205: TZ Discussion – Check Your Egometer

Justin and Jason discuss how much time they spend on the podcast, Justin’s thoughts on becoming a multi-product entrepreneur, Seth Godin’s book – The Dip, how much time should be devoted to consulting vs. working on a side business, potential email strategies for recruiting experts, building an email reminder system for AnyFu, problems with the donation model, the Node.js profiler that Jason and Guyon built for Uber, the misleading CNN article about why we need a longer school year and the other side of the story, Justin’s idea for creating an ego depletion meter, the challenges of scheduling the first Catalyst Academy session, the Mathigon mathematics education project, how Oracle is moving MySQL towards the closed-source modelwhy Reddit only has two MySQL Tables – Thing and Data, Jason’s idea for doing lazy schema migrations, why Uber is moving from MySQL to ProstgreSQL (PostGIS), how self-driving cars were just approved by the California legislature and the rise of drones, the free diving world records, why there is no American Ninja Warrior, why Darpa thinks the future of computing is analogHP and Hynix’s one-year delay on memristorshow the Flynn Effect isn’t about people getting smarterhow the New York Times has been colluding with the CIA to boost Obama’s reelection chanceshow the spyware known as FinFisher can take over your mobile devicethe Pirate Bay founder who was arrested in Cambodiahow the U.S. is probably using Sweden to get at Julian Assange, and finally how Obama’s justice department has granted final immunity to Bush’s CIA torturers.

  1. Jason, as far as I am concerned you can use donation money to buy a iPad and cut cocaine on a hooker’s stomach. I don’t give a damn.

    Its a donation. How you choose to use it is up-to you. Want to use it to improve the show? Great I get the benefit. Want to use it to train for a burrito eating contest? Great, go for it. Want to buy yourself an iPad? Consider it some sort of reward for putting in the hours. I guess so long as you aren’t donating it to some other podcast (wouldn’t be in the spirit of it, like re-gifting something, but even then I wouldn’t mind that much) I don’t care.

    I was going to insert some personal attacks on whoever sent that email here, but have snipped them to avoid this being justifiably censored.

  2. Justin says:

    @Ben, I couldn’t agree more.

  3. @Justin Oh, and I am truly sorry about pointing out the hissing… I really didn’t want to cost you $350 smackers. I pay for the whole thing myself, but I don’t have the cash on hand to do so this moment sorry (Wedding and overseas trip coming up). I’ll keep donating over time though, so hopefully should pay the whole thing over (like a payment plan).

  4. Jason says:

    @Ben Boyter – Thanks for that. 😉

  5. Matt S says:

    @Jason do you pull up the links you are talking about during the show? If so, I bet a simple bookmarklet to save the links you discuss could help cut down on your hours prepping the show notes.

    @Justin thanks for mentioning The Dip – sounds interesting and I’ll be adding it to my reading list.

  6. Jason says:

    @Matt S – I generally don’t pull up the links because I can’t sift through the text quickly enough in real-time without a bunch of very long pauses and false starts. On the occasions when I do do it, it usually doesn’t sound all that great and probably isn’t very fun to listen to. What I have to do is either read the article once very carefully and take notes, or usually skim it a second time and take notes then. It’s kind of like prepping for a test and I don’t always do a very good job of it with the volume and range of material we cover.

  7. Aleksander says:

    I’m not sure this is a viable idea, but it just crossed my mind:

    Save people time and effort with invoices on AnyFu and make a web form for generating them. Expect just two fields (or whatever is appropriate): description of what’s been done and the number of hours. The rest can probably be derived from user account info and session scheduling. (Although you do want to keep these auto-filled fields editable too, just in case.)

    I think this could smooth over one pesky bump your users have to get through and improve the general experience. With you being this elite boutique and all that. 😉

  8. Jason says:

    @Aleksander – Actually, we already do that. 😉

  9. Aleksander says:

    @Jason: Oh well, I’m Mr Obvious, nice to meet you. 😉

    BTW, Leo Laporte takes donations and he openly treats that as another source of income. It doesn’t have to be for improving the show or saving pandas. (Initially he tried to run TWiT on donations alone, but it wasn’t realistic with his costs, so now he relies mostly on ads.)

    That said, I can see how some people may see an iPad as a frivolous donation goal, so maybe it’s better to disclose only some of your objectives (well, a new TZ website, or pandas… ;)) and otherwise just let people know that you like to get some change because it makes running the show a little more satisfying.

  10. Jason says:

    @Aleksander – Yep, I agree completely. Thanks for the feedback.

  11. Jason says:

    @Ben Boyter – There’s no need to feel bad about Justin buying the $350 audio software. Justin is such an audio nerd that it wouldn’t have taken much to get him to press to Buy button for that. Plus, I think it’s made the audio way better, which is great for everyone.

  12. Doug Martin says:

    @Jason – if you want to try something like American Ninja Warrior for yourself check out Tough Mudder:


    A couple of friends of mine did it this summer and had a lot of fun.

    Here is the next one in SoCal:


  13. Justin, you did hit the biggest points for The Dip, but one other thing that I found valuable that you didn’t mention is identifying up front the conditions which would prompt you to quit. Godin correctly points out that if you wait to make a decision about quiting until you are faced with adversity, you are very likely to make a bad decision because of the emotion that will be involved. So, to avoid that, you should think when you start an initiative what are those conditions and try to stick to it (or update those conditions periodically as it makes sense).

    For example, with AnyFu, you can think all you want that things are going to be awesome, but what would have to happen in order for you guys to shut down the website or sell it off to someone else? Those types of things are not easy/nice to think about but they can help you focus your energy and avoid getting into a situation where you are banging your head against a brick wall for years without getting anywhere.

  14. Danilo Celic says:

    Regarding adding new columns to relational database tables: I haven’t tried it, but the other day I ran across a way that may speed up the process: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/5677932/optimize-mysql-for-faster-alter-table-add-column

    Essentially, create a new table with the added/updated columns, select into the new table, rename the old table, rename the new table to the old table’s original name. Of course,

    As for the discussion on drone wars, Neil Stephenson in his book “The Diamond Age: or A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer” one of the ideas in the book has microbe sized drones from one tribe or organization (called phyles in the book) that can invade the bodies and regions controlled by other organizations. In the book, there are counter drones and counter-counter drones, ad nauseam. One of the plot points relies on the communication between these drones.

    Oh, maybe Justin can build his egometer with AppIgnite? 😉

    Good show guys, keep it going!

  15. Danilo Celic says:

    Missed something in the middle there. Meant to say…of course, with very large data sets the inserts will likely take a while, but based on what others are saying, it should be a shorter time than locking the table. YMMV

  16. Guyon says:

    @Justin – Re: Open Source Diet Guide… Enough hints already 😉 Challenge Accepted

  17. Have to agree about the donations: you’re already generating a service to your listeners for free. The value has already been created and paid for (by you). If anyone donates to TechZing then who cares what that money goes towards? An iPad is nice tool to have and will obviously benefit the show. Although to be honest, with Jason printing (!) articles like it’s 1992, I doubt he’d know which way up to hold an iPad!

    Regarding prepping for the show, I recommend Pocket (http://getpocket.com), formerly Read-It-Later. They offer a browser plugin that allows one-click saving of interesting articles so you can.. read them later. I know there are several other services that do the same thing, but it’s a great way shortlist interesting stuff you come across.

  18. Corey says:

    If you’re uncomfortable with cash donations, maybe create a wishlist on Amazon, and let us by products for you directly?

    And have you thought about another Indiegogo or Kickstarter campaign? (didn’t you do one early on?)

  19. Jason, I would not worry at all about the email criticism related to the donations.
    I am still amazed that you and Justin can dedicate so much of your precious time every week to produce the show!
    So don’t worry (… be happy) and just ignore that person – or tell him to try producing his own show and get his own donation drive … 🙂

  20. You guys can do whatever you like with the donations. Many others take gifts and donations for various purposes. Surprised you guys are so cool about it – all/most listeners appreciate you giving up your time for free.

    Why not get some paid sponsors and use that money to fund some/part of the post production? If you consider the opportunity costs (earning consultancy fees versus unpaid podcast editing), it may make more sense.

    You have a catalogue of 205 podcasts. While the audience per podcast may be light, overall there is value in so many hours of discussion. Your interview series alone is worth something.

    Keep up the podcasts guys. And please get on with promoting Any Fu!

  21. Anon says:

    Are you nuts? one person bashing you and you withdraw iPad, stop donations, talk about quit, all these bad feelings? Why? You produce a great pod cast, it’s a donation – nobody is forced to give it, and more important it’s a part of a positive feedback loop which is ESSENTIAL to anything you do. It’s good for you, your listeners. What makes a “sponsorship” better?
    Please guys, you are allowed to get something back – a comment, a small donation, some good will. nothing wrong with that.
    Thanks for the show.

  22. Rick Measham says:

    Whoah, hold on a second!

    So TWO people sent you *real cash money* earmarked for your iPad.

    ONE person sent you silly email.

    Why then would you listen to the person with no cash in the game?

    Accept the donations. Tell us what you bought with them. Tell us what the next donation drive is aimed at.

    If listeners don’t like it, they have two options (not just the usual one):
    1. Turn off. Unsubscribe.
    2. Don’t donate.

    Keep up the great podcast and stop listening to people with no money in the game. (Actually, I’ve never donated, so pay me no heed either)

    – Rick

  23. Rick Measham says:

    Oh, I meant to say: if you’re not going to buy an iPad, you’d better give back those ear-marked donations … surely keeping them would be more dishonest than asking for them in the first place?


  24. This discussion of quitting is scary 🙁

    Techzing is my favorite podcast… please don’t quit!

    Also, I agree Jason should get the iPad. In fact I’m going to donate $50 toward Jason’s iPad right now.

    Justin… if he refuses I’m going to come after *you* to get my money back 😉

  25. Jason says:

    @Rick Measham, @James Robert – I apologize for that. We really shouldn’t have left that in the show because we’re not seriously considering quitting the show.

    That said, I have been getting more trollish emails lately, which is making it all a lot less fun. The funny thing is that at least two of the trolls are using fake names and email addresses, which is pretty pathetic.

    So with all of the feedback in support of it, I guess I’m going to have to buy myself an iPad one way or another. But the rest is going to Catalyst for sure, which, by the way, is going to have it’s first session tomorrow! 😉

  26. A couple of the Reddit guys clarified the database thing. The tables are all based on the thing/data pairs, but they have a number of databases for different kinds of pairs.