Waiting for Marv
Quiting Stack Overflow
It's June now, and I have a new episode out here:
The episode is the story of the longest-tenured employee at Stack Overflow, Ben Dumke-von der Ehe. He became an early employee of Stack Overflow by building unicorns and finding a community online.
But one of my favorite parts is about what it's like to realize that you might be a jerk to work with and what to do about that. What do you do if your engineering-driven work becomes an argumentative mess – turning passionate tendencies into noisy battles?
Find it in your podcast player or with a full transcript here.
CoRecursive BackStory Part 2
Let me share some of the stories behind creating the podcast.
My wife and I had a trip planned in March 2020. We were going to Mexico again, to the same resort. But as we got closer and closer to the date, people were talking more and more about COVID-19. Although we had no idea what would come, we had to cancel the trip.
Kourtney ended up just going to work and giving up on her vacation, but I stayed home and had some extra time to put into the podcast. I was still kicking around this problem in my head. I mainly listened to This American Life and Radio Lab podcasts, which were so moving and immersive. And so I had this vague sense that the podcast I was making, though I enjoyed making it was too dry and would never be as good as those.
So I reached out to Marv – real name redacted – who was sometimes a producer on This American Life, and he said what I want to be is not TAL but Planet Money. Planet Money explains concepts to the listener. It interviews people, yes. But primarily, it teaches while trying to stay entertaining.
I loved Planet Money!
Marv agreed that if I made an episode, he'd provide me feedback on it for a fee. So I pulled in my friend Don, wrote a script, and had him over to record it, and then I tried to edit it all together.
I didn't totally know what I was doing, but I was excited to send that episode to him for feedback. After all that work, I sent Marv the file, and Marv ghosted me. Never ask for money. Never said a word.
I took that to mean that I was so far beneath him that it wasn't worth the effort even to charge me for advice. He didn't even know how to start telling me everything that was wrong with it.
In retrospect, that probably isn't the case. I assume the episode has many rough edges and specific things he could tell me to improve on. But Marv was perhaps busy or getting hit by COVID-19 like the rest of the world. But it's hard to make something and put yourself out there to get feedback. I always imagine the worst.
Either way, I went from being excited about the concept to trying not to think about it. That episode became episode 49 Loving Legacy Code with Jonathan Boccara, and some people liked it. It moves quickly, but I can't listen to it. I know it doesn't make sense, but I'm too worried about how bad it will sound if I do.
I'm still waiting for the email of criticism and notes from Marv.