February 15th, 2024 | Season 14 | 34 mins 33 secs
In this episode of the Giant Robots Smashing Into Other Giant Robots podcast, hosts Will Larry and Victoria Guido are joined by thoughtbot's senior designers, Rami Taibah and Ferdia Kenny, to discuss the innovative Product Design Sprint Kit. This tool compresses the design process into a focused five-day sprint, facilitating the efficient transition from idea to user-tested prototype. The conversation highlights the kit's development, its open accessibility, and its impact on product strategy through iterative design and user feedback. Real-world examples illustrate how these design sprints can lead to crucial product refinements, showcasing the critical role of user testing in product development.
January 25th, 2024 | Season 14 | 37 mins 48 secs
Hosts Will Larry and Victoria Guido are joined by Wes Bos, a full-stack developer, course creator, and podcaster. Wes shares his web development journey, from blogging and creating a successful book on Sublime Text to developing his popular online courses and hosting the Syntax podcast. He talks about the spontaneous start of his teaching career, his approach to creating content that is both approachable and practical, and the importance of making web development accessible to all learners.
December 7th, 2023 | Season 11 | 1 hr 7 mins
An interesting aspect of Kent's career is his involvement with Remix, including his decision to leave Shopify (which acquired Remix) to return to teaching, which led to the development of his latest project, Epic Web Dev, an extensive and innovative web development course.
This interview provides a comprehensive view of Kent C. Dodds's life and career, showcasing his professional achievements in web development and teaching, his personal life as a family man, and his unique upbringing in a large family.
November 16th, 2023 | Season 11 | 1 hr 12 mins
We released episode one of this podcast on June 11, 2012. Now, more than a decade later, we're celebrating the 500th episode of our show. In honor of this milestone, Victoria, Will, and Chad caught up with each of the past hosts of the show: Ben Orenstein, Chris Toomey, and Lindsey Christensen.
We chatted about what they’re up to now, what they liked and learned from hosting the show, their time at thoughtbot, and more!
November 9th, 2023 | Season 11 | 47 mins 46 secs
Jamon Holmgren is the founder of Infinite Red, a consultancy specializing in React Native. He discusses his journey and insights into technology and leadership and highlights how Infinite Red stands as a testament that businesses can be run ethically while still achieving success.
The conversation then shifts to leadership styles and the principle of "one-minute praise" from the book "One Minute Manager." Both Jamon and Will agree that acknowledging others' efforts openly can make a significant difference, enhancing leadership skills and building stronger relationships. Will points out how this simple principle has been a game-changer for him in various aspects of life, including his personal relationships.
Towards the end, the focus turns to motivation and long-term strategy. Jamon is driven by his enthusiasm for learning and the thrill of tackling diverse challenges in his consultancy work. He also shares his philosophy of keeping the company "10 degrees above the horizon," emphasizing steady, sustainable growth rather than erratic leaps and bounds.
October 12th, 2023 | Season 11 | 43 mins 4 secs
Hosts Will Larry and Victoria Guido talk with Lonni Kieffer, Co-Founder and Chief Customer Officer at SmartCert. SmartCert's mission is to digitize and streamline the certificate transfer process in supply chains, mainly focusing on the aerospace industry. Lonni shares insights into the challenges of managing change within traditional industries, the importance of building a solid foundation of leadership and core values, and SmartCert's strategies for customer success and self-service.
Lonni also shares the history of the company's growth and its focus on vendor accountability and internal processes to increase supply chain efficiency. SmartCert's platform offers features like document verification and digital signatures to facilitate accessible communication among teams. She discusses the role of their partner company, TechFabric, in building their MVP and how they've grown their internal team. She also highlights 2024 as a pivotal year for SmartCert, aiming for a global impact within the next five years.
Regarding advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, Lonni emphasizes the importance of grit, flexibility, and a strong belief in one's mission. She also talks about the value of relationships in business growth and the critical role of sleep for effective functioning and decision-making.
October 5th, 2023 | Season 11 | 56 mins 49 secs
Quincy Larson is the founder of freeCodeCamp.org, which helps people learn to code for free by creating thousands of videos, articles, and interactive coding lessons–all freely available to the public. Quincy shares his journey from transitioning from teaching into software development, how freeCodeCamp was born out of his desire to make educational systems more efficient through coding, and discusses the early challenges of bootstrapping the platform, and how it has now grown into a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Quincy and hosts Victoria and Will, discuss the platform's technical architecture, especially their global server distribution and decision to rely on volunteer-led translation efforts rather than machines to ensure both the quality and human touch of their educational content. He also talks about the state of free and low-cost degree programs, the student loan crisis, and the ongoing debate between traditional computer science degrees and coding bootcamps.
September 21st, 2023 | Season 11 | 34 mins 30 secs
Co-host Will Larry interviews Stephen Hanson, the Director of Mobile Development at thoughtbot. The two explore the complexities of mobile app development, focusing on the advantages and disadvantages of React Native and Flutter.
Stephen, who initially started as a full-stack web developer specializing in Enterprise Java, discusses React Native's cost-effectiveness and the convenience of having a unified codebase for iOS and Android platforms. However, he notes that Flutter might be a more suitable choice for high-performance needs. Both hosts emphasize the nuances of the mobile ecosystem, covering topics like in-app purchases, push notifications, and the strict guidelines set by app stores like Apple's. They agree that a comprehensive understanding of these aspects is crucial for an entire development team, including designers and project managers.
Additionally, Stephen shares that the driving force behind his career is the opportunity to create apps that enhance people's lives. Stephen wraps up the discussion by detailing thoughtbot's goals of improving mobile development practices within the company and the broader developer community.
September 14th, 2023 | Season 11 | 40 mins 17 secs
Victoria and Will interview Rishi Malik, the Founder of Backstop.it and VP of Engineering at Varo Bank. They talk about Rishi's recent adventure at DEF CON, the renowned annual security conference that he's attended for six years, and describes how it has transformed from a mere learning experience into a thrilling competition for him and his team. The conference = their playground for tackling an array of security challenges and brain-teasing puzzles, with a primary focus on cloud security competitions.
The trio cover the significance of community in such events and how problem-solving through interaction adds value. Rishi shares his background, tracing his path from firmware development through various tech companies to his current roles in security and engineering management.
The vital topic of security in the fintech and banking sector highlights the initial concerns people had when online banking emerged. Rishi navigates through the technical intricacies of security measures, liability protection, and the regulatory framework that safeguards online banking for consumers. He also highlights the evolving landscape, where technological advancements and convenience have bolstered consumer confidence in online banking.
Rishi shares his unique approach to leadership and decision-making, and pearls of wisdom for budding engineers starting their careers. His advice revolves around nurturing curiosity and relentlessly seeking to understand the "why" behind systems and processes.
September 7th, 2023 | Season 11 | 42 mins 46 secs
Amy Spurling is the Founder and CEO of Compt, helping companies build and scale flexible perks, stipends that delight teams. She explains how Compt's approach to benefits aligns with an employee's life stages, and shares insights from data that revealed the vast diversity of vendors utilized by employees.
Amy talks about fundraising for Compt, highlighting the gender investment gap and the difficulties faced by female founders. She also shares her personal experiences as a lesbian founder and emphasizes the importance of a diverse workforce. She outlines Compt's mission to provide equitable compensation and foster a broader perspective within companies, the economic miss of not investing in female-founded companies, and the complexities of transitioning into different roles within a startup.
August 31st, 2023 | Season 11 | 45 mins 55 secs
Sean O'Connor is the Director of Engineering at Datadog. Datadog is the essential monitoring and security platform for cloud applications.
Sean discusses his transition from an individual contributor to management and shares why he chose Datadog, emphasizing the appeal of high-scale problems and the real business nature of the company. They delve into the importance of performance management and observability and cover the cultural and technical challenges Sean faces in managing a diverse, geographically spread team, and discuss the transition at Datadog from a decentralized model to more centralized platforms, the corresponding changes in both technical strategies and people management, and what excites him about Datadog's future, including the integration of security offerings into developers' daily experiences, and the evolution of Kubernetes and internal build and release tooling.
August 17th, 2023 | Season 11 | 38 mins 40 secs
Alaina Percival is the Co-Founder and CEO of Women Who Code, with a mission to empower diverse women to excel in technology careers.
This discussion offers a detailed look into the women in tech movement, the importance of community, and the drive to create a more equitable industry. It serves as a reflection on both the strides made in fostering diversity and the work still needed to create a truly inclusive technology field.
August 3rd, 2023 | Season 11 | 46 mins
Simon Ritchie, the founder and CEO of Blox, discusses his background and journey leading up to starting the company. He began his career in finance but discovered his passion for technology and finance systems. He worked at Anaplan, a successful finance planning and analysis software company, but saw the limitations of rigid systems when COVID-19 hit. He realized there was a need for a more flexible and accessible financial modeling and planning tool, especially for small businesses and charities.
Blox aims to fill this gap by providing a powerful yet easy-to-use modeling, calculation, and planning engine that sits between spreadsheets and complex enterprise software. The company is about a year old, has raised venture funding, and launched a free tier of its product. They prioritize building a compelling product, iterating quickly, and engaging with users to understand their needs.
July 20th, 2023 | Season 11 | 50 mins 30 secs
Brittany Martin is an Engineering Manager at Shogun, where she manages a team of Ruby and React engineers and is the Co-host of The Ruby on Rails Podcast.
Victoria and Will talk to Brittany about the multitude of stuff she's interested in, including Roller Derby, and gives the story of how she found herself co-hosting the show. She says knowing what your brand is and what listeners should expect from listening to you is super important, and she gives her opinion on what it means to be in the Ruby on Rails Community.
July 13th, 2023 | Season 11 | 40 mins 46 secs
Charity Majors is Co-Founder and CTO of Honeycomb, which provides full-stack observability that enables engineers to deeply understand and debug production software together.
Victoria talks to Charity about observability, her technical background and decision to start Honeycomb.io, thoughts about the whole ops SRE profession, and things that surprised her along her journey of building a company around observability as a concept.
June 8th, 2023 | Season 11 | 22 mins
Agnes Malatinszky is the Founder of Senga, which takes care of back-office administrative needs for freelancers, contractors, and solopreneurs.
Victoria and Will interview Agnes about the thoughtbot Incubator program and what led Agnes to choose to apply, what the demands on her time were like, how it worked, and how she feels now that she's at the end of the program.