Adam Elmore - Consulting in AWS and

This week I talked to Adam Elmore about his career - from funded startups, to high-paying freelance gigs for startups using AWS. Adam has EVERY certification AWS offers and has done a ton of freelancing in the AWS (serverless) space. He knows stuff about things!

# Adam Elmore

**Chris:** I actually have begun, not even cutting out the accurate part in the beginning because I kind of love just the super awkward intro.

**Adam:** It's real phone calls start it's right.

**Chris:** This is it. Uh, speaking to which I have hit the record button, I think you saw the countdown. So I'm here with Adam LMR. We're going to talk about Adam's, uh, career.

What are you doing? Whatever you do with your life.

**Adam:** Yeah, this is a career. I don't even know. I have a weird one, so yeah, whatever it is.

**Chris:** Okay. So I first knew about you because a friend of mine showed me a tweet. We were like, Hey, look at all this money you made this year, freelancing on AWS. And I was like, I have to talk to this person.

**Adam:** Yeah. I think like if I'm known for anything, it's I make a lot of money freelancing. I don't know. I didn't mean to become that guy. Uh, and I feel like I don't even have, like, I'm just jumping into it here. I don't know if that's okay. Uh, I don't even have like general advice for people because a lot of people do want to get on like calls and like, how could you help me with my freelancing career?

My advice is so super specific and it's so. I do this one thing and there's this marketplace called database IQ and there are tons of AWS customers that need help and I help them. Uh, it just doesn't apply that well to other things. So I don't really bad. It

**Chris:** seems like you're the type of person who dives into stuff too, and goes really deep.

Like, uh, let's talk about the number of certificates you

**Adam:** have. Yeah. So I went out and got, this was sort of like right when I was starting back in freelance, like I started my. As a freelance kind of web dev, uh, for like five years. And then I started a startup, ran it for five years and then this has been kind of my latest act.

Uh, and right before I started freelance again, I took all the 12 AWS certifications at the time. There were 12, I think now there's well now there's still 12. It's just, they swapped one of them. Uh, but this was like last year, early last year. Uh, it was kind of like a parlor trick for me. I did it really fast and I think that's, that's sort of, my Mo is like, like you said, going really hard on things early last year.

Yeah. Yeah. I took all the 12th certifications in like a six week period, uh, in early 20, 20. Yeah, no, I went super, like I nerded out and did the thing I do

**Chris:** here, but I mouthed.

**Adam:** Yeah, no, I, I like I obsess and I'm really bad about it. Like you could talk to my wife about it and she'll tell you the bad parts. Uh, yeah, no, I just kind of like decided. Like, I want to have these and it'd be like one thing to like spend a couple of years and get them like, okay, I don't really want them that bad, but if I could do it really fast, that might be kind of cool.

So, uh, oh man, when I was studying for

**Chris:** that, like, or did you have to, did you

**Adam:** know ADFS to now? Oh, absolutely. No, that's the thing. And I joke about it. I wrote like a blog post after. Like most of the stuff on the search is not stuff I do every day. So I've been building on AWS for like eight years, but the stuff I'm building with versus what's on the certs, there's not a serverless certification.

So like most of what I do and what I enjoy building on AWS is very specific. It's serverless stuff. It's dynamo, DB, and app sync, and like building out full stack, web apps, that kind of stuff. And the certs are like, Transit VPNs and like doing all these crazy networking things and setting up, you know, auto-scaling and VPCs and stuff that I just don't do that much.

So I did have to study quite a lot. Like it was, uh, I'm just, I'm good at audible learning. So like I auditory or whatever that's called, so I can listen to content like two and a half speed or whatever and absorb it. And that was sort of the parlor trick. It's like, I think I could probably just learn all this stuff for these exams fast enough that I could take them every other day for some stretch of time.

Uh, and that's what I did. It's, it's sort of gaming it. It's like kind of making fun, almost of certifications, uh, like in, in the sense that like, what did I really, what did I really prove if I took them that quickly? Did I just prove that like you can kind of game it if you're good at taking tests and good at studying?

**Chris:** Right. And I mean, that that's very much in line with my view of certifications. Totally.

**Adam:** Yeah. No, I think it's true. Like I, since I got them, I don't know, like IQ is a whole separate conversation. So AWS IQ is this marketplace where you can like bid on work. That it'd be a customer. Have like they have requests that they put in, it's sort of like Upwork, uh, on that platform.

Certifications help a lot. Like the big number is next to your name that matters outside of that. I just don't know that I've had any value come from having. 12 certifications. And I don't know, I don't apply for a lot of jobs. So maybe that's it. Maybe it helps people who are applying for those. I don't know.

I really don't know if it does, right. Yes,

**Chris:** exactly. I don't know. People have asked me for certifications for my courses. I'm just like, I'm just a guy putting videos there. I don't know why I care about my piece of paper.

**Adam:** Yeah.

**Chris:** Yeah. okay. So IQ, how do you know if you get most clients from IQ or what's the

**Adam:** ratio?

So, well, I don't do a lot of client work. The last. Six months. I don't know. I, uh, kinda got known for like, I make a lot of money and freelance, and then I made a lot of money and freelance and. Took it easy. So since I think since the fall I've been doing very selective work, which is the best kind, because you sort of self-select into really great clients to work with that are not very needy.

And, uh, I've still got a handful of projects that I'm involved with and I've ended up advising. A few companies through my freelancing work. So I was like doing mostly freelancing for startups. And in that you kind of make a lot of relationships with founders, early stage stuff, and I've been a founder and I've done the venture capital thing and sort of gone through a lot of those hoops and I think have some perspective on that.

So I've actually ended up kind of building longer-term. Relationships with some startups that I sort of serve as a formal advisor, but yeah, early on, it was all my work. Like it was the first few months of freelancing. That was, I was bringing in everything I could find on IQ. And there are a lot of really great startups that end up there.

Uh, the early stage startups that don't necessarily have enterprise support, they don't have Tams and all this sort of stuff. Uh, yeah, once, once I kind of got through that early. Like blitz in the summer of last year and made a lot of money doing it. I really kind of tapered off. And then I had a few relationships just from prior, um, like during my startup days, uh, I know other founders and investors that had portfolio companies and stuff like that.

So now it's a mix. Like I don't look at IQ that much. But knowing it's there and knowing I can sort of go on there whenever I'd like and grab good opportunities. Uh, that definitely helps still today with my confidence. Like, I don't feel the urge to go out and find work, or I'm not panicking over finding work because I know I have this sort of infinite leader.

It's just unfair right there. There needs to be that for everything I don't know of. Work's not there. Like it's different. I think it's more like race to the bottom, but, well,

**Chris:** I mean, it's a mix of relationships. Sounds like a lot of it now is relationships. You could talk to someone instead of maybe going to the ICU if he needed to, which makes sense.

That seems like what you do for freelancing.

**Adam:** Yeah. Oh yeah. And talking is a lot better too. Just like my later, the last few months, most of my work is more consulting, less hands-on. So a lot of my actual work is talking to people and teams and helping them kind of understand how to best build on serverless or whatever

**Chris:** else.

Cool. I like that. That seems.

**Adam:** Yeah, I think Corey Quinn the big and the database community. He said something about like the moment you start, like delivering crappy cloud formation files, they realize I could have people at my company build those crappy CloudFormation files. Like I don't need you. So there's something about it where you're just sort of offering advice and your deliverables are like PDFs, right.

That kind of keeps like a mystique about you. Like you're some, uh, I dunno, really knowledgeable. Yeah. You're an expert. Exactly.

**Chris:** what were, okay. Two things. Uh, first of all, Tam is I've watched the T in Tam, something account manager,

**Adam:** a

**Chris:** technical account manager. Okay. And that's what you get when you're spending a lot of money on AWS, right?


**Adam:** think does enterprise support? I think it starts out at like 15,000. Which I mean, if you're a well-funded startup, that's totally reasonable. I mean, like if you're spending that in your cloud, I mean maybe, maybe not totally reasonable because I think my startup, so I, I started in 2014 stat muse, I think at peak, we were like 10, 15,000 a month in AWS costs.

So that'd be like doubling our bill. It wasn't really reasonable for us. And we raised 15,000 or $15 million over five years. So you'd have to be. You have to do a bunch

**Chris:** of stuff to get there. Yeah. , what were your, uh, what was the other thing? Oh, Corey Quinn, uh, is someone you just mentioned, he's really big in the AWS space.

Cause he does work around billing, like understanding your AWS bill, which I think is kind of a really cool niche to be in. And then in the AWS.

**Adam:** That's where the dollars are. I mean, you're helping people. It's very clear what you're helping people do and you're helping them save on their bill. And that's kind of the whole serverless thing too.

Like I feel like being sort of an expert around serverless and I know you're in this space, like you're helping come in and think about building applications in a more efficient way, which is another way of looking at lowering your bill, you know, using technologies that are lighter on your bill for share.

**Chris:** Who were your best clients? What kind of work was that? Cause I remember we talked before and you mentioned a lot of security related stuff, but I wonder if that has, this has since.

**Adam:** Yeah. So I, I it's been such a mix for me and I actually published in the fall. I can't remember how long that's been now. I published like a spreadsheet.

That was my first, I don't know, six months of freelancing. And it was like every client anonymized, but like had the type of work it was and how much they paid me and all that. So it was like 16 clients, I think. And there really weren't like two things. There, there wasn't anything that appeared more than like twice in terms of the type of work I did.

So it really is spread all out and it's not like I don't just get to do serverless stuff. I've had plenty of clients where I'm building out stuff on more traditional sort of app architectures, rails, apps, and stuff like. Uh, but yeah, it's, it's kind of a mix. Like I, the ones I like try to avoid now is really like, I'm trying to avoid building full stack on a team.

Like I don't want to come into a startup and help them build out an application, full stack. I want to like guide them. So it's just the consultation versus implementation thing. Like I want to teach them how to fish, I guess, and not sort of get in there. Pushing PRS. Like that's the work that I've done that I kind of regret getting involved with at that level.

Just people have opinions. Like when you start like shipping, Actual code, especially if it's full-stack and there's a front end, like people have opinions about front end and what it looks like and how it feels. And there's just a lot of stuff that like a little bit, yeah, a little bit. And if I just like fix stuff in your security account, there's a lot less opinions like about that stuff.

It's much more cut and dry, easier to kind of define the scope. If you will, how did you come

**Chris:** across or learn about. AWS has kind of like multi account security setup. Was that something you learned in the certifications or did you have to figure that out afterwards or maybe during your startup time?

**Adam:** Yeah, I don't know. I don't know that it's in the certification so much and I might be totally misrepresenting. I don't know. It was six weeks. It was a blur. Uh, so maybe double check me on that, but I don't remember really learning much of that there. I think probably more so just like being a part of the Twitter.

Like the AWS community on Twitter. I feel like that just kind of became this kind of shared common tribal knowledge. Right. And I know there's plenty of documentation. Now, if you go to AWS, like on published documentation around best practices there, uh, as part of like, well architected and all that, uh, And even just like the control tower documentation kind of talks through best practices in terms of multi-county and having like a security posture account and all these sorts of things.

**Chris:** That's been really interesting to me cause it's still sort of a black box to me. I like sorta know what's going on, but I haven't done it for myself. So like it's super weird to be like, oh, okay. So you're having an account for users, like an account that's like security stuff. Account, and then you can just make, keep making accounts, right?

Like maybe one to one team gets an account or even like an individual developer. It gets back out.

**Adam:** Yeah. Individual developers. It's like, I mean, even for me building, I do most of my work, like billing side projects, even my freelancing, I like to work on. And even building side projects where I'm the only person involved.

I still do a lot of this stuff where I, I have a separate dev account. , like when I advise startups and work with teams, it just, it's nice to build a hand each developer, their credentials, and know that they're sort of sandboxed and they're not gonna step on anyone. They're not going to do anything that impacts any other developer, , just makes it easier to give them admin access.

Like they own that thing and they can do whatever. And then things just get tighter as you move closer to production. Yeah. Yeah.

**Chris:** And of course, centralized billing goes

**Adam:** along with that. Yeah. Yeah. Oh, it'd be really hard to manage without a lot of the SSO. Like that makes things a lot easier. Just being able to manage lots of accounts.

It's kind of weird. Like I wish AWS accounts. Like if that's the unit of organization that like you're sort of isolating all your resources, then I wish there weren't so many hoops to create accounts. Like I wish I didn't have to each have a unique email address. I'm sure I'm not the only person who's voiced this.

Oh yeah.

**Chris:** Even I've hit that at my new level. I've hit that. Why am I, why am I doing this now? Like, I want a password for that new account. So I had to like, do the forgot password thing to like, get Liberty. Like it was like, you just made this

**Adam:** for me. Exactly. That part of it gets kind of annoying, but, but I think having all the things isolated, uh, there's benefits there, I dunno, smart people have said, so I believe that.

**Chris:** So I remember seeing you tweet about doing a lot of graph QL and maybe like a, I'm going to call it data lake stuff, but just like getting data into like a, I don't know, Athena or something. I dunno if you're talking about specific clients there or not, or if that is something you do a lot, like, or have done a lot in the freelance stuff.


**Adam:** So like I've done it for a few freelance clients, but also just every project. I sort of ended up building the same stack.

**Chris:** Okay. That's interesting because that's a very far from where I am, where like with my financial stuff, like what our clients want, the, where that's like solving a problem

**Adam:** for.

Yeah. So one client, you know, they have an application that's built out mostly with serverless technologies. So it's, it's like a bunch of API gateway and dynamo DB, and they're like Java Lambdas. So they built out this huge application. They're serving a lot of active customers, but they didn't really have any.

And if you've messed with serverless very long, you know, like it's not super easy to understand, like if you've got a dynamo table, how do you do analytics on that? How do you understand internally, like measure stuff? And one of the ways, the way that I like to do that is sort of sending everything to S3 and doing the sort of serverless data lake stuff.

So if you can pipe everything from DynamoDB S3, which there's a lot of. These days, mostly Kinesis is the way that I do that. , so like you can Kinesis firehose into S3. Now you've got this bucket full of. Jason objects, or it could be a parquet there's different ways, people format for efficiency and all these other things.

But ultimately you've got this data lake that you can then point Athena, which is a really cool service at that bucket and query it with SQL. So you kind of get your sequel back, uh, that you lose when you start working with the dynamite API. Well, is that

**Chris:** what kind of data is a, is that data specific to their application or is it like usage data around serverless?

So you could help

**Adam:** monitor your serverless stuff? Yeah, so it can be both, but in this case, like that particular client I'm talking about it's it's data like user like app centric data. So being able to understand like how each of their tenants is sort of operating, , But yeah, th th that's the thing, like all the other AWS services are really good about making it easy to move data around.

So it's easy to pipe events, you know, from an event bridge or whatever into your data lake. Like there's a lot of different approaches to source data from all over your accounts and put them in that data lake. And you're doing an analytics across all that stuff. I'll say all that. Really these days in the last month, I've been made aware of a product called rock set and rocks that did not pay me to say this, but wow, it's awesome.

Like it, it kind of eliminates that whole stack. And now I can just like build everything in my app on dynamo and. Sign up on rocks at pointed at my table and do all the SQL querying. It's basically the Athena stack without having to build it out yourself and don't have to manage it all like after the fact.

So it's a really great product. Recommend it.

**Chris:** Neat. It looks like they're charging based on what storage. Yeah. Uh,

**Adam:** yeah, I think so. Maybe I should care about things like that. Yeah.

**Chris:** A client it's like here, sign up for this and you're paying for it.

**Adam:** Yeah. I mean, you're paying for everything in some form. It's just how you're paying for it.

And, uh, yeah. Not having to manage the whole pipeline there and the data lake and just like knowing how to partition the data. Like there's just a lot of things you can kind of screw up, uh, for yourself down the road. Uh, just being able to pull. And rock set to your dynamo table. It's it's been a huge lifesaver for me.

So that's, that's my big recommendation going forward with clients just to avoid building it.

**Chris:** Okay, so backing up a little out of the technical stuff, sorry. I'm just, , that's what I'm about to, so that's why this podcast is interesting because I've all supposedly business podcasts, but then I just like get into some tech stuff.


Let's talk business. I don't even know where do we want to go from here? , oh, well actually, how did you pivot? I'll call it a pivot into more consulting stuff. It sounded like you kind of chose to, or, but I bet like some clients came along and were kind of looking for that also.

**Adam:** Yeah, I think so. There were some clients looking for it that I got lucky.

W the other thing is just not needing the implementation work, like having that's the biggest thing. And freelance is like, don't have your leverage. Yeah. Don't and don't actually need it for your own psychology. Like once you've gotten to the. Where you've, you've kind of proven to yourself what you can bring in and how you can sustain sort of a freelance business.

You can get a lot more selective and then it just gets better from there. Like the work you, you just you're turning down stuff. That doesn't sound interesting and, and not turning down like they're coming to you necessarily even. I mean, you get some inbounds depending on your sort of online presence, but turning down in the sense that you see that work available somewhere and you're choosing not to go get it,

**Chris:** not to

**Adam:** contact them.

Yeah. So I think like for me, getting into more consulting versus implementation has just been a psychological kind of line in the sand where I've said, I'm not going to pursue implementation work. Like at least for the foreseeable future, that may change. I may not always be so fortunate, but right now that's, that's kinda the plan.

So the little bit of stuff I'm doing is sort of consulting.

**Chris:** Have you ever thought about doing a, I don't know what I'll call it like a class, like maybe you live stream and kind of just talk about something and just have people pay you some amount per seat. Just like, I mean, maybe for a business, I hear people do this where they do like onsite and businesses and stuff, but maybe I was just talking to Alex debris last week and he does lists where it's not like he goes on site, but a little do a specific business.

So there might be like 20. Watching him talk about dynamo DB. I don't know if he thought about doing that. Cause I I've thought about doing that. Not necessarily for a specific company, but just like as a thing that you can sign up for that I do once a day.

**Adam:** Yeah, and I listened to Alex on your podcast. Uh, and I heard that conversation.

I'm very much interested in doing a cohort-based kind of course. I guess that's different than a webinar. Maybe it's close. Yeah. So I'm very much interested. I like I've taken some pretty tangible steps. So I'm, I'm planning to launch sort of a, an AWS it's like full stack serverless on AWS.

**Chris:** So that's interesting cause, um, would that be pre recorded then

**Adam:** as opposed to, it's going to be, it's going to be alive, like interactive course where you're basically on like five or six zoom calls with an group of 30 people.

, Like it's interactive in the sense that like, I'll be instructing, but it's going to be different every, every cohort. And there's going to be questions there's going to be it's it's more hands-on than sort of a prerecorded course. Yeah. I guess like you could record it and then maybe you could package that up as a prerecorded course.

But the plan is to do like a live thing. And I've seen this, I mean, I've seen other, I've been a part of cohort courses. I know, like it's a thing that can work. I don't know if it's a thing that I am going to make good or not, but

**Chris:** I mean, it's definitely worth experimenting with.

**Adam:** I do love teaching. Like, I think that's something that early in life, I thought I wanted to be doing something like that.

Like, uh, not before I even really was into technology. , so I think like maybe it's being in the Midwest, I don't know. I like interacting with normal people or people who don't have, they're not as deep in the hole as I am. Uh, and I think doing something like this as a way to kind of like take people who that's the other thing, if you've been in technology and you live in the Midwest and maybe this isn't true just for the Midwest, but you get a lot of questions from friends and family.

Like how can I do what you do? Because you just get to be home and do this and, and work with technology. That sounds fun. Yeah. I dunno now I'm just straying off, but I do, I want to like set up some sort of avenue for, for teaching and for experimenting with it, at least. Uh, and especially the stuff I'm really passionate about.

So serverless and building out on AWS is something I really. Cool.

**Chris:** That seems like a, like a good game plan or at least it's something I'm thinking about too. So I like that idea naturally.

**Adam:** Yeah, no, I want to hear about, so you're doing the prerecorded thing with cloud cast, right? Is that all pre. Oh, yeah,

**Chris:** definitely.

Which is what I've always preferred to do. , the few times I've been in a situation where not a few times, but if I'm just like helping someone, , like I hang out with some discords for a Laravel stuff and like there's some server channels in there. And once in a while, you're talking to someone who has like such a superficial level of knowledge of like server stuff.

You almost can't help them. So that's always big to be afraid of doing like in-person teaching of technology stuff. Cause I just like, there's so much base knowledge that you need to absorb before I could even begin to enter this question. It's like fire kind of

**Adam:** scary today. That's the hard part I think is like, Defining that, that prerequisite or that scope of the course, because if you're talking, like taking full-stack serverless, like where do you start?

Do they have, do they need to have a base understanding of programming languages? Because if you're going to, like, I'm going to be teaching a whole bunch of TypeScript, like it's going to be very practical and it's going to be like, here's how I build out applications on AWS. What, what sort of level are you doing that?

Is it a 100 course or a 200 or 300? And. Sort of knowledge, are they going to have coming in? That's the hard part. I think it's like finding that group of people that you're sort of resonating with on that level. Like, I don't know that I'm really a beginner teacher. Like I think I'm more like a little bit up from

**Chris:** that.

Yeah. Well, it's too hard to be a beginner teacher when you have so much, so many years of knowledge in you, like I ran into someone at the coffee shop, he was a student. He was working. I saw him opening up and like having a code editor opening. So I was like, oh, what are you work up to? And he's like, well, I have this course and I need to make out a form to, uh, just like make a login authentication for.

And I was just like, okay, that's simple enough. But then he was like using react because he's teaching himself react. And I was like, I didn't know how to explain how use it like a totally Ajax react thing is going to make his life so much harder to just submit a form and talk to my SQL. Cause I was like, like, you can do that.

Like it's like Ajax request. I'm calling the Ajax to your questions, but do the kids even call the Ajax?

**Adam:** Have you ordered? I have no idea.

**Chris:** Like that's old. It has XML or the acronym knows what that is. I do. I mean, oh my God. Like I. Uh, I have to go, my kids need me. You

**Adam:** see you later? Yeah, it's too. It's too much.

Yeah, no, it's really true. Like, I, there's so many layers at this point in our careers that you've sort of absorbed over time, finding a way to sort of distill that and truncate. I think it is possible for people in our position to truncate a lot of. The learning and to make it more efficient for people earlier in their career.

I think one-on-one mentorship. Like I'm sure that's, what's good about working at companies. I don't really care to work at companies, but like, I'm sure you've got people coming in who are newer in their career, learning a lot from people who've been doing it for. Right. But doing that like as a product that you can sell to people, because ultimately I can't sort of like she

**Chris:** herself correctly.

Let me make sure that it's on your page or correct. So the right people sign up.

**Adam:** Exactly. I don't want to get a range. You know, the first cohort is 30 people and. Some of them are tracking with much higher level concepts and the others are still very, very new. That's just going to be a train wreck. I think you've got to figure out a way to sort of homogenize that, uh, if that's a term that can be used for people,

**Chris:** have you thought about how you might price this thing?

Like Percy and like, it's like in the hundreds of dollars or like $15 a seat, like these are all questions I've had for myself

**Adam:** too. Yeah. So I'm going off of. Well, a few things. There's a few levers here. One of them is just like, what is going to make me excited to do this? And I know I'm not going to make as much doing this as I can make freelancing, but as long as it's like, I'm making enough to justify the amount of time.

I know I'll put into it. I do that thing where like obsess and I will pour like weeks of time into this. I know getting it ready before that first cohort. Uh, so I've got. Charge enough to justify what I'm going to put into it. But at the same time, like I want to be accessible to, I have a lot of people that follow me on social media that are international and like Twitter, as an example is just so global.

And I don't want to totally exclude people from economies where they just can't justify like paying an American engineer, the rates that we make here in America. Uh, that's a whole nother conversation. I think right now the plan is to charge. So each cohort being something like 30 seats and to charge in the low hundreds of dollars per seat, uh, but then to give away like five of them.

Per cohort as like scholarships. And that may be hopefully open up the door more to bringing in folks that it's just outside their means. Uh, like I, I would do like the price parody thing, and I want to do that. Like for other products, SAS products, things like that. For something like this, where it's directly tied to your time.

It just feels hard because if, if I opened up where 30 people signed up internationally and, uh, then you get into the problem of like, just sort of justifying the time, uh, I don't know all this sounds so. I feel like a robot. And that sounds so awful. Total sense. It has to be worth your time. I mean, yeah.

It's like, there's a psychology, there's some kind of like mental thing that like, if, you know, you can make X, it just sort of makes it hard to go out and do things that don't also make that right. For

**Chris:** sure. Makes sense. Yeah. That's a human thing. Fear of loss or

**Adam:** whatever. Totally human. Got it.

**Chris:** Not . A robot thing.

All right. What other fun stuff have you been doing? The other fun things I know about Adam is that he has a lot of high tech audio, visual gear.

getting into the keto keyboards. And you have this Lego, like town

**Adam:** that you built with the kids. I go, yeah, I did. I built it with my kids. Uh, I gotta point that out. Some of my seven year old boy, uh, helps me build the Lego buildings. Uh, but yeah, so the Lego buildings are interesting. I, this is like, Normal people buy Lego sets and they build Lego sets, but like, I I've invested so much time and I just got done saying like, I don't want to invest time and stuff that I don't make a lot of money doing, but I made $0 lighting my Lego buildings, but I spent hundreds of hours so far.

Like I drill holes in the walls to like run wires. It's the whole thing that takes way too much time. And there's absolutely no. Except for my own peace of mind that there's not wired there for fun. It's my, it's like one of my few hobbies. So mechanical keyboards. That's the thing I've definitely started getting into, uh, yeah, no, I, the audio visual stuff, I.

I went down like a hole in the winter after I kinda slowed down with freelancing. And I just decided I wanted to start like making video content of some sort. Uh that's when I started my podcast, AWS FM and yeah. I'm still early. I just can't even talk about what I've, what I've purchased. I mean, it's like, my office is a small YouTube studio at this point and some of it is just it's of like, you'd make fun of some of the stuff until I actually released something where I used it.

So that's the thing I got to do now is I got to push some stuff out there. Yeah. I got to make it worth it.

**Chris:** I mean, it could just be fun to

**Adam:** have. Yes. It's fun. Yeah. I have a whole list. Yeah, no, I don't want to live stream. I mean, I guess aside from a cohort course, uh, I want to make other. Educational content.

That's prerecorded, I guess. Uh, yeah, I'll leave it there because I swear if I start going into the details, you're just going to laugh me off the podcast and we're gonna have to end it here.

**Chris:** , okay, so you slow down and freelance. Do you know if you're going to pick that back up in a while you just kind of seeing what comes

**Adam:** around?

Uh, yeah. No, I I'm open to good opportunities and by good, I mean like consulting and. There are startups like th there's like a set of criteria now that every opportunity sort of has to check the boxes, uh, as those come along. I mean, I just took on a new client in the last few weeks and I'd love to find more, more relationships like this one.

So I'm open to it. It's just, I'm not out there sort of looking for the big time investment projects anymore. Yeah. Uh, And I started a SAS. So I did start building, uh, in the last four or five months. Yeah.

**Chris:** Let's talk about that. Which is public that dev, did you have to pay a lot for that domain? Uh,

**Adam:** well, th so I didn't have to buy it.

Third party. I guess a year ago, year and a half ago. Uh, so I bought it straight from the registrar, which is, I guess was Google. Uh, but it's, it is like $800 a year. So a lot of the,, like the single word dot Dez premium. Yeah. They're premium. And they, I mean, that's like kind of insane when I first saw.

That it's yearly. Like it's one thing to spend a lot of money on a domain upfront. So the another thing, like every year when you're used to like the $15 hit,

**Chris:** well, I dropped a few hunters. I did the same thing. I was like, get donated and I was like, I'm never going to use this. This is a lot of money for you.

**Adam:** Yeah. And that's why I built pub. I mean, really, like I bought the domain with an ID. And then sat on it for a year. And when I renewed it, it was like, man, I can't keep paying it. And I'd always hear. So I started in earnest building, I guess, because I felt like I should just get rid of the domain if I'm not going to use it.

Uh, but I really liked the domain and I liked the idea and I think it's sort of like, I started very practically with this idea that. I hate my personal website and I have for my entire like 15 year career. And I constantly feel guilty that I'm not like doing more to make it better or updating it. And so it practically, like this idea started out of like, just making it really easy to do.

Uh, fast up-to-date and attractive website, uh, for my personal portfolio. That's what public kind of is, is like this dev portfolio builder, but I sort of stumbled into, I think, a bigger. Mission, which I've never really had. So I built a startup stat muse, ran it for five years and never really had a mission that I felt like I was excited about why I was building it.

I just kind of like built a thing that I was excited to use, but like why I was continuing to do it, wasn't clear, but public, I feel like I've, I've accidentally kind of just like talk myself into this idea that like most of my career. I've not been very public. Like I've been a very in the shadows kind of developer.

I don't know. Do you know Scott Hanselman is now. Okay. So Scott Hanselman is like this Microsoft employee. Uh, he's a big developer advocate for, for Microsoft evangelists or something. I'm not sure the titles, but a big blogger podcaster in that space. And he had this article that I read, I don't know, a decade ago, uh, called dark matter developers.

And it's this idea that like 99% of developers are sort of like working at companies shipping code every day, but they don't write, they don't like do YouTube videos. Do podcasts, like they're just sort of doing development work and they don't necessarily engage in the community in the same way that a very small sliver of the community is very active.

So I very much like resonate with that idea. And I've been that most of my career and this idea with public is like, how do I help people like me who are developers that struggle to. Get out there publicly. Uh, how do we help share and be more kind of proud of, of what we're building publicly and what we're sharing with the world, like our online presence.

So that's kind of like this big mission now for me is like, long-term focus. I want to make. This platform, I hate the word platform. I don't want to make, I want to make a product or a set of products, tools to help developers share more publicly and to be, you know, writing, doing things that they don't feel like they're doing enough of, or they're not doing at all.

Uh, I know there's a lot of anxiety for me around that stuff, and I want to help make that better. Cool,

**Chris:** , anxiety around just putting yourself out there, like being on Twitter

**Adam:** and all that. Uh, I think the anxiety is that I don't do enough of that. Like for most of my career, it's like, I see, I follow a lot of developer blogs and I watch a lot of developer content and just never feeling like.

I'm ever going to take the time to do that, like to actually share what I'm learning to. Like just little stuff, you know, as I've gotten into this and looked at a whole lot of developer websites and blogs, you realize like people aren't writing every week. I mean, there are people, but it's like even just writing a handful of, of blog posts a year, uh, it can seem so intimidate.

From the other side when you're not writing or contributing in that way to the community.

**Chris:** Yeah. And the other side, they see the ones that are top of hacker news or whatever too. So like you see the most famous stuff. So it's hard to compare yourself to any of that.

**Adam:** Yeah, no, it's like, uh, yeah. I want to stop feeling bad about how much I'm doing publicly or how much I'm sharing kind of publicly.

Uh, that's something that most of my career, I felt pretty bad. That makes

**Chris:** sense. There's always, I'm hit every week with like, oh man, I haven't like tweeted it enough about like my business or any of this stuff. It's like a constant kind of like treadmill background thread where you're like, oh God, I haven't done anything that I need to be doing.

Like, none of the important work is getting done. I don't even know if that's important, but you know, it's kind of like for me, like trying to grow this app is kind of like marketing too. So I'm always just like, oh, I haven't been marketing this thing at all.

**Adam:** Yeah, no, I, I heard you're a man. I had so many questions for you, actually just listening to them, listening to the podcast with Alex, like the Laravel community.

Super fascinating to me, but I do not think this is the topic of your podcast, so I'm not gonna, I'm not going to ask all these questions, but I'm going to have you on AWS at them. So we're going to trade these and you're going to be on my podcast. Okay. That sounds perfect. I'm going to ask you a lot of technical Laravel and AWS questions.

**Chris:** Cool. I have thought specifically about doing a course and then maybe also this like webinar idea of, for just converting a standard application to vapor, which is, you know, layer bells, like serverless thing. Yep. , so we might do that and it's kind of interesting, cause there's certain issues you hit around just like moving this monolith application to serverless, but even then it's still kind of a monolith cause the.

, you don't get an endpoint per you don't get a Lambda function per end point. Like you might in, like, I don't know every other implementation of surveillance I've ever seen, which I don't know if I agree with still, but I have a PDF of that, but for at least for, I don't know, maybe that's PHP specific, but, , but that's kinda neat.

, I think it's, that model is kind of easy to transfer a big model with application to serverless. Cause it's just like you just move your model into a Lambda. Yeah, it gets every web application. It just parses out what your eye are getting and all that kind of stuff, which is kind of neat. But, , but anyway, the idea that I wanted to just like show that process of moving, like your, your application exists already into a vapor environment, serverless environment, and like the stuff you might run into, like if you're hitting the database too hard and need a proxy or, you know, all that kind of nonsense.

So, we'll see what happens with that. It's just a plan right now, but I also have a job in like a business.

**Adam:** Yeah. That's a lot. You got a lot going on. Yeah. Full time job with everything. I would have thought, like everything you do, you don't have a full-time job on top of it. I feel like, um,

**Chris:** the course stuff made more than a salary a few years, but then the kids were making it too hard to make courses.

And then I also made a, my SQL backups course. And I secretly was doing that too. So that course did the worst of any course I ever did. So it wasn't like a waste of time. And I actually had a lot of fun learning. They're kind of like these weird in and outs of my sequel stuff, but, , I was kind of like doing that to gauge interest in a, a backup application, like a SAS I might've built on top. , I didn't end up doing it because I didn't, it didn't feel like a enough of a market was there. Although of course, people like snap shooter have like

**Adam:** taught me to get

**Chris:** good business out of this. And what do I know? I don't know do it. So that was like also cost me a bunch of time. Cause I was. , that was happening when the kids were young enough or like, they kind of went to bed early and I had a bunch of time and now the kids are in bed at eight.

So I have like, from like, you know, like that kind of time pressure is happening to me right now.

**Adam:** Same, , and daylight savings. Like our kids, we didn't adjust them. So they, they just go to bed an hour later, which is eight and we just lost an hour of our evening, basically. Yeah, no, I feel that how important

**Chris:** our, yeah, we, we tried to suffocate and they shifted eventually.

That was kind of a painful period. It gets kind of weird. , So, you know, yeah. That's kind of weird period with kids where they are like, they need your attention and like, you have to give your kids your full attention right up until they're in bed, because they're just kind of . Going crazy.


**Adam:** yeah. South I dream of a day.

I don't know, w we have more of that time that like, I've got a neighbor who his youngest is like six or seven. My oldest is seven and I've got a two year old. And I think when you've got a little, little one, you just forget what it's like to have any time at all. Like, all of your time is devoted to keeping that little one occupied and entertained

**Chris:** the second I'm off work.

And like, usually that's a few minutes before it really off work. Cause I was going crazy. And at that point it was just. Yeah. I,

**Adam:** I feel like there's not enough people talking. I hope this is in line with your podcast team. Always,

**Chris:** always talk about how hard it is to have kids. It's no matter what context I'm in.

**Adam:** Yeah. It's like, I don't know. I feel like a, not enough people publicly. Maybe it's on Twitter, just the circles. I hang out in, talk about like, as the working spouse, like my spouse doesn't work as a working spouse, the amount of guilt that I constantly feel over. My spouse taking care of our kids during the day.

And how quickly, like, getting off of work is just this immense pressure to like immediately relieve her.

**Chris:** It's out of the frying pan into the fryer for sharing. Yeah. Yeah.

**Adam:** It's like saying it's not, it's a, yeah, it's an interesting thing that I'm sure other people are all dealing with this. And I don't know, maybe it's different.

I don't, I don't even know the dynamic when both parents work, but. I know, as a working parent with a parent who's, I mean, working more than I am, but with the kids all day and not necessarily like something that she grew up wanting to do. Watch kids every day. Yeah, sure. It's just a constant guilt. Yeah.


**Chris:** no, it's there. It's totally correct. And then also any, you hear the kids like yelling in the background, do you like, ah, I really should help him, but I have this like time pressure at work or something like something's going on. Like something server is broken and I liked her like desperately fix it.

Like that happens a bunch. There's always like something going on where some customer is like unhappy. It was something I got to fix

**Adam:** that at the same time the kids run it. Yeah. Yeah. Oh, yeah. I guess we'll look back and we'll just say, like, these were very short periods of our life and, uh, and there were so many precious little things going on in moments that I wish I could appreciate them more if things weren't just so crazy.

It's true. Yeah.

**Chris:** It's hard to when like, sometimes you're just like, oh, this is actually really neat that this is happening, but I'm actually stressed out still from, I haven't decompressed at all. So I

**Adam:** hear that, you know, Hm, what else has got. I have so many questions for you, but I know it's not appropriate on your podcast to ask you questions.

**Chris:** No, it is hitting me well.

**Adam:** Okay. So just when you, when you, when you reached out to come on here, it was like this moment where the last couple of weeks, and I just did an episode of my podcast just recorded it like last week or two weeks ago where I talked about layer though for like 20 minutes, because it's this thing I'm very curious about, right?

And I guess like you're at that intersection where like you hang out in the AWS and Laravel community. And that intersection is super interesting to me because I guess like, Laravel feels so foreign and so distant as someone who's never written any PHP, but it feels like I hang out in the same, like neighbor neighborhood, or like we're bordering cities or something like, there's this such a.

Commonality between we're just all software engineers or developers. But at the same time, you guys talk about things that I don't understand. None of it makes sense. And they're all like names of products that Taylor Hartwell created. And I wish I knew more. And also just everyone in that community seems so friendly.

And we have that native as community as well. Like not all tech communities, I guess, feel like that. But from the outside, looking in. Seems to have an amazing community. And I just want to know how, how does someone who has an AWS background get into the Louisville community? Is there any doing AWS stuff in the layer though?

Space or has Taylor already done it all?

**Chris:** Okay. Let me introduce you to my friend, Aaron Francis, who was on this podcast. Yeah, I liked her and he's doing a lot of a serverless. Uh, and just made some cool stuff around that in the Laravel community. And he's, you know, he's talking about that and did a talk at and that kind of stuff.

Uh, sidecar. Yep. So, um, yeah, it is a cool community. It's kind of like, um, I don't know, is it like the cool server-side community? It's not react, you know, it's not the JavaScript kids well,

**Adam:** and that, and there's a lot of draw there. Like I'm not someone that I prefer building out. AWS infrastructure. I'm not like necessarily all that excited about front end technologies, but there's like this defacto kind of like if you're building full stack stuff and on AWS, you kind of ended up building react stuff,

**Chris:** which is interesting, especially in serverless, right?

Like you end up in that sphere. It

**Adam:** seems like it's not really where I care to. Like, I would love to learn more, I guess like, are people building. With dynamo DB and Laravel land, or like the ORM is so specific to like my SQL and Postgres for something.

**Chris:** Yeah. Not, not as much, uh, that I've seen, but certainly some, but like I almost quit Diana mode.

I almost put dynamo into production, but it was like a stupid small app. And the dynamo was like keeping track of, of people in like there wasn't, I wasn't using advanced features of dynamo at all. We ended up not doing that just for other reasons that were unrelated to serverless or dynamo or anything.

, and I actually liked dynamo a lot from that, but Laravel, doesn't have tooling. There's some like packages, but there's not no like first party stuff around that, which might change. Like, um, I know Aaron Francis, we just mentioned is working on a library to talk to single store, which is like, it has a, my SQL catalog.

Yeah, so that's pretty cool. And that's not serverless, but like is so performance that like, it kind of feels

**Adam:** like it. Yeah. I mean, it's serverless in the sense that it's not your server, it's a third party, right? Yeah. No, I think like, I know you're, you're sort of in both worlds, right? Like. You do a lot of AWS stuff and you're part of nativist community, but you're very much part of that of community is that you're like as your day job sort of Laravel focused.

Yes. I hear

**Chris:** that. So it's a customer support app. This application I work on specifically at work. Almost 20 years old, like 17 years old or something like that. So you obviously do not start with Aribel Laravel is in it now and is the basis for stuff, but there's a lot of like, uh, old stuff going on to some hacks to make it all work together.

Uh, but definitely Laravel focus. Uh, this is the company that Taylor worked at before. Uh, for going independent. Cause you know, Laravel forge has got made and you know that good, great gave him a great income. So I worked with him for a year or two something, but at the time he was working at, um, an app that doesn't exist anymore.

That was like a, uh, less enterprisey version of, of our main application help spot. So, um, we didn't work at the same projects, but we worked together for like a year.

**Adam:** So I've watched the documentary. I mean, the, the Laravel thing, uh, again, never written a line of PHB and I feel like I'm stalking the Laravel community.

Uh, D are you, are you from the Midwest

**Chris:** now from Connecticut? I'm living in San Antonio.

**Adam:** Got it. Cause I know he D Taylor's from like Arkansas, right? Little rock. Yeah. Okay. Now I've, I've sufficiently asked you enough flair of all questions. I'll say the last, the rest for a, okay. Let's do that as podcasts.

**Chris:** I'll have to think of some thoughts about how to get into the Laravel community. It's really just tweeting about it. I mean, maybe we'll have to raise the PHB. I dunno.

**Adam:** Well, yeah. I want to like actually dive in and build stuff with it, but if there's no opportunity to build Laravel apps that involves building out AWS stuff, I'd probably lose interest pretty quick.

**Chris:** Yeah. I don't know. That's a good question. Um, that's why. I think there's certainly companies using AWS a lot. And there's certainly people who PHP is one of those things where I don't know if I need to change my perspective on this, but, , I grew up with PHP just being on every shared web hosting there ever existed.

And it was just always there. And you just threw a PHP file on the server and you didn't care about the service at all. Cause it just. Yeah, I can FTP your files up there and everything just works. So the PHP community has kind of been more server illiterate than other communities because you just have to care so much less.

Um, you know, you're never forced to confront the stuff. Uh, I think, I mean, that's kind of changing because now that the fact though is like, you have your own DigitalOcean droplet, and like maybe level forge managers that, so maybe you just still don't care about service so much, but, um, you still have to know a little bit more and like cues are kind of like a first party thing out of the box.

So, , You know, you might have to figure out how to run a demon, you know, supervisor stuff to keep it up and running and that kind of stuff. So the baseline knowledge is certainly higher now, but PHP has always been simple. So I've always, I that's where I've been hanging out like this intersection where like, well, you kind of need to know the server stuff.

, so my point of that is that there is a lot of, uh, stuff. Well, there's a lot of opportunity to teach people or like make platforms for, uh, people doing kind of the crazier. , I don't know, elaborate AWS stuff. Yeah. No matter what their language is, but I think the PHP community in general has maybe pent up demand for that kind of stuff, for apps that are scaling or just have those types of needs.

**Adam:** Yeah. I'm going to stop, but, uh, I could say more. It sounds about right. That's a good time. That's good.

**Chris:** All right. So if people want to find you, what are the top few things that you want people to look

**Adam:** at? Uh, yeah, I think Twitter, I mean, that's really the only place I hang out. Uh, so my Twitter is Adam, but it's like phonetically, a E D U H M.

Yeah. That's my Twitter handle. That's really it. I I've got a website that's I don't like, uh, Until public dams find me on Twitter. Yeah. Until public. Yeah. No, I've got a public web. Yeah. That's my public website. And,

**Chris:** um, your podcast still has not been shut down despite it being called AWS MFM.

**Adam:** No, no, no. Nobody shut it down. In fact, I, the AWS folks. Like people that work at AWS seemed to embrace it. And I've had a couple of AWS employees on now. So I think it's going to stick around. I took like a five month holiday break. Uh, but I've just started it back up and, yeah. Great. That's my podcast.

**Chris:** All right.

I know I'm subscribed, so I can't wait to see more stuff. We'll get it

**Adam:** soon.

**Chris:** Yes. All right. Well, thanks for coming on.

**Adam:** Yeah, thanks so much, Chris. Thanks for having me on.

Adam Elmore - Consulting in AWS and
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