The guys throw the show notes out the window and kick it freestyle on this special Thanksgiving episode. All of today’s hard-hitting questions are answered: Dark meat or light meat? Turkey or duck? The warm glow of a fireplace or the warm glow of a database upgrade progress bar? Plus, the guys talk about when to start holiday feature freezes and what Honeybadger is working on/not working on this December. Links:Build Your SaaS
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Ben: For some reason that reminded me of the presence method that I use from time to time with our Ruby and Rails work.
Josh: Ruby? Yeah.
Ben: I didn't really actually know about that until like, I don't know a year ago. I never paid attention because I always use the present a and then do something or something else.
Ben: But that presence method, that is pretty dang slick. I love that. That's one of the reasons I always love Ruby, do stuff like that.
Josh: It's a very nice ... yeah, I like how it works.
Starr: I don't think I've used that one. So what does that do again?
Ben: So if you have a string that might be nil-
Ben: So you have a variable that contains a string, it could be nil and you want to display something other than blank if it happens to be nil. So like username, right? You want to, you want to spit that out into a template. What you can say "username.presence" or whatever text you want as a fallback.
Ben: Then what it'll do is if the string is present, if it's not nil, not blank, it will display the user name. But if it is now, then it'll display the alternative. Whatever your fallback is. So you don't have to use a ternary operator to like say, "Oh, if it's new, then do this or that," you know?
Starr: Oh, that's nice.
Starr: That's pretty handy.
Ben: Yeah, it's fun. One of those little things that make Ruby such a delight to use.
Starr: Yeah. I think this week's podcast is going to be freestyle. Okay. No, it's going to be a little bit looser because we're coming up on the holidays. So this is our special holiday episode, I guess where we talk about like what are we doing in December? Last year we did a hackathon. Are we going to do a hackathon this year? What are we doing about time off?
Starr: I would just like to know about some of this stuff because ...
Ben: I think, I think the first we have to talk about what are we having for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow.
Starr: Oh that's right. Okay, so this is going to come out like a week after Thanksgiving there, right?
Ben: Oh right.
Josh: Well that's okay.
Starr: What good did we have for Thanksgiving? Looking back on that, I just have fond memories of it.
Josh: We're getting on a dangerous it's a slippery slope here because then the next week we're going to have to pretend like it's the week after the week after Thanksgiving-
Starr: We have to keep up for the rest of our lives.
Josh: We're going to keep up this charade for the entirety of this podcast.
Starr: I don't know Josh, I just got such a great deal on a flat screen TV on Black Friday that I just can't not talk about it.
Josh: This is going to be like podcast inception.
Ben: Well the the Curtis household always has traditional Thanksgiving dinner. We have turkey, we have a green bean casserole, we have some mashed potatoes and of course the sweet potato casserole. You cannot have Thanksgiving without the sweet potato casserole.
Josh: Oh yeah.
Josh: Do you guys do like the marshmallows on top?
Ben: No. Man, that's evil.
Starr: That's the best part.
Josh: Strong opinions on Founder Quest.
Ben: Cannot abide the marshmallows, no.
Starr: that's all right. What's a food that you have a strong opinion about Josh?
Josh: Turkey, I like my turkey.
Starr: Oh really?
Josh: Well, I'm very adamant that you have to ... turkey has to be included. There are elements within our family that believe otherwise. So that's one of our disputes. Yeah.
Starr: Well I'm having duck this year. I hate to break it to you so don't come to my house because there's not going to be that many of us, so why? Yeah, I don't know. I don't know why I should make a turkey for that. That many people.
Josh: Well, ducks ... at least it's not like a fish or something like that.
Starr: Oh my God. Who would do that?
Josh: Some people. I won't name names. I want to, I want to enjoy my Thanksgiving this year.
Starr: Oh, I love Thanksgiving because it's all about cooking and large, extravagant cooking projects. Which is like my favorite thing to do. I posted the picture in Slack. I made some cultured butter, which started by you buy some cream and you mix it with some bacteria and you let it sit out for a couple of days. Then-
Ben: I thought you just took it to an art gallery. Now you're cultured butter.
Starr: Oh yeah. That would probably be quicker.
Starr: Let's see, we got the duck in the fridge. It's sort of air drying because you have to wait until the skin is like parchment, which is what they say. Then what else? I made a panna cotta with the leftover buttermilk for tonight and ... Oh yeah. For the sauce I'm making duck l'orange, which I'd never or duck Allah, Laura, I don't know French. I've never made this before. What I had to do is I had to buy five pounds of chicken wings because I can't afford five pounds of duck wings. Five pounds of chicken wings. You make stock out of them. You make about two quarts of stock or two liters of stock. Then you boil it down until it's like a cup of liquid and then that's the base for your sauce.
Starr: Yeah, so we're not messing around.
Ben: That's hardcore.
Ben: Nice. Now I'm hungry.
Starr: Well, too late. Because you got to you got to finish this podcast.
Starr: Got to.
Starr: Too bad.
Ben: Let's get on it. I'm going to come crash your Thanksgiving Starr. That sounds pretty good actually.
Starr: Yeah, you should. You should. I mean there's like food for four people.
Josh: We have like, we've got a 25 pound turkey in the fridge. That's what we're doing. We've got like our big family get together at my brother's house that we're going to.
Josh: We're doing the turkey. We usually do that every year. Well, if Katelyn has a really good turkey recipe that she does. It's like an orange citrus brine that we do.
Starr: It's like a turkey l'orange.
Josh: Yeah, kind of. I'm not as a learned as you are Starr in the cooking department. I'll leave that to you.
Starr: I just, I looked up the recipe.
Josh: You have the internet. I guess I also have the internet I'm just too lazy to use it.
Josh: But we also have two 15 pound turkeys in the freezer for later. That's how much I like turkey.
Starr: Those are backup turkeys?
Josh: Yeah. Yep.
Starr: Oh, I didn't know anybody actually like turkey to be honest. I thought it was just this thing that we all had to pretend to like for one day a year.
Josh: I like turkey.
Ben: Yeah, me too.
Josh: I mean, I like the full dinner.
Josh: I mean, I'll get tired of it but I also eat a lot of lean meat for the protein factor so that's good for that.
Ben: So when it comes to Turkey, I have to know what is your preference? Light meat or dark meat?
Josh: Probably, I mean like, dark. Everyone likes dark meat, right?
Ben: No, I'm a light meat person myself.
Josh: I like the light meat, but it can't be super dry.
Ben: Starr? Light, dark?
Starr: I guess dark. I mean ... yeah, usually. Usually like turkey breasts are really dry. Man, we're really getting the hard hitting questions this week. It's getting too real. I think people might be having a hard time listening to this because it's so intense.
Ben: You're like Justin Jackson. Is anybody still listening? He had this podcast episode. Yeah, he had his podcast episode a while back where he's talking about capitalism and he was having like this existential crisis about, you know, being a business owner and et cetera, et cetera. It was a fantastic, listen, I loved it, but I like repeatedly throughout the episode, he's like, "Is anybody still listening?" Because he just is going on and on and on about business. It was fantastic. So, so Justin, yes. I was still listening. It was great.
Josh: I kind of want to go ... I have to go listen to that now. I'm intrigued.
Starr: Oh, we should have a show about capitalism.
Ben: Totally. I'm sure we have opinions.
Starr: Yeah. About the, about the, what is it? Oh, it's okay. I'm not going to go there. So holidays. It's important not to talk about politics during the holidays.
Josh: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Starr: But we can talk about it at work, right? Because friends here. Yeah. So what are we actually talking about? Like what does this have to do with us? We're doing some sort of, so last year we did ... let's talk about last year. We took some time off. We came back, we did a hackathon. Like we took a fair amount of time off, didn't we?
Ben: Yeah, we did. I think we took like two weeks off or three weeks off. Last year, last December.
Josh: I'd say it was at least three ... I think it was like three weeks in December. Then we took the week for the hackathon right after. I think it was like a month.
Ben: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So we know Thanksgiving is the beginning of the holiday season at Honeybadger, right? So after Thanksgiving it's like "Hmm ..." we kind of slow down. Like we don't have a whole lot happening. We don't have a whole lot of customers asking for stuff. We don't, you know. Things just kinda chill.
Starr: That's a good point. That's a good point. We should mention that we are kind of like a seasonal business. Yeah. People sort of, I don't know why but like I have my guesses but our business comes in waves, right? I guess as people sort of get ready for holiday season and they're putting up these websites and stuff, we get more people signing up and then after Christmas people are not doing anything or whatever. We get less people signing up and so yeah. So it's kind of a natural downtime for us.
Ben: So this month we decided, you know what, we should actually get around to doing that second product that we've been talking about for like a year now. One of the things on the table for this December is to spend some time researching that. Doing some prototyping or doing some market research or something. Instead of just sticking around we will also be doing a little bit of work by looking at some of the future kind of stuff we want to build.
Josh: Yeah. Kind of similar, similar to hack week.
Josh: It's like no very low pressure. Work on anything you want or not. I think it's very loose.
Ben: It's pretty loose. Yeah.
Starr: Are we ready to announce by the second product is?
Starr: Are we ready to ...
Ben: We have like a list of I think four or five things that we have in mind, like ideas that we've had over the past year or even that we've worked on. I know Josh has worked on one of these ideas some and he's thinking about picking that back up and doing it. I have a couple of things that I think are interesting. Ben has a great idea that he wants to do that's actually would be quite a change of pace for us. So keep you posted on that if that happens because that's really kind of fun. But I think it's too early to say exactly what they are yet. We don't want to spoil the surprise.
Starr: Okay. It's not like, "All right we have to ship this in December."
Ben: No, not at all. This definitely like research, experimenting, playing, having a diversion kind of stuff.
Starr: That's cool.
Josh: Yeah. Yeah.
Starr: That's cool. Yeah. I'm going to be trying to like ship the fricking blog. This has taken so much longer than I expected. I know I could have just buckled down and like written a bunch of blog posts myself and had been sort of published right now. But then we run into the problem that I've run into before where I just run out of stuff to say and then what are you going to do?
Starr: So I've been working with these authors and we've got some articles done now and everything but, I'm like, do I want to get them illustrated? I want to do stuff like that and sort of like how do you ... it turns out when you have dozens of people working for you doing independent projects, maybe just having them all in your email isn't the best way to manage them and not drop the ball.
Starr: So setting up the project management system, like this is a whole ... like this whole management thing could be somebody's entire job.
Josh: Yeah, for sure.
Starr: Like it could be a career. Somebody should write a book about how to do it.
Ben: A book about management. I don't think that it is.
Josh: This hasn't been covered at all. I don't know. I'm really thankful for you Starr that you're handling all that because I don't know, I get mad when I have a single meeting. It's bad enough just showing up every week for this podcast. I don't schedule calls. This is my only scheduled call during the week on a fairly regular basis. I like that we have the flexibility to do that. But I guess sometimes you need to coordinate with other people.
Starr: Yeah, yeah. It's kind of, I'm kind of enjoying it. It's a big change of pace from the past 40 years of my life and having all these meetings and stuff and working with people. But it's actually a lot of fun because these are smart people and a lot of them are actually kind of better writers than me. I'm actually discovering that my talent, I think, isn't actually ... I'm a much better editor than I am a writer. If you give me something and are like, "How do you rearrange this so it makes more sense?" Like I can do that pretty easily. But it's like starting from a blank page takes me a lot more time. So I don't know. We'll see. That's fun.
Ben: That'll be a nice Christmas present to yourself to get some other blog posts up that aren't written by you. Right?
Starr: Yeah, totally. I'm thinking about waiting until like January to publish them because it seems readership always kind of goes down and people are ... I mean, maybe some people are reading stuff slacking off at work, but I don't really know. I don't know if that's ...
Josh: Plus there will be like no one around to promote them.
Starr: Oh that's a good point.
Josh: Because we're-
Ben: We're taking off and doing other things.
Josh: I actually, I have a few projects that I've worked on but I basically already put the feature freeze on the year. I don't think I'm going to actually ship anything from here on out and I keep moving it up every year. So I think it's like ... first it was like, you know, in December you're putting out the Christmas decorations and then it's the day after Thanksgiving and then they're coming out like the day after Halloween. I think that's what I'm doing with my Christmas vacation. I'm basically done, I think.
Ben: Yeah. I actually, you may not know this, but I actually use the time around the Christmas holiday to do a lot of ops work that's disruptive or that could be disruptive. Things like upgrading our lastic search cluster or upgrading our post-grads to a new version. I like to do that around Christmas time because nobody cares, right? Because they're all taking a break. Everyone's gone away. If I happen to have the database down for 10 minutes instead of two minutes, well, I mean no body cares that much.
Starr: Everybody's just schlossed on eggnog. They don't care.
Josh: On Christmas Eve.
Ben: Well actually not Christmas Eve, but New Year's Eve actually is my favorite time to roll out stuff like that.
Ben: Yep. Yeah. I'm an early riser so I go to bed early, right, typically. On New Year's, family is all like, "You got to stay up with us and party." Right? I'm like, I don't care. It's just another day. But you know, for them it's fun. I'm like, "Okay, what am I going to do between the hours of 9:00
when I'd rather be in bed?" You know, so I'm going to do some work. They're playing card games or whatever. Now, of course I'll play with them and stuff, but also I'll have in the background, a database upgrade happening.
Starr: So festive. I love this time of year.
Ben: Yeah, it's great.
Starr: You mentioned Christmas decorations. Josh, can I just say I've had my Christmas lights up like for the past four years?
Starr: It's like a little tradition now is like you plug them in and see if they still work.
Josh: Yeah, I could get on board with a year round Christmas lights thing.
Ben: Yeah. I don't do Christmas lights outside of my house. I do Christmas lights inside because why do I care what my neighbors see?
Ben: If I want to see pretty light, they're going to be inside where I see them.
Starr: But I don't know if it's super ...
Starr: It's really nice to like, you know, you're coming home and it's dark because you're in Seattle, like it's dark out at about 1:00 PM this time of year and you see these little festive Christmas lights welcoming you home as opposed to a dark lawn that could be full of killers and alligators and snakes.
Ben: I could see that.
Josh: Is that what it's like in the South?
Starr: I mean, pretty much. We didn't have alligators where I'm from, but lots of snakes. Yeah.
Ben: So, yeah. You know, December is a happy time at Honeybadger, right? We get to relax, work on fun projects, maybe take a few weeks off, maybe upgrade a database. You know, whatever we enjoy doing.
Starr: Can we get some like special music I wonder? I wonder if we could find some special jingle all the way type music for the show?
Josh: For like the background?
Starr: Yeah, yeah,
Josh: Yeah. Some sleigh bells.
Starr: So do you have anything else to say about the holidays or is that, should we ... how long have we been talking? 20 minutes. That should cut down to about like 10 minutes once you cut out the "ahs" and "ums."
Ben: This is going to be the, we're leaving early for Thanksgiving episode, so we're not going to talk very long.
Starr: Okay. I mean we could live cast our Thanksgiving dinners. I can go stand in line at the mall. Oh, they tore the mall down. Nevermind. Sorry. I could go stand in line at Target.
Ben: Like Northgate's gone now?
Starr: Yeah. Yeah. I mean they're in the process of tearing it down. I live by a mall and they're tearing it down because we're building a light rail. For all the non Seattle people like Josh.
Ben: I have good memories of Northgate.
Starr: Yeah, it's a nice little mall.
Josh: Mall's used to be a big deal.
Josh: Not so much anymore.
Starr: I know. It's like everything in life. It's so temporary and impermanent.
Starr: Alright so ...
Ben: Yeah, we're pretty much done here.
Starr: I think we're done. I think we're all short timers or something.
Ben: For real. Like, oh ....
Starr: Oh my God, is it five o'clock yet? Can we go?
Ben: It's like totally noon. It's time to cut off.
Starr: All right. It's time for lunch. All right, gents is great talking with you about the holidays. I hope our editor was able to cut down-
Ben: Get something out of this.
Starr: Cut down on the silences and condense this into like a two minute interesting podcast-
Ben: That's worth listening to.
Starr: Okay. This has been Honeybadger phoning it in. I was going to say, if you liked this, please don't please let go review us. But actually for this episode, just don't review us because I don't even know. I don't think I'll like the results of that.
Ben: Just drink some eggnog instead.
Starr: Yeah. If you want to write for us, go check out our blog in the top nav. We've got a little link and don't expect me to reply to you this week. Anyway, so this has been Honeybadger keeping it festive.
Ben: Happy holidays.
Starr: Happy holidays. Okay, good bye everybody.