8 Bits with Brenden O'Leary

8 Bits with Brenden O'Leary
This week on 8 Bits we are joined by GitLab Developer Evangelist Brenden O'Leary! Join us as we learn about Brenden's journey into tech.

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8 Bits
8 Bits interviews the people behind the tech. Each week, we bring on a special guest to learn about how their journey in tech. Hosted by Pj Metz and Brandon Minnick.

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Brenden O'Leary  1:47
Oh we made it, have reset, it couldn't be back.

Brandon Minnick  1:52
Welcome everybody. Welcome back to eight bits The show where we interview the people behind the tech. My name is Brandon Minnick. I work as a developer advocate at Microsoft and with me is our new permanent co host. PJ Metz PJ book. Welcome to the show. Welcome back.

Brenden O'Leary  2:12
I am not qualified for this job. Hi, Oh, this is so like because now there's people who are going to be listening who don't know the story. There's gonna be people who are watching who know us, but don't know what's going on. They just see a cute pastel background. And also Me and you, we I just realized our personalities are very well defined right now by the visual. So for those of you listening, you'll have to check on the stream sometime. But thank you. I'm the new co host guys. We made it.

Brandon Minnick  2:46
Yeah, that's right. So friends of the show will will remember PJ PJ has co host the show many, many times he was kind of our, our go to backup host if one of us couldn't make it. But we are promoting PJ into the hot seat. Because we love them so much. And we are kicking off a totally new revamped series of eight bits. Yeah, because I see all sorts of new branding new new color palettes new logos. New new season new look new us.

Brenden O'Leary  3:19
Yeah, brand new me. And really, this all fits in with a we're all we're trying to come out of like a world that's been in turmoil for coming on two years now. Right? We're trying to figure things out. And it feels good to sort of rebrand yourself and to really make a change and step out and be like this is the new me and the new me in this case is a host of a show that really helped me get started. Honestly, I wouldn't be the education evangelists that get live that I am today were it not for this show. And Brandon and the former co host Chloe shout out Chloe, we miss you already. But we are living on in the pastels. And the great 80s vibes of your influence for sure. Oh, yeah, now I'm kicking my camera too. That's the way we do.

Brandon Minnick  4:11
Give the people have the content they want, say

Brenden O'Leary  4:17
a big deal before the show about how what I touched my desk, my camera doesn't move and I'm really smart, and then I kicked it. So

Brandon Minnick  4:26
that happens I used to do that all the time, and eventually just got fed up with it because even typing on my keyboard would jiggle the camera because the camera was sitting on the desk. So I went out and I bought one of those security camera mounts, bolted it to the wall. And then that's what I attached the camera to right now. So if we ever move my desk, I'll have to do some drywall repair and pokes holes in whatever new wall we move our desk to

Brenden O'Leary  4:53
that's right some minor home improvement. Yeah, but

Brandon Minnick  4:57
PJ but what's new, tell me what you got go

Brenden O'Leary  5:00
Listen, I just got back from my very first conference, I attended cube con in Los Angeles. It's my first tech conference, I worked the booth, I met some people in real life I met Joe Carlson, Matt Stratton, a bunch of team members as well, including some very special people in my life that I met for the actual second time, but we'll talk about that later. But first conference is kind of a, it's exciting and like, terrifying. And like, I can't say like, Oh, my first time anywhere, I used to always use the excuse. Oh, I'm doing this. I'm sorry. But I can't know I'm an expert.

Brandon Minnick  5:39
In one conference, he still got that I'm doing this in your back pocket. I mean, it is only my second conference.

Brenden O'Leary  5:48
Yeah, that's right. I used to use that when I was a teacher, though. I was a teacher for 11 years, I'd be like, oh, guys, sorry. It's my first day. And it's like, March.

Brandon Minnick  5:58
Oh, well, I have been heads down in this new tool for recruiting called the dotnet Maui community toolkit. dotnet Maui for all my C sharp developers out there is a basically the evolution of Xamarin it's a way you can make iOS and Android apps in C sharp, so they're still totally native. Basically, all Maui does is wrap all of the Objective C API's from iOS that wraps all Java API's from Android into C sharp. So you have all the same API's, you know, and love when you compile it files to a native app. And Maui stands for multi platform application user interface. Because you can also share your UI code, share your business logic, and still get native apps out of it. So we are building this thing called the dotnet Maui community toolkit. And it's pretty cool. It's totally built and created by the community. So we have community pull requests come in, where folks add in, you know, those little things that when you're building an app, you probably copy paste from app to app, those those little things, why copy pasted? Let's let's add them into this toolkit. Let's share them with other people. And then that way, we don't have to copy paste our code across the app. So it's really a super helpful library that dotnet Maui developers can use. And we've been working very hard on it. So if you google dotnet, Maui community toolkit, you'll find it, please check out the GitHub repo, we have lots of open issues, or new features that we want to implement, that all have helped wanted tags. So help us out. Today,

Brenden O'Leary  7:46
right? That's so cool. Like the idea of like, like, this community toolkit where people talk about what is helpful and useful to them. And then it can be implemented and created is very exciting. And you have to have a strong community for that you have to have people who want to contribute. And a large part of making a strong community are dev REL people, which come in a lot of different flavors, right? We've got developer advocates, and we've got Developer Relations. And we have something called a developer evangelist that I've heard of as well. And I happen to have I don't know if you mind, but can I can I bring a friend on who who knows a lot about being a developer evangelist.

Brandon Minnick  8:29
Let's bring him in the show. Holy smokes.

Brenden O'Leary  8:33
Folks, thank you for tuning in. Like to bring on and introduce Brendan. Oh, Larry from get lab.

Brandon Minnick  8:41
Hey, welcome to the show, Brandon. Hey, thanks

Brenden O'Leary  8:45
so much for having me guys. Really excited to be here. Oh,

my God, I'm just so happy.

Brandon Minnick  8:52
So PJ led off with a really good question that if I was gonna say if you're new to the industry, but if you've been in the industry for 20 years, you probably have the same question. BJ listed developer advocate, Developer Relations and developer evangelist. And Brendon, let's first let you introduce yourself, but break down. What are those three?

Brenden O'Leary  9:18
Who are you and why are you here? Yeah, yeah. So I'm Brendan O'Leary. I work as a developer evangelist at Git lab, on our community team with PJ got to see him in Los Angeles. This past week is fantastic. We'll talk about that for sure. But yeah, this. I mean, I think the real answer to the question, what's the difference between a developer evangelist and advocate or Developer Relations devrel is there you know, isn't a great definition to find, you know, we, we've gone through a lot of iterations of it at Git lab. So Git lab, the open source projects been around for 10 years. We actually just celebrated our 10 year anniversary back on October 8, that was the first commit to get get lab sorry not to get first get get labs, you know, words are fun. And and so because of that I think we've evolved a lot over that time, right? So generally, when you talk about, I think the umbrella term is Developer Relations, right for the things that all that we all do. And the thing is, that can mean a lot of different things. And a lot of different companies, right? at a small open source startup, the developer world first Developer Relations, hire is often one of the first very early, right, and they might be, you know, there might be before there's a product manager hired. And so they're like, part time Product Manager figuring out product market fit. And it might be before there's any marketing people hired. So there, again, big part of the product market fit really far. You know, there's community to manage, right? If you've got an open source project, I'm not telling Brandon anything he doesn't know. You know, there's a lot to do. You know, it sounds great to build a community tool that is fantastic, but that there's a lot of work to get it there, right to get the issues in a state where people can contribute to them to make sure that you're, you know, able to review those pull requests or merge requests that come in, like, you've got a lot of work to do around community management, and then, you know, interacting with the community and answering their questions and making sure they know, you know, how to use this new Malli thing. And, oh, I used to know Xamarin. And now I'm trying to figure out, like, what's that? Do I get to go to Hawaii? Like, what, what's the deal. And so there's a lot of different hats that you know, get worn, especially in a small, open source startup. And so, as you mature, we now have Git lab have been, you know, been around for a while. And we've got this massive community team. So we have a community team that has folks that are focused on the contributor experience. And those, we have, I think, over 2200 contributors, contributors to Git lab over the life of it, and almost like 100 merge requests a month that come in from the wider community, not our engineers. So there's a whole you know, there's a group that deals with that. And then there's folks that deal with different pieces of the community, like our open source partners, or our education partners, right in PJ's case. And so we've kind of like narrowed down those hats, we have a little bit more of a mature community organization. So I get to focus on, you know, interacting directly with developers spending time understanding what their needs. Yes, relating that with our product, folks. But again, we've got a whole product team together to help with that. And so I get to spend time kind of out in the community. I think that's where the evangelism word comes from. It's why we settled on it as being like, someone who's like an ad fierce advocate for it, and also out and in community, not kind of waiting and taking in things. So that's why I get to spend my time doing stuff like this and doing conference talks. You know, going to conferences, if that's a thing again, which I went a while, yeah, I started this role in January of 2020, which is like a great time to start. And so yeah, that's, that's what I do. Forget.

Awesome. So there's a sense of like, when you talk about going into the community, and when you talk about being an evangelist and like spreading the word. What is it that drew you to this as a career as a as an idea? What why want to do that, I guess, is what I'm asking.

Yeah, her name is Chloe Condon. I don't know if you know, but No, but seriously, Chloe was a huge influence on me in the beginning, and watching her bring her full authentic self to work. was just really inspiring. But she's one of many folks that as I was like, watching and looking up to, you know, Kelsey Hightower comes to mind from Google, lots of folks that are that are bringing, like humanity and technology together and not just kind of like pitching, you know, a cool new tech thing because it's the cool new thing to do on tech or because it's the thing that is going to make them money. And, and so I kind of been doing that for a while, like I started a git lab when we were about 150 people. And 20, October 2017. And so again, at that size of startup, everyone is everyone's an evangelist part time. Right, everyone's doing it part time. And so I had been doing a part time I've been speaking here and there and and I really enjoyed that part of like, being in the startup and doing it. Well, when you get to like 1300 people like we are now No one's a part time anything. That's kind of came to this point where I had to make a decision and I had had our then director of evangelism. Her name is Priyanka Sharma. She now actually is the general manager, the cncf. Folks where Kubernetes lives and all that. She had been like trying to get me to come do it full time for like, I think a year and a half. And I kept saying no and no, I was worried about the travel. Again, I've always travelled some for work, but you know, I've just had this vision of like, getting on a plane for every devopsdays and every part of the world a little bit, as much as I love devopsdays like I didn't want to, like, you know, be at one every week. Because I've got four kids at home so that that's a whole nother ball of wax. But finally, Priyanka talked me into it. And I think I talked myself into it, I was at a show at AWS reinvent, actually, sorry, Brandon. And and, and somebody came up to me and was like asking it, like these big like, these questions. And I finally realized, like, Oh, they don't understand the concept of like, git in general, like, Oh, it's this folder, and you have your local repository, and then you have the remote repository. That's kind of a rough concept of just understand in general. And so I like grabbed a piece of like paper and started drawing on the back of it, and I drew, you know, here's your little folder, and here's like your local repository commit stuff, and you push it up to your remote repository, and then you pull stuff down that other people put, I'm doing all this like, just explaining get to this person. Nothing about Git lab like we were miles away from that. I turned to one of my best friends I said, well, that's the thing I would do for free. Well, then why don't you go work for Priyanka Dubin? That's a really good point.

Brandon, you have kind of a similar you got like, recruited into being a diver. All right.

Brandon Minnick  16:53
Yeah, it's funny, I was thinking the same thing is, Brendan, you were telling your story that Yeah, the the Developer Relations team is that still say fairly new at Microsoft? This just created in 2017. And actually, now that I say that four years probably is it? Is it considered new anymore. But, uh, yeah, I joined Microsoft, because they acquired Xamarin, which is where I used to work. And so I just kind of got to come along for the ride, and was really enjoying my new role. Microsoft has his team called the Global black belt team. And what it means is you are a technical expert in a very specific field. So obviously, mine was mobile. But there's also like global black belts for anything like Kubernetes, Python, you name it, we've got a technical expert in it, that can help customers create their apps. And so it's the global blackbelt team. And yeah, one of the founders, Tim Heuer, who ended up being my future manager reached out to me, and he's like, Hey, we're building this team over here on the, on this side of Microsoft, and we think he'd be a great fit for it. Are you interested in he, when he reached out, I was like, I'm really happy where I'm at, like, I'm on this cool thing. Like I get to call myself a black belt. And, yeah, I've always enjoyed helping developers build their stuff. I've, I've been on both sides of sales, both pre sales and post sales, post sales, which some people call it customer success. And very much like being on the success side, because you have to there's, you have to worry about paperwork. You know, it's you're not selling anything. It's literally just, hey, let me teach you what I know. Let me teach you best practices. Let me help you build that foundation. So when you start creating your action, get off and running. So yeah, I I turned down my first offer too. And then I saw all these people in the community who I looked up to joining this team. And I was like, What have I done? Had to had to go back hat in hand. Tim was like, Hey, you still you still got a seat available for me. I'd really like to be on this team now. And so luckily, they did. I was really kicking myself because there's folks like Rob who john Jim Bennett, Matt Socha, who were just amazing people who I looked up to in the Xamarin community saw that they joined the team. I was like, I could work with them like this. But uh, yeah, I totally agree with yet. You mentioned developer relations is kind of the the umbrella term. And so that's that's kind of how I defined it to like between Developer Relations developer advocate, developer evangelist, advocate and evangelists are probably the same, same thing, same different titles, same role for an individual, whereas developer relations is more the the industry The org If it's in your company, because I don't say I work as Developer Relations, I work in Developer Relations and yeah, and yeah, I found mostly what people see is you give conference docs you host podcasts like this. But in reality it's more about what are you doing for the developer community? What what tools are you giving them what helpful sample apps blog posts, Introduction videos and then also the feedback from the community bringing that to the developer teams like we were talking about dotnet Maui earlier there's been some bugs in it because it's it's hasn't been released yet. It's still very much in preview. And working with the developer team, I've gotten to the dotnet team then like hey, the committee is trying to do this in the toolkit. They can't do it so this must be broken let's fix this like these are high priority things that we need to surface and and yeah, there's been a couple of things that I mean, I'm the one that surface the issue, but definitely not the first one to experience or discover it. But you know, without working together I don't know if some of these issues would have been solved before we release products and I think that's a huge part of being in developer relations to is listening Yeah, like taking that feedback from the people who are using your tools bring it out to the product teams making things better, like right Oh, you hate doing this Hey, hey guys, we should probably stop doing this.

Brenden O'Leary  21:42
Like I think that's great and I love the idea that it's it's about being like a good listener as much as I think a lot of people when they think of people who are doing devrel type work they think of speakers and they think of people who are doing things like that but the the speaking only matters if you're listening to the issues because you can go and talk on a topic but it doesn't matter

right exactly exactly yeah and and unless you're really like like Brandon was saying doing it with people right and co creating with them like also the talk is going to really not be valuable to anyone write like yeah then it might as well been like a pre sales talk right that's something and get versus you know, you apply some you know real world experience to to what developers have to deal with every day and how you know it can i think i think one of the things I say often as I get to talk to people about what it's really like to ship code to production, right? You get to like peel back a real onion you know, all of the onion layers that are involved it's

not like sales where you've got like a neat little like presentation where it's like and then you just ship it

easier. Yeah, and even even those who've been in sales engineering know that like that's great but then you're gonna get a question immediately after like yeah, okay, that's cool, but like how does that really work?

Cool That's awesome. So one of the things I think is we've all kind of brought our personalities behind us Brandon you've got the this is fine dog behind you. Um, I've got my inescapable gigantic amount of things behind me it's all pastel and video game and all that stuff and Brendan, you've got a neon sign behind you that says you're like really pretty and Mean Girls one of my most favorite films with a capital F of all time I feel like you need to tell us what it is about being girls that that you see that you like sure

sure well next to that to PG I'm flexing on you with all these conference bag with

all the conference just back up like 20 of them

no my my best friend Luca bought that for me. They know how much I love Mean Girls and I also had a phone case I got a new phone I had a phone case that said on Wednesdays we wear pink. And I don't know just mean girls to me is just like this fantastic moment in pop culture, like captured in a way that not many films can do. Like right before the downfall of Lindsay Lohan and like the loss of or loss of innocence there.

Pj Metz  24:35

Brenden O'Leary  24:36
you know, I mean, it's just it's just and it's a it's a fun movie. It's when you get to pick up and watch anytime it's on. And it's endlessly quotable. Right. Yeah.

It's, I think that's a lot of Tina Fey's influence on it is that it is really quotable and anything Tina Fey is done is got like quotable lines for days Kimmy Schmidt, 13 rock, all of it is Jessica. Right.

Brandon Minnick  25:01
It's true. And it's true. And

Brenden O'Leary  25:02
yeah, I just I just really liked the movie. And then, you know, when when someone buys you an amazing president like that, like, you know, when you put it right in the background so everyone can see.

On that note, if anyone would like to buy me a neon sign that says just about anything, honestly. Feel free to purchase that for me. Because I'd love it. I really would. I used to use that film all the time. My background is in high school education as a high school English teacher. And I used to use that me girls all the time when I was teaching Julius Caesar and the movie itself obviously makes tons of references to Julius Caesar, a tyrant who's in control a the underlings who wants to take down the tyrant. But back when I started teaching in 2009, it was still kind of relevant. It's a film that came out in I think, 2002. And the kids were, they would know it, they remembered it. It was a part of the collective consciousness at that moment. As I got on and teaching, and especially the last time that I tried to reference Julius Caesar to a bunch of seniors, this would be the 2020 school year. Um, I said, so you guys know Mean Girls, and they were like, what? And I was like, I mean, girls, the it's a Lindsey lowen film about high school, and they were like, nah now, so I found myself having to explain Mean Girls. And then I had to explain Julius Caesar, because they didn't remember it from their sophomore year. And this is getting too convoluted. I wanted to just make a quick reference about something so they can understand Macbeth, and here I am explaining Julius Caesar, for girls to get to Julius Caesar to get to the Macbeth. That's right. It's a common path to travel for sure.

Brandon Minnick  26:51
I think I brought it thing in that is, you know, looking at the cast, you know, we talked about how to phase in Mean Girls, but this cast is really ahead of its time, like Brendan mentioned it was as Lindsay Lohan before she kind of

Brenden O'Leary  27:06
developed out of public.

Brandon Minnick  27:10
Yeah, she's coming back, though. But yeah, Rachel McAdams, Tina Fey Tim Meadows, Amy Poehler, and a gas Dyer. I'm reading this off the list He's like, house cast it is they were all probably the exception of Tim Meadows. He was probably the most well known Lindsay Lohan is a child actor. Definitely. And Rachel McAdams and skeptic coming but nobody was as big as they are today. And now

Brenden O'Leary  27:37
it's I mean aside for you, too. It was like the it was like an X right,

Amanda Seifried has the dumb friend right? ESPN.

Yeah, I got so funny in a gas tire fact. I saw in a gas tire as Elphaba on Broadway The first time I saw wicked.

She's an amazing singer. Yeah, I have no idea. She's a great singer.

Fantastic. There's like a two minute pause when someone like that comes out on Broadway though for like everyone to clap. It's kind of annoying. But it was nice.

She did crush it. It's very different from when I was Elphaba, and it was two minutes of booze. And they said someone get that guy off the stage, he's hurting. And now I'm not allowed to go to that theater anymore. It is so um, it's so exciting to like to be able to bring your personality and I think like when you talked about the people that inspire you, Brandon like these are people who purposefully bring their personality in are unapologetically sharing themselves in a very specific way that helps and this is not a normal thing for working in tech nor or work in general. And in the West, there was always hide your personality. Don't let people know what you're like, don't talk about your private life do work. And as Developer Relations has, has sort of shifted and changed in the six years that it's been a an actual job and career that people can pursue. More and more authenticity seems to be the name of the game.

For sure, yeah. I mean, I think and I think that's like a general trend, as we see, like, you know, folks trying to learn how to fit work in their life rather than the other way around. And so I think it's a really healthy thing for us to, you know, be able to do that. And I think it also, I mean, when you develop something and you produce, you know, software, you put it into the world, you're really you're really putting yourself out there, right? Like it or not. And so getting used to, you know, putting your whole stuff out there just just helps with with that a lot, I think, and it humanizes us again, in a way that, you know, like, technology for a long time. You know, in the early days, the internet was like kind of this, this thing that wasn't part of us and like now It's kind of part of society, like Like it or not, for better or worse and plenty of worse. But like, if we're gonna figure out how to decrease the worse and like, keep technology as part of society, right? It's not just, oh, the internet's that thing that my son wants to dial into and do my mom to get off the phone. Right? Like, it's like, yeah, now it's this thing that's, that's with us. And so how are we going to? In that, I want to say embrace it, but but, you know, use it for what it's good for, use it for the best that we can and not let it and do that consciously. not do it in a way that you know, it just happens to us.

Yeah, the ubiquitousness of tech. I think a lot of people have talked about how recent that is. But like, honestly, I mean, 11 years ago, is about when Facebook became publicly available for everybody, I think maybe like 2008 ish, unless I'm really messing up my timeline. Because Brandon, you and I went to USF. And I know you started a few years after me, I think your freshman year would have been when Facebook was available to us students for the first time.

Brandon Minnick  31:09
Yeah. So yeah, I graduated high school in Oh, five. And when I was applying for colleges, I only applied to one school because I did this thing called early admissions at University of Florida. And you got to basically apply early early on in your senior year. And you would also find out early on in your senior year. So yeah, I graduated high school to five but found out in late oh four that I got accepted in the US through their early admissions process. And the reason I only applied to that was if you get accepted into early admissions, you're legally contractually obliged to attend. So I did, but yeah, I remember I couldn't wait to get my official University of Florida. edu email address, but ufl.edu Yeah, because back in the day, Facebook was very college specific. And the only way you could get on it was with a official college email address. That was from a college where Facebook was so Facebook wasn't even at every school yet, let alone every person. Yeah, yeah, I've ever. As soon as I got the acceptance letter, and I got my email address. The first thing I did was created my facebook account was like the new hotness, and I couldn't wait,

Brenden O'Leary  32:29
man. And back when the wall was a literal, single wall of text that anybody could edit. You have

to and you have to go look at it. You know, so I I'm only a year ahead of you, Brandon. Right? So I graduated high school No, four, and went to

the oldest one here.

PJ, he just had an extra central life crisis. And he's gone. Yeah. Yeah. So anyway, I, I, I remember so I got I went, I went, I went to the University of Maryland College Park. And I remember when I started in, you know, that would have been the fall of 2004. It was like, oh, Facebook's coming to Maryland in three weeks. Right? Like it was like they were like, rolling out. So I remember it being rolled out to you know, how, if you have a umd.edu address you can get?

Brandon Minnick  33:21
Yeah, yeah. And then eventually, yeah, they just opened it up to any email address. And that was, I know, for a lot of us. Time to scramble is what it was just your college friends then you can imagine what college kids post to Facebook would an older

Brenden O'Leary  33:41
years, upload all your photos, make albums, tag people and then they're like, we're letting your mom Galan, you have to get to

speaking of Facebook, I believe we have a word from one of our sponsors. So if you guys don't mind, we're gonna run a quick little ad here. Y'all enjoy this ad? Why don't Hi, if you're hearing my voice, that means you've been listening to or watching eight bits with Brandon mpj. And we're here to talk to you about your product and how it can help you in your life by do whatever your product does. So if you're an avid listener of the show, or you watch us on Twitch, then you will know that your product your product is right for you.

What a great compelling ad that was like really just great production quality. Very handsome spokesperson actually I now believe that Yeah,

Brandon Minnick  34:53
good. Good looking.

Brenden O'Leary  34:55
I think Yeah, you know, there's there's gonna be ad agencies. Just clamoring to understand who that who that is.

That was a Mets Canva collaboration for sure.

Brandon Minnick  35:09
But truly we are looking for for help running the podcast so if anybody out there does want to have us share their product or is interested in sponsoring a pets you can reach us at Hello at a pets.tv and and let us know we are going solo on this so we have to we got costs hey we've got to say thank you to all our listeners and please do follow up at Hello at a pitstop TV.

Brenden O'Leary  35:48
We could do what uh i don't know if you guys know the podcast my brother my brother and me. But they are three very funny brothers from originally West Virginia. And they started the podcast I want to say 11 or so years ago they're on like Episode 600 something right now. And it's an advice show and what they do is they get on and they take questions from listeners and give terrible advice back and or they read Yahoo questions and give advice to the Yahoo question person. But their their ad area is called the money zone. So let's go to the money zone. And originally it was you can give us $100 to read whatever you want to someone else. And I think they call it like the jumbotron or something and it would be like they would like Venmo 100 bucks, send them an email and be like, Alright, please read this and be like, dear Mariah, I have asked the brothers to tell you about how much I like you and I want you to come with me to prom or anything like that. And that's how they did ads for a while. So we'll do that. Well what I'm saying is we'll do that.

Now I was just assuming that like Squarespace already has seen that and is like calling right now

that's right there.

Brandon Minnick  37:06
We got a cued up. So that's

Brenden O'Leary  37:08
right. As you can tell I don't I don't need it. I've already got my Halloween Horror Nights. Nightmare Before Christmas themed Hawaiian shirt. Everyone has one of these right? Obviously,

let's go to Celsius.

Brandon Minnick  37:26
Here's a little bit breaded This is so we we've known of each other but this is the first time we've really met gotten to hang out and what what I know of you now you mentioned you've got a couple kids at home. You've been working at get lab for a long time. But I'd like to go way back. What What got you interested into in tech?

Brenden O'Leary  37:50
Sure. Yeah. Well, I mean, if you want to go all the way back


my my first computer was a Tandy 2000 I think that my my dad had, and I'm pretty sure I bricked it. Remember back in the day, when you could brick a computer pretty good by like setting the graphics settings wrong.

Brandon Minnick  38:14
I just remember, you don't shut down the computer like yeah, shut down. Once

Brenden O'Leary  38:19
it's done. I totally did that to my brain.

I did the same thing I like was like what happens when I change the resolution and the screen just went. And like I couldn't see anything. My Gundam Wing background was all like, like, shots a pieces and I couldn't find the mouse to change it back. And I didn't know what to do. And my mom was mad. Yeah.

But I think it taught me a good lesson, which is like, you kind of have to break things to learn, right? Like I don't think there's another way in this industry to learn. And I think that's what always like got me interested in like I I was kind of you know, I'd like science as a kid. So like, that's kind of a boring, you know, way into computers, but I didn't like you know, I always say I didn't like biology that much because I felt like it was too much. You know, like, wrote too much rote memorization, which I know biology isn't what you really do biology but like, in the beginning when you were a kid, I wanted to like be able to figure things out I wanted to be able to figure it out myself, right? Like I wanted to be able to get there with logic and so that that's what kind of drew me to it. But then the other thing I would say is I was like I was really I was never like a so obviously I mean we've already established Tandy science, like I wasn't a cool kid. But also, but I also was like, not a good nerd. Like I didn't have any video game systems growing up. Like I'm not that great at video games like I'm just not probably because those two are interrelated. It's like I never had like I never really like I had plenty of friends but I never really had like, I was never like, you know, I wasn't the Regina George, I was the popular kids or of, of the nerds. And so that kind of put me in this like Limbo area for a while of like what I want to do, okay, I'll major in business, but I'll specialize in computers, right? Because I saw this interesting Peters and all and some of my first like job is like a teenager in college work with computers, actually. But it was a more of your traditional like it like, break, fix, you know, messing around with hardware and trying to get stuff fixed. And I did that for a while. And then I got a job, an internship at a medical software company, and the owner of the company was a Maryland alum. And so they were looking for Maryland people and interned there. And I kind of felt like it was a small company, it was like, not venture back. It was, it was like a, like a bootstrap thing. And I like they have these problems that I saw, like the processes and the way they were building software and the way they were deploying to customers. So I was like, Well, I'm leaving, I'm gonna go work at like an investment bank. And I actually accepted a job at an investment bank, to go, you know, do that kind of thing. And the CEO of that company, sat me down and said, hey, I've got all these problems, he starts outlining all of these, like, problems that I saw with their processes that I thought he was just like, ignorant to, like, I really need somebody to fix them, I think you could do that. I was like, shoot, that sounds way more interesting than investment banking. So ended up doing that, and spending 10 years there helping build that company was through a time of a lot of consolidation and healthcare software. So like, we had to like, mature ourselves really quickly, we went from like, selling to, like one or two users to selling the whole hospital systems are software. And it's an interesting software industry to be in because you can't have anything be wrong. Right? Like in medical self. Yeah. Our software was was used for patient management in radiology specifically in like women's imaging. So breast cancer detection, like mammography. And so you'd like you can't be wrong, like it's cancer.

Brandon Minnick  42:13
There's different kinds of bugs. Yeah,

Brenden O'Leary  42:16
yeah, yeah, really, really cannot be wrong. Although I always I always, like, made myself feel better about it. Because it's like, well, it's not a surgery. Like, I mean, there's people that are for stuff like machines that are using surgery, like,

Brandon Minnick  42:28
No, thank

Brenden O'Leary  42:29
you. We can fix it in a day and like, still be okay. Right? Like, but, but it has to be fixed after that. Because then you know, the whole point of us, again, now, I've learned more about breast cancer at that job than I ever thought I knew in my life. But doing screening mammography for women over 40 is to like, catch it early, because that's when you can really have a positive impact on outcomes anyway, so you so you can't be slow, but you also don't have somebody on the table. So that taught me a lot about, like, making it work for users, and, you know, stability of software systems. A lot of the users there were physicians, like the end users, or the physicians themselves. And so that's like a really high bar. Also, like a minor thing that I say there is like, it's a very female dominated industry. Like, it's like, there are men breast cancer, but it's very much a women's issue, like one and even will have breast cancer in their lives. And so as a man, you kind of have to prove you know, what you're talking about before people will listen to you. So I had to Absolutely. And so it's like I say, Oh, so it's like being a woman in any other field in the world. Like, right, exactly. A little tiny microcosm paste of that.

Just Just a little like enough to enough to like, just to be empathetic. I don't understand. I don't understand. But I understand. I hear. Yeah, absolutely.

And so that, but that was great. Because it taught me like how much like that. Being an expert isn't like most valuable thing. But knowing what you're talking about. And actually, more importantly than that, saying, you don't know, when you don't know something huge as being like one of the most important things you can do. Absolutely. And so that that was really great. And that kind of cemented me into software. From then on. And then I jumped a couple different places, I spent time. And so I spent a lot of time that I was like through the evolution of DevOps becoming a thing. Yeah, it's like DevOps became a thing while I was running product engineering at that, at that group. And so then I kind of got interested in like, developer productivity and developer experience, because that was, that was the thing that was slowing us down the most was like how much we could get our developers, you know, focused on the thing they wanted to do, which was like coding this new thing or fixing this problem. And so I spent some time there. After that in DevOps, and then I was a git lab user. And then I had a buddy getting recruited to Git lab. And I was like, Oh, yeah, that's probably a company too. And I ended up there. But I got on the bus in a in a different place I got on, I started, actually, you know, branding, or talking about customer success. And pre sales. When I started, there was only pre sales people, there were zero customer success, people getting fast growing startup. So I was Customer Success post salesperson number one. And I helped build a professional services group to help our customers be successful with using the software. Then I spent time back in product, which is like my original love. I owned our CI product for a time. And then, you know, I told the story earlier about how I got recruited over to, yeah, evangelism. But yeah, so it's a winding road, to get to where I am, but also, you know, a lot of traditional things. But I do point out, I do not have a computer science degree. So

it's right. It's still it's still not traditional. And really, I think one of the things that I've learned from talking to a lot of different people, is that I don't think there's really such a thing as a traditional path in almost any career. I really don't think that my way of getting into teaching was a traditional path, honestly. And I definitely don't think I was a traditional teacher by any means. I thought I was a great teacher. Thank you very much. But um, Brandon, you also, obviously, like, had a meandering path that eventually got you into devrel? You do have a computer science degree. But it took you to a completely different place at first, then software, right?

Brandon Minnick  46:41
Pretty much. Yeah. So part of that was, I graduated college in 2009. And if you remember the 2008 recession, oh, we weren't out of it by 2009. So yeah, I studied computer hardware engineering in college, and loved learning how to make CPUs and microcontrollers. And I thought for sure, I'd be working at Intel or AMD when I graduated. But no 2009. So I got one job offer from a company I'd never heard of called Harris, and a small town of Melbourne, Florida. And so I took it. And that job was actually as a as a test engineer. So I wasn't even writing code. I was writing tests, like, Harris, looking back on it was really far behind. I mean, yes, some people were writing, we did have software unit tests. But most of the tests were manual, what we call integration tests. And so I would write binders like 500 page, binders, very detailed step by step procedures on how to test equipment, making sure every test was isolated, reproducible, not impacted by other tests. And, and that's what I started off doing. And so I'm thankful for it. But because it taught me that, you know, how, just how important testing is, and a lot of times testing becomes an afterthought, and especially in the waterfall model. And even today, like what people call agile and Scrum is really just like, agile waterfall, it's testing always gets always gets kind of kicked to the side. And you know, when timelines get cut short, but yeah, like, you know, I have an app in a couple of apps in the app store, but only one of them's open source. It's called get trends, gi t tr, e n, d s, and it's an app that helps you monitor your GitHub repos. I know PJ and I have talked about expanding it to include Git lab repos, which still totally down for but uh, yeah, if you check out that app, it has a whole suite of unit test code. You can go to get trends, calm g at Tru NDS calm, and you'll see all the unit testing the UI testing. And in fact, there's, if I had to bet there's probably more test code and there is app code. And yeah, all of that comes from my roots and where I started, and it's your passion. Yeah, cuz on projects like this, like, it's just an open source project that I do for fun, I don't make any money off of it. It's free to download from the app stores, the code is literally open source. So anybody can also fork the repo and see exactly how it works. I'm not hiding anything. But yeah, as like an indie Dev, an individual developer on the project. If I didn't have these suite of tests, then I would be hosed. Because anytime you make a change, like once your app gets to a certain size, anytime you change one thing, you don't know what that impact is. I might know I mean, I know the codebase really well. I've written every line of code. That's it. Or at least reviewed every code, there's been a lot of contributors as well. But yeah, you know, there's things that you just might not think about when you're fixing and focused on fixing this one small bug in this one small part of your code that it could blow up something else. And yeah, having having testing, they're super, super important. And, and that's what I learned at my first job. And I had no ambitions of being a test engineer. It wasn't like, you know, what do you want to be when you grow up? Like, I want to work at a test as a test engineer at a company called?

Brenden O'Leary  50:34

Brandon Minnick  50:36
But yeah, I've kind of learned that you, as long as you're open to new opportunities, and it definitely helps knowing what you want and what you're passionate about. And then not being afraid to take that leap of faith and jumping to that new opportunity. Yeah, cuz I've had that happen to me a couple times, where even when I worked at Harris, there was a school contract for Royal Caribbean. And I was like, working on cruise ships, I could travel the world I'm in. And I was working that I was working on my MBA, full time doing night and weekend classes at University of Florida. And that got me excited about doing a start up. And yeah, it took that leap of faith to move to California joined a startup called Xamarin. And then it's these these leaps of faith combined with knowing what kind of gets you excited, like, what you're passionate about, that I found to be so far, be really successful, because I'm loving where I am now.

Brenden O'Leary  51:41
leaps of faith are so so so important, that idea of like seeing an unknown and being like, I mean, I could I guess, and then like giving it a shot. And that's an important skill and an important risk to take. Because unless it's catastrophic, which it usually isn't, the risks you take end up being the great stories you share later, if it goes really badly, there's still something you can learn from it, you know, there's something that can go well, but overwhelmingly, I think that opportunities are, are scary. And I think it's it's okay to admit that and say that, like, yeah, it's going to be terrifying. You're not going to know what's going on. But there's possibly something valuable there for you. And it's important to take those risks. Brandon, tell us about your favorite risk you ever took

my favorite risk ever tuck keys?

Yes. What's the most dangerous thing you've done?

The most dangerous thing I've done career and

Brandon Minnick  52:43
non career as a career.

Brenden O'Leary  52:47
Okay, so career wise. So I was talking about I've talked about this medical software company I was with, there was this new device coming out, you might have heard of it since then, that was called the iPad. And I decided, so so like that. I try not to make this like a like a 20 minute thing on learning about breast cancer, but your hereditary risk of breast cancer is like vastly different depending on your family history. Right? Like so. Yeah. And again, and then even more, so your risk of breast cancer, that's going to be like bad, right? Like, right, you develop into something really bad. Like, if you have a, on your maternal side, a history of premenopausal breast cancer, that's way different than if you don't so So anyway, that's just to say that those history forms you fill out the doctor, right, like board have some value, especially have some value in this context. And, and so of course, we had like forms that you could fill out and like, you know, our advanced technology would print your answers from last year on the forum, right? Like, whoo, watch out. And when the iPad came out, I was like, this is a game changer. Like we're going to build a thing that's like, one question at a time. on the iPad, people can click and did it. And, and it was risky, because everyone's like, no, like, all of the people like, you know, again, your your populate your patient population is people over 40. And so it's like, skewed to a lot of the old, like, a lot older population. And they're like, no, they're never going to be able to deal with this technology. And I was like, No, this is, this is different, right? Like, this is like markedly different. And we're going to do it and so I push tonight, and we built this thing. That, again, it had your answers from last year. But it walked you through one question at a time really big? Yes. No. And it was easier for people to use that were, you know, or had a hard time like, rather than this like piece of paper that I've got to like, figure out and like Wait, how old was my aunt when she had breast cancer? I don't know.

And it was really, you gotta like figure it all out. Yeah,

and it's something everybody does. Now. Now. There's um you know there's like a you know an iPad application for any you get

handed an iPad everywhere it's like here do this real quick you know like yeah sure I was leaving Halloween Horror Nights they were like here take an iPad do it I'm like okay yeah

yeah yeah so so that was kind of risky I was risky at the time but I think it really paid off personal risky.

Oh yeah. Like Really? Really tell us something like I mean

well I got married reverify so saying I'm married

right you were saying that on your like I got married at like yes, I

got married. I got married at 21 Yeah, I was going on. But my wife is six and a half years older than me. So I always say if you take our average age, it makes more sense. But sometimes when you know you know and we knew and we knew we wanted to have a family and we wanted to have time together before family. So I got married right out of college. So what do you and now it's now you know for 13 1413 years later and we've got four lovely children they're just the best

software developers your kids code you teach your kids to code

I've been trying to get the oldest one the oldest is 10 I don't know if he's interested my daughter who's just turned he she may be into it I'm thinking I'm thinking We'll see. And then the five year old is like maybe he will but he is like the most hands on kid if that kid doesn't go into the trades like I yeah, he's gonna do like I don't know what he's gonna do. Like any you know all young boys are typically like life like trucks right there who could try something different with this kid? He is just fascinated

he takes them apart working with

your hands I have with him when I left to go to LA so like I hit I had him help me get the leaves off the debt like he did the deck we're getting leads off the deck and I did the backyard right for leaves. We've got lots of trees in our backyard. It's great. And and he like was like all worried about me being gone for a week so I left him like the little electric leaf blower that plugs in like ready to go I was like okay, you can ask mom and you can do it if you want to. is five years old right? Like and he did? He did a round of

Brandon Minnick  57:21
applause gone

Brenden O'Leary  57:24
around to that kid like his he's too tactile.

He's gonna be the one putting the computer together. Yeah,

exactly. And then the bait the three year old I don't know why a three year old you don't know. But her initials are CEO so we have we have big

Hey, Brent, Brandon doesn't our friend her first kids initials our CEO.


I think yes, they are because I remember her making a big deal out of it. Yes. Okay. So you and this person we know from Melbourne, children initials of See y'all are prepping. Final. We're really coming to close on time. I guess like a final question. Like, what's your least favorite app on your phone? Man?

Oh, that's a great question. I'm gonna go to my

head. Why is it slack?

To be fair, I do have slack on my phone. Oh, no. Okay, there is this worst thing I can tell brand and maybe brand or build something. It is cold. Calling. I feel bad. It's definitely an indie developer. It's called demo sphere. And it's the app that we have to use to learn anything about my daughter's soccer, right? It's like somebody totally developed like, oh, there's a team and you have your team. And then like, you have messages and I'm like, it is cool. It's just a little bit of a mess, huh? That's really rough. So I feel bad because that's like, again, some small indie developer who did their best. Oh, so call out okay. Reddit, is the worst app. I like I like Reddit, I've learned a lot from Reddit. I learned a lot from like, just name a topic. That's woodworking of its computers on Reddit. But man, their app is so bad. And then their mobile site isn't that bad, but is constantly pushing you to the app. And doesn't do a good job of deep linking. like it'd be like you're just continuing the app right here. It's like I'm in the app store for the item please don't

read to me read it. And that's why you gotta use third party.

Brandon Minnick  59:37
narwhal is an app that I use

Brenden O'Leary  59:40
Yeah, I have a third party app that I

use to read it is fun guy personally.

Read it. Third party. That's right.

Listen, this has been a great first show kind of like almost like a pre show kinda cuz like we're still working on our website, but like, you know, there's a There's a great sense that this is going to be something fun, I think. Right? Thank you very much, Brendan, for joining us. I know that you're busy at work, so we're gonna let you go. Brandon, I know you're busy at work, but your day just started a little bit ago because you're over on the Pacific coast. This has been the revamped eight bits. And, man, I guess that's that's it. That's a signing up. Thank you. Any last words from anyone?

Brandon Minnick  1:00:28
We'll see here. We're gonna be streaming shows the same time every week. So that'll be what 10am to 11am Pacific. And that's right. Do the math 1pm to 212.

Brenden O'Leary  1:00:43
So figure out the UTC.

Brandon Minnick  1:00:46
Find us here on Tuesday, subscribe to the podcast and we'll see you next time.

Brenden O'Leary  1:00:50
Have a good one y'all beep boop