Chunky Bacon! Let's Geek Out About Early Ruby & Rails.

The guys chat about the early days of Ruby and Rails and discuss how the developer community has changed from a more individual hacking pursuit to more of a team sport. Ben also talks about his experiences at the very first RailsConf and teaches young whippersnappers about Why The Lucky Stiff, Shoes, Caboose, and Chunky Bacon. Lastly, is BadgerConf morphing from running joke to a reality? Tune in and find out!

The guys chat about the early days of Ruby and Rails and discuss how the developer community has changed from a more individual hacking pursuit to more of a team sport. Ben also talks about his experiences at the very first RailsConf and teaches young whippersnappers about Why The Lucky Stiff, Shoes, Caboose, and Chunky Bacon. Lastly, is BadgerConf morphing from running joke to a reality? Tune in and find out!

Full Transcript:
Ben:                00:00          All right.

Starr:              00:01          All right, are we good?

Ben:                00:02          Yep.

Josh:               00:03          Yeah, I'm already up to one megabyte.

Ben:                00:05          We are so good.

Starr:              00:06          Dang. Okay maybe we might have to back up for maximum quality, I don't know.

Ben:                00:10          We'll see how it goes.

Announcer:          00:11          They've been in business for seven years, and they still don't know what they're doing. I guess a podcast seemed natural. Here's FounderQuest.

Josh:               00:23          It should be. I've got terabyte in here, so hopefully we'll...

Ben:                00:26          Yeah. Now you're glad you bought the big disk.

Josh:               00:30          Yeah so I can podcast for an hour without crashing my computer.

Starr:              00:34          Oh that's awesome. So I have been up since four o'clock. Ida woke up at four and decided she wasn't sleeping anymore...

Ben:                00:42          Ouch.

Starr:              00:42 I may lean a bit on your guys for things like making sense.

Ben:                00:46          I've been up since 1:30 because...

Josh:               00:48          No, Come on Ben.

Josh:               00:48          Oh damn, Ben, you always have to one up me.

Starr:              00:54          Alright, so, you guys recently went to RailsConf. You came back, thankfully. You weren't lured away by all those, I don't know...

Starr:              01:07          This is what I mean when I say I'm tired.

Starr:              01:10          Yeah, so you guys went to RailsConf and...

Josh:               01:13          We did get distracted by elixir along the way and...

Ben:                01:16          Today's gonna be the punch drunk podcast.

Starr:              01:19          Yes, yes it is, oh man. You guys recently came back from RailsConf, I was here in my little home office, not at RailsConf, editing the show all on my lonesome. I'm feeling pretty lonely and wistful, and now you guys are back and I'm so happy.

Ben:                01:36          You know what the best thing about RailsConf was? You didn't have to step outside to go to it. Because of all the sky bridges there, we stayed in the conference hotel, which was three blocks away from the conference center. But yet we walked through a sky bridge all the way there. So handy.

Josh:               01:53          This was in Minneapolis right?

Starr:              01:56          You know, I think that's a theme, I don't think I've been outside at any of the RailsConfs I've gone to.

Ben:                02:01          Really?

Starr:              02:03          No, even Atlanta, didn't go outside, tried to walk someplace for lunch, let me tell you, you don't walk places for lunch in Atlanta. You get in your Escalade.

Ben:                02:16          I did a lot of walking around outside in Kansas City.

Starr:              02:17          So how many RailsConfs have you guys been to?

Ben:                02:21          Oh wow.

Starr:              02:22          I've been to, I think, three or four.

Josh:               02:25          I think I've been to, two.

Starr:              02:26          I've spoken at two.

Josh:               02:27          Because I didn't go to RailsConf for a really long time because I went to RubyConf every year.

Starr:              02:33          Yeah.

Josh:               02:33          And I just never got to RailsConf until, I think Phoenix was my first year at RailsConf.

Starr:              02:40          Was it because you were trying to be one of those hipsters that who's like "I don't do Rails, I'm a Rubyist."

Josh:               02:44          Yeah, I don't do Rails, just tell me about garbage collection, okay.

Ben:                02:49          I think I've been to about eight of them.

Starr:              02:50          You went to the first one right?

Ben:                02:52          Yeah, well there's actually two first ones.

Starr:              02:55          Well that's confusing.

Ben:                02:56          Yeah, funny story. So the first official RailsConf was Chicago, but the first international RailsConf happened before the first official RailsConf. And the first international RailsConf happened in Vancouver, Canada.

Josh:               03:09          So, funny, story, I was on twitter recently, and I was looking at the hashtag RubyFriends, and someone had posted the schedule from the very first RailsConf and I'm looking at all the names because it's kind of nostalgic, people that are extremely well known now, all these different people. And whose name do I come across as one of the speakers at the very first RailsConf, but Ben Curtis. And yeah that pretty cool.

Ben:                03:36          That was fun, so the first RailsConf, the official one in Chicago was the second technical conference I had attended, and the first one was that first international RailsConf which happened a few months earlier, and what happened was, I went to that one in Vancouver and I was sitting there listening to the presentation and they were great presentations, DHH has his famous picture from that one. David A. Black spoke, talking about how Ruby was this calm peaceful language, and it was awesome.

Ben:                04:08          And I thought "You know what, I could do that. I could get up there and talk about stuff. Just like they get up there and talk about stuff." So I submitted my proposal for the first RailsConf and actually got in. I was shocked. It was pretty cool.

Starr:              04:22          So one of the things I'd like to talk about today is, the technical community around Ruby and just tech in general has changed a lot, what year was the first one? Was that 2000 and -

Ben:                04:34          2006

Starr:              04:37          Yeah, that's about the time I started, sort of, getting into web development and into Rails, and things have changed a lot, not even in just the technologies but in the ethos. What I mean by that is back then, in 2006 we still had a lot of this, hacker in the basement ethos, I think Why The Lucky Stiff who is this sort of absurdist character, nobody actually knew his name. I mean some people knew it, but it was supposed to be a mystery. He was this merry prankster who made Ruby tutorials that were cartoons.

Starr:              05:15          It really captured the vibe of this chaotic anarchistic tech scene, that existed back around the early auchts. And now I feel like in general, tech has moved onto a more corporatist mode. Open source projects, like React is run by Facebook, we've got, the big languages are all sponsored by Google and stuff like that.

Starr:              05:50          How has RailsConf changed, do you guys think? Do you think it's mirrored this change in technology in general, or is it still plotting its own crazy weird course?

Josh:               05:59          I was going to ask, do you think that quirky fun side of tech that we had back then, and to some extent I think in Ruby probably still do today, do you think that was specific to tech in general? Or was that specific to Ruby? Was that more of a Ruby thing?

Starr:              06:14          I think it existed a lot more in tech in general. You had the character in society and culture of, this unwashed... okay where am I going... this rogue, this person who doesn't respect authority, and he goes off and does these weird, genius off beat things, and brings them back to society. We had Wired, the original Wired, before it got bought out and cannibalized, the original Wired had that same feel to it.

Josh:               06:52          Yeah, okay, so I get what you're saying, you're saying that now that what's his face is running for president, the guy that used to be cult of the dead cow.

Starr:              07:01          Oh Beto.

Josh:               07:02          Yeah, so you're saying Beto, he is kind of like that guy back then and now that guy is running for president and it's mainstream.

Starr:              07:10          Yeah, you can say that, that's a great analogy.

Ben:                07:14          The generation that was fighting the man has now become the man. I think there are definite arguments for both that tech in general, like Starr was talking about and also the Ruby community in particular, because, in 2005, 2006, the Ruby community, even though it had been around for a while, especially in Japan, it was still very small, and especially not well known in the U.S. right?

Ben:                07:37          And so, the RubyConf occasions that had happened before RailsConf had started, those were typically small affairs and there were a bunch of people who knew each other well because it was a pretty tight knit community. And there was space in the room for people like Why, and that kind of fun. Even though at the same time, in the tech industry at large you had things like the Java community. Which was completely different, because it was very corporate, and Sun, the no fluff just stuff conferences, and all those big corporate things were happening at the same time.

Starr:              08:11          I guess you're right. Those weren't ever even on my radar, so probably discount them a little too much.

Josh:               08:18          I guess two sides to the picture.

Ben:                08:18          But I think you're right Starr, in general, over the past 15 years, there has been a lot of co-opting of the space that we grew up in by the bigger corporations. I mean, you mentioned Facebook with React and things like that, Facebook is a great example because it didn't exist, at the beginning of the time period we are talking about, and has grown up to be this huge influence on society as a whole.

Josh:               08:43          Well, now you see even, Microsoft now, is increasingly into open source and web tech, so I think even they've been getting into React a lot and that sort of thing. So, that's kind of an interesting shift. You have the behemoth of whatever the past is now coming into.

Starr:              09:01          Isn't Microsoft making a big bet on React native for Windows? Didn't I see a big announcement for that recently?

Josh:               09:08          I believe so. Yeah, I think all of their office suite is built on React already.

Starr:              09:14          Oh, I didn't know that.

Josh:               09:15          Yeah, the web version at least. I think the native version runs the same thing. I think that I have heard they are interested in doing more native things with web stack.

Starr:              09:30          Can I just have a non sequitur, a sort of web versus native non sequitur?

Josh:               09:35          Sure.

Starr:              09:36          Because this is an interesting point. We talked in a past show how we all love Notion, for taking notes and collaborating and stuff. I was using that for my personal writing notes which I don't share with you guys, because, secrets, then Josh, you mentioned you're using an app called Bear, which is a native note taking app, for the Mac ecosystem and iPhone and all that. So I started using that and I use them both now and I'm just like "Oh my god, the native experience for note taking is so much better."

Josh:               10:13          Yeah, I would tend to agree.

Starr:              10:14          Maybe the collaboration aspects are better on Notion, I haven't tried those out in Bear, but even with a very highly polished web application like Notion, you run into glitches. You run into weird UI glitches, and maybe it's just because I'm on Linux half the time or whatever. It's just the native app has such a feeling of solidity to it. I was like "this really exists."

Josh:               10:37          Yeah, well I mean if you're writing in a notion, you're still just writing into some hidden text input with a ton of Java script running behind it to pull out, and do app mentions and all the other features they have in there. And I think that still adds some hidden overhead that, you can't see it all the time but I think you can perceive it subtly, basically.

Starr:              11:06          So, tangent tended, I just wanted to take that little side note to plug Bear, because it's really a nice app for writing.

Josh:               11:14          Yeah I like it too. I don't think it does collaboration stuff, it's kind of single purpose.

Starr:              11:20          Oh I don't know, I haven't tried it, I haven't looked.

Josh:               11:23          Okay, yeah.

Starr:              11:25          So, yeah, it's been really interesting to see this change in tech and development, and I'm a little bit torn, because, first of all, I kind of love the whole DIY, scrappy, you know, Why, way of doing things.

Starr:              11:41          It broke my heart when he quit the web, and killed his alternate persona. But at the same time it seems like, the nature of programming is changing. It's no longer so much an individual sport played by people by themselves, it's more of a team thing. It's much more social. The people getting into development now, which I think is great, a lot more different type of people are getting into development than just nerdy white boys who needed some way to escape reality in their teenager years, so they learned to program computers. There are a lot more normal people coming in, and I don't know, I think it's kind of cool. It's just interesting how it's changing things. I don't think it's necessarily bad, I mourn a little bit for the way things used to be, but I think that's just an aspect of being human.

Josh:               12:40          Yeah, it's just that it's going main stream, so everyone's interested in it, including the large corporations and the entire world and it's not like the small close knit interest community of people that it used to be, where you could find your people and you're all super excited about web development. I don't even know if you can be excited about the entirety of web development anymore with all the different ways to do it and different technologies and stuff. It seems like everyone is in their part of their industry even.

Ben:                13:18          It seems like it's a side effect of software eating the world. But yeah, I have a hard time believing that anybody starting out these days could have a complete grasp of everything involved in web development. That's a pretty tall order.

Ben:                13:32          But you know, Justin Searls, he gave a great talk on this topic at RailsConf. His talk was entitled the selfish programmer. You should definitely check it out.

Starr:              13:41          What's it about? I wasn't going to watch it because I'm not selfish.

Ben:                13:43          But, he's advocating about how you should be.

Ben:                13:47          So this presentation, you can find it on the interwebs. It's definitely worth a watch. But the whole point was, yes we do spend a lot of time building software in teams these days, the selfish programmer just does things for fun. Just does things for himself or herself. When you think about that, you can have a little more liberty, you can have a little more fun with what you're doing.

Josh:               14:10          Yeah, we kind of talked about that a little bit I think after the talk. I think both of us have kind of felt a little bit like we used to just program for fun and get an idea and get all excited about it and just hack on it all weekend. Just because we could. These days it's much more, what's the ROI on this and what's my business plan for this thing before I even start, create my gem file or something.

Josh:               14:42          And that's great, starting a business, that has its place but also, it's a lot of fun to just start hacking on something because you love it, or because you're super excited about it and you want the thing that you're going to build

Starr:              15:00          Yeah, just because you have a business doesn't mean you can't do personal development and personal growth and explore that stuff. Not every single thing you do has to be a part of the business, even if you're doing it during work hours. Because you know, learning counts.

Josh:               15:15          I think for me a big factor in that is that I have much less time non-work hours anymore to do that stuff. Having children is pretty much the source of that problem, but I realize it would be a lot easier to just hack on something for a weekend if I didn't have to worry about the two little kids that I have to entertain.

Starr:              15:42          Yeah, if I had a time machine, I would go back and I would just shake myself and say "You are wasting so much time, you have no idea how good you have it. In the future you're going to have about six hours a day to do everything that doesn't involve appeasing a three year old."

Josh:               16:01          Yeah, so I've had to get much more serious about optimizing my time and being productive and unfortunately a lot of the fun hack projects get cut out and go by the wayside. But I think I'm going to try to work a little more time, probably during my work days now, to be honest, is the only time that, that's going to happen, but I think you could still do that.

Starr:              16:22          Yeah you should.

Ben:                16:23          When you own the company, you definitely can do that. Maybe that's a call for, it's time to have another hack week.

Josh:               16:31          Yeah, the hack week was so much fun that we did earlier. We talked about that on the first episode of the podcast but we basically took a long vacation over Christmas and then we came back and we didn't go back to work we took another week off and worked on an Elixir project, that we just wanted to build. So that was so much fun and I hadn't done that in a really long time.

Starr:              16:53          Yeah, I'm game, I don't know, we can talk about that.

Ben:                16:59          Or we can just, on a Friday declare, next week is hack week!

Starr:              17:04          This is crazy Ben. This is not on our quarterly plan. [crosstalk 00:17:08] Go back and listen to our systems episode.

Starr:              17:12          I think we're diverging a little bit.

Josh:               17:13          You know what, we can just bust out Vim and start right now.

Starr:              17:17          Yeah, you guys are freaking me out. But Justin's talk was super inspiring.

Ben:                17:24          I think if you're a developer who is experiencing some burnout or the slog is really getting on you, it's not quite as fun as it used to be, go check out his talk and think about whether a little break from the norm might be helpful. Give you some variety in your life.

Starr:              17:43          If that doesn't work, just quit your jobs. Just leave, just set it on fire, burn some bridges. You only live once, YOLO.

Josh:               17:53          Just take that stapler.

Starr:              17:55          Yeah, I mean, I don't know for certain, but I imagine that throwing a Molotov cocktail would be extremely satisfying. Just chuck it at the mainframe, you get to hear it break, I imagine it has a whooshing sound.

Josh:               18:13          Then there's the smell of the melting plastic.

Starr:              18:14          Exactly.

Ben:                18:15          As long as you disable the fire suppression system before you do that, I think you're fine., because otherwise you're dead.

Josh:               18:23          Do we need to have our attorney listen to this before we ship it, is there some sort of liability issue here?

Ben:                18:29          This is not legal advice. We are not your lawyers.

Josh:               18:29          Do we need disclaimers? Maybe we should have Barney read a disclaimer at the end of the podcast.

Starr:              18:35          Like do not do this at home?

Ben:                18:38          Use at your own risk.

Starr:              18:39          Man, I'm fed up with the capitalist, imperialist system, so I'm doubling down here.

Josh:               18:47          That's revolutionary Starr.

Starr:              18:51          I'll be sitting here in my nice residential neighborhood in Seattle, and I'll just bring you my hot revolutionary takes.

Josh:               19:03          So to be honest, when I first got into Ruby, I got into Ruby around, late 2009 I think. I was interested in it before then, but I didn't get into it professionally until I had the opportunity to take on a client that was using Ruby, and it was a perfect opportunity to learn. Then I started working with you guys and I honestly did not know who Why was at that point. I think it was right around the time that he actually left the community. Remind me what some of his projects, from back before then, what were the projects that made him -

Ben:                19:41          For my, Why's Poignant Guide to Ruby. It was eye opening. I had to reread it a few times to really understand it, because, wow, it was pretty mind blowing. But it was fantastic. And really, for me, it was a great introduction to Ruby and to why I would care about Ruby. And he had several projects that he did.

Josh:               20:03          And these are still online, by the way, I think, so some of these you can go check them out still.

Ben:                20:06          Yeah, when he burned his account to the ground other people cloned the stuff really quickly before it all evaporated. So the Poignant Guide, I'd totally recommend it, anybody wants to read, chunky bacon is awesome.

Ben:                20:18          He also did Camping, which was a mini framework in one Ruby file, so it was kind of like a Sinatra kind of thing. But one file, and it had all this crazy, crazy code in it. And then there was Shoes which was a UI thing. A lot of fun wacky experiments.

Starr:              20:36          Yeah, his software and projects, to me, they're almost more like art projects, they're meant to make you be like "Oh my god, what is happening right now even."

Josh:               20:47          An extreme creative element to them.

Starr:              20:49          Yeah, and I know he got a lot of crap for writing bad code by Aaron Patterson, and people came in later, but you know, Aaron Patterson hasn't made me as happy as Why made me, so, who's the winner there?

Josh:               21:05          Well I think everyone's still a winner with Why and Aaron Patterson in the same community.

Starr:              21:12          In my head, I really hope Aaron doesn't listen to this Podcast, but in my head Aaron developed this really kooky internet persona with all the jokes and stuff, as sort of atonement for having badmouthed Why.

Josh:               21:28          I think we should get Aaron on the Podcast. I want to work this out between you guys.

Starr:              21:35          I'm going to psychoanalyze this person who I have exchanged two words with in my life, who doesn't know me from Adam.

Josh:               21:44          Well I will say that, that's one of the things that I really love about the Ruby community, are the personalities that you get. And like Ben said, kind of just, not goofy, but just quirky. Doing things just because it's creative and fun.

Starr:              22:02          Totally. One thing that surprised me that you guys came beck with from RubyConf is that they ask people to raise their hands who it was their first RubyConf. And there was a lot of people.

Ben:                22:12          There was at least half the people that was new, or there for the first time. I was-

Starr:              22:17          I said RubyConf I meant RailsConf.

Ben:                22:19          I was surprised. I was not expecting that many people. It could have even been two thirds, I didn't get a good look, but it was a lot.

Josh:               22:28          It was a lot.

Starr:              22:28          We had these narrative that Rails is dying and going away and stuff and that seems to belie that, doesn't it?

Josh:               22:36          I think that a lot of older people from Ruby have gone away, but as we've seen there's definitely new interest in it. It's not like interest is dying if half of RailsConf are new to the community and RailsConf sold out.

Starr:              22:55          Yeah, they sell out every year I think.

Ben:                22:56          You know, the other day, on Twitter, Tim Brey posted this tweet where he asked, "If I wanted to start a new web project today, what should I use? I think it's probably Rails, but it's been so long I should just ask."

Ben:                23:13          The responses that he got were "Yeah, it's Rails." Some people were like "Oh I love React, and this and that but really if you want the fastest way to get your project done, just use Rails, because it works."

Ben:                23:24          And I think that's where we are, it's obviously not the new sexy anymore, but it's definitely matured to the point where it's a no brainer choice for people who want to build apps on the web. And I think that continues to attract new people into the community even as, I think Josh is right, even as the older people in some cases go off to greener pastures and go play with Elixir or something like that.

Josh:               23:47          Yeah and I think like we said, there's a lot of different kinds of developers out there, and we've touched on this a little bit in past episodes where, not every popular open source project or popular even methodology or way of building web applications is built for everyone. So, JavaScript is huge but everyone uses JavaScript and from Facebook down to a solo Rails developer or something.

Josh:               24:16          Maybe all the employees at Facebook and Microsoft probably aren't going to RailsConf and getting excited about building a full stack web application. But there's still a lot of people out there that don't have the resources of the large companies and would like to just ship their own project quickly and efficiently and not have to learn all the crazy thing you have to learn basically to be part of a huge team building rich web applications, or something like that.

Starr:              24:41          Here's a question for you, when I started doing Rails, for a long time I was a freelancer as we all were, it seemed like there was this huge ecosystem of freelancers doing Rails and small agencies because Rails is perfect for a team of one to three people to put out sites very quickly. I'm wondering, are there as many freelancers now as there used to be? As things get more complicated, are there as many people out there, sort of, doing the full stack web freelancing?

Ben:                25:09          Yeah, I think so. If you cruise Upwork-

Josh:               25:16          I would tend to agree.

Ben:                25:16          You'll find tons of people.

Josh:               25:18          I don't know how much all of them are doing full stack, when Ben was freelancing 10 years ago, he was building Rails applications for a lot of solo people, or solo founders and that sort of thing that had an idea and wanted to build a start up or something. And you were doing, basically, the entire stack from start to finish. I honestly don't know how common that is any more, as far as solo freelancers, I think a lot more people are leaning to specialize, just because things are so much wider. But I don't know, I assume there's still a good number of people out there doing the full stack thing too.

Ben:                25:56          It definitely seems though that there are fewer of those small to midsize agencies that we knew back in the day. Yeah, it's just my feeling-

Josh:               26:05          You think there's fewer of them?

Ben:                26:05          Maybe I'm just not as connected with them because I'm not doing freelancing as much anymore, but.

Starr:              26:09          Sorry, you cut out there for a second, were you asking a question or anything?

Ben:                26:11          No, you cut out. No, I wasn't asking a question.

Starr:              26:14          Oh, well, no you cut out.

Josh:               26:17          Well you guys cut out for me, so both of you cut out.

Starr:              26:22          Screw you, I quit the company.

Josh:               26:26          I knew this podcast wasn't going to work.

Ben:                26:28          So, I love the lunch sessions at the conferences. I love chatting, and we sat down with a couple of the guys from Weedmaps.

Starr:              26:40          They're our customers right?

Ben:                26:42          They are our customer, yes. And we sat down with a couple of guys from Weedmaps and then some of their coworkers came and sat down with them, and low and behold, there was Brian. Brian and I have known each other, because of the Rails community, its gotta be 13, 14 years now, and we haven't seen each other for 10 years, just because we haven't been same place same time. We had that connection because "Hey, you're still here, and I'm still here." And that was fun. So meeting new people is great and seeing all the new people come into the community is great, but there's still some of us old timers hanging around still gotta represent for Caboose. It's all good.

Starr:              27:24          Wait, what's Caboose again?

Ben:                27:26          So, Caboose was this little, I guess a little crowd of people who were involved in Ruby and Rails back around the-

Starr:              27:34          Okay, because it's a railway thing.

Ben:                27:38          Exactly, the tail end of the train.

Starr:              27:40          I get it. It only takes me about five minutes.

Ben:                27:42          So we had a little RSS feed channel where we'd help out people who were new to Rails, which was everybody at the time, because Rails was new, right. So a lot of that crowd has moved on, to other adventures, but some of us are still kicking around.

Josh:               27:54          It's rare, being, kind of a third party observer to that exchange was fun because it was like watching Ben and Brian, who did Rubinius, was that his project? Yeah, it was like watching two Jedi's, passing in the night.

Ben:                28:12          He is definitely the master in this situation. He is way, way beyond me, as far as skill.

Josh:               28:19          Well, it's not often that you get two people, in general, that have been around since the very beginning, kind of reminiscing about the very, very first good old days.

Starr:              28:30          Yeah they're going to have to start providing rocking chairs and peanuts, I think, at RailsConf. Just so you can have the rocking chair track, you can do some whittling.

Josh:               28:38          That would be a funny thing. We could just get a booth and put a rocking chair in it, and put Ben in there. Actually we were kind of talking about this, and not in a strange way, but basically telling the new people about the good old days. Sharing stories and that sort of thing, I don't know if we'll actually have the rocking chair, but this is something that I'm kind of.

Starr:              29:03          This is what this Podcast is turning into.

Ben:                29:06          Well I've toyed with the idea of actually making that a talk proposal of a RailsConf or RubyConf, the history of, the good old days, and let me tell you about Mongrel.

Starr:              29:16          Oh, I saw a tweet about this from somebody, who was like, I want to do a conference call, where it's like let me tell you about BBS Door Games.

Josh:               29:24          Yeah, Justin Searls did a talk kind of like that, with a lot of throwbacks and history in it, I think, a few years back. I think it was at a RubyConf, but it was really good as usual.

Starr:              29:36          Yeah, we're just the boomers talking about going to the sock hop, and getting the malts, things were simpler back then. There weren't all these, young people, with their hair and their pierced faces.

Ben:                29:56          One of the takeaways from this conversation, I think should be, if you haven't gone to a technical conference, especially a Ruby or Rails conference, you should definitely consider it, it's a fantastic place to go and meet great people. Maybe develop some friendships that will last for many years to come. And learn some technical stuff as well.

Ben:                30:16          One of the things that Josh and I were reflecting on while we were there, was, well you know some of the sessions we're just not that in because either we've heard it before or it's not really something that we're into. And that's fine. You don't have to feel like you have to be in school and sitting down for every seminar, but the people that we got to hang out with, and the conversations that we had were fantastic, so I think it's a great use of your time.

Starr:              30:41          You in particular came back and you were all fired up about conferences so now we are going to sponsor some conferences again aren't we?

Ben:                30:46          Well the thing that got to me about having so many new people there at that conference was, oh, they may not know who Honeybadger is.

Starr:              30:55          Yeah, so what, we are doing Southeast Ruby? You bought tickets for that one.

Ben:                31:01          Yeah, I got the plane tickets.

Starr:              31:02          When is that happening?

Ben:                31:03          It's going to be in August, it's in Nashville. And then later in November, it could be in Nashville again, it's going to be RubyConf.

Starr:              31:09          Yeah, we're double Nashing.

Starr:              31:12          Yeah it's really cool to see a new Ruby conference happening. We're a Ruby conference, we're not trying to be hip, we're not, I don't know, polyglot programmer conference.

Ben:                31:26          Well speaking of conferences, you know Josh, we haven't told Starr about our plan. He may or may-

Starr:              31:34          Oh we're going to get a real time reaction.

Ben:                31:37          Here's the reveal. So Josh and I want to do a conference. We want to have a Honeybadger conference that's-

Starr:              31:50          BadgerConf.

Ben:                31:50          That's technical and business, so kind of like MicroConf but an UnConf. You don't come for the presentations.

Josh:               31:56          Kind of like FounderQuest.

Ben:                31:57          You don't come for the presentations, you just come to hang out with awesome people and have good conversations about your business and about technology and stuff.

Josh:               32:05          Yeah, more of a hangout active type thing.

Starr:              32:07          Well we've talked about this in the past.

Josh:               32:09          Versus a... yeah we did talk about this a bit.

Starr:              32:13          Where's this Unconference going to happen?

Ben:                32:14          You gotta do it in Seattle of course.

Josh:               32:16          Yeah? Because I was going to say we should do it in Bend.

Ben:                32:19          Oh, Bend would be nice.

Josh:               32:21          What I want to do, I want to charter a bus in Portland and we could have the meetup, people can fly into PDX, and get on our bus and then we'll all take a nice, it's like a two and a half hour bus ride. We could watch a movie or something, and go out to Bend, which is like high desert, country, really pretty and kind of smallish town feel. But I think it would be an interesting place. That's where they used to do Ruby on Ales, and it was one of my favorite conferences of all time. So maybe I just want to get back to that.

Ben:                32:58          So would we do this in the winter so we could have an extra day of-

Josh:               33:02          That's a good question, I don't know, because summers are up there, but the snowboarding is, I heard is good too.

Ben:                33:08          I guess let's have our listeners tweet at us, and let us know if they'd attend such a conference, if we were to put it on.

Starr:              33:14          Where would they tweet?

Ben:                33:15          Tweet at FounderQuest right?

Starr:              33:16          @FounderQuest, that's right. We do have a twitter account, we don't hype it nearly enough.

Starr:              33:22          So I like this idea.

Ben:                33:25          Wow.

Starr:              33:26          A couple of points, just for people like me, I could only do so much togetherness before I need to retreat and recharge. If this is like a Boy Scout camping trip, where you're together with the same people for five days, that's going to be very difficult for me. You're going to find me, I'm just going to end up painting myself with mud and running through the wilderness, throwing sticks at people, it's not going to be a good scene.

Ben:                34:02          How about two days?

Josh:               34:09          With private cabins.

Starr:              34:12          Oh well if I've got my own cabin to retreat to, that's cool. I can do that. So to go along with your snowboarding activities, might I recommend, an I'm quiet, fireside reading group.

Ben:                34:26          Yeah, totally. I think you have to have the reading room, right, the library with the pillows and stuff so you could just have some quiet time.

Starr:              34:34          Just a little nod to the people that aren't really extreme.

Josh:               34:40          I would tend to, I think the way I'd do it is just make everything completely optional. "Hey these guys are going to snowboard, do you want to come?" Or you can hang out by the fire. I envision it being extremely loose.

Starr:              34:55          Yeah, I'm liking this idea, come, you can do the snowboard Josh, I'll have a little hot chocolate station, I'll make people hot chocolate, they can sit around the fire and you know, have readings of poetry or whatever. I don't know. I'm not really that into poetry, I feel like I should be.

Josh:               35:14          You'll recite poetry.

Starr:              35:15          I'll recite my own poetry, about my feelings.

Ben:                35:18          You know what's great for hot chocolate? An electric kettle.

Starr:              35:24          Cognac. You weren't going to say that, I know.

Ben:                35:26          Electric kettle. Electric kettle is awesome for hot chocolate. Just put the mix in the cup, you pour your water in your kettle. Boom! Hot chocolate.

Josh:               35:34          Oh yeah that's true.

Starr:              35:35          Have I told you guys about my kettle?

Ben:                35:36          No.

Starr:              35:38          We've gone one step beyond that. We've had an electric kettle for coffee and stuff forever. A couple years ago I discovered that there's this company Zojirushi, I think, which is Japanese.

Ben:                35:51          Yup, great rice cookers.

Starr:              35:51          I'm probably pronouncing it wrong. Yeah, they make rice cookers but they also do these electric kettles, where, it holds a gallon of water and it's essentially a gigantic thermos with a heating element inside. And so for about five watts, which is much, much less than any light bulb or whatever, it's maybe a low energy LED light bulb, you get always, on, hot water to whatever temperature you need it. So it's amazing, it's one of those things where, at first you're like this is ridiculous but then you just keep using it more and more and more, and I wish I would have had it when we had Ida, because making formula and stuff, you have to microwave, it's just meh.

Josh:               36:40          Can you drop a link to that in our Slack channel?

Starr:              36:43          Of course, I can, and maybe we could put it in the show notes too.

Ben:                36:46          Yeah they make great bread machines, if you are in the market for one of those.

Starr:              36:52          They are pretty good all around. So I've been curious, about their rice cookers, do you have one Ben?

Ben:                37:01          No, we have a different brand, but yeah, I've seen them.

Starr:              37:06          Well they always advertise that they have neural networks in them.

Ben:                37:12          Do I need a neural network to make my rice?

Starr:              37:15          Why does a rice cooker need a neural network? What kind of crazy...

Josh:               37:22          That's hardcore.

Starr:              37:24          What's it doing in there? And also, they're not fooling me because they've been selling these things since the 90s I think, so this can't be that... Technology has advanced a little bit, so you're selling me your 90s era neural network rice cooker. But apparently they cook really good rice, so who am I. I'm not Japanese.

Ben:                37:47          Maybe it's their marketing term for a state machine.

Starr:              37:50          Yeah, maybe.

Josh:               37:56          It's either warm, cook or off. I mean.

Starr:              38:07          We're getting enough listeners and this is a nerdy enough thing, maybe somebody actually knows the deal behind the neural network in this rice cooker. And so if you do, let us know and we'll give you credit, we'll give you store credit.

Starr:              38:20          Towards future podcast episodes.

Starr:              38:24          Well, what a wild ride it's been. So, if you liked this episode and you want to help us out, if you want to keep us reminiscing about the good old days in our rocking chairs and stuff, head on over to iTunes and give us a five star review. We only accept five star reviews, and if you want to talk to us about why we only accept five star reviews or if you have any questions or whatever, @FounderQuest, is where we are on Twitter, and yeah, thank you guys, and we'll check you later. God, I gotta work out this, see you next time, I got to work on this tag line business.

Announcer:          39:03          FounderQuest is a weekly Podcast by the founders of Honeybadger. Zero instrumentation, 360 degree coverage of errors, outages and service degradations for your web apps. If you have a web app, you need it. Available at

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