8 Bits with Tessa Kriesel!

8 Bits with Tessa Kriesel!
This week we are joined by Tessa Kriesel! Tessa is a DevRel leader and advisor to many early-stage startups. Join us as we learn about Tessa's journey from self-taught, open-source web developer to Head of DevRel at Snap, inc.

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Brandon Minnick  1:59
Welcome back, everybody to another episode of eight bits, the show where we interview the people behind the check in hopes of Vic's in hopes to inspire more folks to do the same. I'm your host, Brandon Minnick. And with me as always is my amazing co host, PJ Metz. PJ, how's your week?

Pj Metz  2:21
Brandon, it's been a good week, yesterday. Yesterday, I took the day off from work, because so the full story is a long time ago, I got invited to do a survey for Disney. I have an annual pass to Disney. And they were like, Oh, do you want to do a survey we'll pay you I was like done. I have opinions. You need to hear them. And then you can give me money for those opinions. At the survey. I'm in like a Zoom Room with all these other people. And we're talking about what we like, what we don't like stuff like that. And someone's like, Oh, I really enjoyed getting to meet the rhinos the other day, and I said, Excuse me, survey person, I need to talk to this other person. What do you mean? Turns out, there's an encounter you can do at Disney's Animal Kingdom, which is one of the four parks at Disney in Orlando. That thing you do you get to like, hang out and like touch the rhinos and like watch them get fed. And there's like a baby that exists right now like a five month old baby rhino. And I was like, immediately, I went and started looking for tickets to that event. They were all out. I didn't get to meet a rhino. What I did get to meet were elephants. It's a similar tour. And I got to see elephants and it came right up to like the area. Like there's a distance between you and the elephants, obviously, because like, humans are terrible. But the elephant was like right there looking at us and being cute and like, scratching its legs. So really, that's all I need. It's been the best week I've had in a long time because I got to meet an elephant yesterday. Did you get to meet any elephants recently?

Brandon Minnick  3:49
It sounds a lot better than my week. I we are we're in crunch time at Microsoft. We have our big annual conference coming next week Microsoft build. And you would think I don't know how many years Microsoft's been putting on build. But longer than the six years I've been here and and you would think after? I don't know, 1020 years of hosting the same conference every year that everything would just go smoothly. And there's there's plans and no, every year it's a total production. Like everything happens at the last minute. There's people throwing stuff together. And so yeah, I got to stay up. I was up till about 10 o'clock last night opening up PRs for writing some docs squeezing in some last minute code things on and then that's on top of just you know, doing your day job because you still do your day job even though we're all planning for this big conference. So yeah, I'm looking forward to next week. Done and I can I can read. Microsoft also likes to do our yearly performance reviews around this time, which is just more more work that feels unnecessary for the

Pj Metz  5:03
right time. I know you're all very. I'm gonna tell you how we think you're doing.

Brandon Minnick  5:11
Right. I mean, I will say it is pretty cool to Microsoft, because everybody works so hard in the month of May to get everything ready for build, at least in my bubble in our developer bubble. That June almost becomes not an off month. But that's how everybody books, their vacations like, Absolutely. Kim and I will be going to Costa Rica for a couple of weeks. And it's actually for a friend's wedding. But yeah, we're adding a couple of days on either either side of that, but yeah, everybody. Everybody kind of takes it easy in June. So I'm looking forward to June.

Pj Metz  5:47
Aren't we all looking forward to June? Well, I live in Florida, so not so much. Because it's, it's already hot. We had beautiful weather last week, and then we're already getting into the heat. And I think it's just gonna stay that way up. Brandon, I have a question for you. How long have you been I've been having these video chats about tech.

Brandon Minnick  6:09
Oh, goodness. I mean, it started probably, just over two years ago, when we started coding together, we would meet every Sunday for two, three hours. And we would live stream here on YouTube and Twitch just Yeah, I tried to build a website, even though we've never done neither of us had done it before.

Pj Metz  6:31
I always love how you paint it like that. You're like neither of us has website experience. But you had been working at Xamarin, you were currently working at Microsoft, and you were a mobile developer. So like, I get that mobile and web are very different. But you know, you always said that, oh, I don't I don't know what I'm doing. And you'd be like, oh, we need to do this. And I was like, Okay, I just started.

Brandon Minnick  6:51
But yeah, intuition. Yeah.

Pj Metz  6:54
To that point, you're the reason that I that I got in the tech that I started thinking I could do this. And you're the first person to really say to me, you know, I think that you could probably do this. And that opened me up to a whole world of amazing things of amazing people. I'm currently working at GitLab. It's been a year I had my one year on May 3 of and so like, oh, man, I've got 25% vested, like, oh, it's fun, Derek and my friend, even. It's besting day I was like It is yeah, um, but I just I'm so excited because because of you, I got to meet a bunch of amazing people. And one of the amazing people that I got to meet and and just encounter and learn from, is gonna join us on our show today. And I'm very excited to have her. Everybody please, please, please welcome to our stage, Tessa crystal.

Tessa Kriesel  7:50
So excited to be here. And hear that lovely, lovely like introduction that you've led me into.

Pj Metz  7:55
I really like there are a handful of people, I can count them on two hands, I will say handfuls of people who I really think have been a major important step for me in my tech journey. And Tessa you are one because well, we'll talk about it. We'll talk about why you're so important to me and why I consider you so amazing. But first, we got to know who you are. So we need you to tell all the people at home, who you are, what's your deal, and all the other stuff.

Tessa Kriesel  8:23
Oh, all the other stuff. I mean, we can literally about all. So Tessa crystal currently had a platform Dev Rel at snap, which I started there in early March. And I'm like just so pleased to be there. They're doing some really cool and exciting things. Previous to that. I think I've been in Deborah for like six to seven years now, which is crazy long, in my opinion, because at the time it was like, Oh, this is kind of new, even though it really wasn't new. Right. But it was like newly known in the tech space. And yeah, I've just absolutely loved it. Like we're going to talk about my like origin story, which really speaks to like, why I love building community and all the things. I don't know what else should I share? If that's kind of like me in a nutshell.

Pj Metz  9:11
I'm not your mom. Oh my gosh. How many? How many? Are you a mom too.

Tessa Kriesel  9:18
I am a mom to 3.5 I say point five because I have a 20 year old stepson who's amazing, but I totally claim him but he has a lovely mother three with me and my husband and then another button in the oven that you can say yeah, yeah, yeah. Motorcycles. Yes. All right.

Pj Metz  9:40
That terrifies like what I found out that about y'all is like, she's way cooler than I'll ever be. That and it's got a bunch of animated stickers on it and that's about as extreme as I'll get. I actually did. This is funny and dumb. I found out there's a motorcross like track near my house. And normally I just ride on like a bike path and I saw it and I was like, I'll try that. Here's the hint. It's not a motocross bike. It's not a BMX bike. It's just a hybrid bike. I am six foot six and 270 pounds. And I was like, Yeah, let's take some tight curves and go over. I fell and broke my handlebar and skinned up my knee. And there were kids there and I heard laughter and then I heard You okay, man, I was like, I'm fine. And I walked out of there and went home. So yeah, motorcycles are not going to happen.

Tessa Kriesel  10:37
Oh, I'm kind of a gearhead like, my dad doesn't have any sons like it just me and my sister. Obviously, he has like son in laws now. And so he always like brought me around. He used to do like mud racing and other kinds of racing and stuff he'd bring me with and I was like, his like, son, right? So I'd like always been super into cars. And then just recently got into motorcycles bought my first motorcycle last summer. And it's now just sitting around because I am pregnant, and we'll be having a baby. But you know, we'll pick it back up after things. Cool down from that. So yeah, probably one of my favorite hobbies.

Pj Metz  11:10
Just imagine in a very tiny motorcycle for the baby when it's born. I'm sure there's a Born to be Wild onesie in its future somewhere. Tessa, you hinted at that. We want to talk about your background. So yeah, right now, head of Dev Rel, that Snapchat and in charge of all of it, right, all the dev rails? And how do we find? Besides they are. So how do we get there? What's your what's your path that took you into tech and into Devereaux and into community building?

Tessa Kriesel  11:44
Yeah, well, let's start at the way beginning, which I think is a really fun and cool story. So I dabbled in. So first son, he was born in 2008. I am from a super small town. And so what you do is you get married, you have kids, and then you figure out life after that. So I was pretty young. I think I was 23 when he was born. And you know, I was homeless him he had just been born. I think I was actually like, towards the end of my pregnancy when I first started and I was like, I'm gonna learn how to like write some code, because I've always been super into tech, like I'd fix VCRs that like really ages me quite a bit when I say that. VCR, kid. Yeah, yeah. Like when I was a kid, and like fix little viruses on like, early Windows computers were like, it was a lot easier to do that then. Anyways, and so I'm like, Okay, I'm gonna dive into code. And so started kind of dabbling in like front end development stuff, just looking at source code, looking at different templates, figuring out how is it being built, try to learn kind of the very fundamentals of like HTML and CSS. Back then, like JavaScript was like, straightforward. There wasn't react and all this other like crazy stuff. So I was like, Yeah, I can do this. A lot easier to get in. I feel like and then I had been playing guitar hero, like I'm was obsessed with Guitar Hero, like of c'est. I know, we talked about this before the show, but we all kind of nerd it out on how great cooktop here was. So I wanted to bring together right, I'm like, staying at home with my kid. He's just bored best baby ever, like, slept through the night, like three weeks? And so I'm like, What do I do with my time? So play more Guitar Hero, and then started realizing and I'm like, Okay, let's like, you know, bring these people together that like I want to play guitar hero with because you could play online, right? But you couldn't build build relationships at that time? I don't even know if you could add friends on like, video game consoles at that time. It's like 2007 Maybe, maybe, maybe, anyways, right? Right, going way back. Again, ageing myself, going way back. And I wanted to like play with the same people, right, I wanted to be like, I want to get better than like so and so. Or I want to, like, you know, play with someone when we can constantly like, push each other's like skill sets, right? And so I'm like, what if I built like, a tournament community are like a tournament like hierarchy where people can come together. And so it was like, Alright, I got these new code skills, right? Let's figure this out. So I start diving into like, I'm like, Okay, well, I quickly realized, right, that front end development is not going to lead to like a tournament hierarchy with data and people and all the information that of course, you need a database for right. So I started figuring this out and then decided I'm gonna land on something that's already pre built, so I can learn from that, and then move forward. And so I ended up leveraging Joomla actually, which now is kind of like, not all that active but loved it, like love to getting into that and ended up meeting someone who is a PHP Dev. He also loved Guitar Hero. So he kind of started teaching me some stuff. And so then, like, I built out this like really cool like Guitar Hero community, where people could like have tournaments with each other. It was awesome. I bet we probably had. I don't know like, I think towards the end we are almost up to like 5000 members. I mean, it was like, Yes. Like, do so many people wanted to nerd out on guitar here like I did. So long story short like it gets to probably like I would say 1000 to like 2000 ish, like range. And Activision is like, Hey, what are you doing over there? Because I like posting their community and be like, oh, like, do you want to come hang out with us who like, you know, come have a tournament with us like, not spammy, but just cash. And so Activision, like, reaches out and they're like, hey, you know what, we're gonna start putting your tournaments in our community. We're going to start like getting you involved. You're now a moderator. They sent me like guitar swag, like stickers and smoke bands and like, all the cool stuff. So absolute first experience in tech, like building something that went out into the world and like, probably one of the coolest things I've ever built, and we'll never be able to surpass the level of awesomeness that it was

Pj Metz  15:41
days on the resume for

Tessa Kriesel  15:44
GH jammers.

Pj Metz  15:45
That's right the GH jam is still out there. Hold

Brandon Minnick  15:50
on. No, no.

Tessa Kriesel  15:52
I am so after I started like having getting close to like having a second child I like gave up on it. Let's not I don't think anyways gave up on it. But the PHP dev that helped me like he took it over and he kept it going for a while but then I think eventually it just kind of died off. But oh, it's so good. Wayback Machine, you might be able to find it.

Pj Metz  16:12
The way back oh my god. That's a fun, little like, I love time traveling on the internet. It's amazing. Really, we peaked with geo cities rotating flame gifts. I'm pretty sure that was the highest level of technology we ever should have been to. So you were so were you like really good at guitar hero or were you like, I enjoy it. But I'm not like weird about it. Or were you like I missed a note. I'm restarting the song kind

Brandon Minnick  16:38
of. Was it fire in flames? Yes. That's the question.

Tessa Kriesel  16:46
Like, I was like, obsessed. I wasn't like, I'm gonna start over if I like missing out. I was just like, alright, just you gotta like keep tracking right next time, it needs to be better. I almost got to a point where I was like, I should start going to tournaments because I'm pretty good. Then again, kids, right? I like had a baby. And I was like, Alright, I gotta be a mom. So yeah,

Pj Metz  17:07
kids are well known for keeping people from Guitar Hero.

Brandon Minnick  17:14
Carrying your musical career before I even got started.

Pj Metz  17:16
I so when I was in college, I went to college in Gainesville. I went to UF and I worked at a TGI Fridays for like, four years while I was in college. And we had a long standing agreement. The bar manager and I, he said, Look, we're gonna have guitar here on Tuesday nights here. You're good. If anyone can beat you, they get a free drink. And I was like, Okay, so like, I'd be at a table and I'd hear PJ and I need to like run over the TV and put on a guitar and the rules I had to play on at least hard. And they could play at any level they wanted. But and this is the secret and everyone who played guitar here at the TGI Fridays in Gainesville, between like 2006 and 2009. If you were playing at a lower level than me, you weren't able to beat me. Because the higher levels have more notes. And so I was automatically able to get more points than you.

Brandon Minnick  18:09
I was I was thinking the same thing. As soon as you said it. I was like, got it. They're never gonna beat you. Yeah. That's right. You have to finish and then you will automatically

Pj Metz  18:19
once in a while, they'd be like, I'm picking Cliffs of Dover on expert. I was like, Oh, it's my worst. Okay, let's do it. And they would give you Long Island Iced Tea or whatever.

Tessa Kriesel  18:29
I miss my opportunity to be in Gainesville and play against you.

Pj Metz  18:33
Come on, where were you up in? northern Midwest? I'm pretty sure at the time.

Tessa Kriesel  18:39
Yeah. As in Minnesota, then not visiting Gainesville very frequently. Admittedly. Yeah.

Pj Metz  18:43
That Minnesota Gainesville pipeline is not really travel. Although I did get to go to Minnesota once for a gator band. I almost said field trip. It was not it was for the sweet 16. Basketball. That's right. Sugar overflow for auto conference.

Tessa Kriesel  18:58
Yeah. Let's do it.

Brandon Minnick  19:01
Yeah, if next time you set up a booth, just bring Guitar Hero and we will when people come out great. Thank you. They'll be like, Why do you have guitar here? Like because it's awesome. Like yeah, but what's the catch? Like nothing, just nothing a guitar, like guitar, but then silver wiped out the whole

Pj Metz  19:17
bag and like a really good idea. Alright. We're gonna do it. Being taught today. We're gonna do guitar here.

Tessa Kriesel  19:30
Invite me when you do this, because I want it on this.

Pj Metz  19:32
Oh, yeah. Well, we'll bring you in for sure. We need your community building where you can get five people involved. I love that. So when I asked you like how'd you get into tech, your first story is of using it to build community. And that's, that's what you started out with. And that's not the normal route for people who are getting into tech. Normally it's I get in the tech, and then I find community building after so that's been your thing from day One and you're still doing it. So like, I mean, I don't know how I'm gonna take notes on this. How do you build a community of 5000? People? Who didn't pay attention to you?

Tessa Kriesel  20:13
Right? Honestly, like, it's common interest, right? At the end of the day, like when you build a community, it has to become an interest. Like, you have to find people who are, they don't necessarily have to be like you, right? You want like a diverse community, but they have to, like have the same like and focus, right, like, why are we here? What are we? What are we all working towards? And honestly, I mean, like, look at how excited you got, when I started telling you the guitar hero story like before the show like it, there's just this passion, right, and especially when it comes to like video games, when it comes to like tech, you know, I there's a lot of things in tech that I feel like people get really jacked up about to, like dogs, you know, some of those other like, very passionate areas of like, here, here are my hobbies and like loves. It is quite, it's not easy. There's a lot of work to it. But it is easy, or to build a really strong community when you're all going after something that you all love.

Pj Metz  21:04
And common interest is really important. And it has to be something that you're like actually interested because if you don't really care, you can't build a community for people who don't care.

Tessa Kriesel  21:14
100% Oh, yeah. Cuz they're like, why would I even come? They're like, I don't care what you're doing. I don't I don't, there's nothing in it for me. Right? And that's what you have to define community. What's in it for them?

Brandon Minnick  21:25
Where do you find the best place to start? Is? And maybe we can contrast back then, like Guitar Hero days to today, nowadays? Like, would you start a Discord server nowadays versus a website? 1015 years ago?

Tessa Kriesel  21:40
Yeah, I mean, for Guitar Hero 100% Discord server would have been like such a win, like, how great would have been, it would have probably, like, been way bigger than what I could have done. But like, I'm actually like, in retrospect, pretty proud of like, how big that community got, because it was on a website. So I really had to, like, go out, do the, like hardcore marketing work to like, bring in the right people, which, you know, at that time, like, I'll tell you right now, it wasn't all that difficult. Like, that's not the case of most communities. But really, I like reached out to like Activision, and like some of those other like platforms where people are spending time and I was just like, hey, I'm doing a cool tournament anyone want in and, and of course, like, if I saw that, I'd be like, I want it and like, I want to play against people. So I can, like get better, you know, so, yeah, I think I think having that like common interests, like really helped. But I feel like when you've got a platform that can help kind of spread the word for you a little bit, it's really valuable. You know, so like, dev.to Write super great platform, there's already a bunch of devs there, you can start to like, talk to them and be like, Hey, I'm gonna get involved in your community and like, start to like grow some interest. Video games today. I feel like yeah, like discord would would definitely be like, the probably the top top platform to like leverage. But if I was building like a business community or something I needed to have analytics on I needed to report on I need to have kind of some of that like, ROI stuff like discord would not be my choice. But video games. Definitely. Yeah,

Pj Metz  23:03
that's for hobbies. Absolutely. Get a bunch of people out there doing what they like. I mean, I'm sure it's fun all the time. Yes, I'm sure the guitar here community was like, there's arguments about like, the type of guitar you're using, like, oh, the one that came with two was better and had a better click. But like later on, like, yeah, I use the rock band one with it, but it's not as good. Like,

Tessa Kriesel  23:25
that was my favorite game. Well, no, sorry. Legends of Rock. That one was like my favorite game you could target I had to stick to Guitar Hero like I can't be

Pj Metz  23:37
like rock band when it came up. Because someone's like, you can play drums PJ, you're a drummer. I was like, that's different. It's not like saying like a basketball player. Oh, yeah, you can do that little like arcade basketball game. Like there's similarities, but it's

Tessa Kriesel  23:53
still a video game. It's like flying a plane, right? I can be a pilot if I know how to fly plane. Commercials, you see? And you're like, yeah, that's not how that works. No.

Brandon Minnick  24:03
I'm glad you simulator.

Pj Metz  24:04
Yeah. I never did anything productive on flights. I would actually try and see how long I could go without taking off in flight. What you're supposed to do in that game.

Brandon Minnick  24:22
Come on the intercom looks sorry, our flights been delayed another 25 minutes.

Tessa Kriesel  24:28
We're just driving around.

Pj Metz  24:29
It's PJ we let them have the controls and so building that community that common interest, having a place to go and like you said Discord is the place now for hobbies. But if you're looking to do it for like business related things, you do need to have some results you need to have some data. So you are head of developed snap. What are y'all doing with your community? What's what's going on? What's What's the inside scoop?

Tessa Kriesel  24:59
Yeah. Yeah, I'm really glad that you asked because like, there's so much exciting stuff going on at snap. Like, I'll share what I can write and, you know,

Pj Metz  25:11
deletes messages afterward. Yeah, I'm sure there's gonna be some secrets.

Tessa Kriesel  25:15
Yeah. That too many secrets, right. But I think like in general snap really has it focused on the developer ecosystem and creating like a developer platform. They've had it right. Snap kit has been in existence for a few years where you can like log in with SNAP, Snapchat, like as your, you know, authentication authentication method. You can do some like sharing and things like that. But they're definitely like ramping up their developer offerings. And so when they talk to me about it, at first, I was like, Snapchat, I feel like I'm a little old for the Snapchat audience. Again, aging myself, right. But then started to like, learn what they were doing. And like the audience that they're focusing on, and I think, coming back to like, where my passions are, and if I haven't heard this yet, like, I love helping people like love, love, love, love helping people get into tech, because for me, it was like, completely self taught, I'm trying to figure it out, you know, how do I learn how to code, we didn't have Code Academy, we didn't have all those great things that we do now. And so the audience's that I feel like I'm getting get to serve are a lot of like Gen Z, and a lot of like early developer audiences, because those are the folks that are really jacked up about Snapchat. And so like, Yes, I can get in, do a little bit of mentorship, do a little bit of like, you know, Dev Rel and community building. And so that's kind of like my excitement for it. In general, we are launching a few different offerings, and we just had a summit, which is under snap partner summit.com. So if you want to rewatch that we did that I would say about a month ago can totally relate to you, granted with the build conversation, like no matter what's going on, there's always last minute things if we're gonna do something big like that. So I'd strongly recommend watching that some of the really cool stuff you're gonna see as a lot of like, augmented reality that's coming into like real life. And so trying on clothes trying on, you know, different things like assessories, right, and being able to see like, what does it look like to have these items on me personally. And then there's also some cool stuff going on with like their new minis and Games platform, which is currently in a closed beta. So if anyone's like, down for like getting into some, like a gaming world, again, like we've been talking about, we'd love to chat with you shoot me a Twitter DM, and I can maybe get you into the closed beta. Anyways, there's just a lot of cool stuff going on. So some like building inside of Snapchat to really expand Snapchat, and its total offerings. And then from the other side is like, if you've got a third party app, right? Like, what do you want to do with that third party app? Can you use the technology that snap has to leverage that inside of yours, and that's kind of where camera kit comes into play. And some of this other stuff. And so camera kits, the really like exciting thing that I get to help with, outside of kind of that minis and games. And so yeah, I feel like that was very like high level, but watch the Partner Summit, because there's a lot of cool examples to kind of allude to like what you can do with some of the platforms that I'm helping support. So community side, we're just launching our community, actually. And so it's super new, they haven't had a community. And so that's actually going to be rolled out to our beta party partners and participants to be leveraged for like feedback and like conversations are really driving that engagement. And then that will become more widely available when some of these newer products get out into the world. So lots of cool stuff

Pj Metz  28:16
going on, man.

Brandon Minnick  28:18
Yeah, tell me tell me more about that camera kit. Does that mean I could use the filters that snap makes in my own apps?

Tessa Kriesel  28:27
Yep. You also can make your own filters, which gets kind of into the AR side of the house. So there's a person on who leads AR dobro His name is Joe Darko, he's super great human being. He leads AR The AR side. And so there's a lens studio platform that snap has, you can actually go in and build all your own lenses to do all those different filters. But you definitely can leverage the Snap Chat ones that already exist. And then you can bring all that technology like into your third party apps actually.

Pj Metz  28:57
That's really wild. Oh my gosh, I'm excited. I have not been in a long while. I'm like no, no offense, but like, holy smokes. Like all those things coming up. I'm getting into that kit now. I'm gonna ask the Partner Summit. That's absolutely happening. And I can't wait. I can't wait. Yeah,

Tessa Kriesel  29:15
do it. One thing that I will share with you too, is if you go into Snapchat today, and this is something that's just been getting rolled out and so I don't know if everyone will have it. So you can actually watch HBO Max with your friends. And so that's one of the minis that just released Yeah, super cool. Right? So like more of that stuff that like you're gonna see from like, snap coming out to like, Oh, I get to read deliver alone and really, really, really pumped about

Pj Metz  29:40
amazing we can watch the Batman together Brandon.

Tessa Kriesel  29:44
Get friends to express a difference.

Pj Metz  29:47
Which friends with your friends. So exciting, because you just told us like a million things that are happening and that's all crazy exciting. And I honestly I can't wait to dive into it. But like it It also sounds like that's a ton of things that you're doing and that you, and knowing you from before, this is what you and a lot of people like you and I and Brandon do is we get excited about things we dig, dig our hands into it. And then we have a million projects we're doing. So how do you deal with having so many things that you're working on that you're playing with?

Tessa Kriesel  30:22
Yeah, I will say like, recently in my life, I kind of, I don't want to say kind of, I fully, fully evaluated everything that I had going on, and what was like actually bringing me joy and what was like consuming a lot of my time. And then taking this whole, like, outlook of like, what's actually bringing my family joy, right. Like, I have a lot of kids and like, we have a big family and like we don't always get to do all the things that I think that they want to do. Because I'm working on a weekend now at my job, snap is amazing. They would never let me work on the weekend. But like side projects, right, like, you know, delicate, I used to run to advocate. And that's something that I decided to like actually, like, move on from and like, allow someone else to take over. So I think you know, projects are hard, right? Especially when you're early in your career. You're like, I want to do all the things. I want to learn everything. I want to help everyone as I'm learning because I feel like that's something that's like a great mo of like dance, right? It's like, I start to learn and be like, Okay, someone else have to be like, how do I help others? It was for me, right? And so like, I've actually kind of instilled this like new outlook of like a is it bringing me joy B? Is it bringing my family like anything, right? So like, financially, or entertainment wise, or whatever that looks like? And then that kind of effort versus impacts? Like, what's the impact that I'm actually putting out into the world? Versus like, how much effort is it taking on my part to do that impact, right. And so at least that's kind of my tactics lately, but I feel like no matter what I've I say yes to almost everything. I was going through this practice of saying no to everything, and finally started saying, yeah, so I've like, I don't know, like six or seven speaking gigs over like the next few weeks, which I'm excited about, but like, had gone months of saying no. And I was like, Oh, this is what happens when I start saying yes, again.

Pj Metz  32:04
Yeah. I mean, you want to get involved and you get excited. And you're like, yeah, that's neat. I want to do that. Yeah, that's cool. I want to speak at that. Yeah, that's fun. I want to be the beta for that. Like, even now just like looking at Snapchat. I'm like, Man, I got a lot of stuff I can go play with now. Yeah. 100%. And you for sure know about, like, taking on projects. I mean, you took me on as a project that was was I was your 2020 Summer of the pandemic project. So like, so what do you what do you think about like all this, like tested just said she had to take a step back almost. But like, what what do you think about all this stuff?

Brandon Minnick  32:42
Yeah, totally agree. Because I, I started hitting that wall recently myself, where I just had too many different things going on and was getting pulled in too many different directions. And yeah, I will say, I totally agree with Tessa on it. If it doesn't bring you joy. Don't do it. I mean, yes, there's things we have to do. Like I don't find joy in paying the bills, but I don't want to the bank to foreclose on my house. So I pay the mortgage, but I enjoy it. Yeah, right. But yeah, like your your job should be something you enjoy. Your side projects should be things also that you enjoy. And and if they don't, that's okay. Because you can always change them out. But yeah, the FOMO is definitely real. I, I to speak at a lot of conferences, and I definitely hit the pause button during the pandemic, and even mostly 2021 Because I didn't, I much preferred in person events. Then on my conferences. I like conferences just felt like I was watching a YouTube video or making YouTube videos as opposed to actually meeting people and hearing and sharing stories. And yeah, now the conferences are starting to become a thing again, I'm seeing folks post pictures on Instagram and Twitter and share the talks that they're giving like, Ah, I wish I could be there like, like, all my favorite people in this picture, and I'm not there. So I'll have to Yeah, I have to read juggle some priorities to get back on the road a little bit. But yeah, just just be careful. Because yeah, when you start saying yes to not even not even everything, there's just too many things, eventually you'll hit that wall and recognize that and it's okay to say no, and it's okay to go back and let somebody know that, hey, I bit off more than I can chew with this. I won't be able to get around to it for another couple months or maybe not ever. And they'll understand I promise.

Pj Metz  34:53
Open communication. Honest and saying what's going on, you know,

Brandon Minnick  34:58
yeah, it's way better than like staying Up till 2am to crank something out because you made a promise and you're worried about not being able to fulfill it. If you just if you let folks know, though, they'll understand it's

Pj Metz  35:09
I definitely. I have an offer accepted right now for September that I definitely need to write. But September might as well be five years from now in my brain. Oh, yeah. So listen, DevOpsDays Chicago. Great talk, I promise. But it's still in my drafts right now just waiting. So yeah, I understand. I definitely love talking to conferences too. And just going and just being a part of that excitement. I'm glad they're happening. Again, I think we need to take a break, I think we need our commercial break. I think it's time speaking of bad segues, here's our Hi, if you're hearing my voice, that means you've been listening to or watching eight bits with Brandon and PJ. And we're here to talk to you about your product. And how it can help you in your life by to 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.

Brandon Minnick  36:26
That's right, we are looking for sponsors, we recognize we're not gonna become millionaires off of making this show. But hosting a website and stuff like that does cost money. So if we can just break even. And we can use your help. So send us an email Hello at eight bits.tv. We'll get to talking and we'll share your product on the show with all of our amazing viewers. Now, Tessa there was recently this whole swirl that you weren't necessarily involved in, but around with your previous company fast. Could we dive into that just a little bit? And probably first of all, if you will? Yeah, maybe first? Let's Could you explain the kerfuffle and let's, let's chat about kind of what happened with the fallout?

Tessa Kriesel  37:25
Yeah, absolutely. I think PJ has like a really good sort of like a chat about this, too, of like, sort of how we met I think, which is could be like a fun little additive. But yeah, so I spent some time that a company called fast. They have recently shut down. So that kind of gives you the TLDR were that. Were in

Pj Metz  37:47
mind on this story? Yeah, yeah. Right. Right.

Tessa Kriesel  37:51
So when I had started there, it was just kind of like an interesting dynamic, right? And like going back and like Hello, Tessa, you should have saw all the red flags like with how it even started, right? Like, Dom the CEO, like reached out to me, and he's like, oh, I want to talk to every sale like specifically came to me and like, interviews are super fast. Like, here's an offer we want you to join. They like definitely have some, like, cool a culture going on up in that joint that like you just get sucked into and you think that it's like positive culture, then you get there and you're like, Holy hell, what did I get myself into? So yeah, I just, I had there was just a lot of male leaders, I was a male dominated company. And for whatever reason, I don't know if it's me, or if it's them. I tend to not always like have the best experience with like strong men because I don't back down I'm, it's not that I'm like mean, or like sassy. It's just that I am I'm strong, right? And I've been through a lot and so like, I will speak my piece I will, you know, raise my voice I will share what I think matters and especially when it comes to like my experience and why I'm at a company to begin with. And so the lawsuit is public actually, if you go to my website, I've got a blog post on it where I wrote the whole story of what happens then the whole lawsuit filing and some links to some PR stuff is there but essentially was like discriminated against for being a woman mistreated in numerous ways. And so retained a really amazing attorney actually one of like the best in the biz in San Francisco. She worked against some test cases some other like really big tech company cases. She's absolutely credible took my case on under contingency was like really excited to pursue that. And then they just decided like, okay, we're just gonna shut down so my lawsuit had been filed about a month before they decided to shut down maybe a month and a half. And then there was a pending lawsuit. They were getting demand letters for some from somebody else who was going to file a lawsuit as well. I'm not saying like, of course, that's what happened. But I think they you know, they just had this like path of like destruction. And I think, you know, some of the legal ramifications, maybe played into it, I don't know. But yeah, that's kind of my summary chickens

Pj Metz  40:13
were absolutely coming home to roost on that situation. And this is how Tessa and I met. Tessa was head of Dev Rel fast. And I saw her on Twitter talking about how she was going to be building out a team, and she was really excited. And so this is February of 2021. And I was still working as a high school teacher. I had been coding with Brandon I had been coding with, with Chloe Condon making Twitter bots and websites and all this stuff. And Tessa and I met on Twitter, and she was talking to me about what she was going to be building and I was fully in on what Tesla was building. I was excited about it. And I went through the interviews and I ended up getting an offer from fast that when I signed it on a Saturday afternoon. It was rescinded by that Monday following Monday night. And that Monday is the day that I put in my two weeks notice at school. And Tessa this was not a thing that you were even aware was happening because I remember I reached out to you and you were like, Yeah, this I wasn't told I wasn't informed I wasn't communicated with and they did it without talking to me at all. So

Tessa Kriesel  41:25
yep, I was actually being raffled leave, I always like forget what that word is. But

yes, that's it. That's it. Um, my grandma had recently passed, man, I tell you what some of the toxic stuff they did during that, like when you come back to work, take all the time that you can, and then would call me the next day and be like, are you coming back today? And like, you told me to take all the time that I needed. My grandma just died? I just moved like it was it was insane. But yeah, I had no opinion. I wasn't even in the office at that time. They call me like days, so they called me on Wednesday, I'm pretty sure until you on Monday, they were like, Oh, we decided to like, you know, rescind the offer. And I was like, what, why? And so 100% And like, I was the hiring manager. So I'm like, what is happening right now? Like, why am I not being communicated to? And essentially, like, they ended up having an all hands afterwards. And they're like, We hire the best in the best or the best of the best in our industry. So like, you know, they have to have basically like have a reputation, right? They just wanted to hire like famous people in their area of work right. So that they could like, get the marketing ploy, because like their whole end game was like if we get the consumers and we'll get we'll get the businesses right. And so I think they were just like, how do we get as many people like loving fast as possible. And I was like, Y'all are a bunch of idiots, you know that PJ a was a teacher, right? Like, going to be amazing at writing in all capacities and be his literally spent the last like six to 12 months sitting in documentation. He knows good and bad documentation. Like I can't find a better candidate for a technical writer than PJ. And they're like, No, it's just not working. I was like, Oh my gosh, it's not sure. I should have left to like that in there. But I made it.

And then yeah, it's the worst part about it is I reported everything that happened and they fired me two hours later, I was like, do not know the laws, like when someone reports harassment, like you can't terminate them. Like, how do you not know how the actual like employment laws work?

Pj Metz  43:25

Brandon Minnick  43:28
I mean, so what? Not, not that we're looking to give advice to

Tessa Kriesel  43:35
take it anyway.

Pj Metz  43:37
Don't be don't do startups anymore.

Brandon Minnick  43:40
Right. Yeah. I mean, what what you mentioned it was a very male dominated culture that led to some toxicity. But what would be the first thing you would change? If if you did come in and you took over a CEO and you looked around and saw this happening? Where would you even start to try and fix this?

Tessa Kriesel  44:00
Well, if I was taking over CEO then that meant that DOM was gone and that would probably fix a lot of it like not to, like straight talk crap about him, but like, see, like your leader like plays a huge role into it, right? Like what is the culture that your leader is instilling? And like they would like sponsor like snowboarders they sponsored like a NASCAR. Like I wasn't there when they did this, but I don't know if anyone saw like the historical like NASCAR burnout that like he did in a car and I'm just like, why are you spending your money on that and then having to like, end up closing your business down and basically like making almost 500 People not have a job like Hello, just some like rationale of like, how you spend money right and how you treat people so I think he'd obviously be gone. So then probably play a huge role into the company being in a better place, but I think it's just you know, it's a matter of like, diversity and culture, right? Like just like bringing all that in. I think there's a lot of amazing people that worked at that company, and they were like drinking the Kool Aid. I drink the Kool Aid like I thought it was gonna be really great.

Pj Metz  44:58
I thought it was gonna be never happened to me. I was like, I'm gonna get a sweatshirt and I'm gonna go snowboarding. Diving. This is the life and like I remember afterward going, Oh, that all was really not me like really looking at like, the way they were advertising and being like, this is not actually vibing with like, I didn't connect, but I was so excited and I was so like, ready to like, honestly to work with you tested because I was like looking at your resume and looking at what you had done and I was like, test is gonna be great. And then on top of that, I was like, Ah, it's a cool startup and fast life and fast culture and like, absolutely. And what you just said about it's the CEO top down culture is real.

Tessa Kriesel  45:42
It is 100% 100% There was definitely some other leaders in there that were, you know, probably could have been replaced. But I really do think that like, that's a lot of where it comes from, when you see a leader doing those things. You're like, cool, this is what we should do. And it just, I think it just spiraled right into, like the types of people that brought in because like that kind of egotistical person brings in a lot of other egotistical people. And like, I'm not like that, like, I'm like kindness first. Like, don't get me wrong, like I said earlier, like, I'll stand my ground and I'll be strong, but like, we do it in a kind way. And I think that like people matter. Right? And so, yeah, exactly.

Pj Metz  46:17
They came to all kinds is

Brandon Minnick  46:20
love it. I need that shirt. That will say it's interesting, because my, my wife is way more successful than I am. She's been VP of head of HR at multiple companies. And yeah, she works with the founders, the leadership teams a lot. And it's interesting, because a lot of times she's in the scenario where they're, they're still too young, they're still too early in their careers. She's worked with a lot of late founders who are in their late 20s That just haven't they haven't made those mistakes yet. And I've found that until you make that mistake. Sometimes it's, it's tough, it's hard to hear advice, because it doesn't make sense. Yet. You're like, why would I do it like that? When I could do it like this? And then you do it like this, and just like, blows up and you look around? You're like, ah, that's why and, and so it's interesting. Um, yeah, I don't know, Dom I don't really care to meet him. After what I've heard and read the stories, but yeah, I've found with in my wife's experience, a lot of times, if if you just listen to the experts in the room, you know, you if, if he really is hiring the best people in the world to do the jobs, then let them do their jobs. So when the head of Deborah L comes to you and says I found the perfect candidate, believe her or in your HR VP says to do or not do something like trust them or, and it kind of also comes from if you're the founder of a company, you've probably worn a lot of hats over the months, the years, well building it, and you don't have to do that anymore. You've hired really smart people who know more than you. And you can also let them do it. Yep. So it's, it's part

Pj Metz  48:20
of, yeah, that's what they did.

Brandon Minnick  48:23
Right? Yeah. It's like get out of your own way. Stop. Stop trying to control everything because you're not the expert anymore. And then you have to make those mistakes and watch stuff blow up. You can just trust me.

Pj Metz  48:39
Let go and let VPS do their job.

Tessa Kriesel  48:42
Exactly. Have you all seen the Uber show? breakout board toxic? Oh,

Brandon Minnick  48:49
oh, no. Yeah, no Showtime essential. Okay, the we work one. Also really good.

Pj Metz  48:59
Haven't seen that one. I saw that we work documentary but not the not the traumatization of Yeah,

Brandon Minnick  49:05
we crashed. It's Jared Leto in Anne Hathaway are a couple. Yes, Adam. I forget his last name. Wild.

Tessa Kriesel  49:18
I haven't seen that one. Super pumped. Uber one. I just had to. I had to google it.

Pj Metz  49:21
Super. Yes. So I started watching Joseph.

Tessa Kriesel  49:27
It's so sad because I really really like him is that yes, I love him as an actor. And I'm like, Oh, you play such a horrible human being I'm sorry. Like, maybe I should be a little more filtered as I say this, but like watching that show was 100% me reliving the things I saw it fast especially the women that were like oh, hey, we got leather jackets for all the dudes but like we couldn't get a discount to order enough leather jackets for the women so like you guys just don't get anything you guys right like you women just don't get Yeah, like what's super pumped? It's a it's basically Like all you need to know about what it felt like to work at fast 100%, at least for my

Pj Metz  50:06
terrible, and like you said, like, later, they were like, Hey, we only hire the best of the best. And it starts to feel like that's the reason I wasn't hired because I didn't come with anything. I'd like 200 Twitter followers and like, you know, 10 years of teaching kids, what do I know? So like that Twitter thread, Dom actually put a Twitter thread out about that, like a few days later, after my offer was rescinded. It was like, only the top 1% of people we're going to stand for, we're going to this. And it before anything ever came out about about me, which Chloe Condon tweeted about it, and it made, it was the longest thread I've ever seen in my life. And it was naming and shaming and walking at don't like, Oh, my this is really happening. But before that a bunch of people were dragging that thread that DOM had made, because it was like, so if you're only hiring the best, the best, and you only do it off internal recommendations, what is your team actually look like? And you're not updating? Yeah, you're not? There, you're not getting those different experiences in there. And now you're limiting your scope of what you can see and do as a company.

Tessa Kriesel  51:11
100% 100% There's a lot of things he fat shamed some people at one point to like, oh, yeah, he was smart enough to delete that one.

Pj Metz  51:25
Not smart enough to not write it in the first place. Yep.

Tessa Kriesel  51:27
Yep. People remember and people screenshotted it, there's there

Pj Metz  51:31
is a major difference in leadership, and not just CEOs, but people who are leaders, there's a difference between, I've gotten into this leadership role, and I know what I'm doing, and we're going to do it my way. And I've gotten into this leadership role, I need to listen to a lot of advice before I make any kind of decision to make sure I know what I'm doing. Because I'm not the best, or you have a realm of expertise. And now as a person leadership, you sometimes have to make choices outside of that realm of expertise. And it's just what Brandon said, you have to listen to the people who do have that expertise. And you're talking about,

Tessa Kriesel  52:06
well, especially if you're hiring the best of the best. I mean, if you're bringing in the best of the best part, you're not listening to them. That's the part that blew my mind. Because like he said that, and I was like, so he thinks I'm the best of the best when it comes to Dev Rel, right? And I'm like, flattered? Maybe. But then you're not even like listening to me. So like, what value does that bring? Right?

Brandon Minnick  52:30
And it's interesting, because I've even experienced this down at my level, the individual contributor level, you know, I'm not a manager, nobody reports to me. But I've been on the other side, where we've given feedback to our leadership team saying, hey, looks like one of the goals this year is this, and we don't really think that's doable. But here's some suggestions we have, like, we can kind of mold it using X, Y, and Z. And yeah, I've been just shot down to like, told no, we're still gonna do it. And like, so we just explained to you that how it's not going to work. And it's going to fail, but you would rather see it fail so that we can prove it's not going to work, instead of just listening to us. And now we have to like devote hours and weeks of our life to this. That's I prefer to deal with personally. It's like prove to me that this will fail. It's like, didn't I just do that?

Pj Metz  53:39
Drawing of the thing with like, a bit over it. Like

Brandon Minnick  53:44
it was a research. It was the weirdest conversation because it wasn't even like, oh, well, actually. No, you're just looking at it from the other side. Let me explain how I was visioning it like, it wasn't any of that. It's just like, Nope, we're still gonna do it. It's like you wrong.

Okay. And then

Tessa Kriesel  54:03
imagine that it failed after you told them it was gonna fail. I'm like real bad leadership out there real bad leadership. And like, sometimes I'm like, how, how did you get your job like, I blows my mind how you have gotten here, like,

Pj Metz  54:19
but when you find the leadership and like the team that you love to work for, it's amazing what it does for your productivity, what it does for your critical thinking, for your creativity. It's on real, how it can all change. And even like, like I said, I've only been in tech for a year. But as a teacher, I worked at two different schools and under three different principals. And I can tell you, the leadership changes the way everyone works kind of percent for different principles. I just realized that's an important caveat y'all, right? That's right. And Tesla, like I said, had it not been for everything. thing that happened at fast like either way I was I was going to work for I was either going to work for you or get to know you, but the way that you treated me as someone who was worthy to be there you were my first tech interview, the first person I ever talked about work, and you made me feel like I belonged. And that's why I started the show with Brandon, making me feel like I belong. And the history of people who have been really important to me and starting this brand new career are people who made me feel like I was exactly where I was supposed to be. And that's community. Oh, well, to be determined.

Tessa Kriesel  55:41
But you're nailing it. That feeling

Pj Metz  55:43
is so important. And that makes me want to do more. So Brandon telling me he thought I could do it, Chloe hanging out with me. You even offering me an interview and a chance to talk and then saying that you liked me enough to want to work with me. It just meant the world to me. And so I'm so happy to be here. I need to know from you. Now that I've soldered you up and talked about how much I need to know from you. You met me when I was young. And when I was when I was young. I was 34. What I was starting my journey into this brand new career, and it was impactful to have met you I want to know what advice you would have for someone else who's starting in community or deverill, or tech or anything within this space. what's some advice you would give someone?

Tessa Kriesel  56:29
Yeah, oh, I have so much here at my keynote next week. Isn't next week already it is next week. It's actually focused around this at that conference. So if you're in Texas, check out that conference. Like there's still tickets, there's a sale on the tickets. So check that out. But I have tons of advice here. And that's why I'm doing a 90 minute keynote on it. But kind of the the TLDR really of my keynote is is really about like giving back. So like you're in a place right where you're getting started. And you have to kind of find a mentor, find someone that you can, you can trust. And that's not always easy to do. But there are a lot of really great different kinds of niche communities, depending on what language you're getting in like PHP has a really great well, and that's kind of where I started. And I know they've got a powerful mentorship program, they're, you know, they're kind of all over the place, right is is these different kinds of communities that will support you. Get out there, give back as much as you can for me like, and I'll kind of share the story of my keynote, but like, yeah, it was Guitar Hero, getting into Guitar Hero, building a community, getting people expanding the people that I knew. And you can do that in a variety of different way. Like go to in person meetups, go to online meetups, start hanging out and podcasts and live streams like this, like, just get in the chat, say hello to people start to build a relationship. It's crazy how strong of a friendship you can build with someone over Twitter, like PJ like I consider you one of my dear friends like I adore you. I think you're amazing. And like we've never met in person, we've only known each other through Twitter and conversations like this. And so go out there and like and try to meet some people I know, that's not always the easiest to do for some of us who you know, like to stay behind screens. But I think the more that you can expand your network to storm it'll be and then give back, like 100% the TLDR for my keynote is like invest in others, or invest in yourself by investing in others, right. And it's all about like, give back every chance to get you learned something super small and conceptual, write a blog post about it, teach someone else, like, every time you're hitting one of those landmarks, like share what you know, so that others can like learn from you. And then there's going to be this like two way street of giving. You're gonna get opportunities, you're going to learn about opportunities. Just it's, it's gonna be a great combination. So yeah, network give back.

Pj Metz  58:34
Especially giving back like that's, that's what drove me into education in the first place. I felt like I just wanted to share stuff with people. And they were like, well, we can make 20 kids in a room be forced to listen to you talk for 45 minutes at a time. So would you like that? And I was like, Heck yeah, let's make some relationships. And I'm fortunate that I'm in a job now where it's all relationships and meeting people and being earnest and authentic with those people. So it's very exciting. Tessa, I'm so thankful that we were able to have you on the show. Like I said, You're someone I immensely respect and look up to and I just one day we are going to meet in person and we're totally gonna high five and hanging out and just be able to chat and play guitar play guitar hero.

Tessa Kriesel  59:17
I am so so so so glad I got to join the show. This is really cool. It's been great to meet you, Brandon. Especially hearing that you're like one of PJs like monumental beginnings. Like, like I said, I just adore PJ and like, you know, the friendship we've built. So like, kudos for being amazing.

Pj Metz  59:37
Hey, that's right. You're the you're the pathway, right? You're testing without even knowing it.

Brandon Minnick  59:44
Cliff. Glad to help. PJ made it super easy. You did. We just had fun. That's all we did. DJ did all the hard work.

Pj Metz  59:55
Well, thank you for joining us on eight bits today. And we're gonna see you all next time. Stay tuned to the website a pets.tv and we will catch you all later. Thanks so much