I Quit (ft. Aaron Francis)

Chris is leaving UserScape after 8 years, and working as a "Laravel Specialist" at Fly (fly.io). Aaron offered to interview me to talk about it!

# 09 - I Quit (ft. Aaron Francis)

**Aaron:** How about I do the intro because I'm hosting today. How does that sound? You just did the intro. Welcome back to pushing boulders. My name is not Chris fiddle, but my name is Aaron Francis and I am hosting and I will be interviewing Christopher Dow because he's got some major breaking news right now. So Chris, what's going on over there,

**Chris:** breaking news.

Um, I quit my job paid jobs. Yup. So

**Aaron:** eight years you've been at users. And you quit what yesterday? The day before

**Chris:** Tuesday, Tuesday. And

**Aaron:** what's

**Chris:** next? Uh, okay. So, uh, we took a job at fly flight IO. The, I don't know what to call them. I keep calling her server hosting company, but that's because my family is asking me about this and I'm just like, I don't know what to call it.

It was just, they do . Server things. , but they're Heroku ish, even though I think they don't actually like that description of them. ,

**Aaron:** you're going to have to get this pitch down a little bit better, but yeah, it's good so far.

**Chris:** Great. I'll figure that out. That'll be part of the job. So. There there H one rate, deploy app servers close to your users.

They, um, I actually found out when I was doing the interview process that they started as a CDN and pivoted into what they are now. And I think that's part of the reason why they like rent servers around the world. I don't know this for sure, but that, that seems to be logical to me. Like they're, they're not an AWS or anything.

They just have their own like rented servers and it's globally distributed. And the whole thing with fly IO is as easy as. Distribute your apps so that they are run close to your users. So you don't have servers in New York talking to people in Australia, right?

**Aaron:** Yeah. So they have, they have, they own their own stuff all over the world, which I think is super interesting because they don't sit on top of, you know, AWS and their whole deal is like, Th they do something you'll know this better.

Well, you'll know this better. Once you start, they do something with like, uh, is it firecracker? Like the micro VM stuff? That's like that drives Lambda as well. They do something with containerization. It's like containers, but not containers. I don't fully know.

**Chris:** Right. Which is actually sort of what Lambda is too.

Or at the Lambda run times when we use containers, it like takes the stuff inside of the container, copies it into what they call a micro VM. And runs it. So you could kind of make a container install, whatever you want, until it even like a full Linux thing with like system D and all the things that, um, what do they call it?

The init process, whatever is PID zero or whatever, it's usually in a . Container. Um, the thing that starts every other program and make sure it stays running in Linux, you could like install that and stuff, which is usually not in a Docker container and they can kind of throw that. Thing that all gets copied into this little micro VM in, um, a firecracker server, a server that's running firecracker and, and runs it.

, so yeah, Lambdas does that. Lambda is like kind of an interesting, they, AWS made firecracker and they run Lambda on it and Lambda is just like, you know, run a function basically. And then they have those extra stuff, like Lambda layers. We add in whatever files that are there in addition to your code and all that kind of stuff.

, and Lambda has all sorts of limitations, like 15 minute run time. And, you know, they do all sorts of funny things with that, but you don't have to, like, firecracker can just run processes forever. So here you can just like, have your apps running on it sort of like . It's a server. , so it's almost serverless.

**Aaron:** Yeah. It's like servers, servers that are serverless. I used it for a couple of things and I was blown away when it was like, you can just SSH into it. And I was like, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Right. This, this is a Lambda function. And you know, after reading the docs, I was like, oh no, this is not a Lambda function.

This is a full on server that stays alive forever. And you can get in there and muck around with stuff. It's cool. So. What are you going to be doing for them? Not

**Chris:** managing services. That's good. , so a UserScape I manage like a fleet of 300 servers or something like that. And, um, it's really stable. It's like not big deal.

Like there's very rarely does a server just break or something like that. So that's actually been pretty. Yeah. Uh, which is good because that's such a small team. , and I'm changing to a role that's more community focused. So the job posting that caught my eye here was a layer of El specialist is what they call it.

And they, , they just like Laravel they want it. They want to, you know, move into different programmer centric areas. Right. So right now they do a lot of stuff with Phoenix and live view. And, , that's been working out for them. They get a lot of users to that, apparently. So they're going to try out Laravel and maybe rails and, you know, whatever else comes up.

So part of their hiring strategy is to find this, um, senior level ish people to like spearhead that, and then they're going to hire, I think, some also more junior level people to also flesh the team out, but it will be just like community type stuff. So, , articles, uh, improving the documentation, making sure it works well with Laravel.

, and they actually support Kayla who made live wire because they like live view so much in the Phoenix world and live wire is kind of like that same idea. So they actually, , uh, what's the word I'm looking for there. They give them money to get hub sponsor him. Yep. , I might end up helping with that, like doing some maintenance on the Livewire stuff, or just generally, you know, kind of promoting it, like writing about how to use it and different use cases and all that stuff.

What they like about live view and live wire is that they're kind of globally distributed system really makes it snappy. Like it feels kind of like an spa because it's so quick because the servers are close to you because once you start getting lag with that idea, like it makes the things feel less.

**Aaron:** Yeah. So everyone knows live view in Livewire are both like server side, front end frameworks. And so they have to bounce back to the server a lot, which means the farther away the server is the more lag you get on your front end, which is why probably fly likes both of them because they put your servers everywhere.

Is that accurate? Yeah.

**Chris:** , and I like fly personally because it's not slate. , a lot of the new things coming out, which are very like react and just front end centric, like react front end, and then like maybe have a Lambda function or two to do something and then offload off and all the stuff that doesn't make sense to me as a full stack developer flies just like host your full stack apps with us.

So I kind of like that angle. , the, the thing that really attracted me to this guy, I wasn't really looking for work. And, , but the thing that attracted me to it is, uh, you know, it's community work, which is different from what I'm doing right now, which is very, you know, programming on an application and managing servers and all that kind of stuff.

, and after eight years it's like, I don't know, it's rote, it's comfortable, too comfortable. So it's like, , you know, good. It's a good change. It's a change of pace of the type of work he'll be doing to

**Aaron:** yeah. Are you excited to be, I mean, you. Already produce a ton of content, but not for UserScape you produce a ton of content for your own stuff, , between these blood posts for chipper and your whole, , AWS cloud casts.

So are you excited to be doing like content production and interacting with the community as your full-time job?

**Chris:** Right. And it, , it solves a lot of issues, not, not issues, but it solves for a lot of things. Me being able to do the thing I do on the side. Full-time as nice kind of being the LiRo community.

Full-time like being paid to do that is, is really nice. That has benefits for me, has benefits for fly, you know, , maybe it could help with, uh, trippers growth. I don't know, but you know, maybe,

**Aaron:** yeah, this does feel, this feels extremely cohesive for you, your personal brand and. The thing that fly is looking for, because I would assume fly is looking for someone who's already kind of a community person well-known trusted and has the experience in the community.

And so the fact that you have like all this side stuff going on is probably a huge advantage for them because everybody knows you and trust. Yeah.

**Chris:** Being, , somewhat known in the Laravel community is definitely a benefit. Right. I think that makes sense. Like I have the experience they were looking for.

So I think for them it was an easy decision or, you know, the, the, the interview process went relatively quickly or maybe that's just how they haven't also.

**Aaron:** Yeah. So tell me from the time you found it and the time that I started pressuring you to take it to the time that you actually took it, like, how did that whole process.

**Chris:** Yeah, they, um, it wasn't like a week and a half, two weeks, something like that. And then a lot of that time was just like, you know, they're busy doing stuff. So I was, you know, I had a few days to accomplish . Those things. , so what happened? I saw a tweet where someone was talking about being like a dev evangelist or something.

I forget what the tweet was, but it was like, oh, I like the. And then you pointed me at the fly or posting after that and Twitter and I incur the CEO of fly. I was like, yeah, I think you would like this. So like, I just sat on that because I was like, I'm not applying for a job. Cause I I've always like, just kind of been like, I'm not doing anything or like I'm comfortable where I am.

And also like, , the fact that I know so much about, uh, the UserScape stuff means there's not like a lot of time pressure. So I like actually have time to think about other stuff after . Work. , you know what I mean? Like, it was just, it was easy to like, do all the sides stuff like, like, so like that was working for me.

But, um, the thing with UserScape has always been like, it's not necessarily market rate, but you're encouraged to have side projects and all that kind of stuff. And that very worked out for me for years in terms of, you know, having revenue for my . Site. , less so now because my kids are at an age where it's really tough to get extra time.

Like they go to bed later, but they also need attention. Like throughout the day, if I'm not a worker, you know, I have to give them attention. And then that leaves me. It was just like an hour and a half, two hours before bedtime to actually do anything. So like, and it's like, I drive and talked to my wife anymore and I just like go to work, do my own stuff after the kids are in bed, you know, it's, it's crazy.

So, um, this. Fulfill a lot of that stuff to do, um, during working hours, like not, not necessarily working my own stuff, but I'm just kind of do the community, the community component, audience growth, or whatever, that kind of thing. Yeah.

**Aaron:** Now part of your like full-time official job is to be on Twitter. So that's kind of nice,

**Chris:** fine.

, okay, so we lost the thread of like the job part stuff, or I did, I oh, so they had a job posting the job posting was like email us here and send us some information. And they had like one of those things at the end, or like give us this little tidbit of info to make sure we actually read the, uh, you know, read everything I think.

And, um, I don't know if that was actually the purpose of it, but it seems like it because it was at the very . End. Um, but I, , like cheating, so DMed Kurt immediately. Cause I thought, yeah, I think he had followed me at some point. So I was like, I'm just, I'm just kinda out that part. And, uh, that worked out cause he immediately was like, let's get on a call and I want to pitch you on why I think you should apply, which I thought was a good move on his part and also like a no pressure way to get on the phone, on the zoom.

And it just like talked through what it would be. So we did that and it's like, , like I've, we've all seen fly from the outside, I guess. Right. And hacker news and that kind of thing. They have some really good writers there that some incredible technical writers. Yeah. Yeah. There is super interesting stuff where like, I barely understand it.

It's like science. Cool.

**Aaron:** But it's also like kind of funny and you're reading along and you're like, I don't get this, but I'm laughing, but it's also way over my head.

**Chris:** Yeah. Yeah. So, , I like that. And that's a lot of that feels like from the outside, it's still, cause I haven't, you know, begun to work there, but from the outside of that seems like their culture a bit.

So that, that seems really cool and interesting. , So I started to just down the, I decided to apply from there. And then they had a stew, had me do a sample project, which is like do a thing in live wire and then write it up. And then, um, from there, after that, that sounded good. And the next thing after that was like a little workaday project . Where, um, I was in slack with them for a few hours and we basically pretended we were working together on a little thing and just kind of slipping out, scoping out like a little like live wire based, , kind of like real time ish.

**Aaron:** All async over chat in slack. Yeah.

**Chris:** Cool. So that was like hour and a half, two hours. And, , you know, it's more intense than what you would do normally during the day. Cause you're like, it's, you know, you know, it's an interview and they're kind of asking questions then. Like they wouldn't be that probing if it wasn't kind of an interview, but, , it was still, you know, still fine.

I wasn't really sweating it really, which is nice.

**Aaron:** Yeah. I'm sure that the take-home project and the async work product. For you were probably kind of basic, I'm guessing. I don't know what the projects were, but did you just crush them?

**Chris:** They weren't mad. They didn't make me sweat or like some stuff was like, like I had to rewrite what I wrote the first time and I actually tweaked like how I did it.

Cause the first time I like over-caffeinated myself at a coffee shop and like the solution wasn't as good. And then I had sat on it for a day and luckily they were like the turnaround time didn't matter too much. Yeah. So I know it wasn't like a full technical interview, right? Cause I'm not like the person doing networking and like all the weird stuff they do cause they manage their own service at such a

**Aaron:** level that you're a guard, whatever wire guard is, they're super into fire guard.

**Chris:** Right. So, , I am going to look forward to not being responsible for servers, but I like, you know what, that's going to be nice. And I'm just doing that type of community to where cause central.

**Aaron:** Well, this is incredibly exciting and I'm super stoked for you. I'm glad that I'm glad that you're taking it. Um, I've kind of,

**Chris:** I've always needed a push. This is going to be my third job ever, like six years at one place, eight years at another, I don't move around a lot, but then over in the VC type companies though, you know, who knows? I don't think I'll be another eight years. I mean, maybe who knows.

**Aaron:** Well, I mean, hopefully you'll work there for like two years and then they'll sell it and you'll be a billionaire.

**Chris:** That's the goal. This

**Aaron:** is similar to obviously the path that I took. So I was working at resolute and I was like managing not 300, but managing the server and doing all of the coding on the product and doing all of this stuff. Now I met two bull and I'm not like on the core product. And it is honestly kind of a relief, like this whole Heroku breach thing.

And everybody's like, oh, we got to roll all these tokens and do all this stuff. Oh, that's not super my problem. I just have to build out this marketing page and talk to this video production company. And it's different. Like it's a different set of problems, but it is kind of nice to not be responsible for production.

I must say it's kind of a

**Chris:** relief and I don't know about you, but I also like the growth in a different skillset like that change of science team science.

**Aaron:** Yep. Yeah. It's a lot of fun. One thing I'm super excited about for this job. Is that like, I don't know. I kind of feel like this pushes the Laravel community slash ecosystem out a little bit.

I feel like Laravel is not, not insular in any way, but, , just not broadly talked about in some of the other ecosystems. And I feel like having, like sending these layer of L people out into these other companies, I feel like it's going to be real good for Laravel in the lung.

**Chris:** That's a good point. And also most of these startups that are very possible, they, if they're doing my code related things, you know, they have a homepage and they say like, what frameworks?

They support all this stuff. And PHP is always like, you know, the. It's never on the whole page, even on fly right now with Blair rails, not the homepage. You're going to see if I haven't changed. That can change that on day one. Yeah. I'm going to get rid of it. Get rid of rust, Django, crystal. Who's going to go.

**Aaron:** That's a pro first day move to come in and kick somebody off the home page. So you can put your favorite framework there.

**Chris:** I don't think I'm going to have access to do that, but

**Aaron:** we'll see. Yeah, I think it's, I think it's going to be great. Like obviously it's, you know, kind of a bummer that you're leaving UserScape, but UserScape is like the OG Laravel place.

And I think it's going to be good in the long-term for our community to have more layer of out evangelists inside these big other companies. You know, hopefully eventually we'll get one into versatile and we can figure out what the hell full-stack JavaScript is all about and teach them about full stack PHP.

But yeah, I'm super, I'm super stoked for you. I think this is going to be a lot of fun.

**Chris:** Thanks. Yeah, it should be fun. I had, um, a super huge amount of anxiety about leaving because I was, it's just a tough conversation to have after eight years, uh, Ian was like totally supportive and like, you know, I'm sure he suspects that that'll happen eventually after.

So. Yeah. , and developers, salaries are so inflated and everything right now. So it's hard to, um, you know, it's hard to not have people like looking at salaries and be like, Hmm. Yeah. It's,

**Aaron:** you know, when they're coming across hacker news every day and you're like, wait a second. Even if you're not actively looking, you're seeing it.

**Chris:** Which I wasn't, it was like, you know, again, it just kind of came and this one snagged my attention. So I went for it.

**Aaron:** So what's next. So how do you do, how do you do the big announcement? So we're recording this on a Thursday, May 5th. So what's your plan?

**Chris:** You have the plan, you have a plan for me once again, cause I would just be like this.

, so this move is like exciting, but it's a lot of anxiety attached to it still. Like I'm over the hump of like saying I'm leaving and everything. So I probably would naturally not do any announcement at all or do like a tweet, like, you know, when I started there or something like that. But I like your idea of like becoming a threat.

And do it like a threaded, like talking about it a bit and um, you know, I'll like we can post this podcast episode as part of that or whatever. So yeah, that sounds kind of fun. Yep. I think

**Aaron:** that's a good idea. I think that's also your first, like, honestly, it's kind of your first work product for fly, right?

So this is a big, I mean, you're not, you're not a marketer, so it doesn't matter as much, but like this is a big marketing event. Like you're, this is a chance to. To point people to fly, especially a slavery. I mean, it's,

**Chris:** it's certainly a branch of marketing.

**Aaron:** Yeah. I kind of think it is. Okay. So we'll do, uh, we'll obviously record this podcast and then you're going to put together some kind of thread, please, please do not use the thread emoji, but I'm still going to comment thread boy, because you do that to me every time I string a few tweets together, you come in there and you just drag me.

So I'm going to do that to you. And then when's your first day?

**Chris:** No, I think it's the 31st of this may.

**Aaron:** Are you getting, are you getting any time off in between UserScape like a week or two? It

**Chris:** depends because I'm wrapping up some projects there. I don't, I don't, I'm going to take a few days off. I'd really liked that last week off, but we'll see what happens because I'm wrapping up some projects that they need to get wrapped up at UserScape too.

And one aspect of them might go a little long, so. Cool.

**Aaron:** If you can swing it taken a week or two off in the middle, there is incredibly helpful.

**Chris:** Yeah. Yeah. Now God, I got to do that. Let's see if I

**Aaron:** can. So it sounds like you super

**Chris:** need it. I don't know what you're talking about that.

**Aaron:** All right. Shall we call it there?

Sounds good. Alright. Congratulations. All

**Chris:** right. Thanks. Thanks for hosting.

I Quit (ft. Aaron Francis)
Broadcast by