259: TZ Discussion – Riding a Rocket Ship

Justin and Jason discuss the TechZing Summit, the last session of Catalyst, Uber’s new office and Jason’s thoughts on Uber’s rapid growth, Justin’s “no DB” project, how options work at most venture-funded startups, getting compensated in convertible debt, Jason’s experience with AirPair and why you should never do a fixed-bid project, shutting down AnyFu and some lessons learned about premature scaling, the latest on Empath and Disco, VagrantRabbitMQ and Composer, Justin’s DIY Soylent experiment and the problem with Soylent’s distribution strategy, Jason’s recap of a year spent coaching the 4th-grade math team, the book Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning, Justin’s idea for an ancestor constitution, how Occam’s razor is a statistical syllogism and thus a logical fallacywhy people who write their names with initials seem smarter, Jason’s frustration with how mathematicians dismiss any mathematics that isn’t about proving theorems, and Izzy’s struggle with self-confidence.

21 Comments
  1. Danilo Celic says:

    I like the characterization that the Soylent order processing is an engineering processing optimization rather than a marketing optimization problem. Before Jason said that I was thinking that maybe they were trying to make sure that the got the bugs out of their manufacturing/packaging process before shipping out to many people.

    Looking forward to hearing more about Empath and Disco.

    PS: I saw startup called mPath in the Who’s Hiring thread at Hacker News this past weekend. I’m sure that it’s not the same as your Empath project Jason, but not sure as the mPath site doesn’t talk about what business they are actually in.

  2. Danilo Celic says:

    PPS: Signed Danilo J. C. Celic (using both middle initials in an attempt to appear smarter)

  3. Seth says:

    What was that book about how people learn that Jason mentioned?

  4. Jason says:

    @Seth – It’s called Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0674729013?pc_redir=1401667028&robot_redir=1

  5. Philipp says:

    Ahhh, I guess the ~US$1200 for the flight to join the summit will be a dealbreaker for me.

    Hope you get a nice group together! Oh and please talk about it on the podcast afterwards. 🙂

  6. Abe says:

    Another great episode! Jason, me and the wife are in the process to relocate from Richmond, VA to San Francisco (somewhat of the opposite adventure Justin had a little while back). We’ll be in SF for a month to research neighborhoods and such from June 15th to July 15th. I know you occasionally have a dinner with a listener and I’d love to hang out with you while we’re in SF, if I may be so self-inviting. And I’ll definitely be attending the Techzing Summit!

  7. Great episode! It seems like 2 hours is the new normal, works for me 🙂

    A good “catchup” episode with plenty of detail on projects and various goings on.

    As a mostly Java/Groovy developer I enjoy using IntelliJ IDEA for development, but I understand Jason/Justin that you both typically develop with mostly PHP … have a look into PhpStorm which is based on the same framework.

  8. About our Disco designer…

    Her name is Jane Portman and she’s an AMAZING designer based in Russia (but she doesn’t charge typically low eastern european prices :-).

    Jane interpreted our requirements perfectly and she delivered on time and on budget. I can’t recommend her enough. Brilliant.

    Find her at uibreakfast.com

    Great show, guys! Jason, you sound less burned out in this episode… which is great for us listeners and fans!

  9. Justin (and Jason!), thank you for the great episode, and for the little honorable mention. I’m thrilled that you like the design for Disco.

    This project has been fantastic — both challenging and rewarding. The ultimate UI has such nice charisma. Many thanks to you, Joanna and Lance!

  10. Jason C, the discussion about sharing pain with your friend while salvaging a project was quite good and authentic.
    Justin GH, the technical challenge related to local database replicas in a school environment is an interesting one. I wonder if over time, having a very large number of files (especially in one directory) will start hurting performance unless you use nested subfolders and indexes. If you remember the goold ol’ Btrieve system you might want to look into its successors, or at least the techniques used back then.
    Great show as usual! For the TZ summit I have to figure out how to make the timing work, but I am definitely interested.
    – pfm

  11. Tony G says:

    Welcome back, guys! Great episode and I thought it was quite interesting to hear a bit about the different approaches that you took with AnyFu, and building out the tech, versus the apparent MVP approach of airpair. If you could snag the founder, hearing a back and forth re: your approaches and experience would likely make for a really interesting episode.

    On another note, I have exactly one ticket left from my Andersen Consulting/Accenture frequent flyer days and have been saving it for something interesting (even though I’ve purchased dozens of other tickets. lol). The TZ Summit seems like the exact reason it’s been lingering in my account. Now, if only the calendar can cooperate… Cheers!

  12. robin says:

    Another great show.
    The “share the pain” topic was interesting, I know the feeling of having a ballooning project scope that is continually growing. That was a great way to make the client recalibrate the items the project “needs” before going live.

    Regarding the Soylent distribution being an engineering solution, the project as a whole is an engineering solution and one that I find unnecessary, if you take a look at the ingredients it’s a bunch of chemicals that you can get in their natural form by blending up fruits, veg, nuts and seeds. If it’s convenience you want I would recommend something more like Chuice. Much more natural.

  13. Aaron says:

    I’m signed up for the summit! I hope enough other people sign up to make it happen.

  14. Composer has been an amazing thing for the PHP community! And yes, it is very similar to npm. And Python’s pip? I can never remember my Ruby tech very well, but I believe it is similar to Bundler and Gemfile/Gemfile.lock as well? Seems like every community has package managers these days. Even OSX/iOS has CocoaPods now.

    The topic of Composer came up recently and I shared that it is crazy to me just how many people don’t know about it. I’m super happy any time someone finds it and shares it with everyone else! So thanks for speaking so highly of it! If you ever run into any questions with Composer or have any issues, I’m happy to help point people in the right direction.

    I’ve only been listening to techzing for a short time but I absolutely love listening to it. My friend Dave Marshall told me about it earlier this year. I hadn’t really listened to podcasts before that but now I’m hooked. Listening to your stories inspired me to ask Dave if he wanted to do our own podcast. We just recorded episode 3 and have been loving the experience. Thanks for helping inspire that project. 🙂

  15. Jason says:

    @Beau Simensen – Thanks for the positive feedback!

    No matter what you have to commit to doing a minimum of 10 episodes of your new show. It’s a podcasting rule. 😉

    What’s the link to the new show?

  16. Jason says:

    @Aaron – Awesome! I hope we get enough, too.

  17. Jason says:

    @robin – Thanks, I’m glad you liked my “share the pain” solution. It definitely solved the problem.

  18. Jason says:

    @Philippe Monnet – I really hope you can make it. Justin and I had a great time hanging out the last time you visited and honestly it would feel a little weird if you weren’t here.

  19. Jason says:

    @Scott Bennett-McLeish – Yeah, I guess two hours is the new normal. I think Justin was just getting tired of cutting me off and is now just sort of waiting for me to talk myself out. The problem for him is that that might require three hours or more. 😉

  20. Jason says:

    @Abe – I’d love to meet up in SF. Send an email to podcast@techzinglive.com and we’ll set something up.

  21. Jason says:

    @Danilo Celic – Yeah, I don’t know what mPath is. Our little venture is spelled “Empath”.