8 Bits with LaRena Iocco!

8 Bits with LaRena Iocco!
This week we are joined by developer and former professional Clown, LeRena Iocco! Join us as we learn about LeRena's transition from with Ringling Brothers to tech!

Follow LaRena on Twitter: @RinglingRosie
Follow Chloe on Twitter: @ChloeCondon
Follow Brandon on Twitter: @TheCodeTraveler

Listen to the Podcast

8 Bits with LaRena Iocco! - 8 Bits
LaRena is Software Engineer and a former professional clown!Watch the Video Podcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTKO-s-q15c&t=122sFollow LaRena on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RinglingRosieFollow…

Watch the Live Stream


Chloe Condon  0:19
Why wow that was down to the wire. I was literally singing the Mission Impossible theme right before this like don't antenna. I got a tweet out. We went live. My heart is pounding. Hi everyone. I'm Chloe Condon. I'm here with Brandon. Brandon, how's it going?

Brandon Minnick  0:38
Ah, it is a great day. We've got cold temperatures again in Napa. Well cold, right? It's in the 70s. It's no longer in the hundreds and somebody without air conditioning. I really appreciate that. And the fires are dying down here in Northern California. So our air quality is improving. It is great news. Everything's coming up. Millhouse

Chloe Condon  1:00


Couldn't agree more California gal here as well. So excited that I was able to take a walk outside this week. As folks don't know, there are some tragic fires up in closer to Brandon over in Napa. Lots of ash and smoke in the air. And just so nice to see clear skies and think that is fog, not smoke, because that has not been a fun game. Last couple weeks, I'm Brandon. How's your week been? Anything? Cool, exciting. Fun happened in your life?

Brandon Minnick  1:38
Oh my gosh. Well, I mean, you can see all this cool stuff behind me. And this is all from some awesome work. My wife was working out over the weekend. She hung all the shelves. We're starting to load it up with our knickknacks. It's um, nothing happened. Yeah, we're, we're moving in. And we're still getting set up. Everything's not totally moved in yet. But we've got projects we're working on, like, get in do some like remodeling in the bathroom do yard work. But yeah, it's, it's all coming together. It's really nice. It's, it's shifting from that, like, moving is hard. And it's stressful to, oh, this is ours now. We can do whatever we want.

Unknown Speaker  2:24
And one of the benefits

Chloe Condon  2:24
to being stuck at home is being able to work on your home more. Personally, I have been gardening a bunch, which has been really, really fun. And over the weekend, because we were dealing with some particularly stressful news that we won't get get into on this show. No, it's not about shanaya bot, but about the state of the United States of America. So I did a Twitter thread on the progress of my monstera plant. Opening up I had two leaves, like if you're not familiar with monster plants, they they're kind of like this, they like opening and they like unravel. And so I was updating people on the progress of my plants on Twitter over the weekend was turned into an entire thread on pretty much every plant that I started gardening around the start of shelter in place and it was it's an exciting blooming time here at a condo de Condon we'll call it so that's so exciting. You're nesting and also I can't help but notice that this is fine dog over your shoulder. One of my favorite plushies out there

Brandon Minnick  3:35
it is it is fine and yeah it's funny my my wife was choosing you know what do we put on the shelf right because we we both share this desk we both work from home and this is what's gonna be seen and I don't think anything encapsulates 2020 more than that this is fine.

Chloe Condon  3:55
What am I my favorite craft projects and shout out to my homegirl Alexis who I'm sure is watching because she knows our guests today. One of my favorite craft products I ever made was are you familiar with perler beads Brandon these little girl little rubber. They're these you probably played with them when you were a little kid in preschool which says a lot about me right? You there these little tiny beads and you put them down on a little like spiky map and then you iron them and they they're sort of these little art project things kind of like shrinky dinks but you use an iron to like melt it down and make little designs. I made a recreation of the this is fine dog with perler beads. And I gave it to our pal Alexis and I think it sat on her desk for a long time. I comment on it. This is fine dog because my boyfriend who works at Uber just bought a bunch of his belongings home. Don't worry, he wasn't fired. They're moving offices. And he brought home a plushie this is fine dog and I was so excited. But something that I learned that I think he had mentioned before but it made me miss being in the office. Physically, is they used their plushie. This is fine dog, as whoever was on call that day or that week would have it on their desk. They used it to designate who was on call so you can be particularly nice to that person. As you can see my daughter here, I've got my son, john bongiovi is joining us today. Say hi, john. Hey, john. I'm super excited because our guest today is a personal friend of mine and also a crafter as well big crafter, actually. But we wait before we bring our lovely, lovely guest on, I have to share something very exciting that happened to me last week. Other than working on shanaya bot with Okay, I'll shout out PJ who's I don't know if he's watching likely watching right now. So Brandon, I have to do a little event real quick, which I'm sure our guests may have some thoughts on, especially as someone who just completed a boot camp and is a more junior developer. I was working on this and I bought over the weekend with PJ and we were looking for a simple tutorial. Just a really basic tutorial to help us with the in this this is not necessarily a dig on the Twitter API. We just wanted some help some direction because we thought surely someone has built something similar to what we've done before. Right? We're searching StackOverflow we're searching all this different documentation. We can't find it right. And now I've been working in that industry a while PJs Jr. I'm trying to show him how I how I problem solve. It took us so long to find good documentation to help us. Finally, we found it. And I want to shout out to the code train on YouTube for making Excellent, excellent, excellent documentation and a walkthrough on YouTube that we ended up working working on but it really, since PJ was our last guest, I just wanted to give a shout out to good tutorials and documentation Brandon, because we lost so much. And it was actually an interesting lesson to learn with with PJ, just that sometimes. And this was a great reminder for myself, sometimes beginner tutorials need to be made. Documentation needs to be made. So that was fun lesson. But no, I wanted to share. Sorry, that was a big circle around. But I want to it was very exciting. And a fellow cloud advocate of April, joy and I also got to ask him a question. And I gotta say, Bill Nye, still cool. Still science guy.

Brandon Minnick  7:40
Always Always.

Chloe Condon  7:42

Did you grew up watching Bill Nye Brandon?

Brandon Minnick  7:45
Of course I did. is I mean, I even will say still watch him. I think it was a year or two ago, he came out with another season. I forget where but kind of reformatted the show, but you know, still good as always, still all very sciency. But bill just does such a great job. And I call him bill because you know, we're on a first name basis. So Bill, Billy is, as we call, it does such a good job of breaking things down. And yes, explaining what can be really difficult topics around science and physics. and showing them in kind of a real world scenario. Like, I'll never forget when he did the planets, and he was showing off, like the relative distance of the planets, because it's still hard for me to wrap my mind around as an adult. terribly hard for me to just imagine as a kid, and one of the things he did, he laid them out along a road.

Chloe Condon  8:49
Yes, I remember

this visual in my head.

Brandon Minnick  8:54
And it was so good. Because, you know, he starts off like, here's the sun. Here's mercury. Here's Venus. Oh, wow. I didn't realize how far apart they are. And then you get in like the outer solar system where he's like, go into Neptune and Uranus. You're like, oh my gosh. Yeah, it was it just drove an hour.

Chloe Condon  9:10
See, it's so interesting, because, you know, I was thinking about that, first of all, never been nervous in my life giving a talk meeting Bill Nye. All I had to do was ask one question, super, super nervous, because like, Oh my gosh, the man, the legend, bill, bill, bill, just so excited. But my question for him was all about so I did some researching and by researching, I think Wikipedia and quick things. And I was looking up what Bill's background was first name basis. And it turned out that he actually he has you know, a degree and he pursued You know, this education in science, but he worked in like improv and stand up comedy and like, did a bunch of entertainment stuff for a while. So I'm starting to see a little bit of myself and Bill here. I'm reading In this right, and then I learned this interview with him in the moments before where he's he's bantering with the two lovely hosts beforehand. But his parents or his mother in particular was one of the code breakers of World War Two, and was like sworn to secrecy and like, rarely talked about it, but literally was like one of those women who was like, there in the room like breaking the codes like better than Benedict Cumberbatch. eloquently put, obviously, but it was really, really cool. And my question to him so April, you know, I got to do this I got to do this with to my great pals. This is first signal conference, I should say, which is Twilio conference on the Twilio champion myself do a lot of apps of Twilio. And there's great Azure integrations with Twilio. And the shanaya bot is built with Twilio, which we will link here as I call them the rest of this story. But it was great myself and April and our good friend JavaScript Joe, who Fun fact we all met at signal wall Tony Hawk was speaking at signal. It's a long story, there's video that you can check out. We all got asked question JavaScript, Joe asked, How do you learn? Like how do you learn things? And he gave a great answer. Bill gave a great answer about vocabulary words, APR, learn. He's a shocker soft learn, obviously, tonight, but in particular. And April asked a question about the Planetary Society which oh my gosh, Frampton, I was so jealous. She was wearing her Planetary Society pin and he had his and they like, pin bumped on, it was as a best friend. I was like, wiping away a tear. It was beautiful moment for me. And for April two. I felt like a mom, I was like, This is great. And I asked him a question on how do you bring your background? Or like, Do you find that you bring your background as an entertainer and as a comedian into the tech world? And he gave a really interesting answer, which was, you know, think of these teachers and people that inspired you that you enjoyed learning from which I pointed was like you You built though. And I think it really goes to show that like, you know, well first of all, for any MSA is tuning in back in our day. We didn't have DVDs they had VHS tapes, they would wheel in the TV on a rolling thing with a drop down this huge TV. And they would you'd be like, Oh my gosh, it's be there ever substitute or sound watch Bill Nye. And we were learning the same things on bill night that we were in the classroom, but they were just more fun. Did you have any teachers or like, educators in your life like that kind of like Bill Nye that existed out of the Bill Nye verse, Brandon,

Brandon Minnick  12:55
oh, yeah, my my precalc precalculus teacher in high school, I'll never forget her. She taught it in a way that you could just visualize it. And I'd never thought of math like this. And so she showed like, what it means for y equals x plus one. And then if you change that number, like the line just kind of moves up and down. Or like how you can do circles and sine waves, just breaking it down in a way that makes sense so that you can look at those equations and actually see them not have to necessarily map out the points and figure out what does this What does this look like, and just incredible, it really laid the foundation for me to be successful, especially pursuing an engineering degree in college because I kind of could be one step ahead and not have to do that first step of figuring that out first, because I can see it and have an intuition and then kind of go for that intuition. But yeah, amazing teachers and so thankful for that.

Chloe Condon  13:59
I had a teacher who had a small book, but huge impact on my life named ocean mat. He refused to go by Professor whatever, for whatever reason for my BA that I got from SF State, I ended up taking a bunch of like, oceanography and marine biology classes to like fulfill extracurriculars and for the most part like an astrology to like stars and things of that nature. Astronomy, I should say, and most of the teachers were pretty like bland because it's interesting topics right and content but like it takes the right teacher like I took a death and dying class which could have been a nightmare right? But it was the right teacher so it was great. But ocean mat, like not only took us on all these field trips, including the beach and also just word the wildest like fish print shirts and things like he made going to class an event like you see those two talks in YouTube's all the time of like chemists and science teachers that like do the elephant toothpaste and like, and it's really those are the talks And the things in the lectures that you remember this visual thing, right. And I think this is such a great segue into our guests because our guest comes from an entertainment background. We will go into the full origin story of how she got here how I met her. But Ladies and gentlemen, and everybody else in between, please welcome Lorina to the show. Oh, Rosie. I Lorraine. How's it going?

Larena Iocco  15:31
Good. How are you?

Chloe Condon  15:32
So good. You're joining us from New York, correct? Yes, I am. And for folks at home. I know Brandon and I know this. But tell us a little bit about yourself. Give us give us the TLDR and then we'll dive a little bit deeper into it. Right, give us the elevator pitch. All right. Sure.

Larena Iocco  15:50
So um, I was a professional circus clown. If you didn't know someone who ran away and joined the circus. That's me. I did that. I started college studying theater arts, dropped out of college and went to clown school. And then after clown school, I continued doing theater. That's how I met Chloe. And then I got a job with Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus. And I toured the US and Mexico for six years. And then I worked on a circus in Japan for two years. And then I moved to New York City became an office manager, which was really boring. And then I started learning how to code. And I went through hackbright boot camp, and now I am a new software developer.

Chloe Condon  16:38
Oh my gosh, I love this while we watch it. That's a lot

Brandon Minnick  16:46

Chloe Condon  16:47
Well, first of all, congratulations. That's i don't know i I'm also a hackbright alumni. I graduated from heartbreak in 2016. Thank you so much. But Lorina and I didn't meet through hackbright Believe it or not. Lorraine I think maybe heard about hackbright through myself. But loreena and I met doing one of the probably one of the most discussed pieces on my theatrical resume when I used to audition for shows and probably one of my favorite fun facts for icebreaker activities for two truths and a lie Laureen and I were in a opera, I won't even call it a musical, a opera called Jerry Springer, the opera interpretation of the property and television show which is Jerry Springer, a not safe for work, but huge pop culture, American phenomenon. And we were in the ensemble together. So we met under some very silly but fun circumstances and what a show to be in in San Francisco.

Larena Iocco  18:02
Very fun, very bizarre show to be a part of,

Chloe Condon  18:07
and also kind of the perfect audience. So for those who are not familiar with Jerry Springer, it's a pretty controversial show in the US. And when the show was done in Chicago, there were a bunch of protests outside of the production. So in San Francisco, as actors we had, we were fully emotionally prepared for like opening night and subsequent performances to have picketers outside. In San Francisco, everyone loved it. But it was a really, really cool and unique experience to meet Marina during that show, because and I honestly I'm not just saying this for the show. This is a true story that I that I tell people all the time. loreena was one of the first people I ever met in my life who said My dream is to do blank. And in the time between when I met her, and the show finished, even actually before the show even finished because I remember you wanted to update your bio to say this and you couldn't. She said I want to be a pro. She was taking clown classes and she said I want to be a professional clown. And she auditioned for Ringling Brothers and booked the gig during the show. And it was so incredible to watch someone literally get their dream. Tell us a little bit about your journey to becoming a clown Marina. Sure.

Larena Iocco  19:27
So I went to the San Francisco clown Conservatory, which was a full time circus and clowning arts program at that time. So it was full time school September through June. You know, three days a week rehearsals, showcases all that kind of stuff, learn everything about clowning, and then actually had to audition a couple of times. But Third time's the charm. I got my contract to join Ringling Brothers in Like the day before my birthday in September of 2010. So I think it was, I was leaving my boring day job, I was on my way to a Jerry Springer show and thought, Oh, let me just check my email one more time before I leave. And I looked at my personal email, and I had a like, we're pleased to welcome you to the greatest show on earth email, and then got to go do a Jerry Springer show and, and then run away and join the circus. So that's like

Chloe Condon  20:30
getting your Harvard Law School like acceptance. Yeah, basically. Yes. Yeah, I love that. And so Brandon, as we've mentioned previously, on the show, Brandon was in Pirates of Penzance has had some theater experience. And I was just listening to you say, you know, you audition multiple times. There's rehearsals, dubs performances, there's all these different things. What is it? What is the what is the Dana life of cloud? Because I know what a day of life in a performers life and I know meeting some folks have some experience performing both what is that a nine to five and like, what it's like, possibilities in okrs. As

Larena Iocco  21:19
you know, much like theater, we would have a call time, we'd have to get into costume and makeup before the show and be signed in by a certain time. We did when I was in the US, we did an average of eight to 10 performances a week. So more than a Broadway show. And that show is two and a half, two hours and 15 minutes to two and a half hour show, plus an hour long pre show. So a three and a half hour time commitment plus makeup. During that eight to 10 times a week. When I lived in Japan, we were doing 13 to 16 shows a week, six days a week of shows up to four shows a day, which is like insanity. Once a month, we'd get two days off and the week. It was fancy.

Chloe Condon  22:10
Imagine that two shows a day every day. Mm hmm.

Larena Iocco  22:15
Yep. So we worked Thursday was our day off when I lived in Japan. So I worked Friday through Wednesday. And every day was at least two shows and some days would be up to four shots.

Chloe Condon  22:25
Wow. Now, I don't know about you, Brandon. But I used to work in children's theater, which I assume at the circus pretty high energy. You got to keep up that energy especially as a kid unless maybe your son class. But I used to do double show we call them brat mats. On Saturday. When I did things like Shrek the Musical the day the Krantz quit, and the amount of Red Bull and energy that I needed to do to on just a Saturday. Oh my goodness, that's a lot of work. And I imagine there's other responsibilities other than being on stage, like are there promo things and things beyond that? Like, like elephant parades?

Larena Iocco  23:08
Yes, when I was in the US, the clowns were really the face of the circus. We did a lot of the PR for the show. So every week, you would have probably one to three extra things that week you had to do for PR it might be something as easy as doing a phone interview for a local newspaper. And it might be working for six hours on set with SNL performers. You know, there's a big a big range of time commitment for our events. But every week we would have to do extra PR events and you traveled on a train. I did.

I did.

Yes, up until when Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey closed in 20, late 2017 I'm so bad with dates. But up until the time they closed we still traveled full time on a train so I had a little tiny room that wasn't like my own personal space in the train and a shared bathroom and shower room and like the middle of the train car that I shared with the other seven people that I shared a train car with. And so my room was always my room unlike hotel touring, where you have to pack up in a suitcase at the end of the week. My rooms always my room I go home I go to bed I wake up and we're in the middle of nowhere on the train tracks on the way to a new city so

Brandon Minnick  24:34
it's pretty cool to see that kind of nice the alternative and I mean this is what I'm used to traveling for work is flying everywhere or if it's close enough to drive but yeah, like you said you sleep in one Hotel Tonight you go have meetings or give a presentation maybe God conference. Then you get go straight to the airport get on another plane slip in another hotel and yeah, there's there's been times where I just lived out Have a suitcase. And yeah, much rather prefer just almost time traveling my sleep. I just wake up and I'm an inner city

Chloe Condon  25:09
volunteer between Developer Relations and clowning, and I'm thinking you consider train as a mode of transportation.

Larena Iocco  25:20
I highly recommend, I mean, it takes a little longer, but it's very relaxing.

Chloe Condon  25:24
I mean,

Brandon, we should pivot, we discuss

Brandon Minnick  25:31
the next Microsoft Ignite the tour, Ignite.

Larena Iocco  25:38
track, you can get a nice little sleeper car, you can get work done while you're traveling with Wi Fi, you know,

Chloe Condon  25:45
is listening. And it'll be safer with the 10 and outdoor event. I think it's great. I think we should we should talk Marina after this. But I was listening to you like list all these things you're like, Okay, so you know, we worked long days, long hours, but like, we got to do promotional materials, we got to present we got to do interviews, these are all skills that like you can put on your resume in a technical role, which is it's giving me flashbacks really loreena because I remember when I was interviewing and I'm you're at the stage now post boot camp, where you're given, you're thrust out into the world to whiteboard and become a developer. And sometimes it felt like people were bringing me a way to interview me just to be like, heater. Okay, how what, and I think this is such a fascinating, like, what is the career path and trajectory of a cloud? Like are their CEO clowns or their you know, Junior clowns? Like, what is that? Like, when you go into interviews? How do you talk about this,

Larena Iocco  26:52
this is so interesting. Oh, well, we're gonna find out how I talked about it.

Chloe Condon  26:58
We'll be practicing interviewers.

Larena Iocco  27:00
But there is I mean, there's a hierarchy within the circus, and even within a clown troupe. So we had a boss clown, and the boss clown is in charge of all of the other clowns. And that person is also like the go between between other departments between show management, all that kind of stuff. The, in some cases, the boss clown may help design costumes, you know, and just kind of leads the group and then Junior clowns are actually called first of maze. So that would be your first year on the road, the circus traditionally opened on May 1. So a new performer is called the first of May. So first year clown is the first of May. And then a second year clown is a Johnny come lately. And if you make it longer than two years, you get to be a senior clown. And then the ultimate job would be the boss clown, but there can be only one class clown.

Chloe Condon  27:59
I love that just like there can only be one boss at the end of the video game. There can only be one boss

Brandon Minnick  28:06
that looked at names It reminds me of the I guess it's a dialect, the Cockney dialect where they use different words and phrases to describe things. So like the Johnny come lately. Cloud is such a cool term or the Was it the maze? For me? Yeah. That's so cool.

Chloe Condon  28:28
Work clown persona. And I have I'll share my screen because I have an image of Rosie McQueen.

Larena Iocco  28:35
I'm so curious what image you

Chloe Condon  28:38
know, don't worry, I got a official production photo up here on my screen. Let me get my Chrome tab open here. So this is a look. I love how send me lafer inspired. Rosie McQueen is did you get a lot of say and like, what your clown looks like and acted like and sounded like like what is how much like create creative control you have over your clown off? While you're speaking. I'll go to some other images.

Larena Iocco  29:07
So I was very lucky. The shows that I was on within Oh, wow, we're getting all sorts of pictures here.

pictures of my dog.

So I I was lucky. The shows that I worked on, I did have a lot of say in what I got to look like. And it depended on the show sometimes the clowns they wanted to fit a certain mold. I apologize. It's starting to rain outside my apartment. So you might be getting some of that noise. But so I got to have a lot of say in what I looked like. And I actually think inspired

Chloe Condon  29:48
from this. Yes,

Larena Iocco  29:48
very likely if Lisa Frank and Betsey Johnson had a love child like and she was also like a grandma. That would probably be me.

I like to say I was everybody's crazy RMT because people were like, oh, you're not old enough to be a grandma. And I was like, No, I'm not. That's just like my aesthetic, like, toddler Grandma, please. So yeah, I got to have a lot of say in what I looked like. And when I started I literally said I want to be a Cyndi Lauper clown. So my first thought, yeah, my first look on the road was like very 80s glam rock, and it's sort of like grew and changed from there. But yes, ended up kind of very Lisa Frank's grandma.

Chloe Condon  30:38
And she lived with whole life on the road, you did the circus thing you traveled. You lived in Japan, you lived your life as a professional clown. How did we get here on this Microsoft show what Tell us about your journey to learning about programming and learning to program? This is such a pivot. Sure.

Larena Iocco  31:02
So I, my contract in Japan was ending and I was kind of ready to be done traveling at least full time traveling for work. I was, you know, traveling 50 to 52 weeks out of the year. I love New York City. I love theater, but big old theater nerd. So even though I was not wanting to pursue a career on Broadway, I really wanted to be in New York. So I got a job as an office manager for an entertainment Marketing Group here in New York. I saw like 137 shows, I think, before COVID hit. And then COVID hit and I got laid off. And I started thinking, Well, what do I want to be doing with my life, I didn't actually like the job that I was doing. I just, it brought me to New York, a place that I love. But it wasn't a career I wanted to be doing. And it wasn't a career with any growth. So I started thinking about, well, what do I want to be doing? And I could be using this time, that I don't have a job anyway to figure out what I want to be doing not just sitting around watching Netflix all day, every day. So actually, Chloe was a really big inspiration for me on my coding journey, just having stayed friends with her over the years and watching her path and climb within the industry. And I started thinking, Well, what is this coding thing? So I messaged Chloe, and I was like, Hey, what is this coding thing? Can you tell us a little bit about it, I still don't know. We just kind of paste. Yeah, but I started playing around with it while I was sitting around my apartment like playing on Code Academy and and I was having a lot of fun. I really was really enjoying it. So I decided to take hackbright offers a part time like intro to Python class, which was super discounted because they were doing it online instead of in person, which was great because I don't live in San Francisco. So I can't go to it in person class in San Francisco. So I took that and I like built like a little personality quiz in Python and I had a blast and and just really enjoyed the logic of it and the math of it. And so I decided to jump off the deep end and drain my savings and sign up for the full time boot camp.

Chloe Condon  33:27
Yes, and I have to share one of the cutest things I've ever seen in my life is one Lorraine has started her program very similar to how people post their first day of first grade or second grade for their kid Lorina did a similar thing with starting hack rate that I just thought was so freaking cute. And she also did it at the beginning as well. And I am just I'm obsessed with it.

Larena Iocco  33:54
I'm like I think you can scroll across in that picture if you're allowed to pull across in this Yeah. Yeah.

Chloe Condon  34:04
I am obsessed it says I am 37 years old. I am five three. My favorite color is black and I want to be a software engineer what I love it. And it's so fun to see you at this point in your journey which is such a interesting time. I always describe the highs being very high and the lows being very low during the job search. But I know that that as a as many actresses before you I shout out to Shannon out there who who also is in New York and went to flat iron and is now working at ADP I believe. But what does it feel like to now be like what is the interviewing journey been like have you you haven't run away screaming yet from the whiteboarding interviews. So

Larena Iocco  34:50
I mean, I haven't had a whiteboarding interview yet, so I just graduated two weeks ago. So I did Have a like a take home technical challenge over the weekend that I bombed big time.

Chloe Condon  35:09
It was like, patch comes in the mail next week.

Larena Iocco  35:12
Yeah. I opener. I was like, oh, man, 90 minutes. I don't know how to do any of this. Oh, crap. So that was interesting. But I have a study plan. I'm working my way through the Cracking the Coding interview book, which is like ginormous, and just working on signing up for like, whiteboarding challenges with my cohort mates and figuring it out.

Chloe Condon  35:41

Oh, my goodness,

Brandon Minnick  35:44
there's a an awesome video got her on the internet? I'm not sure who made it. But I don't know if you've seen it. But if doctors were interviewed, like software engineers, or software developers, okay, and so, yeah, the interview, the interviewer is like, so what do you like to do in your spare time? And the doctors like, Oh, well, you know, I like to spend a lot of time with my family, I go running, but I'm not really sure why that's relevant. And they're like, Oh, you don't, you don't do surgery? in your spare time. You don't go around and offer free medical consultations? Why would I do that? Interesting. Like, okay, well, we have a cadaver here, let's go ahead and start a surgery. Like, what? What is going on? Like, it's so true, because that is how software developers have treated, you know, we're expected to do like live breathing code. That's the only thing we can do. And our nights and weekends is open source apps and speak at conferences. And this

Chloe Condon  36:40
the amount of preparation that goes into like very senior engineers, studying for whiteboarding is wild. It's wild. And I don't know about you. But for me, every job I had before this, it was like, I'm a nice person. Here's my resume.

Larena Iocco  36:57
I didn't. I guess. I was like,

Chloe Condon  37:07
the Wild West.

Brandon Minnick  37:10
You don't never use a whiteboard to write code at your job. And so yeah, why is that part of the interview process

Chloe Condon  37:18
or a Google Doc, I'm looking at

Brandon Minnick  37:22
tools, like I can show you how I code but just give me a catheter, give me Visual Studio or Visual Studio code, or whatever I'm familiar with, like, what do you use on your team? Let's start with that.

Unknown Speaker  37:36
Yeah. app.

Larena Iocco  37:38
I know you want me to solve this algorithm on the spot. Okay.

Speaking of apps that the right is built,

Unknown Speaker  37:45

Brandon Minnick  37:46
adventure awaits.

Unknown Speaker  37:48

Larena Iocco  37:53
So this was my my final project for hackbright. And it's called adventure awaits. And it is a collaborative travel planning app that I designed based on basically when I travel with my friends, I would always start a Google Doc, where we could all add things and have, you know, I want to do this, I want to do that. And like, basically just like edit a Google, Google Doc together, and I thought, wouldn't it be great if I had like a cool app where I could like, search for things I want to do and they could be added to an itinerary. But also the other people involved in the trip could also add to the itinerary, you could leave notes for each other. So that's what adventure awaits as you can plan a trip you select, you know, the city and country you want to go to you select some days. And then you can share that itinerary with your friends. And they can also sign up and be linked in on the itinerary together. So you can search for events, add them to your itinerary, you can add notes, and anybody who has a link to that itinerary can collaborate on it together. So.

Brandon Minnick  39:04
And I love that idea. Because that is the hardest thing about traveling in groups, because you have to align everybody's schedules first to figure out what days everybody's available. And then also make sure you have everybody included in the process, but it always it always seems to really just end up being one person kind of does everything. And everybody else just goes. Yeah, that's okay.

Larena Iocco  39:28
Yeah. Usually me.

Brandon Minnick  39:34
But yeah, we can do it together. And, and yeah, like you were saying earlier the right I wish, I wish projects like this, because this is an awesome website. It's live. Everybody can go to it today like, this should be enough. Like, if somebody's curious, can you code Don't make me do a whiteboarding session where I invert a binary tree like, here's a website I made or here's a mobile app or here's a desktop app. Here's anything like Don't need this pressure of 15 minutes to use. What's another one like reversal linked list? Like,

Chloe Condon  40:07
oh my god, that's

so true. And I feel like so you would have fit in just perfectly llerena with my hackbright cohort because Charlie, one of my dearest friends from my hackbright cohort, we bonded over her final project, which was she there's a database that's released every Thursday or Friday that tells you all the UFO sightings in the United States of America, and she made an alien heat map. And yet an interest in aliens. You have a podcast correct call? Do you have a hot sauce?

Larena Iocco  40:46
Yes, I have a podcast called pass the hot sauce or Roswell podcast. And it is based on the 1999 to 2002 wb television series Roswell, which is a teen sci fi drama. Basically, there are teenage aliens living in Roswell pretending to be humans, and trying to stay safe from the FBI. And they just want to be humans, but they are aliens. So it's a show I watched when I was in high school and I loved and so me and a couple of my friends and other one who'd seen the show, one who had never seen the show, decided that we were going to do an episode by episode recap of this TV series. So we're on Season Two right now we also do fun extra episodes where we talk about real UFO stuff. So we did a whole four part series on the real Roswell incident. And we've done stuff on UFO sightings around the world and all sorts of other fun, extra alien content. Cool.

Chloe Condon  41:51
I'm one of those kids who played aliens at recess. I love I love it means I love alien culture. I love the alien. 90s inflatable aesthetic, everything's

fine. Yeah,

Larena Iocco  42:05
you would probably love this TV show show that it's on Hulu. And then I believe there's a reboot running right now which I have not seen. I'm not gonna watch it until we after we finished this original TV series. Our plan is to go through the reboot. So the reboot is supposed to be pretty

Chloe Condon  42:24
often watch along and listen with the podcast is what you're saying

Larena Iocco  42:28
you can podcast is spoiler free, so if you've never seen it before, we won't spoil you on what's happening down the line.

Chloe Condon  42:34
I am completely caught up a 90 day fiance so this may have to be my new binge watching. What I did

Brandon Minnick  42:42
was I went to Roswell once I happened to be in New Mexico for work. And I always love space growing up. And so while I 100% believe and agree that like life is out there. I don't know if they've ever made it here like space is a pretty big place. But I'm optimistic and so even though we're working with about four hours away from Roswell, I just had to go so I took a day trip drove out by myself, and

Larena Iocco  43:12
it's totally worth it.

Brandon Minnick  43:17
There's really nothing

I went to

there's a UFO themed McDonald's was when I went this is probably here for seven years ago.

Larena Iocco  43:30
Here's a UFO themed Duncan now as well dunkin donuts.

Brandon Minnick  43:34
And I went across the street from that McDonald's is where the I forget the carpet like the alien UFO museum is did the audio tour there so got all caught up on the Roswell sightings and all the theories behind it. But then after that, that's about it. That's like Roswell, New Mexico is not a very big boys.

Larena Iocco  43:54
Yeah, they do a big water festival every summer on Fourth of July weekend. So our plan was to do a big road trip this summer and we were gonna go to the festival and then we were gonna go to some other like famous UFO sites in like Nevada and Southern California desert and stuff and then COVID happens so so I don't get

Chloe Condon  44:16
into a therapy session on aliens but I recently discovered this about myself that as a child, I played aliens versus like, you know, like on the playground like that was my my game of choice as aliens. However, terrified of aliens, loved the alien aesthetic decorated my room with lots of peace sign aliens, Lisa Frank, all of that. But the movie Mars Attacks up until two years ago when I watched it as a adult grown woman like a 29 year old woman thought it was a horror movie. recently discovered this movie is a comedy because those aliens scared me so much. So are these scary aliens are What are the what is the relationship with the aliens on Roswell arena?

Larena Iocco  45:03
So they're not I mean, they look like humans, so I would not qualify them. It's it's really like a teen teen heartthrob, like, drama. Where they happen to be aliens. Yeah. Yes. starcrossed lovers like aliens and humans falling in love. Like, will they make it?

Brandon Minnick  45:27
Do you ever see them in their alien form? Oh, yes.

Larena Iocco  45:29
No. They're like, they're like alien human hybrids almost like their, their mother planet, like mixed their DNA with humans to give them like a better chance of survival.

Chloe Condon  45:43
Very high. So

Brandon Minnick  45:45
not only of aliens on Earth, they brought back our DNA to their planet, like half human half aliens, and then brought them back.

Larena Iocco  45:56
Yes. Wow. And then put them on earth for safekeeping. Interesting,

Brandon Minnick  46:01
I get it, I get why you do the podcast.

Larena Iocco  46:06
I mean, it's weird and fun. And if you it is very 1999 also so?

Chloe Condon  46:15

I have a question for you, Marina. Because we're coming. We're coming to the end of the show. We've, I can't believe we've done the full spectrum move on like circus boss time. Here we are, and your other things. So you are really on the job market, you're getting ready to do your interviews and start this very exciting career change. Where and there's no right or wrong answer. Or you can not have an answer to this. Where do you kind of see yourself in this industry? Like do you what do you what kind of stuff you want to be working on? I say this. So first of all, we can shout it out to the rooftops that your job searching and would be an awesome hire anywhere. But what is drawing you to this world?

Larena Iocco  47:01
Well, I'm trying to be like really open for now, obviously, first job, but I think ultimately, I could see myself in a developer evangelism type role. And I'd love to be doing something with a product that is somehow related to the arts. I don't know exactly where that falls in. There are so many things out there and there is starting, you know, arts and tech is having more and more crossover all the time. But as a crafty person as a former theater artist, former circus entertainer, I would love to find a way to integrate more of tech and the arts together in a company that already exists, or maybe I'm gonna invent something someday. I don't know yet.

Chloe Condon  47:46
Yeah, awesome. Awesome. Adafruit projects. I'm going to send your way first of all arena because I'm thinking I'm just so excited to see your like maker transformation, your inevitable maker space transformation in the year. Light up hair bows.

Brandon Minnick  48:03
Yeah, I'll be cool IoT projects.

Larena Iocco  48:05
I made a shirt today for this podcast with my Cricut machine, which is a great example of tech and crafting. If you don't know what a Cricut is. It hooks up to your computer and you can design things on your computer and then it's a precision cutter basically. So it'll cut out the shape. You can cut paper, you can cut fabric you can cut like iron on transfers. It's called a cricket. Cry cut. I think it's pronounced cricket though. I made this little shirt that says hella dev wanted today with my Cricut machine you designed it on my computer and then like plugged in my machine and it like today. Cricket.

You do need one

Chloe Condon  48:50
that sounds like the adult grownup version of I think again, we've talked on the show about before with a guest Barbie fashion designer game where he was like print out and color in your clothes and oh my gosh, I needed a Cricut for that. That's so exciting. Well, we'll be sharing this video out with the world and I'm sure your inbox will be flooded like Harry Potter just like stuff. And where can people find you like on the interwebs I know you've Instagram and all these fun things and tell us a little bit about your crafting too because you do a lot of you do a lot of virtual crafting but you do a lot of like physical crafting too.

Larena Iocco  49:33
I do I do a lot of crafting, I love to crochet and embroider and

Chloe Condon  49:40

Larena Iocco  49:41

Chloe Condon  49:43
I'm gonna bring up some of that okay.

Larena Iocco  49:48
I started quarantine by making 570 masks, pp masks and I as soon as I finished hack right the sewing machine was back on My desk making another batch of masks. And so I do a lot of sewing a lot of embroidery. crocheting, you name it. I've probably done it. Yeah, I like to get crafty. I have a hard time just sitting and watching TV. I like to be doing something with my hands. So that's where the crafting comes in a lot of the time,

Chloe Condon  50:22
why not just when you're on? I mean, there's like a lot of downtime. And like having an activity to do with your hands. Yes. Probably a good brain saber. I'm just showing off some lovely.

Larena Iocco  50:41
Yes, those are sippy pouches.

Chloe Condon  50:44
So we're just showing off, right? Yeah.

Larena Iocco  50:49
But there we go. pictures of me with short hair pictures of my

pictures of the clown again.

Chloe Condon  50:57
There's so much crossover with like craft like I've always viewed coding a lot like digital crafting, in a way. Yeah. I mean, I had the thing where you kind of incorporate that. Yeah,

Larena Iocco  51:09
I had no idea it would feel that way until I tried it like until I started playing around with coding, it was just this like, like, thing I didn't understand that, like made the internet work. And like just felt very, like sciency and mathy. And while I did good in math and call it in school, high school in college, it was like never my like, main, my main career path. And so I just kind of always saw it as something that was very just like sitting on a computer typing and yes, it's that but like, maybe something.

Chloe Condon  51:42
Yes. Well, that's actually so I get a lot of actresses and performing artists and folks reached out to me asking for resources and where to get started? What would be your advice to someone who? Because it sounds like you didn't really know till you were able to play with it a little bit. Right? What's your advice to someone looking to get their feet wet?

Larena Iocco  52:03
Yeah. I mean, I started on Code Academy and plural site. And I actually, like those were good to start learning some basics, but they weren't super exciting to me. I mean, maybe I just didn't get far enough into it. I decided to like go the classroom route, like pretty quickly after I started fooling around. So I, so I signed up for the part time Python class, like pretty quickly. Um, but I would say I mean, I think building something is so much funner than just learning the basics. So if you can find a way to build something while you learn the basics, that's going to make it a lot more rewarding and fascinating, especially if you are an art minded person.

Chloe Condon  52:45
Yeah, yeah. And I think that's been really fun. So first of all, we're gonna have you back. Once you get your first job, we got to get an update a recap. I say this because I was just thinking of our first return guest PJ, who I'm building shanaya bought with and interesting to like, see him in a different format from tutorials and building something like it's almost like choreography and like memorizing lines or something. It's two very different pieces of your brain. So

Brandon Minnick  53:19
yeah. And in the rate of changing gears just a little bit. We were chatting before you mentioned there was stuff that your friend Todd is working on?

Larena Iocco  53:29
Yes, sure. Yeah. Yeah. This is a great example of bringing together tech and theater arts. So obviously, we all know like theater is not happening right now. Like there's maybe a few places in the country where, you know, a lot of restrictions have been lifted, and theater is happening a little bit. There are only three equity theaters in the whole country that have been allowed to open up for their fall season, Broadway is closed, for who knows how long. But anyway, my friend Todd Zimmerman, who is also a former circus performer, circus clown, and his wife, Timmy, and they are entertainers down in Orlando, they've worked in the theme park industry. They have been producing their own entertainment now for probably about 15 years. And they have developed this amazing interactive theater experience that you can do from home. It's called the secret library. And it's not pre recorded. It's live every time there's a performance, you're interacting with live actors. And it's basically like a combination of live theater experience and an escape room. So you have to interact with the actors, ask questions, solve problems, get solutions. There's a 2d light map game board that you're using on your computer screen, along with web conferencing technology to interact with live actors, and like go through the story and solve this mystery and it is just so cool. And it's like the type of thing that I wish more people were finding ways to be doing right now. But it's definitely worth checking out they're doing it through the end of the year was a great way for Todd and Timmy to find a creative outlet for themselves during this crazy time when they can't be performing live, but also a way for them to help employ, like about 20 other people in the entertainment industry, between writers actors, costume set designers like it's a full production. It's not just a little zoom, staged reading, like they are finding a way to make it happen. And I think it's really awesome.

Chloe Condon  55:36
That makes me so happy because it's incredible to see with given what we're given with this. This deck of cards dealt us with 2020 and loreena touched on this, but we should rewind and as theater performers just really spell out technology, folks, when you go see a show on Broadway, be a Book of Mormon, wicked, whatever it may be. It's the actors is the ushers. It's the concession stand people, it's the stage managers, it's the lighting design, people think about how many people it takes to put on one show. And then think about that per theater. And then think about that on Broadway. And then think about that at a global scale, like we are dealing with, obviously, unprecedented times. But this is a lot of people out of work who so many time have had. So this is incredible. I think this is an amazing use of technology and theater artists and performers. And I'm literally wrote it down. I'm so excited to share it like with my dad and with my boyfriend and everyone.

Larena Iocco  56:39
Yeah, and you can run it with multiple people on your computer, or you can sign up for the same time slot with people who are in other places. And you can also interact together because technology. Yeah. So

Brandon Minnick  56:54
every show is going to be different because of the interaction. And so you could probably attend a couple and get like sleep every time.

Unknown Speaker  57:04
Yeah, absolutely.

Chloe Condon  57:07
That's so cool. I'm so I'm so excited to see there's you know, we've talked previously on the show about how there's drive in movies where drag shows are taking place or online drag shows or even I've even seen this new service called I want to say it's Broadway live or something where Broadway performers can give voice lessons to students. And then they walk away with a recording of the two of them doing a duet just like really creative ways to employ Broadway actors who, up until this point have been able to make a living off of performing on stage and now like, how do you deal with this with the union and there's so many different pieces to this, but I'm so excited. I'm I'm really excited to check it out. And it's called What is the name of it?

Larena Iocco  57:49
The Secret library

Chloe Condon  57:51
that library sounds secrets. Well, thank you so much for joining us today. loreena This has been such a treat. We've touched on so many different topics like what a wide wide variety where can people check out like do you have people I'm sure if they wanted to hire you can check out your LinkedIn and and whatnot. But yeah, people go to find Yeah,

Larena Iocco  58:19
you can find me on LinkedIn. I'm probably the only loreena yafo there so I should be easy to find. I am on Twitter sometimes at Ringling Rosie, I am on Instagram sometimes at the dot Rosie McQueen, which was my clown name. It's mostly pictures of my dog these days. But she's pretty cute. So check it out.

Chloe Condon  58:47
Great well we're so excited to you have to come back you're gonna be if not our second than our third or fourth or fifth returning guests and let us know you got to give us write down all your your your war stories of whiteboarding because we're gonna want to come back and got any capital of them

Brandon Minnick  59:05
to help and whiteboarding.

Unknown Speaker  59:07

Chloe Condon  59:10
Alrighty, well, until next time, we'll be off next week, check out start dev change. PJ will be speaking at that, as well as many other cloud advocates and we'll see you all very very soon.