Transcript for Episode 7 – 2021 Matthew's Problem

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Our podcasts are best experienced by being listened to. These transcripts are generated using speech recognition and human editing. There may be errors.

Today’s speakers are, in order of appearance:

  • Ryan – Trainer at Instil. Host and Editor in Chief for the WeekNotes podcast.
  • Mattie – Principle Software Engineer at Instil. Sourdough maestro and Mr. Apple himself
  • Richard – Head of Delivery at Instil. Provider of cathartic sighs and spreadsheet extraordinaire
  • Kramer – Richard’s faithful hound. The Original Instil Dog and a good boy

00:00:00 [intro music plays in background] Ryan: Hey everyone, welcome to WeekNotes by Instil. This week is our end of 2020 Season One finale episode. Mattie and Richard join me to talk Developer Fashion, Christmas food and impostor syndrome. Let’s get to it. [intro music fades out] Mattie: I think you should get a plaque on the front door that says Developer Shed. Richard: [hearty laugh] Mattie: That’s a class name. If you put ‘developer’ in front of anything instantly becomes cool.

00:00:42 Ryan: You’ve changed your office space, cause before you were standing with the door behind you. Richard: This is not my office. This is my 2-days-a-week office. Jane has the standing desk on Mondays and Fridays. Ryan: OK. Richard: I have the dining room table, which is as not good. Ryan: So you need a developer shed. Mattie: Well, it depends what would be cheaper? Developer shed or a divorce lawyer? Richard: [laugh] Mattie: Think the shed’d probably be cheaper Richard: What I actually want to do is, because we never really use this dining room table for anything. Is I want whenever we get the sun room added on here. I want to change this into like a nice office space. Now, Jane is not as easily convinced. She feels that it should be some sort of dining table… Ryan: Can you not get something that like a combo between a dining room table and a standing desk? Like you push a button and the middle of it rises up or something and - Mattie: It flips! No, it would be better if it flips! Ryan: [unclear] Exactly! Mattie: And like all Richard’s like work stuff is attached like permanently. Ryan: Yeah Mattie: Push a button and it flips round and then it’s just a dining table. Richard: I think we’ve just found our new product for 2021 Mattie: Well, they wanna start the product team, so this is what we should obviously start with is duel purpose office-dining room furniture.

00:01:50 Ryan: Harry suggested last week that monitors should come with - he called them - happy lights. You know, the seasonal affective disorder lights? They should come with lights behind them that give you that brightness, so that developers always feel happy. Richard: Maybe. I don’t know. I haven’t got a happy light. Have you gotta happy light? Ryan: No, I’ve got a ring light, that kind of, it’s bright- that’s bout as far as it goes. I don’t know whether the happy lights are special or not. Mattie: I thought they put out 5G signals?   00:02:11 Richard: Well, there is that. You look like 5G’s got to you Matthew anyway, with this like baseball cap-beard combo. [laugh] Mattie: [laugh] Well, the hat’s to keep my lockdown hair in place and the beard well, what can you do? Ryan: You could get it cut. Richard: My appointment is scheduled for January. Of course, it’s scheduled for like January, 4th or something like so – Mattie: You’re gonna be going back to your lockdown hair Richard: - Ted Danson is gonna be returning in January. Mattie: [laugh] Ryan: Just shave it off. Richard: As a middle aged man with hair, I kinda like - while I can still grow hair I like to grow hair. Ryan: Yes. Enjoy it while you still can! Although you’re gonna be one of those annoying people that turns like 85 and still has a full head of hair. Richard: Possibly. But then I looked like I was 12 until I was like 35, so you know Ryan: You win some, you lose some. Richard: Exactly. I’m getting the sweet rewards now. Well, there’s that and there’s my new sort of moisturizing routine.

00:03:00 Mattie: Ho ho! Wait, hold on you can’t just say ‘new moisturizing routine’ and then not explain it to us Richard. In great detail. Richard: So my wife has, for many years, berated me for just using a low grade moisturizer on my face. Cause, apparently you know, unless you’re spending 20 quid or something, it’s not doing you any good. I have switched to a, you know, slightly better man’s oriented moisturizer. But it had run out so I said to Jane, you know, “You get some when you’re in the chemist” So she came back with a kit with - Mattie: [chuckle] Richard: - 7 items. Well two of the items aren’t really for the face - well there’s a face cloth - And there was body wash. But then we have 5 items for your daily-slash-weekly face maintenance. So we’ve got this stuff that’s described as: Supercharger. Which you’re apparently meant to rub into your face before moisturising in order that you will feel energized when you get up in the mornings Ryan: Wow. Richard: So you Supercharge it and then you moisturise it and then I’ve got like some sort of pen thing for drawing under my eye for [clears throat] Mattie: This is incredible information. Richard: [soft laugh] Ryan: D’you know what, I have to say Richard, I think it’s working! You are looking incredible today. Richard: Thanks man, thanks. Ryan: I have never put anything on my face, like well – no, I have! - but not in years and I probably need to start Richard: You don’t moisturise man? Aww Ryan: I don’t moisturise, should I? Richard: Yeah. Mattie: No. I don’t moisturise either. Rebecca is forever telling me that I need to moisturise and I just say, can you not just let me grow old gracefully? But our skin is kept soft and supple by the warm glow of LCD monitors and you know, we’ll be doing this till we’re in our 70s. So it’ll be OK. Richard: I don’t know guys. I think you both need to take a look at yourselves and you know, ask yourself a question: Do I need to start moisturising? And the answer is yes.   00:04:38 Richard: I feel that maybe you know the Instil induction is not - it’s just not specced out well enough. Cause I feel that some of these life lessons maybe need to be passed onto developers along with you know, obviously how to dress. You know, Developer Fashion. You know, I think we should also start to look at the developer grooming. Mattie: I think we need to explain Developer Fashion Richard, because we talk about it a lot on the Instil Slack. Richard: [hearty laugh] Mattie: People don’t really know like the origin of Developer Fashion and where it all started. I guess it all started back, whenever there was this trend - in the wide world - to wear bum bags across your chest or wear bum bags anywhere essentially! I think Richard rebranded them as Developer Bags and that’s really where it all started from. Going onto ASOS and looking for the most ridiculous outfit you could find. And then, like I said, if you label it with ‘developer’ in front of it, then it becomes cool. And applicable to our field. Makes you better at your job as well Ryan: Right. This is a joke. It’s not like there’s nobody in the company – Mattie: [disbelieving laugh] No! No! Ryan: - that actually wears the developer fashion! Mattie: Developer fashion isn’t a joke! Like that’s - this is real life! Richard: [laughs over next sentence] Mattie: This is serious business! Richard: [laugh]

00:05:38 Mattie: There’s a few stylish developers at Instil. I’ve got some nice developer trousers, which are like multi coloured - blue and pink and black. And Richard wears developer cardigans, that go down to his knees. Richard: You’ve got like your base Developer Fashion right, which is what we all know. Which is the black t-shirt, as being sported currently by Matthew. The fleece as being currently sported by yourself. Ryan: Yep Richard: And you know like the jeans, and just like hiking boots or trainers. Now I’ll base level those hiking boots, I think. And I think you know, I just - people start to elevate their game. You know, obviously you’ve got like people with nice sneakers, you know. That’s always a good thing to aspire to. I suppose if you were to talk about developer fashion, what we’re really saying here is just like about flamboyance, right? It’s about getting – it’s about breaking the chains! And getting away from the black T shirt and the jeans and just that same old, same old you know. I mean, cause I obviously do wear a lot of that stuff. But given the opportunity like, I would come to work every day you know, in a yellow suit! If I actually felt that there was gonna be enough energy, like you know, coming off me and I, yeah, it’s good. I think it’s good to break away. You know if you look at a lot of conferences or even pictures of our offices. Sometimes it can be a bit, just guys in a dark T shirts.

00:06:51 Richard: Obviously, there’s Developer Fashion. But then what way should a fashionable developer come to work? Mattie: What do you mean? Like transportation? Or how [unclear] Richard: Yeah, what sort of transport? What sort of transportation? Should it be like parkour? Or um–   00:07:02 Mattie: I think now it has to be an electric scooter. This is the only mode of transport. I tried one in Copenhagen at Kotlin Conf and it was class! It was so good and the sooner we get them in Belfast, the better. Richard: So what you’re saying is skateboards are out, and electric scooters are in? Mattie: I’m just afraid of needing to go to the dentist after going on a skateboard now. I feel that I would just fall and die or smash my face up. So especially on my way to work. It’s not a good look coming into work you know, with like a big red face you know. What happened to you? Oh yeah, I face-planted on a curb. I know and then especially if you have your Mac book in your bag. That’s always the big fear. You fall backwards and your 15 inch MacBook Pro is your landing pad. Ryan: Yeah Richard: Well, I think if you paid for it yourself, that would be a worry. But obviously if it’s a work laptop. You don’t worry about it quite as much, right? Mattie: [agreeing hmmm] So what you’re telling me Richard, is that these laptops are disposable? Richard: [chuckle] Well – I don’t Mattie: Now this changes everything! Richard: I don’t know about that! [laugh] Mattie: This changes everything! You heard it people!

00:07:53 Ryan: Yeah, but of course, your journey to work is from the kitchen into the back bedroom. So you just walk, in your slippers. That’s your transportation to work Mattie: And this is true. Richard: This is my lockdown shoe of choice here. It is the Croc, with the little heel retainer pushed forward so they are easy to slip in and out. Very comfortable. Ryan: And the choice of the medical professional as well. Richard: Yeah. I’m ready. I am actually ready to work in the medical field, you know. Mattie + Richard: [scared laugh] Richard: That’s all you need right? Pair a shoes – I’m ready! Mattie: Doctor Bell will see you now. Richard: [laugh] Doctor Bell will see you now. Ryan: [laugh] Richard: [cathartic sigh] Anything to get out of the house! Like I tell man – owwwf!

00:08:26 Ryan: Christmas food? Richard: Yeah, love it. Ryan: I haven’t eaten any. Mattie: Not even like a wee cheeky mince pie? Ryan: No. Mattie: That’s sad. Ryan: Well, yeah, it is actually. I don’t really like mince pies. Mattie: I used to - I was the same - I used to be like, ‘I don’t like these. I don’t like the mince pies.’ But in reality, I had never really tried them and somebody made me try one and I was like ‘Hold on a second, these are delicious!’ I like my mince pies warmed in the oven, with a dollop of cream Richard: Well [clears throat] I have been eating mince pies since before Halloween so –  00:08:50 Mattie: [wheezy laugh] Richard: [nervous laugh] Mattie: [hearty laugh] Richard: As soon as they arrived in Sainsbury’s. Like in Sainsbury’s. They only had - at the end of October, it was just a very small shelf of Christmas goods. As soon as that appeared, I acquired myself some stol – some Stollen! - and some mince pies, and I have been doing my best to eat as many mince pies since then. But obviously I’d like them on a regular basis, so I don’t heat them. I don’t have cream. I just, you know, I think there’s only so many calories a man can take in, so if you’re going to have one every day at 10 o’clock with your coffee like you know, I think just have a mince pie like

00:09:26 Mattie: I always wondered who’s buying all that Christmas stuff back in October and we’ve found the person. You’re the reason why they keep doing it, Richard, and why they keep bringing it earlier and earlier because somebody ‘s buying it. Richard: So yeah, so obviously I’ve tried quite a few mince pies. I’m not sure I have a firm recommendation. Ryan: Have you considered making your own mince pies? Richard: No, forget that. Too time consuming. I mean, I am all for - somebody wants to make mince pies and bring them to the office. Obviously that’s quite hard at the moment. But if we were in the office and somebody wanted to do that, I endorse that behaviour. What other Christmas foods? So I had a wee Christmas dinner last Sunday. That just like a wee sneaky Marks and Spencer’s stuffed turkey breast. So I wanted to go out of my way, so I went down to Marks and Spencers with the sole mission to buy a Turkey Feast Sandwich. Sadly, they had no Turkey Feasts Sandwiches left, so I had to go for a Three Bird Roast. Which I would not recommend! But yeah, I also got some other Christmas goodies and they were good.

00:10:19 Mattie: The only disappointing news I got today, today’s Asda delivery day. You get that dreaded text message which says 3 items are unavailable, and it was my 3 bottles of Shloer, and that made me very sad. Cause as a non-alcohol drinker, what else can I drink but Shloer at Christmas? Richard: I feel, Matthew, you missed this news this morning but the shop in Annahilt has reopened and it is reported that they’re selling 3 Taboo Donuts for one-ninety-nine. And - what makes this story relevant - Shloer bottles for one-pound-ten. So my sister reports. So you could just nip down, get yourself a few Donuts, slap a couple of Shloers into the back of the car Mattie: Just hear – I think - you drive home and you hear that tinkle of the Shloer bottles in the boot Richard: [satisfied chuckle] Mattie: You’re just like – you’re like – This is it. This is the sound of Christmas! Richard: I’m telling you my eyes have been opened here. I literally thought there was White Grape and Red Grape, but I am now browsing on the Shloer website. It took me awhile to spell it correctly! To get it into – Mattie: [laugh] Richard: - the Internet. [laugh] But here you’ve got like White Bubbly, you know, Pink Bubbly - whatever flavour they might be ermm

00:11:18 Richard: Walk me through the Adams’ Family Christmas dinner then you know. Do we, do you have starters, or is it just because you eat so much at dinner time, you just go for the main event or?  00:11:29 Ryan: Well, assuming we were having people round, we’ll usually have smoked salmon as a kind of aperitif starter, around about noon, and then about 2 or 3 o’clock would be when we’d probably have the main event. And the most important thing for us is quantity of meat! Richard: [chuckle] Ryan: So you need to have turkey and ham and cocktail sausages - as a minimum! - with your main course, plus also the sausage meat stuffing, which is crucial! Now whenever my Granny was hosting it, she would always have a roast beef as well. Richard: Oh ho ho! Mattie: Yes! Ryan: And that went down really well, but obviously now that she’s passed on sadly, so that kind of tradition has died with her and we don’t go that far. But certainly at least 4 different types of meat has to be on the table Mattie: Approved! [laugh] Richard: Approved! [laugh] There was like a - whenever you were just walking through your meat selection there, and there was just like - Ryan: Yup Richard: - Matthew had his eyes closed and there was just like a wee dreamy look on his face. Ryan: [chuckle] Richard: I think [laugh] and it was just like - Mattie: It was good! Richard: - he was smelling the meat! [laugh] Mattie: My friend told me that for Christmas they have Christmas dinner you know like you said, but they have steak with their Christmas dinner. That was a game changer for me. I just think like if you had your Christmas dinner with just a good sirloin with it. Like that would just be top quality Ryan: Yeah

00:12:39 Richard: If anyone’s looking for a carrot recipe, I recommend Heston’s Christmas Carrots. It’s good. It’s good. That’s a game changer for Christmas Day. Cause you can do it the day before. Mattie: Do you need your Bunsen burner? Is there any like specialist equipment? Richard: [sigh] Mattie: Like if Heston’s - can you make them? There’s going to be some random piece of chemistry that’s required. Richard: I actually feel, I lie. It’s not Heston. It’s Tom – Mattie: Oh! Richard: - Kerridge and no, it’s all you really need is a packet of butter and a load of sugar and you basically just - it’s like comfit carrots or something. It’s delicious.

00:12:07 Ryan: Do you remember the famous carrots that were on the BBC Food website? Richard: Errr? Ryan: Back in 2009. There was an example of why truncation is not a content strategy, because the carrots were glazed in cumin and honey, but the URL sliced the ‘in’ and ‘honey’ off the ‘carrots glazed in cumin’, and the result was that the Internet broke whenever everybody laughed at this and shared, ‘You want these carrots glazed in cum?’ Richard: [dry laugh] Do you, was that whenever you worked at the BBC, Ryan? Did you devise that strategy? Ryan: I think actually it was shortly before I joined that project. They’d launched that site and then everybody that was working on that site, then just jumped over to develop the BBC News website.  00:13:50 Ryan: And so I came along and was the lead developer on the BBC Food website. Just after they’d solved that problem. So there was a piece of work to go in and make sure that you could customize the URLs of every recipe, so that there was nothing inappropriate published ever again.

00:14:05 Richard: How long were you on the BBC for, Ryan? Ryan: I was there for six years. So I joined in Scotland in 2007 and then moved back to Northern Ireland and then just around 2012-13, they closed my post in Belfast and offered me the similar job in Manchester and I was like: No, sorry I want to stay in Northern Ireland. Which might have been a mistake. But anyway, I wanna stay in Northern Ireland, so I took the redundancy and moved on at that point. Richard: So how was that a mistake? I mean, you get to hang with Mattie and I! Ryan: Yeah Mattie: I think Moira is better than Manchester.

00:14:36 Ryan: Manchester is a great city, but I kind of – I’d done my move. I had lived in Scotland I wanted, I came back to Northern Ireland and I had a family and didn’t want to move on so. Richard: I did go to uni at Manchester. If I hadn’t – Kramer: [Woof!] Richard: - been such a – if I had worked harder- Kramer: [Woof! Woof!] Richard: - who knows maybe I’d still be in Manchester [laugh] but life conspired to bring me home Kramer: [Woof!] Richard: To my parents house and, you know, I’ve never left it Ryan: Sounds like there’s a story behind that. Richard: Yeah, well yeah. I don’t know if it’s much of a story. I did – I’m sure there’ll be no schoolchildren listening to this. But if there was, I would always council anyone to you know, maybe not even go straight into uni out of school. Especially now you have to pay so much for it. But like when I was at school, I don’t know, I just didn’t really - just drifted into a degree doing physics. And then I just decided that I actually enjoyed being in the big city more than working on physics. So if I’d been paying for it myself, it would definitely have been a real waste of money, but it was good life experience. But after a year in call centres, that’s when I discovered that actually maybe, maybe, I should do something different and that’s what I did. Got into computers by accident. And yeah, found something I enjoy. I would advise them all, even if you don’t really know what you want to do, don’t waste money on doing like a history degree or whatever, because you’re better off seeing a bit of the world first. And then deciding that it’s actually worth working towards something, you know. Ryan: Yeah.

00:15:48 Richard: Yeah, I like - I mean - obviously I’ve never used my - well my degree, but yeah, I’ve never really had any occurrence to use it. After, straight after I graduated, I did actually get interviewed for a job building mass spectrometers. You know. Kramer: [WoofWoofWoofWoof! Woof!] Richard: Amazingly, they didn’t employ me. Kramer: [Woof! Translation: Their loss!]00:16:04 Richard: Most people who seem to do science degrees, I don’t know, don’t seem to really tend to go on I don’t think - a lot of them anyway - and do science jobs like. Mattie: I did the traditional Computer Science route, so I can’t really offer any advice here. I actually applied for a different degree -it was my first choice. It was one that Queen’s did, it was like Electronic Engineering with Computer Science. And it was canned, so I didn’t even get a chance to do it, and I did Computer Science instead. Richard: Just think of all the stuff we could’ve been building if you knew electronics as well as computers. Mattie: Here Richard, you know I fixed my tumble dryer! I know electronics as much as the next man. Richard: Huh! [chortle through next sentence] Mattie: I’m ready to go. I’ve got my soldering iron here. I am ready! Any devices we need built, I’m game!

00:16:55 Ryan: That makes me wanna talk about impostor syndrome. Because I’m thinking about - you familiar with Dunning Kruger? Mattie: No. Ryan: Dunning Kruger is like a competence bias, where people who are less skilled at things assume that they are more confident than they are. And so we tend to come to things and go: Yeah, I know this. I can do this, and we’re overconfident. It’s almost like the more skilled you become, the more you realize you don’t know. And the more you kind of go, I’m - why am I here? Surely I’ll get caught out someday. Richard: I am obviously a top grade practitioner of every item on this planet then! Because like [laugh] everything I do I think, I can’t do it! So there’s not too much I go into with a great deal of confidence. [laugh] Ryan: Are you consciously incompetent? You know that you don’t know things? Richard: I, well, I think if you were to look at the profile of the person, that I would prefer to recruit in this world, it would be somebody who knows that they don’t know. Rather than somebody who doesn’t know but thinks they know. Or somebody who doesn’t know and doesn’t realize that they don’t know. I guess yeah, I guess it’s better, it’s a good trait to have right. So at least – Ryan: Yeah Richard: - I’m certainly riddled with that myself, after 20 odd years of this and not that many complaints! And I still get up every day and think, Oh Richard! What are you doing? I suppose what surprised me was - like there’s somebody, who we all work with, who would be very, very good, very accomplished, and then last year when they mentioned that they were riddled with impostor syndrome. And then I was just like: What?! This cannot be! You know, I can’t imagine this! You know. And then I know a lot of people do suffer from it like but umm.

00:18:17 Mattie: Definitely, there’s times where you feel like: Here, I have no idea what I’m doing! But I get - I think one thing is, you just can’t let that stop you though. You just have to keep going. Every project I worked on, I look back and I go, yeah, that was a huge mess and it was all my fault. And you just, that’s just the way it goes and you just think like [laugh] Richard: [laugh] Mattie: You know, you always want to redo it! You always think like, ‘Oh, if I just have another stab at that! It would’ve been kinda like perfect’, but you know at the end of it, you’d just be like, ‘Uh! I need to rebuild this thing from scratch again!’  00:18:45 Ryan: Yeah Mattie: But you gotta fight that urge and just keep going.

00:18:49 Ryan: I have a go-to article, that’s been published on the Guardian back in 2014, that I’ve bookmarked and I visit regularly. Where it’s like an opinion piece, where the headline is basically Everybody is Winging It All of the Time and the lead photograph is Barack Obama. And it’s like everybody in the world is just making it up as they go along. You know, we don’t really know what we’re doing most of the time, and that I guess when you look at the world, makes a lot of sense. That fills me with confidence that I can look at that and go, yeah there are people out there who are doing more important jobs than me and they probably don’t really know what they’re doing. And there’s a really good quote in it. I actually noted it down today because I figured we might talk about this. Which is: We compare our insides with everyone else’s outsides. Mattie: Yeah Ryan: Which hit home. Cause it’s like I beat myself up quite frequently, because actually I don’t think I’m a very good developer. And yet here I am training developers, and so you kind of, you look at people and you kind of see their outward perspective of how well they’re performing and you think they’re really good. Not realizing that potentially they’re in inner turmoil themselves, and you’re comparing what you do, which is your kind of - your inner perception. I think we kind of tell ourselves that we’re not very good at things and we don’t realize that the skills that we have are skills. We gloss over our skills, and we emphasize other people skills and getting into the habit of recognising your own skills is a very difficult thing to learn.

00:20:01 Mattie: Especially at Instil, everybody’s excellent. In my opinion now, everybody who works at Instil is excellent at their job. So things like impostor syndrome get worse because you’re working with people who are competent, at every - at you know, at seemingly everything! But it’s also good. I think it helps, it sorta helps everybody you know. Encourages people to learn more and the push to be better. That makes – Ryan: Yeah Mattie: - Instil as a company better as well. Ryan: Yeah. Mattie: But like I mean, this is the problem with life in general. Like you know, we look at photos in Instagram and it’s what? It’s a photo that was taken, probably staged, to make everybody seem that, you know, the world’s perfect and my life is amazing. And as a developer like we could go stand on the stage and talk about how we’re an expert at lambdas. And then the next day, be asked a question, and be like ”Oh, I don’t know the answer.” You know it’s easy to put this persona forward that I’m excellent, but in reality we don’t really know anything.

00:20:49 Richard: I think it’s part of what we do though, so you know, most projects have a lot, an awful lot of unknown associated with it, and like the whole, obviously, the fact that technology evolves at such a great quick pace. There’s so much unknown about it as well, and it can all just become very overwhelming. And so even as a - even as somebody who’s, maybe say like a more junior developer like you, could maybe be sitting on the team with like some others and you know, they can be knocking features out really quickly. And you can think “Oh they’re doing a really good job.” But what you realize like a year later is, like they were putting all those features in really quickly.  00:21:22 Richard: But ever since then we’ve been trying to fix that code. There’s a whole lot of things can feed into feeling like an imposter, but you know, I think it’s just actually coming to realize that you know, why? You know, you’re probably not actually an impostor. So you know obviously you shouldn’t feel, if you’re working with somebody else, you should never really - shouldn’t you know - you shouldn’t feel intimidated by them because like the reality is they are probably - by and large, they’re probably you know some of them - obviously some people are just excellent and machines and whatever, and you just can’t compete with that right? And I realize that I can’t compete with that. So I don’t try to compete that. But you know, a lot of people are just yeah, faking it and whatever. It is quite daunting.

00:22:01 Ryan: Do you think that maybe people, who suffer from impostor syndrome, is a sign of a problem in a team? You know because like the problem is that they’re looking at the other members in the team, and seeing them churning out features or being able to solve problems, and they don’t understand why they’re there? And you know they think I’m not good enough. But actually what that is, is the team needs to be sending signals to everybody that it’s OK to not know stuff, and actually it is important that you learn stuff. And I think people feel like it is a failure of them, when they have to ask for help, or when they’re slower at things. But in reality it’s more that the team needs to support them up, to get them up to speed Richard: Yeah. I mean, of course I’m very much of the opinion that everyone should have a go with something themselves first time, but I obviously don’t - I wouldn’t recommend anyone sits for days trying to solve problems and I feel that they should always, they should be made to feel comfortable with the fact that nobody expects them to know stuff they don’t know and that we’re here to support you. People will you know pair with you, people will give you advice you know. And obviously if you need to go away and learn something, we can work on that. I think that is important.

00:23:03 Mattie: I think the pandemic has made this harder as well. I think it’s like it made things a lot harder. Richard: Yeah. Ryan: Agree Mattie: You know like even saying the team I’m on at the minute. We had that time together in the Instil office to get to know like how each other works and all. And I think that really helped in coming working remotely, we could just sort of carry on, but if you were to start a new team with new starts at Instil, I think it’ll be difficult to build that team work remotely.

00:23:24 Ryan: Yeah, I had this problem last week on a training course and actually it revealed to me something that I’m not doing right. So I need to change my behaviour. But we were doing an exercise and I broke the class of 10 people into two groups, and put them into breakout rooms. And I thought I had explained the exercise sufficiently clearly and I gave them five minutes. And then Garth and I were both on the course, so we went - each one of us went into one of the breakout rooms. And in both rooms, we walked in and there was one person sharing the screen with the rest of the group. But there was essentially silence. There was no discussion going on and the exercise was to have a discussion. And it just showed me that the distributed nature that we’re in now means that you just, you need to work really hard to make sure that everybody knows exactly what to do.   00:24:05 Ryan: And also has the knowledge in their minds that it’s good and OK to say I don’t understand. Tell me again. Because I thought I had explained it perfectly and nobody said can you say that again? That doesn’t make sense. And yet they were all in their little breakout rooms, not doing anything because they didn’t know what they were doing. And I wonder how many people on proper jobs - not training - have that situation. Where they sit and they’re looking at a story, that they need to do some work on, and they don’t know what to do, but they’re almost too scared to say I can’t do this. Can somebody help me? Richard: Well, we’ve all been there, right? So we’ve all been sat in the room. Everybody’s talking about X and they’re making it sound like they know loads about it. They’ve had tons of experience. Even though you know - even though it only came to fruition last year. Yeah, we’ve all been there, like and errr - it’s hard, you know. I know myself [sigh] everyone has different pressures. So you know, say you’re in a role where maybe some client is looking for your expertise. You know it could be hard for you to speak up and say - for a lot of people anyway - to speak up and say I don’t know.

00:25:05 Richard: I think it is a very hard thing for people to say. I’m quite – I don’t know - I suppose my mode of operation is quite honest, so I tend to tell people what I think you know. I have no qualms with telling them what I think about them personally either, you know and so for me, speaking up’s okay. But I know I’ve been there before where I’ve also sat silently and maybe thought, Oh my days! I need to go home and look at some of this. [laugh] Erm, but yeah, but I mean it’s just getting that confidence, you know? I mean, I think it can be very intimidating. You know, I think the profession we’re in. It’s knowledge based and skill based and people want to be seen, to be recognized, to be competent and skillful and whatever so they can get ahead and yeah, it may be quite frightening.

00:25:48 Mattie: Software engineers tend to be introverted as well. I mean that’s very general, but most people sit -who like have enjoyed sitting in front of computers most of their life are quiet. Quieter than other people, as well. Which just makes things worse too. I know I am. I don’t like speaking up. I know people think that I talk too much! But I have to fight it. It’s a daily battle. Even Rebecca makes fun of me because I don’t like talking to people on the phone. And then I go into work and I’d be on the phone all day! And she’s like, ‘But you can be on the phone all day in work! Why can’t you be on the phone like to other people?’ And I was like yeah but I don’t know those people. Yeah, so that’s – err, it’s funny. Ryan: Yeah, I’m exactly at like that too. I can’t, I always make Ruth phone people. Like I’ll bring the car into the garage to get it serviced, but she has to phone to book it for me cause I don’t like phoning people. Mattie: [laugh] This is why software engineers have invented chat bots!

00:26:40 Richard: Maybe that’s - Mattie: Well, what I – [stops to let Richard speak, thus begins the dance of politeness] Richard: Go on Mattie: Go Richard. Richard: No, go. No, you can go Matthew. Mattie: You go! I was – Richard: No, you go! You go! Mattie: My point was unrelated Richard: You can go, Matthew! [laugh]00:26:48 Mattie: I was – Ri [laugh] Mattie: I was gonna say that what I’ve been doing the past - trying to get working today - is to run a Docker container from lambda. Which I feel like we’ve come full circle, like ‘Oh right, we’ll use containers’ and then like, ‘No! We’ll use lambdas’ but now I’m using containers as a lambda. So who knows where we’re gonna go to next? No lambdas! Ryan: Is that the new thing that was released last week? Mattie: Yeah, yeah. We’re trying to look for Dependaroo. To try and do some - do things like git checkouts and stuff like that inside a container. Obviously it’s a lot easier if we can define the tools in the container. So it’s actually quite nice because you can run your Docker container locally and test it and it has like a lambda emulator, they call it. So you can like ping it using curl and just see what it does and it works right now. The issue is it’s working fine locally, but whenever I deployed into AWS, it doesn’t work. It’s trying to run a Java command and umm, it just hangs and times out. Mattie: So yeah, I think it’s gonna be 2021 Matthew’s Problem. To Be Continued… Ryan: I love my future self! He’s great! [outro music fades in] Mattie: [uncertain laugh]

00:27:57 So there you have it. The Instil WeekNotes Podcast Series One is complete. I’ll be back in January for another season of conversations with the Instil team. I’d love to know what you thought of our podcast. Let me know by emailing me at The intro music is inspired by Kevin MacLeod, available from and all that’s left is for me to say, have a Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year. See you in 2021. [outro music plays till end of recording]

Thanks to Amy for producing these.