AMA and Coding Q&A
with Jason Lengstorf
Join Jason for an AMA + coding Q&A! Bring your questions about developer experience, growing your network and career, building for the modern web, and more!
JASON: Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of Learn With Jason. Today we're gonna do an AMA and kind of a coding/office hours/code party, whatever you want to call it, and I'm really excited because I haven't done one of these in a while. So what's up, chat? How are you doing? How are things? How have you been? How is your mom? How is your dad? You know, all those good things. I'm excited to see everybody here. I already see some folx in the chat. It's good to see you. Thank you for dropping those boops. Always very much appreciated.
I today, it's been a week, you know? When you get that it's holiday in the U.S., right? Yesterday was President's Day. So we didn't work. It was a longer weekend. And I'll tell you what, it is real weird to come back on a Tuesday. I mean, it's great to get a long weekend, but I'm so out of sorts. I've been telling people happy Monday all day. Yeah, it's been wonderful. I am using a new mic, Nicky. I'm trying out something new here because I have I have a guess. I'm trying to I'm working towards something. So what I'm using right now, this is a lapel mic, right? And so I'm trying this out for a couple reasons. The first one is I like the idea of not having a mic kind of in view here. That's, you know, just aesthetically it pleases me. I have to play with this a little bit because I know that this doesn't sound quite as rich as the SM7B and so, you know, I might do this for a bit and then decide that I just miss the quality too much and go back over. But there's another reason for this, which is I'm trying to figure out if it's possible to stream, like, on the go. Because I would like to be able to take the show on the road and not, you know, if I'm gonna go stay in, like, we've got this big plan once it's safe to travel to go spend a couple months in Europe. And if we do that, I would like to not have to not do the show. So this is all part of a new streaming setup where I've got the lapel mic running right into the camera. I'm using the Sony FX3, which has an audio in. It's actually got, like, four audio inputs, which is pretty great. So I'm running the lapel mic right into the camera and then that is all running into a Cam link 4k, which I'm running into my work you know, I got a Macbook, the M1whatever. And I run that directly in there. And then I'm streaming the whole thing through Ping Video. So what you're looking at here, this is coming through ping.gg, which is a streaming service that's kind of geared towards Twitch streaming. So it's all very, you know, new. Pretty happy with it overall. I love the quality of the FX3. I'm really happy with the quality of Ping. So far, the M1 doesn't even show me that it's working very hard, like I can't hear it at all, so, you know, got a lot of things. And, yes, Rafa, we are absolutely going to visit you. Actually, I haven't told you this yet, but we're staying at your house. [ Laughter ]
But, yes, no, we really want to spend some time in, like, in the Netherlands, in Denmark, we want to get back to Spain. We spent a lot of time there and it was amazing. And I don't want to have to stop the show to travel and I don't want to have to stop travel to keep the show going, so this is all part of an experiment to see whether or not this can function on a single computer. So I'm still streaming off of two computers right now. I've still got the streaming box over here that I'm using today, but I'm gonna do an experiment where I do it all off of a second computer here off of a single computer. Probably not for a real stream to start. I'll probably figure out how to set up a, like, a test account or something so that I can stream for a while and make sure that nothing overheats and that the computer doesn't get sad or anything like that. But, yeah, let's see how this goes. And Theo, no, I'm not delaying travel for the show, but as we're starting to see that international travel is a little less stressful, more people are getting vaccinated, the numbers are starting to flatten out and hopefully going down, I would like to start traveling, so I want to have the show ready to be portable to accommodate that so that I don't have to figure out other things. Ooh, I will take you up on that and start talking about how we make this work, especially the biggest question mark I have is how to get fast enough internet to stream off of anywhere.
So, you know, still dreaming about that little satellite box that will just give me fiber speeds anywhere I am, but, you know, we'll see how it goes. All right. Okay. So, how is what's everybody up to today? Let me everybody think about if there's any questions that you have. If there's anything you want to take a look at. I figure I can pull up my laptop and we'll we can do a little code along stuff if there's anything you've got questions about. I'm also happy to answer questions about the industry at large. Whatever my experience can lend in that area. So, developer experience, career growth, network growth, you know, you want to talk about burgers, you want to talk about anything. Anything, really, I'm down. So, you know, today is your space. Let's give y'all some time.
While you are thinking, I'm gonna do a quick shoutout to our sponsors. So let me switch over to the desktop here and pull the right thing on screen. I only sort of prepped for today. Sorry. Yeah, let's get this up. So we have the show. It's cool that it's only that wide. That's fun. But okay. This show, like all shows, is being live captioned. We've got Jordan here today from White Coat Captioning taking all this down and making the show more accessible. Thank you very much, Jordan, for being here. You can find that right on the homepage of learnwithjason.dev. That is made possible through the support of our sponsors. We've got Netlify, Nx and Backlight all kicking in to make this show more accessible to more people. That also helps me just keep all the lights on, do all the things that I do like the highlight videos and being able to, you know, take time to build this stuff, and build extensions, and I have, you know, Aiden who helps me with keeping the admin side going. Chris at Lemon Productions is helping me with all the video editing. White Coat Captioning, I pay them for the accessibility and the captioning. A lot of things kind of creep in to make this show cost money and the sponsorships and your subscriptions all make that more sustainable. Speaking of subscriptions, thank you very much, Brennan, for that. I really appreciate it. I will put it to boopy use.
Let's see. Hold on. What's implying that a burrito a burriti. Let's see. What is the ultimate breakfast sandwich? Ooh, this is a good question. All right. I have feelings about this, all right? So let me talk a little bit about my world view on food because this is an evolving theory of food that has been kind of marinating in my head for a while. But I'm starting to come to the conclusion that I believe that in order to make something truly excellent, to cook really, really well, you have to love that thing. Like you have to have, like, sense memories of that food so that when you're cooking it, you you're, like, connecting it to good member rips and love and care and all of this history. Because that's what makes food truly amazing. And for that I mean, I think that's why I'm good at burgers. A lot of my, you know, my great memories as a kid were getting, like, you know about the only time I got to see my dad for a few years was he was working at, like, a highstress job, and so we would go and pick up cheese burgers and bring them to his office, and we would sit around and that was, you know, so that was really close to my heart. That meant a lot to me. And, you know, the same thing around breakfast. Like my whole family would get together and we would all cook breakfast together. So you get all these not just, like, experience cooking the food, but, like, emotional investments into a meal. And I think that that makes you really that's how you excel at cooking something. You know, you really care about it. You really bought in, right?
And so I think that there are, yeah, there's so many amazing things that you can do with this. But to kind of work that around I also think, I will say, this is why I'm not good at cooking fried rice. If you come over to my house and I cook fried rice or I try to make you know, bun cha, one of my favorite Vietnamese dishes, it's gonna be just okay. I love it. I'm basically living about Asian food right now because I'm trying to cut down on gluten and dairy. I can't cook it the way someone grew up on the food cooks it. Obviously if I studied and practiced and had people who had those memories, I'm gonna build those memories and become great. That's not saying if you didn't grow up with a food, you can never be good at cooking it. It's just I don't have the context and the history of it. So, let's take that back to the original question about what the best breakfast sandwich/burrito is. [ Laughter ]
I am a big, big fan of a fairly simple breakfast sandwich. I think that you want probably like a sausage patty or ham but not a lot of it. You're not looking for a big honker, you know, huge amount of food. You're probably looking at, like, 2 ounces of sausage or, like, thick but not like super thick cut of ham. You want an over medium egg. So done enough that it doesn't just it's not just a water balloon, but not so done that you don't get any of the runny egg yolk because that egg yolk is the condiment. Like that's what you want on the sandwich to really make that work. And then you just want, like, a slice of cheese, right? Something to hold that together. I like a cheddar. If you, you know, you want to make it a little more, like, creamier, you can throw American cheese on there or you can throw havarti. The catch is if you build the sandwich wrong, the havarti is going to immediately separate into two globs that will squeeze out the side of the sandwich. You got to think about the construction of the sandwich. Not letting everything get too soggy. Putting the egg and the cheese together because then it becomes like a slip n slide. The sandwich falls apart. It gets really messy. Choose whatever bread you want. I love a biscuit. Chance the Dev on Twitter has hooked me up with a really good biscuit recipe. So take a biscuit, put it in some butter, get that nice and toasty on both sides and build the sandwich on top of that. It's amazing. Do the same thing on some good sour dough bread. Sour dough's a little tricky because it has tact to it. If you bite too hard, the whole sandwich is gonna pull apart. Again, you've got to get the textures right. If you've got swishy ingredients and really tough bread, everything is going to squish together and blow the squishy ingredients out of the back of the sandwich. Then you got a mess. You got to eat it with a fork. It's not great anymore. There are a lot of ways to make that. One of my alltime favorite ways is if you can get a really soft roll, like a potato roll or just any kind of something that is soft but not, like, immediately gonna turn into tissue paper as soon as it gets any grease on it. And then you just butter and toast the one side, the butter kind of seals it so the grease doesn't immediately soak in. And then make your sandwich on that. Oof, that's a great time. What a great sandwich that is. I also like vinegar on sandwiches. Something to brighten it up. A little bit honestly, squeeze a little lemon on top. Real good. You can put pickled onions on there or just a tiny little dash of, like, oil and vinegar to kind of bring out the brightness of it. But, you know, you got to be you got to do you, right? Not really a wrong way to make a sandwich. You just got to make it with a whole lot of love. So how long did I spend talking about that? Probably way too long. Let's see. You can show me fried rice if I show you burgers. Deal. 100% deal. I'm so ready for that. Okay. So let's talk about what else do we got in here? What is IC? I obviously don't know anything about your circumstances, but bear in mind some managers give you daft goals. It's always worth checking them. What's IC? So, Graham, if I'm understanding correctly like, hold on. Is this a response to you're responding to somebody else, aren't you? Let me go and find the original question. They asked me to got my perf review feedback. They asked me to focus on crossorg contributions. How on Earth do I do that? I'm just an IC. This is a great question. This is very top of mind for me because I'm working on career ladders right now. So for an engineer as an IC, there's a career ladder that I'm gonna give you the progression that we have at Netlify. These are gonna vary a little bit because how somebody defines staff is different at different companies and there are different titles and different things. Just assume we're going from the beginning of your career to as far as you can go as an IC. So at the beginning, you've got what we would call software engineer 1 or early career. Then you've got software engineer 2. That would be you've got a little more experience. You're doing good work. Senior. Then you go to staff. Senior staff. Principal. And then there is another rung for distinguished engineer. If you get to distinguished engineer, that's somebody who is, like, 15, 20 years into their career. They're effectively being it's like getting tenure as a professor. You are there because you're proven to be super effective and you're really just trusted to solve problems. But so let's go back down. At software engineer 1, early career, I expect you to be able to learn. That's really my only expectation of an engineer at software 1. You are, you know, you're curious, you retain information. We don't have to tell you things half a dozen times for them to stick. You are, you know, proactive in asking. You are out to progress as an engineer, right? When you get to software engineer 2, the idea there is that you're now capable of doing individual tasks kind of on your own. You're selfsufficient if you've got a clear todo list and the todo list is made of smaller tasks. A senior software engineer is someone who I would say we need to build, like, a website. And I need you to do that, right? So I expect you as a senior engineer to be able to take on more slightly more ambiguous tasks and be pretty selfsufficient at that. You should be able to break it down from one big kind of websiteshaped cloud into a list of tasks and then break those tasks into subtasks and, you know, kind of work through this thing in a way that gets you a good result. That's senior to me. So after that point, you're no longer selfsufficient as you look at career advancement. When you get to staff, what I'm looking at staff is that you start empowering the rest of the people around the team. I'm looking for you to be kind of a tech lead. You're advising people on the team. You're able to, like, break down tasks in a way that other people can pick them up. So if you were to be you know, if I'm your manager and on a team of let's say three people on a project, if you're the staff engineer, I would expect you to be the one who is able to kind of help do the tech leady part of setting up the earlier career engineers with their todo lists and helping them talk through scoping issues and all those sorts of things. When you get to senior staff, I'm looking you to do that across the org. So, developer experience is for teams, for example, inside of Netlify. My senior staff engineers, I'm expecting them to move between teams and start thinking about how these different teams work, fits together, and how can, you know, like, for example, we're doing work on our doc side. The docs is a team that sits with developer experience and our developer experience engineers are out there talking to customers. So my senior staff engineers, this is Ben Huang I'm talking about, he is talking to different people who use different technologies and he's coming back with ideas saying, hey, the way I'm hearing about this, I could write a tutorial, but it would actually be better suited if I did a little bit of tutorial but a lot of what people were asking to live in the doc. Can I work with the docs team to kind of scope out a project? Ben's not gonna do that work. He's not gonna manage that work, but he helps to raise awareness to allow the docs team manager, Rachel, to have broader visibility into what people are trying to accomplish and they can make a bigger impact that way. Now, principal engineer, I'm expecting them to make companywide impacts. And a good example of this would be, say, if I like when I was I was a principal engineer before I took over as the VP. One project that I worked on was I worked with Marisa on our research team and she had this idea about, like, we needed a faster feedback loop. And so she came up with this idea around Netlify Labs, and then I started talking to the engineering team and the product team and the DX team and the docs team and the support team about how Netlify Labs could fit into the Netlify story. And how would this help us ship faster? How would this help us get fewer mistakes that are, like, huge and hard to roll back? How would this help us cut down on resourcing spend? Like all these things that, you know, they're not me as an IC. This is more, like, how could this system, this idea, this project I built the project, right? I built out the original incarnation of Netlify Labs which has since gone through a whole bunch of work by the engineering team, which is why it's better now. You know, I was the IC who built that original implementation, but I was also an advocate who helped connect the idea and the goal that Marisa had with a, like, the goals of the other organizations, and I tried to think about how if we architect it like this, how does that fit all of these different pieces to the and how does that change the way that we work together as a company? How do we make sure that doesn't leave support holding a really big support burden of extra questions coming in. How do we make sure this fits into the product roadmap that doesn't, like, whip everybody around and change their priorities? How do we make all this stuff fit together? Because as a principal engineer, your job is to then understand how does the work I do individually affect other people? Not just on my team. Not just in my organization, but across the entire company. And I think the broader scope is where you start to see that seniority. So, really, after you get to senior, everything about advancement is in expanding your impact beyond yourself, right? So when you get to staff, it's team level. Senior staff, org level. Principal, company level. And it's never about being a manager. It's never about, like, controlling other people's work. It's about thinking about their work. Can you think through how different roles and responsibilities and impacts are gonna affect different people's goals and motivations? And can you communicate about those things in a way that helps people connect their goals and their motivations to the outcome that you're trying to achieve so that you can drive that kind of crossfunctional work and get those impacts that you want?
So that's a pretty long answer there. But, yeah, that's this is it's a tricky one, right? Because you're an individual contributor. You're not in charge. Honestly, individual contributors drive a significant portion of what happens at any given company. It's through advocacy and helping tell better stories about what we're trying to accomplish and why. So I think that's a really important thing to do. Let's see. Scrolling through to make sure I'm not missing any questions. What is my favorite dish or entree? I cannot answer that question with an actual dish. I will answer that question with, I my favorite thing is the thing that the chef loves more than anything in the world. Like I have had dishes that I would have sworn would be boring or even flatout gross. I went to Slovenia, an amazing restaurant, and they served us squid stuffed with organ meat. Which sounded disgusting. They were explaining it to me and I was like, ooh, boy, I have to choke this one down. It was one of the best bites I've had in my life. It was so good my partner actually teared up a little bit. And it sounds so disgusting. Nothing about that meal sounded appetizing, but that chef loved that food. Absolutely loved that food. And because of that, the food was prepared with that level of care, that emotional investment. And you know what also comes with, that restaurant is out in the middle of nowhere. You've got to road trip and stay in an Airbnb. There are all these things that add to the experience. But at the end of the day, it's the thing that the chef really, really loves. Or just something that kind of encapsulates a moment. I went on a hike once and I was with some people that I really care about, and when we got about halfway up the mountain, we realized the hike was gonna be way too steep because I had, like, sneakers on. I wasn't wearing hiking gear because I thought we were going on a walk. Didn't realize we were gonna hike a mountain. When we gave up this hike, we sat down and turned out my friend had been planning a surprise picnic. I was feeling discouraged like I ruined everybody's day. Everyone wanted to go to the top of this mountain and I had to quit. So I was bummed. My friend all of a sudden just starts unpacking all of the it was, you know, local charcuterie. He had a couple of bottles of wine in there. We had this incredible picnic on the side of a mountain. It turned what could have been a terrible day into a really memorable meal. Now I remember that being one of the best charcuterie meals I've ever had. I don't remember what the food actually tasted like. It matters so much who you're with, what's the story of why you're eating in the first place. I went back with a different group of people and, this is just okay. What's different? I think it's so much about circumstance. Let's see. Any thoughts on the Netflix documentary about the 737 Max? I honestly have not seen that documentary, so I cannot comment on it. Sorry. Let's see. Is it time for a website publication dedicated to Jamstack and related tech? PeakZebra, I would say there are some already. Brian Douglas has Jamstack radio. Brian Rinaldi has I'm blanking on the name. Sorry if you're watching. He has a suite of things. Raymond Cannon does a lot of things on Jamstack. Salma on the whitep4nth3r on Twitch. There is Jamstack.org. So there are some publications. However, I do think that this style of building is it's not showing signs of slowing down. And I think that we're probably due for a little bit of a rework of what we think Jamstack means. I think it's gotten, you know, it started out as, like, a tiny thing and then as we worked on the concept, it's ballooned and I think it's too it's too broad. It's too vague now. We're probably going to pare it back down. Ultimately, you've probably heard me say this before if you've ever watched the show. We're not about dogmatism. It's not about doing things on one stack. It's about doing things that's pragmatic. You got to look at the solution, the outcome you're trying to achieve and make sure you're choosing tools that support that. We think the Jamstack, this idea of precompiling when you can and shipping assets to a CDN instead of having to run a server all the time, it's a good default. It's not gonna serve all your needs. But if you start that with your default assumption and escape from it when it's time, that's gonna help you build the best website experiences out there. So is it time for a publication? Yeah, could be. I mean, I think, you know, everybody is always looking for more expertise. People are always looking for more case studies and how do I solve my particular use case? So there's a lot of potential there. That I think is so, short answer, yes, let's do it. Let's see. What's an IC? An IC is an individual contributor. Yeah, somebody who does not have direct reports would be an IC or an individual contributor.
Which is not I mean, but that sort of points to a whole other thing that I think is really interesting, which is , like, the fear of having an opinion is it turns into an avoidance of learning and growth. Because if I'm if I'm willing to say something not in a way that says, like, don't you dare challenge me or I am absolutely correct, but, rather, to say, based on what I'm understanding about this situation, I think this makes sense. Does anybody see any problems with that? That opinion will either move us forward. We'll make a decision and continue on about our day. Or it will get shot down. If it gets shot down, assuming I've got a team that I trust, my team's gonna shoot it down for valid reasons. They're gonna say, oh, well, you're not considering X, Y, and Z, which would mean that's not gonna work. I'm willing to say, oh, you're right. That's a thing I hadn't considered. Thanks for bringing that up. What else do we got? Or if no one else has any ideas, can happily come in and say, yeah, let me change this. My door is popping open. Hold on. I'm having all sorts of strange issues today. Sorry, everybody. Got poltergeists. Got cameras that don't want to cooperate. Like it's bleak out here. [ Laughter ]
VR will VR change things and how? I don't know. I'm I am not a VR person. At all. I don't like I've used it maybe once ever. And it's not particularly interesting to me. I am way more interested in augmented reality. I think that those types of applications are really, really fascinating, and I can see things like, you know, like, if we can make them more fashionable, which I know we can. Things like Google Glass where you get a little bit of a headsup display. Or if I take my phone and go to Google Maps and turn on the AR view pointed on the street and draw my map on the sidewalk so I know exactly where to walk. That sort of stuff is really, really cool. I have a feeling that we're gonna see a huge amount of AR work its way into life. I mean, we already have, right? All the social apps have AR. I'm who knows if and when we'll ever get to the point where people are, like, really existing significantly inside VR headsets. I have a hard time believing it, but, look, don't take tech predictions from me. I am, like, the biggest gear curmudgeon. I remember I was like 14 years old when text messaging came out, and I remember seeing it and, like, Carson Daly was pushing it really hard on what was it called? TRL. I was just ranting to my friends. This is the stupidest idea. Why would anyone ever want to write out a text when you have a device in your hand that lets you call them and get an answer instantly? And I was so wrong. [ Laughter ]
I mean, I don't know if I've used my phone as a phone I don't even know if my phone is a phone. Do they still do phone stuff? It's a text box. So who knows. Maybe my prediction of VR isn't going to catch on is a really strong indicator that it will. But real bullish on AR. For sure. Best dog breed other than Corgi? French Bulldog. I honestly so I don't have a dog now. I really want a dog. But I don't want dog hair all over my house. So I wouldn't get a Corgi for that reason. They shed so much. Like they're just little fur balls. But a French Bulldog, Frenchies, they don't shed that much and they look really cool when you dress them up in little outfits. And, you know, I think that me and my Frenchy could be fashion icons together. So, yeah, French Bulldog. [ Laughter ]
AJ, your phone is literally not working and it is better. Yeah, I mean, I agree. I had my phone on WiFionly for a while when I was out of the country, and I didn't have Project Fi. So I couldn't use my phone for texting or calls. Could only use it when it was hooked up to WiFi. I loved it. It was so great. I love being disconnected from stuff. Portuguese Water Dog. Wait, are those the giant ones? I just spelled that wrong. Yes, these are the giants, right? How big are these? Oh, man, that's a cute dog. Holy crap! Wait, these aren't giants. These are are they little? Well, do these dogs shed? Portuguese water dogs are mediumsized dogs. 35 to 60 pounds. Okay. That makes sense. These dogs have no undercoat and do not shed. Oh, no. Hold on. We got to do the side by side here. Here's images. Then we're gonna look at a French Bulldog. All right. So let's take this one. And then let's take this one. And y'all, look at these look at them. Look at French Bulldogs. Is everybody looking at French Bulldogs? Because this is, like, this is really important stuff. Also, if you put a French Bulldog just type watch what happens. They look so freaking cool in hoodies! Okay. You can put a French Bulldog in a Hoodie and it looks like a total badass. Look at this one. Look at that. That is a cool dog. So, anyways, this. Anyone? No, look, put it on a French Bulldog. Yeah. You don't put outfits on Portuguese Water Dogs. And so I do think that changes my math a little bit. Frenchies shed small hairs. I can live with small hairs. I'm okay with that. They're too smart for that nonsense. Yeah, that's probably fair. I don't know, man, I kind of like I kind of want my dog to be low energy and a dufus like me. [ Laughter ]
Oh, God. Like a poodle. Yeah, okay. All right. This all makes sense. Okay. Well, you know, we'll see. Maybe I'm gonna end up in one of those weak moments where I accidentally adopt, like, six dogs and just have to do a side by side comparison. All right, y'all. So with that, I think we're gonna call this one a success. Thank you all so much for hanging out today. I had a blast. I hope you learned something. If not, I appreciate you sticking through it anyways. Let's do another quick shoutout. We've had Jordan here today having to just handle my monologue. Jordan, you are a hero for putting up with that. So, thank you. Jordan's here from White Coat Captioning. And that is made possible through the support of our sponsors, Netlify, Nx, and Backlight, all pitching in to make this show a little bit better and helping me do a little bit more with it. So, thank you all so much for hanging out today. We're gonna go find somebody to raid. You got any opinions? I can see let's see, Michael Jolly's live, Bald Bearded Builder. We can go raid the Twilio. Ooh, Ben's live. Is Ben actually live? Starts in 3 minutes, 8 seconds. All right, y'all, I'm gonna send you over to Ben. Wait it out. Hang out. Ben is amazing if you haven't watched. He was just on the show last week, and you can see that here. And while you're checking out things on the site, make sure you go check out the schedule. We got all sorts of good things happening on there. And you can see, like, we got David coming on later this week. This is gonna be a lot of fun if you've ever work with State Machines or seen them. We're gonna create them visually using David's work on a tool called Stately right now. Really, really cool stuff. We've got lots and lots of amazing people coming. And we're gonna go say hi to Ben, and we will see you next time, y'all. Thanks for hanging out.