Episode 88 - March 7, 2022

Learning in Public about Learning in Public with Gift Egwuenu

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There are very few barriers keeping you from creating the career you want. For many developers, formal education no longer matters. What matters is demonstrating your skill and your dedication to the craft you’ve chosen to pursue. When you learn in public, you do just that; you share your skill development and your work in progress online. Originally from Lagos, Nigeria, today’s guest is a frontend developer, content creator, speaker, and conference contributor who advocates for the benefits of learning in public. Gift Egwuenu relocated to the Netherlands in 2020 to begin her journey as a Frontend Engineer at Passionate People, a Javascript-focused consultancy based in Amsterdam. Since then, Gift has gained experience working in various environments, with various people, and in a multitude of frameworks and, in today’s episode, she shares some of the pros and cons of learning in public and what it means, from sharing what you’re learning on Twitter to creating video tutorials and live streams. We touch on the concept of conference-driven development, self-motivated learning versus audience-driven content, and work-life balance, and we share some of our favorite resources and suggestions for getting started on your learning in public journey! For all this and so much more, including our weekly picks (of course!), make sure not to miss this insightful conversation with Gift Egwuenu!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Introducing Gift Egwuenu and today’s topic: learning in public.
  • The concept of conference-driven development and #100DaysOfCode as public learning.
  • Why Gift believes that Twitter isn’t necessarily the best forum for public learning.
  • Alternative methods for learning in public, including YouTube videos or Twitch streams.
  • Alex and Tessa share their opposing views on the benefits of seeing learners struggle.
  • How having knowledgeable guests on your stream can be beneficial.
  • Why you get more flexibility from having a specific framing context for public learning.
  • Gift highlights the value of using her edited video content as practice for live streams.
  • Creating audience-driven content versus self-motivated learning in public.
  • How learning in public can engender accountability, according to Tessa.
  • Gift shares the benefits of learning in public, from gaining visibility to community support.
  • The panel reflects on the challenges of maintaining a healthy work-life balance while also learning in public and creating content consistently.
  • Setting boundaries around learning in public without creating extra work for yourself.
  • Some of Gift’s favorite resources, including Shawn Wang and Kent C. Dodds.
  • Tips for getting started, from setting yourself up for success to embracing failure.
  • Gift’s advice for those who want to try public learning: don’t take it too seriously!
  • This week’s picks: United Parcel Service, live-action Sweet Home, Sally Rooney, and more!
  • What headphones Gift is currently using and whether or not she likes them.


“A lot of people [think], ‘Why would I come out and publicly humiliate myself? Because this is not something that I'm an expert in.’ They shy away from doing it, but I like to advocate for [public learning], because of the benefits that it comes with.” — @lauragift_ [0:09:54]

“One of the reasons that learning in public is popular is because it can engender accountability.” — @EnjoyTheVueCast [0:22:39]

“Job opportunities, getting access to mentors, or just people helping you out is another benefit you get out of [public learning].” — @lauragift_ [0:25:51]

“The most important thing is to have fun with it. No one’s sponsoring you. No one’s paying you to do it. If you're just doing it for the heck of it, have fun with it. Learn however you want to learn. Don't let anybody get you down.” — @EnjoyTheVueCast [0:41:35]

“Feel free to ask questions. Feel free to make mistakes. That's definitely the idea of [public learning] in the first place. You're not perfect, so you learn stuff, break stuff, and then you get better at it.” — @lauragift_ [0:43:30]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Where to find Gift Egwuenu online:

This week's picks:


[00:00:10] AR: Hey, everybody. Welcome to Enjoy the Vue. I'm Alex. Today, on our panel we have Tessa.

[00:00:17] T: Hello.

[00:00:19] AR: And Oscar.

[00:00:20] O: Hello.

[00:00:21] AR: Our special guest for this episode is Gift Egwuenu. Gift, would you like to introduce yourself?

[00:00:28] GE: Hi, everyone. Gift Egwuenu. I currently work as a front-end consultant at Passionate People. I also am a content creator. I like to call myself that. I really enjoy making stuff for the community, whether this be developer guides, YouTube videos on topics like Vueches, for example, front-end development. I also spend most of my time watching Netflix. That's how I pass time. Yeah.

[00:00:59] AR: I do that quite a bit, too. Right there with you. I’m going to start off with this, I guess, as an opening question, who here has tried learning something in front of a bunch of people? Tessa, I think you had some thoughts on this concept. Learning in public, have you done any of this before?

[00:01:20] T: Thoughts is certainly a way to describe my knee-jerk reaction, which is like on purpose. I feel like you drank the Lacroix just so you could do a spit take that nobody will see. Also, in general, I would describe my life philosophy as trying to do as little learning as possible. No, I'm kidding. I do feel like, usually, learning in public refers to some presentational aspect. Since most of the public content that I put out is already completed, it's a completed presentation, or is a completed blog post or something, I feel I'm not really learning in public. Maybe I learned, “Oh, great. I did it. I could do it,” but that's not really what we're talking about here. I learned Rust in public.

[00:02:08] AR: Yeah. I mean, I think that's an interesting take on it, the I'm learning something, but then I'm presenting what I learned in public, as opposed to learning in public. Oscar, how about you? Do you have any experience in learning in public?

[00:02:20] O: Yeah. I was going to say, I feel like, on the second part of that, I do it all the time. I'll sign myself up for some conference talk or something, on some topic I know absolutely nothing about. Yeah, I learn it when I'm reading the docs, when I'm trying to put something together, but I'm really learning it when I'm on stage, trying to explain it to a bunch of people, I feel like, is usually how it happens for me. I feel like, I haven't had any first-hand experience of truly just learning something in front of a bunch of people.

[00:02:52] T: Yeah. I guess, there's asynchronous learning in public or asynchronous futuro masochism, or something. You're like, “I want to give a talk, but I don't have any talks to prep for this conference. You know what's a good thing to do? I wouldn't worry about it. Future me is going to worry about it. That's their problem. Good luck. Bye.”

[00:03:10] O: I hate future me. I am so bad to future me. It's not good.

[00:03:14] T: I'm future me right now. I'm so sad.

[00:03:18] AR: I'm very angry at past me right now for that exact reason. Yes.

[00:03:22] GE: It's funny what you said about learning something before you give a talk about it. There’s a popular saying. It's called conference-driven development.

[00:03:30] O: I love that. Oh, my Lord. I love that so much.

[00:03:33] GE: We, of course, use that time to prep and also learn, of course, what you're going to be presenting. In my own experience, I think I have done learning in public, even without realizing that that's what it is. I say, my tech career as obviously front-end developer. At the time, I wanted to learn JavaScript. Of course, I was learning these things on my own, just watching videos, building stuff on my own, until I found the community called #100DaysOfCode. It's basically this thing where you commit to saying, “Oh, for the next 100 days, I'm going to commit to learning a specific technology.”

You don't just learn. You also share what you're doing. I did this challenge at the time. That was basically learning in public for me, because I would learn a new concept, come on to it and say, “Oh, this is nice. This is something that I learned today. I built this thing with it.” To me, that was my first introduction to the whole concept of public learning. I really liked it a lot at the time, because it really helped First, with having a community, because it's, of course, a very popular challenge. We see a lot of people also involved in it. You get to meet other developers that are also learning JavaScript. It's very nice if you're in that stage where you're just trying to get into tech and you’re learning something, some nice challenge to take on.

[00:05:04] AR: I hadn't really thought about #100DaysOfCode being a learning in public thing. Now that you're explaining it, I can totally see that that is – I love that idea of – yeah, just talk about what it is that you're working on. Learning in public isn't necessarily being on video, and oh, watch me read documentation, right? It's just like, “Hey, I'm learning about this thing. How does this thing work?” Then just having that conversation. I think that's really interesting. I haven't thought about that before.

[00:05:33] O: Yeah. It's good to get that perspective from someone who's actually done it, because I see the tweets all the time. I see, “#100DaysOfCode.” I'm like, “Alright. Should I be writing some code for 100 days? I don't know. What is this?” Everyone's always so hyped. Every single time I see one of those tweets, everyone's like, “Yeah, get it.” I think, that's amazing.

[00:05:52] T: Although, I will say, I think the last time that I saw something about 100Days in my Twitter feed, it was people expressing dismay that it got taken over by Grifters, and simultaneously, people warning other people who were using that hashtag for its original intended purpose, to find a new hashtag or something, because it had been taken over. I'm not sure if that's still the case.

[00:06:17] GE: Yeah. I also noticed that as well. When I did this, it was 2017. It was definitely still very relevant. Of course, right now, a lot of people use it for another ulterior purpose. I feel like, there's still the genuine ones that are actually trying to learn stuff, using it for the initial purpose that it was created for. Of course, there's a lot of noise. Definitely, if you go on to the search for a #100DaysOfCode, I bet you, the first 50 tweets you see, it's just actually no people doing it, what it is basically for. There's a lot of noise there.

Again, it could be that you decide to do that challenge, but not using Twitter as a platform for it. I've seen a lot of people doing it on, for example, LinkedIn. I’m not sure if it's a very good place for that kind of thing. Or platforms like Hashnode, or dev.co, where you write blog posts on the stuff that you're learning. Which is also a great way to do it that way. For example, I feel like, Twitter is not a long-term way. It's not a place where you could generate – how to explain this. If you make a tweet on Twitter, it’s probably going to be obsolete in three hours. Because of course, people just scroll past it. If you have a blog post or if you write it on your personal blog, for example, then long-form, and longer-lived content in that way.

=I guess, maybe not doing it on Twitter, and maybe having your own platform for sharing the stuff that you’re doing. That would be a better option.

[00:08:03] AR: Yeah. I know that I struggle with writing longer-form content all the time, so I like the nice dopamine version of making a single tweet and being like, “I've put something out into the world that's creative.” But no, you've screamed something into the abyss sometimes. I like the idea of, make your own content, make your own platform, where you can really dig into stuff.

[00:08:29] T: Yeah. I mean, for me, I like being in the category of one premium tweet, where a lot of people are going to pay me to stop tweeting. Alex is nodding vigorously.

[00:08:38] AR: I will sign up and I will just send you a bunch of regular dash quotes.

[00:08:42] T: Oh, my God. I'm really going to make that keyboard.

[00:08:47] AR: Yeah, okay. What other methods are there for learning in public then? We’ve talked about just talking about what you're learning. Are there other methods? Are there other ways? What is another way that somebody can get into this? Where would you want to go with something like this?

[00:09:05] GE: Sure. I can talk about this. Personally, I've tried a couple of different things that could also be tagged learning in public. Apart from, for example, sharing your work on Twitter, you could also register or speak at meetups and conferences, just like Oscar said, conference-driven development. You can also make YouTube videos or Twitch streams. I've seen a lot of people doing that as well now. For example, you could choose the stream where you are trying to learn the Nuxt. While you're trying to figure stuff out, just have other people there watching you, guiding you. Something like that could also be a very nice way of doing it.

I definitely know that I would recommend a lot of grit and effort, because like a lot of people feel some kind of way. Why would I come out and publicly humiliate myself? Because this stuff is not something that I'm an expert in. They shy away from doing it. I like to advocate for this stuff, because of the benefits that it comes with, which I’ll probably talk about. For me, what I do is if I – how I create content. Of course, I create content on stuff that I'm pretty much familiar with Vue. I also use the avenue, use that avenue that I have. For example, if I'm trying to level up on a specific technology, I might decide that it might be nice to make a video about this and I use that as an opportunity to learn it, and also teach it, so it gives me the benefits of I have fresh perspective on this specific technology and teaching it to other people or just sharing it would help other learners that are also trying to learn it, gain knowledge from what I've shared.

I would definitely say, making videos or streams. Twitch streams is another avenue you can use for learning in public. The one that I've seen recently is people sketch noting, or drawing cartoons. There are a lot of people that do this as well. I'm not very artistic, so of course, I've never tried this. I know some people that are very good at this. There is someone that I follow. Her name is Meteor. She draws a lot of sketch notes on Azure-related things. For example, what is Azure? Or how do you deploy some kind of things on the cloud with just sketch? She shares it. She has a website for it. Me, as a learner, if that's the kind of – there are different ways people like to learn stuff. If you're a visual learner, that's something you can resonate with, if you want to check that out. There are pretty much other ways, but these are the ones that I can think of right now.

[00:12:09] AR: I love seeing people's sketch notes. I can't do sketch notes. I've tried. I start sketching something, and then I've missed half the talk. I can't do sketch notes. I have to either be focusing on one or the other. I love seeing other people's because I'm just like, “Oh, that looks so cool.” Then like, “Oh, yeah. I get it. I get what they're talking about. Okay, cool. Yeah. yeah, yeah.” I find it also interesting that you talk about Twitch streaming and making videos. Do you do much with streaming then? Or are you more of a – you like to just make edited videos, or a little bit of both?

[00:12:47] GE: Right now, I'm more of an edited video person. I've tried streaming once or twice. I'm actually getting into it again soon. For me, what I do is, in that case, because it's not live, I make the video, edit it and then upload it.

[00:13:04] AR: Yeah. I think, one of the nice things, for me at least, is seeing when somebody is Twitch streaming, I like to see somebody struggle a little bit. I like to know, oh, okay, they're running into issues doing this thing. When you have a nice, edited video that that part of it gets removed, you're just like, “Then, here's the thing, and here's how we do it,” but you're not showing the, “I have no idea how this thing – What is this thing?”

[00:13:34] T: I'm the complete opposite. I don't like sketch notes, and I don't like watching people struggle. I don't want to say that I don't like people taking sketch notes. I think, whatever method works for them is fine. When they put it online for me to consume – A while ago, I really wanted to read From Hell. I bought it. I brought it home and I opened it up. Every single page was written in this very thin, handwritten font. It was very hard to read.

[00:14:07] AR: Was it Comic Sans? Was it a very thin Comic Sans?

[00:14:09] T: No. It was literally handwritten. I didn't read it. It was too hard. That's how I feel when I look at sketch notes. What if somebody wants to share the learnings with me, but it was hard for me to read it? Then that also activates my comic brain, even though that's not the point of the notes. I'm like, how are the images and the text working together? Are they? I'm not so sure.

That's something that would be inherently difficult to do with sketch notes. Yet, that's what I started thinking about when I see them. Then in terms of struggling, too, I like people acknowledging, “Oh, I struggled with this, or I thought that was confusing,” but for me, personally, watching somebody for 30 minutes being like, “Oh, I don't know why this isn't working.” I also have no clue why it isn't working. We're both just sitting there stumped, is not how I would personally choose to spend my day.

[00:14:58] O: Yeah. I think, that's interesting, because I've noticed certain people starting to stream more coding and things like that on say, Twitch. It's really interesting. Because even though folks can be struggling through something, they can be entertaining about it, too. Maybe, the point isn't necessarily just to watch to learn from them, or watch them do the thing, but it can really just be for straight entertainment and just how they react to encountering that bug, or that sense of community you feel when you and 200 other chatters are there, when you finally find the one-character difference that was causing this bug all along. Everyone together, shouts [inaudible 00:15:38], chats going wild. Being like, “Oh, we did it.” It's fun.

I mean, also, maybe, I personally benefited from folks streaming content. If you get in the chat, you can nerd snipe people into helping fix bugs in your open-source projects, which I think is awesome. Even just watching them go through that process and learning how, oh, this how someone's going to come to your project and get involved and whatnot. You can see firsthand where people are getting tripped up and whatnot. It's interesting. I don't know. Yeah. I think, I definitely agree, certainty in a one-on-one situation of just watching someone struggle, I'm probably going to be like, “Yeah, this sucks. Why are we here?”

[00:16:24] AR: I know, on my stream, there are times where I just end the stream. I'm just like, “Well, I've been sitting here for five minutes reading documentation. This is probably really boring to everybody. I'm going to go, figure out how this works, and then come back.”

[00:16:35] T: When you were stuck on that alpine bug, I was like, “Oh, this is painful.” Through no fault of your own. Just, if you're doing something by yourself, there's going to be a lot of reading, and there's no way around it. Reading it out loud isn't necessarily going to make it more exciting. For me, when I'm doing Rust, at least there's other people there that know more or less, and there's also banter. Otherwise, it would just be me staring at a screen and be like, “Huh? Why isn't this working?”

[00:17:02] GE: I think, what works in this case is having guests, people more familiar with the tech you're trying to learn, if that's possible to do. There's a show that I like watching, Leno Jason, where invites, of course, other people more knowledgeable in the specific area. Then in that case, you reduce the struggling a bit, because then they are there, and they can easily just help you if you're trying to figure out stuff. Maybe there could be a better way of doing that. Like I said, not everybody has access to experts in a specific area they are trying to learn stuff.

[00:17:43] T: Yeah. I was going to say, I think making a specific framing context is key, whether it's for sketch notes or for learning in public. Having as a scope that you've decided on in advance. Because there have definitely been at least two to three times I've been in a conference talk in the audience. We had to try to debug the speaker's code live. I think that was exciting, because everything was already prepared. They already had an idea of where they want to go. It's a very contained project.

The ways in which there could be an issue are limited by those factors, as opposed to like, “Oh, I don't know anything about this thing. I'm going to go try it.” Then, there could be a million things that are wrong. In that same way, if you're like, I'm going to go learn something from someone else, that also limits the scope. That gives you more maneuverability and flexibility around addressing the growing pains of learning something new.

[00:18:40] AR: Tessa, I like your method, where you have somebody else on, and you are going through Rust examples, where it's very clear like, here's where you want to end up with this example. Here's the end goal. Being able to have that conversation. Because that is very challenging, too, is that when you're on stream, or you're getting started as a streamer, especially, not having anybody there to have that conversation with. It's challenging, which is where if you get started doing just edited videos, where you can be like, “Here's the thing I made, and here's how I did it,” and go through and make all of it, and then cut out the dead air of you going like, “What is this thing? Why isn’t this – What’s in that?”

[00:19:28] GE: I have a lot of thoughts, because when you make the videos beforehand, of course, you have a lot of mistakes. There are times when I've tried recording a video and I didn't know my audio was off.

[00:19:42] AR: Oh, no.

[00:19:44] T: Oh, that's happened so many times. Yeah.

[00:19:46] AR: Oh, no.

[00:19:47] GE: I had to do it twice. that was hell. When people see it and they don't know. They don't know, “Oh, this is what she had to go through to get this finished product.” I definitely have pains there as well. What something that I knew is, if you consistently keep doing it as much as every other thing in life of constant practice, you get better at doing it. The same applies to also, streaming. When you just getting started, it might feel a bit daunting. Sometimes, you might feel like, “Why am I even doing this? Is this even worth it? I could just learn on my own in my room, and that's great.” I feel like, if you consistently keep doing it, you probably get better at it. That's my own view.

[00:20:41] T: Yeah. For context, what Alex was referring to is I'm going through a package of pre-created exercises called Rustlings. Yeah, I'm actually filled with dread about it on the regular, because I'm like, what do I do after I'm done with these exercises? At this point, I'm pretty confident that when I'm done, I'm not going to be able to do anything practical in Rust. It's like, what next? I have no more guardrails.

I think, yeah. In terms of limiting scope, also determining what you want your motivations to be, can be important as well. For me, I see, and this is just for me, personally. I feel like, generally, when you're giving prepared content, the primary motivation for me is audience-driven. Then, I see learning and public as more for yourself, especially depending on how much polish you want your learning in public stuff to have, and there's a wide spectrum of things there that I've seen and heard about.

Going back to the example of well, if you learn in public, it'll keep you going. That can be true. For example, a couple weeks ago, I tried a few times to work on some art assignments that I had in public. I was like, okay, it's something – the homework is already something I didn't want to do, but I already had the motivating factor of it’s homework, so I had to do it. Then on top of that, adding, okay, now I'm also doing it on camera, and speaking about it, which is also slowing me down and adding additional things to worry about and pressure and slowing down my computer. I tried it twice. Then I was like, okay, I didn't like it the first time. Definitely didn’t like it the second time. Also, it wasn't necessarily the best candidate for learning in public, because I already had a different motivating factor. I think, one of the reasons that learning in public is popular is because it can engender accountability.

[00:22:46] GE: Yeah, it’s true. I definitely agree from my own context, is also, not everything that I would learn in public, because I feel like, there are some – For example, if you have tax time books that you have to deliver in a week, you wouldn't want to do that in public. In the case where I'm trying to learn a new technology, and I feel like, I'm doing this in my own free time. That’s a good candidate for something I could learn in public. I did this a couple of months back for cloud. I was trying to learn AWS and I started, of course, sharing stuff that I was doing on that area. Definitely, I agree with you there. It's not everything you'd want to learn in public.

[00:23:34] T: Yeah. Earlier, you alluded to a list of advantages of learning in public. I feel like, this might be a good time to talk more about what those are.

[00:23:44] GE: Yeah, sure. There are a couple of things that you get out of doing this. For example, if your initial idea for putting yourself out there, learning in public is to gain more visibility, or land the job. It's a thing that have happened that a lot of people find more exposure from doing this. For example, right now, there are a lot of tech jobs, obviously. If you're new in the tech development space with a limited amount of experience, how then do you stand out in the job markets? I've seen that, for people that do learning in public, creating blog posts, streaming, and so on, it’s an added advantage, because if a recruiter is trying to employ you and they Google your name, and they come across something you did, which may end up being impressive, that's already one factor that this person might be a good hire.

I've seen that for one benefit that comes out of you doing these things is you put yourself in a better position to land jobs, if that's what you're looking for. Lots of job opportunities, as well as I've seen situations where somebody possibly posted on Twitter saying, oh, they're trying to figure out this stuff. The creator of the specific language replied to them. That's not something you get on a regular, right? If they had not come up to say, I did this, and I'm trying to figure it out, that's the fact of learning in public there. They will have access to, for example, the creator of the language replying to them, or the creator of the framework, in this case, replying to them.

You get access to, for example, more experienced people in the area that you're trying to learn in public. I've seen that the tech community is quite open to helping people. Really, if you come off like, you need help, in a very respectable manner, of course. Job opportunities definitely getting access to mentors, or just people helping you out is also another benefit you get out of doing that. In my own case, I would say, I started out with a #100DaysOfCode, like I said. What I've gained from doing that is I eventually found out that I really like sharing the stuff that I'm doing, even if it's things that I'm learning or things that I just want to teach other people.

The interest for doing all these things, creating content, spanned out of the initial #100DaysOfCode challenge that I took on. Since I started that, back four years ago, I consistently keep making these things that I do, speaking at conferences, writing blog posts. That's one benefit that I've gotten out of the entire concept of learning in public. It's something that, if I had not at the time, decided to do, I probably would not be here, or I probably would not be making videos, or something. Yeah. Benefits.

[00:27:03] T: Yeah. I guess, I hadn't really thought about it this way before now. It's funny that Alex opens the episode with, do you learn in public? Because we're literally learning in public on the podcast every week. Might even be learning in public about learning in public.

[00:27:21] O: It's true.

[00:27:21] AR: It is true.

[00:27:23] GE: Very meta. Yeah.

[00:27:24] AR: Very meta. Yeah. 

[00:27:26] T: Oh, no. We can't use that word anymore.

[00:27:29] AR: Oh, yeah. We can't. We have to call it something else now. It's very –

[00:27:31] T: Alphabet. Oh, that's not it either.

[00:27:33] AR: Alphabet. Yeah. [Inaudible 00:27:33].

[00:27:36] GE: Interesting. Facebook copyrighted that word. No?

[00:27:41] T: I don't think so.

[00:27:43] AR: Yeah, it's complicated.

[00:27:44] O: It's super-duper, duper complicated.

[00:27:48] T: I like how, what are the little wee people called? Me's? That's the pinnacle of think technology or whatever, is like this 20-year-old avatar. I guess, also, if you really enjoy the act of creating the type of content that you use to present you’re learning in public, like maybe you like writing. You enjoy getting to write tons of blog posts. I would say, I'm more on the end of, I don't remember who said this quote, but I enjoy having written something. That's more where I'm at. I don't want to do the thing. Once I'm done, I'm like, “Oh, I feel accomplished.”

I think, regardless of what medium or mediums you choose, or dev2 that you choose, it's still a ton of work, right? Do you have free time? How do you maintain work-life balance, and learn in public and have your job and all of that?

[00:28:54] GE: I would say, that's a struggle for me. I don't know how other people do it. Of course, I work a nine-to-five. The only time that I have for doing the extra stuff that I do is my weekends, which is of course, not very nice. My weekends, and sometimes after work hours. For example, now this is after work hours.

Lately, I've been trying to figure out the best possible way to go about this, because of course, I want to maintain a work-life balance. I started giving myself the leverage of taking some time off of doing it. Usually, earlier on in the year, I would work literally every day of the week, Monday to Sunday, Monday to Sunday. I spend my weekends making videos and then I spend Sunday editing them.

The thing that people don't know is to get the work or to get the product finished, it takes a lot of work. I definitely enjoy doing it. Sometimes, I just feel like, it's a lot. I started taking breaks. Took a break two months ago. I think I'm still on that break space, because I haven't really gone back to actively creating as I used to. I would say, it's definitely a lot. Finding the balance is something that I'm still trying to figure out right now, because it's going to be different if that was my full-time job, right? If, for example, I work as a developer advocate or something, then you have the entire time to create content, since that's your job.

Otherwise, that’s not where I'm at right now. I try to spend my free time doing that sports. I also know that even I’m not feeling like doing it, then it should be fine. It's okay to take breaks and then go back to it.

[00:30:54] T: How are the rest of y'all? Are you experts in the balancing act?

[00:30:59] O: Nope. Not at all. Not even close. I'm absolutely terrible. I'm the worst at it. If I was honest with myself, the amount of time that I'm not working or sleeping every day is probably about two hours. It's the two hours that I'm having a meal. It's really bad. Yeah.

[00:31:15] T: I was going to guess. Having a meal and six Polar Seltzers.

[00:31:19] O: Correct. Absolutely right. Yeah. No, it's really bad for me. I know, I need to do better about it. I'm definitely not one to talk when I'm saying like, “Oh, yeah. Work-life balance,” because I'm actually the worst at it for sure. It's something that I want to work on, but it's hard. I feel like, I have so much stuff to do and only so many hours in the day. When else am I going to do it?

[00:31:43] AR: Yeah. I am also terrible at it. I actually, for the last month, I've not been doing stuff, because my kitchen has been under renovation, which is directly above my office. Later today, I'm planning on actually doing a stream, because I have my setup back. I can actually be here and not have construction happening over me. Yeah, it was forced time off from external activities, which didn't help, because then I was just like, “What do I do? What do I do?” Finding things outside of sitting in front of a screen and staring at stuff is probably very wise, but I'm terrible at it. I also am not the person to ask.

I think, anybody realistically, most people, if they are doing a podcast or anything that is not sponsored by a company and is not on work time, probably has issues with work-life balance, just saying. It's a thought. It's a thought that I have.

[00:32:47] T: I feel like, it's a very convenient thought to have on an episode, where Ari can't make it, because she's enjoying a nice vacation at a resort, or whatever.

[00:32:56] AR: Yeah. She's off vacationing somewhere.

[00:32:58] T: A healthy person. Yeah, I was confused what you meant by couldn't do anything, because your kitchen was being renovated. Because I was like, I mean, the kitchen is where I go to get a cookie. I don't know if I’d really describe that as doing things. “Oh, now I can't get my cookies. Darn.”

[00:33:12] AR: Well, no. It's because all of the hammering and loud stomping and power tools, literally, were happening over my head if I was in my office, because that is where my kitchen is. It's directly over my head.

[00:33:25] T: Yeah. No, I had initially missed the context of it being related to your streaming. I don't know why you didn't just stream the work on your kitchen. Sounds like, you weren't really dedicated to working in public.

[00:33:38] AR: Yeah. I thought about it. I thought about having a couple of streams where I took my phone and I'd be like, “Look at my new kitchen.” But I didn't.

[00:33:46] T: Because that's another question that I have. You hear about YouTubers, that the boundaries of what should and should not go on YouTube will get blurred. Everything becomes potential content. I feel like, it must be similar for learning in public. Either you feel pressure to find more things to learn in public about and republish, or there are things that you're not learning in public, but maybe you feel guilty that you're learning it in private.

[00:34:15] GE: I could see that. I also think on a personal level, that there is no pressure. It's not a forced thing that you must learn everything in public. It's just a concept that, of course, everybody learns in private, right? But hey, you can also do this thing publicly. If you feel like you want to learn one specific thing publicly, just to try out the concept and see how it turns out for you, then that's fine. You can simultaneously also be learning something else, and not want to showcase that as well.

I don't think there should be any pressure there. Because once you make it, it’s like, oh, I have to do this. Then it becomes extra work, and you don't want to add to the extra work you already have from your job, of course.

[00:35:04] T: Yeah. I feel like it's in a weird place where we've talked on the show before about how people often don't have hobbies anymore. Everything has to be turned into a side hustle, or monetized, or something. It's like, learning in public theoretically creates a space where you are able to present failures and not being perfect at something. However, then, it's possible, I think, for that compulsion to get transferred to the learning in public itself. Then when you're not, you're like, “Oh, but I could be using this to get more exposure. I'm not taking advantage of it or something.” Then, I could imagine some people feeling like, “Well, no. I'm not trying hard enough or maximizing my potential.”

Especially if you're searching for your first job. I feel like, that would be a very high-pressure situation, potentially. If you get people, like if you're blogging, for example, and they’re replying to this, “Well, that's completely wrong. You have a fundamental misunderstanding of how the for loop works," or something. That could also potentially be pretty tough to deal with, I imagine. Although, when I've seen people share their early learning victories on Twitter, on my timeline, I've really only seen positive encouraging reactions, which is nice. I also don’t know how when these people want to get started learning in public, what resources there are. How they just go start doing it.

[00:36:28] GE: Yeah. I think, a lot of people probably already start doing it without knowing that it is [inaudible 0:36:33] concepts. I've seen that there are people that constantly talking about this kind of things on platforms, like for example, Twitter. There's this guy called Shawn. I learned about this from him. Actually, he would memo about the concept of learning in public what it is, how do you go about doing it. He also has a lot of other resources from people that have also explored the concepts. It's actually very nice. Maybe we could probably link it somewhere here for people interested.

In terms of resources, I think more people are actually sharing their ideas or how they think about these concepts. Some example, I read one article from Kent C. Dodds on this specific topic, and what he thinks about the concept of learning in public, how you can apply it to, for example, the current situation of what you're doing. In his case, creating courses. Also, other people have written blog posts on this. I feel like, there are a lot of resources, even though they aren’t collated in one place. You see other people doing it as well. You learn from them in that regard.

[00:37:57] T: Yeah. I guess, what are everyone else's recommendations on how to get started?

[00:38:00] AR: I know that one of the big inspirations for me doing stuff like this was Simone Giertz.

[00:38:10] T: The robot person.

[00:38:12] AR: Yeah. The queen of the Shitty Robots. Her whole thing was, make something that's bad, so that – Make the goal be make something bad, so that it's easier to –

[00:38:26] T: This explains so much about you already.

[00:38:28] AR: Yeah. I know, right? It makes it easier to reach your goal. She's made robots where it's like, I think the first one that she made was the alarm clock that just has a hand that spins on it and slaps you to wake you up. All of these weird mechanical contraptions that her whole ethos started off with making terrible things. She's moved on now. The stuff that she makes, it's weird, but it's also really clever. She made a light that has a plant on top of it, so it has all of these vines draping down on it, but it's a chandelier as well. She has a very small house, so that works well in her space.

[00:39:07] T: She also made her dream bed, which I found very claustrophobic. Just thinking – I'm upset now.

[00:39:15] AR: Yeah. She makes all of these things that work for the stuff that she's doing. She's cut back a little bit on how much content she's producing. She's dealt with a lot of stuff. That's my whole thing is that I'm like, if you're going to learn something in public, don't try to be like, “I'm going to create the next Facebook in public.” You're not setting yourself up for success on that. Make it be, I'm going to have a Flexbox at the end of this. I'll have a slightly better understanding of Flexbox at the end of this. That's it. That's all that you need. We don't need the next Facebook. If you want to learn in public –

[00:40:00] T: We don’t need the current Facebook, let's be real.

[00:40:02] AR: No, that's true.

[00:40:03] O: Meta.

[00:40:04] AR: Meta. Yeah. That's my tip, is set yourself up for success. Don't stack the odds against yourself. Stack the odds so that you always come out in exactly where you wanted to be. Oscar, do you have any thoughts?

[00:40:21] O: Yeah. I'd say, it's mostly echoing a lot of what you've said. Because granted, I'm often very ambitious with things that I want to learn, or things that I want to create. I think, I'm probably going to get way in over my head when I start trying some of this out for myself. I'm going to get on Twitch. I'm going to say, “Oh, yeah. Here we go.” If only Ari were here, so she can be saying like, “He and I start every Twitch stream with, ‘Oh, baby. Let's go.’"

[00:40:49] T: There we go. Finally, on the recording. It's happening.

[00:40:54] O: Yeah, I'm going to say that. I'm going to be like, “Oh, by the end of the stream, this is going to be implemented. We're going to have learned this thing, or whatever.” I think, I'm going to fail a lot. I think, that's okay, too. It's fine.

[00:41:08] T: No.

[00:41:08] O: No, it’s not okay. Well, I think it's fine if I fail sometimes. If the folks who are watching along are having a good time, I'm probably going to crack a couple jokes here and there while I'm trying to learn something. All right, as I'm reading some documentation, making it interesting, just being – I’m like, “Should they have written it this way?” You can fun with it. I guess, that's what I'm going to say is the most important thing is have fun with it. No one’s sponsoring you. No one’s paying you to do it. If you're just doing it for the heck of it, yeah, have fun with it. Learn however you want to learn. Don't let anybody get you down. That's my advice.

[00:41:48] T: Yeah. I mean, that makes me think like, “Oh, gosh. I wish there wasn't so much secrecy around take-home challenges,” which again, I try to avoid as much as possible. That's usually when I have the most thoughts about documentation is when I have to do some of these take-home challenges. I'm like, “Wow, I have so many thoughts about the way this is written, the information architecture, wow, this endpoint.” Yeah, that's a tangent off most important point, which is I hope you have an oh, baby counter on the bottom of your string that goes up every time you say it.

[00:42:13] O: It only goes up and I’ll only say it when I get a donor.

[00:42:18] AR: Gift. Do you have any advice for people wanting to get into this, or wanting to start doing stuff like this?

[00:42:25] GE: Yes. Currently, no codes going outside. That doesn’t get short-spaced. Advice would be that, definitely you should do this for personal reasons. For example, you want to get into specific things, the technology. You feel like, this is going to be a good avenue of doing that. You shouldn't feel pressured to do stuff, because of course, you see that maybe other people are doing it, or this is the thing – the in thing right now. You should also start off with, for example, a goal. Like, this is what I want to get out of doing this. If I'm able to achieve this, then I'm good to go.

In general, make it fun. Definitely, putting yourself out there is already a lot. If you can try to do this, then definitely make it fun. Play around with stuff that you're doing. Feel free to ask questions. Feel free to make mistakes. That's definitely the idea of doing it in the first place. You're not perfect, so you learn stuff, break stuff, and then you get better at it. Yeah, That's going to be my advice.

[00:43:50] AR: Anybody else?

[00:43:50] T: Yeah. I mean, for me, I feel like, the most important thing is, pick the medium that you hate the least. If you hate writing blog posts, maybe don't commit to learning in public by writing blog posts. Pick the thing that you think will create the least friction in terms of you actually doing the thing. Then, some other things that you could take into consideration when you're trying to pick is, what is the scope of your goal? Is it, “I just want to make a Flexbox?” Is it, “I just want to have tried this thing?” Is it just, “I just want to have streams three times this quarter?” Then also, think about what kind of engagement you would prefer, or at least, least not prefer.

If you find it hard, for example, to do something while people are chatting at you, then maybe don't do a Twitch stream, or turn off comments or something when you're live. Or, if you prefer to talk with people on Twitter, then maybe direct your content there. I think, that's something that we don't necessarily talk about when it comes to content creation and live, I mean, learning in public. At least for me personally, for example, I find it very taxing to do things if I have a lot of different stimuli going on. I just want to focus on one thing at a time. If I've talked to people on chat and on Twitter and also in person and five other things at the same time, probably not going to have the best time. I think, just think about what are the things that will bug you the least. Then if you do annoyance-driven development, then in terms of the problem itself, think of the thing that bugs you the most.

[00:45:22] T: All right. With that, Gift, where can people find you on the internet?

[00:45:31] GE: Definitely go by LauraGift. Funny story to that in first name there. You can find me on lauragift_ pretty much on all platforms; Twitter, Instagram. My personal website is my name, giftegwuenu.com. I also have a YouTube channel. It's also Gift Egwuenu, where I talk about tech-related stuff, life as a developer. Yeah.

[00:45:58] AR: Awesome. Well, let's move on. It is now time for this week's picks. Oscar, would you like to go first?

[00:46:08] O: Yeah. This pick is going to sound familiar.

[00:46:10] T: Oh, you were so ready for that.

[00:46:15] O: Yeah. I have previously picked Apple’s brand-new MacBook Pros. Today, I am happy to not pick the MacBook Pros today. Instead, I will pick the United Parcel Service in the United States, because they were some real heroes, all right. Because my new MacBook was supposed to come on the 9th at the earliest UPS told me this past Tuesday. I was like, “No. No way.” Then on Tuesday, I tracked it and they were like, “No, it's not coming today. I'm sorry.” Just keep checking every day. I was like, “Alright.”

I looked at it yesterday. It was in Korea. I was like, “Hmm, it's not going to be here anytime soon.” Then shocker, today at 11 a.m., I get a notification, “Yo, it's downstairs.” I'm like, “What?” I looked at the tracking and UPS did work to get it from Korea to my house in the past 24 hours. I'm truly impressed. Shout out to the United Parcel Service.

[00:47:16] T: Yeah, I don't know how shipping works. I feel like, sometimes something I order from Korea, or whatever, Japan, will get here faster than something I'll order from Minnesota.

[00:47:25] AR: Yup.

[00:47:25] GE: I also have the same thing going on. I ordered the MacBook Pro, October 16th, to be precise, and it's going to be delivered November 24th. That's a call one, one.

[00:47:39] O: I feel that.

[00:47:41] O: Yeah. It makes sense, because I'm in Europe. I guess, they're sourcing it from the US. That was pretty much the local thing. I'm not sure.

[00:47:50] O: I think, they're all coming from China. That's at least where mine originated. Yeah.

[00:47:54] T: See, I can't even join in on the new Mac hype, because I just keep waiting for them to release the Mac Mini M1X. I'm like, “Let's go. Hurry up. When is it? 2022. Come on. I need it.”

[00:48:06] O: That thick Mac Mini. Oh, yeah.

[00:48:08] T: Yeah. Because I mean, it'd be nice to have a new laptop, because my laptop is a bit weak at this point. I'm not going anywhere. The primary reason I want a new laptop is for graphics work. The iMac is pretty, but I already have a monitor on my desk. The M1 is really the most practical solution, if they would just freaking make it.

[00:48:30] O: I think they'll make it. I'm so ready for their marketing materials. You're going to go on their website, and it's going to say, “Mini to the max." You’re going to be so hyped.

[00:48:41] T: Mac mini max. That makes sense. Yeah.

[00:48:45] AR: I'm surprised that they won't rename it the M1N1. Mini M1N1.

[00:48:51] O: Yup. Now we heard you. Okay, got it.

[00:48:54] AR: There was blank expressions on everybody's face. I just wanted to be clear.

[00:48:58] T: I was like, which letters? Yes.

[00:49:00] AR: Tessa, do you want to talk about your picks?

[00:49:03] T: Yeah. I mean, I picked Gift’s picks, and she picked a book by Sally Rooney, who I learned from the Jack Edwards channel that I picked a few weeks ago. Her thing is having stories with no plot. I started listening to one of her books as well. I picked the cheapest one. I don't think it was a good choice for me, because it's all about cheaters. I was like, this is not super appealing to me. Another book in that same vein that I haven't been able to read yet, because I only have time for audiobooks right now, and this audiobook is a Kindle exclusive, which I think is evil, but whatever, is Play it as it Lays by Joan Didion. That's something I want to read, but have not yet.

I also, last month, finished Sweet Home, which is a liv- action show based on a webtoon called Sweet Home. In it, there's a character who is a firefighter, and there's a scene. This was part of the big motivation for me personally to watch the show, because I saw a screenshot of this on Twitter. You can see her latissimus dorsi, which is a giant muscle, a giant set of muscles on your back. You can pretty much never see it, because it's covered by all their stuff, but you can see it in the movie. It's creepy and fascinating. If you like anatomy, maybe watch out for that. Alex is making a face.

[00:50:17] AR: No, that sounds like not my cup of tea.

[00:50:20] T: I would say, that it is less cohesively or less designed feeling then Squid Game, where that had a very tight – it was presented in a very tight package. Sweet Home was a little bit more all over the place. Also, not completely, because you didn't understand the rules of the universe. It kept me guessing more. It was exciting to watch that, especially after Squid Game and feel more like, “Oh, what could happen next?” Almost anything.

Then the last pick I have for today, I don't know if I've talked about James Hoffman on the show before. He is an award-winning, international award-winning barista, who has his own – I think, he has his own coffee line. He has a YouTube channel, where he talks about coffee. He did a couple of videos relatively recently that I watched that were pretty funny. The one I'm going to recommend today is ‘I Tried Every Nespresso Pod’. It's a great example, I'll say, of learning in public, in extreme detail, what specifically it is about Nespresso that you don't like? Also, we, Alex and Oscar and I spent an hour yesterday talking about beverages, so it felt appropriate.

[00:51:31] O: Very appropriate.

[00:51:32] AR: Yes. Very. Gift, do you have any picks? Tessa alluded to some.

[00:51:38] GE: Yeah, I actually do have a couple. The first one is this book I'm currently reading. Still reading actually. It's called Beautiful World, Where Are You? by Sally Rooney. This is the second book that I'm reading by her. I, of course, I like the first one, Normal People. I actually saw the show first. I decided that it might make sense to check her out, because the BBC show is adopted from her book. I read it.

I don't know how I feel about this one that I just read, because it's just – it beats all over the place with the characters in the book. I hope or, like I said, I'm still reading it. I think, it might end up having a good ending. It's about two different couples and how they struggle with relationships, life in general.

The second one I have is the show called New. If anybody, since know that this is – could be our show. I also like it. I've seen the two previous seasons, and the recent one was released last month. I liked it a lot. I also liked the main characters. It’s a show where you watch and then you have to be very careful of so few – the Internet in general, because it's focused on how the main character is creepy. I’m losing my thoughts in this part. If you're interested, you can definitely check it out. It's very interesting.

The last thing on my list is something I found out yesterday. It's this platform for folks interested in learning with me. I've been seeing a lot of people talk about Web3 recently. I just have this FOMO of not missing out on what's happening. Because I want to get into it, or – I need to use it just to know what it's about, so I found this platform.

[00:53:53] T: Yeah. FOMO seems to be a very big component of Web3 for sure. It's like an inherent part of it.

[00:54:00] GE: Yeah. I'm spending my weekend just checking out this. They're going to be hosting the Learn With Me session where they teach you what Web3 is. They also have other ones, where you can actually build an app using solidity. Somebody actually walks you through the process of getting into it. I'm just going to join the first one to see if it's something I actually like. For me, it's like, I just want to get to know what this whole thing is about and see if it's something that I've actually been interested in so far on this website. That's very nice. It's also a community of people that work in the space as well.

[00:54:45] AR: Cool. Well, my pick this week is, the week that we are recording this, it is the first week of November. Two days ago, the Atlanta Braves won the World Series. My pick this week is the Atlanta Braves, because they're the best baseball team. Boom. Yeah, there you go. That is my hot take and pick for the week.

[00:55:12] O: I'd love to argue with that, but I can't argue with that.

[00:55:14] AR: You can't, because I'm right this year. They have beaten the Atlanta curse. They did not screw everything up at the last second. Yeah, that is my pick for the week. All right. Gift, important question before we go. Tell us about your headphones. What headphones are you currently using? Do you like them?

[00:55:35] GE: Okay. I have to look out for the name. It's a JBL. It's a JBL Live 460. Actually, got it as a gift. Yeah. I'm not a headphones person. This is the first one that I'm actually using that I like. It’s also noise cancelling, so that's very nice. Like I said, I don't use headphones a lot. This is my first time doing, or given to try. I like it. I think, one cool feature that I also like, it's the thing that he has, so you can also connect it to – he has an app on your phone. We can connect it to – You can set up some additional – how do you call this stuff? You can basically set it off, so it's not just the interface you see here, where you can have additional configuration setup on the app.

[00:56:38] AR: Oh, so you can equalize it and more bass, less bass, more treble.

[00:56:40] GE: Yeah, exactly. That was the word I was looking for. Yeah.

[00:56:44] AR: Nice. Cool.

[00:56:46] T: I think, what headphones our guests use would be a good candidate for some sketched-out visualization.

[00:56:56] GE: Right.

[00:56:57] T: Someone gifted me an art book on women wearing headphones, because they're like, “You love headphones.” Anyway.

[00:57:02] AR: Alright. Well, thanks for that. That's all for this week's episode. If you aren't following us on Twitter, head on over and find us @EnjoyTheVueCast. If you like cats, you should also join us @enjoythevuecats. If you're listening to this and you aren't subscribed to the show, you should subscribe to the show. You can find it in any podcast listening app that you like.

While you're in there looking for it, you should probably leave a review, because that helps us out a lot. If you don't like it, you probably shouldn't leave a review. Instead, you can send your complaint on a $20 bill to @gloomylumi on Twitter. If you do like the show, and you want to do more than just leave a review, please consider supporting us on Ko-fi at ko-fi.com/enjoythevue. That's all for this week. Thanks for listening. Until next time, enjoy the vue.