From Individual Contributor to Manager with David Ashe (Part 2)
Welcome back to part two of this discussion on transitioning from an individual contributor to a manager. In part one, the panel talked about holacracies, which are flat organizations, and whether or not CTO should code. In this episode, the panel, composed of Tessa, Ari, and guest panelist Amal Hussein, and special guest, David Ashe, talk about manager’s roles in retention and career growth within a company. David talks about the issue with job titles, Amal weighs in on the retention problem, and the panel discusses whether or not they would want to transition into a management role any time soon. This episode also covers the confluence between technical skills and people skills, why silence might actually be positive feedback, and why a team that suctions without you is better than bottleneck hero culture, as well as the importance of empathy, avoiding burn out, and why David will never ask, “Is it done yet?” Tune in today!
Key Points From This Episode:
- Ben kicks things off by saying it’s important not to take manager positions for the sake of advancement in our own careers.
- David talks about the issue of job titles, and the retention problem that tech companies have.
- Amal weighs in on the retention problem – it can be resolved by having a good manager.
- The importance of retention and having a constant feedback culture within organizations.
- Management is an art, but it is also a science – it’s more complicated than engineers think.
- Ari weighs in on whether or not she want to shift into a manger role – she says she is torn.
- While someone can get a PhD in management, managers very rarely do – it tends to be the hot shots that get promoted into the role.
- It’s rare to find someone with strong technical skills and good people management skills.
- It’s common to see managers go from IC to manager, back and forth, because of burn out.
- How manager’s know they are doing a good job: David is trying to ensure that people on his team are improving or getting promoted.
- Why silence may actually be profound positive feedback that you’re being a great manger.
- You should have a team that operates effectively without you, not a bottleneck hero culture.
- Ari believes the most important qualities of a good manager are empathy and understanding.
- Tessa explains why she wouldn’t want to be a manager again soon, because of the overload.
- David shares his perspective from when he was an IC, what he needed from his manager.
- Amal’s picks include TV shows, I May Destroy You and Lovecraft Country on HBO.
- Ari’s pick is a Netflix movie called Freak Show, a gender-nonconforming coming-of-age story.
- Tessa’s picks: Malinda Herman, Mike and Maddie on YouTube and a font called Cartograph.
- David recommends hey.com and Dating Around on Netflix, while Ben’s picks are a book, and a game called Hades.
- “Take the time to invest in your learning. If you are a new manager, take manager training. A lot of companies don't offer it, a lot of companies do. Try to get your company to pay for a formal training. Read books. Find a mentor. You're going to need peer mentors, people that have been doing this job for longer than you within your company. It's also really good to get outside perspective, so you know you're not echo chambering bad management cultures.” — @nomadtechie [0:06:39]
- “Unfortunately, if you're a great manager, people may in fact leave faster, because you're going to develop them, and the market is going to scoop them up. You may not have those feedback cycles where, when they leave, they would say that you've been a great manager. But maybe not. Silence might in fact be profound positive feedback, you're being a great manager.” — David Ashe [0:18:17]
Picks of the week
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
Our picks this week
EPISODE 40 PART 2
[00:00:10] BH: Welcome back to part two of our discussion on transitioning from an individual contributor to a manager. Last week, we talked about holacracies, which are flat organizations and whether or not CTO should code. Joining us again this week are Tessa, Ari, guest panelist Amal Hussein and special guest, David Ashe. In this episode, we'll be talking about manager’s roles in retention and career growth within a company.
I think when it comes to us and our own careers, it's important not to just take manager positions for the sake of advancing, because as we've talked about and Amal and David has said, more companies are starting to recognize that the engineering path needs to diverge. I think, it's important to look for companies that can support that if you don't have that at your company and knowing that.
To David’s point, we can always have the mentality of wanting to lift your team and helping your team be better, but that doesn't mean you have to be a manager. You can still do that as a contributor. Just my 2 cents on that.
[00:01:05] DA: I feel like there's a bigger issue here that the job title thing. I’m glad you guys brought that up, where there needs to be more staff positions. Don't all companies have a retention problem in tech? How many people are spending one to two years and then jumping to the next place? Part of that might be because there's a hot job market. Also, tech companies in a lot of cases I think, it's baked into the plan that people will leave. It's too expensive to really keep people around.
Then there's the other side of that, so where people are almost abusive where they write their technology, or their server in such a way that only they can understand it, so that they have leverage over the company and never be let go.
[00:01:41] AC: Top security.
[00:01:44] BH: That never works out.
[00:01:45] DA: [Inaudible 00:01:45].
[00:01:49] T: Also, if people are going to leave anyway, why hire juniors and entry-level devs? They're just going to leave you. Why put in the effort?
[00:01:56] AC: But they're cheaper.
[00:02:00] AH: To this retention problem though, a good manager can help with that retention problem. I can tell you that I have stayed at jobs, or left jobs because of a manager. Your manager is there to be a litmus. Are you being challenged? Are you happy? Are you growing? What's your personal development track like? Are we making space and room for you to grow within the company in terms of sphere of influence and visibility? Your manager is there to champion all of those things.
It's just another reason why that job is so critical, because you're really in a position to be an enabler in the truest sense. It's such a privilege. Anytime you get to actually institute change in someone's life, that is the biggest privilege that you can ask for as a human being. It's not a job that I took lightly and it's not one that I think anyone should take lightly.
To Ben's point of, okay, looks like manager's the only way I’m going to get more money, or have more advancement in this company. That's maybe not a company that has good, healthy engineering culture and structures in place. I would say, start there. Talk to your company about, hey, here's a career ladders. Square has a really good one. We should try to link in the show notes on career ladders and engineering ladders, and Google has a good one.
How can we start moving more towards this type of structure? Because engineers are the most expensive to train and to onboard into any company, because it takes three to six months to start being really effective as an engineer. There's so much domain knowledge that you have to come up to speed on. It's very important to focus on retention for engineers. Super, super important. Because it's really expensive to lose an engineer, let alone a good one.
[00:03:40] DA: Amal, I couldn't agree with you more strongly, but it seems like companies do not see it that way.
[00:03:45] AH: In what sense?
[00:03:46] DA: They do not see retention as something so important that they must invest money into it.
[00:03:51] AH: Yeah, but it is. I mean, ultimately, it's a leaky pipe problem. We have a pipeline problem. We don't have as many people who know how to do what we do, but then, we also are doing a horrible job of keeping them once they're within our company. You need that feedback loop and that feedback culture and cycle. At my company right now, I get a little Slack bot that pings me every week. It's called the TINYPulse bot, where the company just asks random questions like, “How happy are you? What sucked this week?” It's really great.
We have this constant feedback culture where they're constantly trying to get feedback about what's working, what isn't. Then they readjust. It's just like a sailboat. They're constantly readjusting. You're never going to be perfect, but you need to be working towards continuous improvement. If you're not, you're dead in the water. You're basically paddling backwards, if you're not making things better. Because gravity is a real force. It's always there. It is. I know, you can't see it, but it's there. I promise you.
[00:04:51] AC: What are some other ways that as a manager, you can help improve retention? Because I agree, that that's hugely important and it's extremely undervalued as part of the tech culture.
[00:05:03] AH: Yeah. Well, that's a great question, Ari. Because I was thinking earlier, I really want to talk about bias. I want to talk about bias, because as an engineer, you have a ton of bias that you bring into any situation that you're in. For example, thinking things are easy, thinking that things are going to take a day, or half a day to implement.
[00:05:23] AC: I’ve never done that.
[00:05:26] AH: Yeah. Yeah. No, no. We underestimate everything as engineers. We just have a lot of bias, because we're problem solvers and we solve hard problems for a living. Problems don't scare us. We think like, “Oh, I’m going to be a manager now. Easy-peasy. Got this.” No. Not easy-peasy. No, you don't got this. Trust me.
[00:05:44] T: Everyone thinks they're that guy in holes who's like, “I can do that.” Then he just does it.
[00:05:49] AH: Exactly. Management is an art and it is also a science. People go to school for management. They actually study it. You can get a PhD in management. This is a field that is fairly complicated. In fact, I would say more complicated than engineering, in the sense that with engineering, things are binary. At least, things are black and white. With people, they're super complicated. They don't fit into binary spectrums. You take a person that's complicated and then you times that by six or seven, you're managing X number of people. Then you have this unique, complex quilt that you need to manage of people's personalities, their strengths, their weaknesses, their goals, the task at hand. There's so much to manage.
Take the time to invest in your learning. If you are a new manager, take manager training. A lot of companies don't offer it, a lot of companies do. Try to get your company to pay for a formal training. Read books. Find a mentor. You're going to need peer mentors, people that have been doing this job for longer than you within your company. It's also really good to get outside perspective, so you know you're not echo chambering bad management cultures. Get a manager that's good at their job and get them to mentor you. Your first year, you have to basically, go back to being a student. You really need to put the time in to learn and study and listen and constantly ask for feedback.
It's going to take a while for you to be good at it and you have to understand, I went from being a very senior engineer to being a very junior manager. That is not an easy transition to make. It's not easy to go from the person that knows everything, knows what to do in any given situation, to what do I do now? It's not. It's not an easy thing. Just brace yourself for that, is my advice to you all.
[00:07:46] T: Yeah. I imagine a lot of people haven't had similar experience since they switched from middle school to high school or something, going from being on top to – I’d like to revisit this point that Ari made about manager types, because to your point earlier, Amal, about people who are really excited about enabling people, I feel those are the people who do have definitely the want and the desire to be effective managers. I think also, there's a lot of people who are typed as managers, which tends to probably overlap with the same demographic who's typed as a designer, or typed as a front-end developer. I’m curious for the ICs in the podcast, regardless of whether you've been a manager before, would you consider management in the future?
[00:08:34] AH: Wait a second. Are you talking about the fact that women are natural collaborators and phenomenal leaders and maybe are awesome managers because of that?
[00:08:43] T: I do feel like, yeah, women and femme presenting people tend to get pushed towards that and pushed towards front-end development.
[00:08:50] AH: Yeah. It's like, you like to communicate, you do this.
[00:08:54] AC: If we're going a little darker, it's the parent track in work. Because basically, you're trying to parent your team into being better. Obviously, a woman, naturally, because mommies, that's what we're supposed to do, right?
[00:09:11] T: Wait, that's not the movie with Lindsay Lohan where she has the British twin?
[00:09:17] AH: Oh, God. Someone's going to call me out on that.
[00:09:20] T: Chris is like, it's the Parent Trap actually and it was a remake.
[00:09:27] AC: Actually, this is something that, at this point my career, I’ve definitely been thinking about a lot, because I’m three years in and it's at that point where if I want to be an effective manager, I should probably start mentally preparing for that. I’m honestly pretty torn, because while I think it's something that I could be good at, I don't know that I would enjoy it.
I feel if you're not enjoying your role as a manager, you will not be as effective. Because I getting lost in code. I do. It's my jam. It's where I get my hyper focus. When you have ADHD, anything that triggers hyper focus feels amazing. I guess, yeah. It's one of those things where I feel I have to constantly reevaluate my stance on that.
[00:10:14] DA: I feel like, I got to say, you can get a PhD to be a manager, but who the hell does? Of all the managers that are out there, how many have even gotten a certificate? We're like, we’re really pointing out a lot of problems with being a manager.
[00:10:26] AH: Yeah, but there's a lot of bias there, right David? There's bias in thinking like, “I can just shoot from the hip. Pow-pow. Look at me. I’m so cool.”
[00:10:35] DA: You're just right.
[00:10:36] AH: There's so much bias. I’m Slick Rick. Look at me. I was going to make the Slick Rick happen. Pow-pow. For those of you who can't see me, I’m air gunning with my pow-pow. Anyways.
[00:10:53] DA: Are you saying, do I want to be in this position, but – It's almost like, if well-intentioned, mature people don't take that role, then who will?
[00:11:02] AH: Yeah, for real.
[00:11:03] DA: There will be some hot shot 10xers like, “Oh, wow. This guy's good. I guess, I better make him a manager.” Then six months later, “Well, there's been a personal harassment lawsuit.” Like, “Oh, where did that come from?”
[00:11:16] AH: Six months later, “Hey, so everyone on that team quit. We don't know why. We put the 10X dude as the manager. We don't know why they're all leaving.”
[00:11:27] DA: I’m sure you can see where I’m coming from here. If the good people don't step forward, the sociopaths will, from all walks of life. I can't think of any place this might apply to our current situation, but I think people who want to make a difference and maybe are willing to put up with frankly, a lot of bullshit – at least you can prevent some horrible person from –
[00:11:51] AH: Yeah. You have a good moral compass is what David is saying. Don't underestimate the importance of having a good moral compass, right? To be honest, we're going to have to go through Twitter and find this tweet to link in the show notes. A friend of mine, Maggie Pint, she's a manager at Microsoft and she's now a manager of managers at Microsoft. She's incredible. She's also a huge open source contributor on the moment.js project. Also, she's involved with TC39, working on temporal.
Anyways, she's amazing. She had this tweet about how she's a good engineer, but she finds herself much more valuable as a manager, because she thinks there's lots of people who are there to code who can fix technical problems, but so few people who can do what she does around people and process management. It's very rare to find people who have strong technical chops, who can also do a good job on all of the other parts of the software delivery cycle, including managing people. It's a very rare thing.
Most engineers are bad managers and have no interest in being managers. To speak to Ari's point, if you have a remote interest and an inkling, I would say, it's worth trying that. My advice to you is to try it in a safe place. Because I can tell you the reason why I am not a manager right now is because I worked at NPM, I went through an acquisition process with Microsoft GitHub. I was part of a round of layoffs. I was so burnt out from my job at NPM, that there was no way in hell I was going to be a manager again right away, especially as a new manager. I was way too burnt out.
I knew that I had a lot of leadership and I knew that I needed to have influence over something. I’m a bossy lady, all right. I was like, “All right. Cool. I’m going to be a principal engineer.” I went and got a principal engineer job. Am I interested in being a manager at some point in the future? Depends. Probably. It needs to be at a safe place. Meaning, I’m never going to put myself in a position where I don't believe in the culture and I don't believe I can institute change. NPM was really toxic on a lot of levels. Ultimately, I didn't know how toxic it was until I had joined the company. For you as a new manager, if you can do it at a place where you know that you appreciate the culture, you have a path for instituting change, you're set up for success, that's where you should go and be a new manager and try it out in a safe place. After 90 days, feel free to fire yourself if you're like, “I don't like this. I want to go back to doing my thing.” Go do that.
Ultimately, that first year, you're like a baby. If you can put yourself in a safe environment, versus in a cave full of hyenas, you're going to have a higher chance of success. Just keep that in mind as you're transitioning. Do it in a place where you can safely screw up, or safely be successful, and learn the ropes in a place where you have emotional safety and psychological safety, and you have a path for success. You know you can make a difference. Because trust me, there's nothing more frustrating than being a manager where your hands are tied behind your back.
That was a big part of my experience at NPM, because of the acquisition and just all the crazy nightmare shit show that came with that. There was just so much I just couldn't even do, including give people raises, just to give you an example. Because hey, we're in this weird money spot and it just sucks to not be able to fully do your job.
[00:15:24] DA: Well, boxers when they come out of the ring, they get recovery time. That should be fair, if you're going to be a manager and get figurative punches, you should get some recovery time. Honestly, I mean, how do people do it where they're a managers their whole career? I’ll get back to you if I can do it.
[00:15:39] AH: I couldn't agree with you more. That's the thing. You'll hear this pendulum swing. Meaning, where you go from being a manager to an IC, back and forth. That's very common in our industry. I just did it. I’m back to IC. I’ll probably be a manager in a few years, but not right now. Right now, I’m enjoying my job and middle management isn't something that I am craving right now.
[00:16:01] BH: Yeah. To echo what Amal said, ultimately, a lot of times in tech, we have a lot of people who are idealistic and who want to save the organization, but we're also seeing a lot of burnout as a result. To echo Amal's point, time and time again, unfortunately, when you put an individual in a toxic environment, no matter how good the individual is usually, the environment's going to win.
Picking a place that is safe, that will support you, or having someone who can at least let you shadow them. You might not have to take on the position and then test out some of those managerial duties. That's really critical to not burning out, because the last thing we want is for mature and emotionally smart people to leave the industry, because they tried to throw themselves and they ended up dying on the hill at a place that wasn't worth doing that for and they leave tech forever. That's happened on numerous occasions. Yeah, I can't echo Amal’s –
[00:16:49] AH: Very well said. Thank you, Ben. I will say that it's okay to change your mind too. It's okay. It's okay to say, “Not for me, actually.” Don't beat yourself up about that. You're doing everyone, yourself included, a favor by being honest about what makes you happy and where you think you can be effective. There's no shame in saying like, “I tried it and it didn't work.” That's actually very brave and I really commend you for stepping outside of your comfort zone, because it's a privilege to be a manager, and it's a privilege to have the bravery to step outside of your comfort zone and try something new.
[00:17:23] AC: If you do decide you want to go down the manager track, how do you even know if you're actually doing a good job?
[00:17:29] DA: You are not sued for sexual harassment. That is a roadblock.
[00:17:33] AH: That’s a low bar.
[00:17:34] DA: Super low bar. I know. That sounds pretty low. Well, I think that's a pretty profound question, because if you're doing a really good job, everything would just seem right. What I’m trying to target in my role is I’m trying to see that people on my team are getting better and maybe even get promoted. I mean, I knew a manager at the first company I worked at, he would tell people, “I know how it works in this industry. You're going to leave and that's okay. You leave when it's time for you. What I want you to know is while you're here, you're going to get better and I want you to either get promoted here into a better developer, or leave here into a better developer.” I think if you have that attitude, you resign yourself, this is a jumpy industry.
Unfortunately, if you're a great manager, people may in fact leave faster, because you're going to develop them, and the market is going to scoop them up. Yeah, you may not have those feedback cycles where it's like, I just want you to know – maybe when they leave they would say that, you've been a great manager. But maybe not. Maybe you're not here. Silence might in fact be profound positive feedback, you're being a great manager.
[00:18:39] AH: Yeah. I totally agree with David here. For me, the measure of success is your team. How is your team doing? How are they doing on their goals? Are they meeting their goals? Are they progressing throughout their careers? In many ways, like David said, my goal not just as a manager, this is just how I operate, I continually try to work myself out of a job. You should try to make yourself irrelevant. You should enable people and empower people to the point where your processes and your documentation and your team is past storming, norming, they're performing, right? If you step away for a week, the world shouldn't collapse.
I hate people, or companies that have these weird bottleneck hero cultures. Like, “Oh, hero John is here to save the day. Oh, crap. Hero John has gone on vacation. I guess, we're not going to get any work done.” No. That's horrible. When it comes to work, we should all be interchangeable and everyone should know how to do stuff and there shouldn't be weird bottlenecks and weird hero culture moments.
For me, the measure of success is how well my team is doing? Can people go on vacation and feel comfortable coming back, without crazy workloads? How well are we performing and do we all have a good sense of norming culturally? It's just stuff like that. More so, just like David said, are people growing? Are people getting promoted? Is my team visible throughout the org?
A big thing as an engineering manager, believe it or not, a part of your job is fighting other engineering managers for interesting work. You want to get your team the most interesting, impactful work. The more high-impact stuff you're working on, the more visible you are throughout the org, the more you are to get resources, promotions, etc. It's super political in that way and it sucks, but I would say that there's some context into manager land.
[00:20:27] DA: If you do a bad job, you end up with the message dashboard.
[00:20:30] AH: Right. Good times.
[00:20:33] BH: As we wrap up this episode, I’d love to find out from Ari and Tessa. I’m sorry, Ari, from an IC, what are the important things to you when it comes to a good manager?
[00:20:42] AC: I think, number one is empathy. If I don't feel I’m understood, it's distracting from my work. The other thing would be checking in on a steady basis, but not too often. Basically, you have to be perfect is what I’m saying.
[00:21:01] AH: Share the same Netflix recommendations list.
[00:21:04] DA: Be a fan of community.
[00:21:05] AH: Love Parks and Rec. Hate the color blue. All that jazz. No, I love the color blue. All colors are awesome for what it's worth. No pun intended.
[00:21:15] BH: What about you, Tessa?
[00:21:16] T: Is my mic working?
[00:21:17] BH: Yes, you're good.
[00:21:18] T: I mean, I think this ties into what I would have answered for my last question about I see the manager. I did this whole bit where I was like, I guess since I’m playing Chris, I’ll just do the, “Well, what about you Chris? What do you think of your own question? Well, thank you for asking, Chris, since no one else did, but my mic died so everybody was spared from that skit.” Now I’m just dragging it back from the dead. When I was doing my teaching and engineering internship at the coding school, I led five teams and I super enjoyed it, but I feel I put myself way too much into it and took on quite a large level, like the well-being of my team, both emotionally and technically.
I was really invested in their success. I think, I probably wouldn't want to be a manager any time soon, just because, I think again, I would be so excited about it that I wouldn't – This is not a humble brag. I don't think this is necessarily healthy to not have that balance. I don't think I would have that balance. I think it is important to have that excitement for your team and be energized for your team's development. Also, be excited by and energized for your own development and your own well-being. Also, in the beginning, I thought I definitely want to be a back-end dev, because back-end is so fun.
When I got my internship, I realized that front-end is where my true passion lies. I also felt conflicted and ambivalent, because I didn't feel confident as to whether I was drawn to front-ends, just because I have this really long history of enjoying HTML and CSS and visual things, or if it was because non-man developers tend to get pushed towards the front-end. I have similar thoughts about management and more people-oriented roles, I guess. Even though, I would argue that development roles are also people-oriented.
If I were to consider that, I think that would be a question I would have to ask myself again, is this something that I really want inherently? Or is it something that I’m subtly being pushed to want, if that makes sense?
David, before we close, I was wondering if when you were an individual contributor, there were things that your manager repeatedly asked you to do that at the time, you found annoying and you didn't really understand why it was important, but now that you're a manager, you find yourself in that position, like having to bug your developer direct reports to do it. Also, if you were then to go back to being an individual contributor, would you go back to not doing that thing very well?
[00:23:49] DA: Yes. I can think of one thing. I’m not going to say which project management tool. I’m just going to say, it's JIRA.
[00:23:58] T: Of course, it's JIRA.
[00:23:59] DA: This is not a knock on JIRA. There's reasons to knock on JIRA and so on. This one job – The manager asked me to do this. I’m not sure if it really was what the manager prefer, but to not only have a whole ticket, but also sub-task on the ticket. Clearly define sub-tasks with time attached. I cannot stand assigning time to tasks. That's feels very being countery, micromanagy, but I did it because I just said, “You know what? I’m just going to make up numbers, whatever. Play a game. No big deal.” I did that.
I don't know if it drove me up a wall, because I did it, but now I find myself in another situation. I was using a different JIRA board, asking people to at least put a sub-task, no time on it. Because non-developers want to see clearly defined ways to see the progress, and developers don't do it. I don't even do it always, to be honest. Even though I try to set a good example and do it. It's one of those things where if I had to go back, I think I would do it, because I think I understand from the non-technical people perspective now, it's a way to communicate without pressure how the task is moving forward.
The other thing that drives me crazy is, is it done yet? Which I’ve seen at pretty much every job I’ve ever been to and with different degrees of dysfunction. I’ve also been in a position now where I want to be the one asking, is it done yet? I haven't done it, thankfully. Because I know how counterproductive, is it done yet, can be, when you have a concentration work job.
I don't think I’ll ever ask, is it done yet? When you get to the point where you feel you have to ask that, basically I said like, “Look, we really need this right now. You need to give me an indication that you got it totally under control with confidence, as best you can, or you got to pass it off to me or someone else.” Even that's really terrible to have to say to someone. Unfortunately, I haven't had to say that, but I will definitely hate being asked, is it done yet? If I go back to being an IC.
[00:25:45] T: Yeah. I feel like, is it done yet is a canary for process problems. Yeah.
[00:25:50] DA: Totally. You should never have to ask that. Should, I mean, that's an idealistic thing to say though. Particularly in a startup, where maybe the company can go out of business if you don't deliver one feature, but that still doesn't mean it's really very effective, right?
[00:26:03] T: Yeah, a 100%.
[00:26:05] BH: Well, with that, David, where can people find you on the Internet if they want to talk with you more about managerial roles and those career choices?
[00:26:12] DA: Reach out to me on LinkedIn. Linkedin.com/in/davidmashe, with an E.
[00:26:17] BH: All right. Great. We'll make sure to include that in the show notes. With that, it's time to move on to this week's picks. Amal, would you like to go first?
[00:26:26] AH: Yeah, sure. I wasn't really prepared for this, so I’m going to go with a TV show that I just finished, that I thought was really profound and I need to re-watch it. It was so intelligent. Actually, two shows. One is ongoing, one I just finished. First one is called I May Destroy You. It's a very interesting show about the effects of sexual assault and how that whole thing played out. Anyways, it’s on HBO. It's fascinating. The second show I’m watching is Lovecraft Country. It's like, sci-fi meets historical piece. It's amazing. Also, on HBO. I’m sorry to recommend two things that are behind pay gates. Cost money to make TV, so it's okay. They get 15 bucks a month from me.
[00:27:06] BH: Ari, do you have any picks for us this week?
[00:27:08] AC: Yes. I have one pick. It is a movie on Netflix. Shocking. It's called Freak Show. It's a coming-of-age story about a gender non-conforming kid at a very conservative high school. It is both difficult and feel good at times. It's an emotional roller coaster, but I really enjoyed it. Also, Bette Midler's in it, so that's a win.
[00:27:36] BH: All right. Thank you, Ari. Tessa, what do you have for us this week?
[00:27:40] T: My first pick is this woman who was recommended to me by the YouTube algorithm a long time ago, Malinda Herman. She's this sweet lady who sings and plays guitar and I think some other instruments, with her dog, Jew Jam. I think she has a couple of cats. I think I remember reading around this time as well that Jew Jam means small and pretty, or something. The reason that I’m picking her this week is because she just received her gold play button, which is a pretty big deal in the YouTuber world. I thought that was really nice.
Also, when that happened, I looked up a little bit more about her and I read that she had a terrible stroke or something. She had lost the use of half her body and she was really depressed about it, but then her son suggested that she use music making as a way of practicing using her body again. I thought that that was a really nice story.
[00:28:35] BH: Wow. Yeah. I just saw the 1.32 million subscribers. Oh, my gosh.
[00:28:41] T: Yeah. Her dog is always falling asleep on her guitar while she's playing. It's so cute and so peaceful.
[00:28:48] BH: I will have to check that out.
[00:28:49] T: My second pick is also on YouTube. It's from the productivity channel, Mike and Maddie. Ben, I feel like you'd really them. They have a whole series just on smart notes and note-taking. They have a few of these, but I linked to one of the videos that Maddie made on his evidence-based morning routine for healthy productivity. Usually when I watch these videos, I feel really stressed out, because it's like, they wake up at 4 a.m. They eat the oatmeal from their clean fridge, where they have 50 oatmeals pre-made. Then they go exercise for three hours. Then this one, it's pretty chill as far as morning routines go. Even for me, I felt it seemed pretty doable. Even if there were days when I couldn't do it, it was just a nice video and they explained the reasons behind all the choices in the routine. I thought it was super interesting.
[00:29:40] BH: Nice. Definitely have to check that out.
[00:29:42] T: My next pick, I think I was trying to answer a question that maybe Eduardo asked on Twitter. He had a screenshot with a cursive font and I didn't know what it was, but I just went into this spiral of looking up cursive monospace fonts and I found this one that I really liked in the – they show the fonts in Vivo, sometimes in the previews when you're shopping for fonts. I thought it looked really nice and clean and also rounded and soft.
It's called Cartograph. There is a non-cursive style and a cursive style. Also, one thing that I don't think is called out super explicitly when you're looking at it is it also has ligatures. Yeah, I’m pretty excited to try it out with coding and see how that goes. Also, by the time we're recording this, actually, it was also added to Sailor HG's computer cuter site, so you can also see it there, which is nice.
[00:30:34] BH: Very cool.
[00:30:34] T: My last pick is I just started playing Fire Emblem 3 Houses for the Switch. I did not know what I was getting into. I just wanted an 8-bit tactics game and it is not that.
[00:30:48] BH: Nope. No, it's not.
[00:30:50] T: It's basically like, so many games combined in one. There's the social links in Persona, except what if you don't hear what anybody says to you? They're just sitting there with a cup of tea and nodding, but time still passes and there's fishing in Dark Cloud 2 and a ridiculously gigantic empty world, like in Kingdom Hearts 1. It's so many different games rolled into one. There is a lot there. There are definitely interesting aspects to it, but it is also 3000% not an 8-bit tactics game. Those are my picks.
[00:31:23] BH: All right. Thanks, Tessa. David, what picks you have for us this week?
[00:31:26] DA: I’ve got two. First, I have a Hey e-mail address. I think hey.com is great. I’m not getting paid to say this.
[00:31:34] T: More like not getting hey’d.
[00:31:36] DA: I paid them in their service. Really, it's nothing profound. It's just by default, everything's blocked and you have to let it in. It's refreshing that my e-mail has become boring.
[00:31:46] AH: Oh, my God. I want a plus one on the hey.com. I was literally just having a discussion about Hey at work and my boss was just like, brought up ProtonMail, because if they're a US-based company, technically, you can't ever guarantee that they're not spying on you. I was like, “Oh my God. Adam.” No, he's absolutely right. Hey is amazing. Hey has changed the game for me. Game changer. Not afraid of newsletters, or signing up first anything. I don't care anymore. E-mail me all you want, you're muted.
[00:32:18] DA: In fact, I’ll put my money where my mouth is. Davidashe@hey.com.
[00:32:22] AH: Amal.firstname.lastname@example.org. You can reach me there. Also, my Twitter DMs are open.
[00:32:27] BH: Bencodezen@hey.com.
[00:32:30] AC: I’m not cool.
[00:32:30] T: @hey.com. Wait. Not email@example.com?
[00:32:36] AC: @hey.com. I bet that's real. Poor person.
[00:32:43] DA: Now, my second pick is – this is a little old. Because of COVID, I’ve been spending a lot more time watching Netflix than I normally do. I just found Dating Around on Netflix. If you haven't seen this show, it's a really well produced, not super trashy reality show, but it's a reality show. It's very entertaining to see how at times, very misbehaved people are on dates, even though cameras are rolling. It's not like a pull off your earrings and be better people misbehaving. It's more like, this guy forgot he's on camera and he has mental issues. Then also, legitimate cutie romances actually may be happening. Then also, lots of awkward – I guess, my wife always say when we watched it like, “Wow. We almost missed dating. Wasn't it nice?” Then it's like, on the other hand, it's also really difficult and awkward and stressful. Thank God, I never have to do this again. Unless, my wife dies and then I guess, I have to do it again.
[00:33:32] AH: Do not miss dating. Just going to leave that there.
[00:33:36] BH: Last but not least, as far as my picks go for transitioning from IC to manager, as far as resources go, I recommend Nonviolent Communication, which is a book. The NVC which is the acronym for non-violent communication is a whole model on thinking about how we communicate and a lot of times the language that we use. Honestly, even if you're not thinking about becoming a manager, I found that it's super applicable to just day-to-day. I highly recommend that.
Then especially, if you're a manager, check out Difficult Conversations, because it addresses precisely those things, the hard things that we have to talk about and how to do that with empathy. Some of these are a little bit academic sometimes and can be a little dry, but if this is something that you're passionate about, definitely great resources to keep in mind.
For my fun pick of the week, for those who are on Steam and have a PC, I recommend a game called Hades. The premise of the game is that you're the prince of the lord of the underworld and your goal is to try to escape the underworld. It has that gaming mechanic that I’ve seen in a lot of games lately, where there's infinite replay value, because every run has different randomized things. It's basically really, really hard to get to the end, so you get a lot of replay value out of it and the voice acting and everything, the quality of the game is really good. It's only on version 0.3 and I could have sworn it was an official release, but they're not even done with the ending yet. That's how good it is. Highly recommend it if you want to look for a good one-player game.
[00:34:57] AH: Wait, I didn't get the memo on these picks needing to be fun. All right. No. I mean, the TV shows I picked are entertaining, but we're really talking about fun. I’m just kidding. We're not going to go there. We don't have enough time.
[00:35:14] BH: Next time, Amal. We'll have for the next time.
[00:35:16] AH: Next time.
[00:35:18] BH: All right. Well, with that, thanks everybody for listening. Until next time, enjoy the Vue.