Podcast: A Few Of Our Favorite Things About React

Our guest this week is Kent C Dodds, a developer who makes a terrific impact on the community through his workshops, talks, and newsletter. We chat about why he loves React and how he automated his way from a business analyst to a full fledged software engineer.  Plus, the value of execution versus intelligence, and how version control worked in the days before Git. 

Part 1

The crew chats about how Paul and Sara made the transition from individual contributors to managers overseeing teams of engineers. Sara used to see this transition as a form of selling out, but has a new perspective after having made the shift. Paul admits he still doesn’t feel like a “CEO” and how he approaches his role as the co-founder who focuses on creating signal instead of operations. Lastly, we argue about Bitcoin and examine the role luck plays in life, especially for The Rock. 

Interview – Kent C Dodds

Kent admits that when he first tried programming, he just couldn’t understand strings, and decided the career path wasn’t for him. He ended up on a track that would have made him an accountant or business intelligence analyst. From that perch, however, he began to find ways to automate and improve his workflows. Not only did this help him stand out at work, it reawakened his interest in coding, which is now his full time career. 

Part 2 

Sara talks about the difference between writing code for software applications, and writing firmware, which she got into while helping to launch and run Jewelbots. Paul and Sara recall what it was like working in tech during the 90s, when they had to constantly worry about how to conserve RAM. We also talk about the days before Git, when folks passed a hard drive around from hand to hand. The kids today have no idea how good they have it.

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  1. Shadow Wizard says:

    It can be nice to get a link to the actual podcast. But if you can’t (e.g. some legal issue) I also understand.

  2. where the podcast at?

  3. Thanks for the excellent show notes.

    The actual episode is available through the “Podcast” link at the top, e.g.:


    It is not at SoundCloud at the time of writing.

    It would still be nice with an official podcast episode number.

  4. >he just couldn’t understand strings

    Uh, am I missing something? What’s complicated about strings?

  5. This is podcast episode #128 or #6, depending on how you count.

  6. Asteroids With Wings says:

    > Paul and Sara recall what it was like working in tech during the 90s, when they had to constantly worry about how to conserve RAM.

    You still should? Software that guzzles down memory “because RAM is cheap” should be shot. Yes Chrome I’m looking at you.

    > We also talk about the days before Git, when folks passed a hard drive around from hand to hand.

    No they didn’t. What about literally every other version control system?

    > The kids today have no idea how good they have it.

    Come now, no need for ageist remarks.

    1. Like MKS RCS, which has been around since the 80’s…

    2. > Come now, no need for ageist remarks.

      I’m 24 and don’t think it was “ageist” at all. It’s just a light-hearted joke that underscores just how much easier tech is nowadays compared to those days, in many ways. Why are people so sensitive? That said, and I don’t think the author’s one-line joke was meant to say otherwise, tech has definitely gotten harder in many aspects too. Modern web development is an engineering discipline all of its own and probably one of the hardest in the sense of the sheer amount of new tech stacks you need to learn every 5 or so years just to stay up to date.

    3. Agreed with the version control systems though, I’ve watched Linus’ original Google talk from ~2006 introducing Git, where he explains that he designed it to be the opposite of everything CVS was at the time. He also cites as Subversion, which was newer and a little better than CVS but still terrible. Mercurial was released at basically the same time, and inspired by the same catalyst that caused Linus to develop Git – BitKeeper becoming closed-source.

    4. I agree with what you say about VC. I don’t recall anyone “walking around with a harddrive”.

      Disagree with you about RAM. It’s a totally different world now. Yes, nobody should be needlessly sloppy and guzzle RAM without thought, but they’re talking about days when people had 512Kb or (going further back) 48kb of RAM for their entire program! People used to have to worry about every single byte.

      Now if you’re worrying about bytes you’re breaking the golden rule of programming: “Premature optimisation is the root of all evil”. Nobody should be swallowing hundreds of MB, but also nobody should be worrying about 5k.

  7. hahahaha. good react joke.

    “I’ll try not to keep you in suspense” (said with no hesitation)

  8. No volume control?

    1. The real AAron says:

      What happened to Ken Dodd’s?

  9. That’s BS. While Git introduced some new concepts, there were fine source control systems before Git, and people worked in distributed teams before Git. The main difference was that they were more dependent on network connection, but that wasn’t a problem most of the time.

  10. Your podcasts are are to hear and I see no way to raise the volume.
    Why no speaker increase feature ?

  11. Manzoor Hussain says:

    Well! this is very informative and want to listen more podcast like that. Thank you.

  12. gilbert ssenyonjo says:

    These guys are too harmonious. We want conflict

  13. Disappointed to not hear Ken Dodd on this

    In other news, I’m going to get my eyes tested next week

    1. The real AAron says:

      Wait, who is this? Didn’t you mean Kent T Dodds?

  14. “I still don’t get the pointers” – Sorry but put her into this podcast… smh

  15. Nice podcast. It highlights a lot of interesting things about the dev world, but also keeps it light. That said, it’s frustrating what a weird world we work in. Paul’s reminisces about how development used to be more structured and planned. I don’t see that as old fashioned, I see it as CORRECT.

    Also sad to hear Sarah’s story of a developer who was bullied into quitting because they criticised someone else’s code. What kind of over-sensitive world are we living in?

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