds like the difference between kind of a mediocre career and a really great career could be just learning how to interview, and knowing how this process works. I'm starting to feel better now if I actually did have to go out in an interview, especially now that I've got all this business and marketing experience and I can apply that to myself as someone going and trying to land a job. I feel like I would do a lot better than I would have given myself credit for in the past.

Starr:
Yeah, I think that ... Like the M. Night Shyamalan twist to this story is that being that person who's really good at interviewing isn't really about being perfect, or perfectly knowing all the stuff ... I mean, okay, we're kind of a different company, we don't put people on the spot and be like, "Solve this equation-"

Josh:
Yeah, we don't do whiteboard ... The whiteboard is still my ... That's like my worst nightmare, and where I would probably totally choke.

Starr:
For us, at least, it's much more about just sort of being able to engage as a peer with somebody, and just having a normal conversation with them, and not feeling like I'm some ... Giving them a test or anything.

Josh:
That's how interviewing should be.

Ben:
Yeah, totally.

Starr:
I think we're about ... We're at a pretty good length now. Should we wrap it up?

Ben:
Sure.

Starr:
All right, we're wrapping it up. This has been FounderQuest. If you're interested in any of the things about the Indie Lounge or anything that we talked about just let us know. If you are interested in applying to this job, who knows, it might still be around by the time you hear this ... Probably not, but it might be, I don't know. Check out our careers page, you can go to our website at Honeybadger.io, scroll all the way down to the bottom, and there's a link to that. Yeah, if you're interested in writing like Ruby or Elixir blog posts for us you check that out at our blog, and there's a link in the header. Then finally, go give us a review if you want to ... I think we said last time that we don't really care, so ... I feel like it's a podcast, I have to say that.

Josh:
We care.

Starr:
I have to say-

Josh:
Honeybadger cares.

Starr:
Okay. I mean, Honeybadger is immortal at this point, so I'm not sure ... It may be past caring or uncaring, Honeybadger just exists.

Josh:
Well, FounderQuest has not reached immortal state yet, so ...

Starr:
Okay, there you go.

Josh:
FounderQuest could use your love.

Starr:
There you go. Okay, well I'll talk to you all later.


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